A single drop from the sky. I looked up at the cloudy haze above me, having not noticed earlier how much the weather had changed since my early-evening wanderings. Fat rain drops started to fall down from the sky and I ran through it, my sandals slapping against the sidewalk noisily as I looked for a shelter.
It was hard to see through the heavy fog that suddenly started to cloud around me, preventing me from finding an escape from the cold rain. I needed to find a way out, mother wouldn't be too pleased to see me all wet and soaking when I returned back home. But fortunately, just as I thought this, the mist started to fade away as quickly as it had formed, allowing my vision to clear.
I made my way towards the first building I saw, a small supermarket around the corner. There was a shade above the outer ridges of the building, covering those who stood outside. It was only when I got closer and took some shelter myself, did I recognize one woman among the others.
"Oh, it's Sarah's child. What a surprise." Madame Roux took on a tone of disapproval as she eyed me up and down, holding her groceries even more tightly to her chest at my arrival. She didn't look too pleased to see me here, as she surveyed me. "Out on one of your strolls again, eh?"
I nodded and stepped back to a corner, preferring to be alone than with a woman such as Madame Roux. She's one of my mother's closest friends, and has been since before I was born. I would have thought she would be the least bit affectionate towards me then since she'd seen me grow up. But this woman had a keen eye for the flaws in someone. Everything I did, she judged. I tended to avoid most of my mother's friends since nearly all of them were on the same level as Madame Roux.
"Your mother is waiting for you at home. She's got some news for you and I think it best your hurry home rather than make her wait."
I nodded once more, and bit down on my lower lip. Mother never liked me going out for my walks. It had become a daily activity of mine, something I'd grown to do more after the divorce. She'd warned me earlier on today, telling me she didn't want me going out for so long, also pointing out the weather. I took heed upon her orders but the weather had always seemed a game of probability. I didn't expect it to rain as much as I'd expected to run into Madame Roux.
The woman inspected me with her dark eyes, waiting for me to take the first step into the rain. I always showed respect upon my elders and knew not to cause trouble, but I'd decided to make my decisions for myself.
"I think I'll wait for the rain to come to a stop before I head home, Madame Roux."
Her dark eyes flashed with anger, and her thin lips pursed into a straight line. "Very well. Do as you say."
Our conversations usually ended on this sharp note but I'd grown used to it and so I waited. Luckily enough, the rain did come to a slow stop, the plitter-platter against the ground dying down. Sighing, I set step on the pavement, knowing my way home from this landmark.
It was a short journey for me, lasting only ten minutes. If my parents hadn't taken the trouble in building our house on top of a hill, it wouldn't have taken as long to get there.
As I slowly ascended the hill, I could see a figure from the distance and it looked an awful lot like my mother. I sighed, hoping that she wouldn't punish me like last time. It wasn't my fault that it had rained but yet again, she'd argue back with the reason that she'd warned me about the weather.
Getting closer and closer, I held my breath as I opened the small gate in front of the house to let myself in. My mother stood in her perfectly straight poise, her arms crossed across a chest with a tight frown written across her face. I could hear the impatient tapping of her heels against the wooden porch floor, knowing very well she'd probably been in this same posture for much longer than I knew of.
I put on a poker face as I approached her, trying to ready myself for the possible lecture she'd have ready in mind, or the punishments coming at me.
"You're late," she said, her voice sounding quite calm yet with the dangerous tint behind it.
"Yes mother," I whispered obediently, knowing my silence would only further infuriate her. "You were right about the weather, and I shoud've taken into mind your warning. I accept it as my own fault."
My mother looked down at me, her eyebrows only mashing together further hearing the words I'd said. I took it as a sign of rejection to my apology but what she said next surprised me.
"You and I will be going out in exactly ten minutes. We're expected at your stepfather's mansion, and I want you to get ready in the short time we have left. You should also be well aware that we are the visitors, and we will also be meeting your stepbrother. Keep that in mind and be on your best behavior." With that last word, my mother turned on her heel and walked into the house, leaving me alone to keep up to my tasks.
I sighed as I entered the house and went up the stairs to get ready. As I refreshed myself, slipping out of my wet and dirty clothes and getting changed into a dry and cleaner one, my mind was elsewhere.
Mother hadn't even remarried yet but she already considered the others as family. It's only been a month since my parents had divorced, the reason being the fact my mother no longer loved the man she was with. Father was great, he was the only one within my family that loved me and showed attention to me. I hated my mother for the divorce, though I'd known even before it that she was having an affair.
Father no longer lived with us and instead moved back to his own parents, far away from us in the country side. To see him again was a dream, one that my mother would find too expensive to come true for me. She'd already scheduled her new marriage with this man, thrilled with the idea of two families joining together.
"You'll have a brother," she told me as if it was the best thing in the world. My lack of enthusiasm and happiness for her was what created the drift between us. I wanted to live with my father again, but she refused to provide that for me.
And so, it began.
Sighing, I looked at myself in the mirror. I was dressed in a long dark red evening gown, that shimmered down to the ground, covering the sight of the worn out sandals I'd preferred to wear. My short black hair was combed neatly, and hung loosely by my shoulders whereas I'd chosen to wear the earrings my father had given me for my fifteenth birthday.
Thinking I looked fine, I went back downstairs and saw my mother waiting for me, a forced smile on her face.
I think so.