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April 28, 2019

April Gale 12: An Unexpected Visitor



A summary of what had happened so far: April Gales comes to Windy Shadows with her Aunt Josephine, meets her grandfather Harry Tyler, a few ghosts, a few odd servants, gets dropped onto the roof by a dragon named Tim, got healed by Grandfather Tyler, now is fully recovered.

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April Gale 12: An Unexpected Visitor

The afternoon sunlight shines through the curtainless windows. April sits beside the table with a cup of tea and the pink and white curtains draped around her. She pushes the needle into the fabric and stabs her finger. "Ow!" She pulls out her left hand to check but there is no blood but it throbs. She curses at her lack of skill. Why they have to mend curtains, April have no clue. She hates sewing and not only because she is bad at it but because it's a chore she simply felt isn't for her.

Last week, Aunt Josephine had April started on potion making and various forms of which April calls 'witch schooling' but Aunt Josephine just calls it 'education.' April turns to the piles of books on the floor on both sides of her bed. Old textbooks and spellbooks and books on ancient creatures and rituals. April has yet to finish reading them. But Aunt Josephine have only allowed four days a week for study and three days for chores. Perhaps she can take a walk in the garden. It has been such a busy morning and the curtains are almost done. She stands up and gathers the curtains into a fold but a soft knock makes her stop. She quickly drops the curtains and picks up the needle which she stabs her palm but she shouts, "Come in!"

Mrs. Summers appears with a grim face. "Miss April, Miss Winifred is here. I have placed her in the sitting room. Will you see her now?"

"Who? I do not know such person."

"Miss Winifred Caroline Elizabeth Hayter is your first cousin."

What a bunch of names, April thought. "And..."

"And she is here. Will you see her?"

"Why I do I have to see her? Aunt Josephine can do that."

"Miss Tyler is indisposed. She has asked me to tell you you are on duty until farther notice."

"What does that mean?"

"That means, you will see to Miss Winifred and any other guests that may come." Mrs. Summers pauses to look at the curtain in April's hand, probably noting the crooked lines of April's sewing. "And Miss Winifred has a gentleman with her. You will meet them both in the sitting room."

"Aunt Josephine really cannot do it?"

"As I said Miss Tyler is indisposed."

"What exactly does that mean?" April glares up at Mrs. Summers.

Mrs. Summers returns the glare for a moment and then she says, "Miss Tyler is not at Windy Shadow right now."

"Where did she go?" Aunt Josephine certainly would have said something if she have left April all by herself and in charge of this place.

"I do not know. All she said was she will be away for a week."

"A week? Why didn't she tell me?"

"I do not know the reason. Shall I made tea for the guests? And what should I tell Miss Winifred?"

"Yes, make tea, Mrs. Summers and tell Miss Winifred I shall be there shortly."

"Very good, Miss." Mrs Summers leaves the room shutting the door behind her with a loud thud.

April stands up and drops the curtain and needle onto the chair. There is no use avoiding entertaining relatives even if she have never heard of them. Aunt Josephine would have made her meet them if she is here.

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April walks slowly down the hall toward the sitting room. She is not in a hurry to meet new people, not when she is alone. She pauses at the double doors and lets out a long breath. Then she reaches out for the wooden handle but stops when she hears voices.

"What a shabby place this is. I cannot wait to tear it all down and rebuild it."

"But first you have to get the place."

"Stop reminding me Vincy, I'm sure Grandfather Tyler knows better than to let a country bumpkin inherit this place. Although the shabbiness might match her style."

"Wini, why do you have to be so harsh on your cousin? Do you not care at all about her?"

"And why should I care? She is just a distance cousin. And besides, my mother wanted this place, not me. I rather stay in England than live in this backward town. Did you see those people at the train station? There is not one with a clean face. And those ugly gowns, how can they stand it?"

"They are poor, Wini, do you not know? I thought it unkind of you to kick that child when he asked you for some bread."

"Kick? I hardly touch that boy. And besides, I did not want to ruin my new boots."

"Wini..."

April stops listening when Toby appears with a tea tray full of biscuits. He gives April a small smile though the way his lips curve, it appears more like a restrain not to frown.

April gives him a timid smile and turns the handle of one of the door and opens it. "I am sorry to keep you waiting," she says while trying to keep her voice steady.

Winifred Caroline Elizabeth Hayter is a tall girl, even taller than Aunt Josephine. April feels like a small rabbit in front of her. Winifred have long curly blond hair, large blue eyes, dark red, thick lips and a perfectly shaped straight nose that somehow enhanced the rest of her beauty.

"Miss April, I am so please to meet you. Please do call me Wini. We are cousins and we are almost like sisters, are we not?" Winifred, that is Wini, smiles.

April wants to say no. "Yes, of course, Wini." April keeps a smile on her face. Wini takes a hold of one of April's hand with her white gloved ones. April feels shabby in her worn blue gown and having never wore gloves, her hands are tan and rough. She slips her hand away slowly.

"Miss... Wini, this is?" April turns toward the gentleman standing beside Wini. He have black hair slicked back showing his widow's peak, eyes almost black and large nose with lips that seems to smile and wide jaws. April could not mistake him for ugly, not even a little bit.

"This is Vincent Saint Vincent, our dear family friend. He had graciously escorted me here from England." Wini answers with an unmistakable sweet smile at Vincent.

"How do you do, Miss April." He takes April's hand and shakes it. His gray suit seems to be tailored for him - not a fabric out of place or even a wrinkle in sight.

"How do you do, Mr. Vincent," April smiles at him.

"Please, call me Vincy, like Wini here. We are all friends here are we not, April? May I call you April?"

April nods, "Yes, of course. Please, have a seat." April sits down on one of the couches while Wini and Vincy takes seats opposite her.

Toby, whom have been silent all this time, now sets down the tea things and the tray of biscuits on the table between April and her guests.

"Who is this?" Wini eyes Toby but keeps her smile. "Where are Betsy and Betty?"

Aunt Josephine had mentioned Betsy and Betty had quitted but April needs to keep quiet about it. "They are on leave."

"Ah, yes, of course." Wini picks up her cup of tea while Vincy matches her movement.

In the corner of her eye, April sees Toby quitting the room and wishes he have stayed. She takes a sip of her tea but then regrets it. It was too hot. She swallows and keeps her mouth close for a few moments. "Miss, I mean Wini, what brings you here?" Surely, not to steal my inheritance, April thought.

"My mother thought it was time to visit Grandfather Tyler and found out how he was." Wini's smile seems sincere and yet April feels a trace of malice there.

"Grandfather is at his excursion. He is not receiving visitors right now."

"Yes, of course. I knew that. He takes one every spring but he should be out by now. Summer is nearing."

"Yes, but Grandfather decided to extend his...excursion." April doesn't want to explain it is her fault. She have not seen Grandfather for weeks now. Aunt Josephine have said Grandfather will come out when he is ready.

Mrs. Winters, whom have been quite absent lately, appears behind Wini and Vincy. Her upper lip lifts at the corner as if she is sneering while her eyes stay on Wini.

"May we, Vincy and I, stay here until he is out? I would be so disappointed not to have seen Grandfather before I leave. Mother would want to know how he does. When do you think he will be out?" Wini takes a sip of her tea. So very gracefully, April notes.

"I... I do not know. Perhaps when summer comes." April wishes she have seen Grandfather. She is troubled by the way Aunt Josephine always averted from talking farther about him.

Mrs. Winters blows at Wini. Wini's hair swings about but she is not bothered by it. Though it is a sunny day and the windows are opened, there is no wind. "Well, in that case, we shall stay until Grandfather is able to receive visitors. Is the West Wing guest quarters available? Mother and I have stayed in the West Wing when we visited last."

"I..." April haven't a clue. She haven't even been to the west wing. Aunt Josephine said it is not time yet for April. Mrs. Winters swings an arm at Wini and Wini shrieks and drops her cup of tea. Vincy takes out a handkerchief from his vest pocket and dabbles at Wini's hands where most of the tea went aside from the carpet.

April wishes Mrs. Summers or Aunt Josephine or anyone would appear.

"Are you alright?" Vincy asks Wini before April got a chance.

"Yes, silly me, I do not know what happened. It was as if..." Wini pauses and looks up at April.

Mrs. Winters smirks at April and then she fades away.

Mrs. Summers appears with a little smile as she picks up the fallen tea things. April wonders how she just comes and goes so quickly. "Mrs. Summers, is the West Wing guest quarters ready for visitors?"

Mrs. Summers carries the tray of tea things toward the opened door and pauses to say, "Yes, Miss April. Our guest quarters in the West Wing is available but we have not time to clean them. Shall I order the rooms to be clean?"

"Yes, please do, Mrs. Summers. Our guests will be staying for a while." April hopes they will not stay too long.

Mrs. Summers keeps her placid face. She nods. "Very well, Miss April, I shall have our servants start this instance." Mrs. Summers leaves them.

April turns back to the guests. Wini dabbles at the last of her gown and hands the handkerchief to Vincy. He places the used handkerchief back into his vest pocket. April wishes she can turn them both into toads or something very small that she can put into a glass jar and forget about them.

"Might you not show us around while we have time to spare?" Wini asks.

"Do you not want to clean up first?" April can see Wini's hair and gown seems not to have been disturbed at all nor a stain in sight.

"It is nothing. I, we, really would love to see the gardens first, do we not Vincy? I told him about Grandfather's famous roses that grows all year round." Wini smiles at Vincy. Vincy nods. "I would be delighted to see the famous roses, April."

April wants do anything but show Wini and Vincy to the gardens. Perhaps she should fake a headache or just stab herself with a spoon though Mrs. Summers has taken them away. Why do they want to see the gardens for? Why didn't they see Mrs. Winters? She suddenly wishes she have no relatives at all.

10 comments:

  1. The plot thickens. At least it seems that April has some allies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. april will always have allies even if one or two are ghosts.

      thanks for visiting, have a lovely day.

      Delete
  2. I know how April feels. Unexpected guests that I have to see to cause me dismay too. Even more so when I am in the middle of something and not wishing to be disturbed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. unexpected visitors is rarely good and I guess why phones are invented but there are no phones in April's time, not yet.

      thanks for visiting, have a lovely day.

      Delete
  3. Aww. I feel sorry for April. She's been thrown out on deep waters. I hope she'll float.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. of course, she will float, she'll just go for a light swim...

      thanks for visiting, have a lovely day.

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. I thought it would be best to have a summary since not everyone will want to read the back parts.

      thanks for visiting, have a lovely day.

      Delete
  5. I love the umbrella on the tree. Intriguing stories!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. the umbrella is originally because it rained a lot in the first few days of April's journey.

      thanks for visiting, have a lovely day.

      Delete

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