Chapter Four.Mature

The next few days Rose wouldn’t let me alone. She was around me the whole time, even in the middays, when she normally disappeared. It was fun and different, but I hardly had any time to write my song, or practise the piano, or explore that tower and find out what was behind that door. Truth to tell, it was a bit annoying, she even wanted to do homework together! I didn’t have time to read anymore, just as I was going to start Emma, from Jane Austen. I’d read the book before, but such a long time ago, that I didn’t even remember what it was all about.

Currently, I was lying on my bed, doing my maths homework. Rose, thankfully, had gone to her room to do hers. I mean, nothing against her, but I like to be alone when I do homework, otherwise I can’t concentrate as well.

I had just finished my last question, when Rose knocked at the door.

‘’Elle! Do you want to go to the shopping centre? I’m going to meet Tazz and Mandy there,’’ she called.

‘’No, I’m fine! I want to catch up a little with my piano practise and start reading Emma,’’ I called back, ‘’have fun!’’

‘’Are you sure? I can stay home with you if you like, and we can hang out,’’ she offered. I rolled my eyes and got off the bed, walking to the door and opening it.

‘’Rose, go have fun with Tazz and Mandy. I really have some catching up to do,’’ I told her. She nodded, unsure and left. I almost did a victory dance. Finally I got to explore that tower!

When, a few minutes later, I saw her car pull out of the driveway, I slipped on my shoes and left my room, making sure to close the door behind me. It was slowly becoming winter and I didn’t want the cold air to enter my room, which was nice and warm due to the radiators.

I went down the stairs and made my way to the queer wood door. I slipped into the stone passage behind it and moved through the twists and turns until I reached the mysterious door. Dare I? It was weird that I had dreamed about the door before actually seeing it in real life. Slowly I reached towards the doorknob. A shiver ran through my as my hand made contact with the cold iron. I turned it and pulled, shivering with anticipation. The a flash of disappointment ran through me. It was locked. I tried pushing, pulling, turning, rolling, but it wouldn’t open. What a shame.

When I got back to the warm hallways I laughed at myself. What had I expected, really? Some mysterious tower room, full of secrets? I shook the disappointment off and headed to the music room. I was longing to feel the smoothness of the piano keys under my fingers, to hear the melodies a simple pressing of the keys in the right order could create.

Suddenly, as I sat there in that airy sunlit room, I was inspired. I grabbed my notebook and pen and finished my very first song. I bit my lip, thinking what chords to combine with the lyrics and melody. When I finally had written everything down, I set up the papers against the piano and played.

I'm so glad you made time to see me 
How's life? Tell me, how's your family? 
I haven't seen them in a while 
You've been good, busier than ever 
We small talk , work and the weather 
Your guard is up, and I know why 
Because the last time you saw me 
Is still burned in the back of your mind 
You gave me roses, and I left them there to die 

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 

These days, I haven't been sleeping 
Staying up, playing back myself leaving 
When your birthday passed, and I didn't call 
Then I think about summer, all the beautiful times 
I watched you laughing from the passenger side 
And realized I loved you in the fall 
And then the cold came, the dark days 
When fear crept into my mind 
You gave me all your love, and all I gave you was goodbye 

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 change my own mind 
I go back to December all the time 

I miss your tan skin, your sweet smile 
So good to me, so right 
And how you held me in your arms that September night 
The first time you ever saw me cry 
Maybe this is wishful thinking 
Probably mindless dreaming 
But if we loved again, I swear I'd love you right 
I'd go back in time and change it, but I can't 
So if the chain is on your door, I understand 

This is me swallowing my pride 
Standing in front of you, saying I'm sorry for that night 
And I go back to December 
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, turn around and change my own mind 
I go back to December all the time, all the time

I struck the last chord and stayed silent for a minute. My first song, I thought, will more follow? Only time can tell. I resolved to write everything down that would be good material for a song. That’s how I started this one, after all.

I gathered my papers and headed upstairs to my room to read. Today was a peaceful day, but what about tomorrow? Would Rose be hanging around me again?

Suddenly I heard a commotion outside my door.

‘’I am SICK and TIRED of you never having any time for me! You’re always doing homework! Doing homework my *ss! I bet you’re cheating on me, huh? Huh?’’ Janae’s shrill voice was even more high-pitched than usual.

‘’Can you just shut up for a minute? Why does everything have to be about you, Janae. I spend time with you so much already it almost makes me sick,’’ James spat out.

I sat on the bed, eyes wide open, frozen into sitting still. What the hell? They were fighting? The perfect couple the whole school talked about?

‘’Well, you know what? Break up with me then. I’ll just find another boyfriend, who does care about me,’’

‘’Look, I don’t have time for this right now, neither am I in the mood for it. We’ll work it out tomorrow,’’ James sounded frustrated and seconds after, his door slammed. I got up and went to the door, peering outside. Unluckily for me Janae saw me.

‘’Don’t think you can get him to yourself now, Arielle. We won’t break up. We’re the perfect couple, you hear?’’ Janae hissed, obviously trying to convince herself.

I stuck my hands up in front of me, ‘’Okay, geez. I wasn’t even planning on it. Calm down,’’ I rolled my eyes. She simply glared at me and stormed down the stairs. If looks could kill.




I put another forkful of the delicious pasta in my mouth. Mmm… Sue sure was an amazing cook. She literally could cook anything from Italian to Spanish to Chinese. And it tasted ten times better than that take-away food you get. I noticed that here in the UK people don’t do it very often. At least not the people I know. Oh- and I forgot to tell you. I’ve been in London! I mean, I actually experienced a ride in the London Eye, saw Buckingham Palace and watched the changing of the guards. I mean, how awesome is that? Of course I emailed my dad all about it. He doesn’t contact me very often, as he is busy, but he’s happy I’m fitting it. I apologised for the childish behaviour I had when he told me I had to leave. I don’t even miss my house back in California. I miss my friends and my school. But I don’t actually miss California. It’s weird. I can’t even imagine why I didn’t want to come here in the first place. When I think that I have to go back in less than 7 months, it makes me want to cry.

But on a more cheerful note, Millie said she has some news for us. I wonder what it is.

‘’Hey! Can I get your attention everyone?’’ Millie hit her fork against her wine glass. I think you’re supposed to do that delicately, but Millie was so excited she… well, she broke the glass. I watched in horrified fascination as the glass shattered, the glass shards flying everywhere.

I heard Pearl screaming, ‘’Duck!’’ and I promptly did so. Millie was still sitting there, staring at the broken wine glass in her hand.

Suddenly, the twins burst out laughing, causing us all to laugh as well.

‘’Well, at least I got your attention,’’ Millie joked, causing us to laugh again.

‘’Listen. I told you I had some news. Well, we… are hosting a ball in two days, and I got you free leave from school to help me plan and arrange everything!’’ she announced. Rose and I stared at each other in disbelief.

‘’Wow, really?’’ asked Paige. We all started talking about how awesome it was going to be.

‘’Yes, really! Now, don’t think it’s free time. There’ll be no slacking. I expect you all to help!’’ Millie shouted over the tumult.

After dinner, Rose and I started working at a piano duet. She loved playing the piano too, but she’s not as good as James.


The next day, Millie woke us all up at 9.30 sharp. I groaned a little as she pulled the covers off me.

‘’Wake up. You’re family too, you know!’’ she grinned at me cheerfully. I laughed and shook my head, ‘’Well… I’m having second thoughts,’’ I grinned back cheekily.

She laughed at me and swatted my arm before heading back to the door.

‘’Oh, I nearly forgot. Meet me and the rest in the living room in 15 minutes. We have a lot to do!’’ she called back, before exiting the room. I quickly got up, showered and put on the first outfit I saw, which was a light-blue coloured dress, with a white cardigan and white leggings with light-blue coloured Toms. I pulled my hair back into a knot and left my face free of make-up to give it a rest. We were home all day anyway.

When I finished I left my room and headed down the stairs.

‘’Elle, wait up!’’ Rose called from behind me. I looked back. She came running down the stairs and linked her arm with mine.

‘’Isn’t this awesome?’’ she grinned.

‘’YES! You suppose it’s a themed ball?’’ I asked and she shrugged her shoulders, ‘’ Dunno… it would be awesome, though!’’

‘’I know, right?’’ I responded and we entered the living room. Millie looked up from the papers she was writing on.

‘’Good morning, girls!’’ she smiled. We were soon joined by the others and an extremely sulky looking James. I guess he wasn’t too excited to be helping with a ball. I felt giddy with excitement even thinking about it. I had thrown a few parties and balls back in California, but they weren’t fancy or… or British.

‘’So. First we have to think what kind of ball we want,’’ Millie explained. At once everyone was calling out suggestions.

‘’Old-themed ball!’’

‘’One where everyone has to dress up like on Halloween!’’

‘’Masquerade ball!’’

‘’Drink and Party,’’ James muttered.

I rolled my eyes at him, even though he could not see it. He was so… so… angry all the time. I mean, come on? Doesn’t he ever get tired of it?

‘’Okay, okay. Let’s do this the organised way, shall we?’’ Millie calmed us down, ‘’I’ll call your name, you give me a suggestion, which I’ll write down to take into consideration, okay?’’

‘’Paige?’’ she asked.

‘’Sailor’s ball. Everyone dresses up as sailors,’’ she suggested. Millie wrote it down.


‘’I think an old-themed ball would be awesome, like the Victorian times or something,’’ she proposed.


‘’Masquerade ball. They’re so awesome!’’ Rose practically squealed.


‘’Why do we have to do a ball? Let’s do a party!’’ James groaned. Millie frowned, ‘’I asked for a suggestion, not a complaint!’’ she reprimanded him.

I put my hand up to my mouth to stifle my laughter, only, unluckily for me, James saw and glared at me. Great. Now he hates you even more. Good work, Arielle!


I thought a minute, then an idea struck me.

‘’How about we let them all come dressed up as a magical creature. For example: vampire, werewolf, fairy, witch, wizard, elf, mermaid…’’ I trailed off. Millie was staring at me and the twins exchanged looks I couldn’t read.

‘’That’s an excellent idea, Arielle!’’ Millie exclaimed, looking happy.

‘’Yes! Let’s do Arielle’s idea!’’ Paige called. The others agreed. James, as usual, was doing something on his phone, not paying attention to anything around him.

‘’Alright. So now we’ve got the idea, we have to start thinking about what we’re going to use as food and drink, the decorations, the exact time, the invitations, everything,’’

When we all had one thing we were in charge off, we were allowed to go to arrange it just as we please. I kind of felt a bit like kindergarten in there, but Millie was only trying to do things the organised way, I guess.

I was in charge of the invitation cards and the decoration of the ballroom.

First I went to Millie’s study. I looked through her colourful papers, and decided the basis would be a royal blue. Then I logged into her computer and googled a site on which I could make the invitation. Half an hour later, I was finished. The invitation colours where white and royal blue, and the whole looked wintery and… magical?

After I finished printing out 200 invites  and one extra one on Royal blue card paper with a white fringe, I started putting them in envelopes. That whole process took me another half hour. I glanced at the clock, putting the last enveloped card on the pile. Thank goodness I wouldn’t have to write down all the addresses and names on the envelopes, or that would take me another half hour and an aching hand. James, the Beaumont’s chauffeur and delivery man, would get a list of people who would be invited and their addresses and he’d drive round, dropping the invitations off.

‘’Arielle?’’ Millie was peering around the corner, ‘’are you finished?’’

‘’Yup,’’ I smiled, putting the pile of envelopes in a bag and labelling it INVITATIONS WINTER BALL, with black marker.

‘’Can I see one?’’ she asked, entering the study.

‘’Of course,’’ I grabbed the extra one I made and gave it to her. She looked at it and gasped, ‘’This is exactly what I had in mind, Arielle. They’re beautiful!’’

She gave me a warm smile and put the envelope back on her desk, ‘’Would you mind coming down to the ballroom with me? I’ve called someone who sells and hires decorations, she needs to have an idea of what to bring,’’

I nodded and closed the bag, ‘’Sure, I’ll come!’’

We headed to the ballroom, where Millie gasped as she opened the doors.

‘’What’s the matter?’’ Rose asked, coming up beside us.

‘’It’s so dirty!’’ Millie said, frowning. I furrowed my brows and peered more closely at the ballroom. It was dusty and the air smelled dusty too. It probably hadn’t been used in a long time.

‘’I’ll have to call the cleaning company before we can decorate,’’ she declared.

‘’No, wait. Why don’t we do it ourselves, I mean, it would be so much fun! We’ll put on some music and dance in the soap bubbles or something cheesy like that,’’ I grinned, thinking about it.

Rose laughed out loud, ’’It’s true mother, it would be a lot of fun. We’re already spoilt as it is, you always say. Well, now we can actually work,’’

I looked at Millie, who had a thoughtful look on her face. Then she nodded, ‘’Alright, we’ll clean it ourselves, but we’ll have to do it tomorrow, because I have a meeting at twelve thirty this midday and won’t be back until dinner,’’ she explained.

‘’We can do it by ourselves, mom. I’m sure you have enough work to do and we won’t want to overstrain those old-lady muscles, won’t we, Arielle?’’ Rose grinned, cheekily. I laughed, as Millie swatted Rose over her head, shaking her head.

‘’You’re getting to cheeky for me, young lady. Allright, you may do it by yourselves, but I want the ballroom clean and whole when I get back, okay?’’ she wagged her finger at us and gave us a stern look before grinning.

‘’Yes, ma’am,’’ we answered in synch, looking at each other and cracking up with laughter as soon as the words left our mouth. Millie shook her head and went upstairs.

‘’C’mon,’’ I motioned Rose and started to explore the ballroom. Goodness, there even were little side rooms with couches and with mirrors and dressing tables to fix your hair and stuff.

‘’Wow, this is an actual ballroom. It’s so cool!’’ I exclaimed, running my hand over the wood grand piano. The wood wasn’t as shiny as it obviously used to be and it was dusty and the keys were a bit yellowish, but even through all that, I could see it was a beauty and a very good piano. There were no other music instruments on the platform, but we could easily put some there. Oh- that reminded me, we hadn’t thought of arranging a band.

‘’Hey Rose,’’ I called her.

‘’Yes?’’ she looked up from where she was checking a little dressing room.

‘’We forgot to arrange a band,’’ I told her.

‘’I thought we were going to use a stereo?’’ she asked, confused.

‘’We could, of course. I only thought a real live band would be… more original?’’

‘’True,’’ she agreed.

‘’Okay, I’ll arrange a band. How about those guys from school?’’ I asked.

‘’Which guys?’’ she asked.

‘’What’s their name again, Falling Stars?’’ I asked, slyly. I knew that Kyle Edwards played in that band, he was the drummer and he sang parts, that’s partly why I suggested them. I watched in amusement as Rose turned pale, then flushed a bright red.

‘’Arielle Mae Norman, don’t you dare,’’ she hissed, still blushing.

I laughed out loud, ‘’Come on, Rose. They’re bloody fantastic!’’

Her normal colour returned and she put on a blank face, ‘’Of course, why not?’’ she asked, putting an indifferent tone in her voice.

I shook my head, still laughing, but returned to scanning the ballroom.

‘’Let’s get the twins, some cleaning stuff and then we’ll get to work,’’ I suggested and Rose nodded, grinning.

Hell, this was going to be fun.

The End

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