spirit_of_vitriol: (searching (glitterberries))
She was glad she heard the news after she'd gotten dressed for the day. Not that pajamas would've proved any impediment; she and Gladys had gone on quite a few midnight rides (in and out of Buckshaw), and as a result, Flavia was quite adept at bicycling in a nightgown. Of course, it would've made her even more of a spectacle than she must have seemed already, tearing out of Dimera with her hair half-braided and her shirttail flapping out behind her. Father would've been scandalized. Ophelia would've--will be, she reminded herself fiercely. She will be completely aghast at how I've left the house.

Turning down Pulteny, she ignored the feel of something wet streaking down her cheeks. It was probably a spring rain and therefore nothing Flavia couldn't tolerate. Ahead of her, the hospital hove into view; only three blocks away, but it felt so much longer.

Flavia chained Gladys up to a rack outside, then walked in, right up to the woman at the front desk. "I'm here to visit Ophelia de Luce," she said, amazed at how steady her voice sounded. How calm.

"Visiting hours start at noon, honey."

"I'm here to see Ophelia de Luce," she insisted. "What room, please?"

"You can come back at noon with your par--"

"We haven't got any!" she screamed; the damned spring rain--it's tears, Flave, don't be precious about it, it's tears and Father's going to have your hide for crying if he finds out about it--started up all over again. "I'm the only one she's got and I need to see Ophelia de Luce, please."

People were staring. The nurse at the desk opened her mouth; closed it. Pointed down a hallway and said "Room 649. Ten doors down, on the left."

"Thank you," Flavia snuffled; politeness was a tool as much as it was a virtue. Back straight, she walked down the indicated hallway, counting doors as she passed.

643

645

647

649


The door was open, the bed inside surrounded by gently beeping machines and racks with hanging bags--some clear, some red. The person inside, tethered to all those machines and bags and racks was too pale, too fragile to be Feely; there had to be some mistake.

"Are you awake?" she asked, adding after a pause, just to make sure, "Ophelia?"

But there had to be some mistake.
spirit_of_vitriol: (resolute (glitterberries))
The first weeks of class had been a whirlwind--new classes, old friends, the struggle of putting aside the summer's idleness--but Flavia had been grateful. It provided a welcome distraction, after all, from the dilemma she'd been feeling since she'd arrived at Feely's door to see the piano from Buckshaw in her living room.

Feely believed, and continued to believe, it was the only object from home in the entire city. Flavia knew that wasn't true. It hadn't even been true the very day Feely arrived.

It was why she'd returned to the art museum, to the bench still situated just in front of Vanetta Harewood's mysterious portrait, looking at each of the painted figures in turn. The tow-headed girl toting a book of fairy tales, so obviously Daphne; the swaddled infant, Flavia herself in a christening gown now surely boxed up in a closet somewhere in Buckshaw; standing to the right, a younger Ophelia, just as primly self-possessed as now, though still enough of a child to have been captured in oils, toying with a cat's cradle. Harriet, at the very center, looking over them all with bemusement and something Flavia dared to believe was love.

She should tell Feely. She should never tell Feely.

Flavia tapped out a message on her phone, jabbing her thumb down on the SEND button before she lost her nerve.

feely please come to the art museum
i'll be outside on the steps
it's important

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Flavia de Luce

May 2015

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