Warning: Somewhat of a spoiler.
Disclaimer; In a world beyond my imagination, I do not own HnKnA and all its wonderful bishies and characters.
Days of Lorina
The day and life of Lorina Liddell; from beginning right to the very end.
It all began on one hot afternoon. Two children of the Liddell residence hid beneath a large oak tree to protect themselves from the merciless sun. The youngest of the two lay herself down on the grass, paying special attention to her elder sister, the eloquent cadence of her voice, the stunning pronunciation of words. Little Alice Liddell always found herself entranced by her sister's stories and by her sweet voice.
Once the elder girl completed the tale, the child Alice exclaimed, "Wow! That was a fantastic story, Lorina!"
The one girl named Lorina smiled at her sister's enthusiasm. "I'm glad, Alice! I'm sorry we can't spend our days together with a little bit more excitement. You must get bored hearing me read to you all the time."
Alice fervently shook her head. "No! Of course not! I don't mind at all! I know my onee-san is really sick and wouldn't want her condition getting any worse. As long as I get to spend time with you, I'll be just fine."
Her elder sister smiled, playfully rustling with her brown locks. "Well you shouldn't worry about me too much. I'm still just fine! I won't be going anywhere anytime soon."
"But when would we be able to do this again?"
Lorina considered the question carefully in her mind. Their father was already busying Alice with her lessons, and their mother didn't like Lorina being out and about too often because of her condition. Coordinating a time would be rather troublesome…
As she stared at her young sister's eyes, the look of hopeful expectation, she was struck by an idea.
"Say, why not we meet on this spot at the exact same time? That way we would spend proper time with each without any problems." suggested Lorina.
Alice considered it for a single moment, bobbing her head. The young girl raised her hand up, pointing out her pinky finger. "You promise? Every Sunday afternoon?"
Lorina wrapped her own pinky finger around hers and smiled. "I promise."
Lorina's condition was one that baffled many doctors. No one could figure out what was wrong with her. It was simply an unknown disease. That diagnosis also meant they couldn't identify a cure.
Lorina Liddell had long accepted her fate, the possibility that the next day could be her last.
She had one major motivation to keep living, to not give up.
Every time Alice was near, Lorina would always put on a brave face, no matter how much she was suffering inside.
Several years had passed. Her young sister was growing into a splendid young woman, especially in the clothes Lorina insisted she wear. Blue was always Alice's color.
As a girl grew older, she began to grow more of those of the opposite gender. By the sounds of their mother and Alice's chatter, someone had caught her eye. Her newest tutor certainly sounded like quite the catch.
Lorina's attention in and out of their conversation, split between the current novel she was reading. She did catch how this tutor was certainly intellectual as he was extremely handsome. Lorina would love to meet him, more so to admire his scholarly mind than fawn over his physical appearance.
"Oh my god! He's here!" The young woman languidly raised her gaze from her novel, seeing young Alice dash into the room, hastily telling her, "Now, you distract him for a little while. Oh, he can't see me like this. I'm far from presentable!"
"But Alice, you look just f-" Alice had ran off before she could finish her sentence, worrying herself on how to wear her hair and if she should change.
'Oh, how love makes girls do such strange things.' Lorina chuckled at the thought and resumed reading her novel. She doubted she really needed to do much of anything, hearing her dear mother graciously receive the man.
She never expected to hear a patter of footsteps nearing her place in the room. Lorina gingerly raised her gaze up from her book, jade orbs meeting a pair of verdant green.
"Hello there," the young man greeted her warmly.
"Hello," she answered politely, quickly assessing his physical appearance. Alice and her mother were right. The man was indeed a handsome fellow. A mane of ebony black framed his pale face, his green eyes seemed astute and intellectual. Definitely an interesting individual.
She then said, "So, you are the tutor I hear so much about?" The young man nodded his head. "My, you are much younger than I expected."
"Probably no older than you, Miss…?"
"Lorina. It's Lorina Liddell. I am Alice's elder sister."
"Ah. Miss Lorina Liddell… It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance. You're sister talks about you a lot. She says you're quite the reader." The tutor turned his head, studying the novel's cover. His eyes suddenly lit up, and a smile spread over his lips. "And I can see that. You're reading Wuthering Heights?"
"Actually I read it several times before, and I am rereading it. I simply adore this story," she said cheerfully.
"No kidding! This is one of my favorite stories as well!"
The young Lorina then found herself having an intense conversation with the young man, discussing the novel's themes and characters. Soon they continued on to discuss other novels, praising the other for sharing a similar liking for one book, debating why the other disliked one they so fervently enjoyed. The conversation never had a single dull moment, and she was pleasantly surprised to see the tutor was quick-witted and sharp.
Once they began a heated debate over Shakespeare's Julius Caesar (he insisted that the character Brutus was a valiant, tragic hero while she characterized him as a gullible coward), a familiar voice interrupted them, "I'm glad to see you two getting along so well!"
The debaters rotated their heads to see a cheerful Alice, very pleased to see how well her sister and her tutor are interacting.
"Oh, Alice, I was just entertaining your tutor like you asked me," her elder sister said. "Now I guess you are going to start your lessons now?"
"I guess we are." The young man waltzed over to the pretty little girl. Just as the two were going to leave, he paused for a moment and turned to face her. "Goodbye, Miss Lorina. I hope we could continue our conversation another time. It was very nice talking to you."
The eldest Liddell smiled and nodded her head. Once the two left the room, she lowered her gaze back down to the novel. She never realized that she was still smiling or did she pay any attention to the warmth touching her weak heart.
Several months had passed since she had met Alice's tutor, and now she heard the two were dating. They were a lovely looking couple. Lorina and her parents approved of him and found him a suitable match for her.
One day, Lorina was sitting on the chair, fixing the stitching of a dress she wanted to Alice to try on, when the girl burst through the room. "Oh, onee-san, we're back!"
The Liddell glanced upwards to see Alice float towards her, twirling in her spot and bestowing a lovely crown of daisies onto her head.
"That's just too kind of you, Alice. It's beautiful! You made this when you were at your picnic?"
The young girl happily nodded her head. "Yes! Oh, the meadows were so beautiful! Once you're feeling up to it, I promise to take you there! You'd love it! Ooh, I almost forgot! I want to get the lemonade! I'll be right back."
Lorina watched her love-struck sister skip over towards the kitchen, singing a cheerful tune underneath her breath. The Liddell woman chuckled, feeling as happy as her young sister felt. She always admired Alice's vivacity, her energy, her very light. She just wished she was healthy enough and shared even a fraction of her vitality.
"I just wish I was with you to see it, Alice. I really do…" She sighed dismally at the thought, green eyes forlornly glancing down to her stitching.
"Are you really not well?" The surprised girl snapped her head up, meeting the gaze of the tutor – his name she sadly could not remember.
She dismally shook her head. "We just went to the doctor's office the other day, and there doesn't seem to be any improvements in my condition." She paused for a considerable moment, her voice dropping a disturbing octave. "It's just… getting hard now to pretend I'm okay lately. I'm worried for the day when I can't pretend anymore. I don't want Alice to worry even more because Mother isn't fairing any better." Lorina then came to the realization she was rambling and dropped her gaze in embarrassment. "Oh dear… I'm so very sorry. I don't mean to bother you with my troubles. Maybe you should go see…?"
The Liddell fell completely quiet when a beautiful rose emerged in her line of vision, captivating her senses with its fresh scent and its glorious splendor.
"I found it while we were in the meadows and thought you'd like it. I hope it would make you feel better since you were unable to join us." She raised her gaze up to meet his eyes, so soft and understanding. "And don't worry. You don't have to keep pretending and go through this alone. Your parents are there for you, Alice is there for you… even I am there for you."
Lorina released a low gasp. She tentatively took the scarlet blossom into her hands and focused her gaze down, finding herself flattered by such a kind proclamation. Her heart pumped an inordinate amount of blood into her pale cheeks, warming her frail heart in ways she never knew possible… while another froze right over.
Their mother's death came as such a shock to all of them. One moment she was alive and well, bursting with life. Then they found her body lying lifelessly on her bed, trapped in a state of eternal slumber.
Lorina couldn't even stay that long by the funeral because of the inclement weather. Her condition wouldn't allow her. She simply sat quietly by the window, staring droplets of rain water cascade down the glass, watching sightlessly at the sky. It seemed even the heavens were grieving over their loss, opening their skies and crying along with her.
She could still remember her sisters' faces. All Alice could do was stare as the casket lowered into the bowels of the earth, her face completely expressionless. It was like she switched off, tuning everything out. She numbed herself to this unbearable pain, this aching feeling in her chest. Such an emotionless state only made Lorina wish she could stay a little longer to properly comfort her.
Their youngest sister thought otherwise. Edith Liddell glared at their middle sibling, abhorring her for being so cold and distant. She, in her naïve and childish mind, thought that if Alice really cared, she would have at least shed a single tear.
Perhaps one day, Edith would understand that everyone grieves in different ways. It's sometimes easier to deny the pain and pretend it's not there. Sometimes, Lorina wished she could be numb.
Her senses suddenly grew alert, hearing friends and relatives slowly proceed into their gloomy abode once the funeral was finished. She quickly glanced out the door, seeing Alice pause at the doorway for a single moment, her once bright eyes dulling into a monochrome green.
Lorina limply reached a hand for her. "A… Alice?"
Alice suddenly flinched away from her and rushed out the door, crying invisible tears she just could not cry.
Her hand fell lifelessly to her lap. She shuddered, finding her body stricken by a horrible cold. Her heart seemed even heavier, rising to her throat and constricting her airways. She then lowered her gaze, feelings droplets form in her eyes and slowly flow down her cheeks.
"Lorina…" The young woman snapped her gaze up, half hoping that one of her sisters or her father came to grieve with her.
Instead, she saw someone completely unexpected. The tutor stood before her, not uttering another word. Their gazes locked, liquid emerald to his soft green.
Before she knew what was going on, a warmth suddenly enveloped her, chasing away the cold that froze her flesh. They both remained silent. Neither spoke a word, but that was enough for her. She dropped her head into his shoulder, taking comfort in his company. She just felt so safe, so comfortable… even if she shouldn't feel like that. Even if she had no right to.
At the moment, she just felt so fragile and so vulnerable. She just wanted to lean on someone for a little while, to let someone help with her breaking heart.
Little did she realize that at that exact moment, there was another young heart that was just as broken as hers, shattering even further into a thousand pieces.
Lorina felt utterly horrible. She couldn't recollect a time she felt this awful. Her head felt like it was pounding, her brain throbbing against her skull. She barely had enough strength to get up from her bed. She was simply stuck there in her sheets, condemned to a day of sickly anguish.
At least her sisters would be having a good time. Little Edith was over a friend's house for a play date, and Alice was going out for a picnic with her beau.
She didn't want to trouble either sister with her ailment. She still wanted them to live their lives and be happy. Even if she couldn't.
"May I come in, Lorina?" The young woman upturned her gaze towards the door, seeing Alice's boyfriend lean against her doorway.
"O… of course. Please, come in." The young man nodded his head in thanks and entered her room, standing by her bedside. Both figures merely stared at each, remaining in a state of awkward silence. Lorina then said, "I thought you and Alice were going today for a picnic."
"Alice is still preparing a few last minute supplies. I heard you aren't joining us today so I decided to check up on you in the meantime," the young man replied, his gaze soft and unreadable, fixated on her and her alone.
Such attention disconcerted her. "Y… yes. Sadly I'm not feeling well right now. I urged Alice to go along anyway to enjoy a day with her boyfriend after all."
The brunette placed certain emphasis on their relationship, feeling this strange need to remind him who he was seeing, remind her who he was dating at the moment.
"Yes… I am, aren't I?" he said under his breath, his face unreadable.
Everything fell completely silent. Lorina's gaze drifted towards the ceiling. They remained in that state for a long few moments, his orbs studying her distant green ones.
"I don't think I can stand this anymore."
"Huh, what do you…?" Her sentence trailed off her tongue, clipped at her mouth when he suddenly kissed her. Her mind fell completely blank, her heart warmed, bursting at his touch, his mouth over hers. She had never felt so alive before, her heart so full.
Then she suddenly remembered who he was dating.
Lorina broke herself of her daze and weakly pushed him away, breaking the kiss. She queried in a breathless voice, "W… what are you doing?"
"I'm sorry, Lorina, but I just couldn't help myself. I have been fighting this feeling for far too long, and I can't hold it in anymore. I was so misguided…" He paused for a long moment before adding firmly. "I don't love Alice."
Her heart skipped a beat, thumping at a speed that Lorina knew it shouldn't be beating.
The young man cupped her face gently in his hands as he pronounced a nearly earthshattering confession. "The one I love… is you, Lorina. You're everything I've ever dreamed of. You're intelligent, beautiful, graceful… you're simply amazing."
The Liddell was rendered completely speechless, her heart pounding against her chest. She just wasn't sure how she should feel, her emotions conflicting in her mind. Just as she felt a sense of blissful euphoria, she was swept with a sense of melancholia when she remembered her one important person. Alice.
Her eyes suddenly became glassy with tears, prickling her eyes as they began streaming her face. "N… no! No, that's just not right! You're not supposed to love me or tell me that! My sister loves you, and she's more important to me than anything else."
"I know, but I cannot deny how I truly feel any longer." Lorina persisted to sob, shaking her head. He then said, "'He's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same'. You remember that from Wuthering Heights, don't you? That is exactly how I feel for you. You are my Catherine, and I am your Heathcliff. I have no business being with Alice when my heart clearly belongs to you. You are my perfect match, my soul mate." The young woman could not meet his gaze, hot tears washing over his pale fingertips. "Tell me that you truly don't love me as much as I love you. If you say that much, I will leave you alone. Just say those words and you won't hear from me ever again."
She suddenly quieted down, considering it in her mind. Watery green transcended to meet his expectant eyes. She slowly opened her mouth, answering in a nearly inaudible voice, "I can't… if I say that than I would be uttering the greatest untruth of my life."
Before the young man could reply, a stifled whimper sounded in the air. The two figures separated as they turned around.
Standing at the doorway was the young Liddell, pools of tears slowly forming in her eyes.
"Oh my god… Alice, this isn't what you think…"
But she didn't hear her sister speak. Alice had already dashed off. The young man called her name and darted after her.
Lorina was left all alone again, her once warm body suddenly feeling cold and empty. She sunk down into the plush mattress, allowing a cough to rush out her lips and the tears to roll freely down her face.
She felt absolutely horrible, even worse than she had before.
No one knew of her breaking heart, her health slip and weaken even further.
No one knew just how much Lorina was breaking down inside.
"I'm sick of this place! I can't stand it anymore!" From her bedside, Lorina merely observed her young sister pace wildly across her room, watching Alice nearly ripping her long chocolaty locks from her own skull. She shouted, "It's just suffocating!"
Her elder sister attempted soothing her, "Alice, you're just overreacting. Maybe if you calm down, we can go about this more reasonably…"
"This is perhaps this most reasonable I've ever been!" she refuted. "I should be seeing the world. I can go to college elsewhere, but all I know is I can't stay here any longer. I need to leave."
The elder woman considered the wildness in her behavior, the desperation in her voice. Her own face softened considerably. "This doesn't have to do… with you ex-boyfriend, does it?"
Alice paused in her rampage, falling into a disquieting stillness. "I… I was such a fool. I should have known he didn't love me… of course, he would love you of all people!" Her lips quavered, her shoulders shaking as she repressed a surge of tears. She snapped her head towards Lorina and asked, "Did you love him, onee-san?"
"Alice, that's not important now…"
"I want to hear your answer, Lorina. Did you love him too?"
Her green orbs locked onto hers, waiting for an answer. All Lorina could do was stare at her for a few long, considerable moment. She then lowered her gaze. "…you know I don't like lying to you nor would I do anything got hurt you, Alice…"
Alice was taken aback, her eyes wide and glassy. Her gaze fell to the floor.
Lorina then began to say, "Alice, there's something very important I have to tell you that you need to know. I…"
"Save it. I don't want hear anymore. I'm tired of talking to you." Alice interrupted her. Her fists clenched, her shoulders shaking with even greater intensity. "I… I hate you!'
The eldest Liddell fell completely still, feeling a numbing chill sweep over her body. With a low, strangled gasp, Alice raced out the door, leaving intricate designs on the floorboards where her tears fell.
Alice was gone.
Lorina released a loud, guttural cough, collapsing down onto the soft mattress. She lost all strength to keep up with the façade, the pretense of poise and health. She just couldn't anymore.
She wanted to tell everyone so badly, but she never seemed to have a chance. The doctor had insisted on dropping the news on them, but Lorina was foolish enough to want to tell them herself.
The truth would just hurt her… that was certainly true. If any of them knew the truth about her condition, everything would have been different. If any of them knew that Lorina was dying, who knows what would happen now?
Now… it was far too late.
The sickly woman felt her gaze drift over to her nightstand, staring at the book that sat quietly by her side. Alice in Wonderland. A weak smile curled at her lips.
Just as the young woman in the novel hoped her sister well, Lorina prayed for the same thing. She prayed that no matter what adversities come into her way, no matter what pain and hardships she may have to face, Alice would grow up to be a splendid, happy woman… even if she couldn't stick around long enough to see it herself.
"I'm sorry, Alice…" she whispered, her voice floating up into the empty air. Her eyes grew heavy, tired, slowly falling to a close. "Looks like I can't keep my promise to see you every Sunday afternoon."
Just what my idea what Lorina's life was like, starting from their happy Sunday afternoons and finally ending to her eventual death. It leaves a lot to the imagination since we don't know very much about her or her point of view of things.
Thanks for reading!