January 2nd, Monday
Lousia drives toward the house in silent focus, her eyes fixated on the large driveway that wraps around a trickling water fountain.
Ansidara still remembers the beautiful creation being erected at the age of seven. His mother had demanded they construct a water fountain with a twenty foot radius and an eight foot tall statue of the Goddess Nike.
At the time Ansidara had watched the construction workers from the third story porch work tediously at the goddess' side. They had delicately bestowed her grand bird like wings to her back while his father and mother watched their meticulous movements. A crown of smooth white olive branches was placed tenderly upon her long flowing hair, while a scepter was slipped into her left hand. Her right hand was not left empty as it stroked her pack of horses that pranced around her. All four long maned mounts had arcs of water shooting from their mouths while more water flowed from Nike's draped clothing.
His younger brother Tradi had also been there but his interest in the project held more of distaste for unknown reasons. Then again Tradi was only five so Ansidara's only conclusion was his brother feared the tall woman in their front yard.
Ansidara recalled the first time he stood in front of the grand being with his almost proud mother. "Next we will get her sibling Bia." She said in admiration.
Indeed they did get Bia yet she was hidden away in the depths of their grand conservatory. There in the silence she had her wings wrapped delicately around her as if she were shy while water tricked down her realistic marble black feathers.
He looks back to Nike and finds the statue strangely comforting as he stares at her large wings that have small streams of water trickling down every handcrafted stone feather and into the pond of lily pads below.
Lousia drives around the fountain once before following a large stone paved path toward the back of the mansion.
Ansidara forces himself to turn away from Nike.
“Hey,” He leans forward. “Is memorizing the property a requirement when applying for the job?" he asks trying to forget the statue that always feels reassuring.
Lousia shakes her head as she pushes a strand of her long black hair behind her ear. "No but it is expected to know the five main buildings of the property by the end of the year." He leans back watching as the houses large square windows zoom by.
"The five main buildings?"
"Yes, the main house, the conservatory, the barn, the pond house and the storage house."
He looks at her, his eyebrows drawn in slight confusion. "What about the observatory?"
"The observatory is off limits to the staff. It has been for the past four years."
He jerks forward as the car comes to a sudden stop. They're now fifty feet behind the house where a large wooden deck is laid upon the floor ten feet away from the stone path they're on. Two lonely black metal chairs with a matching table stand in the middle of the neatly polished floor.
"Why is it off limits?" He asks while slowly getting off the golf cart.
"Mrs. Tore said it was because of delicate information that couldn't risk damage." She gives a gentle smile.
Ansidara takes a careful step back onto the frosted grass, the dogs following after him. “Turn on the deck heaters and tell Somnium to bring me a snack.” She deliver him a slight glare instead. “Please” he added with a batt of his eyelashes.
She reluctently nods while waving her hand. “Whatever the young master wants.” She nearly yells while turning the go kart.
He mimicks her as he strolls down the smaller path to the cherry wood deck that is leveled perfectly with the neatly trimmed grass. He glances behind him watching as she drives down the stone path to the inauspicious white house.
He realeases a soft sigh once she is out of sight then glides across the hard deck and brittle grass to stare into the still water of a stream that ran through almost a quarter of the property. In the inky dark water he can easily see a large white and gold koi glide beneath the water's surface. It sends swirls of steam that curl along the edge of the water and the grass. Ansidara bends down to place a hand in the warm water that constantly stayed at the ideal temperature to ensure the fishes never froze. A fish swam forward for food but instead it receives gentle pets on it’s slimy head. He presents a small smile that he rarely shows to others The dogs bend down as well using their paws and mouths to try to touch the fishes that run away.
Far above a bird flutters making him snapback to the reality of his responsibilities. He stands up, shaking his wet hand in the frigid air. He returns to the deck’s single table and pair of chairs.
He pulls the ice cold metal chair out while tugging his backpack off his shoulder. He opens the bag retrieving the single content within, a holotab that was the size of a cup coaster. He places it on the cold metal table pushing the middle once before it displays a holographic text book onto the table's surface along with chemistry questions that hover above the book. He grabs the first fifty pages of the hologram that felt as real as any book. The only thing that reminded him it wasn't a real book was when he pinched images to zoom in and opened links that led to further online explanations.
He felt the wooden deck becoming a comfortable warm beneath his shoes as he studiously works.
The deck was typically used during summer parties as a dance floor where chairs and tables would be neatly placed along the edge, adored with clean white linens and vibrant colorful flowers straight from the conservatory. The floor would be scattered full of beautiful girls in elaborately made ball gowns. Jewels as vibrant as the dresses decorated wrist, neck and ears. The earth stones shimmered like starlight in the soft glow of lanterns that were strung above the dance floor. The men would also dress gaudy as they wore tuxes of elaborate patterns, embroidered details and vibrant colors. The image always reminded him of peacocks trying to attract every single person's attention. Ansidara typically would be off dancing with nearly every girl as he tried to decide which one he would turn into a summer fling.
He peeks past his holographic book to Cassie and Bella who lay against the now warm floor. Ansidara leans his back into the still cold chair and precariously crosses his arms over his chest as he falls into deep thoughts of those nights where there was nothing but endless parties. Endless dancing, infinite drinking, continuous laughing, all of which he had begun to feel no emotion toward.
When did such passionless feelings begin to occur?
He closed his eyes remembering the first party he had ever attended.