The next few days were spent learning the routines of the household. It went something like this:
8:00 AM ~Breakfast 8:45-12:00 ~ lessons (history, French, Grammar and etiquette) 12:15- luncheon 1:00-2:30- more lessons (piano and horse riding).
And the rest was down time.
Fiona spent every moment of free time in the library. It was the biggest room in the mansion and full of dusty old books well forgotten in time. She read four altogether that first week - but planned to read all of them at least once each in her lifetime.
During the morning lessons, Uncle Glover was usually in his study, the first room in the hall Fiona's bedroom shared. He would lock himself in there until lunch. No sound ever escaped the doorframe, nor light shown under it. Fiona wondered about him sometimes.
She could see the happiness Edith showed from having another female about the vicinity. She would fuss over her clothes, hair, and shoes constantly. The woman hand made all of the dresses in the wardrobe and had the latest hair fashions straight from London. Not that Fiona cared for many of them. She preferred to let it hang in a braid or loose over her shoulders.
On Wednesday, Mr. Conners interrupted lessons to summon Fiona into his study. As she slowly peeked her head in the door, she let a gasp escape her lips. On the walls were mounted a variety of exotic animal skulls- bears, saber toothed cats, dogs, birds, snakes, alligators and even a dinosaur skull. All things she had seen in biology books but never in real life. Along side these were terrific paintings and marble statues. The Mona Lisa stared her down while a copy of the Discus thrower stood posed on the opposite side of the room. The plush red carpet brushed the bottom of her heal as she entered the study completely. The furniture was black - a massive desk, at which her uncle sat beckoning for her to come forward, a lounge couch wrapped in a colorful Indian cloth, and a three-legged stand that had a fish aquarium set upon it.
\"Come in my dear, don't be shy. I need to have a word with you.\" He smiled gently as Fiona closed the French door behind her. She sat down daintily on the chair that had been provided.
\"Now, Fiona.\" Uncle Glover scratched the stubble on his cheek. \"Tell me - do you like it here?\"
She nodded with a wide smile.
\"I know Edith treats you well. She enjoys your company far more than you know. And I can tell, you look more of a healthy weight now. Are you lonely?\"
Fiona grinned wider, shyly looking down at her hands. Not wanting to disappoint the man, she shook her head no.
Uncle Glover laughed. It was a sad laugh. More of a chuckle really. \"Surely my dear, you could use more company? I've sent for someone - someone I believe you will be very happy to meet.\" He grinned at her weakly, rising to his feet.
She gave him an inquiring look. There was nobody else in the universe she would like to acquaint with. She was quite happy in her current little world. But still, she was eager to find out.
Uncle glover caught Fiona's look and wagged a finger at her. \"You'll just have to wait and see. Tomorrow at noon they will arrive.\"
Fiona took out Achilles, Glover's black lab, during the evening, when the sun was sinking into the horizon. She was still pondering the mystery guest. Who was she? Certainly nobody from the orphanage. Maybe a family friend from years ago? Or maybe... Fiona pushed a painful thought from her mind. They aimlessly trotted up the hill to the green house, passing through the doors.
Achilles became alert as soon as they entered. There was a shuffling of at least two pairs feet and a shatter.
There was a slight whisper and all went quiet. Achilles growled deeply, stepping further into the building. The girl followed cautiously, drawing the knife she always carried in her petticoat pocket.
A broken pot of strawberries on the stone floor; Boot prints tracked through the spilled soil; A flicker of movement in a shaded corner.
The dog tensed. He stalked over to the corner and started wagging his tail.
There was a pause.
\"Damn you Achilles.\" Hissed a male voice. Fiona held the knife and her chin high as two boys came out of hiding. They were probably in their late teens or early twenties. Both wore black leather clothing covered in an assortment of buckles, studs, and chains. On top of their heads sat bowler hats.
They looked at her and smirked. The taller and probably older one snickered. \"Weeell, if it isn't the princess herself. Might want to put that down sweetheart - wouldn't want you to hurt yourself.\"
The younger one chuckled. After she didn't move or speak, he pursed his lips. \"I guess it really is true. Cat got your tongue?\"
Fiona pointed to the door, her cheeks flushing in anger. They got the message. \"Sorry about the mess. You might not want to mention this to Glover...\"
She held the knife steadily as they paced around the shards of clay and towards The exit. With a swift movement, the older boy grabbed both her wrists and pulled her close. The knife clattered on the floor. \"Father will be pleased to see you.\"
\"Rory, don't you dare! Let her go!\" The other growled.
\"Are you really gonna' let her slip through our fingers like this, Robin?! Don't you want to get out of this hell hole?!
Achilles growled at the boys, baring his teeth.
Robin calmed himself, watching the dog. \"If you force her, she won't help us.\"
Rory seemed to understand whatever this meant. Fiona watched wide eyed as he released his grip. She backed away from him quickly, bumping into a planter box.
\"You've scared the living shit out of her. Good job.\"
They scowled at each other. Fiona guessed they were brothers. Just by looks, but also by actions.
A voice resounded through the yard, calling her name.
\"We'll meet again. Maybe next time it will be more pleasant.\" Robin stated simply. Whether as an apology or omen, she didn't know.
And with that farewell, Fiona was left alone.
A carriage pulled up into the gravel drive. It was a fancy one, surprisingly. It looked like it was from the richer districts of london. Fiona watched from her bedroom window as two well-dressed passengers climbed out. She almost screamed when she recognized one of them...
She flew out of her bedroom and hopped down the stairs in the most unladylike way. She didn't care though. All she wanted to see was her brother.
Uncle Glover leaned against the door frame. He was watching the both of them. Fiona stood in the foyer, eyes glistening with tears as the fourteen year old boy climbed the stairs. A pleasant older man was with him.
Brother and sister caught sight of each other.
It seemed like time stopped. There was nobody else besides the two of them. Memories flooded back into her head of all the times they had shared - whether good or bad.
Fiona flung her arms around Calvin and placed a kiss on his cheek. He looked almost the same as when she had seen him last: when he was seven and she ten. He had thinned out though, and he was much taller than her.
\"Oh, Fiona. I've missed you so much.\" He laughed into her hair.
She pulled away from him, scanning his face before laughing also. \"I've missed you too. It's been far too long Calvin.\" She glanced over at her uncle. He grinned Smugly. \"Thank you Uncle Glover.\"
He nodded. He didn't say how he had done it. Or when. He didn't say anything about her speaking for the first time since she was three. All he said was, \"You are very welcome my dear. You are MOST welcome.\"
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