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Améa Nedvidek

Narragyambie
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Améa Nedvidek last won the day on June 23

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    Kaya Scodelario

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  1. Her heart howled with the pain. Améa had been taught from a very young age not to seek comfort, but to push back the flood of emotion. Act on reason, on what was logical, on what was true. Anger had been her weakness, she struggled to push that back, but pain like this was different. The urge to seek help was so easily smothered, tears locked away until a more appropriate time could be found to let them loose. And what would she do with them anyway? She couldn't cry to her mother. She didn't know her father well enough. Or even Jezebel. For all that she was loyal to them, her blood, there was not one among them that she felt she could seek out for comfort. Sadness was a private thing, and Zane had never liked to see her cry either. It was only for the quiet moments of alone time, when she couldn't hold it back anymore. Loose fur stuck to the tears on her cheeks, itching at her skin... but she didn't care. The wind had a chilly bite, the ground was rough, but none of that mattered because she didn't want to move. If she left this moment, it may be gone forever. The comforting buzz of the big cat's purr, the gentle rise and fall of his body as he breathed alongside her. No words came to her lips, but they didn't have to. The pain painted a picture, a slideshow of snapshots from her life. Herself, her father, the violin duets, the balcony, the betrayal, the knife, the blood. The violin as it was now, discarded and dusty. A broken heart with spiderwebs woven between the strings, and an emptiness that echoed where the music used to be.
  2. It is bad still I miss mine husband.

    1. Vladimir Valentin VII

      Vladimir Valentin VII

      Such emotions take time to process... Ergo, no, it is not bad. I know the timeline all too well I'm afraid.

  3. Sure enough, the kitten was not one to be confined and squirmed out of her grasp with great impatience. Améa struggled to keep it there, even as her ears picked the sound of shifting and changing, but the kitten would have none of it. It struggled free, leaping away for the freedom to roll about the grass and tear apart a small weed flower. It was only the kitten's nature, and yet that innocent rejection stung. Her face exposed without the kitten as a shield, her arms felt empty and she was plunged into a deep sea of loss. Free falling into a vast pit, there didn't seem any end to this. All her life she'd sought for something stable to hold onto. Something she could guarantee. First her father, then.... she'd made the mistake of hoping Adele could provide that same security. When she didn't, Zane had been there. Now... now there were others who promised her they could and would, but who could she really trust? And even if they were genuine, it seemed only certain that whatever she found would be taken away as punishment. She just kept... falling. Drifting. Aching for connection and too afraid to believe it would last. How many times did Jezebel and Stuart and the others have to prove themselves to her? It wasn't them. It was never them. They had nothing to prove, she was just... not worthy. It wasn't enough, either, for them to think she was worthy--mistaken as they may be. Fate knew the truth and fate would tear them away from her no matter what they believed. The loneliness was crushing. The gentle nudge to her shoulder made her turn, and freeze. Caught out, she knew the panther was Vladimir, the eyes could not lie. Her breath caught in her throat as though it were a solid block, instinct screamed at her to push him away. Keep him back. Deny that she hurt. Make him leave. Call him a liar for using a form that was not the one she knew. Turn anger upon him until he left and never again tried to soothe her. Caught in that red gaze, she was paralysed between fight and flight. Run away, never speak of this again. He has seen your pain. A long, heart-twisting moment passed. Until her breath came back in deep gulps, arms flying suddenly around the neck of the muscular beast, squeezing tight until her face was buried safely among the glossy black coat. In gasps she sobbed, curling her knees up and taking solace from the sound of the panther's blood beneath his skin. Warm, solid. She clung to him as if he were all that was real. And perhaps he was.
  4. She knew the song. It echoed the soundtrack of her deepest sorrows, a first love crashed and burned. A sister loved and lost. A mother she needed and pushed away. Cold nights behind the defunct chimneys of Tallygarunga, staring up at the stars and pleading for a way to make sense of her life. All that had ever come was the music, and while it could not carry away her burdens, it had kept her company through them. Améa wondered if he knew, if he had been aware of her listening. Had he chosen the song so specifically? She kept her face pointed away, down at the cat that crawled around her lap, in case he should be able to read her feelings from her expression. The song of her home played still in her mind, winding through Vladimir's performance as a counter-melody. The two seemed to fit perfectly, and when his instrument fell silent she felt her own song stronger than ever. She heard it in her mind as her father played it, as they had played it together. She could see him on the balcony waiting for her, her stool and violin ready. "If it is your will to keep playing, I would not protest," she said, picking the cat up to hold it close. How far life had come from those happy, truly happy moments. But that had been her choice, hadn't it? She had done this to herself. She did not deserve music, let alone the love of the man who taught her. Every sorrow was deserved and she had more debt yet to pay. This was to be her mission, she realised. To atone for the wrong she had caused, and she would never be truly done. How could she be? There was no price she could pay, even as long a she might live, that would satisfy what she had taken away from the world. She buried her face in the soft fur of the cat, letting it soak up the tears that were beginning to form. Music was indeed universal. It spoke to Améa in ways that words would always fail. It brought back feelings she longed to numb. It made her realise how beautiful art and music and life could be. And how she deserved none of it.
  5. Améa's head turned at the sound of the door, a gentle nod to acknowledge Vladimir's presence and indicate that he was welcome in joining her. With all the energy brimming inside her, Améa looked impossibly alive. Her skin glowed, her eyes a sharp and piercing blue. It was a flawless beauty that crossed the boundary of simple attractiveness into unnatural and weird. It radiated in the air around her, a porcelain doll set to explode. The faintest smile graced her lips when Vladimir remarked on the cat, she was proud of her efforts. Améa had a knack with animals that she did not have with people, and it was never more evident than in her ability to calm the fear from the most frightened creatures. Small hands caressed the soft coat of the cat, marvelling at how friendly he had become. Vladimir had made himself comfortable with his seat and cello, and Améa was perfectly happy with that. In years past, she had heard him play. Once upon a time they had both haunted the rooftops of Tallygarunga, brooding out of sight of the other, connected only by the soft low tones of Vladimir's music. She never told him that she listened, or what it had meant to have that sound there. How it had kept her company and eased some of her toughest heartaches as Adele's life imploded and exploded in endless cycles. At his question, she turned back to watch him again, the cat crawling across her lap and trying to find more food. A melody jumped to mind, a melody that played forever in the back of her mind. She kept it silenced, unable to bear the searing pain that came with it, now it roared symphonic in her mind. "The song I should wish is not one that is known," she said. It was a melody of home, a lullaby first crooned to her cradle and later played in duet. Améa would be pressed to remember the name or origin of it, but she knew each note intimately. Améa looked back down at the cat, biting her bottom lip. "Play what it is your favourite," Améa's final answer was light, or tried to be. The song in her mind would not cease, she needed to drown it out.
  6. Améa had to stay near blood family. This didn't sit well with her desire for isolation and quiet, the Blairs were social and noisy people by nature, and her mother's family... well, "dramatic" didn't quite cover it. Caleb's ongoing feud with David was getting worse, and Adele liked to have arguments out loud. With everyone. She still felt personally responsible for what had happened to Lorelei, didn't want to talk about it. At all. Now with her smaller size she couldn't even escape into her chores with the animals. There were some she could attend to, but not enough to keep her busy for the full day. She'd made the mistake of wandering too far, felt the tight strain on her body that Flora had warned her about. It intensified sharply the further she got from her nearest blood relative, and as the energy she was holding grew, the closer she needed to be. Mary was inside, and so Améa had taken herself out to the front yard to sit with a three-legged cat who was new to the rescue. It was timid, but had taken a liking to her. The necklace that stopped her magic from seeping out had not stopped digging into her skin, and she hadn't got used to it either. Distractions were the only way to go, so sitting in the late autumn sun hand-feeding a scared cat was a good start. The weather had cooled enough that her customary long sleeves were appropriate, all dark in her true Wednesday Addams style. Much as Améa had given up things for Zane, there were some parts of her that never changed.
  7. Améa was more than certain. She needed to atone for what she had brought upon her family, and though the punishment could never be enough---it was a start. As the triplets left her side, she squeezed each one gently on the arm. Améa knew what they were doing, and she held no fears for them. There was no reality in which Viktor would cause them harm, and if the world really was that broken, no one here who would allow it. The gentle touch of Vladimir's words in her mind was oddly welcome, where she generally felt the presence of another to be intrusive. The touch of the necklace as it was fastened around her neck was less welcome. It felt like tiny knives pricking her skin. Even as she tried to adjust her collar to cushion the edges, they still seemed as sharp and painful as if the fabric wasn't there. She tried not to fiddle with it further, aware that this too was part of her atonement. Améa stood, moving to help where she could---but an odd sensation swept through her. One she knew, vaguely, from long ago. Her mind swirled and her body felt... tight. Like it was floating, though she could see her feet firmly planted on the ground... which was getting closer and closer. Her limbs shrank rapidly, bones cracking and crunching as her body re-assembled itself back to... a child? She worried that it wouldn't stop, staring at Flora in horror. "Did you not listen, Ruella?" Flora said, with a roll of her eyes. "This state will conserve your energy. And you will be required to be in the company of your blood kin every moment, this is not optional." "What happens if she is not?" Nika asked, still clinging to Viktor. "She must be watched," Flora hissed. "If she is to try and use what is contained in her, it is a match to gasoline." Améa nodded, simply accepting this. Wrapping the excess fabric from her clothes around her, she tied them neatly in place. Did blood kin still mean Mrs Mary? That was all she really needed to know. She had become accustomed to life with Mrs Mary.
  8. Flora laughed again, a sound that shimmered in the breeze. "Oh, dear boy," she said to Alex. "How little you know---you do not know who my mother is. Did you assume it was Lillian? Ah, if only. My mother did not want me, and as such I have no need or care for her. Perhaps a model you may wish to follow? Your continued desire for such a thing is..." Flora waved a tiny hand. "Pathetic." It was harsh, but it was true. She couldn't understand why Alexander was so determined when it came to Lillian. Flora knew what motivated Lillian most times, and unless it was something that had the potential to last, Lillian would reject it. Alexander was a glass bomb that the elder woman would not allow in her heart, a limited joy that would shred her to pieces when it ended. Flora didn't really understand that either though, she connected with people on practical---not emotional---terms. All bar one. Améa blinked as Viktor began to lash out, drawing the triplet's attention back toward herself and away from their father. They would know, of course, but they didn't have to see. Her lips thinned with worry as Viktor fought with his twin, her expression crumpling to one of guilt and apology to Vladimir. This was her fault. How could Zane do this though? To Lorelei, who was innocent? She lifted her hand, soft waves of her own magic threading through Vladimir's umbrakinesis to soothe the immediate physical hurt. She could not heal the anger or the worry, but this... was not enough. Not nearly. But she could do this. Her eyes locked with Vladimir's, if he knew better how she could help---she was listening. Flora, however, kept a level gaze on Jezebel. "We will need a battery," she said. "The amount of energy required is far more than any of you--even Lillian--can gather naturally, but it must be present to undo Bethianna's work. A curse wrought of such desperate emotion is amplified by thousands, Anna--did you not think of that? You could not have simply let the boy suffer, our kin feel uncomfortable, and the rest have a cozy nap?" Flora rolled her eyes. Idiots. What had been a mildly inconvenient sleeping spell had become a monster in Bethianna and Lorelei's attempts to avoid damage to the guests. But she was off track. "There is no device that can hold such energy, either. Only one of our own," she returned to her point. A living battery. "One of you will be required to act as such. You will be cut from all but your most basic abilities, returned to a state where you require minimal energy in yourself. You will need to be in the company of blood kin at all times. You will be guarded, watched, an asset we can ill afford to lose. You will be full beyond bursting, and still filled more each day." Flora smiled her satisfied, calm smile. "Like a sneeze that will not come, a full bladder with nowhere to go. It will be dangerous if it consumes you, if you allow it to spark. You will be full of fuel and ready to explode. But you must conserve every drop." Flora folded her arms. "And the rest of you will visit this battery, feed to it your excess. Even should it protest the pain, the discomfort. Only when there is enough can we proceed." she turned. "Ruella," Flora said. "You will be our battery." Before anyone could object, Améa nodded, accepting her duty. This was her mess, and she would pay the costs.
  9. At the blast of emotion, Améa rose to her feet. She looked down, knowing the triplets had felt it too, and brushed the back of her fingers against each triplet's cheek as a reassurance that everything was and would be fine. She knew Adele well enough to know that, although intense, it wasn't distress. Her gaze turned to Vladimir, who by now could see the attentions of her family gravitate toward the center of the blast. She inclined her head as if to invite him along to investigate. Unless the situation was a case of life and death, she saw no need to break the silence of her costume. "Uncle Vladimir, do you know who Mamiere is here as?" Veronika chirped as they walked along. Améa simply smiled. Every time Nika called her that, the warmth in her heart grew beyond its already impossible size. As they came closer, Améa's gaze fixed on the stranger embracing Alexander. There was a familiarity about him she couldn't place, and she looked back at Vladimir. Was this someone who had come into their lives while she was away? Adele was crying---why? Améa frowned. And then Rheldor spoke, an answer so obvious she felt she should have realised. It was her grandfather. The tears Adele was crying were a happiness she'd long surrendered, and the thought poked at an old but unhealed wound. He seemed wonderful, almost too wonderful. Améa felt sadness cloak her as she watched. Living with Stuart reminded her daily about what she had thrown away, and now it seemed that even Adele still deserved that type of love. Could she ever... earn it back for herself?
  10. I think Mrs Mary is surprised to see me writing. It's no secret that I failed many years at Tallygarunga due to poor language skills, and that my speech is not as fluid as that of my family. They forget (or don't realise) that I don't speak English natively. Even years after Grandmiere deposited me here in the hopes that Mamiere would take care of me, I still find it awkward and difficult. I don't understand why Mamiere insists on speaking it at all, especially among our own---our language is far more beautiful and expressive. But she never has truly appreciated anything of home. I know I have no right to say that of her, I have my own ungratefulness to atone for. Home meant the possibility that we would encounter Mamiere or Jezebel, and so in my life with my husband, I did not visit. Though Grandmiere, and even Bethianna, came to beg. They too, gave up. I chose my husband over everything else, in the belief that I truly had nothing else. Jezebel is a far better candidate for Mamiere's position (and it was already painfully clear that being more likeable and closer to Mamiere would see her chosen for it, and not I), Mamiere still held me at a distance, and what little connection I did feel to any of those that were family... I knew could vanish as quickly as it appeared. Perhaps this was a mistake, but the logical choice was Zane. He made me feel complete. Wanted, on such a total level. I didn't mind that he wanted me to himself, because I wanted him in the same way. It seemed only fair, and he gave me such security and a life more stable than any Mamiere had ever been able to. He had anger, he was not always kind, and he was not always gentle---I know he always loved me. And I always loved him. To such a level that I would surrender my own last breath if it meant he could take one more. I still feel much of that. Now it is more complicated. My devotion to him is the cause of my sickness, and then there is Veronika. Our daughter. He would love her, I know that. He wants for us to have children, he has always wanted children. And I... have always ensured it did not happen. This is the one thing I will not give him, whatever it takes to hold it back. I know he would never hurt a child, especially his own, but there are more hurts than he knows. I could not allow a child to live in the house where we fight, I could not allow them to see and to fear the things that I came to accept as part of our lives. I am an adult who chose to stay. I knew the cost. A child does not have that. It is the end for Zane and I. Not because I do not love him, or because I fear returning to his wrath. Because I could not bear to be parted with sweet Nika, and I will not allow him to know of her existence. This is my duty as her mother, and I have no regrets in breaking my own heart to save hers. She will grow up not knowing her true father, as I did. Viktor is a fine man, though, and fills the role well. Nika deserves that. Watching them together, I miss my own father---rather, the man Mamiere left me with. He was a father to me. It never mattered to him that I chose silence. Mamiere would get frustrated, command me to speak---and I would not. I decided very young that words were powerful, and people often talked more than they listened. Mamiere is a prime example. I don't see the value in idle chat, when I speak it is with purpose. Often there is no purpose to speak. Once he knew I was not fully mute, that it was a choice, Father understood that. He taught me to speak in different ways. He put a violin in my hands, and showed me how to say things that cannot be said in words. We played together often, up until the day of his death. I have not played since. Caleb knows this, and yet he pressures me to return to it. But I cannot talk about Father. Not openly. I think it stings Jezebel that I do not recognise Mr Stuart as my father. I wish there was an easier way to explain why. Mr Stuart is a good and strong man, I do respect him. In any other world I would be proud to be his daughter, just as Jezebel is. But I was Father's daughter first, and in the ending of that I caused myself to be someone who is not deserving of Mr Stuart. Any time he is close, I feel the sickening guilt that reminds me of the choices I made, the reason I do not have a Father to welcome me back home. I remember balancing on a chair so we would be the same height while we played our duet, and I remember the intense sorrow and betrayal on his face when he realised I was killing him. I remember how that look froze on his face at the end, how his body ran cold while I sobbed upon it, and how Bethianna had to pry me away hours later---before I could be caught bloodied and weapon in hand. There is no reason that excuses what I have done. The gaping hole in my life, left by Father, is of my own making. What pain it brings is deserved. To have Mr Stuart fill it, to feel happiness and love like that once more? Why should I be allowed to escape the only true punishment I have been given for my actions? I don't know if Mamiere has told him this fact of me, I know it horrifies her. She has not told Caleb, nor David. She does not want them to fear me. I doubt she has told Mr Stuart. Would he hold me so close if he knew? At least I have my costume ready for Jezebel's "un-wedding". I am not sure about such a public event, given all that is happening---Zane may well stumble across such a thing. But I am looking forward to it still, it is always fun to watch the children play together. Mamiere is happy with David back, and Caleb has even developed his own fondness for Uncle Alex and his girlfriend. If I cannot be with Zane, I will be grateful for the family that does not leave. Vladimir will also be there. I cannot tell if he thinks less of me for how he found me on the street that day, but he is wise enough not to say anything. Perhaps I should speak with him about it? I don't know. I feel I should at least thank him, I was in no condition to do so at the time. For now, I must go. It is time to feed the animals, and once that is done---Mrs Mary will ensure I eat until I burst. ...I do love Mrs Mary, I think. She is much warmer and kinder than Grandmiere ever is. Except when she is stern, which is only with good reason. Jezebel is very lucky to have been placed with Mr Stuart, I could not imagine what it is like to be raised as she was. I am glad that I can at least give that to Nika.
  11. Améa worked diligently. There was a reason this had taken so long to do in the fairytale, she had been practicing for days and only had a few sections of a shirt done. Even then she felt she'd rushed it a little. As the children came near, she folded her work away. She'd not bothered to heal her hands, or perhaps she still could not, either way the blisters added to the aesthetic of the costume and she was content with them. Her arms wrapped around Nika as the girl climbed into her lap, fingers absently combing her hair down to sit neatly. Lei explained what she was doing, and to that she nodded, lifting the partially-done shirt from her basket to demonstrate. Another key point of her costume was that Elisa did not speak, to do so would destroy any hope had of breaking the curse. Améa wasn't given to a large amount of words anyway, this suited her fine. Another nod was afforded to Lei, it was a beautiful set up. She looked around the area, taking it in once again---and spotting Adele as she ducked off after Bethianna. Odd. Améa wondered if she ought to follow, but decided against it. Tensions between those two were always difficult to navigate. As Nika mentioned dancing, she nodded again, pressing her lips to her daughter's forehead in a definite "yes". Silence was a beautiful thing, Améa felt. So much was said in words but never truly expressed. Her hand lifted to acknowledge Alex's wave, and she seemed rather relaxed today. She didn't hate Alex, she just didn't trust that he wouldn't be like the rest of their family. And if he wasn't, he would be a victim of them. She watched as well as her younger brother consorted with the red-haired girl, transformed into a bunny-esque figure without the use of a wand. Curioser and curioser. Caleb tore across the grass toward Alex. "Uncle Alex! Look! Cass made me the March Hare!" It was good to see Caleb being excited, and bonding with others. Améa turned back to the children, about to show them how she wove the cloth from the nettles. She lifted her work from the basket. And it hit. A shock-wave of sorts, a reverberation of---not distress, but definitely powerful emotion. Adele. Améa frowned, trying to pick the nature of it. Shock, mostly. Sadness? But not fear. Some pain, but not physical. Confusion. A lot of it. Knowing that the children had felt it too, along with their uncle and rest of their kin, Améa wondered if someone should go see what was happening.
  12. Améa adored fairytales. The darker the better, she felt she could relate to them. Her costume was pulled from one of her favourite collections, and was simple in nature---but true to form, a statement in her own way. She arrived in an unassuming, simple dress. Long sleeves as per what she considered modest, her hair braided neatly, and a basket on her arm. The basket was full to overflowing of freshly picked stinging nettles, some of which had been woven into cloth. Her fingers, raw and blistered from the work, completed her dedication to the character. Améa did not do things by halves. Taking in the view, she found herself a smile. It was beautiful, far more magical than the real world had ever offered her. Today was the day to celebrate Jezebel's relationship with Viktor, and this setting did them justice, she felt. She found herself wishing she'd been able to have something like this for her own wedding, and then---just to have her husband here. If only she could have isolated all of the moments where he was good, distilled them into the person she knew he could be---but he had gone too far. She loved him, there was no getting around that, but she would not allow Zane or his family to cause Nika harm. Not wanting to intrude upon the groups that were already milling around, Améa found herself a quiet place to sit and began to work the nettles with silent determination.
  13. Caleb nodded. If Alex wanted Cass to be part of the band, Cass would be part of the band. After all, the band did belong to him and Alex. It was going to be a strange ensemble, but that didn't matter. They would make music and dance, and everyone would be happy. Adele would be happy to be part of something like that, he felt, and that was very important. He wasn't sure yet what they would play or where they would practice, but none of that mattered yet. Then Alex mentioned Jezebel, and his expression narrowed down to grim contemplation. That was problematic. Alex wanted Jezebel to be in it, so of course he had to allow that---but Jezebel had been as much an intruder in his and Adele's life as David had been. More so, even, in the way that she continued to try and be a part of his world no matter how many times he pushed her back. He didn't understand that it was family acting as family should. He didn't like that Adele had just accepted it, he didn't like how involved Jezebel had become in their lives. Had he known how often Adele and Stuart communicated, he wouldn't have liked that either. But most of that was done outside of his view, and he was unaware. Alex wanted Jezebel in their band. What to do? Caleb's face lit up as the solution struck him. "If Jezebel, then also Améa must." he said, his gaze turning toward his other elder sister as she quite predictably levelled a stony gaze at him. "I am not anything can I play." she said tersely, annoyed to be brought into what she felt was an incredibly frivolous project. Surely with Sollozzo loose, they all had better things to do than play music. Caleb blinked, projecting innocence. "I saw it in your room, Ru!" he insisted. "If you cannot play, why would you own a guitar?" Caleb knew full well that it wasn't a guitar. Just as he knew that Améa could not tolerate inaccuracies. "It is violin, not guitar." she snapped, exactly as he'd expected. Améa fell for it, taking Caleb's bait to correct him---and simultaneously admit to owning an instrument. Which she realised only after saying it. "I will not." Améa added, firm on that point. Feeling she'd closed that, she continued watching out the window. Caleb simply shrugged. "We cannot have one sister and not other." he said. Problem solved. * * * The tug at her shirt caused Adele to turn slightly, and into what had become a very practiced and familiar movement---picking up the young girl and holding her tight. Lei was getting so much bigger and heavier, this was getting so much harder to do---but she found comfort in it all the same. Standing close as she was to Stuart, and still partly leaning on him, she knew that they wouldn't topple over. "Thank you, sweetheart." she said, knowing it was true. During Lauren's short life, she could never imagine herself being this comfortable in her affections. Though she'd had to lose what she had to value what came next, she hadn't made the mistake of going backward. Perhaps Caleb was coddled, but he was clearly loved. Lei and the triplets were spoiled by her, and in many ways Adele had become the sort of mother she'd wished any of her guardians had been. Maybe it was as simple as becoming a grandmother herself that had brought on the development. Though Lillian, Ameliana and Bethianna had been terrible role models, her grandmother Ethanielle had been different. She had good memories of her. A stern woman, but kind. Hard as it was to imagine Adele's younger self laughing and playing hide-and-seek through the rose garden, it was precisely how things had been. Laden as she was with the responsibility of their little homeland, Ethanielle had always made time for her granddaughter. Ethanielle was also the reason Adele clung to her position, even though she hated it. She had to do her grandmother proud. Now that also meant being the grandmother these kids deserved, and trying to repair things with her own children. If they would let her. "But even if I am better now, I still have to live with what I was then. And it was not enough. I can't fix it. She deserved so much better, and I will never be able to give that to her. It is a burden I will always have to bear, sweetheart. I deserve that much."
  14. As the "cat" made herself visible, Améa frowned. This animal felt very different to the others, and it wasn't long before she discovered why. It was no cat at all, it was a farce of a cat. Améa felt betrayed. How dare a human deign to inhabit the form of a noble animal? Adele was equally perturbed by Cass's sudden appearance, not least of all for the chilling resemblance she bore to Lady Anna. Gods but Adele hoped that wasn't a secret that was being kept from her. Elscia was bad enough. "Hide in bag is not polite." Améa said to Cass, her tone clipped as usual. Rude though she was, it was nice to see a bit of her old spark back. The family was on high alert since she'd been taken away from Zane, stowaway cats that were actually human did not go very far to soothe those anxieties. Améa decided if this was indeed her uncle, and the not-cat was indeed her uncle's girlfriend, then the not-cat should learn some manners. Adele frowned as well, but less severely. She'd not expected the appearance of an "outsider" to their dinner. This was going to impact on what was discussed, Adele was--as always--loathe to speak about certain things in front of strangers. Teenagers had the worst habit of having dramatic break-ups and you could never guarantee where your secrets would go after that. How much have you told her? Adele's inner-voice broadcasted toward Alex alone. She kept her gaze on him, an eyebrow raised slightly so he would know that she was in fact talking to him---he wasn't going mad. Does she know what you are? What your future may be? Adele really hoped not. She'd spent a large portion of her life concealing who and what they were, but in the confusion of suddenly finding herself with a sibling she'd forgotten to impart on him the need for secrecy. Hopefully she wasn't too late. Meanwhile, Caleb stared at the presented guitar with wide and awe-filled eyes. Through the opening of the case it seemed to shine at him like treasure, and the young boy's excitement vibrated through the air. Closing the case back up with delicate hands, he clutched the guitar to his chest. "Thank you!" said Caleb. "I will practice hard and make you proud!" Even Adele had to admit, that was a little wonderful. And she wasn't at all wiping a tear from the corner of her eye as she watched her son finally connect with someone outside of herself. "Caleb is mine brother." Améa snapped, her outburst loud and followed by an awkward moment of silence. Realising she was still drenched and muddy, Améa spun on one heel and stalked back off toward the house, leaving a trail of seething anger in her wake. Adele sighed. "Better than usual," Adele admitted. "For Améa at least."
  15. One poorly-placed step and Améa was face-first in the mud. Soaked all the way up to her collar, she stood up in the ditch with a wary look in her eye. Jezebel she knew, but what was this other one? Nika was also looking down at her, concerned. No---she couldn't have that. Nika needed to see her being strong not.. a drowned ditch rat. "It was not a place good for putting feet." Améa answered in her usual awkward English. Of course that was an understatement. Jezebel lifted the bag of feed out of the water, and Améa allowed her to help her up to the driveway. At least Cecil had been clever enough to miss the ditch, she thought. Cecil did not enjoy bathtime, and there was certainly going to be a bathtime once she got into the house. "Mrs Mary does feed many." She added. "It is hard for making her stop." No matter how many times they'd asked, Améa wouldn't call Mary anything aside from "Mrs Mary". She was unsure so far about calling her "Nana" as her other grandchildren did, she didn't yet feel that she had earned that right. She also rather formally referred to Stuart as "Mr Blair". There was a sense that she wasn't quite comfortable yet, and given her track record with Adele---it would be some time before she could truly accept that they weren't going anywhere. Even so, when Stuart was home, she did lurk around corners and find reasons to be in the rooms near him. Her own weirdly stalkerish way of getting closer. Now out of the ditch, she turned the full brunt of her sharp blue-eyed glare on Alex. It was that same cautious and critical look that Caleb often had. "What is this one for here?" she asked, turning her attention to Jezebel. "I do not know it. This... Alexander person." She folded her soaking arms, her shoulders straightening. That sharp glimmer of power was definitely back, and though it was weak it gave life back to one of the forces that had driven her all her life: the protection of Adele. "I think not for you to enter before knowing what is the intent." she said. "What business with Mamiere do you have?"
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