Chapter Three.Mature

The next few days flew by like the wind on a fall day. And by that I mean, so fast that I could hardly remember what I’d done. Before I knew it, I had been at Sterling Manor for a fortnight already. I’d gone shopping with Rose, for sure, as my wardrobe had expanded even more. I had found it surprisingly easy to avoid James, but that was maybe because he made it so easy for me to avoid him as he avoided me like the plague. I still had no clue as to why he hated me so much. I was currently sitting in that same music room where he had uttered his first words to me, although they were angry words, I still remember that moment. I glanced at the piano, wondering what to play. So many options, so many choices. Finally I settled on a song that was very dear to me.

Softly I pressed down the first chord and then started to play. The words rose out of my throat in a pure melody. I felt at peace.

I can take the rain on the roof of this empty house 
That don't bother me 
I can take a few tears now and then and just let ‘em out 

I'm not afraid to cry every once in a while even though 
Going on with you gone still upsets me 
There are days every now and again I pretend I'm okay 
But that's not what gets me 

What hurts the most 
Was being so close 
And having so much to say 
And watching you walk away 

And never knowing 
What could've been 
And not seeing that loving you 
Is what I was trying to do 

It's hard to deal with the pain of losing you everywhere I go 
But I'm doing it 
It's hard to force that smile when I see our old friends and I'm alone 
Still harder getting up, getting dressed, living with this regret 
But I know if I could do it over 
I would trade, give away all the words that I saved in my heart 
That I left unspoken 

What hurts the most 
Is being so close 
And having so much to say  
And watching you walk away 

And never knowing 
What could've been 
And not seeing that loving you 
Is what I was trying to do, oh 
Oh yeah 

What hurts the most 
Was being so close 
And having so much to say 
And watching you walk away 

And never knowing
What could've been 
And not seeing that loving you 
Is what I was trying to do 

Not seeing that loving you 
That's what I was trying to do


I finished playing the last notes and let my hands drop in my lap. Music always brought me so much peace, it was indescribable. I heard a creak and my head shot up to look at the door. I got to my feet and strode to the door opening it and peaking my head out. Was anyone there? I didn’t see anyone, there were no signs of anyone being there, anyway. The windows in the hall were open though.

‘’It must have been the wind,’’ I murmured to myself, closing the door behind me and going up the two staircases to my room.


James’ POV. (lol, thought I’d do that for once, see how it turns out)


‘’Listen Janae, I can’t come tonight. Believe it or not, I actually do my homework,’’ I sighed, frustrated, clenching my phone in my hands.

‘’But babe,’’ she whined, at the other end of the line, ‘’I’m bored,’’

I rolled my eyes even though she could not see me. That probably was the end of the world for her, that she was bored. ‘’I’m your boyfriend, not someone you hire for amusement,’’ I told her, ‘’listen, I really need to get to my homework, alright? I don’t want to be failing classes,’’

‘’Come over after, though? I can’t stand to be bored all evening,’’ she said, hope evident in her voice.

‘’No, not tonight, Janae,’’ I answered firmly and ended the call. She was so annoying! Sure, she was gorgeous and all, but seriously, her voice sure got on my nerves.

I grabbed my schoolbag and started on my maths. I never had much problem with schoolwork. My dad often told me I was smart, but I don’t think it had to do with that. When I finished my homework I decided to go to the music room to play some piano. I winced a little as I thought of that time when Arielle had listened to me play and how rude and horrible I had been to her. It’s just… whenever I look at her, I can’t help but remember…

‘’James!’’ my mother was knocking on my door.

I put down my pen and opened the door, coming face-to-face with a very angry mother. Shit. When mother was angry, you better clear off.

‘’What mother?’’ I asked, as sweetly as I could muster up my voice to be.

‘’Why on earth did I get a note from your science teacher today telling me you back talked him in his own lesson?’’ she shook a crumpled note in front of my eyes, furiously, ‘’I thought we talked about this, James. They think everything can be explained by science, and we should let them! How often must your father and I tell you this?’’

I fought the urge to roll my eyes, ‘’It won’t happen again, mother, don’t worry,’’ I tried to soothe her.

She sighed and her shoulders slumped for a minute. Then she straightened up, ‘’You better make sure it doesn’t, or there will be consequences,’’ she crumpled the note and threw it in the waste bin next to my door and stormed down the stairs.

I shut my door behind me and walked down the stairs and down the big hall stairs to the music room. Suddenly I heard a beautiful voice coming from in there. She, for it was a female soprano, was singing What Hurts the Most, by Rascal Flatts. I almost got in trance as I moved closer to the door. I was about to look in when my foot slipped a little and pushed the door a bit, making it creak. I moved as fast as I could to the little cupboard under the stairs. If you looked at the door from the outside it looked like a mirror, but from the inside it was as if it was glass, you could look straight through it. It came in very handy sometimes.

I had barely shut the door behind me when the door of the music room opened and… Arielle stepped out, looking around her. I chuckled as she muttered to herself about how it must have been the wind. Not only was she gorgeous, she also could sing and play the piano. I tried so hard to avoid her because she reminded me of her, and I wanted to forget. But now I wondered if that was ever going to happen.


Back to Arielle POV. ( If there isn’t a specific POV mentioned, it’s always Arielle’s POV)


So this is me swallowing my pride 
Standing in front of you, saying I'm sorry for that night 
And I go back to December all the time 
It turns out freedom ain't nothing but missing you 
Wishing I'd realized what I had when you were mine 
I go back to December, turn around and make it alright 
I go back to December all the time 


I scribbled the words furiously as soon as they came into my head, while humming the melody in my head along to the lyrics. It happened once in a while that suddenly I had the urge to write a song. I hadn’t finished any of the songs I had started yet, but this one had come quite far. I wasn’t sure what to call it yet, but that’ll come in due time.

I flexed my hands and put down the pen. Glancing at the clock, I put away my homework I had just finished and went to the bathroom to take a shower. Tea was at 20.00 PM and it was currently 19.15. After I had a quick shower and washed my hair, I put on a pair of black leggings and a purple long top that reached till mid-thigh. The sleeves were of black lace and there was a beautiful satin belt/sash to go with it. I put my hair up in a pretty bun and put on some black Toms with a beautiful black lace pattern on them. I was happy with the result when I surveyed myself in the mirror.

I walked down to the dining room. I couldn’t help but feel right at home in this big friendly castle. Of course, I never really had time to explore, so I didn’t know all of it, but I could find my way to the rooms I needed no problem. And to tell the truth, of that I was rather proud.

There were weird things about the castle, for sure. One night I had been awakened by a series of booms, that seemed to come from within the castle. The booms stopped pretty quickly, though, and I had fallen asleep. When I asked Rose about it, she had said that it probably was fireworks. The day after I had found out it was strictly forbidden to do fireworks in England if it wasn’t New Year’s or Guy Fawkes day. That was one weird thing. Another one was that at precisely 4.30 every midday except Saturday and Sunday all the kids except Sean and Safari disappeared. Millie wouldn’t answer me when I asked her where they were, just waved her hands and said that she wouldn’t dare try and keep track of them, it was too much work.

As I entered the dining room, I could have sworn the Beaumont’s hadn’t been talking as I was outside, but they were talking at top speed as I came in.

‘’Good evening, Arielle,’’ Millie greeted cheerily, before turning to carry on her conversation with her husband.

‘’Good evening,’’ I greeted back, smiling. I joined Rose at my usual spot at the table and hit her arm.

‘’Hey! What was that for?’’ she protested. ‘’For ignoring me the entire school day and afternoon,’’ I said, indignantly.

‘’Well, it was for a good reason!’’ she tried to explain.

‘’What’s the reason?’’ I asked, curiously.

‘’I can’t tell,’’ she blurted, ‘’but you’ll find out soon enough, I promise,’’

I looked confused, but let it go. She obviously didn’t want to talk about it.

After dinner, me and Rose hung out in her room and she taught me how to do my eye make-up. After endless tries, I finally caught on how to properly apply eye-shadow and eyeliner. Finally, I wouldn’t have to be ashamed and could use that eye make-up Janessa had given me.




I shivered and pulled my jacket a bit closer to me. My hand held the candle in its holder tightly. I turned the corner and almost jumped as I stepped on a creak in the rough stone floor, making me almost stumble. I stopped to calm myself, my heart was beating frantically. I lifted the hem of my blue linen dress and walked on, my frame casting dark shadows in the flickering candlelight. One more turn. I felt my heartbeat increasing. I took the turn and was now facing a big wood door. The door had strips of iron nailed on it, 5 strips horizontally, 4 strips vertically. The doorknob was big and round and made of iron. As if in a trance, I moved towards the door, my hand stretching out to meet the doorknob…


‘’Arielle!’’ a familiar voice was calling my name. I opened my eyes. The first thing I noticed was that I was sweating all over.

‘’Arielle?’’ I looked up and faced a very concerned Rose, ‘’Arielle, are you okay? You were muttering all kinds of words,’’

I blinked a few times to clear my head, ‘’Uhm, yeah, I’m fine. I just had a weird dream, is all,’’ I explained. She nodded, ‘’Well, we have to leave for school in half an hour, so you might want to get up. I brought your breakfast,’’

I gasped, ‘’How did I oversleep?’’ then I realised, ’’Oh, I didn’t set my alarm yesterday! Thank you, Rose, for waking me up,’’

‘’That’s fine. Please hurry, mum gets into an awful temper if we’re late,’’ she shot me a worried look and disappeared out my door.

I quickly showered and dressed and ate my breakfast while going through my English Literature notes, because I had a test on that today.

I jumped when someone rapped on my door, ‘’Arielle, you ready?’’ it was Pearl… or Paige. I knew how to tell them apart by looking at them, but not by hearing them. Their voices were too much alike.

‘’I’m coming,’’ I called back and grabbed my schoolbag.


*** after school ***


‘’Hey darlings, how was your school day?’’ Millie smiled, while trying to make Safari eat her food.

‘’It was fine,’’ Rose responded, pulling me upstairs.

‘’Rose, why on earth were you staring at Kyle Edwards today?’’ I questioned.

‘’Well, I… kind of like him,’’ she faltered. I was surprised for two reasons: first, she just told me straight out, second, Kyle Edwards was the worst guy in the school. Sure, he looked hot, I give him that. But him and his group of friends were constantly messing with the other high schoolers and he could make anyone’s life a living hell.

‘’Really? But… when… how did this happen?’’ I asked, confused. Rose was actually quite sweet and he was so… so Kyle.

‘’I liked him years ago, Elle. We even had something in Freshman year. He was so sweet and caring. I was actually starting to love him. And then he suddenly changed. He started cheating on me and hanging out with bad people. He got tattoos and piercings and we broke up because he called me: ‘’too clingy’’. I don’t know why I still like him so much but I haven’t dated anyone since him. I just can’t seem to get over him. Believe me, Elle, sometimes I wish I could. It’s not pretty, liking the worst boy in the entire school and he doesn’t even return your feelings. Sometimes I wonder if he even loved me back then,’’ Rose looked so devastated. I went over to her and wrapped my arms around her in a hug.

‘’He’s an absolute dickhead and jerk, Rose. No one deserves to be treated like that, especially not such a sweet person as you. I’m sorry, Rose,’’ I had tears in my eyes thinking of it.

‘’It’s okay, I guess. I’ve slowly grown used to the feeling. At least since I don’t date I have time for my friends,’’ she wiped away her tears and put on a brave smile. I nodded, but still felt worried for her. She went to her room pretty soon afterwards and I decided to explore the castle once more.

I took a different hall this time, but was pretty much met with the same kind of rooms. Bedrooms, study’s, bathrooms and sitting rooms. Downstairs behind the Titanic stairs were three rooms: a huge sitting room and a huge dining room. Presumably for company. As soon as I had gone into the second room I understood why the hall looked too small if you compared it with the outside of the castle. There was a huge ballroom, with balcony at the far end, and a platform for the musicians. It was amazing. I had stood there for a good five minutes, just staring.

I walked past another amount of bedrooms and suddenly saw a funny door. It was made of wood and didn’t have a round top like the rest of the doors here, but a pointy top. It had a large iron knob instead of a handle.

Intrigued, I turned the knob and peered through the doorway. A dimly lit narrow stone passage stretched in front of me. I could only see the first four metres or so before it turned. I looked around me. There was nobody there to see me. Quickly and soundlessly, I slipped in the hallway and softly closed the door behind me. Strange enough, it didn’t creak. I gazed around me in wonder as I moved towards the turn. The stones were engraved with signs and symbols I’d never seen before. In some way, I found them beautiful.

I turned round the corner and found myself standing in front of stone stairs. I mounted them and walked on until I came to another turn. When I turned the corner I stood still. My heart beat so loud I was sure anyone could hear it. In front of me was the very same door of my dream. The iron plates, the large iron knob. Everything was exactly the same. Suddenly I heard someone call my name. It was Rose.

‘’Arielle?’’ suddenly there was silence. I heard the door I had just come through open.

‘’Arielle? Are you in there?’’ Rose’s voice sounded fearful, ‘’Arielle?’’

‘’Coming Rose!’’ I would have to explore the room behind that door another day.

I ran down the stairs and into the warm hall. Rose had fear written all over her face and she was trembling.

‘’What’s the matter, Rose?’’ I asked, surprised.

‘’Oh Arielle. Don’t ever go up there again, you hear me?’’ she gripped my arm.

‘’Why?’’ I asked, reluctant to give up the idea of finding out what was behind that mysterious door.

‘’It’s just…That tower has been there for very long and… and it might be dangerous, as it’s so old. That door wasn’t supposed to be see… opened, anyway,’’ Rose explained.

‘’Oh,’’ I nodded, but in my mind I decided I’d find out what was behind that door, even if it killed me.

Just you wait. I’ll discover the mystery.

The End

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