"Grandmother?" I called, from the bottom of the stairs, in between the kitchen and the living room.
"Up here, Analissa" Grandmother called. I grimaced and glanced at the living room where Carliton sat playing with a few toy soldiers that his father had mangaed to get.
Carliton glanced at me, giving me a wide brimmed toothy smile. Carilton was close to eight, but he barely looked six. The doctor's presumed it was because of lack of nutrition. Secretly I agreed.
Carilton was a skinny boy with hair like his father's. It was thick and golden like straw. But he had Mothers eyes. His eyes looked dark blue, but in reality he had the most amazing purple eyes.
I wish I had Mother's eyes. But I have my father's looks. Golden brown eyes with raven black hair.
"Are you coming, Analissa?" Grandmother called. I jumped, and held tighter onto the stairs railing.
"C-coming Grandmother." I said, climbing the stairs. As Carilton's face grew worried. I winked at him.
'I'll be fine.' I mouthed. Carilton nodded, understanding. But still his smile didn't return.
I sighed, sometimes we didn't give that boy the credit he deserved. He saw more than he gave on.
I climbed the stairs slowly, trying to draw out the time before I had to talk to Grandmother.
She was in the Parlor. The Parlor was the main place where we entertained guests. But it was Grandmother's favorite place.
She had told me once before Grandfather died that she liked the navy blues and the dark burgundy tapestries.
Grandmother was sitting with her back taut. Grandmother looked about 50 today, but really she was 62 and had seen and experienced many things.
Grandmother loved to look younger than she was. Although she looked younger, her newfound beauty was caused by all the rogue plastered on her lips and cheeks.
She used more rogue than I did in a week. Her hair had been colored by the liquid color that came from dandelions, giving her hair an earthy yellow appearance.
She was abnormally thin with puckered cheeks and cruel blue eyes that hadn't smiled in a while.
"G-good day, Grandmother." I greeted, curtsying to her. Grandmother frowned, and snapped her cane at my ankles.
I yelped but quickly rearranged my ankles properly, with my right foot pointed to the left, my left foot on its toes and behind my right.
"If you can't even curtsey properly how am I going to be able to betrothe you." she snaped. I almost fell over.
"W-What?" I stuttered, glancing up at her. Grandmother scowled.
"Don't you What me, you insolent girl!" she snapped. I gulped, and stuffed the words of protest back down my throat. It was no use. I felt myself spiraling deeper into a black hole.
"Sit." she ordered like I was her dog. "We have much to discuss."
I nodded dumbly and sat in the chair opposite her, my eyes wide and frozen.
* * * * * *
"Marriage?" I squaked. "But-Bu-"
"No blubbering!" My Grandmother scolded, angrily handing me her handkerchief.
I took it, sniffing as I wiped delicately at the tears forming at the corners of my eyes. I couldn't be crying in front of Her.
"Hush, child." She ordered. I shut my mouth, and trained my eyes to the floor.
"The Viscount is only a little years older than you. He serves his father the Earl well. He will support you well." She told me. I frowned.
"HE is bringing dowry isn't he?" I asked icily.
Grandmother stiffened. "Yes. For your hand and marriage he gives enough monet to support, Your Mother, Carilton and I" she assured me.
I frowned, thinking. Carilton was a good boy. He was of the few that still understood right from wrong.
But I knew, that one day he would want to get away. And he couldn't be stupid to get away.
"I...." I shuddered "acept" Grandmother smiled, pleased.
"On one condition!"I broke her smile.
"What is it? I'm sure an agreement may...be reached." she assured me.
I smiled. I'm sure it could.
"Carilton must be sent to school with the money." I told her and Grandmother's eyes widened. I could almost hear her thoughts, calculating how much would be left for herself.
"But-" Shr thought begore she spoke, lucky for her "wouldn't you much rather see him as an apprentice?"she asked.
I frowned. "Analissa-" Grandmother tried. I stopped her with a raised hand.
"School" I repeated.
Grandmother frowned. "School." she agreed quietly.
"When will-" I started to ask.
"What?"I asked, surprised
"Leave. Your presence is no longer needed." I stared, agape at her.
Just like that? She was sending me away, just like that??
Grandmother returned to her knitting and when I didn't move she looked at me, as if asking why I was still here.
I stood. "If you'll excuse me..." I said quielty.
I made it halfawy down the stairs before a pair of hand tackled me around the waist, barely stretching across my waist.
"Don't leave me!" Carilton begged. I smiled down at his messy head of straw, hugging him around his fragile shoulders.
He sobbed into my dress, his hands gripping desperately at the sides of my legs. He was begging me, begging me to stay.
"Carilton." I tried to get his attention, pulling us both to sit on a step on the stairs.
"Carilton, look at me." I said, forcefully. I pulled his chin up so were we eye to eyes. I wiped at the tears running down his cheeks, brushing away his hair from his eyes.
"Shhhh, honey, it'll be okay." I crooned, holding him, rocking us on the step.
"It-It- it won't though!" he sobbed into the crook of my neck, holding me tighter with his thin arms.
I let him cry till he couldn't cry anymore. And when the tears stopped coming, he pulled away, sniffing sheepishly.
"S-sorry, Ana." he said, eying the wet spots across the front of my dress.
I smiled and warpped an arm around his shoulder, tugging him to my side.
"It's okay." I crooned quietly. "We'll be fine. We'll be all right." I assured him.
Carilton nodded, quietly repeating my words, lulled to sleep on my shoulder. I smiled and let him stay there. He would be fine