Episode 2 - A Secret Paradise
Kyra's Bedchamber, Damon Manor:
Soon Kyra was brought to her spacious bedroom to unpack. Jacob then walked Serena across the hall and introduced her to her own room. Kyra explored to her new territory to find the perfect places for her few menial possessions. It didn't take long to finish with the job of unpacking.
Each month while living at Tyler Hall, Isabel had given her a small allowance for completing small chores around the house. Other than buying a few necessary items from time to time, she had spent very little of the money she earned. In her mind, the more money she saved the better off she would be when her luck with strangers finally wore out. So far that hadn't happened, but Sherman could have thrown her out on the street just as easily as sending her off to live with his distant cousin.
Now she knew it had been wise to save all those allowances, because Lord Damon could not be expected to let her stay here for as long as Lord Tyler had allowed her to remain at Tyler Hall. Lord Damon would probably expect her to pay for her room and board, which might require her to take up a job in the manor. But, she knew her savings should accommodate her for at least a few weeks until the Marquess could find a use for keeping her in residence here. Of course, as a servant her room would not be as spacious and grand as this. But that didn't matter to her at all. She would be happy as long as they let her call this place home.
For now, however, she would be welcomed to enjoy the comfort of this spacious room, because she had arrived with the Tyler party. She was going to savor every moment of it for as long as it lasted.
While placing her clothes in the oversized wardrobe, she almost howled in laughter. There were five pitiful dresses hanging in a closet made to fit ten times that many. It was rather comical.
Grabbing up her small satchel, she walked around the room to put her last few possessions in their proper places. Her matching brush and comb set was placed on a beautifully carved vanity table. Her jewelry box, given to her by Serena, was placed on the nightstand by her bed. Lastly, she took out a large wooden box and placed it under the bed. She let the draping bed spread conceal it from peering eyes.
In childhood, whenever Isabel had presented a gift to Kyra a similar or slightly better gift had always been given to Serena. That was how Sherman had demanded it be. Kyra never expected anything less. But, this beautifully handcrafted box had been the one secret gift Isabel had given Kyra without Sherman's knowledge. It was meant to show how much Isabel truly cherished her. Even Serena had never known about the gift.
After giving it to her, Isabel had made her promise to never tell anyone about the box. At the same time, she made Kyra swear she would never try to open it until the day the key to the lock was given to her. Isabel told her the box contained some pieces to an old puzzle, but she would not allow Kyra to see them until she was sure the time was right.
Trusting Isabel would give it to her when she felt the time was right, Kyra had never asked for the key. Then her adopted mother had died leaving her no clue about what the box contained. Still, she was just as happy to look at the box, knowing it was proof that Isabel had loved her enough to give her such a special, secret gift.
Standing, she picked up her well-worn satchel and carried it over to the wardrobe. As she closed the closet door, a beam of sunlight suddenly broke through the clouds, bursting brightly into the room. Out of curiosity, she walked to the window to peer outside. Her eyes were treated to the most spectacular sight she had ever seen!
The back yard of Damon Manor was comprised of a huge terrace extending from one section of the back wall to the middle of the building just below her window. The terrace must be used exclusively for entertainment purposes, because there were white lawn chairs and glass tables scattered around, yet no one was in sight.
Further out, beyond the terrace was a white metal fence that led into a beautiful garden filled with large flowers of every imaginable color. Many paths were interwoven throughout the veritable wilderness, but they all ultimately led to a larger path, which traveled out to a shallow pond in the distance. There were more white tables placed in simple patterns around the edge of the pond. It resembled a park she'd seen in a city once while traveling with Isabel and Serena to London.
It was impossible to believe that no one was taking advantage of such beauty on a day like this. Perhaps if she dared, she could find her way through the various halls of the manor to locate the doors that led out to such a wondrous sight. It was a garden of heaven.
Surrounding the garden were high-tended ferns that acted as a fence around the perimeter of it. She assumed she wouldn't be able to enter it from the outside. She would have to find the doors at the back of the building that led out to it.
Serena's room was located across the hall from hers. Knocking loudly, she entered when Serena called out in a weary voice. Kyra frowned slightly as she opened the door.
"Kyra? Is something wrong," she asked in concern. She was half-lying, half-sitting against the pillows of her bed. Clothes and boxes were scattered everywhere around the room as a hasty servant worked on arranging the items, in order to put them away.
For Kyra, this only accentuated how little she owned in comparison to Serena, although she normally tried not to compare things between them that way. It just seemed funny that she was able to accomplish the task of unpacking without the help of a servant, but Serena could not.
Kyra shook her head in answer to Serena's question and then spoke using her signing language. It was a language she and Isabel had worked hard to develop.
Sometime after arriving at Tyler Hall, Kyra's frustration had grown considerably, being unable to communicate with the staff and family. A friend of the family suggested they try using hand signals to express her needs. They had worked together to develop a simple system for describing hunger and fatigue. It worked wonderfully. Then Isabel suggested they work on more complex words that would permit her to express her thoughts.
The project had taken a great deal of patience and time, but amazingly enough it wasn't long before they were able to speak simple sentences with each other. Kyra did have to do most of the work, but it was just as difficult for Isabel at times.
Soon, some of the servants began picking up on the language. With everyone's help, the entire household was soon able to communicate with her, opening new doors to her silent world. It had been the beginning of a new life for her.
In answer to Serena, she said, "I would like to explore some of the manor."
"Right now?" Serena's voice was whiny, a sure sign that she was exhausted. "Couldn't we wait until later?"
"Don't be silly," Kyra chastised. "You should know I would never ask your assistance with such a silly errand after the tiring day you've had. I can manage this on my own. I simply wanted to tell you I am leaving."
Goodness, Kyra was developing an independent streak, Serena thought to herself. She'd always had one of course, but Serena noted that it had grown measurably since Isabel's death.
"Kyra, I realize that you want to feel you can do most things for yourself, and you can," she qualified. "But, you must also except that you have your limitations. This is a place very new to you. Should you manage to get yourself lost in the intricacies of this place, you won't have anyone to ask for help. This is not like home. The servants here do not speak your signing language."
"Serena." Kyra sighed impatiently. "I love you as a sister but you irritate me to no end. In a few days, you will be gone and won't be available to drag me around by the nose. I must learn to cope alone for soon I will have no choice. Certain situations will always arise and I must learn to deal with them. Otherwise, I will remain the insecure twit I once was and often still am. Now," she continued, "you lie down and get some rest. I shall return in an hour or so."
Serena would have complained, but Kyra was already halfway out the door and the glint in her eyes was much too determined to be denied. She could see the satisfactory smile on Kyra's face, but Kyra missed hers.
That girl might think she was able to take on the world, but she wasn't, Serena thought quietly. Standing, she walked to the door and smiled after Kyra.