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Elsa couldn’t help but feel anxious as the rain poured down so heavy outside. The maids had assured her that there was nothing to worry about, for this mansion was built as strong as a castle, but when one grows up in a shack which teeters on the edge of destruction with nearly every typhoon to hit the Philippines a fear that had built up over time simply wouldn’t dissipate with a few reassurances.
Elsa got out of her bed, left her room and headed down the hall in her silk nightgown, Maybe a little conversation with one of the other girls would get her mind off the thunderstorm.
Mimi’s door was open, her light on as Elsa picked up on the voices coming from the bedroom. She and Ken had arrived late from the airport so she hadn’t had a chance to see her colleagues yet, whom she had started to look towards as sisters now that they were getting close and she had never had any.
She walked into Mimi’s doorway in time to see a maid giving Mimi a pill and a cup of water, Meg nearby watching over. ‘Ah, Elsa, glad to see you made it home despite the bad weather. Did you get the plate of dinner we saved for you?’
‘Yes, thank you. I was just going to say goodnight to Mimi.’
Mimi ran over and hugged Elsa, ‘Goodnight. It’s nice to have you back!’
‘Are you feeling ok? I saw you take a pill.’
‘Oh, yes. Meg says it’s just to help me rest-’
‘Alright ladies,’ Meg interrupted. ‘Why don’t we get to bed. We have an early day tomorrow.’ The two girls hugged again then Elsa, Meg and the maid left Mimi to sleep, Meg turning to Elsa as she closed the door behind them.
‘So your father is doing better?’
‘Yes. The doctor says he’s strong, but needs to take it easy now that he’s nearing retirement age.’
‘That’s great news. Mr. Fujimoto was very impressed with your work last week. He has more for you in the morning if you think you’re ready.’
‘Yes, that would be great. I’m eager to get back to work.’
They had now reached Elsa’s bedroom. ‘Very well. Have a good night.’ Meg then walked off. Odd how she could be so pleasant one moment yet so cold the next.
Elsa settled into bed once more, nerves a little less on edge now that she had distracted herself with some company. Over the sheets of rain pelting the windows she thought with some excitement on what her next work assignment would be.
But these thoughts weren’t the ones she finally fell asleep to. The images in mind when those light tingling sensations of sleep began to sooth her into the unconscious were actually of Ken. Of the time they had spent together over the past few days. On the way from the airport he had told her, had joked with her that she would have a break from him until next week, as he was now to take a few days off.
To her surprise Elsa had felt a little sadness towards the news, only realizing at that moment that she now felt some sort of bond with him. It could have been due to the fact that he had spent time with her and her family but it seemed the feeling went beyond this. A longing in the heart, not wanting their time together to end.
Maybe she was just being too sentimental, the fresh sorrow of once again leaving her family causing her to feel closeness to the one who had been there with her. But then again she had never really experienced a connection when it came to attraction, her lovers from the age of having thoughts of one merely existing in the fictional literature she would sometimes read from her world of academics.
Is this what it felt like to like a boy in the flesh? What would he have said if she would have asked him if she could come along, wherever he was going? But maybe a break from her is what he wanted. After all, it had been his job to accompany her these past few days. And besides, the last thing she wanted to do was jeopardize her own job. But before she knew it she had leaned over, only coming to her senses once the kiss had been placed on his cheek.
Immediately embarrassed with herself she had drawn back, with him appearing to be frozen with surprise as she fumbled with her words and handle of the SUV door. ‘Goodbye. Goodnight. Have a nice time.’ Would he remember the awkward moment as she did? Even if this were the case she couldn’t help but think about him with these new eyes. And so she fell asleep to thoughts of him.
The rain had calmed, lightly pitter-pattering like a lullaby as Elsa slept cozily within the comforts of her bed. She had yet to enter into deep sleep, which was why she roused at the sound of commotion coming from the hallway.
Yelling, pleading, in Japanese, but the tone universal in its despair.
Was that Mimi?
Then sudden silence…
Followed by an eerie thud.
Scarier than the storm had been, but then she heard the girls coming out from their rooms, giving her the courage to do the same.
They were all gathered around the banister with Meg and Uijo, looking down in shock at the first floor.
As if the other girls were waiting for Elsa to join them in their shock before they reacted, once she approached their side and looked down, once her eyes caught sight of what they were all staring at, Mimi’s body lying down there in stillness, only then did all the girls scream in horror.
‘Oh my god!’ Josephine cried out.
Despite Meg and Uijo’s advances to stop them they all ran downstairs to have a closer look, as something appeared even more out of the ordinary than the obvious. But now a half dozen security personnel were rushing in, pulling the shocked young ladies away from their dead colleague.
‘Dr. Takamatsu is on his way,’ Meg said as she helped create a distance.
‘But Vicki is a doctor,’ Elsa replied.
One of the security guards threw a sheet up in the air above Mimi’s body, guiding it down as it fell softly atop her, the image they had seen countless times on television screens yet never in real life creating a chill throughout them all.
‘It’s too late. It was a terrible accident,’ Meg said in an attempt to sound warm and consoling. ‘Come now.’
Holding one another in their emotional state of turmoil the girls allowed Meg and security to guide them back upstairs and into their bedrooms, each being given something to help them sleep to escape such a tragedy.
As Elsa was escorted back into her room she saw something from the corner of her eye. A figure at the opposite end of the hall. She turned to look, but it had stepped back into the shadows.
As each of the four girls laid in their beds crying for Mimi they invited the sedative they had been given to take them away from the shock and sadness they felt, all falling asleep to images of their time with the young girl they thought of as a little sister.
The laughing and playing they had done in the swimming pool.
The excitement she had infused them with while shopping.
The hugs she had so often showered them with.
Chapter 5 posted shortly