Quartet (Short Story).
A fable about angels, a string quartet and sisterhood.
1000 Day MFA: Week one.
Virginia rolled her eyes as Olivienne moaned in time to her own music.
“Then, stop, play-ing”, she sang back helpfully. Olivienne ignored her.
“Don’t put her off, Gini”, Emmy scolded. She hated it when her two eldest sisters fought.
“You know that the elders expect us all to play the harp. By nature, all angels are supposed to be the picture of tranquility. Quitting would only show Livi’s lack of patience and would disappoint everybody, especially Maria”.
Virginia, of the opinion that they should be able to do what they liked, sighed.
Leah, the youngest sister, tried her best to keep the peace. “I think that your playing is beautiful, Olivienne”.
As she saw Olivienne’s shoulders slump Leah added, “You can stop if you want to, though. You shouldn’t be forced to play if it makes you unhappy. None of us should”.
Leah thought about how their music lessons had been progressing so far. Olivienne had been learning for the longest. Once playing the harp had made her shine with happiness, but that was a long time ago. Now she was just going through the motions to please everybody else. Virginia was an obedient student but she had never lit up like Olivienne used to. Emmy struggled in her lessons. While she wanted nothing more than to make beautiful music, this was also her downfall. Emmy was a tentative player who would pluck the strings far too softly whenever she seemed at risk of making a mistake. As for Leah, she hadn’t playing for long enough to become disillusioned. She adored the harp and loved losing herself within the music. She longed for her sisters to have that same joy but she also understood that this may not be possible.
Letting herself fall under Olivienne’s spell once again, Leah let her mind wander until something that Emmy had said resonated.
“Tranquility!” she announced triumphantly. Virginia and Emmy stared at her. Olivienne stopped playing.
“Who says that tranquility is playing the harp?” Leah grinned as she shared her epiphany. Yes, the elders expected them to find peace within the music but who was to define what that music was.
“We should be allowed to play something else”, she declared. “Come on! Let’s find Maria and ask”.
Her three sisters stared at her, wide eyed.
“Is that even allowed?” Emmy wondered. Virginia shrugged. At first Olivienne was silent but then she leapt to her feet. “There is a world full of instruments out there. Why shouldn’t we be allowed to play something else instead?”
She looked into Leah’s clever, green eyes and smiled. Without sharing another word Olivienne and Leah set off to find their tutor, leaving Emmy and Virginia with no choice but to follow.
Their instinct was to fly high. Sure enough they located Maria on the very top of the clouds, perfectly situated to watch that afternoon’s pink and orange sunset.
“We want to learn how to play another instrument”, Olivienne and Leah exclaimed in unison. While Leah still loved the harp, the idea of learning how to play something new was exciting. They all expected strict Maria to reject the idea and give them a lecture about discipline and tradition. Instead the elder angel’s eyes lit up.
“What a fabulous notion. What instrument did you have in mind?”
Her enthusiasm took the sisters by surprise. Not at all expecting to get a yes they had not given any thought about what they should play. The three older angels gazed at Leah. It was her plan after all. All Leah could do was shrug. She knew very little about the instruments of Earth and what they should choose.
“I wonder”, Maria exclaimed as inspiration struck. She asked her four pupils if they trusted her enough to make the selection for them.
“I trust you”, Leah nodded for she adored her tutor, Maria. Her sisters nodded as well.
Maria gave them a secret smile and told them to meet her on this cloud this time tomorrow. Then all would be revealed.
The next day the sisters returned to the practice cloud and discovered the three, black instrument cases waiting for them. Two of them were small with a rounded base and a long end. The other was a similar shape but was enormous.
“Olivienne”, Maria called first. She placed into her oldest pupil’s hands a violin.
“I know with this that you will soar above the clouds”.
Olivienne opened up the case and was at once taken with the glossy wooden instrument with its four strings and funny wooden scroll on the end. She gave the strings a pluck, and then ran her fingers across the long, hairy stick strapped inside the top of her case. This earned Olivienne her first rebuke. She was forbidden from ever touching her bow hair with her dirty, oily fingers.
Virginia was next. As soon as she heard that she was getting the big one, her sapphire eyes lit up. She had no idea what sound a cello would make but she was keen to find out.
“Emmy”, Maria called next. Emmy looked up from her sandals and nervously approached. She prayed that she would be better at this instrument than the harp.
Maria smiled at Emmy kindly. Though she was the first to admit that Emmy wasn’t her star pupil she admired how much the girl cared about music.
“This is called a viola, Emmy”, the tutor said. “I know that you have the tenacity and heart to make beautiful music upon it.
“What about Leah?” asked Olivienne. She couldn’t help noticing that they were a music case short.
“Leah hasn’t been forgotten”, Maria assured her. After teaching the others how to rosin their bows, Maria left them to it and beckoned to Leah.
On the other side of the practice cloud rested Maria’s harp. Leaning up against its shiny base was a music case that looked suspiciously like Olivienne’s. Maria retrieved a clear packet containing a golden coil.
“I just have to replace one last string”, she explained to Leah. Her pupil watched, disheartened as Maria attached it and tightened the peg. This was definitely another violin. Even when she finally got to hold it within her hands, the youngest sister wasn’t happy.
“I thought that you were going to give us all different instruments” Leah sighed.
Maria smiled as if she was carrying a special secret.
“Your instruments are identical but the music that you will be playing will be very different”.
She handed Leah a silver folder of music and reminded her of her promise to trust her.
“Just you wait, Leah. I promise you that you will not be disappointed”.
Indeed Leah was not disappointed with her place within the string quartet. As a 2nd violin she loved supporting her sisters. When practicing on her own her music often sounded simple, unfinished and strange but sitting underneath everyone the harmonies that she created were simply beautiful. By far Leah was the most content member of the ensemble. Even Maria had reached the point where she had sighed “this is why we don’t learn different instruments”. Olivienne was enamored but not exactly happy. As a 1st violin she loved making her melodies soar above everything else. Sometimes she would even add in her own touches to make the music better. Unfortunately, she was the only instrument everyone could hear. The eldest angel loved being the star too much. Virginia had taken to moaning. Gone was the novelty of having the largest and deepest instrument. She was frustrated with all of her long notes and having to play the same parts over and over. Emmy had gone back to her old habits. There was never enough pressure on her bow to make her notes ring out clearly. On top of that she was often falling behind, getting lost and mixing up her up-bows and down-bows. The rest of the quartet were becoming frustrated with her lagging behind. Maria was not, however it was getting to her how Emmy was unable to let her notes ring out and shine. As always Leah did her best to calm Olivienne and Virginia and comfort Emmy but she was having no success today at all.
“That’s it, I have had enough!” Maria announced one morning, mid rehearsal. She threw her baton down onto the stand and started to fly away.
“Please come back and help us”, Leah begged, though she couldn’t blame Maria if she wanted to stay away. Virginia had been jealously shouting at Olivienne across all of the other players. Olivienne’s showing off was becoming worse and Emmy had fallen so far behind that she was in tears. Maria heard Leah’s call. She could not disagree. Those sisters were in need of help alright. All of a sudden the solution came to her.
Flying back towards the quartet she set her sights upon Olivienne. Laying both hands upon the angel’s shoulders the angel disappeared in the blink of an eye. The other sisters shrieked.
“Where did she go? What have you done, Maria?”
Maria was not apologetic.
“Olivienne is away gaining some perspective”, she explained curtly. “That is my next lesson for all of you, though it is not one that you will be taking part in together”.
“What is that supposed to mean?” Virginia raged. She met Maria’s stormy black eyes and saw the determination within them. The rebel darted out of her chair and upwards, flapping her golden wings frantically. Maria was twice her size and proved to be twice as fast. Virginia was the next sister to vanish.
Despite the fact that they had both given Emmy a horrible time, the kind hearted angel was still upset by their mysterious disappearances.
“They are safe” Maria promised. Emmy’s fears were hardly laid to rest as the elder’s gaze was now locked upon her. Knowing that she was not fast enough to escape, Emmy curled into a ball and cowered as Maria rushed towards her.
“You are a beautiful soul, Emmy”, Maria whispered. Confused by this comment Emmy looked up. By the time she did the tutor had already touched her. Emmy’s world was already fading away.
“It’s my turn now. Hurry up, Maria. I’m waiting”.
Maria looked over at the littlest angel and smiled. She wasn’t at all surprised by her fearlessness. Instead of flying towards her, Maria set foot upon the cloud. As casually as if nothing had happened, she walked towards Leah and took a seat in Emmy’s vacant chair. Maria took hold of both of her hands, though no magical occurrences followed.
“My lesson for you, Leah is the easiest and the hardest. Your task is to not fly in and rescue your sisters. Too often they rely upon you to keep the peace and solve their problems for them. The bond between you all is strong but the only way for you all to realise it is to have some time apart”.
Maria explained that she sent the others to the Earth to spend some time within a human vessel. In borrowing these lives she hoped that each of them would learn a valuable lesson. Knowing the temptation Leah would have to find her sisters and fix things, Maria had thought it best to leave her behind.
“I promise you, Leah. When your sisters need you most your heart will be drawn to theirs. Do you still trust me? Do you trust them enough for them to find their own way?”
Leah hesitated briefly and then nodded. She did.
The concert violinist was so lost in her daze that when the stage manager tapped her upon the shoulder she jumped.
“Miss Vash, that’s your call”.
Call? Ocean Vash blinked and was started by the edge of the velvet curtain. Where was she?
“Your stage call”, the manager told her wearing an amused smile. “For your concert. We go through this every night, Ocean. Surely it isn’t that much of a surprise”.
Ocean looked down and saw that she was wearing a black, sequined dress. In her hands she saw the glossy red violin. At last she recognised it as hers.
“Of course, Simon”, she replied, at last fully present in the moment.
Simon chuckled and gestured for her to go. Ocean made her way through the wings and onto the stage.
For somebody who performed for a living, boy did Ocean’s legs shake that evening. Her heart leapt out in panic as she realised that she was walking onto an empty stage. Surely that spotlight wasn’t meant for her alone. She relaxed a little when she stopped the ensemble of strings, woodwinds and piano but they might as well have been set dressing with how far away they were positioned on the stage. Hearing the applause of her expecting audience made her feel sick, not elated. Forcing a smile she bowed to them anyway and rested her violin under her chin. She heard the conductor tap his baton and before Ocean knew it the introduction had started playing.
The concert violinist survived the night. The first time that her supporting musicians had stopped completely her heart stopped as well. Then it started to pound like a little bird fluttering within her chest. Ocean knew her material well enough to play through her fear. As the night went on she got used to being on edge. What was plaguing her now was her vulnerability. Usually she did not mind being alone with her music, sending it into the world. Tonight it was bothering her. With each new piece Ocean felt more exposed and alone. Always the professional, she held herself together until the curtain call. The second the concert was over, Ocean raced through the wings towards her dressing room. Lonely tears were streaming down her face.
“Ms. Leigh, are you going to let your students inside? Surely they haven’t done anything to vex you just yet”.
Vicki blinked and then saw the fifth form boys glaring through the top of the classroom door. Two of them had their noses pressed up against the glass. She sighed and then shared an exasperated look with Mr. Kim, the brass master.
“It won’t take too long, I assure you”, she quipped.
Vicki Leigh opened the door and led her tutorial group through to their practice room to set up. As always, Tommy and Jethro raced to see who could be set up and tuned first. Dreamy Damian rested his viola on his lap and stared through the tiny window behind them, no doubt wishing that he was out playing soccer with the rest of his friends. Little Seb moved quietly as well. Solemnly he rosined his bow and then sat and waited with his cello. At no point did Vicki get to see Seb’s usual beaming smile. Feeling a little downhearted herself, she began the lesson anyway and started to run them through their scales.
Their mission: A three page arrangement of Vivaldi’s Summer for string quartet. Their timeline: Less than one month until their end of term concert. Their prospects? Absolutely dismal. As with everything else that they tried, best friends Tommy and Jethro raced both her tempo and each other. Damian went through the motions of playing but it was clear that he did not want to be there. He sounded as wooden as his own viola. Usually Seb was the least of Ms. Leigh’s problems. Today especially, he was making her quite proud. He had been practicing his long bowing and the sound of each note resonating off of the practice room walls sounded gorgeous. Vicki took a moment for herself to enjoy Seb’s playing.
“That’s why I love the cello”, she smiled to herself, amazed that this young man was succeeding at holding the rest of the failing performance together. A second later the whole piece derailed. To Vicki’s amazement, Seb was the cause. All of a sudden the poor boy’s shoulders started to shake. His eyes started watering and then he dropped his head. Frustrated tears started dripping onto the second hand cello.
To see smiling Seb in such a state was heartbreaking. Instead of ignoring the outburst Ms. Leigh assigned the other three a section to practice and then led the cellist outside of the practice room.
“Did something happen, Seb?” she asked, worried that some drama in his family might be getting him down. Seb shook his head, feeling horrible that he was making her worry. He knew that he was making a big deal out of nothing.
“I love the piece that you chose for us, Ms. Leigh”, he began between sobs.
“When the others decide to play it properly they sound great, especially the 1st violin. My part is nothing, just long blips on a page. I want us to play well but I don’t feel like I am helping at all. Jethro says that I might as well go home”.
Vicki saw red. If only she had more time to scout another 1st violin she would be telling Jethro where to go.
“You are a teacher, Vicki”, she told herself instead. “Use this as a teachable moment”.
She leaned down to Seb and whispered her plan.
Five minutes later they walked back into the practice room. Seb took his seat and Vicki informed the group that they were going to play the piece from the top. They continued on as normal until the point where the tricky runs started. At first the other three did not notice that Seb had stopped playing. Not watching their conductor, they missed that signal completely. The violins started to race and realised a second too late that their steady pulse was gone. As they tangled within each other, Damian snapped out of his daydream, finally realising that something was wrong. All three of them stopped playing and looked at their teacher, confused.
“Why didn’t it work?” Jethro wondered. Their ensemble had never fallen apart like that before.
Vicki replied back smugly that it was no surprise that everything fell apart. Seb, their cello was the glue that held their ensemble together.
“Of course, I can send Seb home if that is what you would like us to sound like from now on”.
Jethro closed his gaping jaw.
“No, Ms. Leigh”, he mumbled. Finally Seb gave Vicki one of his beaming smiles.
Emelia wished that the floor would swallow her up. It was bad enough that she was always getting lost within the music and making mistakes. She did not need the cellos rolling their eyes and the violins giggling at how hopeless she was.
As Mr. Masters cut the ensemble off, Mia Jansen remarked “You play the best solos, Emelia”.
“So low that you cannot hear her”, she added to Indy. Indy giggled like this was the funniest thing that she had ever heard.
“Emelia James, stand up”.
The entire ensemble fell silent. Eleven year old Emelia felt ill. What had she done to deserve this extra attention? More than anything she hated being singled out. Reluctantly she stood up, her eyes fixed upon her trainers.
“It’s not easy being outnumbered, is it?”
The tone in Mr Masters’ voice was unexpectedly kind. Emelia was so surprised that she found the courage to look him in the eye and shake his head.
“Five violins, three cellos and a double bass as well. It is no surprise that your sound is being swallowed up”.
Mr. Masters asked his nervous pupil if she could do him a favour.
“Would it be alright if you played for us from bar 28, just for a short while? I will play along on my viola as well so you don’t need to be afraid.
“You have a Viola sir!?” Devlin on Cello squawked. Mr. Masters ignored the remark. He unlocked one of the cupboards behind him and revealed the well-worn viola case. He produced the ancient viola, applied some rosin to his bow and then quickly tuning each string to each other. He then gave Emelia a trusting smile.
“Play it exactly how you did yesterday in your tutorial. I know that you can do this”.
Emelia gave him a shaky smile and then began. Pretending that she and her teacher were the only ones in the room. To the amazement of everybody, she played beautifully.
All of the ensemble, save Mia and Indy clapped.
“I’ve never heard you play like that before”, cried loudmouth Devlin.
“That was awesome!”
“Awesomely average”, moaned Mia, earning another snicker from Indy.
“Mia Jansen, I believe now it is your turn”.
“My turn, Sir”, she squeaked.
Mr. Masters nodded.
“Swap places with Emelia, won’t you? I want to hear on your violin how you think that viola part should be played. You can have a go as well, Emelia. See what you can make of that violin part, won’t you?”
“Yes, Mr. Masters”, Emelia grinned. She shifted out of the horseshoe and stood in front of Mia’s stand expectantly. Sensing everybody’s eyes upon her, Mia stood up.
“I can do this”, she declared. Swapping a confident grin with Indy she made her way over to her new position.
“From the top then”, Mr. Masters announced. The students readied their instruments though all thought about entries and articulation were forgotten. They wanted to see what was going to happen.
In Mia’s corner that wasn’t a lot. After a few bung notes she wore a very confused expression on her face. It wasn’t long before she slumped quietly in her chair, wearing an awkward blush. Emelia was more successful. True, she did have an advantage. In her music lesson, Mr. Masters had insisted that she learn how to transpose. While it had been a frustrating process, learning how to read one note and work out in her head how high or low she had to shift, it had been worthwhile discovering that she could play the beautiful melodies usually reserved for a solo violin. It was certainly proving its worth now. While her effort was far from perfect she did a good enough job to earn a round of applause from the rest of the violins. Meanwhile, Mia was pouting.
“How can anybody be expected to play that?” she exclaimed. When Jack, the double bassist remarked “Emelia does”, Mia scowled.
“I don’t see how. The music is impossible. What does that squiggle at the front of it even mean?”
“What squiggle?” asked Indy. She and a couple of the others took a peek at the viola music. Mr. Masters informed them that the ‘squiggle’ was called an alto clef.
“Not only does our violist have to compete with all of you to be heard, she plays music that would leave a lot of professional musicians quaking in their boots. Emelia had a very hard and important job and it is up to us to support her”.
“Wow Emelia. You’re a rock star!” praised Devlin. Her other classmates started showering her with praise as well.
“Thanks everybody”, Emelia called back. Thrilled to bits she returned to her own seat. This time she was sitting up tall, filled with pride and self-confidence at last.
Leah was left with the easiest and the hardest task. As the last sister left in heaven she had to resist the temptation to fly away and find her family. Leah sought distractions. She organised her belongings and spent a lot of time practicing the violin and the harp. She visited her parents and her friends a lot and helped every angel that she could find. What she could not do was watch upon the Earth as there was a risk that she would abandon her promise. Logically she knew that leaving her alone to learn their own lesson made sense but the waiting was so touch. What if they were hurting? What if they needed her right now and she was not around to help them? Maria had told her that she needed to simply trust that they were going to be okay but trusting was tough. All too often she worried about them. One day Maria saw her standing at the edge of her cloud, her eyes fixed upon the ground below.
“Giving up on them that easily, are you?” she remarked.
“No!” Leah insisted. What she had intended to be a casual remark came out as a frustrated shout. In that moment Leah was furious at Maria for sending them away. She was also furious at herself for she knew that Maria was right. She did not have enough faith inside of her to trust that her sisters were going to be fine.
“Did I say that this was going to be easy?”
Maria rallied her spirit by saying that she was proud of the self-control Leah had shown so far.
“One of the hardest lessons by far is to let go and trust that our loved ones can work through their problems in their own time. I know that you have been holding out the best that you can but I also know that you are not doing what your sisters would want. Do you think that they would be happy to learn that you are worrying yourself sick because of them?”
Leah gasped. She hadn’t considered it that way before. Of course that wouldn’t make them happy. Leah asked Maria what the cure was. How was she supposed to stop worrying? There was barely a moment that went by when she did not miss them. Maria did not have a cure, only a suggestion.
“Why don’t you focus your energy somewhere else? Make something beautiful for your sisters to enjoy when they get back. Learn how to play something wonderful on the violin or the harp. You could even try creating a piece by yourself. If there is one thing that I know for certain it is that you will achieve anything that you set your mind to”.
Leah was so taken with the idea that her skin took on an iridescent glow.
Clicking her fingers Leah summoned a pad of manuscript paper and a pen. Maybe if she wrote her sisters some songs it would bring their hearts together all the faster. Leah started work at midday and did not stop until the stars were twinkling above her. For the first time since her sister’s departure she was content and happy.
At last Leah was relaxed. She had composed a melody for each of her sisters and was not content with stopping there. The youngest angel was finding inspiration for songs everywhere and had become obsessed with capturing the music she was hearing down on paper. Her new hobby was satisfying and a lot of fun. It proved to be the perfect solution to place her worries and heartache aside.
One morning, in the middle of playing Olivienne’s melody, Leah found herself transported. Suddenly she found herself within a dressing room. Sitting in front of her, staring into a mirror was a woman in her thirties with curly blond hair and a sadness trapped behind her eyes. Somebody rapped upon the door.
“Ocean? May we come in?”
Ocean smiled and Leah’s heart hurt. She recognised that smile. Somewhere within this violinist was her sister, Olivienne. Leah started to panic. Though the woman was now smiling a second ago she had looked truly miserable.
“Please do”, Ocean called, opening the door. In filed an assortment of musicians. Ocean counted them as they came in and frowned.
“Nobody told me that there was going to be three saxophone players. You are all welcome, of course. I just don’t have enough music or chairs”.
Conrad, the original saxophonist, apologised and said that they could share off of the same part.
“We’re too important for chairs, isn’t that right, Keith?” remarked Brodie, one of the new ring ins. His dreadlocked offsider coolly nodded. Ocean laughed and let the boys sort themselves out. She waited a few minutes and then looked to Timothy, waiting in the corner with her portable keyboard. With a nod the ensemble started their first ever behind the scenes jam. Both Ocean and Olivienne took pleasure in not being the star. They were playing music together with their friends without a care in the world about what anybody else thought. At last they were happy…. almost.
Leah watched on, intrigued at what they were going to sound like. The jam session was rough but lively. Too often the impromptu group fell apart but nobody cared. Usually this was followed with hoots of laughter. At last the session was brought to an end when Simon, the stage manager, swung open the door.
“That’s it for tonight, folks. Ensemble, that’s your call. Miss Vash, you have fifteen minutes before your entrance”.
The ensemble stood and started filing out. Timothy stopped long enough to give Ocean a peck on the cheek.
“Terrific idea, Ocean. I can’t remember the last time that I had so much fun”.
Ocean grinned. Now they could have that much fun every night. Her next mission was to bring some of that fun onto her stage as well.
“Olivienne, that was wonderful!”
Ocean stopped what she was doing, looked in Leah’s direction and grinned. Olivienne bolted out of her vessel in order to give her sister a hug. The emptiness that had been plaguing her had completely vanished for she was reunited with Leah at last.
Before the sisters could say how much they missed each other they were transported again. The practice room was nothing special. Barely bigger than a storage shed it consisted of white walls, three music posters, a window looking out upon a soccer field and a single music stand, chair and cellist. There was no place that Olivienne and Leah wanted to be more. Vicki Leigh, their Virginia was immersed in her music. Steadily she brought The Swan by Saint-Saens to life, linking each phrase with her beautiful, long bows. It brought her sisters so much joy to see her enjoy this simple but sweet melody.
When she had finished, Olivienne and Leah clapped. Virginia saw them then and left Vicki behind to continue her practice. Big sister Olivienne got to her first.
“I am so proud of you”, she beamed. Admittedly she had never listened to anything Virginia had played that closely before. What she had just played had been stunningly beautiful. Virginia thanks Olivienne for the compliment but admitted that she owed everything to a wonderful teacher. Without smiling Seb she would never have fallen so deeply in love with her cello.
The last transportation did not happen right away. Instead, the three sisters simultaneously felt a surge of panic that musicians knew all too well: stage fright.
“Emmy”, Leah exclaimed, wanting to protect her, now! Suddenly Leah, Virginia and Olivienne were sitting in empty chairs inside of a community theatre. Ten children sat in a horseshoe formation upon the stage, waiting until it was their turn to play. There was only one viola player. The tiny girl was pale and physically trembling.
“Come on”, cried Olivienne, jumping out of her chair. “We still have time. If we can get Emmy to see us we can get her out of there before it is too late”.
Leah grabbed at her big sister’s hand.
“I think that we should trust her, Livi. Let’s give her a chance to get through this on her own”.
“Please Olivienne”, chimed in Virginia. Now comfortable in her own skin she wanted the same thing for her little sister.
Olivienne shared a look with them both and then reluctantly sat down. As much as she hated being an observer she knew that Leah and Virginia were right. The three of them watched on nervously as the conductor walked out of the wings and got his ensemble’s attention with his baton. Emelia James started off strongly, despite her shaky hands. When she stood up for her solo in bar 28 she blew everybody in the theatre away.
“Maria, you have to tell me. Magic or miracle? What has happened to my girls?”
Maria smiled enigmatically at Claude, the father of her string quartet members. Since he was not an elder he had not questioned their mysterious disappearance up until now. The music tutor wasn’t somebody who liked giving away her secrets, after all. What was the fun in that? Instead she told him that he had raised four beautiful, musically talented daughters.
Claude looked upon the platform stage. Uptight Leah was relaxed. Virginia was smiling. Emmy was acting like she was a born performer. As for Olivienne, she kept giving her sisters encouraging winks and smiles. What mattered to her the most was that everybody was happy and having fun. All four of them were shining, brightly. There was only thing that Claude was sure about. Something had happened that caused his daughters to change for the better.
“They have learned how to play together”, Maria remarked. It was the closest thing to an explanation that she intended to give Claude.
Claude nodded, muttering “cryptic elders”, under his breath.
Maria grinned, and not only because she enjoyed teasing Claude. Leah, Olivienne, Virginia and Emmy were finally playing together and with love.
Free images sourced from Pixabay.
All writing is the original work of Danielle Nolan, 2017.