Chapter 9

Light seeped in through Winters closed eyelids as she awoke, dreary eyed and drowsy. She yawned and opened her eyes slowly, wincing as the light hit them and her eyes adjusted. She rubbed her eyes lightly, forcing them to adjust. As she re-opened her eyes, the light stung a little less, and she opened her eyes wider, confused at her surroundings. The walls around her were not their usual blue colour, and the carpet was a beige colour. After a while Winter’s brain clicked into action as she remembered last night’s events.
            “Tum,” Winter whispered, drowsily, “Tum, are you awake?”
            Autumn sat up immediately, happy at the awakening of her sister and her company. “Yeah, I’m awake,” Autumn replied, feigning tiredness. “How did you sleep?” she questioned, caringly.
            “Oh...” Winter said, pausing, “not too bad, I guess. I had a strange dream but... Yeah, I slept okay,” She sat up and smiled at her sister,  “How about you?”
            “I slept... okay, I guess,” Autumn hesitantly replied; earning herself and confused look from her sister, “I woke up pretty early though,” she added, to cease her sisters confusion and to reassure her.
            “I’m... Sorry... I’m sorry that you had to sleep down there,” Winter struggled to say, through a haze of confusion and weariness, she did not fully understand why her sister had opted to sleep on the floor instead of on the bed next to her, but she let it slide, instead saying, “You could have just kicked me out, you know.”
            Autumn smiled at Winter, “Don’t be silly. What kind of a sister would I be if I didn’t let you come here when you needed me, eh?”
            Winter returned the smile, but it did not reach her eyes, which instead cried out a mournful melody that chilled Autumn, causing her to shiver slightly. She hated to see her sister like this, and she knew that something had to be done to cheer her up. Autumn’s face fell to a thoughtful frown and Winter looked away from her, tears forming in the corners of her eyes as the image of her room flashed across her memory.
            “Thanks,” Winter said, sheepishly, “shall we go get breakfast?” She offered, beginning to clamber out of the bed. The cold wind hit her and she was instantly left longing for the safe warmth of the duvet to envelop and enclose her. She shivered slightly and slipped on Autumn’s dressing gown, watching as Autumn selected a hooded jumper from her wardrobe and threw it over herself. Autumn turned back to face Winter, and offered her elbow, motioning at Winter to link with her.
            Winter smiled and moved over to her sister, sliding her arm through the gap in Autumn’s arm and bending her own arm at the elbow, She smiled across at her sister, who smiled back and said “Let’s go.” The girls reached the door before a thought struck Autumn. She stretched her arm out to where she had slept the night before and picked up an empty glass. She then steered Winter towards the door and down the stairs, closing the door behind them as they left the room.
            The girls chatted quietly as they descended the stairs, arms linked and smiles plastered onto their faces. Both of the smiles were fake, and each knew that, yet they continued to smile nonetheless and as they reached the kitchen they were giggling quietly.
            “Would you prefer toast or cereal?” Winter asked her sister, turning to the cupboards, “I’m making breakfast today, as a way of thanks for last night.”
            Autumn sat at her chair on the table and grinned, “Okay, well I think I’ll start with some poached eggs on toast and I’ll move on from there,” she spoke with a serious tone, but both girls knew she was joking; Autumn hated eggs with a passion, and always had done, “Just kidding. Um, can I have some toast and jam please?” She said slowly, deciding on each bit as she said it and smiling sweetly at her sister.
            “Coming right up!” Winter said, grinning enthusiastically, “and how would you like your toast done this morning, ma’am?” she said, imitating a butler and adding a flourish of her hand as though she was writing down an order.
            “Medium rare,” Autumn joked, giggling and playing along with the charade. The sisters shared a loving smile and Winter turned around, pulling a loaf of bread out of the bread bin and settling it down on a breadboard which she slid effortlessly underneath the bread just as she set it down. She grabbed the knife quickly, sliding it out of the holder with a quick swish of her wrist, and producing a lovely slicing sound as it left the knife stand. She began to saw into the bread, cutting off a thin slice first, which she threw immediately into the bin, and then cutting off two, medium thickness slices of the bread. As she cut, tiny poppy seeds detached themselves from the bread and crumbled to the breadboard, alongside a few other seeds that had fallen off of the seeded loaf.
            Winter lifted the two slices off of the bread board with her slender fingers, nimbly moving across the kitchen and over to the toaster, sliding the slices into the holes and pushing down the slider with her quick fingers. She then rushed over to the fridge, “And what drink would mademoiselle like?” She spoke in an over the top French accent and this forced Autumn to giggle.
            “Ah, qui, qui, please could I have the, uh, how you say... uh juice de pomme?” Autumn replied, also in an over acted French accent, hoping that at least some of the words she had said were real words. She giggled as her sister dramatically opened the door to the fridge, and acted extremely over the top in getting the carton out of the fridge.
            “What ARE you doing?” A voice giggled from the corner of the room, causing both Autumn and Winter to jump at the sudden noise. Winter dropped the carton of apple juice at the noise, and both girls turned towards the doorway, in which a giggling, red faced, Spring stood, leaning against the wooden frame which normally held the door in place. Spring giggled a high pitched girlish giggle once more, and bounded over to the table, taking her seat. Winter bent down to pick up the carton of apple juice from the floor and Autumn could see that she was embarrassed from the large pink tinges on her cheeks. Autumn giggled and Winter looked over and glared at her, sticking her tongue out jokingly.
            At this moment, the toast that was in the toaster popped up, making all three girls jump. They all giggled nervously and Winter leapt over to the toaster, plate in hand. She grabbed the pieces of toast out of the holes and threw them quickly onto the plate, as the heat of them started to hurt her fingers. She ran over to the fridge again and pulled out a jar of Mother Nature’s finest homemade strawberry jam, as well as a jar of Mother Nature’s finest homemade raspberry jam. She looked over at Autumn, holding a jar in each hand. Autumn pointed over at Winters’ left hand, which was outstretched and holding the jar of raspberry jam. Winter shook the jar and Autumn nodded, confirming her choice.
            Spring looked between her sisters, slightly confused. “Why are you making her breakfast for her?” She said, puzzled, “I mean, I know she has a broken arm but... She can make her own breakfast, can’t she?”
            Winter giggled, “Yes, she can make her own breakfast, but I owe her one...” she paused, remembering why she was in Autumn’s room in the first place, “... Summer’s ruined my room.” A dark sadness washed across her face, and all giggles were forgotten.
            Spring stared guiltily down at the floor, “I’m so sorry, Win, I tried to get her to stop... Did she get what she wanted?”
            Winter looked up at Spring, puzzled. “What do you mean by that?” she questioned, attempting to get Springs attention and her eye contact.
            “Oh, um, it’s, um, nothing,” Spring said, the guilt she felt inside shining through in her voice. She maintained her glare at the floor and she felt vaguely like she was staring so hard that any minute now she could stare a hole in the ground.
            Autumn piped up, “What Spring means is... Well... Um...” Autumn faltered and Winter turned and glared at her condescendingly.
            “Well what?” she asked angrily, raising her tone slightly, “you mean to say that both of you knew what she was going to do but neither of you told me? Why would you do that to me? We’re supposed to be friends! We’re supposed to be sisters!” The emphasis on the word sisters brought pain to Spring and Autumn, who both winced simultaneously.
            Autumn sighed, “I’m sorry Win, I just didn’t know how to tell you... This wasn’t what she said she was going to do, she had a plan... But I guess we stayed up too late... And... Well... She must have got angry and torn up your room instead. I’m sorry Win, I should have told you.”
            “Yes,” said Winter, slightly hurt, “you should have told me.” Winter turned back to the tabletop and began to spread jam across the toast which had cooled slightly. She left an angry silence lingering in the room. “Here’s your f*****g breakfast,” she said angrily, hurt tears shimmering in her eyes as she slid the plate onto the table and over to Autumn, “enjoy it.” And with that, she left the room, leaving Autumn and Spring to exchange guilty, worried looks across the table.
            “Should we..?” Spring started, worriedly looking at the door by which Winter had just stormed out of.
            “Maybe we could...” Autumn muttered, looking from the door to her sister and back again. Both girls rose quickly out of their chairs and ran to the door, yanking it open as they did so. They looked around, using their ears to detect the sound, if any, that they could use to work out where Winter was. After a while, they heard a door far up the house slamming. They exchanged a look and began to sprint up the stairs as fast as they possibly could.
            Spring was the first to reach Winter’s bedroom door and as she regained her breath, she turned towards the staircase to wait for Autumn to arrive. Eventually Autumn arrived at the top of the stairs, bright red and panting for breath. She rolled her eyes at her sister, who returned a smile and the girls linked arms, moving up to Winter’s door.
            Autumn extended her arm and rapped sharply upon Winter’s door, three quick knocks and one knock standing alone. “Winter... We’re sorry, please let us in,” Autumn pleaded with the door as both girls listened hard for any tiny amount of noise that the girl inside might make.
            A tender silence rested in the air, before a muffled, “Go ‘way” drifted through the door. Autumn and Spring exchanged guilty looks and Spring stepped closer to the door and bent down to peer through the keyhole.
            “Winter, please?” Spring said, through the tiny hole, “We didn’t want to hurt you... I told Sum I wouldn’t join in and I had to hope she wouldn’t do it... You know what she’s like... Please let us in honey?”
            Autumn and Spring both listened carefully as Winter thought for a second, before quietly creeping out of bed. Autumn was about to begin pleading again, but as she opened her mouth, a stormy looking Winter appeared at the door, face red and wet from crying.
            “Come in then,” she huffed, motioning for them to enter the room.
            Autumn and Spring entered the room, looking around with shock at the bomb site that had been left by their sister. Their jaws simultaneously dropped and they exchanged looks of shock and disbelief. Autumn opened her mouth to speak but couldn’t find the words to speak and instead closed her mouth, bearing a slight resemblance to a goldfish.
            “Oh... Oh my... God.” Spring said, her voice breaking slightly. The sight of the room around her was not only devastating but it terrified her quite a lot. This was because she had seen Summer angry but she had never done anything this bad, which meant that Summer was really very angry. “I’m so... so sorry,” she said, putting an arm around Winter.
            Autumn continued to gawp at the mess but her arm joined Spring’s around Winter’s other shoulder. The three girls pulled each other in and they had a group hug, each girl pulling a little safety from the hug, the warmth radiating from them warming each other’s hearts.
             As the girls separated, Autumn choked out the words she had been attempting to say, “I’m sorry. I... We should have told you, Win. Please, honey, we’re really, really sorry, please forgive us?” the plea and sorrow in her eyes caused a chill in Winter’s heart.
            “Of course,” she smiled, the sorrowful look on Autumn’s face still burned into her eyelids. She could tell that her sisters’ apology was sincere and she felt a little upset that she had hurt her sisters. “I’m sorry,” she started, “I shouldn’t have got angry at you two, I know you didn’t do anything. I’m sorry I swore and I’m sorry I got angry.”
            Autumn and Spring looked at each other, confused. “Babe, you have absolutely nothing to be sorry for. You did nothing wrong. Why are you apologising, silly?” Autumn said, whilst Spring simply nodded in agreement. The girls exchanged a sheepish smile and looked down at the ground, awkwardly.
            “Let’s tidy this mess up, shall we?” said a loud, intrusive voice at the door. The girls turned to the door and stared straight into the face of a severely angry looking Mother Nature.

The End

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