Chapter 12

            “Ready?” Spring said as Autumn ran to the door where she was waiting. Spring nodded solemnly back, looking vaguely concerned.
            “What’s up?” Spring said, noticing the concern that was radiating from Autumn’s face. “What’s wrong?”
            “Uh... well... it’s just... I’m not really happy about... about leaving Winter alone... what if Summer... well what if she does something?” Spring looked up, nodding.
            “I know,” Spring said, “I... I was thinking the same thing... is it really a good plan to leave her alone?”
            Autumn contemplated for a second, before shaking her head. “Maybe we should just stay. Just... until we’ve told her about Summers plan.” Spring let out a relieved sigh, glad that she hadn’t had to tell Autumn that she didn’t really want to go in and she had only said it to break the silence.
            “So...” Spring said, “What should we do instead?”
            “Shall we just go watch Win again?” Autumn said, smiling. Secretly, she really enjoyed watching her sister perform. It was calming and enjoyable, but Autumn would never admit to that, due to the fact that she thought her sisters would tease her about being ‘weird’. Maybe one day, Autumn thought, she would tell them and they would be okay with it, but for now, it would remain a secret.
            “You go, I’ll catch up later, I need to go to the toilet,” Spring said, smiling.
            “M’kay,” Autumn said, pulling her left arm through her coat sleeve. She smiled at Spring who ran up the stairs immediately. Autumn pulled the door open slowly and stepped outside. She instantly spotted Winter prancing around in the pure snow, creating footprints and tracks as she went. The bright turquoise jacket that Winter was wearing contrasted with the white snow and made Winter stand out vividly. Autumn walked towards her, keeping in mind the earlier events and not attempting to get too close.
            “Winter!” Autumn said, raising her voice to a quiet shout so that she could be heard above the wind. This time, Winter turned as soon as the words had left Autumn’s mouth, immediately stopping her dance.
            “Hey, Tum, how is it going?” Winter said, cowering from the wind that whipped around and blew hair into their faces. Winter used her gloved hand to move the hair away from her eyes, sweeping it gently across her face.
            Autumn held her hand up to her face, stopping the wind that blew in her face. “I’m fine!” she shouted above the wind, “Spring’s coming out too, she’s just gone to the toilet. We’re going to watch you do your thing, if you don’t mind, that is?”
            Winter nodded, “Yeah, that’s cool,” she said, “just don’t get too close, okay? I don’t want to hurt you again...” she smiled sweetly at her sister, feeling guilty for the cast around her arm. “How is the arm?” she yelled.
            “It’s alright, it doesn’t hurt at all,” she smiled, “and Mother Nature said she would fix it for me later, after lunch.” Winter smiled a guilty smile ayt her sister, uypset for the fact that she had caused this.
            “I’m still sorry, you know that, right?” Winter said, the guilty half smile remaining on her face, “really really sorry.”
            Autumn put her arm around her sister, grinning. “I know, honey, and you needn’t be, I shouldn’t have run into the storm, should I?” Autumn, who was a little taller than Winter, kissed the top of Winters head, her lips brushing against the bright white hair that trailed all the way down to Winter’s belly button. Autumn had always been slightly jealous of Winter’s long hair; Autumn could never get away with long hair, it always tangled, even at the shoulder length cut she normally had, and she couldn’t even begin to imagine how bad the tangling would be if she grew her hair that long, so she always kept her hair at shoulder length and smaller. “Don’t worry about it, it will get fixed soon.”
            Winter smiled up at Autumn, happy and grateful for the acceptance and forgiveness she was being shown. Autumn’s rounded face smiled back down at her and a warmth spread through Winter’s body. “Thanks.” She said, still smiling. “For everything, I mean. You’re too nice. Thanks for letting me stay in your room... sorry for taking your bed.”
            “Like I said, don’t worry about it,” Autumn broke away from her sister, “well, I’ll go sit over there again. If you want anything, come tell me, yeah?”
            Winter smiled, “sure thing, sister,” she thought for a second before continuing, “You don’t have to stay, you know?”
            Autumn giggled, “I want to, silly.” Winter smiled appreciatively and nodded. Autumn turned around to see Spring closing the front door. She waved to Winter and began running across the snow covered garden to Spring. “Hey, you,” she said, smiling. Spring smiled back, looking slightly upset. “What’s up?”
            “Oh... It’s nothing,” Spring replied. “I’m just a bit... tired.”
            “Do you want to go for a lie down? You’re looking a little pale, if you ask me,” Autumn said, a concerned look on her face.
            “No,” Spring answered. “I’m fine... do I really look pale?” she asked, worriedly.
            “Yeah, a little. You’ve got pink cheeks, from the cold and everything, but you still look really pale... or maybe I’m just imagining it,” Autumn giggled, sitting on the seat where she had sat before. “So... how are you?” she asked, feeling a little awkward for thinking Spring was pale.
            “Um, alright, I guess. I’m kind of... upset... with all of this stuff going on... you know. It makes me sad... Why can’t they just get on?” Spring said, frowning.
            “What do you mean?” Autumn spluttered, angrily. “Winter tries to get on, Summer’s being a complete cow! She started this! Winter did nothing!”
            Spring cowered from her sister, who was radiating anger which was growing by the minute, “Okay, I’m sorry,” she uttered, quietly, a hint of fright in her voice, “I didn’t mean it... I’m sorry”
            Autumn held her glare with Spring for a second before dropping it and staring guiltily at the floor. “Sorry,” she said, “I’m just tired and it’s making me angry. Sorry for shouting.”
            Spring huffed under her breath, shocked and confused by her sister’s outburst. She never would have expected the usually peaceful, calm, loving Autumn to be taking a side, even if the side she took was the right one. Autumn had, until this argument, always sat on the fence during these arguments. Spring was happy to admit that most of the time it was Summer starting them and Summer being cruel, but she was still their sister and Spring simply couldn’t understand the hatred and contempt that Autumn was showing. “Uh,” she nervously replied, “it’s okay,” she smiled at her sister who attempted a smile back.
            A thought struck Autumn, suddenly. “Oh, god,” She said, worriedly.
            “What is it?” Spring questioned, “What’s wrong?”
            “Oh... I promised Mother Nature I would go into town and get her some things... oh and I promised Alec that I would go see him!” Autumn looked down at her watch. “I’ll have to go after lunch, now. Oh I’m so stupid and forgetful,” Autumn said, cursing herself.
            “Ha,” Spring said, smiling, “and ooh you and Alec eh?” she joked, nudging Autumn with her elbow and doing a dramatic, over the top wink.
            Autumn blushed and attempted to hide behind her fringe, embarrassedly. “don’t say that,” she giggled. Alec was an eighteen year old, who lived the other side of town to the girls. Autumn had met him when her, Winter and Spring had gone into town during the Summer and since then had not stopped thinking about him. She hadn’t managed to see him recently and so instead they were maintaining their relationship over the internet, emailing and messaging each other as much as they could. Autumn had pretended that she had been sent away to a boarding school and Alec had believed her.
            Spring giggled, “Aw, you two are so adorable.” Autumn hit her sister lightly on the arm, embarrassed by the teasing.
            “Shut up,” she said, mouse like and adorable. “I’ve not seen him in ages, okay? He thinks I went to boarding school in America... I don’t know what I’ll say to explain coming back...”
            “Just tell him you hated it and Mother Nature promised that if you still hated it after 3 months then you could come back?” Spring suggested, “or tell him... It’s half term and you’re quitting? I don’t know,” she shrugged, “He’ll just be pleased to see you.”
            Autumn smiled. “I know,” she said, giggling. Spring joined in the giggling, mostly due to the pleased, excited look on Autumn’s face.
            “You really are adorable, you know that, right?” Spring said, composing herself and holding back giggles. Autumn turned an even pinker pink, embarrassed about being ‘adorable’. “Ha ha, you’re blushing so bad!” Spring laughed, exaggerating slightly. Autumn blushed a little more, causing Spring to laugh even more.
            Autumn turned her attention to Winter, who was sat in the middle of the garden, looking bored and thoroughly tired. She was using her arms to cast and occasionally sent a feeble gust of wind or frost from the tips of her fingers, but she seemed to have lost the enthusiasm and general happiness she had been bathing in earlier.
            “I wonder what’s wrong with Win,” Spring said, noticing her sister’s strange dip in energy. Autumn was brought back to where she was, Springs voice making her jump.
            “We should go see what’s wrong,” Autumn added, simply. She stood up and outstretched her arm to Spring, who grabbed it and used it to pull herself up off of the bench. She then linked her arm around Autumn’s, as they always did, and both girls walked over to Winter together.
            When they arrived, a dazed and slightly scared looking Winter looked up at them. She flicked her gaze between the two girls and then fixated it upon sister Autumn. Her eyes pleaded at her sister, who understood exactly why she was getting this look. Winter’s eyes were full of upset and pure terror, which scared Autumn slightly.
            “What’s wrong, Win?” Spring asked, flicking her own gaze between Autumn and Winters’ eyes, wondering what the look they were exchanging meant.
            Winter shook her head and broke the stare she was holding with Autumn. “Oh, it’s ... nothing,” she said, hesitantly, “I’m just tired...”
            Spring looked worriedly between her sisters, wondering what she had missed. Autumn smiled at her reassuringly and Winter avoided her gaze, instead opting to look down at the ground. “Guys...” she whined, “what’s happened? What did that look just then mean?”
            Autumn looked at her, feigning ignorance. “What look?” she said, hinting confusion.
            Winter remained silent and continued to stare at the ground. Behind the girls a loud, cheerful voice cried out, “Lunch time, girls!” They turned to see Mother Nature stood by the door, waving to them to come inside. Autumn and Spring both outstretched their hands to Winter, who took one in each hand and pulled herself up. She linked arms with both of her sisters, carefully avoiding contact with Autumn’s broken arm, and lead her sisters towards the house, not stopping for anything. They reached the front door and began to kick their shoes off, so they didn’t spread snow around the house and on the carpet.
            Winter marched towards the dining room, followed by Autumn and Spring who exchanged a glance, both rolling their eyes at each other. They both smiled, mostly to themselves because of Winter’s sudden burst of happiness and energy.

The End

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