|Don't Tell Me: Que Sera Sera
Author: xxALICE PM
Whatever will be will be... Warning: Genetic sexual attraction. Don't like, don't read.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Family - Chapters: 9 - Words: 17,953 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 12 - Updated: 06-04-12 - Published: 01-24-10 - id: 2767981
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
January was made of fire. I knew it the day I met her, she was made of the kind of fire that comes off dry ice, makes you stick to it, splits the skin, the kind of fire that puts icicles in your cells. Fire in a cold shower. Fire in a thick snowflake.
The essence of her being - frigid flames. Because Hell froze over when she came to my door.
She carried a dirty, worn trunk in her left hand, and in her right hand was a sheet of equally worn paper. Beneath the hem of a grey sweater-dress, her knees were blue in the cold, as were her knuckles. Breathing in dry winter air, she exhaled condensation, eyes the color of her freezing joints staring dully forward, as if through me. But this was all secondary. First, I saw the hair.
It spilled over her shoulders, stuck out in every direction. A peculiar shade of blue-black, January's hair flowed in small, slight waves. I imagined with a good washing (and brushing) it would have been beautiful. In the snow, it seemed especially dull, snowflakes catching in her crown. The wind whipped around her, pushing its length on and off her shoulders, as if indecisive. I wanted to gather it, place it on one shoulder, kiss her neck. She may have stood there for a full minute, silent, hollow, as I absorbed her appearance from behind the door.
Why was she dressed so nicely, in polished shoes and a well-made dress, while her other belongings seemed old and worn? Why hadn't she taken care of her hair? A girl with hair like that should be proud of it, instead of letting it go to waste that way. Part of me wanted to take her in and fix her up. Love her.
But no matter how cold, a stranger should always be made to state her business before being allowed entry into one's home.
"Hello," she said, her words on a breath. Her lips were blue, too.
I replied, greeting her curtly. "Can I help you?" I asked, throwing open the French door. I stood my tallest, though at seventeen my stature failed to match that of the strange girl's.
"My name is January." She sighed quietly, still staring through me with eyes blue as her unspent blood, pupils shrunken. "My mother is dead." She paused, focusing. Gazing through me, she was a corpse on a stand. Meeting my eyes, the frail girl intimidated me. There must have been magic in that stare.
"Her will states that you are my only family."
Not magic. Fire. January was made of fire.
She thrust the crumpled paper at me, her tiny hands shaking in the cold. I took it, though I'd already given in to my first instinct, which was not to believe her. This stranger was not family. We were the Simmons, and we knew our own family. Me, Jet, and our beloved father. It'd been just us three since I was two years old. I stared up at the girl a moment longer, though the cold was beginning to seep into the manor. Straightening out the will, I skimmed the text.
Made of fire, she came with fire.
My heart dropped. I drew in a sharp breath and caught it. Robotically, my legs stepped backwards, arm gestured for her to enter. I shut the door behind her. From there, it was a blur. I remember calling for Daddy, remember Jet peering down from the top of the staircase, confused. January shrinking to the ground, wrapping her thawing arms around herself. Stars on her back, a trail of stars starting near her shoulder blades. I wanted to touch the stars, wanted to kick her at the same time. Beckoning, toxic January, her name promising new beginnings. From that day she infected everyone in my family, including me.
I must have given Daddy the will. He mumbled something to himself, looked at her, then at me. "For god's sake, Nissa, get her a blanket. She'll freeze. Jet, put a fire on." Daddy wanted her. Daddy welcomed her. He knew what was best for us. Obedient, I hurried up the stairs, still hollow from shock. Jet moved past me, rushing to get a fire started in the fireplace. We moved like worker ants, tending to January at my father's command.
By the time I found the blanket and trotted back down the stairs, Daddy had helped her into the living room. The fire was just beginning to blaze, and Jet was brewing tea in the kitchen, silent. I offered her the mass of red fleece and she took it, nodding gratefully. She wrapped it around her thin shoulders, spreading it across her lap. Jet brought her a large mug of Earl Grey. I watched her sip it, the steam calming the cold blush from her cheeks. Five minutes in the house and she was already being treated like a princess.
Passing a glance at my father, I realized he was troubled. His eyes were half-focused on the girl, half gazing into a faraway place. Anxiety gripped my nerves and I looked to Jet, desperate to know what he was thinking. But he didn't speak a word, only stared into the fire. At least he wasn't looking at her. Rogue was spreading across his cheeks; I blamed the rising heat. Should have known better.
Everything about that moment seemed to last an eternity. There we sat, in a loose circle, the four of us, watching January sip her tea. Her eyes were closed, as if she were truly frozen, waiting to thaw so she could open up and look around. I realized this was what we were waiting for – for January to open her eyes. She was busy enjoying her tea.
And finally, she opened them, peering around. Her deep breath echoed in my mind, and Daddy cleared his throat.
"Your mother never told me she was pregnant." It was the first time his words had literally made me sick, made me want to choke. It struck me then how truly disgusting the situation was. January was no member of this family. I wouldn't let her be, January was filth.
"My mother was too proud to tell you she was pregnant," replied the girl evenly. "That, or ashamed." She paused, her words hanging in the air between us. "She never wanted to let you know. She also never wanted to die, but she went and did that, too. It was best for me, she said, to find you." Another pause. "Richard."
Daddy sighed. "I'm sorry for your loss." Awkward.
A bemused smile split her lips, her eyes fixed on the tea. "She told me to tell you the same thing."
I couldn't take it anymore. What was she doing, taunting our father like this? "Daddy, what's going on?" I pled, my voice slightly short of even. Immediately I wished I could maintain my composure, better than this stranger.
Another sigh from Daddy. "Nissa, Jet, this is January. January, this is my daughter, Nissa, and her brother, Jet." The introduction was stiff, as if this was the last thing he ever expected to do. Maybe it was. "Children, January…" he paused, unsure of how to continue. He referenced the will again, taking a long moment. "January is your half-sister." Yet another awkward pause.
"Rosemary was her mother." Finally, Jet spoke. He had his gaze fixed on January now, critiquing her, nearly devouring her with his eyes. "Rosemary, the mistress." It was spoken as a fact; Jet never questioned our father directly. He spoke evenly, sparingly, and never without assurance of himself. Tonight, half-sister or not, was no different. And I realized what he said was true.
The facts were like a sledgehammer. January's mother was the woman our father slept with while married to our mother. January's mother was the reason she left. The reason she left. The words repeated themselves endlessly in my mind, building a wall of hate for this girl. January, the result of that horrible union that drove our mother away, the union which caused us to grow up without her. It was all adding up now, and I hated her, I hated the girl! I wanted to push her back out the door and into the cold, let her freeze there, let the ice of her own eyes consume her for all I cared, somehow consume her before she consumed us.
"Yes… Rosemary was her mother." Father was clearly nervous now, tortured after really looking at her. He cleared his throat once again. "You look just like her." Choked words. "Just like her," he echoed himself, as if trying to wrap his mind around her appearance.
I stole a glance at the horrid half-sister, and she suddenly looked afraid, meeting my father's gaze. She pulled the blanket tighter around her shoulders. "I'm exhausted, is there someplace I can sleep for now?" she asked, her composed voice mismatching the look on her face. She was vulnerable, I realized. My anger continued to fester. Who was she to ask to stay the night, without a single thanks for letting her into our home?
Daddy sensed my discomfort. He spoke to Jet, his eyes still fixed on January. "Jet, take her things upstairs, show her a room." Another awkward pause passed and Jet stood, gestured for her to follow, began walking toward the foyer to gather her trunk. January took the blanket with her, polished shoes leaving tiny pools of melted snow on the rug. And I sat there, watching my father's eyes follow her out of the room and wondering who would clean up her mess.