"This is my daughter, Juliet." Estella tightened her grip on her child's shoulders, digging her manicured nails into Juliet's pale, unblemished skin. Juliet winced slightly at the action, although not showing a trace of emotion. Estella cleared her throat and continued. "Juliet, you remember Aunt Margret from Christmas, don't you?"
Juliet squirmed as the pressure was left on her shoulders. She gave a slight nod. Margret looked at her sister's daughter with distaste. The fifteen-year-old could feel her Aunt's cold, brown eyes drilling holes into her; right down to her very soul. Margret turned her hardened gaze back to Estella.
"Can the girl speak?" Margret snapped hastily, making Juliet jump a bit. Estella gave Juliet a nudge.
"Yes, ma'am," Juliet stated in a whisper, although all throughout the large, empty house, her statement was echoed, twelve times over. Margret's frown deepened.
"Call me Aunt Margret. I am your Aunt, am I not? Go; pick a room upstairs and unpack. Your mother and I need to have a chat." Hearing that, Juliet immediately sighed a breathe of relief. It wasn't that she didn't love her Aunt, it was just that she could be scary at times. Juliet huffed and picked up her suitcase. She didn't know why she had to live with Aunt Margret for a few days, but she didn't really care. As long as she had a paper and pencil.
She lugged the bag up the stairs, taking a breather every few steps. Why was there so many? When she got to the top, her mother and Aunt were already gone. Juliet continued down the dim hallway, stopping occasionally to stare at the portraits of people lining the walls. She could have sworn that they stared right back at her.
Juliet finally stopped in front of a door. It was a plain door, but that's what she liked about it. She turned the doorknob, and walked in. It smelled…old. She set her suitcase on the bed, and zipped it open. She took out a few candles – as well as a few matches that she had hidden in a secret pocket of her coat – and lit them around the room. The smell quickly changed from that of lavender.
She opened a drawer to find a dead mouse. How pleasant. Juliet opened her window to throw it out, but stopped when she saw a grey kitten next to the window sill. Rethinking her actions, she led the cat inside using the dead rodent as a lure. She blinked as she watched the cat, which was happily nibbling on the corpse. Having an idea, she ran downstairs. A minute later, she returned with a small saucer of milk.
While the kitten lapped the milk merrily, Juliet searched through her clothes. Finding a tattered dress, she put it near a corner, picking the cat and milk up and setting them on the article of clothing.
"That's all for now," Juliet said rather sadly. "I'll make something better soon. Valen." The small cat looked up at her. Juliet's lips curved upward. She liked the name. It was only a thought, but she rather liked the sound of it. "Valen," she repeated. The cat purred and curled up, wrapping his tail so that it covered his nose.
"You said it. . ." Juliet lazily plopped down on her own bed, causing a cloud of dust to stir up. It was obvious that no one has used this room in a while. She lay there for a few minutes, before getting up and changing into a white nightgown. She opened the door quietly and slowly crawled down the stairs. Despite her effort to not make a sound, the creaks from every step and stomp made it nearly impossible.
Juliet turned corners and explored the old house until she became lost. She took note of all the mirrors and paintings that were hanging. She passed a vase with dead roses. Must've ran out of water a while ago, the rose petals were scattered across the little table. She came across a partially opened door with light spilling out of it. Curiosity got the best of her.
Putting her eye up to the crack in the door, she saw her mother weeping and her Aunt patting her back gently.
"I just don't understand! I thought he loved me!" Estella cried.
"That's what happens when you marry a good-for-nothing man like him," Margret replied.
"He had an affair with that wench! What was her name . . .? Diana! And when I asked him if he had been cheating, he threw Juliet and me out! That son–"
"Enough. Juliet doesn't know the reason she is here, does she?"
Estella took a few seconds to answer. "I don't think. . ."
"Let's keep it that way. Now, discussing school matters–"
Juliet didn't stick around to hear what her Aunt said next. She bolted in the direction of her room, suddenly remembering how she got there in the first place. She always had a suspicion about her father, and now it was clear. He was a lying, deceiving prick. He didn't even care what happened to his own family after throwing them out in the streets. He was a cruel man.
She couldn't help but imagine what this 'Diana' looked like. Was she pretty? Prettier than her mother? Juliet snorted. Her mom was a magazine model; and Juliet happened to be blessed with her mother's looks. Juliet formed a quick picture of Diana in her mind. Diana was short and stubby, with ratty black hair and bulging dark eyes. She wore cheap dresses that showed stuff that an over weight woman shouldn't be so proud of.
Juliet laughed quietly, but silenced herself as she immediately felt bad. She plopped onto her bed and closed her eyes.
It was going to be a long night.