Clarice didn’t said anything, she remained quiet and listened to her aunt explain her mother what had happen in this room. She didn’t done anything wrong, other than paint her turtle, but she had already cleaned her, so, everything was fine. Then she was able to open up with her aunt, something she never done before, but she felt like she should trust more somebody that was closer to her father and at the same time not closer. Like, her father spent lot of his time in this castle, so he didn’t saw his sister that much, right? Clarice thought maybe like that Rashna wouldn’t tell them a thing.
Metia payed attention to Rashna’s words, and just smiled, while looking down at Clarice, glad that she behaved and didn’t treated Rashna badly like she’s always doing with the maids.
“I see, that’s great.”
Metia said, while she watched Rashna giving a polite nod to Clarice, and Clarice just done the same. Whatever had happen in here, was leaving Metia curious, because she never saw Clarice being so polite to people she barely knew, unless she finally decided to do what her mother tells her to.
Pushing those thoughts away, it was time to make the King face his daughter, and make everything alright. She tighten a bit of her hold against his hand, and just open more the door, so she could tug him inside with her.
“I brought somebody else to join us.”
Metia said with a warm smile, while waiting to see her daughter’s reaction towards her father.
Whenever Clarice noticed it was her father coming inside, she bite down on her lower lip, and stared at him, with her big judgy dark eyes, then just looked back down at her turtle and began to pet it. She wasn’t going to kick her father out of her bedroom, she was indeed curious why he was here, since he never cared, and never seemed to show her mother love, and right ow they were hand in hand. Adults were so confusing.
The King felt the tightening of Metia’s hand upon his as she drew him into the child’s bedroom with her. The fact that they were holding hands, and not showing anger to each other, or indifference may have been noted by Clarice, but it certainly was by Rashna, who watched on like a silent witness. The King did appear years younger, without the shaggy mane of hair and beard. There was at least a healthy glow to his skin, much of which was to do with the fact his wife had accepted him back into her life, something he was truly grateful for. The King walked like he was on egg shells though. This was actually the first time he had been in her room, so his eyes darted about at the pictures, the furnishings and then down to his daughter. He never truly had looked at her before. She was so very different to that of Derek and Selene.
“I brought somebody else to join us.”
It was a little like facing the firing squad in a way. The King looked to Rashna for reassurance that everything was okay, and she gave him the look a Headmistress would to a boy brought to the office for a good talking too.
“Hello my Daughter.” The King said, trying his utmost to be endearing. Giving his wife’s hand a squeeze, that he was ready to let go and try to mend the fences, the years of damage he caused to his daughter, he kissed his wife’s cheek, and then wandered towards Clarice, and knelt down before her, much like a Knight does before having been knighted. He could see the tiny turtle that was resting on her arm, and he asked. “I had a turtle when I was a boy. A penny turtle, he was.” The King was trying to engage in conversation, and Rashna piped up and said. “And he lost it in the stream, when he tried to teach it to swim.” The King shrugged from the memory, looking back at his sister and said. “I didn’t know the turtle already could swim. But yes…he swam away.”
Metia noticed the way Clarice looked at her father, but she didn’t payed much attention to it because that’s how Clarice basically looks at everybody, like she’s secretly judging you. She waited for her husband to say something, or else they wouldn’t go anywhere. If he didn’t said anything, she would suggest that the they should do something, anything that Clarice wanted, but Henry finally spoke, and seemed ready to face his daughter. Metia let go off his hand, and smiled when he kissed her cheek. Clarice was still watching the both of them being so cuddly, and wondering what in hell had happen in this castle while she was with her aunt.
Henry got closer to Clarice, and for her, he was too close, he was never like this, and sometimes she thought he never looked at her before, like he never had the thought about on wanting to see how her daughter was growing up, or even see how different she was from her parents and siblings.
She decided to look up at him, and one thing she always done was look up into people’s eyes, trying to find if they was being honest with their words or not, when she does that to the maids, she can clearly see they do hate her, and just wished she would go away from them all. Listening to his words about his turtle, she slowly covered her own turtle with her free hand, afraid he would take it away or do something bad to it. It seemed like he had a turtle as well and it swam away from him, Clarice would never let her turtle do that, she doesn’t know if it can still swim, that’s why the place of it was in the box, so it would never run away from her, it wouldn’t leave her.
“I’m not going to let me turtle swim away.”
Clarice mumbled. She thought he was wanting her to make her turtle swim, and then let it swim away from her, so she would never see it again. She never thought her father now had good intentions, that’s why it was hard for her to understand him. Even tho by his eyes, she could tell he was different, but still. It has been too many years without him, and now having him back all off sudden its a hard task.
“I’m not letting it leave me.”
The King’s first attempts at trying to familiarize himself with his daughter, by telling the tale of his own pet turtle, seemed to get his daughter defensive. She covered her own turtle with her hand, cupping it and saying; “I’m not going to let me turtle swim away.” The King just nodded, and then looked up at Rashna, who interjected and said. “She keeps her turtle in a special box, that she showed me earlier. I have to agree, she won’t be letting that turtle out of her sight I imagine.”
Rashna was more or less acting like the child’s advocate in a sense, and the King was struggling to come up with what to say next. How does he make up for the years of neglect that he had caused, the worry, and now he knew that he couldn’t push himself on her too hard, that would just confuse the girl further. He gathered his thoughts a moment, and then said simply.
“Clarice, I’ve been a bad King, a bad Father and a bad husband. I know this is probably hard to understand, and I don’t want you to feel I am trying to press you to do anything you don’t want too.” This was actually very hard for him to explain, but he was doing his best. “Your Mother and I are trying to find our love again, and be happy. You deserve happy parents, that love each other and can love their children.”
He sighed and brushed his hair back nervously, before rising to stand. “Clarice, I’m sorry for not being here for you.”
Metia was watching everything from behind, if Clarice crossed the line or if Henry saw himself stuck, she would help him out, but it seemed like his sister was there to help as well, and Metia was glad for that. Clarice was just being protective over her turtle, not wanting anybody to take it away from her, she almost yelled at her brother to get her a turtle, and now that she finally had one she wouldn’t let it go. Her pets was precious for her. They were the only ones she could open up to, and they wouldn’t judge her, since they don’t know how to talk.
Clarice looked up at Rashna when she spoke about where her turtle lived, then she changed her view back to her hand, and uncovered slowly the turtle, seeing it still hiding its body. As soon as her father began to speak and calling himself a bad King, bad father and a bad husband, all she did was just nod. It was the true after all, and she wouldn’t deny it, he was probably in a struggle to explain her what he meant, and she still couldn’t understand why her parents were all cuddly, till he said she deserved happy parents, that loved each other and can love their children, that’s what she meant by wanting a normal life.
She did not looked up at him when he stood, and apologized. She just moved herself from her chair, and walked up to her box that looks like a large treasure, from there, she removed a paper sheet, that had a castle, but it was unfinished, it was clearly their castle, but she didn’t finished the drawing, because she couldn’t draw the bridge. She placed the paper over the table closer to the inks, and spoke.
“I don’t know how to make one of those…bridges.”
She looked down at the draw, before gulp and place her turtle inside its box, so it wouldn’t run away. Then she decided to finally look up at her father, as her tiny lips departed.
“I can’t do it..You do it.”
Her view quickly changed when she admitted she couldn’t do it, questions of pride, probably. But then she looked back up at her father when she told him to do it. If he wanted to be a good father, this was his first task.
This was the first real time that the King and his daughter had engaged in any form of conversation or activity. Henry didn’t expect his daughter to understand what he was trying to say, for the last thing he wanted to do was overload her with his inner feelings on how he had affected her life.
He knelt down at the small table where his daughter liked to draw, much like Rashna had done earlier, when he saw Clarice bring out the unfinished drawing of the castle. It was missing a bridge to the main land part of the draw, and the King looked into his daughter’s large eyes, when she said;
“I can’t do it..You do it.”
“A bridge? Alright then.” The King replied, picking up one of the unused brushes, and wetting it before dabbing it in the ink. One thing about Henry, he had artistic flair when it came to drawing. His hand moved skillfully, and he started on the foundations and outline of the bridge. Henry worked without speaking, and this brought Rashna closer to stand in behind Clarice, almost like a guardian would, keen to see how her brother fared with completing his first task. It took a good ten minutes for him to paint it properly, and when done, he set down the brush and turned the draw around for Clarice’s approval.
“How was that?” The King asked, watching to see what his daughter would do or say.
Clarice waited for her father to do what she told him to, she wasn’t really waiting for him to do it, since she was more used to rejection than other thing, so whenever he done what she asked him to, she just got curious and surprised, so she watched him, drawing, he was such an artist, and it took him awhile to finish it.
Clarice after awhile got bored of waiting, so she just grabbed the box of her turtle, and stared at it, yet, time to time, she would take a look over the paper, and see how her father’s draw was going. Did a bridge took that long? Or was he just making everything look too perfect for her?
Metia smiled whenever Clarice accepted her father and told him to draw, this was still the beginning but it was good enough for a beginning. She remained quiet on her spot, watching everything, and hoping Henry wouldn’t mess with anything.
As soon as her father was done Clarice stared at the draw, and saw how perfect it was, he was for sure an artist, but she didn’t wanted like that. She used her finger tip from her index finger, and just began to smudge the bridge, or just pushing the ink alittle away from the drawing, so it wouldn’t look so perfect.
“That’s too perfect, things aren’t like that.”
She told him, and just began to move around with his draw, and whenever she was done, it still looked pretty, just blurry. It looked like a draw an adult done, and a child come and just ruined it. She was once using the drawing to compare it with other stuff, such as saying nothing was perfect, she had already seen the bridge of their castle, its not that perfect, as well.
“That’s too perfect, things aren’t like that.”
This was actually a very important observation, and one that Rashna picked up on right away. When she had been sitting Clarice, she realized that Clarice saw herself as different, and certainly not the perfect child. As Rashna explained, there was a beauty in being different. The King took what Clarice said, and watched as the young Casterly started to smudge the bridge that the King had spent so long doing. Rashna could see the King’s confusion, and while he drew back slightly, setting down his brush, his sister made a ‘pst’ sound, and then wiggled her fingers at her Brother. In other words, have a go to help Clarice, but use his fingers. Henry picked up on this and he dipped his finger in the ink, and started to smudge another part of the bridge. This would be the first time, that the two had ever worked on something together.
The bridge was now flawed, and in a way…it was perfect.
Rashna folded her arms, and then crept out of the room. This was a sign, that the fractured family now had a chance. A chance to heal, and one day be the loving family they deserved to be.
Clarice found herself smiling whenever her father decided to help her out, as soon as she noticed she was smiling, she just bite down on her lower lip, trying to hide how happy she actually was her father was finally joining something in her life. He was finally doing this job as a father, and she had never felt so good. She never thought her father would actually do a very big change in her life, just with the little actions he done. After ruining the bridge but in a good way, she noticed her aunt wasn’t anymore in here. Metia was outside the room thanking Rashna for the job she done, whatever she said to Clarice was enough to calm down the little girl, Metia had tried everything to make the girl just understand her father and don’t be so evil, but it seems what she really needed was somebody’s else words, and of course, the presence of her father. After talking to Rashna, Metia went back inside the room, and closed the door behind her, it was on that moment she noticed Clarice using her index finger that was full of black ink, and just poke her father’s nose. Now leaving some black ink on his nose.
Metia couldn’t help but to laugh at this, she even tried to hide her laugh, but it was useless. Clarice began to laugh as well, and it was totally heart warming, she finally heard her daughter laugh, it was different from the other laughs she had heard from Clarice, this one wasn’t forced and it would clearly show how happy she was. Metia walked up to her husband and daughter, and just got on her knees besides her husband. She grinned at him, and placed her finger on the tip of his nose as well, like she was going to clean it, but before that, she had placed her finger in the black ink, so right now she was only leaving her husband’s nose more dirty.
After doing this, Clarice only laughed more, and Metia giggled, while grinning at him. Then she pecked his cheek, like a silly way of apologizing. This is what she always wanted, her family to be together, her daughter laughing was like a wonderful melody, and having her and her husband together was just a happy ending.
It was totally unexpected. The joyous laughter of Clarice and then of course Metia, who joined in on the finger painting prank. Yes, the King now had a black nose, thanks to Clarice, and made all the worse by Metia. The King went cross eyed, as of course he could not see the black smudge on his nose, but his nose did feel wet. The King shrugged and chuckled, as Metia lent in and kissed his cheek, as a way of apologizing for adding to the silliness. To see her parents act so playfully, must have been a shock for the young royal, who bit her lip, when she realized that she was enjoying the spontaneity.
The King dipped three fingers into the black paint, and winked at Clarice, before turning to his wife and giving her a mischievous look. Why should he be the only one with paint on their face. He then boldly attempted to draw pussy cat whiskers on his wife’s cheeks, with a fluid movement of those same three fingers across her cheeks. Course, it would look comical at best, and at the rate they were going, it was going to be an all out finger painting war.
King Henry sat Indian style on the floor, and rested his chin on his elbow, just watching the two girls in his life, enjoy the activities. Simple play and a guardian angel’s words of wisdom, had changed their troubled lives for the better.