All her feelings tumbled around her. She drowned.
But she could not die, so she had to resurface again.
“Now that was silly of you.”
(Underneath his comment, the unspoken “are you all right?” that meant she was not. She never would be and he was the only one to ever truly understand that.)
Bound and determined, despite the dive
reaching within and twisting to survive.
Over and under, the cracks will form
kissing the surface as if a swarm.
Ecstasy from a long time ago
now fractured in memory from the Grievous Blow.
“Damn.” He stared at the shattered porcelain vase at his feet. “Damn.”
He said it twice, because saying it once wasn’t good enough. One for the fact it was broken. The other for how he would have to end up paying for it.
Considering his options, he decided he might as well go for what might salvage his situation. He settled himself on the floor, making sure to spread some of the glass on his suit. Then he closed his eyes and waited.
Eventually someone would show up. Eventually he could say that he didn’t remember what happened.
“What are you looking at?”
He considered ignoring Winter, but he didn’t. Golden didn’t turn his gaze from the ceiling though. “The roof is leaking.”
Winter didn’t say anything, but he could tell her begin to search as well for what he was talking about. When she did not see anything, only then did she speak. “What makes you say that?”
“Drop of water on my head.”
Almost the moment he had finished saying that, the next drop of water came down. It splashed a few footsteps in front of them. “Housefather is going to have a fit.”
“Yep. Place was always old though. Repurposed to be an orphanage.”
Winter nodded, shoulders drooping. “I’ll go tell him.”
He considered telling her to tell the Baroness instead, but that would make it sound like he expected her to be able to fix the problem. And he didn’t, he really didn’t.
Or did he?
Slowly but surely, Golden brought down his walls.
The housefather was a kind enough man, but with the Baroness always showing up, it was easy to forget about him. Khauhelo was the kind of man who could disappear into the background. At least, most of the time.
“Ah ah ah! When did this break?”
He fretted about the chair as though it could not be fixed or replaced. Winter felt bad for him when he got like that, but she didn’t know what to do about a chair either. “I think it has always been a little wobbly, housefather.”
Khauhelo clicked his tongue in his mouth. “Next thing that will happen is the roof will leak. Oh dear, dear, dear.”
There was no distracting him when this happened. At least, not unless something worse happened. Winter liked to prevent that. Khauhelo was a nice enough man. Only strict at the last moment. Maybe he should have been more so, especially as the children here recovered from their journeys and became a bit more rambunctious. Summer was one of those problems.
She left him with the chair for a bit longer, before returning to let him know the stars had come out. Enough of a reminder that they were all going to go to bed. That was, if they could find all of the problem children. Like Summer. Winter tried not to fret herself.
“Never you worry, Winter. She doesn’t go far. Why don’t we check for your sister just outside? Maybe she is playing with Vasuda?”
Nodding, Winter would follow Khauhelo outside.