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Tuesday, March 13, 2012



The rain fell in torrents down the windows of the limousine, winding its way back to the house.  Sofiya stared out the window, feeling hollow and icy.  She looked down at her hands, her finger tips were bluing, her knuckles white from clutching the hem her black dress coat.  Rubbing her hands together, she caught glimpse of Grandfather's signet ring, slipped onto her right thumb.  It was too large for her thin fingers and she made a mental not to get a chain to place it on.

The car had passed through a pretty suburban neighborhood and was slipping back into the city limits.  It pulled to the side along a row of high-end townhouses with decorative elements that screamed age and wealth.  The driver came around to help her out, complete with umbrella and walked her to the door.  Sofiya pulled the key from her pocket and unlocked it.  She was saying a silent prayer that Alistair had left for the night.  Alistair was Grandfather's butler since her memory could recall, a small man and soft spoken.  She didn't want to see anyone tonight.  She just wanted to drink some tea, read a book in silence and contemplate her new life, the one without Grandfather.

Sofiya regarded her Grandfather, Ervine Merryweather, as her parent, and had lived with him since she was 6 years old.  Her parents were still living, but Sofiya felt little bond towards them.  Her mother, Deidre, was a submissive and codependent woman who clung to her husband, Vasile Cardei, a businessman from Romanian descent with a distant dark, brooding nature.  Neither of her parents had time for Sofiya or raising her.  She had the vague memory of a fight between her mother and Grandfather.  It concluded with her mother telling her "You will be living with Grandfather now.  Papa and I need to travel and you need someone to take care of you."

Sofiya favored her mother looks, having the same height and thin build, but she had the coloring of her father, with pale skin, charcoal eyes and hair.  Sofiya remembered that as upset as her mother was, her father seemed almost indifferent as to who raised her, so long as it didn't interfere with his business.  She had no warm feelings towards her father and only pity for her mother.  They hadn't attended the funeral so they either knew he had passed and didn't bother coming, or worse, were completely ignorant of his passing.

Sofiya thrived under her Grandfather's care.  He got her private tutors and instructors, learning everything from history to art to sociology.  She learned to play the piano and draw.  She attended private college and held two degrees, one in literature and the other in art history.  Grandfather sold ancient texts and artifacts.  He told her once that it was his fault that her parents met.  Grandfather had met Vasile while traveling in Romania and he had liaised on his behalf to gain entrance to some social circles.  Ervine told Vasile that he would help him out if he ever came to London, and setting business up there.  Grandfather claimed that he was pleasant and disarming and when he had at last visited London, he'd introduced him to Deidre at a dinner party.  They married less than a year later and then Vasile had changed, became a darker person.  "He took my girl with him when he changed, but I have you, and he doesn't know what he is missing."

Her tea had finally cooled when Sofiya sat down in the study.  She had changed out of her mourning clothes and into her pajamas.  Settling into the overstuffed leather chair her Grandfather frequented, she noticed that there was a letter sitting on the side table.  With trembling fingers, she reached forward touching the think parchment and running her fingers over the top of it.  Her name was written in Grandfather's familiar scroll, it was sealed with his signet.  She lifted the envelope to her nose and gently breathed in the scent of the ink, the lingering odor of pipesmoke and cologne.  A single tear dropped as she cracked the seal.

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