The door slid open and System found a tall thin man in his 70s standing in its opening. He had a tightly groomed mustache, silver hair, and wore glass spectacles that perched low on his nose. His dressed denoted one that was in charge of many responsibilities,
“Oh Mr. Pinn,” System let out, her voice trembling so slightly. She felt 13 years old again in his presence.
“I am so happy…” her voice trailed off as she stopped herself, “I’m… I .. I .. I’m pleased to see you.“
“Miss System, the misfortunate passing of your father and mother this last week have weighed heavily on the House, and we are all very glad that you have finally arrive. Please come in,” he continued, “This is your house now. I will bring refreshments to you in the East Lounge. We can talk more then and proceed with the pressing legalities.”
System stepped forward and almost embraced the man as her emotions welled up, but she restrained herself and placed her hand warmly on his shoulder lingering as she stepped past him from the portico into the entry passage.
“Mr. Pinn, thank you, thank you. I need a few minutes. I’ll meet you in the lounge in 20 minute. If you would be so kind, I would like 2 hot Quafe’s and a bottle of old Donny.”
She stepped past the prefect house scribe and into the estate.
She took the stairs up to the sleeping quarters and passed down their long corridors until she reached a door, painted red with white letters neatly scrawled in an artistic, though childish script. It read “Princess System” and below that “of the House Baud” with little hearts intermingled between some of the letters.
With a raise of her hand the door slid open, recognizing her bio signs.
System entered the room.
The bed was tightly dressed and had been pushed to face the great window that stretched out to a view of the ocean. A few of her belongings had been left around the room making it feel personal and occupied, but it was obvious no one had used the room for the last 10 years or so. Then the smell hit her.
The smell of her childhood, the linens, the ocean, the fresh rain… it all started to bring to mind intense memories.
Memories of her and her father walking along the beach, memories of him reading to her at bed time, of her mother brushing her hair.
That one guy that hid under her bed when they thought her father was coming to ‘catch’ them… and how he had fallen backwards out the window and into the pool below. She smiled slightly at the memory of how fast he ran in his wet cloths.
The ‘girls only’ slumber parties she had had with Tristan and Katie. The many long nights they had stayed up talking about life, boys, and the latest clothing styles.
Her sullen teenage years… the Manji weed she secretly smoked on the balcony with the twins and thought no one else knew about. Yukie, … little sweet Yukie – her so fuzzy Ketteh she had from age 9 until she had left home.
That time her mother angrily threw her suitcase across the room smashing the mirror to bits and pieces. The time her father yelled and screamed outside the door cursing at her mother and then smashed his fist into the wall.
He hadn’t known she was listening, hiding there in her room.
He had not known.
Her father’s consoling hugs, his arms warm and tight, embracing her protectively.
Her father’s arms.
She sat down on the end of the bed.
Her father’s freshly shaven face. The smell of his shave after oil.
The lump was back again in her throat.
A moment passed, then she stood up and strode across the room.
This was not the time for self-indulgent emotions.
She made her resolve again, straightening her back and tightening her shoulders.
Then she left the room heading for that cup of hot Quafe and the answers she sought.