*Lemon Brook. Age: Thirteen*

An alarm went off, interrupting her precious dreams. The sound was so insistent that, with a groan, she reached out to turn it off. The blue haired girl barely in her adolescent years, rolled over on the bed, getting comfortable and hoping to go back to her dream. Unfortunately, that couldn't be.

She heard footsteps getting noisier with each step along the hallway and sighed. Five, four, three, two…

The door of the big bedroom opened, and a woman around her twenties, wearing a maid outfit, black hair tied up in a bow and a sympathetic smile on her face came in.

"Wake up, Miss Marie." She went directly to open the balcony's curtains, letting the sunlight in. "Remember, your grandfather doesn't like you being late for your lessons of the day."

Marie pulled the blankets aside and got up, with that action, the maid immediately went to make the bed.

"I can do it myself." She said weakly, with the faintest British accent, trying to make the bed herself.

"Don't keep me from doing my job, Miss." Grinned the maid.

Marie sighed again, leaving her to go to her personal bathroom. "I already told you to only call me by my name, there's no need for formalities." She leaned in front of the sink, splashing her face to wash off the sleep, and then brushed her teeth.

"Well, if I do so, it will become a habit, and that will get me in trouble with your grandparents. You're supposed to be my superior."

The girl returned, drying her face with a towel. "Abby, you're not superior to me. I'm the youngest here; I'm not superior to anyone."

"Yet your grandfather doesn't believe so. And speaking of him; He's waiting for you to join him to breakfast in the patio in ten minutes." She walked to the door, but before exiting she turned back. "By the way," she smiled. "Happy birthday."

The bluenette grinned a little before the maid was gone. She went to her boudoir to sit in front of the mirror and started to brush her long and tangled hair, which reached the middle of her back. Honestly, she might prefer it short so it would be easier to keep it tamed and styled, but she knew her grandfather would never allow it; well-respected ladies must have their hair long.

When she finished, she made sure to style it to the side so that her bangs could cover her right eye. Then, she went to her closet to pick her outfit for the day. She frowned, staring at the pastel color dresses. Once again, this was because of her grandfather, this time backed up by her granny, saying that brighter and darker colors were meant for an older age. Pants were reserved only for cold days and shorts were only used as leisure, just like any kind of shirt. And this was when her grandfather wasn't home.

She picked a sleeveless violet one that went down to her knees, dressing quickly she put on some ballet flats and walked out from her room, going to the designated place for breakfast this morning. When she got there a trail with the most important meal of the day was waiting for her on the table, where her grandparents were also seated, her granny already eating while her grandfather was reading the morning paper.

"Good morning." She greeted.

Her granny immediately stood up to hug her. "Happy Birthday, sweetheart!" she exclaimed before taking her face in her hands. "I swear to God, you are turning every day into a beautiful young lady. I just want that the day of your coming out party to come; they will look at you twice every time they see you!"

"You know there are years to come until that day, Linda." Her grandfather spoke up, also standing up and patting her in the head. "Happy Birthday, dear." He said, gesturing to her to sit down. "I'm afraid you have to wait for your present until dinner tonight."

"It's alright, grandfather." She sat down and started to feast on her breakfast. "I just can't wait to spend all day long with my sisters."

"That also must have to wait until you finish with your lessons for the day."

Marie made a pout. "Even if it's my birthday?"

"You were the one who wanted your studies to have the same academic schedule as a normal school. By what I know, a day of class is not postponed by a mere birthday." He saw she went to protest. "And before you say anything," He interrupted. "No, you are not going to an academy with other students." The girl whined in response. "We already talked about this, Marie; our lineage is one step close to royalty, we can't mix with peasants, much less you being our only heir."

"Lee and May don't belong to nobility yet you don't keep me from being with them." She murmured while frowning.

"That is different; you share blood ties with them. Plus it was your mother who decided that you must grow up together and we agree as we owe her. If it wasn't for her bringing you to our lives, we would never have allowed it."

She was silent as she crunched down in her seat at the mention of the mother. She hadn't seen her in years and she hasn't visited either. Her sisters assure her that it was because she worked on many places and that kept most of her time, but Marie knew there was more behind that, and she had the feeling that it was because of her.

"Good posture, sweetie." Reminded her granny, softly.

Marie sat right on her seat and proceeded to finish her breakfast so the she could start her daily lessons. Many governesses taught her since very little age, so one could say she knew advanced subjects in her young age. That, and plus she had read every book she could find in the manor, whether it was because she had to or because she was bored. Although she didn't care much about her studies, neither learning certain languages like French – her grandfather thought it would go perfect with her name being French and all – but she still does it because it was what's expected from her.

When she finished pass 3 p.m. she grabbed a sketchbook alongside a pencil and eraser, also her MP3 player with its headphones that she managed to get her hands on thanks to her sisters by secretly giving them the amount of money to purchase it when they went to town, and with all that, she went to the backyard. She moved a little far from the manor but close enough to have a good look of the fountain. She sat under a three, making sure that there was nothing that could mess up her dress, beside the grass of course, before sitting down and placing her sketchbook against her knees. She turned on the MP3 player, putting on her headphones and started to draw the landscape before her. She was in the middle of it when a tiny but strong projectile made impact on her forehead, startling her. Her headphones fell of her ears by the abrupt movement and she took a hand to said place.

"Nice shot, May!" She heard, followed by giggling.

She looked up to see her older and younger sisters, Lee and May, both containing their laughter and approaching her. She sat right in her place, looking for the object that had been thrown at her, finding out that it had been a little pinecone.

"Seriously, you imbeciles?!" Every trace of etiquette and good manners were vanished when it was just her and her sisters. She got up; taking the chance to throw the pinecone right back at them, but her sisters dodged it rather easily.

"That pinecone was the size of a pebble! You're turning weak, Marie, you need more Kanker strength in ya!" her older sister laughed

Marie dusted off her dress and knelt down to pick up her things. May ran for hug. "Happy birthday, sis!" The blue haired girl smiled and hugged her back. Lee also joined the hug, ending it with a strong pat on her back, making her squeal in pain and draw back.

"One down, twelve to go." She said, hand still in the air.

Marie rolled her eyes and sighed out loud; her younger sister just snorted and proceeded to do as her older sister. That's what they did on every birthday since they started to play a little rough, ever since that fatal day.

After they finished to smack her in the back twelve times (though Marie was sure she counted more than that), the three of them took it upon themselves to spend the rest of the day together, getting all dolled up with makeup and ballroom dresses Marie had kept just for them. When they were ready, making sure the coast was clear; they built a slide out of blankets on the stairs that went to the attic, the farthest away from her grandparents' presence, and knowing full well that if a servant were to walk on them, they will not say anything. Grabbing an old mattress, they rode it down the stairs, and giving zero care in the world if their dresses got ruined.

That was the joke in this game; looking like people from nobility, but acting like savages. They even dared to put May in a box (after losing rock, paper, scissors), secure it so it won't open and pushed it down the stairs, the blonde haired girl in the box screaming all the way down when the box crashed against the stairs and walls. Laughter echoing through all that.

When dinner time came, the three sisters sat awkwardly with the Baron and Baroness in the big hall, this was because Marie's sisters needed to watch their table manners in front of them. There almost wasn't any room for conversation, other than occasional questions from the Baroness to the Kanker sisters like how everything in their lives was going and how was their mother. After dinner was over, the Baron rose up from his seat.

"Granddaughter of mine, I believe the time for you to receive your presents has come." He said, gesturing to one of the servants in the room, who walked out and returned with a painting canvas with a red bow on it. Another servant had a big box, which just by looking at the front one could guess it contained some painting materials. "We have noticed your interest in art so we decided to give you the rightful elements for it."

The blue haired girl rose from her seat, gaping, and walked to the men holding her presents. She touched the materials softly and smiled.

"I love it. Thank you so much." She turned her smiling face to her grandparents, bowing a little. "Could you take these to my room, please?" she asked the men, who nodded and walked out of the room.

"If you want, we can assign you a teacher-"

"That won't be necessary." She joined her hands in front of her, replying quickly. "I have in mind to evolve on my own way, by my own. Now that we have finished dinner, if you excuse me… Lee, May; let's go upstairs, we'll have dessert in my room."

Not needed to be told twice, her sisters rose up as well as fast as they could and followed the girl to the stairs. When entering her bedroom, Marie waited for both sisters to walk pass her before slamming the door behind them and leaning over it, sighing. May went directly to inspect the canvas placed in front the balcony.

"It looks really nice." She murmured. "Why you didn't want a teacher?"

The bluenette scoffed. "You've already seen what I can do. I don't need some guy telling me what's art and what's not. But I can't wait to use that baby." She grinned enthusiastically.

"Honestly. It's hard to compete against your granddad's presents." Said Lee, crossing her arms.

"What're you talking about?" snapped Marie. "I already told you, you don't need to get me anything, having you here is enough."

"Awww" drawled out May, making them both laugh.

"Leaving the mushy stuff aside; we do have a present for you, but it's not from us."

Marie gave her a strange look, watching as May picked up a backpack and Lee took out a notebook. She extended it to her.

"It's Mom's." She explained while the bluenette reached out to grab the notebook, turning the pages, seeing that they were all blank. "She said she wouldn't like to be locked up all day and she would go crazy if she couldn't express what she's feeling. Since we can't be here all the time, and talking to someone else isn't a good idea, she said that it'll be better to write down your thoughts in here. You can do whatever you want with it, paint it, put some photographs, you name it."

Marie reached the back cover, finding a photograph of the three of them along with their mother. It was old, and was taken when she turned five. She smiled sadly, holding back tear that threatened to escape her eyes. She swallowed the knot in her throat.

"This is so… thoughtful."

She stared at the photograph, pursing her lips.

"Want a hug?" asked May.

She couldn't answer with words, so she nodded. Both sisters embraced her, and the tears were finally rolling down her cheeks.

"I miss her." She mumbled, trying to soothe the sobs that wanted to escape her mouth.

"We know."

They stayed in the hug for a while before breaking it. Marie quickly cleaned her tears with one hand. "I just wish she would visit at least once."

"You know she has a lot of work." Said May, quickly. "She's barely in the trailer. More so now that we've moved to Peach Creek"

"Oh, that's right." Smiled the bluenette. "You still haven't told me about that."

"Hoho, you're gonna like this…" Said Lee.

At this point, the three changed into their pajamas.

"…And when we went for a walk around the neighborhood; we saw them."

"The most perfect men in the world." Sighed May with a dreamy look on her face while putting on some curlers.

Marie raised an eyebrow at that, turning to Lee.

"They were three boys." She clarified.

"Ah." Her sister nodded.

"And there was this hunk; so tall and handsome!"

"They were yelling out something," added Lee, painting her nails red. "Well, the short one was. But guess what? We'd found you the perfect boyfriend." She smirked.

Marie laughed out loud, falling back and almost crushing the laptop opened on one side of the bed. "You know I can't have one of those." She managed to say. "What were their names?"

"Well…"

"They were Eddy, Double D, and my Big Ed." Answered May, taking both hands to her face.

"Double D is the one for you." Said Lee.

"Double D?" She tilted her head. "That's a peculiar name."

"I think it's a nickname; we only saw them from far away, we didn't speak to them." Explained the redhead.

"Hmm…" Marie leaned back on the bed. "If you say the other two are called by a variant of the name "Ed", short for "Edward", the most logical think is that Double D has two D's on his name, and thus the nickname."

"That makes sense."

"Such a know-it-all like always, you're meant to be. You're gonna love this boy; he's pretty cute."

"Ha! I'll be the judge to that." She turned to the laptop, typing in it. "Next time you see them make sure to get a photo. In the meantime, you ready for a Ryan Gosling movie?"

"Oh oh! Put that Notebook one!" said May, taking a seat beside her on the bed.

Lee took a mental note on what her sister had said, sitting on her other side. Oh, she will get her a photo, even a full profile if she wanted. She couldn't care less about the rules in her sister's life; she deserved to live a normal teenage life. Whether she like it or not.