The beginnings of a few who came to the Mansion as a refuge--willingly or not so willingly.

They assured her that she was safe here…but even with their wide smiles and encouraging nods, she couldn’t bring herself to…be out there with them. What are those bright lights hanging from the walls and coming up off the floor? Why is there so much noise? What are those huge, furry things running around? Why are there people asking her so many questions? And…and who is this princess that supposedly rescued her? Kingdoms still exist in this time and era?

She hides in the room she awoke in, curled up into herself, trembling, straining to make sense of everything that’s happened. The last thing she can remember is that she was…she was in the hospital room, lying in one of the reclining chairs, waiting for her doctor to walk in… Then there’s a huge blank section in her memory—what could…the man with shaggy, black hair had explained that she was going to be protected here—protected from what? Is she in some sort of danger? When she had asked what she was being protected from, he’d turned away from her and spoken quietly to the person hidden outside the doorway. Then he’d said he’d return later…but he hasn't returned yet. She was so sure he was a kind man…but maybe he’s just acting so she’ll trust him? She’s ignored every call informing her that there’s food outside her door. She’s been in this room, this room with the soft blue curtains keeping the windows closed, and the bed in the middle, neatly made with elegant black and blue patterned covers and pillows, pressing herself into the furthest corner, waiting.

She doesn't remember how she got here…

“Creek?” There’s a gentle knock at the front of the room, and then the door opens, revealing the ebony haired male. “It’s me, Adrian. Are you alright? Charlotte said she left you food but you wouldn't answer her…” He steps inside, shutting the door behind himself.

She flinches when he kneels before her, turning her face away from his line of sight.

“What’s wrong?” He tries again. “We’re not going to hurt you. We want to help you, Creek. If you won’t talk, we can’t do that.”

“H-help m-m-me…?” She whimpers, slowly looking up at him. “I-I have no idea wh-what I-I-I even…need help fr-from…What do y-you people w-want from m-me? I-I've done nothing wrong…!” Her eyes swimming with tears, the woman wraps her arms around her abdomen, seemingly trying to inch back away from the dark haired male blocking her exit. She’d have to touch the bed in order to leave, and…she doesn't want to do that.

“You’re not in trouble, Creek.” Adrian sits on his calves, allowing the shaken female some room. “I know you’re scared. This is a big place, and you don’t know anyone. We even brought you in while you were unconscious. I’m sorry for that, really.” He holds up a small box she hadn't noticed he’d been carrying, offering it to her as recompense, though it could hardly make up for...a kidnapping. But is that what this is? Is it, really? Something just...doesn't feel right... “You haven’t eaten yet, right? Would you like something? You must be famished…especially with all this stress.”

She stares at him, though she knows it’s impolite, through her tears, incredulous. Does he really think I’m going to fall for that? I don’t know what he’s done to that food…! The thought must show on her face, because he pops open the box, pulling out some apple slices and peanut butter.

“It’s my lunch snack, but I’m willing to share with you.” He grins, taking a piece and dipping it in the creamy brown butter. “Don’t worry, my kind doesn't eat poison.” He remarks before sliding the slice into his mouth.

Embarrassed to have been read into so easily, Creek reaches for one, glancing at him hesitantly. He smiles again in response. She covers half of the apple slice with peanut butter, studying the substance curiously for a minute. She doesn't remember ever trying this sort of food…she wonders what it will taste like. Maybe she’ll end up enjoying it.

When the creamy part hits her tongue, she literally starts in surprise. It’s salty, with a sweet underlying taste, faint enough to be appreciated with the bite into the sourness of the green apple. Fingers pressed against her lips after chewing and swallowing, she meets Adrian’s gaze, blushing when she realizes he’s grinning widely, happy that she enjoyed the slice. “You can have the rest,” He nudges the box over to her, crossing his arms behind his head as he leans against the bed.

“O-oh, b-but…what about y-y-your lunch…?” She asks before she can stop herself. “S-surely y-you can’t go without e-eating…n-not that I-I’m trying t-to tell y-you what to do…” She fiddles with the laced hem of her shirt, fidgeting.

Adrian shrugs, “I’m not hungry yet today. You, on the other hand, haven’t ate since you got here.” He tilts his head to look at her, “Don’t worry, you can have them. Charlotte makes them for me every morning as it is.”

So she picks out another slice, ever so slowly, as if to give him a chance to change his mind. He doesn't. Covering her mouth as she swallows another slice after chewing, Creek shyly looks up. “I-is sh-she y-y-your…girlfriend?”

Letting out a comfortable, deep laugh that has Creek blushing all over again, Adrian shakes his head. “No, Charlotte’s my twin sister. You know, we were brought here too.” He adds as he uncrosses his arms, stretching his legs out in front of him. As Creek bites into another apple slice, he goes on. “Twelve years ago, we lost our parents to a wildfire. We’d been wandering around in the forest surrounding this area for a good few months when we decided to follow a man we’d seen hunting nearby us. We were so hungry that day…I remember leading Charlotte by the wrist towards him. He was dressed in some weird dress thing, but…" His expression twists into a grimace, then waves whatever strange thought is on his mind away. "Well, anyway, we followed him for half the day, just trying to reach him for a piece of meat so we could eat.” He slides a napkin over to her when a smudge of peanut butter appears on the corner of her mouth. “And then the next thing we knew, we were standing in front of the gates. We stayed here ever since then.”

Wiping at her chin, Creek looks away, then up at him. “D-do y-you…like it h-here?” comes the meek, whispered question.

Adrian beams, “Of course. It’s not as bad as it must seem to you. You just have to get used to it for a bit.” He takes up the now empty box, tucking her used napkin into it. “By the way, I’m sorry I didn't come back sooner…I had some papers to file on your situation. Do you remember a Doctor Klien?”

And that’s when all the memories come crashing down on her.

The End

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