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Chapter 2 : The Fury Within
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Chapter image by the very talented norbert1175 ~ thank you!
Chapter 2 - The Fury Within
Nyah nervously walked to the large study on the main level of the Stewart Manor. The white marble floors were impeccably kept by the staff. Large pots of green ferns were tucked into the corners and there were famous paintings on the walls of the incredibly wide hall leading to the study.
She marched boldly to the double-doors of the study, and glanced at the full-length mirror that Father insisted be placed just outside the door. He said that first impressions are vital and a mirror would show you what you need to fix before making an entrance. Nyah looked at herself for a moment. She had chosen to wear her most uncomfortable brown trousers (which she was sure meant that Mother had chosen them for her) and a simple, white blouse with a small stain on the front from lunch. Her hair was down, but combed … besides, Father never said anything bad about her hair.
Turning back to face the door, she knocked twice.
“Come in,” answered Father.
Nyah opened the door cautiously, and stepped inside. She took in the enormous oval room. Mother had decorated in golds, blacks, and whites. Nothing in the room was ever permitted to be out of place; what would his associates think? There were statues, filing cabinets, and something called a bar, but Nyah knew all of that was off limits. There were also photos scattered here and there; happy faces looked back at her as she stared at one particular picture she had never noticed before. It must have been the twins’ birthday party as they were all done up in hats and special clothes. They didn’t look very old, maybe six or seven. Everyone was smiling and Mother looked especially beautiful; she was laughing and seemed really, really happy.
Nyah could barely see Father for the large, brown, leather chairs in front of the desk. She had to lean over to one side to see him properly, and she knew not to be so rude as to take a seat without Father offering it first. He was sitting at his huge cherry desk with his head buried in papers; his eyes scowled in concentration.
Those must be very important papers, thought Nyah. Finally, a small shuffle of her feet brought his attention to her.
“Ah, Nyah! Come in and sit down,” he said with a smile.
“Are you busy, Father?” she asked, taking a seat.
With a small twinkle in his eye, he said, “I could use a bit of a distraction. So, what did you have on your mind?” He took off his glasses, and leaned in, looking at the small girl sitting in the chair and laughed, “The last time you visited my office, if I remember correctly, I believe you asked if you could have a pet dragon … to which I said no.”
Nyah fidgeted in the tall, leather chair … her feet swinging under her.
“You see, Father, there is something I’d like to do today, but I need your permission.” Just say it quickly, Nyah, and get it out, she told herself. “My friend, Emma … well, her parents are giving her a birthday party, and I would like to go … um … please,” she blurted out.
Father’s gaze never left Nyah’s face. He was staring a hole straight through her; it wasn’t anger, or indifference … it was like he was really looking at her … almost down to her soul. He took off his glasses and sat back in his chair. Nyah felt her shoulders sink a little. She knew he was going to say no … she just knew it.
But instead, he said, “Tell me about this girl and her parents. What does her father do?”
Nyah beamed … he was listening … it was working. “Well, her father’s name is William Masterson and he works …” SLAM!
“Pricilla! What are you doing bothering your father while he is trying to work? You know this office is off limits, now go!”
Mother … why did Mother have to choose this moment to come in? She hates this office …
“Out - go on. Mrs. Cleary is in the garden. You may go and help her with … well … whatever it is she does out there,” Mother snapped.
“But I was telling Father about …” Nyah started.
“Nyah was telling me about her friend …” Father said, glancing in Nyah's direction.
“Emma,” Nyah added softly.
“Ah yes, Emma,” he continued, “and how she is having a birthday party and would like our Nyah to join them.”
Mother’s face turned three shades of red and finally landed on a rather nasty-appearing scarlet color that did nothing for her. She looked at Father and said, “She may not attend any parties, Robert, you know that. What will people think when she starts acting up or worse, has one of her ‘spells’? Think of our reputations, the gossip … your job!”
Well, that did it. Father sat up straighter in his chair and the smile faded from his face.
“I suppose your mother is right, Nyah. I wasn’t thinking of it … in that light,” he said, glancing at his wife.
“But Father, I’ve been perfect all week. Not one bad thing has happened. I’ve even taken my medicine without anyone having to remind me.” Nyah could feel the anger rising as she pleaded with her Father, “Please, just this once. I promise I’ll be extra, extra careful and …”
But she was cut off by Mother’s awful ear-splitting laugh … “Careful? Is that what you call knocking over the vase of roses in the front room, or tripping Cook as the soup was served? Or how about spilling coffee all over my new suit this morning … was that careful?”
“Catherine, please, she may be a little clumsy, but that’s not unusual. Anna and Alexander went through their clumsy phase at about her age, didn’t they?” Father replied.
Nyah looked at her father with as much love and thanks as she could without Mother seeing her. He passed a quick wink her way before turning back to Mother.
Her face was set and rigid, but her right foot was tap, tap, tapping on the polished marble. “She is not going and that’s final. Anna and Alexander were raised with proper etiquette from birth and have never been a bother to anyone. Pricilla was a lost cause from the moment she was dropped off …” Mother’s hand flew to her mouth, but quickly gathered herself and clasped her hands in front of her with her mouth set rigid.
“What do you mean ‘dropped off’?” Nyah asked, the tingling sensation spreading up her legs and through her body. She looked from Mother to Father. “What is she talking about ‘dropped off’?”
Robert looked at his daughter as pain replaced the playfulness. Nyah’s stomach was doing something weird … it was like butterflies … only they were huge and as anxious as Nyah.
“Would someone tell me?” Nyah asked once again.
“Catherine, she’s ten years old now … she should know.”
Mother stood stoic and refused to look at Nyah or even Father.
“Nyah,” Father began, laying his hands on the desk and looking at the young girl…
“No! You mustn’t!” Mother screamed.
“I want to know!” Nyah added, a little louder than she meant to.
“You will not raise your voice to me. You see … you see what she means by ‘perfect’ don’t you?” Mother exclaimed to Father. “Besides, nothing can be mentioned about ‘that’,” Mother said quietly, “until her birthday. Not before. We aren’t allowed.”
Nyah looked between Mother and Father, feeling quite confused and angry.
“Tell me what is going on!” Nyah yelled, but this time she didn’t care how loud she was.
“Nyah, calm down.”
Nyah heard Father, but she wasn’t listening. She was standing now, staring at Mother, insisting on answers.
“What does any of this have to do with my birthday … it’s not for another two weeks!” Nyah insisted.
Mother answered with silence, as she studied her nails in an attempt to ignore the young girl’s demands.
“Tell me NOW!” Nyah exploded and stomped her foot. In an instant, the papers on Father’s desk went flying … not just up in the air and down to the floor … no, they were flying, literally, in circles around Nyah’s head, spinning faster and faster. This was it … there was no stopping it and she knew it. Rarely, had she allowed herself to go this far, but it felt good … too good. Nyah’s hair began flying in all directions, whipped by the wind that the papers were creating. Her eyes set coldly on her mother …
“You will not know about this or anything else until I say so,” her mother screamed over the sound of the papers, “and you are not permitted to leave this house … in fact, you are grounded to your room for the entire weekend. Your meals will be brought to you … now go!” Mother yelled, pointing to the door.
“Fine!” Nyah cried as she left the room, the papers in full pursuit. They trailed off, hitting the walls and the floor as Nyah ran to her room passing by the kitchen.
Mrs. Cleary had just come in from the garden with her arms full of vegetables. “Nyah, dear, what’s the matter?” she called as Nyah ran crying by her.
The vase near the stairs exploded as the young girl ran past. The flames in the fire, feeling the tension, sprang to full height, threatening to burst out of their confinement.
Mrs. Cleary set the vegetables in the sink with a heavy sigh, knowing the little girl was hurting, and wishing she knew how to help.
Just then, Anna walked in from the stables. Seeing the mess, she knew it was Nyah and worried about what had set her sister into such a fit. Anna immediately began helping by gathering Father’s papers as Mrs. Cleary had already set about sweeping up the vase.
“Anna, darling” Mother called to her, suddenly appearing in the kitchen, “did you enjoy your ride today?”
“Yes, the ride was lovely, except Alexander refused to jump; he wanted to do the barrels instead.” Anna replied. “Mother, where’s Nyah?” Anna saw her mother turn and watch Mrs. Cleary sweeping, as though nothing abnormal was going on. “Mother?”
“She’s in her room, where she will stay,” her mother quietly hissed, leaving the room.
Anna and Mrs. Cleary exchanged concerned looks. “I’ll take those dear,” as she reached for the papers, “you go tend to your sister.” Anna silently thanked Mrs. Cleary, and as quickly and quietly as she could, Anna made her way to Nyah’s room.
Nyah had stomped up the three flights of stairs to the attic and slammed the door. She threw herself on the bed and burst into tears. Moments later, a soft knock and slow creak of Nyah’s door quietly announced Anna’s arrival.
Nyah loved her big sister, as she alone was able to calm the monster within Nyah and set things right.
She felt the weight of Anna’s small frame sit gingerly on the bed and place her warm, soothing hands on Nyah’s back. Anna never asked her to stop crying … she didn’t even ask for an explanation … she simply was there, for Nyah. Why couldn’t Mother be more like Anna? Nyah thought.
After gathering herself, Nyah sat up on the bed next to Anna. With puffy, red eyes and hurt and frustration in her voice, she cried to Anna, “Why does she hate me so much? I did everything right this week.”
The tears started flowing again … “I did my schoolwork, I didn’t turn Alexander into a toad - even though he deserved it, I did my chores, I helped in the yard, I kept my elbows off the table at dinner … I even pulled my hair up in a bun!”
As Nyah talked, she got louder and louder … and with each word, the bed shook and the window rattled. Years of dust sprang up from between the floorboards. Anna looked from the door and window to Nyah as she sat with her hands clenched and her face was scowled in frustration.
“Nyah,” Anna yelled, “stop!”
Nyah opened her eyes and looked at her sister. Anna was visibly shaken and afraid.
“Anna, I’m sorry .. I .. I didn’t mean to … Anna, please.” Anna had gotten up and was standing at the door.
“I can’t talk to you when you go off like that ..” Anna announced as she turned and looked at her sister, “Promise you’ll stop.”
“I promise,” said Nyah.
Anna came and sat on the bed again and the girls leaned on each other. When Anna knew that Nyah was well and calm, she asked, “What did happen with Mother and Father?”
Nyah sat up and looked at her hands. She was still angry, but now very embarrassed at how she had behaved. “Well,” Nyah began, “you see, I have this friend at school named Emma. Her eleventh birthday is coming up and she’s asked me to the party.”
“That’s wonderful!” said Anna.
“Not so wonderful,” Nyah continued, “Mother and Father have never let me go to parties and especially overnight parties. I know it has a lot to do with my medications ..”
“Or technically what happens when you don’t take your medication,” Anna interjected.
Laughing, Nyah continued. “Yes, exactly. So I thought that if I was good … really, really, fantastically good, they’d let me go this one time.”
“So that’s what all the properness and lovely attitude this week was about … I see,” grinned Anna. “I thought they had given you too much medication!”
The girls giggled, and then Nyah’s face went into a frown … “The party is tonight, you see, so I went to Father first, in his study. I thought if he said ‘yes’ then Mother would have to say ‘yes’ as well.”
Nyah took a deep, calming breath, as she thought back to what had happened earlier that day … Anna sat listening, intently.
Once Nyah was finished telling Anna about her meeting with Father in the office, the girls sat in silence on the bed. Nyah was exhausted from crying and although talking to Anna helped, it made her even more tired. Dusk was approaching, which meant it was nearly dinnertime.
“It’s just me, dearies.” The cheery voice of Mrs. Cleary rang through the door after a small knock.
Anna stood and opened the door, allowing her entrance into the already cramped space. “I thought you two might want a snack,” the kind housekeeper said, setting down a tray of tiny sandwiches, a couple of apples, and bottled water; all of Nyah’s favorite things.
“Nyah, dear …” Mrs. Cleary whispered to Nyah, “I’m here if you need me.” She patted Nyah’s cheek, and turned to leave.
Nyah stood and spoke to her, “Mrs. Cleary … thank you … for everything.”
Sniffing in her tissue, Mrs. Cleary took Nyah into her arms and hugged her. Nyah felt really safe … and, for the first time since she could remember, she felt loved.
Author's Notes: This is a newly-revised version of this chapter... If you haven't left a review before, please consider telling me what you think. If you read the old version and have suggestions about the new one - please pm me! I'd love to hear from you!
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