There the huntress sits, content in the worn pages of that old book, and then she is thrown into a memory when glacier blue eyes stumble across a familiar cookie recipe.
"Yes, just like that, Ellie. You're doing wonderfully", the older woman says warmly as she helps the young girl roll a ball of dough across the counter lightly dusted in flour and powdered sugar. Needless to say, the five-year-old was practically covered in white dusting from head to toe, but there was no fussing over the mess being made or the difficulty with which the honey-blonde girl was attempting to make that perfectly round shape. Oh, how the little girl smiles at those gentle words of praise from her mother, icy blue eyes gleaming brightly as she looks up to the woman."Can we decorate them after they're done baking, momma?", she asks ever so sweetly before turning back to focus so very hard on that small round shape taking form under her small, slender hands."Of course we can, darling", her mother replies, taking a small amount of dough and rolling it alongside little Ellie who sets her own somewhat lopsided ball on the foil-covered tray with the others that have been more or less rolled with success. It was easy to tell which were done by her mother, and which ones were her own, but all the girl really focuses on is the technique and precision that her mother uses to roll that small mound in her larger yet soft hands. If young Ellie's eyes could have widened any more, they surely would have as she watches her mother make what seemed to be an absolutely perfect ball - no lumps, no bumps, and no flat sides."You're so good at this, momma! I want to be as good as you!", the little honey-blonde says in high-pitched words, her voice betraying every little strand of love and awe she could possibly feel towards the older huntress."I'm sure that you will be, my dear daughter. All it takes is lots and lots of practice, and you'll be an expert cookie maker one day", she assures the young girl who'd had yet to undergo the change, who had yet to experience any true wickedness the world was so terribly known for wielding...
As the memory fades, it is hard for the young huntress not to feel that familiar sense of loss and longing. It has been years... years since her parents had been killed in a house robbery gone wrong... and still, there were moments much like these where she couldn't help but feel her heart ache a little more than it usually did. They always say that everything happens for a reason, and Ellie has never once forgotten those words spoken in so many instances throughout her life, but how does one not ask the question of why? Why did it have to be her parents? Why did it have to be that night? Why did it have to be when the family was home? Now, she knew better now to really dwell on these questions because it would only make her miss them more."Sometimes, there isn't an answer. Sometimes, we just need to trust that there's a reason for even the darkest moments in our lives. Never stop believing that good things can be borne from bad things. That way, the world won't be able to steal your light"... This time, it had been the wise words of her father which echo softly, as if they were floating upon the gentle summer breeze as it brushes against her soft cheek. In that moment, she closes dark lashes over eyes of early morning frost... and she takes a deep breath. And then, like that, she can feel the heaviness leave her chest. She had to keep her light. Not for herself, but for her brother. It had been Lazarus that had suffered the most when their parents had been so swiftly taken from them. Thrust into a role as guardian, a role that he did not want and yet insisted that he had to carry on his shoulders... It had always been her big brother hiding her from the world, from the shadows that sought to take away the warmth and gentleness that was Ellie. But, what she sometimes thinks he forgets, is that it was them against the world. She knew that he felt alone, even when he never really was. But that was okay, she would be there every day to make sure that he remembered he wasn't alone. He would always have her. Just as she would always have him. Ellie thought that was the most amazing thing about siblings. No matter what, if the bond was there, one would never have to worry about feeling unwanted.
Happy to become lost in those old pages once more, she hardly bothers herself with keeping those senses that dark hunters were known for on the alert. Perhaps it was entirely too careless to feel completely safe here in the park, but what sort of criminal would be so bold as to do something terrible in plain sight for the rest of the park-goers to see? Assuming that the sound of approaching steps was just another person passing by, Ellie does not lift her gaze to the world around her. So, when a familiar voice behind her seems to come from nowhere, the look of surprise on the honey-blonde's face was to be expected. What she certainly wouldn't have expected in a million years would be for his lips to press against the soft skin of her freckled cheek, though! Immediately, she feels her cheeks flush with warmth, and she makes a futile attempt to hide this shocked expression behind her book as glacier blues finally meet earthen browns."Celo! You startled me!", she exclaims lightly as she tries to blink away the surprise. This was the second time she'd been kissed in the park by a friend... Why?! One would think that her first kiss should have been from a boy she liked in school... but that was apparently never meant to be. She watches as he comes to sit right in front of her, head plopped into the palm of his hand as he poses a question for her, one that was often common of good friends, so naturally, despite her embarrassment, Ellie manages a sweet smile."I've been really busy lately, but good. How have you been? Hopefully not getting chased by more hunters?", she asks him then, a slight note of gentle teasing ending her query. Just then, his other hand reaches for her book and lifts it from her fingers only to place it down beside the huntress, clearly demanding Ellie's full attention now. He makes mention of the first time they'd met, and the party he'd tried to get her to go to, so she almost sheepishly tucks a strange of honey-gold hair behind her ear at his brow-wiggling gesture."I know, I'm sorry", she apologies, remembering how she'd had to hurry home so that Lazarus didn't come looking for her that night. That definitely wouldn't have gone very well, her brother catching her at a party with a guy...
Celo's next words come shortly after those before, this time seeming to suggest that she join him in attending a beach party. Well, so far, she would definitely say that her day was taking a turn for the unexpected."A beach party? I haven't been to one of those before...", she replies in lilted words. Truthfully, she'd never been to any kind of party. The most wild she'd ever been was sneaking into that bar with Vhal, and that had definitely not been the best night. Not wanting to think long on that memory, she focuses back on the undeniably handsome guy in front of her."Sure, that could be fun", she answers at last, though, if she knew Marcelo at all from their first encounter, he was rather difficult to turn away."I don't have my bathing suit with me, though. Will that be okay?", she asks then, not entirely sure if all beach parties had some sort of dress code or something. After all, did all beach parties include swimming? Not that she minded swimming, but she certainly didn't feel like walking home in sopping wet clothes. It wasn't like she's planned on coming across Celo and him inviting her to some part on the south side of the city. If she wanted to be packed for anything, well, she'd need a much bigger bag than the one she had with her today. She was almost entirely certain there was no way she could be packed for every possible thing, anyway. Thankfully, Lazarus would be working today, so if she had to, the huntress could easily say that she was out with Lani... right? She never really liked fibbing to her brother, but the absolute last thing she wanted was for him to catch her with Celo.
Elain Chase Daray
image by etienne beauregard riverin