Genevieve stood in silence as she looked around her old bedroom. Nothing had been changed since she had last been here. She took a deep breath to calm her out of control heart. The last few times she was here someone had died. Her Grandma Harley was the first to go, she passed away while playing piano. Then her Grandpa Mason passed away on his way home from work.
Why did they have to die? Why do the people I care about die all around me...
Genevieve looked down at her shaking hands and balled them into fists.
She couldn’t remember the last time this house was so quiet. It was only her, Rose, and her Dad living there now. The house was so big that it was almost impossible to keep clean all by themselves so they ended up having to hire a maid service.
Genevieve reached back into her suitcase and brushed her fingers along the old school uniform she wore back in Widenburg. The same one that she wore when her brother abandoned her…
Genevieve clutched at her chest as short pained breaths started to escape from her.
No not now!
Please stop it...
Her vision started to go blurry and black around the edges turning her world into tunnel vision.
There was a knock at the door and the calm voice of her Dad brought her back into reality. She was shaking like a leaf but composed herself and plastered a smile on.
If anybody needs help it’s Daddy.
Genevieve turned around and smiled at her Dad. Ever since losing his kids and his wife Claudio hadn’t taken things very well. He had packed on a few extra pounds, stopped writing albums with his band, and only released a song every so often.
He looks so much older than he should…
Claudio pressed his fingertips on his forehead and sighed,
“Vivi, I’m sorry I didn’t help you unpack your sister is acting crazy, running around the house and jumping all over everything. She wants me to watch her play on the slip n’ slide but I told her I had to come check on you first.”
Genevieve smiled at the pet name that her little sister gave her and everyone else seemed to pick up.
“I’m fine Daddy, go spend time with Rose. I’ll just finish unpacking our suitcases and leave the dirty laundry out for the maid.”
Claudio looked up at his daughter with a worried expression on his face,
“Vivi….you don’t look to good. Your face is really pale, are you getting sick? You don’t have to go to school on Monday if you don’t want to.”
Genevieve caught her breath and clenched her shaking hands.
Crap. I forgot about school…
“No I’m fine Daddy. Really!”
I’m not okay. New people. New place. New teachers. Unknown hallways. I can’t.
Like he knew that she was lying, Claudio pulled Genevieve into a tight hug.
“You can tell me anything bug. I’ll always be here to listen even if you don’t think you need me.”
Genevieve buried her face in her Dad’s shoulder.
He smells like cologne and peppermints…
Claudio held her at arm's length and gave a sad smile,
“Before I go, I want to show you something I put together the last time you were away.”
Claudio led Genevieve down into an offshoot of the main hallway. It had taken him months to find which ones he wanted to keep but he settled for 4 of them.
Genevieve stared up in amazement at the paintings on the wall.
“These are...these are Momma’s aren’t they?”
Claudio smiled sadly and shook his head,
“Yep. These are the ones I salvaged while the rest were sent off to art galleries around the world who wanted to showcase her art. You know how people get when a artist passes away... The kind of blobby looking one in the middle is one of the first ones she ever painted when she was at the house. She wasn’t nearly as good as she was before she...passed away.”
Claudio cleared his throat awkwardly,
“The one with the people floating down the river was one of the last ones she ever painted. She based it off of the villagers she saw from her time in Shang Simla.”
Genevieve smiled sadly and grazed her fingertips over the dried paint on the canvas. She’d worked so hard to try and replicate her Mother's style but she never could quite get it right.
“I think me and Rose are gonna go say Hi to Mom, Grandpa and Grandma before we go outside to swim...okay?”
Claudio squeezed Genevieve’s arm reassuringly as she walked away.
Genevieve and Rose stood silently in the family crypt staring at the urns of people they once knew and loved. It was so surreal to see them that way. Was this really what happened in the end? Was this all that was left when you were gone? A fancy urn and flowers?
Rose sniffled beside her and wiped tears from her eyes.
“It’s my fault I’ll never know Mommy…”
Genevieve turned around and quickly grabbed Rose’s shoulders,
“Awww Rosie don’t say that. Mommy and Daddy wanted you very badly and what happened to her is in no way your fault. Sometimes even doctors can’t save everyone. How many times do I have to tell you that?”
Rose’s shoulders slouched even further,
“They shouldn’t have wanted me...if they wouldn’t have wanted me, if I didn’t exist, Mommy would still be alive…”
Genevieve wrapped her arms tightly around Roses small frame,
“If you weren’t born then who would I have, huh? You mean the world to me Rosie Posie, never forget that. Now how about we have some fun before we have to go to school? Bet you I can make a bigger splash than you in the pool!”
Rose looked up at her sisters and smiled through the tears,
“Thanks Vivi. I love you.”
Genevieve smiled and kissed her little sister's forehead,
“Love you too Rosie.”
The rest of the day was awesome. They played in the pool, slid on the slip n’ slide, and Claudio even made hamburgers on the grill. Everything was going wonderfully until night time hit. Rose was terrified of the dark and wouldn’t let Genevieve go to sleep until she was asleep. Genevieve knew the reason why was because of what their Grandmama did to Rose when she was living there…
Genevieve shook her head of the thoughts and listened to the soft snoring of her baby sister.
You’re back home Vivi. Your real home. It’s time to have a fresh start.