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Old Ends and New Beginnings
Nina stopped in the doorway quietly observing her old friends from school. A lot had happened since the boarding school closed down. She, Patrica, Mick, Mara, Alfie, Fabian, Jerome and Amber happened to have been the final graduating class before the school had closed. It was weird for Nina to think that they hadn't seen each other in eleven years, because they had all gone off onto different paths of life.
From the looks of it Mara and Mick, who had married right after college, were expecting their third child. Mara was still young and beautiful with her brown eyes and dark hair. She was dressed in a nice pink sweater with black dress pants. Mick wore his blond hair rather long and in his eyes, similar to how he had worn it at school. He was slightly more fit and wore khaki pants and a striped blue and white polo shirt that showed his biceps off nicely. They had settled on the couch, their hands clasped on top of Mick's knee. Mara was comfortably resting her head on his shoulder. Mick's love for his wife was apparent even before he leaned in to kiss her, neither of them aware that Nina was watching from the doorway.
Patricia was sitting at the table with Amber quietly making polite conversation. Her hair was pulled back into a bun and she wore a gray blouse. She had become a lawyer, so convinced on helping those poor kids who needed a say and yet were consistently overlooked by parents who didn't even deserve to care for them. To her left sat her boyfriend Jason quietly listening. He still had the same dark hair and intense eyes. He wore a purple sweater over a white collared shirt. He had been a teacher at the school eleven years ago as a young man, fresh out of college. He and Patricia had always cared about one another, although while they were teacher and student they never showed their affections outwardly. As she had finished college he had been there, waiting for her, and they had been together ever since.
Amber was her normal cheery self. Her long blond hair was wavy this time and she wore a hot pink blouse with frills on the front; Nina assumed that it was something she had designed. Beside Amber sat a young man with dark brown hair and brown eyes. He wore a green v-neck sweater over a white teeshirt, which was obviously something Amber had also designed. He had his arm around Amber's shoulders. Nina did not recognize him, but immediately noticed the ring on his finger. She looked at Amber again and noticed the small baby bump starting to form; she had apparently married while Nina was away in Egypt and Nina had heard nothing about it.
Alfie and Jerome, whose styles hadn't changed much since school, were in the kitchen with two women Nina had never seen before. She assumed they were their girlfriends. One was tall with wavy dark hair wearing a tight white blouse and short black skirt, and the other was tall and blond wearing a light blue blouse and black pants. They were joking with the boys and teasing them about their cooking skills, saying that maybe men had been right about one thing from the beginning. Maybe it really was only women who belong in the kitchen because the men didn't seem to know the difference between a serving spoon and a ladle. Alfie and Jerome exchanged glances and laughed. Jerome caught up the tall dark haired one he called "Maria" and kissed her on the lips. Alfie looked at the tall blond one, daring her to kiss him. She took the bait and kissed him on the nose only to get a disappointed "Gina!" She laughed at him and then planted a real kiss on his lips.
They were all there, back in Anubis house. Nina took a deep breath and stepped in through the doorway. Everyone looked up at her. She was still wearing it, the ring he had given her eight years ago. She was still wearing it, making them all aware that she was still in love with the man that she had lost in Egypt over four years ago. She was still in love with Fabian Rutter.
Everyone smiled at her, reassuring her that they were still her friends.
"Hello," Nina said rather uncomfortably. "I would like to introduce you all to someone." They all exchanged nervous glances. What was she talking about? She was still wearing her wedding ring, and she was still in love with Fabian. Nina smiled and took her hand from behind her back, guiding a small child to their attention. "This," she said, "is Sarah Joy Rutter."
Jerome laughed as he walked over to Sarah. She was short and thin, she had her father's eyes and her mother's light hair. She looked to be about four years old. If that was the case then she hadn't known her father at all before he had died.
Jerome knelt down and looked into her eyes: they were so much like Fabian's that he was caught off guard. He cleared his throat and smiled saying, "Hello Sarah, I'm Jerome. It's very nice to meet you." She looked at him questioningly. Although she was only four, she was very perceptive.
"I'm fine thank you." She smiled shyly up at him. He had tears in is eyes and she wasn't sure why but he wouldn't stop looking at her. She decided he needed a hug. She stepped forward with her arms open and hugged him around the neck, almost knocking him over. "It's okay," she whispered in his ear, "Mommy told me that everyone would be sad and miss Daddy. But it's okay, because Daddy came to see me after I was born and he held me and told me that he loved me and that everything was going to be alright and that he was happy and looking over us all."
Jerome smiled and stood up still holding her. He carried her to the table where Amber and Patricia were sitting and just watching the unfolding scene quietly. Alfie walked over to meet them. He was holding Gina's hand and leading her into the room. He smiled at Sarah, who returned the smile, and patted her on top of her head. "You are so cute," Alfie said. Sarah giggled. He nodded to Jerome who continued walking over to where the women were sitting around the table. Alfie walked over to Nina, still leading Gina by the hand. "Hey Nina, how are you doing?" He asked, giving her a hug.
"I'm doing alright Alfie, thank you for asking."
Alfie smiled warmly at her. "I'm sorry Nina. We all loved him very much. He was very brave," Alfie said kindly. Nina smiled a watery smile and looked up at Gina. "Oh," said Alfie. "I wanted to introduce you to Gina, my fiancée." Nina smiled at her.
"It's very nice to meet you," Nina said, hugging her.
"I've heard so much about you and your husband. I am sorry for your loss."
"Thank you," Nina said. Her attention was drawn back to Sarah as she thought of Fabian. Her daughter was still in Jerome's arms and was looking down at Amber.
"Hey, beautiful," Amber said, smiling up at her and lifting her out of Jerome's arms. "You are so big." Sarah smiled and hugged Amber around the neck. "My name is Amber and this," she turned to her left where her husband sat. "This is my husband Michael." Sarah looked at him quietly and smiled. "Hello, Sarah, it is very nice to meet you," Michael said, brushing a loose hair behind her ear and smiling.
Patricia stood up from her seat and looked at Nina, nodding a quick hello. She bent down and looked into Sarah's eyes. "Hi Sarah, I'm Patricia." Sarah held out her arms as though to say "Take me!" Patricia lifted her off of Amber's lap and smiled. "Do you know how much you look like your Daddy? It's amazing. I miss him very much." Sarah smiled softly and hugged Patricia.
Mick stood up and walked over to Nina. He bent down and hugged her tightly. Mara came up behind him, waiting for her turn. "She is beautiful," Mara managed to get out before she burst into tears.
"Thank you." Nina smiled. Mick hugged her one last time and walked over to Patricia to meet Sarah.
"Hi Sarah, I'm Mick and this is Mara," he says smiling as his wife came up next to him. Sarah looked into Mick's eyes, and realized how deeply he cared about everyone in this room, including her. He had just met her and yet, he still cared about her. She opened her arms to him and he picked her up. Mara smiled; it didn't matter whether she was watching him interact with their kids or someone else's kids, but she loved doing it. She loved him and he was so full of love for everyone that it still took her by surprise sometimes. She leaned in and kissed her husband, putting one hand on the small of his back and the other on Sarah's back. This was home, she thought. Anubis House is our home and this is our family. She smiled as another tear slid quietly down her cheek.
Jerome looked up at Nina from across the room and smiled. She had done it, she had raised this special child to see through people's masks the way Nina never could but Fabian always had a talent for. She was young now but she would grow up and make sure Fabian had not died in vain. She was going to finish the quest from Anubis House. She was going to fight till the end. Sarah Joy Rutter was the chosen one and she didn't even know it yet.