I didn't have much to pack: a few dresses, under garments, a few books, a couple of bonnets, my locket, soaps...... we all had to tear ourselves away from the house. I had cried so much this morning that I had no tears left, most of us were the same way. Mum, on the other hand, has been sobbing all along. I mean, Papa and her have pretty much built this house and made it a home together. Papa was her true love, she married him against her parents will and he stood as a loyal, Christan, caring husband and father.
My mind was running non-stop. I helped Sable lift the luggage into the carriage as Cheryl consoled mum within. At least Davin was so kind to get us a carriage to Auntie's house. No one spoke to him, he over saw everything we did as we made our way out. At last the luggage was packed tightly onto the carriage, tears stained our dresses and faces, and the sun was almost over head. We took one last look at our home, our safe place. I would never be able to run down the fence line, we wouldn't get to swim in the stream in the summers like we use to, we will never be able to use the swing Papa built for use under the huge oak tree. I shifted the gravel under my feet as Davin started to give us an awkward goodbye. Mum didn't even look out of the carriage. Meghan was at the first of the line, she gave him a brief hug, and hurried into the carriage, as well as Onna and Sable. It was my turn but all I could do was stare at the ground.
I really felt Papa's presence... his protection here. Papa! I looked up into Davin's eyes with surprise and bolted for the house. "Mattie!" At this Mum had stuck her head out of the door... "get back." I heard someone hot on my trail, I figured it was Davin, but I didn't care. I flung the door open, I knew where I was headed, I couldn't stop. I ran down the hall, like so many times before, turned down another corridor, and halted at the door on the left. Papa's study. The dark wood starred me in the face. I reached for the brass finished knob and turned it slowly. No one has really come into his study since he passed... he use to read us passages from the Bible... right by the fireplace. I shut the door behind me and went straight over to his desk and opened his middle drawer. There it is, Papa's journal, Bible and pocket watch. I grabbed all three items, even though I wanted everything in this room. I stuffed them into my apron pockets. The door squeaked fiercely open.
Davin and Cheryl, the eldest siblings, were breathing heavily in the door frame. "What is all this fuss about, Mattie, we need to leave." Cheryl didn't give Davin the chance to say anything... she knew what I was up to.. but didn't want Davin to realize. "We're going to be late." She walked slowly over to me to take my hand, she took a deep breath.. it smelled of damp and cedar wood and Papa's cologne. A wet, warm, soggy tear escaped and ran down her check. She put her arms around me and gave me a big hug. She let go, put both hands on my shoulders, and smiled down at me. "Come on." I returned the smile.. I didn't even look up at Davin.. I was very easy to read. I buried my face into her arm as I walked past and down the hallway. As we got outside I ran to the carriage and flew into it. Cheryl got in behind me, waved, closed the door, and sat down. It was a bit squished.. but it didn't matter. We were all we have left, all of our eyes were on Mum and she knew this... "Where ever we are, that is where home is." The ride to London was the longest and quietest ride I have ever had. I grabbed Papa's journal and Bible out of my apron and placed them into Mum's lap. She looked up in surprise, I knew Davin didn't let her take any of his things... she smiled warmly but sobbed the rest of the trip.
I held the pocket watch in my apron pocket, slowly getting sweaty in my hand. I laid my head on Onna's shoulder and quickly fell asleep...........
My body flew a bit forward as the horse stopped right in it's tracks. Mum, Cheryl, Meg, Sable were in the middle of a conversation while Onna and I were forced out of our sleep and into the person across from us. Onna and I just laughed. The day had been so stressful, depressing, hopeless... what else could go wrong? "Everyone alright back there?" The coachmen called back to us. "We're just fine." Mum said as she made a face to us.. we hushed our giggles. "We have made it to London. It will take no time to get to your destination." We stripped the windows of the curtains and competed for the sight. It was beautiful and busy. Auntie didn't live quite into the city, she and her husband owned land, but you could still see the city from here. Big Ben was lovely, just as you see in paintings. And there it was.
A large white house... from the road it looked smaller, but I knew it was large. There was a fountain in front of it, followed by a line of trees, and a big garden. Our Uncle was in politics, the only reason he probably would have agreed to letting us stay is that our Papa was a very well known man, within our small community. He was an excellent architect but could almost fix anything. Plus if word got out that he didn't help family, he might be looked down upon. Auntie married into a wealthy family and not much for love.. I asked her once and she told me you learn to love someone. It makes me sad...
The carriage slowly approached this white castle and rounded the drive way. The front was covered in roses.. the sun was just beginning to set, the sky was filled with reds, oranges, and purples. It was breathtaking. Maybe moving wasn't such a bad idea at all... a new start can be good, right? Auntie flew out of the huge black doors and ran down to greet her younger sister. The two of them embraced each other, as the rest of us grabbed the luggage. Mum and Auntie started inside the house, followed by a train of us with luggage... I was the last one, I grabbed someone's bag, and thanked the coachmen. "Good luck." He leaned closer, "I'm sorry what that boy did. But cheer up! London is full of surprises." He smiled and clicked at the horses to go and like that they were gone. I watched the stagecoach disappear into a cloud of dust. I took a deep breath as I tried to take everything in. Meghan came prancing out of the house and down the alabaster steps. "Mattie it's gorgeous." Her eyes glittered against the fading sky. She slipped her arm around mine as I we gasped at everything around us. We seemed to gravitate to the fountain.. it was big and had a naked woman at the top, Grecian, who held a pot which the water flowed out of. It had four tiers, the last one being the biggest. I put my hand into the mushroom formed by the water, it was freezing. We giggled quietly. I picked the bag off of the gravel and continued to the door.
"Mattie, what's that!" Meghan was staring and pointing towards the bushes that formed a wall.. it.. it was.. it was a boy? No... a man! We squinted our eyes, he was studying our every move... In that moment the three of us froze.. I couldn't make out any features.. just dark hair, a light colored shirt, and light colored pants. Meg and I took a step forward and just like that he bounced back into the bush, but before he gave us a quick smirk. Our mouths were slightly open... what just happened? Sable rushed to the steps... "What are you two doing?" She saw our expressions, not to mention we were both blushing.. plus we were always getting into trouble, Meg and I. "Nothing." We both quickly muttered together and slightly under our breath.
We hurried up the glistening steps, I closed my eyes and squeezed Meg's arm as we walked through the huge black doors and into our new lives. We made it.
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