Chapter Two, Gifts and Surprises

The next time Zeida opened her eyes, she found herself alone in a large, feather stuffed bed. She untangled herself from the rosy red silk sheets and stood in the middle of the large circular room she found herself in, looking around.

There were three doors, making a 'y' shape if you were to connect them with a line to where she stood. The carpet was a creamy white, along with the walls, but the ceiling had an amazing outline of a rose painted in red covering it, the tips of the petals falling over onto the walls. A window ran along the entire wall between two doors, and a grand desk sat in front of it, covered in quills, ink bottles, parchment and a large silver cage in the corner. Curiously, Zeida tilted her head to the side and crossed the room to stand in front of the silver cage.

Inside it, perched in the middle, was a magnificent black and red phoenix. Zeida gaped, wide eyed, at the bird who squawked quietly at her as the door almost directly behind her closed with a soft click. Zeida glanced over her shoulder to see Yuki crossing the room to stand next to her, looking at the intriguing creature.

"Her name is Siren." Yuki told her with out looking away from the cage. "Mum and Dad bought her for you as a welcoming present." He went on coldly and Zeida's jaw literally dropped open as far as it would go.

"B-but...that must have cost a fortune!" Zeida stammered out unbelievingly. "I mean...It's a phoenix! And they seem so..." Zeida's voice trailed off and Yuki chuckled a little at her reaction while nodding.

"Yes, she is a phoenix. Do you know much about phoenixes?" Yuki paused and waited for the still wide eyed Zeida to shake her head no before continuing. "well, first of all, neither do I, but Mother and Father also got you a book to read up on them." Yuki said, gesturing to a book right in front of the cage Zeida hadn't noticed before. She picked it up a read the tittle – The Heart Of The Phoenix – before looking back up at Yuki.

"The other thing I know is that they don't like being in cages, and if you let them out they will always stay close to their master." He finished and Zeida nodded. "Now, if I may make a suggestion, you should spend the next few minutes trying to get acquainted with Siren. I'll send a maid with breakfast and to help you get ready. It is about eight thirty, and your teacher will be here to determine where to start with you in around an hour, so you will have then to read up on your new friend." Yuki looked in Zeida's black eyes, and she gulped nervously, a slight pink tinge coming to her cheeks but unable to look from his icy eyes. Yuki reached forward and traced his fingertips along her jaw line and she shivered slightly as his touch tingled through to the bone. Her eyes grew wide and she blushed deeper, more than slightly uncomfortable, at his slight show of intimacy as he leaned forward and kissed her cheek. After he straightened up he looked her in the eyes again before smiling and muttering a 'see you soon' as we winked and crossed the room, the door clicking shut behind him.

Zeida stood next to her caged phoenix and watched the door Yuki had just exited, beginning to feel thoroughly uncomfortable with his continuous signs of affection; holding her hand, kissing her forehead, sleeping with her, and now kissing her cheek too! Her brow furrowed as she thought back to the conversation she had had with Yuki only the day before about his numerous signs of affection, what was it that he had said? 'Oh yeah', she thought 'he'd just come back from his home country, and this kind of affection was just signs of friendship there, so he's just trying to make me feel welcomed.' Zeida smiled and nodded to herself, pleased with her deductive reasoning and turned to the wondrous gift her new family had given her - as if a family wasn't enough!

When Zeida turned and looked at Siren, the bird cocked her head to the side, it's eyes staring into her own, and all the confusion and emotion of a moment ago just faded away from her mind, and Zeida was left with nothing but a calm relaxation inside of her. She smiled and reached forward undoing the clasp on the silver cage, and offered her hand forward in a gesture of welcoming for Siren to come out. Siren looked at Zeida's hand and almost seemed to chuckle slightly before lifting her beautiful wings and soaring up onto Zeida's shoulder. Zeida gasped at first, and the laughed at her own fright, turning her head to look at the bird.

"Why hello, Siren. Such a gorgeous bird you are!" She cooed to creature, reaching up and lightly running her fingertips over the fluent feathers on Siren's head. Siren moved her head forward, gently taking Zeida's earlobe in her hooked beak in a sign of affection as a slight hum vibrated through her breast, causing Zeida to grin.

After smiling at the bird for a moment, Zeida crossed back through the circular room to the feather bed she had originally found herself in and sat on the edge, careful not to disturb Siren who had tucked her head under her wing as Zeida walked, and appeared to be sleeping. After settling down at the foot of the bed, Zeida opened The Heart of the Phoenix, but no sooner did she open it there was a knock at the door, waking Siren from her light slumber and causing her to take flight, soaring through the room.

The maid who entered was the same one Zeida had seen last night when she had woken up for a moment. What was her name? She thought, oh yeah! Matilda.

Matilda glared at Siren, who was still flying in slow circles around the room until she came back over to the feather-stuffed bed, and landed on the pillow, hew sharp, fair-lengthen talons sinking deeply into the pillow, making Zeida fear that she'd rip it. Before she could move her new friend however, Matilda grabbed her arm, and pulled her into the standing position.

"Your new teacher will be here soon, young Miss, and I need to get you ready. You can worry about your...creature, later." The aggravated maid said, pulling Zeida roughly behind her as she moved across the room to a door on the left of the desk.

Flinging the door open, Zeida found all the objects her new family had bought for her the day before, and was dazed at exactly how much stuff there was. Matilda looked around the walk-in closed and found a fairly simple dress, taking it off of the hanger, and turning to Zeida.

"Undress." The maid demanded before Zeida could reach forward for the dress she was to wear. Zeida's eyebrows crinkled together and she glared at Matilda, annoyed by the constant attitude in her voice every time she spoke to Zeida, but removed the drab gray dress from yesterday, letting it fall lightly to the floor. Mere seconds after the garment had left her hand, Zeida found the new dress being pushed over her head in a flurry of red and white.

After tussling with the dress for a while, Matilda had finally gotten it over Zeida's head, and her arms pushed through the arm holes. Afterwards, she turned and started looking through drawers, leaving Zeida to smooth out the wrinkles while waiting for the next attack from the maid.

After fifteen minutes filled with brushing, powdering, tying, pulling stuff on, and many more things Zeida had no words to describe, Matilda announced her transformation complete, and Zeida stepped into the closet herself to look in the full length mirror.

She gasped, her draw dropping again, she was almost unrecognizable! Her hair had been spiked up and blown out to look huge, and had a deep red ribbon tied neatly just behind her bangs, which fell across one side of her face, partially hiding her right eye. Both eyes had been outlined with a new stick of black coal that went on a lot neater than her old one and had 'eye liner' written on it, but that's not all that Matilda had done to her eyes. She also had covered the lids with a thin layer of dark red powder. Her lips had been turned the same color as her eyes with a little stick in a shiny silver container, which all matched the red on her dress.

The dress was a form-fitting, cream white color with deep red trim. The neck came down in a sharp 'v' shape a few inches down from her collar bone, the sleeves hung loosely off her shoulders, and had a red ribbon across the waist and around the chest, which Matilda had tied acutely tight to show off her figure even more. On top of all that, the dress only came down almost to mid-thigh, meeting with the red trim of her thigh-high red and white striped tights that made her legs look longer than usual. Zeida bit her freshly colored bright red lip while looking at her reflection and turned to Matilda.

"Um...isn't this dress a little...inappropriate for a twelve year old whose going to talk to a teacher?" Zeida asked, looking incredulously down at herself, decked in all the cream white and red.

"I don't care. I'm just following Master Yuki's orders, if you have a complaint about your attire, bring it up with him." She said coldly, and stalked out the room without another room. Zeida watched the maid go, her eyebrows scrunching together again in both confusion and anger at the maids rudeness. Before she could ponder over what she had said any further, Yuki walked walked in.

He smiled, and crossed the room to Zeida, looking her up and down, studying her. She crossed an arm across her body, grabbing onto the shoulder on the other side of her body, feeling uncomfortable under his gaze. His smile broadened, looking at her innocent stance and wrapped an arm around her waist, pulling her into his body, and bent over to whisper a 'You look good in red' in her ear. Zeida squirmed a little, smiling uneasily.

"Why thank you, Yuki. That's a very kind thing for you to say, but don't you find it a bit...revealing?" She asked, raising an eyebrow and looking up into his ice-like eyes. He just continued to smile down at her and shook his head.

"I think it's perfect for you!" He exclaimed. "Fits and matches your petite frame perfectly. But we can't worry about this now, you teacher's here, and she does not like to be kept waiting." He rolled his eyes exaggeratively as though annoyed. Zeida smiled a little, still not at ease in her current attire, but let him gently tug her towards the door. Just as they were about to exit, Siren flew up and landed neatly on Zeida's shoulder.

Zeida glowered at the lined paper on the desk and the quill in her hand. She knew how to write, read, do math. She knew history and science, and her teacher said that Zeida had the IQ of an average sixteen year old, what ever that meant. So why, why did she have to learn cursive? 'This is completely and utterly useless!' She thought angrily, gripping her quill tighter. Her eyes narrowed, looking at the cursive alphabet she was supposed to be learning. A low growl erupted from her thought, and she through the quill roughly onto the desk, crossing her arms across her chest and turning away from the desk to look at Yuki. He only chuckled.

Glaring at Yuki, Zeida stood and crossed to the window sill where the desk was not in front of it, staring up at the crescent moon that had risen nearly an hour ago now. Zeida could hear Yuki cross the few feet between the desk and where she stood, seeing his reflection in the glass standing behind her, she clenched her jaw, continuing to glare out the window.

"I've been at this for hours! I don't want to do it any longer! I started before dinner, came back after dinner and sat at that desk for hours, attempting to learn this retched language you call cursive. My hand aches, my eyes are tired. I refuse to do it any longer!" Zeida burst out angrily, turning to look at Yuki, only to find him directly behind her so she had to look almost strait up to see his eyes. He only sighed sadly, smiling sweetly, and put his hands on her shoulders, looking down into her eyes.

"It's all right, I understand." Yuki told her quietly, turning her back around to face the window while rubbing her shoulders gently. "Your tired. We'll stop for tonight, and start it up again tomorrow, how does that sound?" He said sweetly in her ear. Zeida felt the corners of her mouth pull up a little, feeling the anger dry out from inside her at his kindness. Seeing her smile from the mirrored image in the window, Yuki smiled himself, moving his hands to gently massage the back of her neck.

"I just don't understand why I need to write in cursive. I mean, I know 'manuscript', why isn't that good enough?" Zeida asked, her eyes fluttering softly shut, she could feel Yuki shrug.

"I don't know, but Ms. Jeansworth knows what she's talking about. Just listen to her, and I assure you thing won't go so bad with your new teacher. I think she likes you.." Zeida's eyebrows knitted together angrily at the mention of her teacher.

"What? You mean that strict old hag with the missing thumb like anyone? Let alone me? Besides, I think she'd rather never see me again and cook Siren for lunch after she had pooped on her earlier." Zeida replied, a ghost of a smile playing hr lips at the thought of Siren's little accident earlier that day. Yuki chuckled a bit himself, and pulled Zeida into a loose hug from behind, draping his long arms across her chest, his soft hand resting on the front of the opposite shoulder.

"Now, now. Be nice, she is a very accomplished woman. Although...she isn't very fond of Siren any more after that. However, lets not think about what happened today." Yuki purred, gently rubbing his cheek against Zeida's. "Let's just rest and relax..." He whispered in her ear, pulling her into a tighter embrace, his hands slowly moving down her body to rest on her hips. Zeida's eyes opened a fraction wider and swiveled to look at Yuki, who had his eyes closed.

"Uhm, well, I was thinking about heading to bed soon, actually.."Zeida said uncomfortably, squirming slightly, and pulling away, walking back over to the desk to put away the materials the teacher had given her. Lined paper, a cursive book, three ink wells, and four new quills were put away into a drawer before Yuki made his way over to her, pulling her back into an embrace and kissing her cheek.

"Alright, you have night gowns in the closet." Yuki informed her before pulling away, and making his way to the door that led to a bathroom connecting their two rooms. After the door was shut behind him, Zeida sighed and made her way to her closet, pulling it open and walked inside.

Looking around, Zeida was still amazed at all the things she had now. After having nothing for so long, it felt odd to have so much stuff. Moving to the back of the closet, she found a rack full of sleeping gowns. Pulling off a red one, she felt the silk material run through her fingertips as though it was nothing. Continuing to stand there, she reached behind her back, untying the dress she wore, and pulled it off, over her head and let it drop to the ground.

After flurry of red covered her vision for a minute, Zeida pulled her head through the whole at the top, followed by her arms, and let the gown fall halfway down her thigh. She sighed at how small it was, and rolled her eyes before leaving the closet again, and moving over to her bed, where Siren sat perched on the candle socket jutting out from the wall.

Laying down she crawled into the silk sheets, hugging them up around her, and letting her eyes close, not bothering to blow out the candles sitting on the desk. Thinking about telling Yuki he needs to lay off with all this affectionate stuff, Zeida could feel the cloud of subconsciousness slowly fill her mind.

Suddenly, Zeida's eyes snapped open, and she was staring up at the rose above her. Not sure what had stirred her, Zeida swiveled her head to the side, looking for the source of discomfort. Then, she noticed what it was. A tall, well built figure was walking through the darkness to her. As the candle light from the desk lit him up, Zeida realized it was just Yuki, and felt her body relax, not even having noticed she had tensed up. He crawled into bed next to her, and put an arm around her waist, pulling her closer to him.

"Yuki..." Zeida said quietly. "What are you doing here? I thought you were going to sleep."

"Well...I was, but I got lonely." Yuki replied quietly, nuzzling Zeida's neck. She looked away, and tried to squirm out of his grasp.

"Yuki...I think you should sleep in your own bed...this just doesn't feel right." Zeida said, hardly more than a whisper. Sher could feel his mouth on her neck and one hand moved down over her chest to lightly rub her thigh while the other one covered her mouth with a tight grasp.

"Zeida, you are my playmate and right now, I want to play. Here are the rules. One, your not allowed to make a sound. Two, you are not allowed to move. Three, you do as I say. If you break any of these rules, you will be going back to the orphanage tomorrow, understand?" Yuki asked Zeida. She felt her eyes go wide, and fill with tears as she sucked in a breathe through her nose. Yuki bit her earlobe roughly, making Zeida wince.

"I asked, do you understand?" Yuki growled quietly but angrily in Zeida's ear. She nodded, a single tear escaping from her eyes as she felt him smile and roll over on top of her. The hand covering her mouth moved, and she felt it between her legs. She looked away and squeezed her eyes shut, almost wishing she were back at the orphanage in her own bed.