Thank you SO much to those that have reviewed the first chapter-it means A LOT to me! =D
Chapter 2 begins now! I really hope you guys will like it!
Warm Home on a Stormy Night
While the blueberry pancake batter sizzles on the black frying pan sitting atop of the stove, Cremia studies the texture of her hands.
According to her father, Cremia was given her name for her soft pale skin that her mother adored.
Cremia smiles, as she imagines the day her name was declared.
An hour after enduring childbirth, her mother lays in bed, holding her healthy baby girl against her chest.
Her mother is a lovely middle-aged woman, with a cordial and friendly countenance and long chestnut brown hair that is perhaps a bit frazzled from the earlier procedure. She beams down at her newborn child, and exclaims: "Why! Such lovely skin she has!" She gently caresses the baby's hands, which were pale and seemed to glow with a smooth illuminant sheen. "Never before have I seen a child with such soft and beautiful skin!" She looks up at her husband standing nearby and grins giddily. "I simply MUST give her a name for it!"
Her husband chuckles, totally entranced by her childlike excitement.
The new mother puts her finger against her chin and begins to think pensively out loud. "Hmm…Butter?! HA! Goodness no! Umm…Buttercup?!...No…Cute, but not enough…Um…Pearl?!" Her citing of random names continues for a few minutes, until… "No…Erm…Creamy?...Creamia?! CREAMIA! THAT'S IT! CREAMIA!" She shrieks in triumph.
The medical people within the room glance at each other, no doubt wondering if the early procedure and the doses of medication made her a bit loony.
Cremia's father; however, is totally oblivious to their suspicions, as he chuckles in delight of his wife, completely willing to agree to whatever she desired.
As for Cremia's mother, she felt completely overjoyed and accomplished; absolutely nothing could ruin her happiness, not even the doctor when he rudely suggested that they should "perhaps leave out the first 'a' and spell it C-R-E-M-I-A." Cremia's mother willingly complied to the suggestion, eager to return home with her dear husband and her new baby.
Cremia smiles to herself. She remembers that as she grew, her father would always gently clasp her small pale and smooth hands, kiss them softly, and tell her: "The most loveliest hands in all of Termina. I could hold them all day."
She looks down at her hands now. They have long lost their former delicate and soft features, with their red and slightly calloused surfaces derived from years of stress and hard work.
Cremia sighs upon the sight of them. 'Who would want to hold them now?' She thinks gloomily.
"SIS!" Romani suddenly screams from behind her. "The pancakes!"
Cremia jumps, and looks up at the small inferno beginning to accumulate beneath the flapjack.
"OH FUCK!" She cries in surprise, snatching a nearby spatula. She quickly scoops up the burned pancake and flips it onto its other side. It immediately emits a hissing sound, as it begins to cool down.
"Phew!" Cremia sighs in relief. She puts down the spatula and looks over at Romani. "That was a close one, wasn't it Romani? Thanks for warning me!"
Romani does not reply. Instead, she gapes at Cremia, her blue eyes widened in immense shock.
"Don't worry," Cremia chuckles. "You won't get this one. I'll give it to Scottie."
Romani's look of surprise does not falter.
"What?" Cremia asks, growing concerned. Suddenly, she realizes it. She said THE WORD. The horrible F Word. IN FRONT OF ROMANI!
"Oh god," she gasps. "R-Ro-Romani. I am so sorry. That is a very very bad word. I should not have said it. Please forgive me. It is a terrible word. Never ever say it. Just forget that I ever did, ok? Please?"
Slowly, Romani closes her mouth and nods, her eyes still looking startled.
An awkward moment of silence ensues, until the pancake begins to sizzle again. This time, Cremia succeeds in rescuing it before severe damage, and drops the pancake onto a plate.
She sighs upon the sight of it, with the one side coal black and the other golden brown.
"Where is Scottie?" Romani asks, eyeing the scorched pancake.
"I let him outside so he could relieve himself," Cremia tells her. She smiles weakly at her younger sister. "But he's probably done by now. Would you like to let him in and give him this?"
Romani beams and giggles excitedly. "Sure!"
"Okay!" Cremia grins back at her. "We'll have to wait until this cools off a bit before we give it to him though. After all, we don't want him to burn his tongue! But you can still let him in now. He'll just have to wait for a bit."
"Alright!" Romani squeaks, hopping off of her chair. Smiling widely again, she proceeds towards the doorway.
Cremia laughs to herself, relieved that the earlier incident has been forgotten. She pours batter onto the frying pan to begin making another pancake.
'I can't believe that I said that…'She thought to herself in astonishment. 'Never again! I can never EVER say that in front of her again!' Upon this declaration she looks over at Romani. By now Romani has opened the door, and their little dog Scottie immediately leaps inside. His paws outstretched, he slams into Romani, who collapses from the sudden weight.
"Whoa!" She cries, amidst amused laughter. Scottie begins to bombard her face with happy welcome licks. "Sc-Scottie! Haha! Hey stop!" She pleads, trying to ward off Scottie's displays of affection.
"Scottie?! SCOTTIE!" Cremia calls to him with an authoritative voice. She claps her hands, which immediately causes him to leap off of Romani and come barreling towards her direction.
Cremia braces herself. "Whoo boy! No, no no! Easy, easy, easy…" She holds out her arms and gently cajoles him.
Her soothing voice calms him, as he stops, and slowly sits about a foot in front of Cremia. He smiles up at her.
"Good boy," she coos. She looks over at Romani. "You ok over there?"
Romani, standing back up on her two feet, gives her elder sister a reassuring smile and says: "Yeah! I'm fine." She brushes off a bit of dirt from her skirt.
Cremia looks back at the small dog.
"Hey there Scottie!" Cremia calls to him adoringly. He immediately perks up, his smile widening. "Why do you have to be so hyper? Huh?" He cocks his head to the side in questioning. "You knocked Romani right over! You can't do that!" She scolds him playfully. His smile fades and he lowers his eyes in guilt. Cremia cannot help but laugh. Never in her life had she encountered a dog that could comprehend English as well as Scottie.
Scottie, as his name heavily implied, is a Scottie dog, with grey fur slightly mangled from his frequent outside adventures. With his gentle black eyes, he could easily warm anyone's heart.
Cremia smiles, and as she scoops the pancake onto its opposite side she recalls the day they took him in as their own.
Heavy rain droplets pelt down onto Cremia and her father as they attempt to lead the flock of startled cows into the barn. The roaring dark sky above constantly sneezes powerful gusts of wind onto the inhabitants below, making the process quite tedious.
The squalls slam into Cremia with incredible force, yet the young girl still strives on in completing her task, diligently herding the large animals towards their safehold .She sighs in relief when the last cow reluctantly steps inside.
"Well," Says her father, smiling in triumph. Cremia can only slightly hear him amidst the roaring of the impending lightning. "That's the last of them! We did it!"
Cremia smiles weakly upon these words, very much anticipating the comforts of their warm home.
The two proceed towards the entrance. Cremia steps outside and waits for her father, as he begins to seal the wooden barn door. He slides it halfway when he looks up, pauses for a moment, and suddenly chuckles: "Well would you look at that!"
Cremia follows his eyes' gaze towards a dried bush behind her. Underneath the assortment of tangled twigs, lays an animal of some kind, its fur completely drenched from the rain. Its eyes stare right back at Cremia, gleaming with immense fear.
"What is that?" Cremia asks, somewhat disgusted by its appearance.
"Why it's a Scottie dog!" Her father declares."All alone in the rain. Poor little guy." He releases his grip on the door and slowly advances towards the canine's direction. The Scottie flinches backward a bit, but does not flee.
Seeming to take this as a sign of invitation, Cremia's father smiles at him welcomingly and kneels upon the sodden ground. "Here Scottie." The friendly man calls to him. "Why don't you come home with us?" He slowly reaches out his hand towards the dog.
The animal growls upon the movement and snaps at the man's fingers in retaliation. "Whoa boy!" Cremia's father laughs, evading his hand just in time. "Easy! It's okay!"
He tries again to reach out towards the dog, and is met with the same violent reaction.
Cremia, exasperated from the dreary weather and the dog's stubborn behavior, snaps: "Dad! Let's just go! That stupid dog doesn't want to be helped! Let's just leave him and go inside!"
Upon this comment, Cremia's father slowly turned towards his daughter, his eyes aglow and his face set in a firm frown.
Cremia winces, for he only wore that expression when he truly disapproved of something she said or did.
"Cremia..."He said slowly, in a stern voice, his eyes looking straight into her's. "Come here."
Cremia flinches again, but obeys her father, slowly proceeding towards his direction with a nervous heart. When she reaches him, he rises towards her level and firmly places his hands atop of each of her shoulders.
"Now you listen to me." He tells her slowly in a tone so serious and commanding that it overpowers the sound of the thunder in the background. "Every single living being in this world wants a place where they belong. Every single living being, no matter what they are or how they act towards others, wants to have a home where they are loved. The only reason why Scottie attacked me was because he was afraid of me and didn't know what else to do. Inside, he is not a cruel dog at heart. He is just a lonely, scared dog wishing he can find someplace he will be safe, happy, and loved. Do you understand?"
Flabbergasted by his reaction, young Cremia can only nod.
The severity from her father's eyes immediately fades, as he immediately breaks into a smile. "Good. Now…" He releases his grip from Cremia and walks back towards the barn. In one swift arc, he slides the front door completely open again and enters the opening. Curious about his intentions, Cremia follows him inside. She watches him proceed towards the equipment room, and stands waiting for him as he hears him rummaging through the numerous items. Within a moment, he remerges with a small wooden box designed like a house. It is a toy Cremia had used to house a pet piglet when she was a small child.
Authors Note: "An obvious reference to my favorite kid's story Charlotte's Web! :D
With its slated roof and its wide body, Cremia immediately perceives what her father plans to do with it. She instinctively leans down and scoops up a handful of hay.
"Here," she says, as she stands back up and offers the collection of straw out towards him. "This should keep him warm. It worked for Tobi."
Cremia's father smiles, walks towards his daughter and accepts the offer. "Ah. Great thinking." He praises her, gently stuffing the hay into the little house. He looks back up at Cremia and gesticulates towards the entrance. "Alright." He says, in a concluding stance. "Let's go back outside."
The two do so, and after he slides the door closed completely, Cremia's father lays the toy house against the wall of the barn two feet away from the dog. The dog lifts his head and glances at the box inquisitively, but makes no advancement towards its direction.
Cremia's father turns toward Cremia and lightly places a hand on her shoulder. "Alright chickadee." He says. "Time to head inside."
Stealing one final glance towards the small dog, who stares back at Cremia with blank eyes, Cremia complies and follows her father inside their cozy home.
They both early in the morning, and discover the dog nestled inside the house, curled into a ball and fast asleep.
Cremia's father chuckles softly and whispers: "Well what do you know…"
Cremia giggles upon the sight. With his fur all dried, his cuteness is finally revealed and it warms Cremia's heart.
Her father turns to her and says: "Cremia, go back to the kitchen, and bring the plate of sausages here. He needs some good food."
Cremia willingly obeys, retreating back to the house to carry out his request and arriving with the plate in hand a few minutes later.
"Thank-you," he whispers, accepting the plate and giving her a grateful pat on the back. He slowly proceeds towards the wooden house and lightly sets the plate a few inches in front of the resting dog.
"He's sure going to love that," he whispers, winking at Cremia.
Indeed, when they return a bit later, the plate is completely cleared. The dog is awake, sniffing around the barn. Cremia's father leaves him more stack of sausages, which are also devoured.
This routine of care occurs for a few days: Cremia and her father offering the Scottie breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The little dog continues to sleep within the wooden house and grows to enjoy and anticipate their donations. Eventually, he even learns to trust and appreciate them, allowing Cremia and her father to lightly stroke his fur.
On another day, where the rain pours as heavy as the day of their first encounter, Cremia's father opens the house door while carrying a plate of steak for the dog. Sitting outside in the rain is the Scottie himself, glancing up at the man with happy eyes.
"Why hello there!" Cremia's father greets him. "Would you like to come in?"
The dog cocks his head to the side. To Cremia's delight, her father does the same. "Huh?" He asks, smiling down at the canine.
Unsure what to do, the dog lowers his head onto the ground.
"Well, I'll leave the door open for you." Cremia's father tells him. He places the plate of food on the floor near the kitchen table. "This will be here if you want it."
He walks towards the table and sits on down next to Cremia. They both slowly sip their evening tea as they pretend to be oblivious to the indecisive dog outside.
Scottie eyes the two humans, sitting amidst their cozy home of comfort and security. He then rises and slowly steps into his new home…
Cremia smiles to herself upon the memory. 'How right Dad was…' She thought softly. 'About everything…I wish he were still here…I need him more than ever…' She sighs deeply upon the thought.
She looks down, and releases a startled cry. While she had relived the past, she had automatically continued cooking without realizing it. The thought startles her, as she stares down at the completely cooked pancake, sitting upon a plate, glowing with a perfect golden sheen. In the frying pan lies more pancake batter, beginning to sizzle from the heat.
'Wow…' She gasps. 'Did I just really do all that without even realizing it? Wow…'
"Sis?" Romani calls to her, with a slightly saddened tone.
Cremia immediately snaps her head towards her younger sister's direction. "Yes Romani?" She asks.
Romani's usual smile has disappeared, replaced by a expression she usually wears when she feels upset. Worry immediately consumes Cremia. 'Oh no!' She frets within her mind. 'What is wrong?!'
"I just asked you if you wanted some orange juice…" She said softly, seeming very pained. This crushes Cremia.
"Oh. I'm so sorry!" Cremia sincerely apologizes. "I didn't hear you. Um. No thanks, I would not like some right now. But you are free to of course!"
"Okay," says Romani, smiling weakly. She plops down onto the floor and heads towards the refrigerator. Although she convincingly pretends to have recovered from her previous state of sorrow, Cremia can see the still prevalent wistfulness lingering in the young girl's eyes.
Cremia sighs guiltily, as she flips the fattened pancake onto its other side. 'Why did that one little thing upset her so much?' She ponders silently.
A few minutes later, Cremia is given the opportunity to discover the answer to such a question, at the kitchen table amidst all of their breakfast items and foods.
"Romani…" Cremia begins, trying to conjure the best possible words to say. "I really am sorry….For not hearing you earlier…I wasn't purposely ignoring you."
"Oh I know," Romani assures her, providing another weak smile. "It's just…Well…" Her smile fades as she looks down at her fingers. "W-well…" She stammers. Cremia waits patiently. "I-It just scares me when you…well…when you are like that."
Such words makes breaks Cremia's heart. Cremia then realizes how truly sensitive and innocent Romani truly is.
"I am so sorry Romani," Cremia apologizes, meaning each word with all of her heart. "You see, when I am like that, I am just thinking. That's all."
"What are you thinking about?" Romani asks innocently, reaching towards the carton of orange juice.
Cremia grins at her. "Oh so many things. Don't worry about that, okay?"
"Okay," Romani agrees. "But can you just…try not to think as much? I think you think too much."
Cremia chuckles. She reaches over towards Romani and lightly touches her hand. "I promise I will try my best." Romani gives a small relieved smile.
"Hey," says Cremia, beaming at Romani. "I'd say now's a good time to feed Scottie that first pancake. Would you like to?"
Romani immediately nods her head in approval and giggles.
"Okay," Cremia continues beaming at her. "Here you go." She passes the pancake plate towards Romani, who accepts it slowly and cautiously.
Balancing the dish in her fingers, Romani rises from the table. "Scottie!" She calls adoringly to their pet. He immediately picks up his head. Romani giggles again. "I have something for you!" She holds out the plate of pancakes towards his direction. Upon the sight of food he scrambles clumsily towards her, his tail wagging and his eyes glowing with excitement.
Romani picks up the pancake with her fingers and hoists it high up in the air. "Come get it Scottie!" She playfully challenges him.
Scottie accepts the tempting dare, his eyes darkening in concentration as he takes a few steps backward. After staring intently at his target for a moment, he rushes towards Romani's direction and leaps straight up. "Glomp!" His teeth clench the pancake and gently wrench it free from Romani's hand. Safely landing on the ground, he begins to happily chew his earned treasure. Romani laughs in delight upon it all.
Cremia watches them both, smiling upon the sight. But inside, she is crying, and thinking: 'Shouldn't this itself be enough? Shouldn't it be my own warm home on a stormy night?...Then why? Why oh why am I still feeling sad father? Why?..."
Ok I have to admit that I struggled IMMENSELY with this chapter… I am so anxious about how people will feel about it. I hope most will like it at least a little bit… I did work very hard on it. I know it ends sad, and forgive me for that, it just felt to me, like it was the right time to end the chapter…
Please read and review!