"You remembered to text your cousin, right?"
"Yeah, yeah jeez Kristoff calm down. As if I would forget."
"You actually totally would. I wouldn't be surprised if you were doing it right now." Anna froze, a blush lighting up her cheeks. The apartment phone was pressed between her ear and shoulder, while her cell phone…
Okay. So maybe I did forget.
She really hated how well Kristoff knew her sometimes. Her lips curled down in a frown as she finished typing out the message she'd started writing, eyebrows drawn down in irritation. "Whatever, blondie. So what are you gonna do while I'm gone?" As Kristoff started going on about some new video game he'd just purchased Anna finished up her message and read back through it to make sure she hadn't been incoherent. That tended to happen sometimes, especially when she was angry about something. There had been times when Meg and even Kristoff had to call her, asking her to explain the garbled mess of what could have been an attempt at the English language that popped up in their inboxes.
Fortunately though, what she'd written seemed pretty easy to understand.
'Hey cuz, tell Uncle Aron I'm spending the weekend with a friend so if he was planning to check in then he shouldn't freak out when I'm not here. Love you, tell Eugene I said hi!'
Satisfied, she hit send. When she realized that Kristoff was still talking, she slipped her cell phone into her pocket and transferred the house phone to her hand so she could give her aching shoulder a break. "I'm sorry, what were you saying?"
She could hear Kristoff groan on the other end. "Of course you weren't paying attention. Well, whatever. So when's this lady coming to pick you up?"
Anna glanced at the clock on the cable box. "Um, well she said 3 and it's like 2:45 right now."
"Well I doubt a high class lady like that's gonna be even a minute late, so make sure you've got everything you need."
Anna rolled her eyes and plopped down onto the couch. "Yes, mom. Look Kristoff, I'll be fine. I've already got everything packed: clothes, toothbrush… I've got my phone charger and I'm even bringing my Nintendo so I can play Pokémon if I get bored."
"You still play Pokémon?"
"Oh please. As if you don't."
"Good point. Look Anna, I know I'm being a pain but I just want you to be careful. I don't want to get a call from Meg next week saying that you've up and vanished, because I already know that will not be a pleasant experience." Anna frowned at that and opened her mouth to question the boy, but he beat her to it and continued on. "We exchanged numbers because apparently it's become our job to look after you, and between the two of us it might just be possible to get you through high school. It could be worse; at least she appreciates my sarcasm."
Anna snorted. "You should be happy, between the two of you I feel like I should have a doctorate in sass-decoding." She looked at the clock again and shrieked when she saw it was 2:56. "Oh gosh, she's gonna be here soon! Bye Kristoff, tell Bulda and Gran Pabbie I said hi!"
"Will do! And remember, don't do anything stupid!"
"No promises!" She heard Kristoff chuckle and she grinned before hanging up. Slipping the phone into the back pocket of her skin-tight jeans (the ones with the holes were comfier but definitely not sophisticated enough for the company she'd be keeping in a few hours), she hurried across the living room and down the hallway to her bedroom. Anna glanced down at the wooden floor and her grin stretched wider. She took a little jump and slid the last few feet to her bedroom door. Her sock-covered feet carried her just a bit too far however and she yelped, blindly reaching for the door frame as she tried to save herself from tumbling over.
Thankfully she was able to catch hold and keep her balance, letting out a relieved exhale as she steadied herself. Anna headed into her room and sat down on her bed, pulling on the brown combat boots she'd spent twenty minutes cleaning before Kristoff had called. The last thing she wanted to do was track dirt through the Helland's home, and though most girls hated getting mud anywhere on their person Anna had no such issue. Many of her shoes were victims of her carelessness, but she'd picked out these boots, a pair of black wedges, and her favorite old converse to clean and bring with her this weekend.
She was a bit nervous that the wedges weren't going to match or be fancy enough for the dress Mrs. Helland had made for her, and she was especially nervous about the fact that she didn't even know what the dress was going to look like. It wasn't like she couldn't wear dress; she could very well rock a dress if she felt so inclined.
It was just rare that she felt the inclination.
And the dress Mrs. Helland had prepared for her was probably floor-length, and that would be a first for Anna. As had the actual dress fitting she'd been forced to endure on Monday after school, now that had been awkward. Mrs. Helland had sent her an address and so after school she'd headed to her car and driven straight there. When she'd arrived at the little dress shop she hadn't been too worried, but then a smiling Mrs. Helland had dragged her up to stand alone on a pedestal. An alarmingly short woman with thick glasses and black hair cut in a bob had appeared out of nowhere, eyeing her up and down, and as she'd circled around the flustered redhead like a drill sergeant inspecting his troops, poking and prodding at her with a rolled up newspaper of all things, Anna was convinced her entire body had turned pink from embarrassment.
Finally the tiny woman, Edna, if Anna remembered correctly, strutted back to Mrs. Helland's side. The older woman had a hand at her mouth, covering up the gentle laughter that had bubbled past her lips whenever Edna had struck Anna with the newspaper as punishment for moving. The two talked for a moment and then walked over to a desk that sat a respectable distance before the pedestal. Edna had then hopped up onto the stool and pulled a large pad of paper from within a drawer. She let it thump against the desk and flipped to a new page as she pulled a pen from the pocket of her fashionably-odd coat. High fashion would never fail to befuddle Anna.
She thought she'd been done but had been yelled at the moment she tried to step off the pedestal, Edna pointing the pen at her threateningly, beady eyes narrowed.
'No moving!' The tiny woman had yelled, staring at Anna for a moment more before all of a sudden the pen started to fly across the page. Anna watched in fascination, jaw dropping when Edna immediately ripped the page from the book, crumpled it up and threw it away. Catrine just kept her hands folded demurely before her, occasionally offering a quiet suggestion or pointing to something on a particular page. Edna would either wave her away or pause, considering Catrine's words, but each time it was only a moment before the pen started moving again.
Anna had strained to catch snippets of their muttered back-and-forth, but gave up sometime between the third or fourth piece of paper that Edna discarded. With a sigh she tried to entertain herself by looking at all of the dresses hanging on the racks and imaging what high-class lady would wear them, and where to.
After what felt like forever Anna found herself gazing at a ridiculously large, orange circus tent of a dress, and as she struggled to imagine a woman crazy enough to wear it anywhere in the public eye she felt a hand on her arm. With a surprised shriek she jumped away, tripping on the edge of the pedestal and falling flat on her rear.
Mrs. Helland had gasped, apologizing profusely. Edna on the other hand had just snorted and strutted straight to Anna's side. As Anna had been rubbing at her sore rear, the short woman reached out to firmly grasp her chin, twisting her head this way and that. Anna protested; face flushing when Edna leaned in close to analyze her eyes. 'Hm… for such an awkward young thing you are quite lovely to look at. I don't think I've seen eyes quite your color before, and your hair is a natural auburn. Wonderful colors to work with, not quite drastic enough to have trouble finding fabric to complement them. I've had models that would pay thousands for either. Such silly little stick figures, they are.' Finally the abrasive woman had pulled away and went back to her desk.
Mrs. Helland was immediately at Anna's side, offering a hand to help her up. Anna took it gratefully. Edna was clearly done with her, because when Catrine asked if the dress would be ready on time the designer just laughed and picked up her book, disappearing between two racks of dresses.
'Nothing to worry about darling, it will be fabulous.'
It had been the first time Anna had ever heard the word 'darling' used seriously in conversation. It had also been the first time she'd ever been swatted with a newspaper.
Anna couldn't help but smile fondly at the memory. Yep, this has just been a week of firsts for me.
Once Anna finished pulling on her boots she stood, eyes roaming around the room to make sure her electronics were all off and there was no food left anywhere; occasionally she ate meals in her room and decomposing leftovers were definitely not a thing she'd want to come home to on Sunday. Satisfied that her room would be fine alone for a couple of days (there may have been socks and clothes and other stuff on the floor but hey whatever), she grabbed her duffle bag and headed back out into the living room. As she walked she spun, eyes narrowed slightly as she checked things off in her head.
Potentially smelly slash expired stuff out of the fridge? Check.
Lights turned off? Check.
Thermostat on the setting it's supposed to be when no one's home so our bill's not super high? Uh, check? Maybe? Eh, it's only two days, not a big deal.
"Okay… I think that's everything!" Anna stood with her hands on her hips and her duffle bag slung over her shoulder, grinning proudly at the relatively-clean living room. Her phone began to buzz in her pocket and when she retrieved it she found that Mrs. Helland was calling her. She answered the call and pressed the phone to her ear. "Mrs. Helland? No, no don't worry you're perfectly on time! Yes, I'm ready! Not gonna lie but I'm actually surprised that I am, I'm usually always running late. There was this one time in the fall that I was late for a history exam and the teacher was about to close the classroom door so I just started sprinting and I kind of knocked her over. Now that was embarrassing, let me tell you!" She trailed off with a nervous chuckle, face falling as she pulled the phone away from her ear to smack a hand to her forehead.
She doesn't need your life story, weirdo. God, you seriously need to find a self-help seminar, like Ramblers Anonymous or something.
She could hear Mrs. Helland chuckling and her face warmed as she put the phone back to her ear. "Oh, yeah I actually ended up acing the test. Thanks! Oh, yeah no I'll be down in a sec, you don't have to come get me. You can wait in the lobby if you want, it's air-conditioned! Not that it's that hot out or anything, it's only March after all and… yeah, you know what I'm gonna go because I know I'm rambling and it's really an awful habit of mine and I'm so sorry for being awkward. So uh, bye!"
She hung up and let out a huge sigh. God, she was ridiculous sometimes.
Anna grabbed her keys off the counter and headed for the door, grabbing her favorite green jacket from the coat rack and locking her door behind her, but not before giving the apartment one last once-over.
In no time at all she was in the lobby, and Mrs. Helland was smiling at her. The older woman was dressed as professionally as ever, hair pulled up in an elegant bun, makeup flawless. The violet pencil skirt and tailored white top she wore made Anna feel rather frumpy, but Catrine actually reached out to finger the material of her jacket, curiosity glittering in her eyes.
"This jacket is lovely, Miss Christian. Is it nylon? It complements your hair color very well."
Anna blushed, a hand running through her bangs. "T-Thank you, my brother actually got it for me about a year ago. I honestly have no idea, I usually just kind of throw it in the wash with everything else and so far it's been fine."
Catrine chuckled and withdrew her hand. "Well, it suits you very well. Shall we go? My husband is on his way to pick Elsa up right now, they should be meeting us at the estate not long after we arrive. Please, this way?"
Anna could only blink dumbly as she followed after the older woman. Estate? She gave Jim a little wave when he held the door open for them, smiling when he returned it with a lopsided grin. When she stepped outside she blanched at the sight of the sleek, shining silver sports car parked outside her building. Holy oh my god that thing's probably worth more than me.
"You can put your bag in the trunk… are you sure that's all you're going to need?"
"Uh… yeah, I don't need a lot, just some clothes… my toothbrush…" Her eyes were transfixed on the car, and she jumped when Catrine clicked a button on her keys and the small trunk popped open. Anna fought the urge to run her hand along the car's perfect paint job as she moved around to gently set her bag in the surprisingly large space available. She hesitated before closing it, genuinely afraid that she might somehow break or scratch something. It wouldn't have been impossible for her. "So, wow Mrs. Helland I just have to say it… this car is beautiful. I didn't know cars could be beautiful but seriously, this is… it's so shiny and clean and... just, wow!"
Catrine smiled as she opened the driver's side door and settled in. Anna scrambled to the passenger side and plopped down into the leather (of course it was leather) seat, thankful that she'd taken the time to scrub her boots clean.
"It will take about 40 minutes to reach the estate. You may play music if you so wish, nothing too loud, of course. I'm afraid I don't have any music disks, so you'll have to explore the radio."
"Oh, well alright! I might break something, but I'll do my best not to." Catrine cocked a brow in her direction but sent her a reassuring smile. Anna smiled back nervously before reaching out to fiddle with the radio. She searched for a good station while Mrs. Helland pulled away from the curb and they began their journey. Figuring that Mrs. Helland wouldn't want to listen to pop or country music, as were Anna's usual go-to's, she settled for a station that seemed to be having some kind of piano marathon. Piano was a pretty instrument, so Anna didn't mind the change of pace.
And as she settled into her seat she saw the soft, approving smile on Catrine's face. She felt mighty pleased with herself.
The two sat in comfortable silence, letting the soft sounds of the piano fill the car as they left buildings and streetlights for forest and trees. Anna looked out the window, admiring the view, the gentle hues of green all blurring together with the sky and the clouds to complement them.
But as she stared out the window, a sudden curiosity built up within her. Here was Elsa's mother, right beside her, who knew what Elsa had been like before the institute. She'd known her when Elsa had been able to speak. Maybe she'd be able to tell her a little more about Elsa, maybe it would help her understand the other girl a little bit more… maybe give her a hint as to why Elsa was the way she was now. Anna's eyes dropped to her lap and she began to twiddle her thumbs, fingers threading through each other as she bit at her lip. She cast a quick, nervous glance at Mrs. Helland, who looked calm and serene.
Maybe I shouldn't bother her…
But Anna was never one to be afraid. If Mrs. Helland didn't care to answer her questions, then she didn't have to. Anna wouldn't know if she didn't try. So, she took a deep breath and steeled her courage.
Anna gulped, and she spoke the nervousness was clear. "I was wondering if, maybe you'd tell me a little bit more about Elsa? About how she was, you know, before the institute?" Catrine was silent, her brows having drawn together slightly. "I mean, y-you don't have to, I was just curious. I would totally understand if you didn't want to share, I wouldn't want to make you relive any bad memories…"
"It's alright, Miss Christian… Anna. Forgive me for the delay, that's just not a question I was expecting. I… I would be more than happy to tell you about Elsa's childhood." Anna's eyes widened and she fought to control the excited grin that threatened to stretch across her face.
Catrine breathed in deep through her nose, holding it for a moment as her eyes slid shut for a long moment. When they reopened they were serious, yet sad. "Elsa was a wonderful daughter. She never talked back, always polite… she rarely got into trouble and most of the house staff were absolutely infatuated with her. She was a bright child, always reading. There were nights when our butler, Kai, would come find me to tell me that Elsa had fallen asleep in one of the armchairs, pulled up to the fireplace, with a book splayed a cross her lap. I would always carry her to bed whenever this happened, tucking her in myself. If she woke I would sing her a lullaby." Catrine smiled at the memory, and Anna couldn't help the grin that tugged at her lips.
But when Mrs. Helland's eyes grew sad once again, Anna's brow furrowed. "But she was a lonely child. Very lonely. Our estate is rather isolated and our staff is growing old; there were never any other children for her to play with. Reading was all she could do. She was never very athletic and she didn't really enjoy being outside, especially when it was hot out. There were days she would just stand by the window and stare out at the grounds with the most forlorn of faces. I…" Catrine paused, her breath now shaky. Anna watched her as she seemed to struggle to get the next words out. "I found myself pregnant once again when Elsa was four, pregnant with a little girl. A little sister to care for and play with would have been the perfect thing to coax Elsa out of her shell, and she was so excited. I remember she would lay her head on my stomach and tell me how excited she was to meet her new little sister, her new best friend."
Anna saw that Catrine's eyes were growing misty and she instinctively reached out to lay a comforting hand on the woman's shoulder.
"All of us were so excited… Elsa, my husband and I. We had one of the spare rooms, the one next to Elsa's bedroom, turned into a nursery. She and my husband painted the walls, Elsa chose all of the colors herself, and I would sit in this little rocking chair and knit. It was the happiest we'd ever been." A single tear carved its way down Catrine's face and she shuddered, hands tightening on the wheel.
"I was six months along when I lost her."
Anna's eyes widened and she put a hand over her mouth.
"I don't remember the details, I'm sure you know how doctors are. Big, soft words that try to cushion the ugly truth they represent. All I remember was that it hurt so much… I never got to see her. They tell me I passed out during the procedure. The pain of losing her, it carved itself into my very soul, and the heart of my family. I was broken, my husband was in despair. And Elsa…" Catrine's knuckles were white now, and her shoulders had begun to shake. "Forgive me, Miss Christian, but we'll be pulling over. It… it would not be wise for me to continue driving as I am."
Anna could only nod, hand still over her mouth as her own eyes began to mist over. Mrs. Helland pulled over to the side of the road and parked the car. The older woman then slumped into her seat, arms folding across her stomach as her eyes clenched shut.
It took a few shuddering breaths before Catrine could continue. "It... hurt Elsa the worst. She'd been so excited, so excited to finally have someone, even if that would someone was just a baby. When I came home from the hospital Elsa ran straight to me and once she was sure I was alright she pressed her head to my stomach and asked how her little sister was." Catrine's knuckles were once again white as her fingers dug into the flesh of her arms, more tears escaping as her face screwed up torment. "I… I broke down right there in the foyer. I couldn't control myself… I crumpled to the ground and hid my face in my hands. Anton had to explain what had happened, for I was far too incoherent. I heard him though, I heard him say it. 'Your little sister won't be coming home, Elsa.' Oh God, the silence that followed! And then... and then I felt her little hands on my face, and when I looked up I felt like my heart had been ripped from my chest. Elsa, my dearest Elsa… only four years old and yet her eyes were so sad, so filled with quiet despair. But she looked me in the eye… four years old! She looked me in the eye and she said, 'It's alright, mother. It's not your fault. She's an angel now… isn't she?'"
Catrine shoulders shook violently when the first sob over took her, and Anna could feel the tears streaming down her own cheeks. She could just picture it, the innocent eyes of an innocent child, filled with so much sadness but so understanding, so unbelievably wise despite the pain of knowing what had been lost. She could just imagine little Elsa, her blonde hair in a carefully done up in a braid, maybe even a bun like her mother's, her face round with baby fat. She saw this little Elsa all alone in the library, losing herself in a book to forget. To ignore the sadness. The disappointment.
She saw tiny, frail little Elsa walking past what would have been her baby sister's room, her eyes trained on the floor because god forbid she look at that door and start crying for the best friend she'd never gotten to meet.
Or maybe she would go inside, maybe one day when she was feeling brave. Maybe she would have sat on the floor, maybe with a book she'd brought from the library. Maybe she would have pretended to read to her little sister, the little sister she'd waited so patiently for. The little sister that she never got to see.
Anna saw it all. And it broke her heart.
"But, Mrs. Helland… Elsa was four then, right? Why… what happened when she was eight? Why did she stop speaking?"
Catrine's eyes were still closed, but she shook her head from side to side. Tears still continued to flow down her cheeks, dripping from her chin onto her blouse. She took a great heaving breath, trying to calm herself. "We, we don't know. Elsa was never the same after I lost the baby, but she wasn't like she was now. From that day until her eighth year, she was quiet but never silent. Shy and reserved, but… not a statue. It wasn't until that winter, Elsa's eighth winter, that everything changed."
Mrs. Helland had regained some control; though her eyes were still wet the sobs had quieted and her chest no longer heaved with the pain of remembering. "It was January, New Year's Eve in fact. We were having a party, and Elsa should have been in bed but it had started to snow. Elsa always loved the snow… she'd spend hours playing in it, making snowmen and snow forts. They were always beautiful. We hadn't had much snow yet that year, so when she saw the snowflakes she got so excited that she snuck out to play. But… the snow began to fall heavier and heavier, and no one knew she was outside. The maids all thought she was sleeping. Anton and I decided to head to bed sometime around midnight, and I wanted to check on her. Of course, when we went into her room and saw that her bed was empty, we were immediately terrified."
Mrs. Helland opened her eyes, red and puffy from crying. "We stopped the party and informed the guests of what had happened; we tried to call the police but by that point the snow was so bad that no one could safely travel the roads. Everyone at the party offered their assistance and we organized search parties… but we found nothing. The snow was falling so fast and so heavy that even her footprints were gone. Eventually, we had to give up. Even though it killed us to do it, we called everyone back in and offered them shelter for the night. I spent the entire night crying into my husband's arms. I was genuinely terrified that I was about to lose another child."
Catrine paused and Anna waited with baited breath, her hands clenched tight in her lap. "Morning came, and finally the roads were cleared and the police arrived. But it wasn't necessary, because just as they began to start their own search Elsa came walking up the driveway. Her hat and gloves were missing, her face was red from the cold… but she wasn't shivering. When we saw her, we were ecstatic. It was a miracle. However… we knew right away that something was wrong. She didn't respond when we called to her, didn't look up when we started to run towards her, and barely reacted when we wrapped her up in our arms. But we were so happy she was okay that for the moment, it didn't matter. To this day, we don't know how she survived the night. We don't know where she went or what she did, but something saved her from dying of hypothermia. It saved her life… but it didn't save everything."
Anna's eye narrowed in confusion and she opened her mouth to speak but Catrine turned her head and their eyes locked. Anna's mouth fell shut.
"At first, we just chalked it up to the shock. The numbness, the distant way she was acting, we assumed it was something she'd get over. After a week of silence, we grew worried. After two weeks, we were scared. After a month of silence, a month of no eye contact, no acknowledgement from our daughter… we called for help. Dr. Weselton, one of the therapists who works at the institute-"
"Yeah, h-he's my brother's doctor too."
"Dr. Weselton came to the house and spent the day observing her. He believed that it was simply a case of selective mutism, that we could help her through it. He'd dealt with children suffering from it before and was confident that we'd be able to help her get over it. We tried bringing her to a group he recommended that brought children facing similar difficulties together for group help sessions… but after observing the way she acted around the other children he feared it was worse than he originally thought. These other children, even though they were silent and shy, there was still emotion clear in their faces. They may not have smiled, but they could look you in the eye. If you gave them a book or a snack, some would take it. But Elsa… Elsa just sat in her chair and didn't move. She stared at the floor, ignored everyone, and when we came to pick her up she would follow without a word. It was… terrifying."
Mrs. Helland sighed, deeply. From her very core.
"We had her institutionalized roughly two months after she came home that snowy morning, silent and chilled to the bone. And ever since then, I've been dreaming of talking with her, of looking into those blue eyes and seeing the little girl that I used to sing to at night. I miss my daughter, Miss Christian." Catrine turned to her then, and smiled gently at her. The older woman raised a hand and placed it against Anna's cheek, thumb brushing away the remnants of tears. "And thanks to you, I feel that all of my dreams may soon come true."
Anna blushed under the attention, but smiled warmly at the older woman, whom she now had a deep, awed respect for. "And thank you, Mrs. Helland. For telling me all of this. I promise that I'm going to do all I can to bring your daughter back to you."
Catrine chuckled. "I know that you will. You may call me Catrine, if you wish. 'Mrs Helland' sounds so formal."
Anna's jaw dropped in shock. "I, I-I could never! It would feel so, oh God, t-thanks for the offer but I would feel more comfortable if I, um… but I don't want to make you feel old or anything, because you're so not! Seriously! I totally understand where Elsa gets her looks from, you're really pretty! You don't look old at all! Oh God, that sounded awful, I'm so sorry, I told you that I ramble and-"
Anna's face flushed bright red when Catrine began to laugh, hand coming away from the young girl's face to stifle the sound. "Oh Miss Christian, I can see why my daughter is so taken with you. You are quite a joy to be around."
Taken with? What does that mean?
"Oh but speaking of Elsa, I think our detour has lasted long enough. My husband has probably arrived home by now, and Elsa is most likely waiting for you. Shall we then?"
Anna could only nod, face still warm as Catrine started the car back up. Soon, they were on their way again, and it wasn't long before Mrs. Helland was pulling off the road and onto a long, winding driveway. Anna's jaw dropped at the sight of the massive white mansion perched atop the hill they were slowly climbing. If she'd known anything about architecture, she would have been able to describe it better, but of course she didn't. What would she possibly know about architecture? All she could think was wow.
When they pulled up in front of the house Anna was ecstatic to see Elsa sitting on the steps that led up to the massive main doors, eyes trained on the ground. The redhead smiled so hard it hurt, and before the car had even stopped moving Anna was opening the door and jumping out of it, ignoring Mrs. Helland's protests.
That blonde head snapped up and the moment their eyes met Anna felt a fluttering in her stomach, a sharp tug at her heart. Elsa shot up, a smile of her own lighting up her beautiful face. Everything Mrs. Helland had told her in the car began to come back to her. Once again Anna felt the prick of tears, and she could tell her eyes were misting because Elsa immediately looked concerned, descending the steps with haste. Anna began to walk forward as well, strides getting longer and longer until she was running.
In no time at all Elsa was right there, and Anna threw herself into the taller girl's arms, burying her head against Elsa's shoulder. Elsa caught her, arms wrapping around the redhead's waist to hold her close, confused but happy to have Anna back in her arms. Elsa held the shaking girl tight for a moment, and when Anna pulled away her mouth pulled down into a frown. She wanted to wipe Anna's tears away, but before she could even think about moving Anna grabbed her face with both hands.
Turquoise eyes bored into blue, watery but fierce.
"You're beautiful." Elsa's eyes went wide, heat blooming in her cheeks. Anna's voice left no room for argument or reply; it was strong, it was serious, and it held so much emotion that Elsa could only stare at the girl she held in her arms in wonder. "You're beautiful and I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."
And as more tears began to fall Elsa could only cock her head, her eyes searching for a reason for this sudden outburst. But when Anna's shoulders began to shudder with a new wave of sobs, the blonde's face softened into a smile and she leaned forward, eyes closing as she pressed a kiss to the redhead's forehead. Elsa lingered for just a moment before she pulled Anna close again, guiding the shorter girl's head to the place where the blonde's neck met her shoulder.
And as Anna cried, Elsa held her, though she'd never truly understand that she was the one Anna was crying for.
I cried while writing this one, guys.
And I don't if all of you know, but I made some changes to the last chapter. I wasn't really happy with it; I'm much happier with the way it is now.
I... seriously can't even tell you how grateful I am to all of you. I cannot believe all of the praise and kindness I'm receiving, and I am really, truly honored. Words can't express the joy I feel when I read your reviews, or see the messages you take time to write me. I read them all, I even re-read them. You are all wonderful human beings, truly.