It had been four years since Anne Neville was the last time in London, the city where she was born and grown. Finally, after finishing her college years, she returned home to start a new life. She missed her parents, especially her sister Bella. They always had been, and even when they lived in different cities they usually maintained the contact by phone or Skype. Yet it was not the same. Both longed for those warm and family hugs that occurred when one was wrong, or those lengthy talks about boys mainly late in the night in whispers to their parents didn’t listen. It is true that at those times they were teenagers but they haven’t seen each other in years so they must have much to talk about.
The plane arrived on time at the destination, London, which was a relief to Anne and just had to take her cases and go to the main entrance of the airport where her sister was waiting to pick her up and take her home. When she reached the entrance, she didn’t see her sister anywhere, so she sat on a bench waiting while she checked her mobile phone.
- Annie! - That was her sister's voice calling her as she approached accelerated now that she finally had found her minutes later. Seen her, Anne got up, kept the smartphone and went to give a big hug to her sister in greeting.
- Bella, how much I'm glad to see you! You looks great ! I see you've let your hair grow. I like it.- Isabelle had gained weight since the last time the sisters were together. She was still very thin, probably too much, but at least this time was healthy. Although rehabilitation treatment had ended over a year ago, and no longer had to take any medication regularly she had to go to medical appointments to ensure she did not fall again in harm herself with food. She was so grateful to her parents for still being spending money on medical care for her, when she was recovered because she felt safer in that way for not relapse again. Recent years have been to Isabelle almost a hell because of her health problems, the fact that her boyfriend was in war and at times they didn’t know whether he was alive or dead, until finally he recently returned home wounded, but with confidence that he could recover. Finally everything seemed to be improving for Isabelle and Anne.
- Thank you! You're not bad sister. I see you much older, in the best sense. I've missed you a lot.- Both embraced and smiled again as sign of happiness. Upon completion of the embrace, Isabelle looked at the time on the phone.- It is already lunchtime. Then I have to go to leave a few reports in the clinic where I work but if you want we can eat together and then I can leave you at home, or I take you there directly if you prefer.
- We eat together and then I go to see dad and mom. Where do you want to go?
They were talking until they reached to Isabelle’s car, they put all the cases in the trunk, and mounted on it. As there was not much traffic, they soon came to the restaurant where they had a quietly lunch.
- Well, how is leaving behind your independent University life and get back to your home in London? - Isabelle asked to learn more about how her sister felt. She looked good, but Isabelle was not only a psychologist but also she knew very well her sister and was very intuitive.
- Truthfully, I find it weird. I have been a long time out so I guess that it will cost me some time to adapt me again. Everything has changed a lot. But I'm excited for my new job.
- Ah! Dad told me that he had helped you to get that interview. It is a great new, and a very good place to start to gain work experience. Many people would kill to be able to work there. What does Edouard think? Will he to come to London or will he stay in France?
- No ... He did not .. I mean, we ... - Anne took a breath and continued as clearly and briefly as possible because she did not want to go far into the topic.- We are no longer together. We broke a couple of months ago. We were not compatible and at the end the cohabitation became very difficult.
- Forgives me Annie, I didn’t know. Why didn’t you tell me anything?
- I did not want giving more importance or that you were worried for me. But I'm fine. Everything is forgotten and I just want to focus on my professional life. Speaking of boyfriends, how's your war hero - Anne wanted to avoid the subject to avoid having to give more details of what caused his break with Edouard and that they were now in legal proceedings because of it.
- George is much better. His mother smother him a lot but it is normal. It has been a long time without knowing whether his son was alive or dead, and when he finally returned was wounded. But he has almost ended the rehabilitation. So soon he will start looking for a flat again and he will have finally a more normal life.
- You do not know how happy I am for you. You have gone through many hells and now you deserve to have some quiet. I still surprised that you leave not living together. By going too fast it won’t be because you are pseudo married.- Anne started laughing. In one sense she envied her sister but otherwise she didn’t think she was made to have such a long or a stable relationship.
- Pseudo married? What do you mean?
- Oh, come on. You understand me. How many years have you been together? Seven?
- Actually eight. Isabelle said with a shy smile as she watched her salad.
- Exact. You have been together a lot of time, you have gone through a lot of problems that have managed to solve them as you could. And both of you still loves each other. That, in my very limited experience means that you have something special that others don’t have.
- I do not think your experience is precisely limited, without offense.
Isabelle was silent for a brief moment looking again at the plate.
- Bella, why are you silent? Is something wrong?
- No, nothing happens it's just that like you, I find strange that George does not intend to take a next step in our relationship. I'm talking about living together. I mean, you began living with Edoard months after to start dating. We are eight years together and it is as if we don’t advance. Sometimes I think he's only with me for routine.
- Bella, routine is just what he needs. I'm not saying he is with you for it but his life has always been somewhat chaotic. He has to settle. I say this because I know that sometimes frustration makes you start to overwhelm and no one can stop you. And believe me go living with Edoard for sharing the rent was a mistake that I will not commit again, and also we were not alone.
- You're right. I feel stupid but I've been so afraid that something would happen and I wanted so much him to come home, that now maybe I demand a lot in a very short time. I love him too much I guess. - Her tone of voice was somewhat doubtful while Isabelle shrugged his shoulders implying that what she felt was natural as it was completely convinced of what she was saying. In less than a second she changed her attitude to the conversation and the topic.- By the way, forget stay to living with Mom and Dad. Go to see them whenever you want but do not live with them.
- Bella you know I do not have much money available for a rent, and I will not ask for money to our parents. Only they are going to be a few months. What's the worst thing that can happen?
- They get used to having you home again controlling all your tickets and your going out like if you're a teenager, and when you finally move out again, mom take it as if it were a cruel and ruthless abandon. - Isabelle was right. Their parents had been pretty drivers in some respects with her daughters. Since no living with them did not know if that still had the habit but something made them guess yes.
- Thanks to you, the food is making me feel bad.
- Lucky for you, I have the perfect solution. You'll live with me and Meg. As this month is ending, you don’t need to pay the rent for a few days. And when you have to pay and you will be working so no problem. Besides the rent between three is less between one.
- George’s sister Meg? I do not know Bella ... I do not deny you that I like the idea but I do not know if it's a good idea. I do not want to be a problem to anyone and I do not know if I'll get along with her to live. I remember she was very nice but also something crazy.
- Yes his sister, she is like you remember and you are going to get along you'll see. Look, her mother will make a small and informal family gathering to celebrate that George is recovered. In fact she loves making such meetings to have the excuse to gather all her children and grandchildren. I told her you were moving here permanently and told me that you should come with me to the reunion. And so you will see everybody. Yes?
- Well, why not? I do not know if I will recognize them after so long. I hope not being too uncomfortable in truth.
- Why would you be?
- You know what I mean. I haven’t seen Dickon since we broke up before he went away to University.
- Yeah, but then you were teenagers. Speaking of him, months after you broke up, he started dating a girl who studied with him. And she got pregnant.
- Dickon have a son? I guess if he's here his girlfriend will have moved with him.
- No, he has a daughter named Katherine as her mother. They broke up in the last year of their career and she died shortly after in an accident. Dickon now lives here with her two best friends and her daughter.
- Poor Dickon. It must have been a very hard blow for him. How is being a single parent for him?
- You know him, patience is not his best quality. But although he is not very permissive, everybody notice that he loves that child. Also his mother helps him. All of them actually help him for the good of the child.
- That is fantastic. I'm happy for him. I still hope not being very uncomfortable. It has been a long time since the last time we saw.
- You only will know when you see him. It will be sooner or later. So we end eating this, I leave you at mom and dad’s home, and I pick two or three hours later, okey?
- Okey. Do I have to go formal dressed?
- No, beautiful but with something that you can wear any day.
Both finished eating, asked for the bill, were quietly back to the car and then went home to their parents. Anne was amazed. She remembered that her parents' house was huge but not remembered so much. Everything seemed to have changed much, even the gardens of the property that her mother took care besides the gardener, by hobby sporadically. Isabelle left Anne at the door without parking the car, waiting for her to come down.
- Don’t you enter? - Anne asked her sister.
- No, then when you come to pick you I will enter and greet them. I see them very often.
- As you like. Wait a minute I'll get one case to change my clothes. I leave the rest in your car.
Anne took one of the cases of the trunk, walked to the door of the house, said goodbye to her sister, and rang the bell waiting for the door to open it.
Who opened the door wasn’t neither her mother nor her father, but a relatively old woman with dark skin and uniform of housekeeper. She instantly recognized her even though they had never seen each other in person.
- Miss Anne! Come in, come in. I'm so glad you're here. Your parents have been weeks without talking about nothing else. I have known you for the pictures, you know? There are pictures of you and your sister by all the house. The old woman had a friendly smile as she took one of the hands of Anne without really knowing why. By the accent, you could know she was not English, but having spent many years in France, Anne also had little English accent and more French.
Before Anne answered her, her mother appeared out of nowhere ordering her maid, which although did not seem at first, they got along well.
- Thanks Constantina, take my daughter’s case to her bedroom.- When Anne came up, she hugged her directly while was talking to her ear.- My girl I am so glad you're finally here already. OMG how much you've changed! But of course, I have not seen you for four years not even at Christmas. And your sister? Doesn’t your sister deigned to greet her parents?
- She will come then to greet you and pick me up to go to a meeting at the home of George's mother or something like that. - Both were embraced only by one arm facing each other and started walking toward the living room in the same position until they sat on the couch.
- Your sister is always doing the same. Spending more time with that family than her own. Anyway. It does not matter. How were your travel? You look tired. Have you eaten something? Do you want me to ask Constantine to prepare you something to eat? I made a tasty Apple Pie. You have to taste it. Let's go to the kitchen.
- I'll taste it but I just went to lunch with Bella and I'm a bit fulled. By the way, where's Dad? - Anne and her mother were walking toward the kitchen together with a facial expression of joy to see each other after so long. When they reached the kitchen, Anne sat in one of the high chairs in front of the counter with a special height as her mother served a plate of her favorite cake.
- In his office solving some issues. Soon he will come down, you know he does not like to be interrupted.
- Yes, I know.- Anne started eating the cake and she was surprised that her mother had done it. The last time she tried something for her, was hardly eatable. It was nice to see that it had changed and her mother had taken seriously the baking in recent years.
- This is delicious mom! I love it!
- I'm glad you like it, honey. Now tell me, has your sister convinced you to go live with her? Do not put that face of surprise Anne, Isabelle told me a few days ago she was going to try it. - With a portion of cake, Anne swallowed what she had in her mouth with some difficulty looking at her mother as if she has never done something wrong.
- Mama, understand it. At first, I said no because I was not convinced of her idea but then I liked it. I am sorry. I do not want you feel bad and you know it.
- Honey, you're 21 years old and in a few months you will be 22. It is normal to want to spread your wings and be independent. It's what all mothers want for their children even if it is hard sometimes. - Anne Beauchamp's words out of her mouth and looked to get to mourn. Although it seems incredible, the years had become less controlling her. Yet she was not a person who liked to mourn in public, so she changed the subject to learn more about the life of his young daughter. - Yes, I hope you know behave as adults and are not going guys in and out of the apartment constantly. Among the many boyfriends who have Margaret, George has returned, and you also have a boyfriend, that place is going to look anything but decent.
- Mom, we are adults. It is very respectable that Margaret don't want to have a stable relationship and prefer to enjoy her spinsterhood. She is 28, she knows what she does. Isabelle has finally George here but both have always been very discreet, and I imagine that they will go to live together in a few months. You'd be surprised if I told you how many times they have been intimately in this house, and neither father nor you have noticed. As for me, well I'm not a problem in this regard. I'm single, I'm not looking for anything, and my ex-boyfriend lives in another country. - Anne Beauchamp chose to ignore what her little daughter told her about her sister, and went straight to what most struck her of the subject.
- Edoard and you are no longer together? You hadn't told me. What happened? Was it because he did not want to come to England?
- No, it is not that. Simply we no longer functioned well as a couple or as friends. At first I was fooled into thinking that it was just a bad time but I was blinding me at what I didn't want to see, his true personality. Now I know that. So, I think I deserve something much better than him but that comes only it isn't searched. As you know, I'm very impatient and I have too many projects in mind to think of men now, so my love life is closed temporarily.
- Your father and I must have done something wrong with your sister and you while we raised you. On one hand, you do not want having a love life, and on the other hand your sister is in the same way than eight years ago. She is stagnant in love. And I wanted to be a young grandmother to enjoy my grandchildren. I think I'll stay with the desire to become a grandmother.
- Do not lose hope mom. Isabelle has always wanted to be a mother. Perhaps one day surprise you. With me, you can lose hope directly. - Anne was laughing as she said it. They talked a long time about how much her mother wanted to be a grandmother, about how Anne had spent her years in France, and how they had been in home in her absence. Her mother was laughing during the whole conversation, not because it was funny, but because Anne had a mixture of English and French strange accent. But that was something that her daughter did not bother her at all. She had always been with her father better than her mother, so being chatting with her and laughing was the most enjoyable. After two hours talking incessantly, Anne kissed her mother on the cheek, and with her permission, she went to take a shower in cold water to clear and eliminate the appearance of fatigue that she had.
The aroma so characteristic of the house was exactly as I remembered it. That's liked a lot. It made her feel at home, where everyone really belongs, where she always tries to return.
Her bedroom and private bathroom like the rest of the house, were also the same as before she moved out, but with less things and of course, clean. It was like going back four years in time. There were so many memories among those four walls, memories that seemed so distant in time but which in turn was as if they were happening again. It was a feeling most unusual. A few minutes later, Anne got into the shower, and wrapped in the bathrobe hung behind the door as she proceeded to shave.
Without her realizing it, she took a lot of time to completely fixed. In fact, it was almost the time in which her sister was coming to pick her up. So she left her bedroom, and went to her father's study to greet him whether he was busy or not.
- Dad - said Anne opening the door and coming into the room where her father was. He was sitting in his easy chair at the desk, with the laptop on the table looking at some reports and with the mobile on his ear as if he was talking to someone. As her father saw her, he said goodbye to the person with he was talking, he hung up, and went to hug his daughter.
- My girl! What joy you're here! Did you arrive long ago? Have you greeted your mother?
- Yes I have seen her and she have been talking about how much she wants a grandson and her worries about if there will see a lot of guys coming in and going out in my new shared apartment. We did not want to interrupt you in your business.
- Bah! Silly stuff. My little girl has come home, what could be more important than that now? Don't pay much attention to your mother. Your sister and you have to develop yourselves professionally everything you can and in any case have some potential romance but nothing more. There will be time to the rest. Although, your sister's romance is lasting eight years and it will be more by what I see.
.- I've missed you so much dad. I am glad to be at home, and to hear your wise counsel of course - Anne said it as she hugged her father with great tenderness.
- I've missed you too, sweetheart. ¿Are you thrilled with your new job?
- Much, but also a little frightened. When I did the interview by Skype it seemed they like me but I do not know what will happen in person.
- Do not worry. They have already given you the job and I'm sure you'll do great. Although I would recommend you that change that so strange accent that you have.- both started laughing no more because everyone noticed his accent rather than nothing.