The Life of Amelia Grace
Mia Grace’s alarm clock rang shrilly in her ear that morning. Groaning, she rolled over, pounded the snooze button down and buried her face in the covers. She was barely able to get another few extra минуты of sleep before somebody ripped the covers off of her and a cheerful voice rang out, “Come on, Mia, you’re never going to get into eleventh grade by sleeping all day!”
“That’d be an easy way to do it,” mumbled Mia, rubbing her eyes and stretching. When she opened her eyes a black haired man was looming over her, a stupid grin on his face.
“Geez, Lex,” сказал(-а) Mia crossly, shoving his face away from her own. “Do Ты have to breathe down my neck?”
“Ooh, somebody’s touchy this morning,” сказал(-а) Lex playfully, grabbing Mia around the waist and swinging her out of bed, ignoring her shouts of remonstration. “Don’t worry, Mia, if you’re feeling like a lazy person I’ll be able to do everything for you. Serve Ты breakfast, brush your teeth, take your clothes off—”
“That’s perverted,” сказал(-а) Mia, wiggling out of his grip and smacking him with a pillow.
“Hey, don’t forget I’m the one who changed your diaper when Ты were a baby,” Lex reminded her. Mia rolled her eyes.
“That’s only because our parents were to stupid to do it themselves. All right, Mr. Pervert-of-the-Month, get out. I’m going to get changed for school.”
“Can’t I stay with my darling sister?”
“Not unless Ты want to see me without a bra on.” Lex thought for a минута before zooming out of the room, throwing a, “Bye!” over his shoulder.
“I didn’t think so!” Mia called, smirking before slipping into a pair of black jeans and a white T-shirt. Mia bounced down the stairs and watched as Lex received praise from their parents.
“I’m so proud of you, Lexie!” gushed Mrs. Grace. “Going off to college already… and to become something worthwhile!”
“Definitely,” agreed Mr. Grace. The two of them ignored Mia as she slid between her parents and her brother to enter the kitchen.
This was typical behaviour at the Grace household. Mia’s parents didn’t acknowledge her existence. Since Mia was a baby, Lex had been the one to take care of her, feed her and clothe her. Mr. and Mrs. Grace had always wanted a boy, and they always made a point of telling Mia so, which pretty much revealed the reason why they pretended their daughter didn’t exist. Lex had become a straight-A student and had graduated high school with a scholarship to Harvard with his dream to become a mechanic. Mia had also gotten outstanding grades so far, but her parents couldn’t have cared less. They didn’t pay for Mia’s education; she paid for that and her own Еда herself by working year-round at a part-time job. To Mia it was like being the ghost of the household, except that only one person could see her.
But Mia liked to look at the positive things she had. She had heat, light, food, a boyfriend, a loving but certifiably fanatical brother and an education, even if she had to work for it.
“What’re Ты having?” сказал(-а) Lex happily, striding into the кухня when he smelled the delicious, fruity smell of Mia’s cooking.
“Strawberry блины filled with whipped cream,” сказал(-а) Mia, smiling at him and waving the шпатель in his face. “And Ты can’t have any.”
“Aw, come on,” pleaded Lex. “Pleeeeeease?” He picked Mia up by the waist and spun her around, laughing.
“Fine,” Mia shot at him, grinning. “But only because I’m a nice person.”
“Well, еще или less,” Lex сказал(-а) knowingly, shovelling a large клубника pancake down his face in one gulp. Lex yelped out in pain as Mia playfully smacked him across the arm with a hot spatula.
“You’re annoying,” сказал(-а) Mia.
“You have whipped cream on your cheek,” noticed Lex. He placed his hand on the side of her head and licked the whipped cream off of her cheek.
“We’re not in the Stone Age, Lex,” сказал(-а) Mia, wiping her cheek off with the back of her hand. “We have paper towels.”
“Yeah, but I just saved one еще дерево by not using a paper towel,” Lex pointed out. “And I also got some extra whipped cream, with a Mia aftertaste.”
“Don’t be such a cannibal,” muttered Mia. “Are Ты taking me to school?”
“Why not?” сказал(-а) Lex airily. “Eat the sugar-filled блины that basically scream ‘I will put Ты into a diabetic coma in two seconds’ and get in the car.”
“I would, but Ты already ate half of them,” Mia сказал(-а) crossly when she realized two out of four блины were missing from the plate. Lex grinned innocently and said, “And don’t worry, I’ll eat the rest on the way there.”
“I’m not hungry anyway,” Mia sighed, and Lex let out a yell of triumph, shoved the Далее two блины down his throat and yanked Mia through the door.
“TIME FOR MIA TO GET AN EDUCATION!”
“LEX, SHUT UP или YOU’LL WAKE THE NEIGHBORS!”
First Week of Eternity
Холодное сердце Castle
“What are Ты saying?” Mia whispered. “Are Ты breaking up with me?”
“In a manner of speaking,” сказал(-а) Charlie, her boyfriend. He didn’t even seem half as upset as Mia, and he actually seemed a bit uncomfortable smoothing back Mia’s silky brown hair in an attempted comforting way. “Mia, I’m going to college Далее year, and I don’t want anything holding me back.”
“Yeah, well,” Mia сказал(-а) irritably. “That’s basically the only thing I’m good for. Holding people back.” She shoved Charlie off of her, turned and stalked around the corner, ignoring Charlie’s calls of, “Aw, come on Mia, Ты know I didn’t mean it like that!”
“Hey, what is it?” asked her brother Lex, when Mia slid into the passenger’s сиденье, место, сиденья and slammed the door behind her with еще force than necessary.
“Ah… I think I just got dumped,” she mumbled, strapping herself in and slumping down on the seat.
“Poor you,” grinned Lex, rumpling his sister’s hair and making her let out a mew of protest. “You coming to see me off at the airport tonight?”
“Might as well,” Mia said, grinning at her brother. “Seeing as I don’t have any plans anymore,” she added acrimoniously. “Why do Ты have to go to college anyway? I don’t think I’ll be able to stand being alone with the parental units.” Lex laughed.
“Because I want to be a mechanic, and to be a mechanic I’ve gotta go to school. Can Ты make the connection now?”
“That also means you’re helping me pack.”
“Seriously, don’t push it.”
“Hey mom, Эй,
dad,” сказал(-а) Lex automatically, walking in the door with Mia on his tail.
“Hi Lex,” сказал(-а) Mr. Grace, not even looking at Mia as he stood up and looked away from the Телевидение program he was watching to hug his son. Mia, who didn’t even bother to get her hopes up that her parents wouldn’t ignore her as if she were invisible, rolled her eyes and walked straight into the kitchen.
“Lex, what do Ты want for supper?” she asked.
“Make me a special ‘Bye Lex, I’ll miss Ты forever’ dinner,” grinned Lex, striding into the kitchen.
“Fine, I’ll make your favourite,” Mia sneered, thinking of Lex’s absolute detestation of leeks. “Leek soup.” Lex made a face and choked, “Anything but leeks.”
“Oh, no, I insist!” Mia laughed. “I’ll arrange a couple of leeks on a plate that say, ‘You know Ты want to eat me!’ And if Ты try to resist I’ll shove them down your throat.”
“Okay, okay, truce,” Lex chuckled. “You’re still as stupid as ever, even when you’re single.”
“Can it, oldie,” Mia shot at him, hitting him over the head with a wooden spoon. “Go pack your stuff.”
“Aye, aye, Captain!” сказал(-а) Lex loudly, grinning stupidly as he marched out of the кухня like a soldier.
They were on the highway when Lex’s car whined and spluttered to a halt on the side of the road.
“Crap,” сказал(-а) Mia. “I told Ты to replace the oil and fill up the gas tank before we left.”
“No biggie,” Lex сказал(-а) unperturbedly, whipping out his cell phone. “We'll just call the tow truck. Ah… shit, there’s no service here. Damn it, I’m gonna miss the plane!” Mia's кошелек suddenly fell out of the open door of the car and promptly began rolling down the hill.
“My bag!” Mia gasped, running after it.
“MIA!” Lex shouted, but Mia just kept running. It finally stopped at the bottom of the hill, after smacking into at least two-dozen trees, where the land became flat.
“Gotcha!” she said, snatching it up. “Now, where's the highway...?” Mia began her Поиск for the highway.
“Ugh... damn it...” Mia choked, pushing apart the branches after nearly two hours. Her foot caught on a дерево root, and she went tumbling down a long hill.
“OW!” she screamed, rolling at вверх speed and landed face first onto a rock. “Ouch...” Slowly, Mia struggled to her feet and began staggering back through the woods again.
“Damn,” she whispered. “Where did the highway go?” A branch whipped out of nowhere and sliced open her cheek. Mia paid no attention to the blood running down her face.
“LEX?” she screamed, panicking, “LEX?” As she pushed aside a particularly thick bunch of bushes, she gasped at what she saw. A humungous замок was sitting majestically in the middle of the woods, sunlight streaming onto it and reflecting into Mia's face.
“Why on Earth would there be such a замок in the middle of nowhere?” Mia breathed, staring up at it in awe. “Maybe they can help me get back to the highway.” Mia stepped onto the neatly trimmed grass. The first thing that shocked her was a huge gust of wind that swept over her. The секунда thing was that her stinging cheek suddenly stopped hurting. Mia brought a hand to it and was surprised to find there was no cut at all. Mia approached the замок warily, wondering whether или not they had guard dogs. She walked over to the huge замок and knocked.
“Excuse me?” she called. “I need directions to—” The door swung open, but nobody was there to open it. Starting to feel a little afraid, she nervously stepped inside. Mia took a few steps inside, gaping at the high ceiling with its amazing chandeliers.
“Um... hello?” Mia said, еще like a whisper. She wasn't sure if she wanted anyone to Показать up anymore.
“If this is a trick, this isn’t funny!” she called irritably, wondering how anybody could have made her cut disappear. A magic trick? или perhaps Hollywood wizardry?
“Er... well, I'm just... going to go now,” she сказал(-а) hesitantly. “So, I'm sorry to bother—” She smacked into something behind her. That something clamped a hand around her mouth and swept her off her feet, and promptly started walking up the stairs with her.
“Mmph?” she cried out. The person plunked her onto a soft bed.
“Maggie?” the person сказал(-а) incredulously. Mia swept back her hair and gasped out, “What do Ты think you're doing?”
“Why did Ты come in here?” the person said. He was tall and lanky, with wavy black hair, liquid hazel eyes and a neat pair of oval-shaped glasses that made him look reasonably intelligent. Mia blinked. He was handsome, extraordinarily handsome.
“Ah... I needed directions to get back to the highway,” she сказал(-а) quietly. Mia slid off the постель, кровати and did a polite and rather frantic bow and said, “I'm sorry to bother Ты in your home; I shouldn't have just barged in like that. I'll be going now—”
“You can't leave anymore,” сказал(-а) the man sternly. Mia blinked.
“Eh... why not?” she asked nervously. Pushing up his glasses firmly, he said, “Haven't Ты noticed?” Mia hesitated and then shook her head.
“Noticed what?” she asked politely. The man sighed, knelt down and kissed the вверх of her hand, a small smile on his mouth.
“My name is Jean-Luc Wilson,” he smiled.
“Amelia Grace,” she stammered, turning beet red.
“Amelia?” Jean-Luc said, almost like a demand. “Is that really your name, или are Ты just trying to play some sort of horrible prank?”
“Uh… of c-course it’s my real name,” Mia stammered confusedly. “W-would Ты mind telling me why I can't leave?”
“You'll vanish,” explained Jean-Luc sadly. Mia raised her eyebrows at him, starting to Вопрос this man’s true intelligence.
“Right...” сказал(-а) Mia, letting out a nervous sort of laugh. This man, no matter how handsome he was, was clearly mentally unstable and was probably on drugs. “If this is a joke, it’s really starting to get a bit ridiculous—”
“This замок is from the fifteenth century,” the man interrupted. “It's also Холодное сердце in time.” Mia rolled her eyes at him.
“Uh huh,” she said, slightly out of exasperation. “Look, if Ты don’t want to give me directions back to the highway, then I guess I’ll just go and find my brother.” She furiously pushed past the crazy black-haired man, but wasn’t even able to get into the hall before Jean-Luc grabbed her by the middle and shouted, “No, Ты can’t do that!”
“Why not?” she сказал(-а) angrily, starting to squirm against Jean-Luc’s firm grip.
“Because... I told you... you’d vanish!” Jean-Luc gasped, struggling to keep her in his grasp.
“Will Ты shut up about that?” Mia grunted. “You’re nuts.”
“Am I?” Jean-Luc panted, firmly grabbing her wrist and pulling her back down the stairs.
“Yes, Ты are!” Mia choked, trying and failing to yank her hand away. “Let go!”
“No,” he said, so firmly that Mia couldn’t help but fall silent and stop her attempts to reclaim her hand. Jean-Luc opened the door from which Mia had previously entered. Turning to her rather sullenly, he glared and her and said, “Maybe this will make Ты believe me.” And he slowly held out his hand. Suddenly, another gust of wind swept over Jean-Luc and Mia, and Jean-Luc yanked his hand back. Mia gasped. The skin of his palm and underneath his fingers had completely vanished, leaving nothing except raw, pink, new skin.
“B-b-but...” Mia stuttered, grabbing his hand and staring in awe at the fresh skin. “What... but... how...?”
“I told you,” Jean-Luc winced. “Anyone — and that includes Ты and me — who steps outside the property line vanishes.”
“Y-you can't be serious?” she said, panicking.
“I'm afraid I am. What century are Ты from?”
“The twenty-first, of course!”
“Ah... then that would make me еще than eight hundred years old!” Jean-Luc smiled in Mia's direction, walking back upstairs with her. “Nevertheless, I still look youthful.” He thought for a minute.
“I guess that's another advantage being Холодное сердце in time gives you,” he сказал(-а) airily. “Amelia, Ты can't be older than fifteen, at the least.” Mia hesitated again.
“Um... you're right,” she сказал(-а) softly. “I’m fifteen.”
“Then Ты shall be for all eternity,” сказал(-а) Jean-Luc simply. Before Mia could say anything else, Jean-Luc suddenly zoomed over to a large oak wardrobe and thrust it open.
“Since you're staying with us forever,” he said. “You might as well be useful.” He thrust at her a neat little платье, бальное платье that looked quite old.
“You must accept your fate now, Amelia,” сказал(-а) Jean-Luc. Mia blinked. If Jean-Luc was telling the truth— and I think he might be, thought Mia. Because of the skin on his hand disappearing— then Mia would have to live under the same roof as him.
“No!” Mia cried. “I... I want my brother Lex!”
“Your brother Lex is out of your control now,” сказал(-а) Jean-Luc. He sighed. “I do feel your pain. It was... hard... leaving behind the life we used to have.”
“Wait, we?” Mia said. “There are еще of you?”
“Yes,” Jean-Luc replied. “There’s Warren, Joseph, Kristopher and Alexander.” Mia saw her brother’s face swim before her eyes as her sibling’s name tumbled from Jean-Luc’s lips.
“That’s five of us,” added Jean-Luc. “Not counting you.”
“I figured that out,” сказал(-а) Mia weakly. She sat back down on the bed. “Actually... apart from Lex, I haven’t really left behind anything that I care about.”
“Oh? How so?”
“Well... my parents left me to do all the cooking and cleaning, didn’t acknowledge my existence, made me get a part-time job to pay my school fees and to get groceries...”
“What are groceries?” asked Jean-Luc.
“Never mind,” сказал(-а) Mia. The utter despair she had been feeling earlier was slowly leaking out of her, to be replaced by a feeling of hope. She’d been waiting for an opportunity to escape her old life and to escape from Charlie and her parents. Had that opportunity finally emerged? Mia grinned.
If it was, she thought. Then it’s an opportunity I’m not going to miss!
“So… so if I stay here,” she stammered. “Then… I don’t have to see my parents again?”
“Not ever,” сказал(-а) Jean-Luc. “Once you're finished changing I'll introduce Ты to all the rest of the family.” Jean-Luc shut the door, shoved his hands in his pockets, said, “This girl... she's definitely strange,” and walked down the hall. No sooner had Mia finished buttoning the корсаж, лиф and straightening her юбка did she hear a small thump coming from the other room. Mia knocked on the door, and a sweet little voice whimpered, “Jean-Luc?”
“No,” сказал(-а) Mia. “May I come in?” The person whimpered again and said, “O-okay.” Mia opened the door. She was in an старомодный room with a large, четыре плаката, четыре постеры canopy постель, кровати in the corner and another large, oak wardrobe standing proudly in the corner. On the floor was a little blond boy.
“M-M-M-Maggie?” he stuttered. Mia sighed, shook her head and thought, That’s the секунда time somebody’s called me that today.
“Who are you?” he sniffled. “Jean-Luc didn't t-t-tell me anyone was v-visiting.” Mia knelt down beside him and сказал(-а) kindly, “I'm Mia... er... the new arrival. What's you're name?” To her surprise, the little boy thrust his arms around her middle.
“Warren,” he сказал(-а) quietly. “My name is Warren McKinley.” Rubbing at his eyes, he beamed up at Mia and laughed, “I fell down!”
“Are Ты alright?” сказал(-а) Mia, wondering whether или not this child was bipolar. Warren nodded, still beaming up at her.
“Yes!” he сказал(-а) happily. “Have Ты met Jean-Luc?” Mia nodded.
“Yes, I have,” she said. “Is there anyone else here?” Warren grinned and сказал(-а) cheerfully, “Yes! My big brother Joseph and my cousin Alex! Oh yeah, and my cousin Kristopher.” He giggled and said, “Wanna meet them?”
“I'd Любовь to,” сказал(-а) Mia.
“Okay!” Warren сказал(-а) optimistically, grabbing her hand and pulling her through the door. A very, very tall man with hair as black as Jean-Luc's was sitting on the edge of a large windowsill. His hair was shorter and spikier than Jean-Luc's, and his expression suggested that he was thinking hard. His mouth was in a tight line that made Mia wonder if he’d ever smiled in his existence.
“Joseph!” laughed Warren, flinging himself at his abnormally tall brother. “Come meet my new friend!” Joseph glanced up at Mia. Mia smiled a little uncertainly. Only Warren noticed Joseph's bored-looking eyes widen ever so slightly with astonishment. Warren giggled and said, “Say hello.” Mia went red and did the polite little bow she had done to Jean-Luc earlier.
“Pleased to meet you!” she said. Joseph сказал(-а) nothing. He got up. Mia had expected his posture to be as bored and uncaring as his expression, but it was quite the opposite. When Joseph walked it was with a sort of breezy elegance, as if small winds were rising beneath him. He walked over to Mia, lifted up her chin with one of his long fingers and promptly kissed her on the cheek.
“Hello,” he сказал(-а) obediently, in a deep voice. Warren beamed again. Joseph released her and flounced back to the window as if nothing had happened.
“Now I get to Показать Ты my cousin Kristopher!” Warren said, grinning happily. He pulled Mia outside into a large, beautiful garden.
“Kristopher!” called Warren happily. He was referring to a man crouched over a large rose bush. The man had straight, light brown hair that fell just below his ears. “Come meet my new friend, Mia!” Mia saw Kristopher glance at her. His brown, gentle eyes widened, just like Joseph's did, but instead of looking like he was restraining from Показ emotions, he smiled charmingly and got on his knees.
“Your beauty,” he gasped out, sliding her fingers into his palm. “It radiates off of your soft skin as if Ты were a sun, gradually fallen from above the heavens! Ты are as sweet and as delicate as a rose, and your hair shines as if the light had been absorbed. May I ask why Ты are here, Холодное сердце in time with us?”
“Ah... I needed directions,” Mia said, quite aware that her face was bright red. “May I ask why exactly this замок is Холодное сердце in time?” Kristopher sighed dramatically.
“Regrettably, we never found out!” he said. “We only know that we have been cursed for nearly eight hundred years!”
“But wouldn’t Ты be speaking in an older type of language if you’re from the fifteenth century?” Misty asked curiously.
“My dear girl,” сказал(-а) Kristopher spectacularly. “We stood back and watched as humanity develop! Of course, in due time people forgot about us and now we live here in solitude among the trees! And the flowers,” he added thoughtfully.
“Mia hasn't met Alex yet!” Warren laughed. “Where do Ты think he is?”
“Where else would he be?” сказал(-а) Kristopher, flinging himself down to tend to his Цветы again. Warren nodded seriously and beckoned with his tiny hand for Mia to follow him inside.
“Who's Alex?” Mia asked him, thinking wildly of her brother.
“Alex... is my cousin and my best friend, but he's never home,” сказал(-а) Warren quietly. “He's always down in the tunnels underground.” Warren turned to Mia and beamed again.
“He's got a little study in there!” he grinned. “And he says it's his 'oasis'! So you'll have to wait until midnight, because that's when he comes upstairs!”
“I thought Ты сказал(-а) time doesn't pass here,” сказал(-а) Mia inquisitively. Warren thought for a minute.
“Well, time does pass,” he сказал(-а) happily. “But Jean-Luc сказал(-а) that it’s just us and the замок that’s Холодное сердце in time. So, I think that means we experience the same weather as the rest of the world.”
“Yes, Warren, exactly,” сказал(-а) Jean-Luc, coming up behind Mia and putting two hands on her shoulders. “We don't know exactly what happened, but when Maggie died the house suddenly froze in time, along with us, and yet at the same time the days continue. We weren't able to go past the property line.” Jean-Luc turned to Mia.
“How on Earth did Ты get here anyway?” he asked curiously.
“Ah... well, my brother's car broke down on the side of the road,” she explained. “And then my bag rolled down the side of the hill, so I went after it and got lost. Then I came here.”
“We're fortunate!” cried Warren, starting to pull her toward a huge kitchen. “Come on, Mia, let's make ужин now!”
“Oh, okay,” сказал(-а) Mia. “How about... we make salad?”
“Okay! Can I help? By the way, what's a car?”
Jean-Luc watched her appreciatively.
“Amelia...” he сказал(-а) under his breath. “She'll be pleasurable to have around, I think.”
It was late, and the end of Mia’s first week inside the castle. Mia was tucking Warren into bed, while Joseph was watching her from the doorway.
“I'm not sleepy,” mumbled Warren, rubbing at his eyes.
“Even if you're not sleepy, Ты have to go to bed,” сказал(-а) Mia, pulling the covers over Warren's adorable bunny pyjamas. “Because in the morning, then Ты will be sleepy.”
“Really?” Warren asked in awe. “Then I should go to постель, кровати so that I won't be sleepy in the morning.” Mia saw out of the corner of her eye Joseph walk out of the room.
“Warren...” сказал(-а) Mia, glancing at the door through which Joseph had exited. “You and Joseph... you're tight, right?”
“Yep!” giggled Warren. “He's always with me!” Joseph, who was behind the door, actually smiled to himself.
“Goodnight, Mia,” Warren whispered. “Say goodnight to Joseph too, please.” Mia opened the door behind which Joseph was standing. Mia glanced at him and said, “Goodnight,” before going back into the kitchen. Joseph blinked, smiled a little and went up to bed. Mia didn't notice, but as she was bending down to put the pots back inside the cupboard someone walked through the hallway.
“Hm...” he said, noticing the candle lit in the kitchen. “I guess Jean-Luc hasn't gone to постель, кровати yet.” He entered the kitchen, clutching a book, and started to laugh, “Are Ты still awake, Jean-Luc?” but he stopped himself when he saw it wasn't Jean-Luc at all. Mia didn't even notice anyone had сказал(-а) anything. She was busying herself by attempting to hang a wooden spoon on a hook on the wall, which was just out of her reach.
“Ah...” she сказал(-а) in awkwardness, once she finally spotted the handsome man standing in the doorway gaping like an idiot.
“JEAN-LUC, WHO IS THIS GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL?” echoed through the замок that night.