Sunday, September 6, 2009

"Do you like it here?"

To read what happened earlier, click here.

When I came downstairs, the first thing my eyes fell on was the doorway, which was full of people – more so than I ever had seen in this house. I knew that the tall figure standing there, being hugged and kissed by everyone, was David. The family's voices rose in a happy commotion. Catherine was holding on to his sleeve, Uncle Ben was clapping him on the shoulder, and Aunt Anne kept happily repeating how much he has grown and how thin he looks. Sam, Nathan and Rachel were jumping around, squealing with delight and attempting to touch every part of him they could reach.

I put on what I hoped would pass for a gracious smile, and approached. He looked somehow very different from the photographs I had seen – I mean, obviously I could recognize him, and he still looked the same, with his way brown hair and brown eyes – but for some reason, he does not smile when he is photographed, and now he was positively beaming at everyone around him and his face lit up. He was waving his hands, clearly in the middle of telling something exciting, and though I could not make out the words, his voice sounded more pleasant and mature than I had imagined. I fruitlessly tried to smooth out my skirt, uncomfortably aware of the fact that I spent a couple of hours lolling in bed wearing it. It suddenly struck me that below the knee, my legs were bruised and scratched from working in the garden earlier that week.

- Oh, here you are, Becky! – said Catherine, who was the first to notice me, and looked even more excited than last week, when she completed her first ever king-sized quilt. – Come here and meet David!

- So this is Becky? – He said, smiling and looking at me. – It's great to meet you at last. Alright, Mom, now that we're all here – I'm starving! What's for dinner?

Once the table was set, David loaded his plate with roast chicken, a mound of mashed potato, and three kinds of salads, and let out a satisfied sigh as he contemplated his plate for a second. It took him about ten more seconds to empty his plate and reach out for more food.

- That's right, son, - Aunt Anne looked at him approvingly as he devoured more chicken, - it looks as though you haven't had a proper dinner since you left home.

- It's great, - he said in a slightly muffled voice, having just swallowed a mouthful of potato, - I could never be quite reconciled with the students' diner or take-out meals, I missed your cooking too much!

- Becky and Catherine took over cooking today, David, - said Aunt Anne, looking fondly at Catherine and me. I feigned intense interest in my napkin, which Catherine artfully folded in the shape of a wreath. – I haven't been feeling well lately.

He looked impressed.

- Wow – I could never have guessed it was not you – excellent, girls! Well, Becky, - he suddenly looked right at me, and I promptly put my napkin back on the table, - how do you like it around here?

I felt a flush creeping up my face, and hoped it would go unnoticed in the soft light of the dining room. Well, you know, it's boring, and I don't have any friends, and I don't go out anywhere, and I feel miserable holed up here 24/7, and I'm constantly being nagged to go on with my knitting when I'm done with my school projects – but otherwise, it's really great!

- Well, it's, um… - I stammered, - it's really beautiful around here.

- Aren't you bored here? – He asked. – After all, you used to live in the city, don't you miss that?
Aunt Anne, Uncle Ben and Catherine were now all looking at me intently. I remembered my open complaints during the first weeks – about having no TV and no proper entertainment. Back then I felt entirely within my right to grumble about it, but now I could not bring myself to say it again, and I sincerely hoped that the others would not remind me that I had done that before.

- You know, - I began, carefully weighing every word, - there are other things to do here – things I never had back home. For example, one can take long walks – see all kinds of birds and animals – and the views are simply fabulous -

- Becky paints, David, - said Catherine, shining with pride. – She never misses an opportunity to pick up her brushes and go out. She had done some outstanding landscapes already, and now we are trying to convince her to move on to portraits!

I blushed again. Well of course, it's my only valid excuse to get to spend some time alone, outside the house, without Aunt Anne breathing down my neck about schoolwork or chores.

- Really? – David looked genuinely interested. – Well, I can't wait to see that!


Sasha said...

It's amazing how I understood immediately she will fall in love with David! BTW how old is he?

jAne said...

I'm loving this, Anna. Thank you for yet another installment. :o)

Bless you,
tickleberry farm

Crystal in Alaska said...

I am loving this story! I can't wait for the next part!

-Crystal in Alaska

Bonnie said...

I am really enjoying these stories! :-) I will look forward to the next installment.

The Author said...

I wish you could just write it all at once! But then I would sit here for hours reading, so I suppose it's just as well ;) Thank you!

Neuropoet said...

I'm really enjoying this story Anna!! Thank you for sharing it with us...


Mrs. Anna T said...

David is 18 and yes it was pretty obvious from the start!

Laura Staum said...

I just went back and read the whole story from the beginning - it's fantastic! I really hope you will continue... I can't wait to find out what happens. (Ok, as previous commenter mentioned, we can probably guess WHAT happens... but how?) :)

Anonymous said...

Aren't they first cousins? I know it's legal and all, but it's usually not advisable...too close genetically.

Rosemary said...

Thanks for another installment, Anna. I am really enjoying Becky's story. I love the way she is transforming and not even realizing it herself.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Anon, if you go back and read from the beginning, you'll know Aunt Anne is Becky's father's cousin, which makes David and Becky second cousins.

Rebecca Grider said...

Perhaps I missed something, but isn't David her cousin? How can they fall in love?

Mrs. Anna T said...

Rebecca, see my comment above. :o) They are second cousins, thus not very closely related.

Rebecca Grider said...

Am sorry - must have read too quickly through the comments the first time around! :)

I suppose my family is much more conservative - I don't know, but relations of any kind, second/third, etc. cousins is usually not the norm where I grew up.

May I offer a request? I would like a scene of Becky alone with her thoughts. I'd like to see how she has changed in that respect. When she's alone does she feel a deeper sense of peace than she did when she first arrived? What about this new way of life is becoming appealing to her?

I only ask because I'm now very invested in the story.

Kate said...

I read your whole story thus far at work today! It is SOOOOOOOOOO good and I can't wait for the next installment!

Ways of Zion said...

OH this is thrilling! I love writing and love this story, though I have to go back and read the bits i've missed!

ps: 5 wks til we fly to ISrael!