Chapter 2: The Arrival

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"Maria darling get up, you have to prepare!" Warren shouted as he paced left and right crankily in his apartment looking for things he might have forgotten to pack.

"Yes dad…" Maria said a she stifled a yawn. She got up from her bed and stretched her thin arms. She walked over the lounge chair at the foot of her bed, took her silk robe, and draped it over her delicate figure. She then proceeded to her bathroom to take a quick shower.

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Richard Thorn sat in the dining room with his wife Ann. They were fully dressed despite the fact that it was just 4:00 in the morning but as they were expecting the Warrens early, they wanted to make a good impression on Maria. The couple decided to eat their breakfast early so that Mark and Damien can get to know Maria better and acquaint with her when they wake up and eat breakfast later on. They were both reading the morning's paper and were sipping on hot coffee. Ann finished reading the newspaper and set it on the table beside her plate. She then took a bite out of her mushroom omelet and looked up at her husband.

"Dear, what time was Maria supposed to arrive here?"

"Oh a few minutes from now, I think. Charles needs to get to the airport before 5:00 so he'll probably drop off Maria around this time."

"Ahh. You know I'm quite excited to meet the girl. It's like were having a daughter!"

Richard grinned at his wife's comment. "Assuming that Damien or Mark doesn't court her. You know how boys get whenever in close proximity with beautiful young ladies such as Maria."

Ann laughed. She remembered how it was to be so young and yet very much in love. She sighed."I remember how it was like, being a teenager. Sigh…teenagers fall in love so easily. I wonder what'll happen to those two."

"What'll happen to who?" said Mark as he emerged from the living room and into the Dining Hall with Damien. They were both fully dressed in their military academy uniforms. They look like they've cleaned up. Both of them looked incredibly handsome.

"Boys! What are you doing here so early? And you've cleaned up pretty well. You want to impress Maria don't you?" Ann said as she appraised the boys' appearance. She smiled widely.

"Well… i-it would be ungentlemanly and impolite to welcome our guest in our sleepwear, don't you think? Mark and I, we wouldn't want to disgrace the family by doing such ghastly things…Right Mark?" Damien said as he didn't want to embarrass both of them.

Mark nodded fervently, grateful for Damien's quick thinking. "Yeah, that's right. "

"Hmmm…." Said Richard as he assessed the boys. He smiled. "Well since you two are already up you might as well eat breakfast."

"Right..." Damien said as he went to sit beside Ann. Mark followed suit.

"Miss Grace could you please fix the boys something to eat? We weren't expecting them to be up this early but I suppose they wouldn't want to be caught by our upcoming guest unprepared and sporting bed heads." Richard said as he grinned at the boys who, too embarrassed to say anything, averted their eyes.

"Yes Mr. Thorn, I'll be right back."

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Maria dragged her suitcases out of her room then stopped for a moment to go to the bathroom and look at how she looked like to contemplate whether she already looked okay or at least presentable. She then saw her reflection on the mirror. She was wearing a red satin dress with puffy sleeves that hugged her curves, a diamond necklace with a silver ribbon with it and matching earrings that had once belonged to her mother, strappy red heels, and a silver ribbon clip on her curly black hair. She applied red lipstick to her already strawberry colored lips. 'Hmm…I think I look okay.' She thought. She closed the bathroom lights and closed the door shut behind her.

"Honey are you ready to leave?"

"Yes dad."

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The car ride on the way to the Thorns was fast, as the Thorn Estate was only 40 kilometers away. But in Maria's opinion, it was because of her father's manner of driving like a maniac. 'Is dad THAT excited to go?' Maria thought as she smiled to herself. Her dad could be so adorable sometimes.

"Okay Iya, we're here." Dr. Warren announced as he pulled up in front of the huge mansion itself.

'Oh well…This is it.'

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The Thorns were settled in the living room, dutifully awaiting their guest. Well except for Mark who, hadn't slept last night due to the fact that he was so excited to meet Maria was now drooling in his chair whereas his cousin Damien was sitting up straight, his piercing grayish-green eye peering over the dark windows as he tried to discern whether their guest had arrived. Richard and Ann were discussing the plans for Christmas and Mark's birthday. Then, they heard a car pull up the curb. The Warrens had arrived.

Mark suddenly bolted up like he was electrocuted. All the sleepiness and drowsiness he had were gone from his boyishly handsome face. He smoothed his semi-messy blond hair and straightened out his military academy uniform. Damien looked up at him slightly surprised, and then smirked. Mark mocked ignored him as held his chin up high, then they both laughed hysterically. The couple, having witnessed the whole exchange laughed too.

"Okay, okay enough of this; we have to welcome our guest." Richard said as he was still grinning.

The Thorns got up from their comfortable plush seats and walked out the main door to greet their guest.

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Maria dragged her suitcase up the front steps of the Thorn Manor with her dad helping her with the other two bags when the door opened. There stood the Thorns, with regal yet warm vibe about them. Then she saw the two boys, Damien and Mark. She felt the hot in her cheeks.

'Oh my-

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How was it? I know it's a bit frustrating, with the short length of the chapter and the cliffhanger. But due to the request of my friend Abie, who I know is reading this note right now, I just had to update. Please review after you read! J