Juliana

United States of America

Check out my music YouTube page!
Antiochian Orthodox Christian
17
Music major
Former homeschooler
Voice teacher
LOTR
The world, the flesh, and father smith
ESTJ

Message to Readers

I published chapter 1 right before this one. Should I publish these in smaller sections? I want criticism, please!!!!

Chapter 2

March 3, 2019

FREE WRITING

1

“Come in, come in! Alfred, Jane is here! Here let me take those for you… Now, let me get a good look at you. Just as beautiful as your mother.” Her smile faltered for a moment. “How was your trip? You must be exhausted.”
 “It was good. I’m not too tired,” I lied. The sound of shuffling footsteps trickled down the hall.
 “There you are Alfred. Come welcome your granddaughter while I move her bags into the kitchen.” Mr. Holme, just as slow as before, shuffled towards me. He smiled poignantly looking me straight in the eye without a word, but something told me it was not me that he saw. 
 “Hello Mr. Holme, it’s nice to finally meet you.”
“None of that,” called Mrs. Holme from the kitchen. “Call us grandma and papa.” I sat down in the dining room, which was on the immediate left through a large opening about the width of two doors, while Mrs. Holme made tea. I noticed that three of the walls had a large family tree. The top of each was faded, but as it expanded down, the paint became brighter and more distinct. Of course none of the names were familiar to me, except for Mr. and Mrs. Holme, who I found at the top of the far-left tree. Mrs. Holme walked in from the kitchen, which was connected to the dining room through a door-size opening. Right as she offered me cream, the front door opened.
 “Where is she?” I heard the door slam, and two girls appeared from around the corner.
 “Wow, she is beautiful! You are beautiful,” squealed the younger, who had dark curly hair.
  “Jane, these are two of your cousins: Hailey and Libby.”
  “We were on our way to Eavestone when Adele told us you arrived and we just had to come say hello,” laughed Hailey, for no apparent reason. Unlike Libby, she had straight blond hair which was so long she probably could have sat on it. “I’m going to help Emma with some hair ideas for—
“Actually Hailey, we better go. We just wanted to come say hi, but we’re going to be late as it is.”
“And whose fault is that? I was ready to go, but someone took too long on their makeup.”
“Is it wrong for me to want to look presentable?” They continued bickering as they walked out, and frankly, I was glad to see them go. Libby’s high-pitched shrieks could have scared a lion. Almost as soon as the front door closed, I heard steps coming down the stairs. A man in his twenties walked in and told Mrs. Holme he was done with the dresser. Mrs. Holme introduced him as Gabe, another one of my cousins but from a different family. He left fairly quickly, but we didn’t get more than five minutes before a back door in the kitchen opened.
“Mrs. Holme?”
“Hello James, come in, we were just having some tea. Would you like some?”
“No, I’m fairly dirty ma’am, I better stay in the kitchen.” I turned around and a fairly dirty man, probably about my age, with large hands and a sturdy build stood in the kitchen. I almost choked on my tea when I saw him after hearing such a tender voice.
“You’re right, you probably shouldn’t,” said Mrs. Holme. “James, this is my granddaughter Jane.” He got ready to shake my hand but seeing his own, decided to just smile and nod.
“I suppose we’re related too,” I said, “Are you my cousin or cousin in-law or my mother’s cousin’s son?”
 “No,” he laughed, “I’m actually not a part of the Holme, Everly, or Ford families. I live in the town of Nidderdale, which I assume you passed through?”
 “Maybe not by blood, but you’re most definitely a part of our family.” Mrs. Holme turned to me. “He helps with everything around here, fixing and making and delivering. He even watches the children sometimes. Right now, he’s helping me with some house maintenance out back.”
“Speaking of which, I should probably get back to that. I just came in to get something. It was nice to meet you miss Jane.”
When he had gone I addressed Mrs. Holme, “James said that he wasn’t a part of the Holme family, but he also mentioned two others. The Ever’s, was it?”
“Everly and Ford. What about them?”
“Well you and Mr. Holme are the head of the Holme family, but I’ve never heard of these other families.” She gave me a puzzled look.
“I have a younger sister and brother, Mary and Douglas. Mary and her husband Donald are the head of the Ford family, and the head of the Everly family is Douglas and his wife Pamela. The Ford and Everly families also live here in Yorkshire.”
“Wait, do you mean to tell me there are three extended families?”
“You didn’t know? I assumed your mother would have told you.”
“Well there are many things my mother should have told me.” I regretted this snappy remark which was followed by silence. I shifted in my chair, and for once the sound of a knock at the door was a relief. In walked a whole group of people: first was my aunt Anne Dale, who was Hailey and Libby’s mother, then Sophie Burnham and her three children—Sophie was married to my second cousin, Philip—my second cousin Kaitlyn Crawford followed Sophie with one of her children, Kaitlyn’s younger sister Lucy Crawford, and finally Adele Braddock with the same exited grin on her face as if she had successfully brought a mob to capture me. And for a moment, I thought they might. They seized me with hugs and struck me with kisses and attacked me with “hellos”. I even started to wonder if they mistook me for some dear friend after a long separation.
I don’t remember much of the conversation due to everyone talking at once, children crying, and the tea kettle hissing. I remember Mrs. Dale’s thunderous laugh, which she unfortunately passed on to her daughters. I remember Adele tugging on my arm and Lucy asking me question after question. But most of all, I remember being drained and looking for an escape. Mrs. Holme noticed because within five minutes she had swept them on to the porch and sent them off.
“Jane has had a long journey and she’s exhausted. Leave her be. There will be plenty of time for chatter tomorrow, now off you go.” I didn’t know what tomorrow was, but I immediately started dreading it. She took me up to my room, which was directly above the dining room. “This use to be Cheryl’s bedroom, but now it’s just a guest room. I’m going to start on dinner and let you get settled in. Just holler if you need anything.” She paused at the door. “We really are overjoyed that you’re here, Jane. I’ve always had a fear that, well, I would never meet you. I’m sorry that the circumstances are so unfortunate. Your grandfather and I loved…w-we loved,” she looked up at the ceiling and swallowed, “We’re so sorry for your loss.” As her footsteps faded down the hallway, I felt a lump form in my throat and a sting in my chest. Unable to see now, I felt for my handkerchief on the bed. There had been too many distractions for me to think before, but this cut in, making it all fresher I suppose. I unpacked a few small items and started organizing them on a desk next to the bed.
“Just like your mother,” said a gruffy voice behind me. Turning around, I saw Mr. Holme standing in the doorway. It was the first time I heard him speak. “She always insisted on organizing her things in a specific way, and God help anyone who messed them up.”
“Don’t worry,” I chuckled, “I’m not quite as particular.” For dinner, Mrs. Holme served chicken tikka masala, black peas, and Yorkshire pudding with coffee. She insisted that I have a real English meal my first night. The conversation was scattered and a bit awkward. How do you have a casual dinner with family you’ve never met? First, she inquired about my trip, but there wasn’t much to tell. Then she asked me many questions about myself: where I went to school, my hobbies, my friends, my occupation. She especially wanted to know about my childhood. I looked about the room as if searching for another topic. I felt like we should have been catching up on our past weekend, not the past nineteen years.  I learned that she loved gardening, cooking, cleaning, reading, and taking walks. Except for an occasional “hmm” or “mm-hmm,” Mr. Holme’s mouth solely interacted with his chicken.
“You must be enjoying the weather here in Yorkshire. I hear Greenland is absolutely freezing,” said Mrs. Holme.
“Yes, it’s been lovely. I can’t believe it’s like this almost all year.”
“You know, I’ve always wanted to visit somewhere like Greenland.”
“Oh? Well why haven’t you? You’ve had a perfect excuse for the past nineteen years.” Mrs. Holme’s gaze fell on her food.
“Your mother wouldn’t have liked that.” And with that, she got up to serve the pudding. Every time I asked a question about my relatives growing up, I received a vague answer. And that vague answer led me to more questions. It was the same with my grandparents. Why was their own daughter an awkward subject? And how could they expect me to pretend like we were one big happy family? That was the one and only similarity between them and my mother: they couldn’t be straightforward with me when that’s all I really wanted. 

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