Light slowly invaded the room as Lila stood beside the window, watching the sun rise. She had awoken very early that morning and had been unable to go back to sleep. She had found herself too restless, so she had merely lain in bed and waited for the sun to begin rising.
It had been a long time since she had watched the sun claiming once more its dominion over the sky and she thought what a perfect start it was, to what she had worked up in her mind as a magical day. Magenta's first real day staying with Lila and her mother.
The thought still brought a smile to Lila's face, she had spent all last night and the morning so far dreaming of it. The whole day was set out in her mind. Firstly she would ask her mother if she could take Magenta out and show her the village, her mother would surely say yes - asking in front of Magenta would assure that - and she would convince her mother to give her some money to buy some good food to welcome their guest. She had even toyed with the idea of a picnic on the hill. That might take a bit of working on, but she was ever hopeful her mother would agree.
Lila grinned to herself, a great day was ahead, she could feel it. She looked out towards the sky once more, then turned back to her room. It admittedly was not much to look at but it was Lila's space and she loved it nonetheless. The room itself was rather bare, containing only two pieces of furniture and a small painted picture hanging upon the wall. The picture being the newest edition. It had been a discarded gift of her mother's and Lila not wanting to waste something pretty had been quick to claim it for herself.
As Lila made her bed she let her eyes wander to the small picture upon the opposite wall. For the many months she had it, it had merely been a been a pretty picture. Now she wandered if had some hidden meaning, if the picture had not been some sort of omen of things to come. She knew she was being ridiculous, it was a picture for goodness sake, one drawn by a child no less, all the same she couldn't stop herself staring at the picture one last time and even as she left the room it played on her mind. The image of two figures only identifiable as female by their long curly locks, hand in hand in a field of flowers.
As Lila made her way downstairs she found she was not the only one who had risen early. A crashing sound made her heart jump into her throat and she hurried towards the source believing it be her mother. Pushing open the kitchen door she discovered Magenta on her knees a covering of white spread across the floor in front of her. Magenta looked up guilt and the white stuff imprinted on her face.
Taking in the floor Lila noticed the smashed flowered crockery pot in which her mother stored the flour. She looked back at Magenta, who gave her a half shrug and pulled a face mouthing the word 'sorry'.
For a long moment they just stared at one another until Lila getting over her shock, and realising what a mess Magenta looked smiled slightly. Magenta returned the hesitant smile with a little grin of her own. Lila ignored the little voice in her mind that told of what would happen if her mother came downstairs and grinned fully back.
Lila couldn't remember who was the first to begin to giggle but as she knelt on the floor and attempted to scoop the flour into little piles, the laughter began to bubble within and it wasn't long before both girls were covering their mouths and attempting to stifle their helpless laughter. Lila really wasn't sure why she was laughing at all. In reality Magenta had made an awful mess and woe betide them both if Lila's mother happened to come down and find it.
Slowly sobering from their mirth both girls stared down at the flour in which they were kneeling. Lila frowned muttering quietly to herself, Magenta hearing her words shook her head. "It was my fault I am the one who knocked down the pot and I will tell your mother so myself."
"It doesn't matter she'll still get angry at me"
"Well we should clean it up before she finds it then" Magenta straightened, moving to pick up the segments of broken pot. She stood and placed each piece upon the bare kitchen table. Lila regarded the mess wondering what they could put the flour into instead. She too stood and began opening cupboards in search. Finding a bowl she thought would be large enough, she turned quickly and deposited it on the kitchen table, barely looking at the table before she bent down to scoop a handful of flour. As she righted herself quickly her hands moving forwards to empty their load, she almost knocked over the flowery crockery pot. She shook her head at her own clumsiness, thinking to herself how she could have bro-
Her mind stopped halfway the thought and she froze.
Her eyes widened to a comical extent and she could not help but stare open mouthed at the crockery pot. The broken flowered crockery pot, whole. Not in pieces but there on the table, whole. Her eyes quickly darted to floor as though expecting the broken pieces to once more be there. They were not. Her eyes moved back to the pot and she reached out a hand, her burden falling like a snowy white drift unto the surface of the table and the floor. Lila barely noticed. She continued to reach out until her fingers made contact with the cool surface of the pot, she blinked several times and moved to lift the pot up. It was cool and weighty in her hands. She couldn't be imaging this, could she? She had never been prone to hallucinations before, daydreams yes, but mental instability? Surely not? It was as she was thinking this Magenta spoke.
Lila having completely forgotten the other girl existed, let alone stood in the room with her jumped. Her left hand jerked and the pot fell from her grip. The sharp sound of the pot breaking, drew both girls' attentions to the ground. A heavy silence filled the room, broken only by the rustling of Magenta's clothing as she walked around the table to crouch beside the broken pot pieces. She once again retrieved each piece from the floor and placed them atop the table, glancing only once at Lila's shock paralysed face she stretched out her arm, her hand held horizontally above the broken crockery pieces.
For many, many seconds, or so it seemed to Lila, Magenta stood in the same unmoving position. Lila watched the other with wide eyes, wondering what on earth she thought she was doing.
Lila - all set to break her self imposed vow of silent astonishment - had been about to ask Magenta this very question, when for the second time that morning her mouth dropped open.
The pieces of the pot appeared to have lifted themselves from the table, floating inches above the surface they gravitated together. Lila watched the segments slot together, her eyes virtually popping from her head as the crack line between each section disappeared. Her eyes darted from the pot to Magenta who had dropped her hand and had turned to smile at Lila.
"Job well done?" she asked with a mischievous grin. Lila could only gape foolishly. Magenta laughed. "You ought to see your face, it really is quite a picture" Magenta shook her head amusement lacing her voice.
"H-how did you….do, d-do that?"
"M-magic? As in real, real magic?" Lila whispered her eyes darting around the room as she spoke, even though she knew there was no one else there.
Magenta nodded grinning at her. "Yes real magic"
"So… magic isn't just fairytales?"
"No, of course not! Have you never been to the big towns, or even one of the main cities?" At the shake of Lila's head Magenta continued. "Magic is known, feared and revered. There are many who put on shows, who claim they possess magic and all its knowledge. Of course only a tenth of these people are not liars."
"You're not a liar" breathed Lila. Magenta laughed again, raising an eyebrow and indicating the pot with her eyes.
"Lying is a sin and I think I have more than proved myself" Magenta said in a mock haughty tone.
Lila was saved from answering by the creak of a floorboard above.
Terrified met surprised as the girls' gazes locked. Lila looked desperately towards the open kitchen door, then down at the mess on the floor. Lila sighed thinking to herself how it could have been worse, Magenta might not have been there. At least with the other's presence her mother wouldn't dare show the full force of her anger. Mistress Bell was a woman who cared about appearances and for the first time in her life Lila was glad of this.
As Magenta and Lila stood the creaking sounded once more. Thinking quickly Magenta pushed Lila toward the door, whispering, and before Lila could protest Magenta had turfed her from the kitchen closing the door behind her.
Lila feeling more than a little flustered, made her way down the hall and hurried up the steps. Exhaling the breath she didn't realise she had been holding, she crossed the landing to her mother's bedroom door to wait. This relief was short lived however as she heard many more creaks from above and spun to find her mother emerging down the little ladder that led to Magenta's attic room.
If her mother was surprised to see her she didn't indicate it. "Where is our guest?" she questioned.
"Good morning mother" Lila responded, avoiding the question completely. "Did you sleep well?"
"Yes, quite well" was the slightly sharp response. Lila did not miss the tone, nor did she miss the narrowing of her mother's eyes and hurried to carry on speaking.
"You know mother it would be lovely if we all went out today, to see the town" Lila said, in what she hoped was a bright tone. She had only been asked to distract her mother for a minute, Magenta had only set her a small task and it was not like she was completely lying. Yet she could not avoid the slight feelings of guilt and shame that assuaged her. She had never hidden anything from her mother in her life and she hoped she wasn't making it obvious she was doing so now.
Judging though, from the expression on her mother's face she was not doing a very good job.
"We could maybe go picnicking, it looks like the day will be nice, it'll be nice to be in the sun, it's nice when its warm" Lila winced inwardly, even to her that sounded stupid. Why on earth was she acting as though her brain had fallen from her head? She was meant to be distracting her mother not making her suspicious.
Her mother frowned at her, "there are things to be done around here, I hardly think there is time to be picnicking." She stared hard at her daughter "What's the matter with you anyway, you're behaving oddly"
"Am I? Oh well it's just b-because I erm… want Magenta to have a nice time while she is with, here…I-I mean with us.. here" Lila would have kicked herself had it been possible. This was the single most uncomfortable moment of her life to date. It was no surprise her mother was looking at her as though she were an imbecile, because quite frankly Lila thought it was true.
Mistress Bell did not even bother to say anything back to her daughter and made her way to the stairs. Lila seeing no other option quickly moved in front of her. If Lila had not surprised her with her presence on the landing earlier she had certainly surprised her now. She was about to ask her only child what in the heavens did she think she was doing, when Lila noticing this, spoke first.
"I wanted to talk to you about Magenta, she's downstairs and I just wanted to say that erm I'm really happy you've let her stay and she's really happy too, and even though she already said thank you, she wanted me to tell you how grateful she is… again" Lila said all this in a rush and finished with a huge smile at her mother.
Vaguely unnerved by her Lila's antics Mistress Bell could only raise her brows and pointedly step past her daughter and begin heading down the stairs.
"Mother.." Lila began "I…" the words however, died away upon Lila catching sight of her mother's face. She swallowed hard. Well at least she had tried. It had surely been longer than a minute now, and really that was all Magenta had asked for.
Though what Magenta intended to accomplish in one minute was beyond Lila. It was a whole floor full of flour for goodness sake, what was Magenta planning on doing? Calling a fair- Lila almost laughed aloud at this thought, amazed she could have forgotten the extraordinary pot incident so quickly. Magenta wouldn't need to call in fairy (how silly) and Lila hoped Magenta had finished whatever it was she was doing. If Lila had thought the exchange on the landing was uncomfortable she couldn't possibly imagine the utter awkwardness of her mother walking in and finding Magenta performing magic.
Lila had no choice now than to hurry after her mother down the stairs and pray that had Magenta tidied the mess. She sucked in a sharp breath as she followed her mother to the kitchen door and watched her turn the knob and push it open.
Lila shut her eyes, not wanting to see, she was sure it had all gone wrong and her mother had walked in on the mess, or even worse Magenta attempting to clear it. Hearing Magenta speak though, she cracked open her eyes.
"Good morning, Mistress Bell" came Magenta's cheery tone.
"I wanted to prepare a breakfast for you to thank you again, Lila agreed that this would be alright and helped me prepare it for you" Magenta said. Mistress Bell's head turned and she stared hard at her daughter. "Is that so?"
"Yes." Lila replied quickly, "It was meant as a surprise and we didn't want the surprise to be spoiled when you awoke before we were finished. That's why Magenta stayed down here, to finish it all off" Lila said, ignoring the rapid beating of her heart.
"I see" Mistress Bell's eyes moved once more to Magenta, then the table which had been prettily decorated with a large daisy embroidered cloth and a jug which had been filled with brightly coloured flowers. Atop the cloth Magenta had set some pre sliced bread on a plate beside a jar of marmalade, a pot of steaming porridge, three empty bowls and plates and a bowl of freshly picked berries, raspberries and black currants by the looks of it.
"Well you needn't have gone to all the trouble, but thank you" Mistress Bell said in a rather stiff voice. Magenta merely smiled sweetly and asked Mistress Bell what she would like to be served first.
As Lila watched her mother sit, she could not help but turn to stare at Magenta. Lila could scarcely believe Magenta had done this all. The floor was spotless and she had noticed the flour pot standing tall on the counter as Magenta had been speaking and now a completely wonderful breakfast? All in the space of barely a few minutes?
Lila honestly could not phantom it. Magenta was amazing, even the lie she told had been perfect, especially with the bumbling things about how happy Magenta was to stay Lila herself had been saying. She smiled at the thought of this happy little coincidence. It was completely bizarre, all of it, and as Magenta looked up and met Lila's stare with a half smile and the quickest of winks Lila thought how right she had been. Magenta really was going to change everything. She had already turned this one morning -which wasn't even over yet- into the funniest hour of Lila's life and there was still a whole day to come, a whole day of Magenta.
Lila laughed inwardly and walking to take her own place at the breakfast table couldn't keep the biggest smile from forming on her face. This was going to be a magical day indeed.