I walked the streets of Halcyon. Coming to the orphanage walking inside, "Ah, Lord Shepherd, you're here. Aria has been asking about you all morning," she smiled, "she's in the playroom."
I walked passed the woman into the room behind the green wooden door, shutting the door behind me. Aria was in the floor coloring, walking over to her I sat on the couch watching her, looking at her paper, amazed at what I saw on the sheet, from various shapes to her writing her name, "You drew that? That's a nice circle, and you've been practicing writing your name, excellent Aria."
The dark-haired girl looked up at me, a bright smile on her face; she jumped to her feet running to me, getting on my lap, "Look, I still have the necklace you gave me." She showed me the necklace that I had given her the second day I had seen her and told her I was going to adopt her, "and look," she got a white beaded bracelet out of her pink floral dress pocket, "I made you this, this morning. I didn't know your favorite color, so I made it white like your hair because it's cool." She handed me the bracelet.
Looking at it, putting it on my wrist, "It's beautiful. Thank you, you should make another one, would you make me a necklace and a bracelet, you're really good at art." She smiled, getting from my lap, getting a piece of art paper, bringing it to me, "what, did you draw while I was away?" I got the art paper as she sat back on my lap. I looked at the picture of a house and two stick figures, along with something that looked like a cat. I continued to look at it, "You want a cat?"
She pointed at the animal, "No, daddy, I want a puppy, one that's little like me, with pointy ears, and some bunnies, and I always wanted a big house with my own playroom, and bedroom, a place for all my animals. And a little sister or brother, to play with. I just want to have a family with a mommy too," I looked at her as she frowned a stray tear formed in her eye, "why don't you like me enough to take me home with you? Have I been a bad girl?" She looked at the drawings wiping away the tear.
I looked at her, feeling my heartache, I stroked her hair, "I could never hate you Aria, that's why I am here. I had to finish your rooms," I smiled messing up her hair, as she looked at me with a little smile, "you did give me a long wish list, I'm here to take you home, where you belong, the nuns are in the process of giving your things to the people I brought with me."
A bright smile covered the girl's face as she got on the cushion next to me and looked outside the window, "I don't see anybody, daddy." She looked at me as the door opened, causing Aria to look at our visitor, "Heather! Daddies taking me home today!"
I looked at the nun who smiled, "Really, that's great Aria," her focus switched to me," Lord Shepherd, everything is taken care of, you are free to go with her anytime you like, we are in the middle of nap time."
I looked at Aria, who got to her feet, "Come on, Daddy, we better go before she makes us take naps too."
I stood up as Heather handed me a pink glitter backpack, "What's this for?"
"Things that I have bought Aria over the past few months that she has been here." She walked over to Aria, bending down to her level, "you're getting into a great family, sweetie," she hugged Aria, "I'm going to miss you."
Aria hugged her back, "Don't be sad, Heather maybe daddy will let you visit. Bring Jaclyn too, I really miss her." I looked at them.
"You really do like Heather, don't you, Aria?"
The child looked at me, "a lot, daddy, she's always so nice to me, and she plays with me."
Heather stood to her feet, putting the backpack on Aria who looked at her, the blond woman smiled walking towards the door, "Heather," I watched as she stopped looking at me, "I had planned to do somethings with Aria, perhaps you would like to join us."
The blond woman looked at us, "Lord Shepherd, I can't just leave these kids," she smiled, "you two will have a great time." She walked from the room, shutting the door behind her.
The vibration of my phone interrupted any further conversation for the moment. Retrieving it seeing it was a text from Darin, 'Aria's things are in your living room.' placing my phone back into my pocket as Aria looked up at me, "Daddy, I'm bored. I want to go to play."
I looked at her, "Alright, we can go home now."
Aria smiled, "I can't wait to see my new house, is it big?"
"It's pretty big, you'll have to see it for yourself, I will say that there are rooms put aside for you."
Aria looked at him, her little eyes wide, "I get my own room?!"
"Of course, plus a couple of others, how about we leave and let you see for yourself?"
Aria got my hand as we left the orphanage, once outside, "Daddy, I had pancakes and milk this morning."
"Really? That sounds goods."
"It was daddy, really good. I didn't eat my sausage and bacon."
"Why not? Sounds like a good breakfast to me."
"Ew, daddy. No, it looked gross."
"You don't like meat?"
"No not really, I also hate vegetables, but I love fruits, anything fruits, I love apple juice and grape juice, and I love ice cream, mainly ice cream cones, I've always wanted to try banana splits, and chocolate sundaes. I've never had those before."
"Are there any vegetables you will eat, maybe two, you need those in your diet."
"Um...I like carrots, and celery, not without peanut butter, it tastes gross without peanut butter, I love apples with peanut butter. Baby carrots I love those but not the big ones, I love potatoes, cooked any way, I don't like them when they're not cooked."
"Okay, three vegetables. Sounds good."
"Daddy, look, look! Ice cream! Can get some daddy, can we please?"
I looked at her as she pointed to the ice cream parlor, with a smile, "Alright."
We walked inside the Parlor. I allowed Aria to enter first. 'Welcome, to our Parlor Lord Shepherd, glad to finally serve you."
I looked at the worker as we walked to give our order, I looked at Aria who tried to view over the counter, without getting much success. I picked her up, "What do you want Aria?"
She looked at me, "I want a chocolate sundae, with lots of sprinkles and a cherry!"
I looked at her then at the woman, "I think she made it clear on what she wants, I guess I'll just get an iced coffee, and that should be all."
"Daddy, instead of, a sundae can I try a banana split, please?" She looked at me."
I smiled looking at the woman once more, "We'll just take a banana split and an iced coffee."
The woman laughed, "Of course." She rang up the order giving the price I placed Aria on the floor, getting my wallet, handing her the cash, "Please take a seat, and I will bring your order." I watched as Aria walked over to a booth sitting down as I sat across from her.
Moments later, another woman brought two vanilla shakes, "I didn't order this." I looked at her.
She looked at me, "I know, sir, we give these out every Tuesday with every order." I looked at Aria, who was drinking her shake, "Your little girl is cute and really knows how to put us to work."
I looked at her, "Thank you, I have been preparing for her arrival for three months, I was beginning to worry that she had given up on my adopting her."
"She's adopted," looking to Aria "what's your name, sweetie?"
Aria looked at her, "Aria Savannah Shepherd."
The woman smiled, "I'll be bringing your order when it's ready, if either of you needs anything, don't hesitate to let me know." She walked from the table.
I looked at Aria who was looking inside her backpack, she pulled out a plastic bowl of beads. A smile on her face, "Heather let me have my beads and my bands," getting out a large box she looked at it, "I dunno what this is," getting four small books and a large box of crayons, "Wow, coloring books and crayons!" She started to put everything away, placing the bag beside her with a smile. She started drinking her milkshake once more.
The waitress placed Aria's banana split in front of her, giving me my iced coffee. Smiling and walking away. Aria looked at me, "Daddy, look how big this is, wanna share it, I don't think I can eat the whole thing by myself." I looked at her as she frowned, getting her spoon, I looked at the ice cream.
"Don't worry about it Aria, whatever you don't eat, we can take it to go and put it in the freezer."
Aria's smile returned.
—10 minutes Later—
Aria and I walked out of the Parlor to see a black Hummer and Darin standing beside it. I walked over to him, "Darin, what are you doing here, you hate it here?"
He looked at me, "True, I'm actually here to meet the child that I have spent months non-stop building rooms and rushing my interior designs. She must be something for you to add five rooms to your already large home."
I looked at Aria, who was looking at Darin, "Hey. Are you sick, you look sick?"
Darin looked at her then at me, "Maybe I am coming down with something."
He looked at me quizzically I looked at Aria, "He's probably tired, Darin has been busy helping me make your rooms, he's just tired, we need to let him go get some rest, and by the looks of it, let him go feed, Darin you do look horrible."
"He can have my banana split, it's delicious, it will help him feel better."
"I don't know, Aria."
I looked at Darin who was walking around to the driver's side door, "I can take you two home, it's calling for a snowstorm, you don't want to get young Aria sick on your first day with her, get in."
The two of us got into the Hummer as Darin got in soon, leaving the city. I looked at Aria as she had gotten her crayons and a coloring book. "Nicolae, I was noticing young Aria's necklace, wasn't that passed down to you from your father?"
"It was, why?"
I looked at Darin, "She'll be fine with it, she stated that she has nightmares. Plus I don't see her taking it off and losing it, it took me until I was sixteen to figure it out, it's a rare necklace only Leonard and I can take it from her, and Leonard detests the necklace giving it to me, so I think she will have it for many years to come."
Darin sighed, "Leonard must have hated your father, I don't think he likes Scott either, does Leonard even like anyone other than Graceona and Kyra?"
"Leonard has had a rough childhood, he seems to like you though."
"Really, I never would have thought that."
"He seems to enjoy children, having one on the way, and Kyra. Graceona seems to have brought him out of a lot of his loner phase, he use to be worse."
The Hummer stopped, "Aria, we're home."
I opened the door getting out of the car as Aria did the same. "I carried Aria's belongings to her room, I didn't know where to put things, so I just picked places."
I thanked him for the ride as he left, I walked towards the home with Aria beside me, "What do you think?"
"It's so big, daddy, and this is just for us?"
"Others live here also, the servants,"
We walked inside I watched Aria look around, "Why don't you go have a look around, then you will need to bath for school tomorrow."
She ran to do as she was told. I sat on the couch, closing my eyes, relaxing.
This house was huge, way more significant than anything I've seen in my life. I looked in every room I came to. I saw a room with two large white flowery doors. The doors were shut. I grabbed the handle to one opening it stepping inside, the floor looked like it was made of water, I bent down looking at it, placing my hand to realize it was an actual body of water, I looked as small fish swam, walking over to the passage the fish floated on the other side. Putting my hands on the rails, I watched them swim around the whole room. Walking further I saw a large room, with pink lace wallpaper and a lot of toys, some I knew were mine but the rest I didn't remember them. I looked at the ceiling as a fancy white arch, and large elegant poles seemed to be holding the room together, looking at the large windows that reach to the roof covered with white curtains. The windows on both sides of the hallway at the end of the corridor was another great big room. I walked through the hall getting to the more prominent place, it looked to be my bedroom, I saw a bed that was larger than my bed at the orphanage, walking towards it a great light came on quickly lightening the whole room. I stopped as the light faded slowly, and the place became lit by bright Christmas lights. That hung on the walls. The bed was a canopy bed. I walked over to the bed, climbing the small step to get onto the bed that felt like I was laying on a boat. I looked beside the bed, to see large moving images from kittens, rabbits, and other animals that covered the entire wall. I lay down to watch the pictures until I fell asleep.
I didn't know how long I was asleep until I heard water running, in the room next to my room, raising up I watched as my daddy walked into the room, his white hair pulled back, his clothes were a dark red button-up shirt and black jean pants, with boots, that to me looked like a boot and a sandal mixed. He looked at me, getting a pair of pink pajamas out of the closet, "After you bath, I'll give you a tour of your room, this is just the first part of it, there are four more rooms worth."
I looked at him, then around the room, "there's more than this?" I felt my eyes grow wide.
"How big, did you imagine our house? A trailer, a simple home? My dear little girl, this mansion is on fifty acres of land, most of the land is covered with buildings, our family is known for their wealth. My mother's home is bigger than this. Now get yourself in the tub and bathed, then we'll finish the night from there." He kissed my hair, picking me up, putting me on the floor, I got my bedclothes running to the sound of running water. Once I got to it, I stopped frozen in place, astonished at what I saw.