I’d seen over twenty rooms in this house by now. My favorite had to be the library. There was a fireplace far away from the books, in front of it was a soft carpet with low chairs for reclining on- sort of like a bean bag chair, but square and without the beans inside.
Being a mansion and all, there wasn’t too much for Caleb to get into. Mr. Harmon told us once Caleb’s room was done, he’d never want to leave it.
After Caleb and I finished exploring the house, we got off of our scooters and went off into the garden behind the house. The garden was huge and consisted of nothing but flowers and plants. There were even a few mini waterfalls. Of course, Caleb wanted to play around them, but I told him no out of fear that Mrs. Harmon would get upset. I wouldn’t want us to start off bad.
Caleb saw a couple of birds inside a large oval shaped cage. He skipped ahead of me toward them. I started to run after him but stopped short. Caleb stopped too when he saw her. A few feet away from us stood a tall fountain, and in front of it, watering extra plants, was a woman.
And it wasn’t Mrs. Harmon.
She saw us but didn’t say anything. She just continued to water the plants in silence.
“Who is she?” Caleb asked.
“Probably the maid,” I said.
Trying to make a good impression, I decided to greet her. Caleb and I walked over to her. She stopped watering the plants and looked up at us. I couldn’t tell if she was a maid or what. She wore a long white dress with a pair of white pants. Her hair, which was black in color, was a bit messy. She didn’t smile at us, either.
“Good evening,” she said sharply in a monotone voice. “Who are you two?”
“I’m Emily and this is my brother Caleb,” I said. “The Harmon family adopted us.”
The woman then smiled. This wasn’t a regular smile. She smiled off into the distance, like us being here was the best thing ever and she was going to be the happiest human being on the planet. Maybe I’m being weird, but her smile really struck me as odd.
“Emily and Caleb. Pleasure to meet you,” she said, shaking both our hands. “I’m the gardener. I come to water the plants. It’s my job here. I like to keep the place alive, you know?” She began to smell the air. “Alive,” She repeated while holding her hands together near her chest. Her attention was focused on the bird that flew passed us. She sniffed the air then gazed at me and Caleb.
She seemed even odder to me than before.
Caleb scratched at his hair. “What’s your name?” he asked shyly.
“My name is Rosemary. Call me Rose,” she said.
“That’s a pretty name,” I said.
Rose nodded and smiled. “Well, my time is up for today. The sun is setting and I should really prepare myself.”
I expected her to finish her sentence. Like, okay? Prepare herself for what? Bed? I just assumed it was bed, as it made the most sense to me. I had wondered if she lived in the mansion, but I didn’t want to ask those questions yet. She waved goodbye to us then started walking forward, away from us and away from the mansion until we could no longer see her.
We were allowed to see our rooms after supper. That’s what Mr. Harmon told us.
We were all now sitting down, waiting for the food to be served. Caleb was too small for the chairs which were for people my size or taller if you wanted to actually reach the table. This dinner table was twice the size of my old bed. It was so huge. There were four chairs on each of the table’s sides and at the end of the table were Mr. and Mrs. Harmon’s chair. Caleb was told to eat on the couch by the TV in the living room, a privilege we had never gotten back at home. I sat at the table with the Harmon’s. We were quiet, and it felt bit awkward until the food was ready.
The food was great. I couldn’t believe Mrs. Harmon cooked this wonderful meal all by herself. I thanked her for the food.
“You’re welcome,” She said. “So, tell us about yourself, Emily.”
I didn’t go into too much detail about myself. I just talked about my love for sports, video games, shopping, going out with friends, and oh I almost forgot, hide and seek.
When I said hide and seek, they looked at me like, isn’t she a little too old to play hide and seek? That’s what most adults think for a fourteen-year-old. I told them that I don’t like just regular hide and seek. I prefer hide and seek in the dark. They seemed intrigued by this statement.
Mr. Harmon cleared his throat and linked his hands together.
“Well, I can assure you that there will be no hide and seek in this house. The house is far too big for that and someone could get hurt or lost. My art could get destroyed. I wouldn’t want any accidents.”
To be honest, that excuse made me mad. It upset me to know that I couldn’t play my favorite game in my new house, with my new foster parents. Mom and dad always played it with me. It was silly to ban hide and seek. It’s not dangerous.
I controlled my anger and nodded my head. There was no one to play hide and seek with anyway, so I just accepted this. I guess I would just have to find something else to do.
Without notice, I started to cry. I wish my parents were still alive.
I didn’t want to be here. I wanted to be at home where I could play hide and seek with Abby.
Hide & Seek © Copyright Jakayla Toney.