Annabelle Mellark — Chapter FOUR: An Early Snow.

Note from the author: Long ass chapter!!  I thought I was never going to post this chapter, wow, it took me forever to get here. I hope you guys like it, I will have to come back later and do some more editing to some words and such things, I just wanted to get it out there because I felt I would never publish and always have it as draft. -__-

I don’t even know what the hell I wrote anymore!! I wish I was an eloquent writer. 😦

“How life is strange and changeful, and the crystal is in the steel at the point of fracture, and the toad bears a jewel in its forehead, and the meaning of moments passes like the breeze that scarcely ruffles the leaf of the willow.”  All The King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren

Chapter Four: An Early Snow

1.1

***

1.2Lily felt her mouth go dry and her hands started sweating as she stepped into the living room. All eyes were fixed on her in expectation, but only a somber, apologetic smile flashed on her lips.

1.3“Missus Milka,” she said barely audible, “they left…they left…”

“Who did woman? Who left?” Asked Milka in a rush trying to hide her confusion. Lily pressed her hands together against her bosom, the note wrinkled between them.

1.7“He…with my Lidia” she was shaking now.

“You need to calm down and tell me now, what happened?”

1.6“I’m sorry Missus Milka, they left… he…” as she tried to elaborate an explanation, Lily could not come up with any other way to say it, “they left… my Lidia. He took her away.” She continue to repeat in hysterics.

1.8Milka yanked the paper from the Lily’s crushing fingers.

As she read the note her pale skin turned the color of fading stone. She started walking away from the group,

1.11Why her? Why her family? it was all that was going through her head. Where did she failed, and how?

She walked towards the balcony in an idle state; her body in the present, her mind…

1.13“What does it say Milka?” Patricia asked, but Milka was not listening, “who left? Aaron?”

1.14Lily still on the floor crying lifted her head up and screamed: “the young master and my Lidia! The young master, they eloped together!!”

Patricia stumbled against the piano stool, she held her forehead with trembling hands, “I cannot believe this! You could have knocked me down with a feather and…”

1.15“So Aaron really eloped?” Cried Camille in alarm, “Milka is this true?”

1.17Milka turned to face the women, and before she could mutter one single word she felt her knees go weak and her eyes go dark, and then there was nothing else after that.

1.18***

3 hours earlier

2.2Riverview was a tranquil, well established town to the west of Sunset Valley.

2.3Its founder –an honorable count from the 19th century–had merged two very small cities by building bridges across the river connecting them to the tiny island that now centered the entire town.

2.4To get to Riverview, one had to come by boat or –like most people did –through the eastern Mountains that connected the town to Sunset Valley. Annabelle and her mother opted for the latter. Of course, being from Sunset Valley they had an advantage, and a trip that would have taken others one to three days, it only took hours for them.

Annabelle had never been to Riverview or any other parts outside of her town for that matter. She watched with fascination while the car drove them past the mountains and into the town,

2.7Fall was so more vivid in the country side; the scenery struck her as coming out of a Seurat painting, with its shades of greens, and reds, and yellows; and the occasional blue in the southern style houses.

2.9“Isn’t it beautiful?” her mother was now saying pointing at the local police station; yes it was, agreed Annabelle quietly, she did not want to join her mother in casual conversation. “What’s wrong? Are you still feeling queasy?” she had felt queasy alright; getting out of her house that morning had been a mission, what with her parent’s argument ending in her father storming out of the house at 3 in the morning, and her mother locked up in her room crying herself to sleep, Annabelle could not relax and close her eyes the entire night. Add to that she had been growing extremely nervous since she had tried on the dress; it had been like stamping a paper. If she had hopes of suddenly waking up from a bad dream, looking at herself in the mirror with that dress had made it disappear. But now, the queasiness had been quickly replaced by revulsion. the question lingered in her head far longer than she wished: how can she act like last night never happened?

“Anna,” her mother was looking at her with a big grin on her lips, it was almost creepy to see her so cheerful, “I just want you to know that I’m very happy you finally decided to do this. I know how you feel about this whole marriage, but I also know that this is the best for you. Soon you will understand, and then you will appreciate it all…”

2.10“Oh look!!” she cut her off, “they l have a saloon type of place, how cool is that?” her mother smiled widely, but her eyes showed a different story. Annabelle was almost sorry she had acted so indifferent, but at the same time she was relieved no more talk would be done for what was left of the drive.

2.12

2.13As the car pulled into the driveway, everything inside Annabelle twisted into a sharp, fleeting pain that ran from her stomach to her throat, and whatever it was, was threatening to come out her mouth but she grabbed the handle on the car’s door and pressed her belly, and breathed profoundly, in and out, in and out; and all was normal again…almost.

2.14

2.15When she stepped out of the car –still pressing an arm to her belly –she turned on her heels and let her eyes take in all the beauty that was the Villa Hermosa.

2.16

2.18

2.19The house was beautiful, and Annabelle had to admit, anyone in their right minds would want to live in such a house… and marry a well off arrogant snob? Perhaps. However, she would never tell her mother that.

Camille, that was now next to her, was about to say something when the red doors opened and an elderly woman came rushing out with a big, dorky smile on her face, and behind her was a younger girl and a much older woman wearing an apron. They reminded Annabelle of little girls in Sunday school, running one behind the other, fighting over the possession of a toy that belonged to neither one.

2.20“Camille dear! Such a pleasure to have you both here.” The elderly looking woman was greeting her mother as if they were the best of friends and had not seen each other in years.

2.21“I take it the trip was pleasant? With all the threats of early snow I feared crossing the mountains would hinder your way to town; its bad omen…too many blizzards up in those paths.” she was talking without stopping once, not even to catch her breath, “well, let me see…

2.22.1“…this is Anna. Oh!” she gasped clapping her hands together and showing all her teeth. “Such a beauty. She looks just like cousin Joseph.”

“Grandma all the Mellarks look the same. Especially the ones from Sunset Valley.” They heard a voice say behind the elderly woman, whom now Annabelle was sure to be Patricia.

Patricia gave her granddaughter a threatening look and slapped her hands lightly, “such manners Clare. Come out from behind me and say hello to your cousins.”

2.24She made the introductions, “Camille, and Annabelle; your brother’s future wife.” Annabelle twitched at such comment, and Camille put her arm around her daughter’s shoulder pulling her closer to her.

2.25The girl took Annabelle’s hands in hers, “I like you already. We are going to be good friends.” The women smiled, and nodded in agreement. Annabelle followed not knowing what else to do.

“Come, come inside where is warmer.” Rushed to say Patricia who was already half way into the house, “Milka is taking care of dinner herself.” she shouted, and all the women followed.

2.27If the outside of the house was gorgeous, the inside was…overwhelmingly gorgeous.

2.28Besides the exquisite furnishing, ornamented chandeliers,  and excellent taste for art;

2.29

2.30some corners of the house looked like they had come right out of the early 20th century,

2.31while others seemed to be reaching out to the modern world from under all the lace and the patterns.

Annabelle’s eyes didn’t know where to look, one minute she was admiring the beautiful contrast of the reds and golds,

2.33and the next she was squinting from so much shine, she was afraid she would lose her sight.

2.34However, something about the house felt so homely and natural, it was hard not to like it.

2.35Patricia was motioning Annabelle to sit down, “you won’t grow anymore,” she added with a snort.

2.36“Oh yes! That’s right, Annabelle has never been here before.”

2.38“Yes that’s correct; neither have I. Very beautiful house.”

“Thank you cousin dear, it was Jonathan’s father who inherit this house back in the start of the 20th century. We try to keep it as much similar as to how it was back then, but some things have been changed; the furniture of course.” Camille and Annabelle could only listen; once Patricia started talking there was no way to cut in.

2.40

“It is now regarded as one of the best houses, not only of Riverview but the whole country, yes.” She giggled, “I love it so much. I could never part from this house. It is open to the public, you know? We have to let tourist come in and take a look at the architecture, of course we get rewarded for it.”

2.41“Of course.” Agreed Camille.

Screenshot-124Clare got up from her chair twisting her eyes at her grandmother. “Grandma once you start about this house there is no stopping you. I’m stealing Annabelle, ” she said extending her hands to the girl, “I’m taking her to see my room and then Peet.” Annabelle looked at her inquisitive, “my horse,” answered Clare. She kept fanning her hand impatiently in front of Anna, urging her to get up.

2.43“Don’t think of going anywhere young lady.” They all stared at the woman standing by the piano. Annabelle had never seen someone that looked so much like…her father. She had always heard all the Mellarks looked alike, and as Clare had said earlier, especially the ones of Sunset Valley. Marrying cousins it was hard not to. But this woman looked so much like her father, it was disconcerting.

The woman, Annabelle concluded to be Milka, Aaron and Clare’s mother. Based on what her nana had told her, Milka was the only female member of the house missing from the group of people there present, and she knew the lady with the apron was certainly not Milka. Not if she was, what was it nana called her? she thought in amusement; a fox.

Clare mumbled unrecognizable words, but by her looks,

2.44Annabelle assumed it wasn’t anything she would want to know exactly. “Don’t make that face young lady. Dinner will be served any minute now,” continued her mother, “as soon as your brother comes down. Oh that’s right, where is he?” she asked turning to the woman with the apron.

sdfdg“Oh but Heaven’s goodness and mercy,” cut in Patricia, “what have I been doing chatting away about something or other…this is Lily” she pointed at the unknown woman,

Screenshot-148“our housekeeper. She is such a dear.” Milka’s eyes set on her mother in-law  for a minute, then she forced a smile when she said, “mother, I was inquiring about Aaron.”

Lily quickly turned to Milka, “I will go get him Missus. Please excuse me.”

As she went up the stairs Milka took a seat on the remaining empty chair, next to Camille, and when she spoke again she did directly to her, as if they were the only two in the room.

2.45“please forgive me I did not go to receive you at the door. I was making sure the turkey didn’t burn,” and she laughed regarding everyone as she did so, and so everyone else laughed with her;

2.46“Oh, my cousin Riggo is not with you today?” she went on, “I was sure he was coming to the dinner.”

2.47Camille hurried to say, “Riggo had to attend to some matters yes, out of town. It was all very sudden. He asked to apologize for not being able to come.”

2.48“That’s all right dear; you tell him he is forgiven. As it is, we might as well start the dinner without Jonathan. It’s almost six, and he has yet to show up; any minute now. I reckon some very important business has taken his time.” Annabelle noticed the clock by the end table; it read 30 past 4…she reckon, it would take longer than any minute.

2.49She sat back on her chair, and listened while the ladies continued to chat; apparently it was imperative to understand the reason why the male members of the house weren’t showing their faces yet. And to an extended this also had Annabelle curious. She found it rather rude that her “future husband” had not even been there to greet her when she first came in. However her father…Annabelle once again recounted the event of the night before. The last time she saw her father, he was getting in his car at 3 in the morning, what sort of business could he have that required him to leave at such hours?

***

3.2Riggo stood in front of the iron gates thoughtfully. He was wondering whether to go inside or to ring the bell, surely she had the locks changed, but for a fleeting moment he had hopes that she hadn’t; that she would be still waiting for him, and this was pure egotism of him since he had long ago stopped wanting to come over. His purpose to see her now was infinite more different than it was twenty-three years ago.

3.3The gate opened slowly, a familiar voice came to life over the intercom: “Are you going to stand there all day Ri?”

As he stepped inside the house, he was pleased to see nothing had changed; it was still the same as it was back then.

3.6

3.7

3.8This was reassuring.

“Long time no see, Riggo Mellark.” Olivia said from behind him. “I know,” was all he answered.

3.9“Here let me take your coat.”

When all the formal greetings were made, Riggo started thinking going there had been a mistake.

She walked ahead of him and signaled him to follow her into the living room. He noticed it was messy with books on the floor, and pillows and throws by the fireplace, and on the coffee table was a cup of tea  served with carrot cake, just as back then.

3.11“I’m sorry the house is such a mess, I had a tertulia last night, some friends came over and…”

“I see the books, and cups…”

“Besides, ” pointed out Olivia with a dismissive wave of her hand, “the short noticed was enough just to get the tea and carrot cake ready.” She gestured at the mini screen that showed her gate outside.

Riggo scratched his head, lost for words, trying to make sense of what she had said…then he retorted a bit embarrassed,

3.13“I wasn’t outside that long.”

3.14“There are cameras all around the perimeter. I saw you turning the corner, I couldn’t believe it, but old habits die hard huh? So I prepared your favorite.”

Olivia sat in the sofa and padded the space next to her, “sit with me. It’s been a long time.”

“Yes it has.” Riggo agreed not directly looking at her, as if he had just spoken out of an innate sense of cordiality; he was more preoccupied with the cameras outside her house and whether or not he had made the right choice by coming.

Snapping out of it he made his way to the sofa, where she was, and sitting next to her examined her face;

3.16“God you look beautiful! All these years… as if nothing has changed for you.”

3.19“Well, thank you. You don’t look bad yourself.”

“I take care of myself,” he paused and then added hesitantly, “well, uh…Camille does.” Olivia eyed him teasingly,

3.20“She does.” Assured Riggo quickly, “she is…you know…

“So how-how-how is Danny?” He stammered changing the conversation. “I came here to talk about him; I think is best if we cut to the chase. Is he still thinking about acting? How is that going for him?”

Olivia gave him a pleasant smile, when she spoke, she did with that proud voice only mothers could conjure,

3.23“he is doing wonderful. And I don’t know, we don’t talk much these days, he is in and out of the house all the time. I can’t get a hold of him.

“But you know? He will make you proud, I’m sure Riggo, you just have to show him that you really care about him. I mean, the money… all that other stuff you send him is not enough…as you can see, we don’t need money.”

3.25“I know, I…I want to give him more-“

3.24“Riggo you DON’T know, that’s why I’m telling you. You have to do something bigger for Danny. Show him you care about him, not just with gifts and birthday calls, show him with something bigger.”

Riggo looked down at his shoes and tap the carpet softly.

3.28Olivia rubbed his shoulders reassuring him, telling him without words that everything was all right. It was all that he needed at that moment, like before; she knew exactly when to speak, and when to offer a warm gesture.

Indeed, a long time it’s been! He thought,

3.31and he held her gaze for a minute, and in her eyes he found kindness, and acceptance. But there was more than that, there was that feeling of comfort he had not felt in many years, it was something he had been missing and now he felt it with all his being and he knew that it was the one thing he needed at that moment; to be welcomed, to feel like he had finally come home.

3.33He moved his gaze from her eyes to the clock on the wall

3.34and when he met her eyes again, it was warm and soft, but measured; and in the while all he could think of was that night when he had left Olivia and gone back to her. He remembered how she looked exactly; her golden hair that fell gently on her fair shoulders glowed against the pale light of the moon. And when she faced him, the blue in her eyes was so dark he found himself lost in them, bewitched, and forever lost. She was beautiful, and so was that first time;

3.35And he had never felt his heart beat as hard as it did then. Not even now.

3.36

3.38Suddenly he pushed Olivia from him, “wait, this is wrong.”

3.40“You weren’t thinking that a few seconds ago.” He looked down at his hand still embracing her hips. He removed it immediately, she laughed.

3.41“You are right I wasn’t, I was thinking of … that night… anyway, this isn’t why I came.”

Olivia got up from the sofa and started making her way to the bar,

3.43“Relax Ri. Okay, I get you. You feel lonely, misunderstood; suffocated? Yeah you do seem like you are a bit stuffed. I thought Camille and you were happy, you left me for her, what happened that night? Did she find out about us?”

3.45“I’m sorry Olivia, I-I…” he took a deep breath before continuing, “I know I’m the lowest man possible for leaving you and Daniel, for even giving you the hope that it could all work when I knew from the beginning that it wouldn’t.” he stopped waiting for her to say something but she didn’t say anything not even turned to acknowledge him; she kept busy making her drink.

3.46“I know I deserve, if not your indifference, Daniel’s hatred. I’m sorry, there isn’t a thing I can do about it. I tried to fight it, I tried! I don’t want to love someone who doesn’t love me, but…I-“

Riggo stopped talking; he sensed he might have gone a bit overboard with his half-ass apology.

Olivia continued preparing her drink; and he watched her as she put two iced-cubes in the glass and filled it up with the thick liquor. “Want some?” she offered him as she took a sip, Riggo shook his head.

3.48Olivia shrugged her shoulders and gulped down the liquor like it was water, leaving her throat burning. That was the first one, the second she allowed herself to savor the distinct taste like anise of the rum.

Both continued to remain silent; the tea had gone stale in the coffee table.

3.50“So, what do you want?” Olivia said whipping her lips off with the back of her hand. She turned to face him now, but still kept her distance.

“Huh?”

She took another gulp of her rum and chewed on a cube of ice, the cold getting to her head; she realized it was time to wrap things up.

3.51“Darn this!

“After twenty-three years you come here to tell me you never loved me and that’s why you left? I know you have a conscience Ri, but I don’t think you’re this kind hearted. So spill it, what do you want with Daniel?”

3.53“No, you are right. I’m not kind.” He made a short pause before continuing, this was the right thing to do he thought, but still, he needed to be sure it was. “I came to talk about Daniel.”

3.54“You said that. What about him?”

“I want him to take over the hospital.”

3.55Her eyes opened wide the size of marbles; the rum spread all over the carpet.

***

4.2Camille spoke in haste and with firmness, “wait for me here Annabelle; do not move from this house you hear me? I will come back to get you. You understand me?”

4.3“Yes mom! God! I’m not-” she kissed Annabelle in the forehead and stepped inside the ambulance.

4.4“a kid anymore,” finished saying Annabelle as the ambulance rode off into the distance, turning towards the streets and off her view.

What was she supposed to do now? There was no one in the big house except for her. She turned to go back to the house and saw Lily standing behind her, her expression was more pleasant now, but the mascara was still all over her plump cheeks.

Annabelle remembered the woman crumbling to the floor, her face a dark puddle.

“Are you okay?” Lily seemed confused with her question.

4.5“Are you going to be alright Lily? You need me to get you something…” then as if she had been asking something completely different before, Lily exclaimed,

“Ah! Yes Miss Anna. I’m ‘kay now.”

“Are you sure?”

4.6.1“Yes. I ought to be now.” she answered as if it was an obvious thing, “I have to take care of you Miss Anna. Come, I’ll make you hot cocoa while we wait for the Master and my husband and son. They ought to be back any minute now, its almost six.”

“What is a minute to you folks? Because since I got here 2 hours ago, Patricia kept saying the same thing, and still they are not here.” Annabelle heard Lily giggle, and was glad to see the woman more relaxed.

“You’re too funny Miss Anna.” Pointed out Lily cleaning her muddy tears.

“I am?”

They went inside the house and Lily hurried her way to the kitchen, where Annabelle heard her grabbing cups and turning the stove on.

4.7.1She walked up to the piano, admiring the fine texture of the wood and elegance of its structure. She had wanted to learn to play the piano when little but she didn’t have the ear for music.

“Who plays?” she asked Lily without lifting her eyes from the pearl white keys.

“Master Aaron. Oh! He loves that thing, and the guitars he has up in his room…he collects that stuff.

4.9Annabelle touched the keys with delicacy, and wondered if it wouldn’t be rude of her to play a little. She didn’t get to learn, but she knew at least one song.

4.10“I tell ya, he can part from anyone in this world, but his precious music?” she shook her head, “nah, no one can eva make him.”

“Well, there is someone alright.” She said in annoyance; to which she immediately wished she hadn’t said anything. Why did she care if he had eloped with another girl or not? It was none of her concern.

4.11“What?” Lily seemed to busy with the chocolate milk to even have noticed Annabelle’s spiteful tone.

The girl cleared her throat, “Oh nothing…

4.14

4.15

4.16She finally took a seat in the piano stool and moved her fingers nervously over the keys,

4.17“You were saying, Lily?”

“Oh nothing Miss Anna, I just don’t know where he could be at this hour. I reckon he ought to be after the young master and my Lidia. That’s the only explanation.” Annabelle lifted her head in unexpected surprise; she thought she had heard the woman wrong,

4.18“oh, my poor Lidia, she will be hassled by Missus Milka now fo’ sure, going off with her son and all. Oh, crickets!” she cried shaking her head, pouring the still boiling chocolate into the cups.

4.19“What are you saying? Why would Aaron go looking for his brother?”

“Oh I don’t know Miss Anna. I’m hoping he is, is all.”

4.20“I’m confused.”

4.22“As I Miss Anna, cocoa ready.”

“No.” Persisted Annabelle, ” why would you say that of Aaron when earlier you came down with a note…” and then it downed on her, the way Lily was looking at her like she had been hit by a flying rock. There was also the older brother of Aaron; Joshua. She had understood it all wrong, “but Patricia said – you said young master… I thought-”

“You thought what?” she heard a masculine voice coming from the foyer.

4.23

4.24Annabelle lifted her eyes and met the boy’s deep, forceful stare. To her shame, she recognized him immediately; it was Aaron.

“You thought I had abandoned you for another woman?” he was now coming toward her; his eyes bright, mocking her; his mouth slightly opened as if ready to burst out in scandalous laughter,

“Ha! That’s a stupid thought,” he said instead brushing his hair back with his fingers.

4.27He was now closer to her, so close she could smell his scent; a mixture of burnt tires and sweaty leather.

4.28Annabelle noticed how much he had changed from his teen years; his eyes had taken a more serious expression, and there was even  something candid about them; as if he had one day realized he was not a prince everyone catered to, but just a man in charge of his own life. Still, the arrogant smirk that she had despised so much during those months in summer school remained.

He lowered his face to her level, and whispered, “that will never happen, dear cousin.”

4.29


~Chapter FIVE~

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7 thoughts on “Annabelle Mellark — Chapter FOUR: An Early Snow.

  1. Yaaay! So excited to see an update! ❤ Also your writing is very eloquent, so don't put yourself down!

    Everything about this chapter was great! I was hooked and intrigued right from the beginning. Loved all the gorgeous scenery during the '3 hours earlier' part, not to mention your descriptions of the history of certain parts of Riverview.

    'They reminded Annabelle of little girls in Sunday school, running one behind the other, fighting over the possession of a toy that belonged to neither one.' <– Such a brilliant and vivid description. I could picture it so well in my mind's eye!

    I freaking love that painting of the woman with roses for hair, omg! I feel inspired. ❤ The whole house is gorgeous, and for some reason I really like Clare. She seems so fun.

    Ooh, Riggo is a naughty boy with a secret past~!

    Gosh, Aaron is sooooo handsome! I can't wait to see what will happen next!

    Like

    • Aww thank you janee. Yes I know I’m hard on myself. Actually I read the chapter twice after posting it, and its not so bad, like I thought.
      It happens with my art as well, it seems I put effort into something and then I end up disliking it. Lol.

      The house will be up for download soon, I need to get all the CC I used, but I think it’s also fun to download it without the CC, and decorate at your own taste 🙂
      Either tomorrow or Friday.

      Thank you for the encouragement, 😀

      Like

  2. YOU ARE AN EXTREMELY ELOQUENT WRITER OMG
    Riggo and Olivia’s story seems pretty intense, I think I had staggered breathing when their conversation almost got taken to another level!

    When Aaron was on the motorbike I couldn’t help but get super excited! No matter how arrogant and prince like, I just love him, okay.

    Like

    • Yes Aaron should be just like that. Exciting! Hahahaha. Riggo can come off as a bit of a jerk, especially for cheating on his wife. But hopefully he can be forgiven when his reasons come to light. Not that there are reasons to cheat on someone, but certainly an upsetting situation may lead to a big mistake.
      Thank you again for all your comments. 😀

      Like

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