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The World They Never Saw; Lies, dark secrets, and love.
Topic Started: Dec 27 2009, 12:42 AM (7,087 Views)
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This is a Dorian, Addie, and Melinda fanfic. Since I'm not clear on the timeline of their childhood, or their exact age differences, you'll have to forgive me if it is historically inaccurate. Or, if you find something in this story that is inaccurate, leave a comment or send me an email and I might be able to edit my way through it.

If the whole story is impossible (for example, I know Addie was institutionalized at some point, but I'm not sure when), then just nicely tell me it couldn't have happened, and why it couldn't have happened, so I'll have more info to work with next time. ;)

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It was springtime, toward the end of March, when the weather starts teasing that winter might be ending but the flowers and buds have not shown themselves. The sun had not peeked out from behind the gray-blue sky all day.

Mama was crying in the parlor because Papa had been called out to deliver a baby and she didn't want him to leave. She didn't want to play her music with him gone. Mrs. Stonecliff became cross because the girls in her charge were trying her patience with their tea party as she tried to soothe their mother.

They were playing peacefully in the kitchen; but when Addie spilled water and rushed for a towel to clean it up, Mrs. Stonecliff understood it to be running in the house and demanded that the girls all go outside to play.

"Mrs. Stonecliff," Dorian informed her politely, even sweetly, measuring her tone of voice carefully. "It rained this morning. It's muddy in the yard."

"Well, then, put on your galoshes and go out to your playhouse. I'll call you in when it's time to have your dinner, and mind you don't come back dirty or there'll be no dinner. Understood?" She looked from one girl to the other for their acknowledgement of her instructions.

All three girls nodded to her soberly as they pulled on their boots and raincoats. Not a word was said as they trudged outside. As they made their way to their playhouse, Melinda quickly found a clear puddle and jumped in it, splashing water and grinning.

Dorian smiled at her quietly.

"You'd better not get me dirty," Addie told her sisters. "I'm already hungry."

The playhouse had not been opened for a few days and it smelled musty and damp, but was no less wonderful. This miniature, pretend version of a house was a world they created themselves -- far from the reality of whispering in their rooms while Mama played piano or stealing moments with Papa when he wasn't busy.

Here, they were in control of what happened around them. Here, they could make a world that seemed more perfect, more peaceful, and more like what they imagined it would be like in other grown-up homes.

It was a small house – only one small room really. There were play chairs and a little girl sized table, a bench that served as a sofa or bed, and a kitchen fashioned from old shelves, among other odds and ends that made it seem more realistic. The floor was wooden, with one small rug that had been stained and deemed unsuitable for the kitchen in their “real” house.

Dorian immediately spied a doll in a fancy pink dress that one of them had left behind the last time they had played there and cradled it in her arms as Melinda found some old dishes and pretended to make dinner. Addie tied back the blue-checkered curtains Mrs. Stonecliff had made for them, letting in what little light the gloomy day allowed, and then started tidying up with a toy broom.

All seemed to be clear and bright and peaceful until Dorian tucked the doll into a cradle they had fashioned from a wooden crate. She and Addie held their fingers to their lips as Melinda looked around to see what was happening.

Addie put the broom down and hummed softly as Dorian took a pretend cup of tea from Melinda. Melinda clanked a dish as she returned to her imaginary dinner preparations and Addie hushed her severely. "Shh!" she scolded. "The baby is sleeping."

Melinda pouted and hung her head low as Dorian blinked at the two of them, observing carefully.

Addie moved toward the baby -- the doll -- as if to pick it up, but Dorian blocked the way protectively, fixing her gaze on her sister. "She's okay," Dorian whispered. "She didn't wake up," she insisted.

Addie looked over Dorian's shoulder skeptically, but they both jerked their heads toward Melinda as she clanked her pots and pans loudly. Dorian was sure her little sister had done it on purpose, in protest to Addie's scolding.

Addie was certain of it, too, and grabbed Melinda's forearm tightly, jerking her away from their pretend food. "Stop it!" she demanded, under her breath.

Tears formed in Melinda's eyes. "You're hurting me!" she said aloud, trying to pry Addie's hand off of her. A small, sincere whine escaped between her lips.

Addie let go with a frown. Melinda had broken their fantasy.

Dorian breathed a sigh of relief when Addie let go of Melinda, and gathered the doll into her arms, rocking it again. "Now she's crying," she informed her sisters unhappily, returning to the imaginary world she would have liked to stay in.

Addie sighed. "Here, let me take her," she offered, holding her arms out to Dorian.

Dorian turned, keeping the doll away from Addie. "No, I've got her," she protested adamantly.

Addie paused, taken aback. "Dorian, let me have her," she insisted. "She's my doll."

Addie was right. The doll did belong to her in reality. Still, Dorian had spied her first and wanted to keep her. She stood and walked away, keeping the doll in front of her and her back to Addie.

"Dorian, I mean it," Addie challenged loudly. "Give her to me!"

"No," Dorian stated bluntly. "She wants to be with me."

"Give her to me!" Addie repeated more heatedly and more loudly.

"I won't," Dorian bit back at her, hugging the doll to her chest protectively.

Now it was Melinda who blinked at her sisters, backing up toward the wall.

Addie reached around Dorian and jerked the doll out of her sister's arms before Dorian even had time to react. She rushed out of the playhouse door with Dorian on her heels.

"I had her first!" Dorian yelled at her sister, grasping at the doll as they faced each other in the damp yard.

"She's mine!" Addie argued again.

Dorian tugged her sister's hair in retaliation and clawed at the doll. "I was rocking her! You took her from me! Give her back!"

Addie grabbed Dorian's hair in return and held it in her fist. "Don't pull my hair!" she griped, jerking Dorian’s head sideways, giving her sister a dose of her own medicine.

Melinda crept to the doorway of the playhouse and took in the display carefully, biting her nails.

Dorian screeched and used both of her hands to free her hair from Addie's fist before grabbing at the doll again. She knew that the louder they fought, the more likely it was that Mrs. Stonecliff or Mama would hear, but at the moment it seemed worth the risk. Now she didn't even care about pretending anymore. It was the principle of the injustice.

She had almost seized the doll when Addie gave her a quick shove. Dorian clenched her jaw and pushed back, knocking Addie down into the water-soaked yard. Addie fell with a thump into the mud.

Dorian couldn't help but smirk down at Addie as she lay there on the ground in shock, collecting herself with the doll still firmly hugged against her chest. Maybe now Addie would realize she shouldn’t push Dorian around.

Addie had no doubt that Mrs. Stonecliff would be furious that she was dirty, and it was Dorian's fault. On top of that knowledge, Dorian's smirk pushed her over the edge. "You'll pay for this," she growled, hurling her doll at Dorian like a weapon and she clamored up from the wet yard and headed back into the playhouse.

Dorian dodged the doll and let it fall into the grass behind her. She already knew what Addie was after -- the toy broom.

In anticipation of what was about to ensue, Dorian chased Addie as fast as she could. Melinda barely stepped out of the way in time to avoid being knocked against the doorframe.

Sure enough, Addie had already grabbed the broom; but sensing Dorian's defensive maneuvers, she now held it more to block Dorian than as a weapon.

They were both furious, and there was no doubt they had hurt each other's feelings. The doll that had started it all was completely forgotten, and would remain so. Years later, as they remembered this day, no one would be able to recall what, exactly, had started the disagreement.

Now they were both fighting in their own defense and out of their instinctive need to come out on top. With the adults in their life, they were always being put in their place and shoved to the side, so with each other there was a consistent power struggle for dominance. Addie felt she should be in charge, Dorian found it unjust, and Melinda ended up thinking it was part of some twisted game.

Addie held the broom horizontally in front of her and thrust at Dorian to keep her at bay. Dorian grabbed the broom handle. They each pushed and pulled for several moments before Dorian had the epiphany to let go.

She released the broom handle just as Addie gave a hard tug and Addie went tumbling and flailing backwards through the cracked dishes and old pots and pans that served as their play kitchen. She was even more stunned than she had been the first time she fell, and lay there in the rubble of what had been Melinda's dinner with broken plates surrounding her. She closed her eyes and pretended to be dead.

Melinda's eyes widened as she peeked around the corner and saw Addie sprawled on the playhouse floor and Dorian standing over her panting as if she'd just won an epic battle. "Dori, you killed her," Melinda whispered, frightened.

"Oh, I didn't kill her," Dorian assured her little sister. "Ha ha ha, Addie. Quit pretending."

Addie didn't respond.

Dorian kicked at her sister's leg. "Get up, Addie," she commanded.

Melinda's lip quivered. "What will Mama and Papa think?" she wanted to know. Melinda shot a terrible look at Dorian, the fear of the consequences outweighing the anger that was started to well inside of her at Dorian.

"Melinda!" Dorian growled at her sister. "She isn't dead!" She paused, tilting her head sideways as she looked at Addie. She didn't look dead.

Dorian kicked Addie's leg again -- not very hard, as she was now starting to become frightened that she had actually hurt Addie. "Addie!" she called out angrily, with a hint of desperation. "Quit faking! You're scaring Melinda!"

Addie's eyes jerked open and she glared hatefully at Dorian. "I'm not faking," she hissed. "I'm probably going to die."

Dorian couldn't help but laugh at her. "You see, Melinda? She was just fine, all along!"

Addie groaned and grimaced; obviously pretending she was really hurt. Dorian reached down and pinched her sister in an attempt to prove that she was just fine.

Addie screamed at Dorian as a hateful gloss filled her eyes and she jumped up off the floor. "You're going to pay for that!"

Dorian wanted to cry, but her anger at her sister precluded it. "I'm going to tell Mrs. Stonecliff that you broke the dishes and tried to trick us into thinking you were dead!" she yelled.

"Yeah!" Melinda agreed, clearly as unhappy with Addie's fake death as Dorian was.

Addie ignored Melinda. Dorian had uttered the worst possible, practically unmentionable, threat. All three girls knew better than to ever tell on each other. To tattle was to spell doom. Just the threat of it raised the stakes sky-high in an argument. It was taking a personal fight that they could seemingly handle themselves to adults who wouldn't understand and would deliver much worse consequences – and in their family, those consequences (especially when Papa wasn’t home) were traumatic.
Edited by cher62, Jan 3 2018, 10:34 AM.
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"Take it back," Addie said with an unnatural calm. "You aren't going to tell on me."

Dorian blatantly lied. "Yes, I am," she insisted wickedly, lifting her eyebrows. "And I'm going to tell her that you're all muddy, too." Dorian spun and stepped toward the door convincingly.

Addie completely lost her cool in reaction to the ultimate threat, and jerked Dorian back into the playhouse by the back of her dress. "You won't tell!" she yelled, stamping her foot and clenching her fists. "You won't! You won't!"

Melinda gasped as Dorian caught her balance. Addie blocked the doorway.

"I will!" Dorian screamed back, now angry that Addie was getting the upper hand.

"If you even try to tell, I'll kill you!" The thought coursed through Addie’s brain that killing her sister would prevent them from getting in trouble, but it was a fleeting thought that passed so quickly she barely had time to acknowledge it.

"Ha!" Dorian argued. "Now I'm going to tell them you threatened to kill me!"

In a surprising maneuver, Addie suddenly barged out of the playhouse. The unexpectedness of the action made it that much more frightening. Dorian grabbed Melinda reassuringly as they carefully watched Addie head for the tool shed.

Papa had an air rifle that he kept hidden in his shed behind some shelves. He used it to scare off coyotes or stray dogs that might chase the horses. It only shot pellets and BBs, but his children were fully aware that the gun was not a toy. When they were small, they were not big enough or strong enough to move the shelves, so the gun was tucked safely away despite his warnings.

The tool shed smelled of dirt and dust and the daylight filtered through the cracks between the boards that served as walls. Addie used a rake handle as a lever and moved the shelf just far enough from the wall to reach behind it. She knew how to work the rifle.

Dorian gasped and made a break for it when she saw Addie come back out of the shed with the gun. Addie stood just outside the door of the shed, pumping the gun. She didn't really want to kill Dorian -- hurt her maybe -- scare her definitely. Ultimately, she wanted to teach Dorian a lesson. She could tell she was achieving her goal and it felt really good to be the one in control for once in her life.

Dorian ducked behind a tree. There was a pause, and then she could hear as a pellet or BB hit the other side of her shield. She waited silently, holding her breath, hoping Addie would calm down.

Addie was already starting to calm down, but could not let go of the fact that she was in complete control of the situation and was preventing Dorian from running to the house to tattle. She fired another BB into the tree Dorian was hiding behind.

Dorian waited a moment until she felt it was safe to look around the tree. "Addie, please stop!" she called out to her sister, carefully looking back toward the shed.

Addie was still holding the gun, pointing it toward the tree, but what worried Dorian the most was that Melinda was now running across the yard toward the tree as if she were involved in some sort of sick and exciting game.

Addie kept the gun at the ready. The thought occurred to her that Dorian now had another situation to report to the adults, and she had to prevent it.

"Melinda, get behind a tree!" Dorian called out desperately. "Hide!"

Melinda hid behind the tree closest to Dorian and smiled as if she were playing a happy-go-lucky game of hide-and-seek. Dorian weighed her options. She could try to wait Addie out, hoping that her sister would calm down or get tired, or that someone would come to rescue them. She could call Addie's bluff and challenge her, facing her down while praying she didn't shoot. She could circle around from tree to tree and head for the protection of the house, where Mrs. Stonecliff would undoubtedly turn them away or punish them.

Despite the dismal outcome the third might hold, she opted for it, running toward the tree where Melinda was hiding. She could not abide the thought of letting Addie win, or shoot her, and was sincerely frightened that this would happen. Even worse, she might accidentally shoot Melinda in an attempt to hit Dorian.

As Dorian ran to Melinda’s tree, she could hear the pop of the gun and the snapping sound the BB made as it hit the ground near her.

Out of breath, Dorian grasped Melinda's hand and called out to Addie. "You know you're going to be in so much trouble if you get caught with Papa's gun!"

Again, Dorian was verbally threatening her. Addie didn't seem to be very worried about getting caught. Nothing could touch her at that moment. She playfully fired another shot at the tree, with really no intention of hurting either of her sisters.

Dorian knew it would take Addie at least a few moments to pump the air rifle again, and she ran to the next tree, tugging Melinda along with her. The tactic wasn't really working. Melinda hindered her, and they couldn't both fit behind this new tree without at least part of someone being exposed. Dorian didn't want Melinda to get hurt any more than herself, so she changed tactics on the fly.

Addie fired another shot and the BB whizzed by the tree. Dorian saw the leaf that it hit on the ground nearby. Again, she grasped Melinda's hand and dragged her along as she ran straight toward Addie. She would have preferred to leave Melinda hidden behind the tree, but knew that her sister would follow regardless, and figured they were better off if they stayed together.

Addie laughed teasingly and headed inside the tool shed. Dorian and Melinda stood in the doorway and watched as Addie tucked the gun back into place and pushed with all her might to try to get the shelf back into position. It didn't move very much, but it would have to do.

She sighed, checking to see how obvious it would be to Papa that someone had tampered with his things. Dorian had the upper hand again. "I wasn't really trying to shoot you," Addie informed.

Melinda seemed innocent, uninvolved, and clueless as to the severity of the situation, as if it were perfectly normal for sisters to treat each other in such a way. She was ready to forgive.

Dorian's eyes, however, revealed the pain neither of the two elder sisters cared to share. "You could have accidentally hurt us," she whispered insistently. "You could have accidentally shot Melinda."

"Dorian," Addie argued quietly and calmly. "I wasn't even really aiming at you."

"Like the time you didn't really try to cut my hand," Dorian offered, reminding Addie of another violent situation the two of them had found themselves in one day when they were briefly left unsupervised.

  • Addie had been cutting a slice of bread in the kitchen when Dorian noticed that she was smashing the loaf by pressing through it with the knife instead of sawing lightly through the crust.

    When Dorian had informed her sister of this and offered to show her the proper way to cut the bread, Addie had taken it as an insult and an argument ensued, which resulted in them circling around the kitchen table for five minutes -- Addie with the knife in her hand and Dorian trying to stay on the opposite side at all costs.

    Dorian had called Addie's bluff that time, too, and allowed Addie to corner her where two sides of the kitchen counter met.

    Addie had brandished the knife like a weapon, swinging it back and forth in front of Dorian. If Dorian had been able to see the situation from the outside, she would have been able to tell that Addie was merely teasing, wickedly teasing, but being cornered by a knife frightened Dorian and she panicked.

    She did the only thing she could think to do to stop her sister from threatening her. She grabbed the blade of the knife.

    It worked. Addie had dropped the knife in shock when she realized what Dorian was doing, but it was too late. Dorian had already cut the palm of her hand. It wasn't a deep wound, but it was bleeding.

    They had both cried afterward, separately, helplessly. Addie was sure that Dorian had grabbed the knife just to get her in trouble -- just to convince her parents that she had hurt her sister on purpose. Meanwhile, Dorian was sure that Addie had really meant to harm her, and she had done the right thing by taking a small injury to prevent a worse one.

    When Papa noticed Dorian's wound later on and asked what had happened, she replied without missing a beat. "I fell on a piece of tin beside the barn." She didn't blink as she lied, and she didn't look at Addie.

    Dorian was a good liar. If she had looked at Addie for confirmation or just in self-righteousness, her father would have known there was more to the story. He also would have figured out that the girls had been left unsupervised, which would have made him angry with Mama and Mrs. Stonecliff. If Papa was cross with Mama or if Mrs. Stonecliff got in trouble, it would fall on the shoulders of the three little girls.

    In their young lives, they had all learned quickly to anticipate trouble, and prevent it as often as they were able to.

    Now, standing in the tool shed, their choices were laid out before them. The shed was quiet, and the dust on the floor soft under their boots.

    "I didn't try to cut your hand," Addie told Dorian regretfully. "You grabbed the blade."

    "You were scaring me," Dorian told her.

    Addie wasn't sure if Dorian was still talking about the knife or had moved on to this incident with the gun. "I wasn't going to hurt you," she said, sounding sincere.

    "Girls!" a voice rang out from the back door of the house. They all jumped and spun toward the sound, startled. "Dinner!"

    Their eyes widened at each other. It only took moments for Dorian to formulate a plan. "Melinda," she ordered her little sister. "Go in slowly, and when you get there, if they ask, tell them we're coming."

    Melinda nodded once, knowing they might be in trouble, and carefully headed toward the house.

    "Addie, stay here. I'll go in the front door and bring you a clean dress."

    With any luck, Mrs. Stonecliff and Mama would be so distracted with Mama's concerns that they wouldn't even notice the change in Addie's wardrobe, and no one would get in trouble – if Dorian was able to hurry fast enough and sneak in and out without getting caught.

    It would have been easy enough for Addie to show up muddy and have to miss dinner if Papa were home. Dorian would have just snuck food up to Addie later. But when Papa wasn't home and Mama diverted Mrs. Stonecliff’s attention, it was not a good idea to get into trouble. Worse things could happen than missing dinner. Much worse.

    Their plan played out flawlessly, and no one spoke or broke the quiet in the house as they ate dinner. The girls tried to act casual, tensing slightly each time Mrs. Stonecliff looked at Addie.

    Papa was a bit unhappy when he found Addie's sopping wet doll in the yard a couple of days later, but none of the sisters ever revealed to the adults in their lives what had really happened that day. The doll was cleaned. No harm, no foul, and no one was beaten or locked away for endless hours.

    In fact, that night there had been a thunderstorm, and the three girls had happily all crawled into bed together to protect each other from the night. Downstairs, Mama was playing the piano, lulling them to sleep, and they knew Papa was smiling as he listened to her. Snuggling into the warmth of their shared blankets, they loved each other, and all was cozy and beautiful and right with the world.

    If only things could have stayed so perfect.
Edited by cher62, Jan 3 2018, 10:36 AM.
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Yippee! Another fan fiction by you! And KUDOS for a great start and a peek into the pathology of the family dynamics. It's interesting how lies and secrets are used to protect a family and how make-believe is a child's safe haven and it is similarly a place of escape for the mentally injured into a world of insanity. Very interesting. Really, looking forward to more.
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Tribute to Robin Strasser
"I've worked with many a fine actress in the course of my journey, but none more remarkable than Ms. Strasser. Brilliant and utterly brave, with the work ethic of a warrior. I would love to come back and work with her again." - A Martinez, OLTL Examiner, 12/09
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I am so..so..so..looking forward to reading your fanfic about Dorian's childhood. I always felt that the writers are missing opportunities when it comes to her past....Sorry...but Canton just didn't do it for me. I always found it amazing that Dorian has been the only family member to maintain her sanity eventhough she's been through so much.....I have always had different ideas of how Dorian's history could be told but never was brave enough to put into writings.....I know that you will do it justice...
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I have always had different ideas of how Dorian's history could be told but never was brave enough to put into writings.....I know that you will do it justice...

Oh, do tell, please! (Even if you want to whisper it to me in a PM.)

I was really going to just leave this as is, although I have written a little bit more. Everyone says Canton didn't do it for them. Someone -- Rileyanne? -- said that they didn't buy it that little girls would hurt each other so badly just because their mother told them to / made them.

What is it you guys are really wanting to see? Because what I see is violence, darkness, sadness, evil, pain, and people who desperately want to love each other but probably shouldn't. :(
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Go ahead and post what you've written if you're ready to do so. I want to see where you're at.
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The sunlight cascaded through the curtains into a large, warm, square patch on Addie's floor. As the shadows of the leaves danced against the bright spot, Addie hummed a song that was stuck in her mind -- a song her mother had played on the piano that morning. She smiled as she pressed a green crayon to the paper on the small table in front of her and made repeated, quick upward strokes that resembled a grassy field. The shadows on the floor moved and shivered to the music in her mind out of the corner of her eye.

She drew a field of colored flowers, and then started an attempt to color a picture of their barn with the horses outside it. Lost in her world of art and fancy, she was not aware that downstairs, her sister had a different and much more apprehensive interpretation of the beautiful day.

To Dorian, it was one of those quiet days in the house where every move, every sound from the other room made the girls stop and listen -- nervous, their voices in whispers, their exchanged glances furtive and their ears overly-attentive to their surroundings.

Mrs. Stonecliff's chair creaked eerily as she rocked in it, her fingers stitching pieces of colored fabric together. The soft, repeated, whining noise was as rhythmic as Mama's metronome. Dorian and Melinda helped Mrs. Stonecliff by cutting quilt pieces from a couple of their worn out dresses.

Though the afternoon sun brightened the room, and deepened the shadows of various objects throughout, there was an electricity that hovered around them. It was as if a thunderstorm was nearing, dark clouds over the treetops with the birds growing still while waiting for the wind and rain. The creaking of the rocker, which might have normally been a comforting sound, was foreboding against the silence in the rest of the house -- like the first branches to move before the windstorm hit.

Dorian paused, her sewing scissors poised in one hand as the other gripped her fabric, and gazed out of the corner of her eye when she heard Mama pace nearby in the next room. Papa had been called to help a little boy with a fever, and Mama had asked him not to go.

Dorian understood why Papa didn't have a choice. Why didn't Mama? Someday, Dorian would be a doctor, too, so she could have a good excuse to leave.

Mama knocked something over in the other room and Dorian's gaze jumped to her little sister as Melinda cringed. It wasn't often that Melinda was allowed to use the grown-up scissors, and she was being very careful.

It sounded like Mama had knocked a picture off of a table. Mrs. Stonecliff paused, calm, prepared to stand and either usher the girls upstairs or leave them to help their mother. She listened until she heard Sonya put the picture back in place and then continued rocking and piecing her quilt block.

Dorian regarded Melinda, who was still frozen in place, and then slowly laid her work aside.

"Dorian Cramer," Mrs. Stonecliff whispered to her with a scolding tone. "Don't you bother your mother -- do you hear me?"

Dorian looked at Mrs. Stonecliff with a complete lack of expression and went to the door, where she could peer out at her mother. Mama was looking at a family portrait, but she noticed Dorian's presence immediately. "Yes, Dorian?"

Dorian looked back at Mrs. Stonecliff as if to confirm that she had not interrupted her mother, but that her mother had noticed her first. She took a deep breath. She wanted Mama to be happy. She wanted the whole house to feel comfortable again.

"Well, speak up, child!" her mother demanded.

Dorian smiled as sweetly as she could at her mother. "Won't you play us a song, Mama? We like your music as much as Papa does." She gripped the doorframe with one hand. Though she was being as sweet and sincere as possible, her instinct told her to expect a negative response from her mother.

"No," her mother stated flatly. "No, there is no music now. And no, you don't like my music as much as your Papa does," she bit. "You couldn't possibly understand it." Sonya shook her head. How could a little girl even begin to comprehend the complexity and layers in her latest work?

Dorian kept her eyes fixed on her mother as she took a step back. "Your music is beautiful, Mama."

"Yes, thank you, Dorian," her mother agreed with a snarl. "And it deserves to be heard by an audience that can appreciate it."

Mrs. Stonecliff dropped her work; annoyed at Dorian both for disturbing Sonya and for making her stop her stitching halfway through. "Dorian!" she scolded, laying her hands on each of Dorian's shoulders and sending Sonya a sympathetic gaze. "Now either sit down and hush or you go on up to your room and play."

Dorian looked at Melinda, who nodded at her.

Dorian held her hand out to her sister. "We'll go upstairs," she said haughtily. "Since we're obviously not wanted down here." She knew she was smarting, and she meant to. She hoped Mama heard it.

Why did Mama hate them so? It didn't always seem that way. Was she just pretending during the happy times? Was she pretending when she tucked their hair behind their ears when she thought they were sleeping, or gazed into Papa's eyes as she played her music?

Melinda grabbed Dorian's hand, and they hurried upstairs before there was any backlash to Dorian's attitude. It was a relief to retreat -- like leaving for school in the morning or stepping into the warm house after being out in the winter wind. Dorian left her bedroom door ajar -- both hoping Addie would join them and that leaving the door open would alleviate any paranoia that they were getting into trouble.

Charlotte sighed and frowned after she was sure the girls were upstairs, then cast an apologetic gaze at their mother.

Sonya smiled at her from the doorway to the other room, where Dorian had been standing during their brief conversation. "Where is Agatha?"

Mrs. Stonecliff picked her work back up absently. "Upstairs in her room, being quiet and good. Don't trouble yourself over those girls. I'll take care of them."

Sonya nodded and went to the window. She pulled the curtain aside and saw no sign of her husband returning from his work. She loved him, she longed for his return, and she craved his presence and attention, yet she hated him at the same time. How could he do this to her? How could he abandon her? It was as if he packed up her desire to play, her inspiration, in his medical bag and took it with him. She was dead inside without him today.

It didn't matter anyway. Dorian was being horribly bratty. Even if she were in the mood to play, Dorian would no doubt find a way to interrupt her.

Horrid frustration. She looked around at the house. Pretty pictures. Pretty furniture. Three pretty little girls. A lone piano. No stage. No grand entrance. Lou had stuck her here to rot where she could not think or play or be appreciated. She had born his children and he had left her for his work -- again. Alone.

She watched Charlotte out of the corner of her eye. She didn't trust Charlotte. Charlotte seemed to appreciate her music, but was always trying to take care of the girls. Good. That was her job. But if Charlotte wanted her trust, Charlotte would have to somehow prove whom her true loyalties were with.

Proof. That's what Sonya needed. Proof of loyalty, proof of love.

She waited until Charlotte was lost in her quilt pieces again and slipped upstairs to check on Addie.

Addie should have been startled by her mother's sudden appearance at her side, but Mama had slipped in, quiet and gentle.

"What are you coloring?" she whispered in Addie's ear, tucking a stray lock of Addie's hair back.

"The barn," Addie smiled without worry. She looked around to see if her sisters were nearby. They weren't.

Addie relaxed because she knew if Dorian wasn't nearby, it was less likely Mama would become angry. Though she was still just a girl, she was old enough to understand that if she just kept her mouth shut and agreed with her mother, there was never anything to worry about.

Dorian didn't understand that. Addie often found herself standing aside of Mama and Dorian's heated and even violent exchanges, begging Dorian to keep quiet -- to stop arguing. Mama had to think she was right. Mama always had to be right -- even if she was the only one who thought she was right.

Addie always agreed with Mama. Life was so much easier that way. She was quite sure that doing and thinking what Mama wanted her to would help her gain her mother's love. Addie was very good at staying out of the picture when she needed to, and being right in the middle of it when Mama wanted her to be. Addie's love was as much inaction as it was demonstration.

Mama was pleased with Addie's drawing. "Those are the horses?"

Addie nodded, happy that her mother recognized them.

Mama's head tilted to the side, pointing at one of them. "Why does he have a yellow stripe on his back??"

Addie grabbed a yellow crayon and scrawled the image of the sun into the blank sky above the barn. "He has been running and the sun is shining off of his back," she explained.

Mama smiled and nodded. "No clouds then. You are such a good girl, Agatha. You see things that others don't."

Addie smiled back, relishing her mother's approval. She had no concept of the depth of meaning in her mother's words.

Mama dug her hand into the cigar box full of loose crayons and clutched a handful of them tightly; lifting them and dropping them back into the box. "Tell me, Agatha -- if you were a crayon, which color would you be?"

"Pink!" Addie grinned without hesitation. She sensed a vague tension in her mother's voice, and wanted to make her feel better.

Mama seemed humored with their game, and stirred through the box until she found a pink crayon, which she laid aside near her daughter's drawings. It was short and blunt from being used often. "Now. Dorian?" She held the box toward Addie.

Addie paused for a moment to consider. She picked up a blue crayon, then a green crayon, and ultimately decided on a red crayon before laying it beside the pink one.

Mama lifted her eyebrow. "Red?"

Addie nodded. "Yes," she confirmed. Dorian was deep and bold -- everything about her -- like Mama -- dark hair instead of light, a brazen voice, noticeable against others.

Mama shrugged. It didn't matter whether she agreed with Agatha or not. "Now Melinda." She nodded, encouraging.

Again, Addie considered her choices. She drew out a white crayon. The poor crayon's white label had been smudged with other colors from being tossed around in the box and rarely used. Addie chose the white crayon for her little sister because it seemed so clean and fresh -- like the youngest, the most innocent, and the gentlest. She liked how Melinda's soft, pale hand felt when she held it.

"I see," Mama smiled. White, red, and pink. She wondered if it was just coincidence that the colors coordinated. Sonya touched each of the crayons, one at a time, ominously renaming them. "Dorian … Melinda … Agatha. What color am I?" She couldn't resist asking.

Addie was hesitant, concerned that she would give Mama an answer she didn't like. She hated the idea of displeasing her mother. She reached into the box and withdrew a black crayon -- ebony, like the keys on the piano -- and placed it next to Melinda's color.

Mama picked up the black crayon and twirled it in her fingers. "Ha," she smirked. "That's the color I would have picked for Dorian."

Mama's tone had changed. Addie recognized the change without doubt. It was a trait of everyone in her family -- perhaps everyone she knew. Voices changed when moods changed, or when people got tired of pretending to be happy. Mama and Dorian's voices changed often like that, and sometimes Addie even recognized it in herself. She knew she was going to be in trouble when her pitch altered. It meant she was either doing something bad, or would do something bad soon.

Mama didn't want to be the color she thought Dorian should be. Addie tried to lighten the mood. "See?" Addie asked, taking the crayon from her mother and using it to draw a piano on the back of another page. She hurried to sketch music notes rising from the image as Mama watched over her shoulder. "It's the color of music. And Melinda is white. Both of you -- like piano keys. Like sheet music?"

Mama contemplated the colors for a long moment as Addie held her breath, waiting for approval. Eventually, she took the black crayon from Addie's hand and placed it on the table before her, repeating the new names for the crayons. "Mama … Agatha … Dorian … Melinda." After a moment, she reached forward and snapped the white crayon in half.

Addie jumped and blinked down at the broken crayon in shock as it fell from her mother's hand. "No, Mama, don't!" she protested, moving to cover and protect the remaining colors. She felt her voice rise. She was asking for trouble, but she couldn't help herself.

Mama grabbed her hands and smacked them away. Addie relented to avoid punishment and her mother nodded at her approvingly. "Now Dorian." She grabbed the red crayon with both hands and was poised to break it, but stopped.

Addie breathed a sigh of relief until she looked up and saw her mother staring at her. Mama held the red crayon out. "Break it yourself."

Addie shook her head in disbelief. "No, Mama! Please!" she whispered. The red crayon was so beautiful, and she needed it to color so many things.

"Take it," her mother stated with forced calm. "It's Dorian, remember."

Addie swallowed and shook her head. Mama wasn't just asking her to break one of her beloved crayons. Tears welled in her eyes. Mama was asking her to break the representation of her sister. It felt wrong. It felt evil.

Mama grabbed Addie's hands and forced the crayon into them, poised between the two fists, and closed her own hands around her daughter's so that Addie couldn't drop the crayon. "Break it, Addie," she snarled. "Break the red crayon. You know what will happen if you don't."

Addie squeezed her eyes shut as her mouth went dry. Mama's grip seemed to make it harder for her to breath. She didn't want to break a crayon, but she reminded herself that the crayon wasn't really Dorian. Not really. She felt a tear fill her eyelashes. "I'll do it, Mama. Please, let me go. Please."

Mama released her cautiously, keeping her eyes fixed on Addie's hands. Addie didn't have to look up at her mother to know that her expression was one of dark glee. Addie understood Mama better than anyone knew. Addie understood that sometimes, when she felt bad, it made her feel better to hurt or break things. By forcing Addie to break this crayon, Mama was doing both.

Addie also felt like breaking the crayon would not only satisfy Mama for a period of time, it might also make Mama love her more. Maybe Mama would appreciate Addie's actions. Maybe Mama would play a song, just for her and no one else.

Addie cringed and snapped her red crayon in half before dropping it to the table. It bounced and left a small red streak on her picture of the barn. It was heartbreaking. She swallowed her sob.

Another tear rose in the corner of Addie's eye -- a hot tear of anger, frustration and longing, but she didn't let it fall as she kept her gaze fixed on the small, pink crayon. It was her favorite crayon, and shorter than the others because she used it more often.

Mama reached forward and picked up the pink crayon between two fingers. She lifted an eyebrow at her daughter when Addie looked up at her with pleading, sad eyes.

She smiled with reassurance and lowered the pink crayon to the table in front of Addie, as she made her point very clear. She placed half of the red crayon and half of the white crayon next to the whole pink one. "Addie, do you hear me? As long as these two stay smaller than this one, I won't have to break it," she smiled. "You understand me, my darling?"

Addie swallowed. Mama wasn't talking about crayons. Mama meant that Addie had to be bigger than her sisters -- she had to keep them small, quiet, in their place. A sickening feeling of dread rose in her stomach. She would especially have to make sure Dorian didn't outgrow her. Her dread was compounded by the impossibility of this task. She had to do what Mama asked of her -- but how could she accomplish it?

Mama patted and smoothed Addie's hair before kissing the top of her head. "I know you understand."

Addie wanted to smile and breathe a sigh of relief at Mama's words. They were words she longed to hear, and words she would carry with her forever.

Addie sat at the table staring at the crayons and the picture she was no longer interested in coloring, numb. She was so angry with Mama -- so angry that she wanted to scream, throw things, and destroy her own room. She longed for Mama's love and approval and sadly loved the idea of being Mama's special girl. How could she love her mother so much and hate her at the same time?

The only thing that could make her feel better now would be to destroy something. She looked down at her drawings and grabbed the one of the music and violently ripped it into the smallest, tiniest pieces she could. A sob escaped from her lips and she bit her bottom lip until she thought it would bleed. Then she stared down at the smudge of red on her beautiful drawing of the barn.

Within five minutes, the sweet drawing of a sunny day with shining horses was covered over with black clouds and smears of red from a broken crayon -- blood. Something about the darkness and evil in the picture proved very satisfying.

Yes, Addie understood Mama. All too well.
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Excellent! It's interesting to read fan fiction from Dorian fans because there is the understanding not at all conveyed often enough for newer viewers, that Dorian's temperament stems from what happened in that house in Canton. And of course, some of her life choices regarding her daughters were influenced by having Sonya Cramer as her mother. Her childhood with her sisters represents why family is so important to Dorian and so is injustice. I mention this because reading this addition made me think of your other fan fiction and the latest chapter of "Turning Leaves" that dealt with Sam's broken crayons. Was it intentional or a coincidence that both dealt with similar theme? Or am I going off the deep end? LOL I just like the use of colors representing people and people being broken or spirits derailed when all that is sought is love. Anyway, the symbolism that I found with the chapter was interesting from my perspective even if it were not your intent. You know that I am not a big Addie fan. I can't help it. She tortured Dorian. But I can understand how twisted she became because of her mother.
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Yes, the parallel between the two stories was intentional. (That's why I haven't posted the next chapter of Turning Leaves yet. I wanted to post this story first.) Thanks for noticing! :)
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