From the darkness of sleep comes a faint and irritating noise, disturbing the sleeper, the words becoming clearer and clearer. “Lucia? Lucia?”, this makes little sense to the hearer, what is being said is not understandable to the ears, and then it starts to make more sense, her name, her name is being called. “Lucia. Lucia!”. Her eyes open, the darkness is taken in a flash of light and the blurred vision of a bald, bearded man appears, slowly more defined, she realises it is her father, she smiles at his confused face and speaks with the croaky voice that one has upon awakening, “Good morning.” He raises one eyebrow and replies “Good? This morning? It most certainly is, it would be even better if you was actually up!”, Lucia sits herself up and rubs her eye with one of her hands, “I overslept?” “As always”, her father walks into the doorway of her room, stops, turns and says with a smile “Come downstairs, breakfast is ready.” “I’ll be right there.” Her father leaves the room and she can hear him walk down the wooden stairs. She stands up and stretches, leans over her bed to straighten the sheets. 

As the sound of her father putting things in bowls and banging pans echo from the kitchen, she takes her night clothes off and opens her wardrobe and replaces them with clean clothes. She clears her throat to get rid of her morning voice and then very casually makes her way down stairs, her feet and body being so light she barely makes the wood of the stairs creek. She enters the kitchen to see her father, he has his back to her, pouring something grey into a bowl, “Your food is on the table.” She looks and sees a small bowl on the table full of grey porridge. She walks towards the table while wondering how her father had heard her coming down the stairs and enter the kitchen. She takes her seat, “And how am I meant to eat my breakfast? With my face? Or hands?” Her father puts the pan down and carries his bowel to the table, “What?” “I have no spoon!” “OH!”, he picks up two spoons from the counter and passes her one with a smile and sits himself down. “Enjoy, my dear”, they both smile at each other and fill their faces with food, clearly hungry. Her father stops eating and speaks while licking his teeth, causing him to sound rather stupid, “Are you excited for today?” She looks up at him with her innocent huge eyes “Oh yes! I couldn’t sleep I was so excited….That’s probably why I overslept.” “Indeed” He laughs to himself and eats the last spoonful of his porridge. 

She also takes her last spoonful and holds it up to her face, slants her face as she looks at it, she then licks the last of the porridge off and eats it. “I am excited to see him, it has been a while.” “It has been many months yes.” He takes his bowl and stands up from the table, takes her bowl too while she keeps the spoon in her mouth, he takes the bowls while his spoons spins in the bowl making an annoying grinding noise he walks towards the counter, and begins to do something with his back towards Lucia. “Well, I’m going to go out and get some wood and then come back to drop it off, then I will go to the local town to buy some food for dinner”, she takes the spoon out of her mouth and stands, walks over to her father and passes him the spoon “Okay, I’ll put some nicer clothes on and read until he gets here, call me when you get back so I can see you off.” “Okay, my dear” She pats her father’s shoulder in a childish way and makes her way upstairs to get better dressed.

In a dense forest, which is plotted with twirling and twisting great trees all around, a small path through the trees which is open and easy to traverse lies. A small wooden carriage is being pulled by two jet back horses of the muscliest stock. A man is sat on the carriage steering these great beasts of travel while casually looking around himself at the passing trees and then looking ahead to the endless winding path that comes in and out of view as he is pulled further and deeper into the forest. Inside this wooden carriage is a man leaning back on his seat, looking very relaxed, looking almost exactly like the calm body of a happily sleeping child, except his eyes are open, darting across a page of an incredibly old looking book in his hands. The book is orange with age, the pages when he turns them or holds them too tight make a crumpling, almost scratching noise. The man seems rather happy to be sat still and reading, wearing rather formal clothes, very well dressed and neat, his hair is shoulder length but pulled back into a ponytail which is held in place by a red silk ribbon. His hair looks slightly slicked with water or wax but not dirty, it shines when an occasional light ray pierces the carriages curtain due to the wind lifting it up or pushing it aside for an instant. 

His hair is greyed and obviously used to be extremely bright blond, but has lost its colour with age. His face is handsome and manly but not overly squared or angled which prevents him looking aggressive and primitive. He looks in his early thirties, except for when he is reading and something delights him or confuses him, causing him to smile or frown, his aged smile and frown lines which show his real age of being in his early fifties. He begins to become a little impatient and finds the reading increasingly tedious. So he sits himself upright, in a less relaxed position, places a finger in the book to keep his page and pulls he carriage curtain across with his free hand as he leans forward to peek outside. His pupils enlarge from the sudden change of light. A curious look begins to creep onto his face as he looks at the passing trees, staring at their beauty. One in particular in the distance catches his eye, because of the distance he has plenty of time to stare at it. This tree is slowly being absorbed by a parasitic vine, creeping up its trunk, making the ree look as if it has snake sized veins all over. He continues to look around the forest with his eyes darting back and forth looking for more beauty to capture, if only for a second. 

His face and shoulders relax as he breathes out a sigh, the type of sigh a returning lover makes when he first sets his eyes on the love of his life being away for some tragic reason. He looks back into the carriage, places the book on the side, which many small boxes with bows tied onto them are sat on. He leans his head out of the carriage again, reaching his hand on the top of the outside of the carriage in order to stand, keep his balance and prevent him from falling out. He reaches his other hand to the top of the inside of the cabin and knocks his knuckles against it to get the drivers attention. The driver leans his body to the side to face his attention seeker “Yes, sir?”, somewhat shocked by the sudden drivers face in his own face “Erm…Yes, how much longer would you say it will take?” “Not long, sir, not long at all.” The driver gives a somewhat self conceited smile. “Very good, carry on my good man.” “Yes, sir.” The driver leans back to his original position and continues to look ahead at where the path leads. He releases his hand from the outside of the carriage and flings his body back into his seat. He sits patting his feet on the floor of the carriage and then reaches forward, grabs the old orange book which makes a rustling noise like an Autumn leaf crushed in a child’s hand. He leans back and begins to read again, waiting for the driver to stop so he knows he is finally there. 

Lucia is sat upon an open window sill, big enough to seat a fully grown man or three. Auburn wood is the base, she is sat horizontally across it, so that her face and feet are out of the sun light that shines and blazes through the window glass, making her chest and legs clothing seem brighter than it actually is. She is wearing a full red, crimson almost dress. The top looks almost like a suit, the collar splits and opens on both sides to reveal the frilly white material that pokes out against her extremely pale skin. The crimson in contrast against her skin makes her look angelically pale. She is sat in silence, reading, unmoving. Looking asleep with her eyes open. She occasionally raises one of her feminine hands off the book and to her bottom lip, as she thinks and considers whatever it is that she is reading. If she was a man with a moustache she would no doubt be twirling it in contemplation and the same goes for if her chin was endowed with a hefty beard. A distant but familiar click of a door and the drop of a bag is heard from downstairs, “That’ll be dad.” She thought to herself and gently closed her book, lay it on her stomach and stretched her arms up to correct the position of her spine which avid readers acquire as punishment for their knowledge gained from countless hours sat in the same position. 

She stood herself up and walked over to her desk with book in hand, and gently placed it down in its usual spot. The spot which her currently reading list of books are always kept, in a neat pile that although she burns through with her constant reading, never seems to lower or lesson. She all of a sudden dives onto the floor like some sun basking reptile to look under her bed and reaches for something, dragging it out from under. Two very small but beautiful boots, made of the blackest leather, they are well made but still somehow soft and feminine looking. She slides them both onto her feet and fastens the ties around the buckle like a belt neatly placed upon the boots. She stands up, places her feet together and then separates them as she begins to walk out and down the stairs to greet her father. As she places her foot on the first top step of the stairs, her father, who can be seen next to the front door is in the process of turning towards her, with his lips pursed as if about to speak, a small enlargement of the eyes signals to her that he had no idea she was there until he turned. “Oh, I was about to call you as I am done and about to leave.” She playfully walked down the stairs one overly expressed stepped step forward at a time until she finally got to the bottom and spoke. “Okay, perfect timing, I have the urge to go for a walk so I’ll see you off.” She walked over to him and gives him a tender hug and then she gives a little sniff sniff at the air just in front of him “You smell like freshly cut wood, I love that smell so much.” “As do I, fortunately a man can’t have a job with a smell he hates. That would kill me!” They both gave each other a small smirk laugh but are interrupted by a sound, the sound of approaching feet, many feet stamping at the road, stamping it down with their weight. The sound not recognised makes no sense to either of them, but the clopping of feet begins to become more defined, as less a noise and more a particular sound. “Ah that must be our guest…If that’s even the correct word.” “Dad…Do you want to say hello?” “No, I’ll just head out of the back and get going and leave you two to it. You haven’t spoken or seen each other for a while so it’s only fair, give him my regards.” “Will do.” “Well, I’ll see you later my dear.” He smiles and strokes her face with the side of his finger and then turns his back beginning to approach the back door to leave. His heavy, dirt crusted lumberjack like boots almost stomping without his intending on it. The horrible but familiar scream of the back door that is years overdue an oiling is heard just before the soft close of that door. 

As Lucia opened the front door with the familiar creak that always had sounded from it since she could remember, two jet black horse were pulling into view. They carried on slightly passing her and stopped as the driver tugged on the reins. A wooden carriage was being pulled behind it and stopped a few seconds after the horses did. She closed the door behind her and waited with a playful anticipated grin holding her hands behind her back and twiddling her thumbs while she waited. Front the carriage there was a small bang on the inside of the roof and a voice boomed from inside “I thought you would tell me you we here when you were going to stop! You fool! You made me drop my book with the sudden stop!” Lucia tittered to herself, forcing her hands to stay behind her back rather than to put them to her lips, as she imagined his annoyed face. The driver looked at her and pulled a face as if to say “Not my job.” She glanced at him and almost burst into laughter. The curtains were suddenly pulled to the side, she could see all of his body except for his head as he stood. He crouched down with a grin, which wrinkled most of his face, showing his true age. He just stared at her and she smiled back and approached him, she presented her soft, pale hand to him to hold. He took it in his firm grip and lowered himself out of the carriage, none of his weight was put onto her hand, he merely took it for the pleasure of the touch, and she only offered it for the exact same reason. 

He didn’t let go, but placed it upon his lips and smiled while he looked up from his lowered head, kissing at her knuckles. “Fancy seeing you here, Janus.” said Lucia unable to keep her words back. “Oh I thought I should drop in as I was passing.” said Janus with a ridiculously childish smirk upon his lips. “Oh shut up, we both know why you’re here, for me.” “Indeed, my lady.” They embraced each other for a long while, just enjoying each others soft embrace in each others arms. He pushed back from her chest and held her at arms length to speak “Is your father in?” “Oh, no he left to the next town.” “Ah, okay.” They stood looking at each other, both waiting for one to speak. “Shall we go for a walk?” said Janus “I would love that.” “Then let us go.” “Am I preventing you?” Said Lucia, playing with him. “If you stay that attractive then yes.” He said, just to see if his power to make her blush was still as strong as ever, it was. Her face burnt but she didn’t look away but repaid him with a smile. He slide on his heels so they were both facing away from the front door, he wrapped his arm around hers, like a snake that end by embrace every finger in between his own. As they began walking Janus made a nod at the carriage driver, he jumped from his seat and begun taking items from the carriage and putting them inside the house. “The woods, I would like to walk through the woods, like we did last time.” “I would like that too.” she replied as she gently squeezed at his hand and smiled up at him. 

They began walking towards the entrance of the local woods in silence. When you have complete confidence in someone you’re around, you do not need to speak, and sometimes do not even want to, as their mere presence is enough to make you happy. They walked under huge arching trees, they arched at such an angle that it looked like the trees from the right had grown all the way up and around just to bury their tip into the ground again on the left side. Of course this wasn’t true but it was hard to make out where one tree end and another also ended, they all seemed to mesh into each other and were impossible to tear apart just by looking. They walked, umbrella-ed by the trees and began talking to each other, slowly their pace and casually looking at each other occasionally as they walked. “So, only a few months.” said Janus “Yes, I am excited and…well nervous.” “Why nervous?” she put her free hand to her face to rub it while she became exactly what she was talking about; nervous. “Nervous for the future, not in a bad way.” “I understand, it will be a sudden change.” “The day I become a woman I also become yours, it makes me nervous, I do want it but I am sure you understand my feeling.” “Oh of course.” said Janus with a soft smile and a small stroke to her soft, pale chin with his free hand. “Tell me Janus, what exactly is the plan that day?” “That is exactly why I am here my dear.” “Then tell me.” he beamed a smile at her while he spoke softly with a hint of excitement “Well! The day you become sixteen, I will arrive here like today, but you will be returning with me. Of course every need and want of yours will be supplied for. And anything for father needs will of course be given to him, as he would be my father too. The day after you arrive at your new home: Mine. You will become mind, truly mine, by marriage.” 

She remained silent as she thought to herself, he didn’t speak or interrupt her thoughts, knowing what she was doing. “I see.” she finally said. “What of it?” “I am happy with that plan.” she said softly so only he could hear her and leaned her side on him as they walked. “Good, then that is how it will happen. Oh and your father will be picked up on that day to brought to our house in order for the marriage to go ahead, of course he cannot be left out!” “Indeed!” she said while stroking her fingers tips on his fingers as they walked. “Then you will finally be mine, all mine” she softly said yes and carried on walking with him. They looked around casually, cherishing each others company and generally being curious to all that they passed and was in their sight. They came to a small river running past the trees, they stopped and admired it, stood, staring. Lucia pointed out a recently fell log and they both decided to sit upon it, he held her close, sitting back like he was about to sleep except with his head up while she rested her head on his chest and watched the waters. They sat in silence stroking each others skin and admiring the sights and sounds of nature. 

He was silent with his eyes closed, she could only just hear him breath, she thought that he was asleep. He looked childishly calm and relaxed when he had his eyes closed, with the sun gently breaking through the leaves and laying upon his face, as if to trail a path towards his lips for her. She admired him, his age and still so handsome. If anything his age in fact made him more handsome. It gave him the look of power but mixed with a tenderness that is rare in mature men. The balance was the attraction. She leaned her face close to him, looking at him while the sound of nesting birds and other woodland creatures sing their songs and make their various noises. She gently sniffed the air and could smell a faint smell of vanilla, he always smelt faintly of vanilla for some reason. She moved her face until it was close enough to breathe on his, he opened his eyes to look at her as he has noticed. She kissed his cheek and returned her head while he leaned his head up to yawn. As he yawned his re-wrapped his arms around her and watched the waters flowing by, occasionally a small animal would pass, a frog, a water spider, a few ducklings with the mother at the head, leading the way and turning to look at them to make sure they are still together and all there every now and then. 

He rested his hand on her lap and began to speak with a sleepy voice, slightly deeper due to the rest. “By the way, you look good in red.” “Oh thank you.” she said with a small smile, forgetting that she was even wearing it. “The crimson brings your pale out even more, which is beautiful compared to white, but when compared to red…It is another kind of beauty.” She blushed, her cheeks turning as crimson as her clothes and her black hair and pale skin in contrast made her look ill, but oddly attractive. Her reply was a kiss on his lips, he didn’t speak back or thank her, he knew that she knew he had thanked her by not stopping her and cherishing it. “Are you hungry, my dear?” “A little yes, are you?” “I am, and I brought food with me, would you wish to escort me to my carriage?” he said with a smile, waiting for her to laugh at his pompousness. She let out a small sigh with a smirk “Yes.” “Then let us go.” She nodded with a childish smile. They removed themselves from their seat. Leaving Janus’ clothes a tiny bit damp and moss on Lucia’s bum, he excuse himself as he patted it off her dress with purposeful sideways rather than downwards pats, in order to very clearly and evidently touch her behind. He placed his arm in front of her and curved it in the air, she took it and wrapped her arms around it, with which they both began walking back while telling each other amusing things that had recently happened to both of them. Such as recently when Lucia’s father had leaned over the fire to throw more wood on it and burnt the tip of his beard off. Making his beard dis-levelled, she said it didn’t matter because now it looked like he made the beard shorter at the chin just to be stylish. Janus joked about maybe doing the same thing to be more handsome and attractive to all. Janus spoke of the time one of his maids had made a cake with almonds, which he was allergic to, she didn’t know. He took a single bite and before he even managed to swallow it he threw up all of his previous dinner on the table and floor, all over his own writing and notes. While she stood in shock just watching and unable to move. He eventually stopped and managed to lift his head up from his vomiting position and ask her with watery eyes “Could you help me, ma’am?” they both burst into laughter at how utterly ridiculous the situation was and how such a mature man is never seen doing such things unless of a certain drunken type or incredibly ill. So the image of a handsome, well spoke and well presented mature man throwing up all over a cake was humorous to them both, even more so to himself. He laughed at his ego with a small tear. 

They reached the carriage which the driver was sat on top of again, he was laid back across the roof and smoking some kind of pipe, the amount of smoke that was coming from it seemed more like the smoke from a fire than from burning tobacco, and it smelt like it too. Janus made a small leap into the carriage causing it to tilt, almost sliding the driver off the roof. Lucia was sure that he did it on purpose as she could hear him rummaging around as if he had lost something or was looking for something else and Janus was not a forgetful person. The driver sat himself up and crossed his legs, placing his hands on the sides while he huffed at Janus and puffed at his pipe. Janus jumped back out after a long sliding noise was made inside, he put his hand inside and pulled a basket out and placed it on the dry path. Climbed up the drivers side of the carriage and took the driver’s gloves from out of his pocked as he sat smoking “What have I told you? I pay you enough, buy some actual tobacco not that useful fake!” the driver looked at him as if to say “My money, my waste.” and carried on puffing away. Janus climbed back down and passed the gloves to Lucia “Put that on my dear, so the basket weight doesn’t tear into your hand as we walk.” She put the glove on her left hand and placed the gloved hand on the right basket handle. Janus did the same thing but with the other hand and side. She thought how he looked like an upper class valet with that glove on, or maybe a royal butler or even a regent. He didn’t seem to notice as he pulled it up and she did too a split second after him. It weighed almost noting to her, she wondered why he hadn’t carried it by himself but then she noticed a certain pleasure that he was getting out of seeing her work with him, even if he was carrying pretty much all of the weight and she was just holding the handle, it still pleased him. 

They walked around the woods this time, which lead to a small bench over looking a little cliff, it was technically a cliff but it seemed more like a slightly steep jump to Janus, not much of a cliff to say the least. It was blistered with pointed rocks which goats used to keep their footing as they climbing it, again not exactly climbed, more like walked slightly upwards. They placed the basket down on the floor in front of the middle of the bench, Lucia made a sigh as she placed it down to which Janus frowned at her “What?” “Oh nothing, thank you for helping me carry it.” he smiled with sincerity and a hint of sarcasm. “You’re welcome of course.” They both sat on opposite sides of the bench looking out at the terrain. There was white dots in the distance, bleating and moving, smaller white dots following bigger dots and the occasionally black one. The sun had dimmed slightly as the clouds blocked its light more often than earlier. Janus curved his back to be able to reach the basket lids, he pulled one up and slid his hand in, not looking inside but looking up as if thinking and wondering with his tongue tip outside the corner of his lips. He looked like a curious little boy delving his hand into the depths of a tree hole. “Just open it and look inside.” He looked at her confused “But then there is no fun in finding out what I have in my hands.” “Didn’t you choose the food? You know what is in there.” He was silent and carried on regardless and then finally opened both of the lids properly so he could see what he was doing. “Oh….Some of your food may have my finger marks in now.” he said while passing her a sandwich that had a very clear hole in it from having a finger speared through it. At this she burst out laughing “You fool.” Oddly he seemed vaguely pleased by her accusation and smiled, placing a perfectly un-pierced sandwich into his mouth. And staring at her, daring her to notice, she did but ignored it, knowing she was being set up. He finished his sandwich before Lucia even got into her second tiny bite. He took some meat out and started eating it, she noted how when it came to meat he ate like a dog, all in one go, almost no chewing, like he could not wait to even grind it in his teeth as he desired it to be in his stomach immediately. 

They sat and ate and talked and laughed. This was interrupted by Janus staring over her shoulder rather than listen to her, he shifted himself closer to her as she asked him what he was doing, he merely said “Turn around.”, she did as he pointed something out “You see that?” “No?” “Look! Right there, how strange!” “Where!” “Right there!” he shouted as he placed a cold material across her neck, she jumped at the sting of the sudden freeze of metal on her neck. “I got you this.” he said as he made a noise of fingers messing with metal, followed by a small click. She looked down to see a metal chain of gold resting around her neck and falling down to just above her breasts, each ringlet of metal was decorated with a different colour gem. She blushed the instant she seen it as he wrapped his arms around her waist and gave her neck a gentle kiss. She was struck by a sudden noise which struck him too, they both turned around to see a goat with its head in the basket, licking the left overs. “…Okay.” Said Janus as he moved and gently pushed it away without any real concern. “The oddest things always happen when you’re around.” “Don’t blame me, I’m not a goat!” He pulled on his ribbon which was keeping his hair in a ponytail to make sure it was still secure. “It is getting late, lets head back.” “Agreed.” They both smiled at each other as they both stood and picked the basket up in the same fashion, having not taken the gloves off all of this time. “Thank you by the way” “What for?” he seemed genuinely puzzled “The necklace.” “Oh you’re welcome my dear.” he said with a big grin as he remembered, she leaned herself over to him as they stood still, leaning over the basket and kissing his nose, he kissed her back on the chin and they both, as if by instinct began walking together. 

They walked back in silence as the sky slowly became orange and slightly darker that it was before. Janus placed the basket in the carriage again, which was now facing the other way around as the driver must of turned it around while they had ate. The driver was missing from his usual spot, although the stench of his presence was still corrupting the area, although the smoke had passed on and left. Janus returned to Lucia standing by the front door of the wooden house with her. “Thank you for today.” “But of course my dear, it was my pleasure.” She stroked his hand and placed her other hand on his chest to rest on it while she leaned closer to kiss him, he tenderly made contact with her lips using his and kissed her as he pulled her close. With that they were disturbed by the noise of the driver climbing back up his carriage to his seat, very obviously having just went to the toilet on some poor tree with the way he sat down with such childlike glee, with a face of being released of something, to Janus’ and Lucia’s mine, no doubt urine. Janus looked back to Lucia, looking down, only able to see her forehead as she rubbed her face into his chest. “I best be going my dear” “Yes” she made no sign of moving. “Pass on my regards to your father.” “I will.” Still she made no sign of moving, so he laid his hand on her head and gently stroked at it, then slightly pushing back on it to force a hint of separation. She moved back and smiled at him. “Oh and I left a few gifts for you, they should be in the house, if this man is any good at following orders, which isn’t entirely out of the question.” he said while pointing his thumb over his shoulder at the driver. He didn’t notice. “Then thank you for them too, my dear.” “You’re of course welcome.” he placed his hands on her shoulders, palm down and kissed her forehead, he turned slowly, as if with deliberate and dramatic slowness and walked towards the carriage, put a foot into it and made a small hop upwards and forward. 

The curtain ruffled as he moved behind it, the noise of him taking a seat and shuffling around could be heard. He pulled the curtain to the side and held it there, leaning forward to stick his head out and up. “Excuse me fair chap but I wish to employ you as driver, do you think you could do such a thing and take me home?” The driver looked down at him, feeling superior by his position of high ground and replied “Yes of course maaaaaaaaaaa’am!” extending the ma’am to signal sarcasm. “That’s sir to you, I am no woman.” “Of course my master, you’re jolly right sir.” Lucia got the idea that both were acting rather than being serious, but she could never tell which was etiquette and which was sarcasm. She smiled at their pompousness and watched as Janus put his head back inside while quite clearly rolling his eyes. He gently rapped his fist on the ceiling and with that the driver whipped his reins at the dark horses, instantly they began to move at a pace between walking and running. He stuck his head out of the curtain side and waved. She returned the wave by holding her hand up and looking at his eyes, staring. He leaned back inside and pulled the curtain back to cover. She thought to herself that he was no doubt reading as he always did when he wasn’t in company or so he told her, but of course she could not know such a thing, as when she had the chance to study him, he was of course in her company. 

She stood watching them gallop off into the distance until she could only hear them, rather than see them. She turned and went inside, as she walked in she caught her reflection on a mirror in the hallway, she studied herself, how the crimson clothes brought out her almost luminous paleness, like a petite angel, the gold of the necklace and the flash of the gems adorning her. She felt that she wasn’t looking at herself, all of these things together seemed to somehow make her someone else, she looked older and far more beautiful than she had ever noticed. She admired herself for a few silent minutes and then gave herself a small grin and made her way up the stairs. As she entered her room she spotted a few small packages on her desk. She unwrapped them and found several books and a few of them blank for writing, a few pens and pencils and collection of ribbons. She took one, navy blue and excessively long and went back downstairs to the mirror, she tied her hair back, she liked that the ribbon was far too long and left it like that, although she knew that they were meant to be cut down to size, it suited her, so why should she? She thought to herself. She made her way back upstairs while the ribbon followed her like a attentive long blue snake in the air, replicating all of her movements and flowing side to side as she went. She picked up the first book in the pile from Janus and sat herself at her window sill, she began reading and sighed to herself. Although she was reading and taking in every word, every second thought was already fighting for attention, that second thought was always Janus. 

She was woken up in a slightly darkened room, a sound of a slamming door had shook her from her sleep. She moved slowly, rubbing her hands at her face, not quite sure what was going on. She looked down at the open book on her lap, she had obviously fell into sleep while reading. She sleepily raised herself and placed the book on the side of her desk, yawning with her hands covering her face and moving like a child that had just learned how to walk, wobbly and clumsy. She went to the landing, accidentally banging her hand on the walls as she went, placed her hand on the staircase rail and very softly and slowly sliding her hand down it as she clumsily dropped each boot covered foot on each step. She clambered all the way down and rested her body against the door border of the kitchen, pushing it off to peek in. Her father was stood in the corner, removing his work clothes and placing them on the back of the chair, all the time with his back to her, he removed a small bag from his waist and gently flung it onto the table, making a metallic clang as it came into contact with the wooden table. It was evidently full of coins. He took a satchel and opened it, pulling out a leather water holder, he opened it and pour amount onto his face and taking his already dirty clothes and rubbing the dirt from his hands and face on the clean patches. 

At this she spoke “You’re so messy.” He turned with wide eyes, watery face and dirty beard “And you’re sneaky!” She entered the room, pulling a chair out and sat herself down “I’m also so sleepy.” she said as she yawned, not able to cover her mouth as she was stretching during the yawn. “You’re sleepy? And you have done no work? You don’t have the lumberjack blood that I do!” She looked at her pale hands, soft and tender, clearly not the hands of a hard worker, but a soft lover. “No, no I don’t.” He smiled at her as he pulled clean clothes out of the satchel and started to dress himself. “It doesn’t matter, you needn’t have it when you’re not destined to be one.” She laid her hands on the table and without intention but just out of the desire to sate her idle and curious hands, she pulled the bag of coins closer and pushed and prodded her fingers into it. “I guess my body and personality suit a wedded situation better.” “I hope so, you’re intellectual. You never struck me as physically strong.” “You’re only saying that because I am a young female.” “It has nothing to do with that.” He said as he walked past her and stroked his hand on top of her head with affection. “Did you say you were tired?” “Yes.” He rummaged around the kitchen “Do you want something to wake you up a little?” “Not if it is your black coffee, I hate that stuff. It’s like….Drinking blackness.” He frowned and set about making some anyway. She continued to play her hands at the bag of coins, occasionally making a jangling noise, she laid her chin on the table and listened to her father busying himself. She could hear water steaming and the clashing of cutlery, and then the pouring of liquid into a mug. He cleared his throat as he sat himself down across from Lucia, with a mug of black liquid in hand. She could taste it from where she was sat, the smell was so strong she felt it was upon her lips. 

“Just being in the same room as that has woken me up!” He sniffed the air and made a self satisfied smile before taking a sip. “Ha, you see my plans always work out.” “Except for the beard.” “Oh be quiet, I make one mistake in your entire life and you never forget it.” “It’s nice to know you’re not perfect.” He lowered his mug to the table, leaving his hand on the spout “Oh?” “Well.” she shuffled her bum into the seat to get comfy “All of my life I thought you was perfect, infallible, while although that is comforting as you’re my father, it also makes one unconfident. So to see you make a mistake reminds me that you’re just like me. Which pleases me more than a perfect father ever could.” “That’s a very cryptic compliment, but thank you, my pale little angel.” “That’s okay.” she said while looking at the table. “How was your trip? I see you made some money.” “Oh yeah.” he took the bag of coins in his hand and threw it into the air, catching it with a sideways swipe. “I did indeed! Seems now summer is almost over that the next town cannot get enough wood from me, they are stocking up you see. Which leaves a man who lives surrounded by nothing but trees and a small pale woman quite well off.” “Because of the trees or the angel?” “Both.” he pushed his mug forward, sliding it towards her “Have one sip, it is enough to keep you awake for a while.” “Okay.” she did exactly that, sipping it very slowly and swallowing it instantly to avoid tasting it, as she did she pulled a pained face and put the mug back on the tables surface. “Oh it’s not that bad!” he took it in his hand and returned it back to him. “It’s bloody horrible!” she tucked her arms into her sleeves and wiped the material on her tongue, to remove the taste, he watched her rolling his eyes. “There must be something about the maturing of tongues that like the bitterness.” she looked at him with narrowed eyes “Or maybe you’re just too old to taste the horribleness anymore?” he laughed to himself, sipping more for himself. 

“I have a question.” “Then ask, fathers are here for advice.” she played with her sleeves. “Since I can remember I have been promised to Janus, how did that happen?” he finished the last sip of his drink and laid the mug carefully down, clearly thinking. “It seemed like a good choice. Obviously he was younger than and was a already quite a successful landowner, and I was rather poor and alone after your mother died during childbirth. He made the offer to pay for all of your raising in return to marry you at sixteen, a father can’t really argue with a fine, well established man willing to do so much for his child and securing her future.” “I see.” she pushed his chair back, allowing it to rub across the floor, making a noise similar to nails being scratched down a chalk board. She flinched at the sound and watched him washing up after himself. When done he placed his hand on her shoulder “I’m just going to rest for a while.” she put her hand on her father’s which was resting on her shoulder “I will start making some food for us.” “Okay, thank you.” He leaned down and kissed the crown of her hair and left the room taking his satchel with him. He could be heard walking through the house, which stopped with the sound of a bed or chair creaking, sitting or laying him self on it. She rubbed her forehead in thought and stood herself up, approaching the counter she started looking for things to cook as she was ravenous herself, so she could not imagine how hungry her father must of been. She wondered if Janus had returned home yet. 

Lucia served up a simple stew and freshly cooked bread, instead of making a meal she piled everything into the same pot and cooked it together, making a stew of anything and everything that she could find and was still edible. She placed both bowls on the table and left the room to wake her father, she found him sleep on a chair in the hallway, she thought to herself that he must of been so tired that he couldn’t make it to his bed or the chairs in the living room. She gently pushed his shoulder to which he instantly folded his arms and flicked open his eyes, looking up at her. “Food is ready.” she took her hand off his shoulder and went back to the table, taking a seat at the bowl of stew, the other bowl directly across. He entered the room rubbing his chin and sat himself down as if he had no control of his own body weight, the way that unaware people sit, like children unaware of how to control their own body so they fling and drop their body weight around by accident. They both began to tuck in, being ravenously hungry, they ate and dipped the bread in, quickly being left with nothing but stew, they scooped and swallowed it down without even chewing, they were too hungry to bother themselves with such things. Lucia finished first, dropped her spoon into the now empty bowl with a clang, which he quickly followed by doing the exact same action, as if to symbolise being finished. They both sat happy and full, Lucia leaned her elbows on the table while her father placed his hand under his clothes to rub at his full belly. He looked glanced over her shoulder, seeing through the window that it was now dark. “Later than I thought.” “The food.” “No the…time.” she caught the direction of his sight and followed it, turning only her head and waist to look behind her and turning back with a frown. “Yes, it seems it is.” they sat happily in silence glancing around the room casually, she stood herself up on her chair and hoped off to the side, turned and took the bowls in her hands, as she walked the spoons span slowly around the bowls, making an annoying noise, but having both hands full, she did nothing but hurry her walk to the kitchen counter, which made the spoons spin faster and louder. She placed them down and narrowed her eyes while looking at them, as if to curse the spoons for being so annoying. Her father showed no sighs of noticing, leaning his chin down and looking as if he was going to fall asleep again. She placed her hand on his head and spoke softly “I am going to rest, you should do the same…And not on this chair.” He smiled with his eyes closed and very quietly spoke “I will…In a minute.” “Goodnight.” she said as she made her way out of the room and up the stairs. She entered her room and slowly undressed herself as she walked, placing her footwear under her bed with a slide from the side of her foot. She placed all of her clothes on the back of her chair at her desk and tip-toed across the room to the door, closing it and tip toeing back, she didn’t dare place her entire foot on the floor for how cold it was, instead she almost skipped on her toes to her bed, diving into it, she landed on her sheets and had to awkwardly move her body onto the pillows in order to put the sheets up and over her, going in head first, spinning her body and poking her head back out, resting on the pillows. She was a tiny bit out of breathe, as she lay there listening to her breathing become slower and gentler, she heard the footsteps of her father coming up the stairs, stepping across the landing and making a big thumping noise as he very clearly just threw himself on his bed, probably fully dressed thought Lucia. She was left with nothing but her now slow breathing to listen to, she wasn’t thinking, her mind was blank, and her body tired, she listened and fell into a deep, resting sleep as she listened.

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