My name is Caroline Celestia Xanthe. My infancy was filled with noise and nannies before I, at six, was sent to the family boarding school like all of eight siblingbefore me. I am
part of a long and distinguished family. But then life had become
frighteningly silent. My father got dunk one night, and killed a
prominent member of the village closest to our mansion.
The summer was been filled with legal meetings, court dates and hushed whispers
and forced retirement from the family business empire. This singular decision weighed heavily on the four eldest, now responsible for the family business, our hysterical mother and the remaining of us children under their care.
I graduated from university with a degree in horticulture and took a
job with a pharmaceutical company for the independence it gave me
from my inheritance (not due until I was 35) and also the ludicrous
amount of money they were willing to pay me.
I was alone in the city, finding my way around avoiding my family languishing at the mansion by the sea, too far south to be feesable
to visit on the weekends, my life to full to consider holidays.
When Chloe’s mother had turned up at my work, and escorted me to the
Eloise Club, she asked about where Chloe was in her travels.
I provided the only number I had for her without question, and
Isabeau thanked me and left. Isabeau is terrifying, intimidating and
I could not deny her. Chloe and Arlo had been gone since graduation,
flitting around the country for this last six months. Chloe’s mother returned with them both, tanned and taunt from the beach they were last on.
Her surfboard remained at the Manor, a memory of those blessed six months
I stayed at the Eloise, calling my assistant to tell her I would not be
returning to work. Chloe and herself had been members of the
Eloise for years. She did not feel guilty. Chloe’s mother had been the
only relative that lived in the city. Quin’s and Arlo’s my own family were
three states away, Chloe being the only one raised in the city that attended
the boarding school. Chloe’s mother was only 9 years older than the three of
them, 13 years older than Chloe. Mostly, like all of their families,
they had nothing to do with us four. Us four are our own enclave, our own family.
I did not say sorry, did not regret they both been found and brought back,
but instead found myself tracing the skin of Chloe’s face, the quiet taunt
thickness of her neck, the sharp recess of her shoulder bladed. I noticed
the hiccup in my body whenever Chloe was near, the hope in Chloe’s freedom,
in her willingness to take risks and to balance social expectations
with her own. Even my expectations were tempered against her own mother’s.
Chloe and I stayed with Quin at her Kaxis Wood apartment, out in the Lake
St Clair District. Development was slow, meticulous and detailed,
Quin very specific in her vision, design and implementation. She made place
for the four of us, created a subtle luxury in each of our individual suites.
The three stories along with the basement became part of a comforting whole,
as Quin spent 18 months site managing the gift we all shared. I felt safe when
I disappeared in the Manor, when I discovered the possibility of happiness
within. I worked for another two years in the city at the job I hated before
I finally and successfully defeated the expectations of herself, instilled
by my family, and started following my own.
Quin and I’s lives were peppered with visits from Arlo and Chloe, through the completion of degrees, internships, specialties and career advancements.
Within the noise and the silences, I noticed the understated sigh of pleasure
when Quin shifted into the warmth in winter, the under breath of her smile
when she returned form work. I felt my own joy, building tension through the
day until Quin broke the threshold along with her heart. As time circled around
them, their lives became calmness, I was reconnecting to the wilderness as it fed my soul and in turn fed Quins body. My recipes were sweet and tender, and over
the 18 months after she had moved in, wove them around Quin. During this time,
I found she could no longer wait, could no longer hide how I had fallen to love.
Quin had taken my heart and comforted my soul. I delicately wound around Quin,
switching my senses to how she felt, bringing her tumbling in towards myself.
We let go of our inhibitions, the last of them holding us back.
Quin and I continued to love, through someone extra entering our sphere. Arlo. Beautiful, dreamy Arlo joined us, and we kept her, indifferent to the world outside of us three, comfortable with our own eternity.