1.4 The Brook Amongst the Willows

WARNING: This chapter has like…one curse word in it. LOL

Note: I am so sorry for this long overdue update! I actually was prepared to post last week, but after I took the pictures, I looked in my Fraps folder to find there were no pictures. So I think oh stupid me forgot to turn Fraps on. So I go back in game the next day to retake the pictures, but when I went in the Fraps folder again, there still weren’t any pictures! I’m not sure what happened with my Fraps program, but after messing around with it for a few days, I finally got it working again. So here I am. I hope you all enjoy this chapter. It’s a little short. Nothing spectacular happens and there’s a lot of dialog, but it builds up the story for the next chapter, which will be posted in a couple of days. 🙂


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Five o’clock in the evening could not have come faster. I was up to my ears with suds and wet dogs and I’m pretty sure the last time I had feeling in my pruned fingertips was around noon. In spite of my misery, I enjoyed being around all of the furry four-legged creatures. I didn’t have to worry about impressing them or finding the right words to say. They didn’t judge me for who I am because of the sins of my mother. They didn’t take offense if I messed up or became frustrated with them. Nothing was forever with dogs. So why couldn’t humans be like that?

“Okay, Lady; you’re all clean.” Lady, the precocious two year old mutt, eagerly hopped out of the tub and shook the excess water off her body. After drying her off, I placed her back inside her kennel and began to feed the dogs for the night.

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“You’re getting the hang of this,” said Blair proudly as he did his nightly role call of all the canines.

I smiled and nodded with self-satisfaction. “I’m starting to, yes.” Blair smiled and I instantly forgot my next task at hand. Clean the kennels, you idiot! I shot him a quick smile in return and swiftly grabbed the damp mop that never seemed to have a chance to dry and began to mop each dirty kennel. Secretly wishing he would lose interest in the art of conversation and go back to doing role call, I kept my focus on the cleanliness of the kennels. He must have thought I had a major case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, but I was determined to keep the coy smiles and the curious eye gazing to a minimum.

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I just about finished mopping the last kennel when I saw Blair step outside for a smoke. His routine every night when he was done with his job and wanted to go home. A sigh of relief escaped from my lips as I set the wet mop back down in its corner, grabbed my purse, and stepped out. “All finished in there?” he asked, puffing on his cigarette.

“Yeah. Everything’s been swept and mopped; all the dogs have been bathed and fed; and everything’s been put away,” I said, a little proud of the simple accomplishments I managed to achieve.

“Well done, Stearns. Or should I say…Willows.”

“E-excuse me?” Blair glanced at me sideways with a tiny smirk on his lips. I looked at him with widened eyes and I could feel the color slowly washing away from my pale face. If a ghost had walked right past him, I probably wouldn’t had even noticed.

“It’s okay, Corrina,” he said reassuringly. “I’m not going to tell anyone.”

“Why are you calling me that?” I asked sharply.

“That’s your last name, isn’t it?” I began to open my mouth to deny the truth, but then quickly decided against it. There was no point in trying to hide it now. He knew the truth somehow and the very thought of someone else knowing who I really am made my stomach churn. “Relax.” He chuckled and puffed on his cigarette once more. “You look too much like her. Desiree. The resemblance is actually quite uncanny. When you first stepped through my doors, I seriously thought I was seeing her ghost.”

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I rolled my eyes and shifted my gaze to the row of trees that swayed gently with the wind across the street. “Declan told you, didn’t he?”

“Not until I beated it out of him first,” he replied casually. A contemptuous smile arose from his flawless face. For a split second, I had the sudden urge to slap him clear across his cheeky face, but I assumed it was my anxiety-stricken hormones going amuck once again. “I’m sorry; it’s just that he can’t keep a secret for shit.”

“You make him sound so senseless,” I said, feeling a little insulted on behalf of my friend.

“No, not at all. In fact, he’s a really intelligent guy!” He paused for a moment as he puffed on the half of an inch of cigarette that was left scorching in-between his fingers. “Well anyway, it’s good to finally meet you, Corrina. Declan told me about you, but I couldn’t believe it.”

“Why, were you expecting me to be a psychopathic hermit?” I frowned.

“No. I meant that I couldn’t believe that you were in town.” Blair returned the frowned expression. “Declan is really fond of you, you know. It’s been really rough on him since he lost Desiree.” This time, his expression went soft as he stared down at the ground.

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“Yeah, he told me about that. I feel really bad for him.”

“I feel bad for you too. I mean she was your sister after all.”

“I never knew her,” I said slowly. My eyes burned as tears seek to pour down my pale cheeks. I turned around not wanting him to see me cry. “I didn’t even know she existed until a week ago.”

“I’m sorry.” Blair’s words were barely above a whisper.

I shifted my eyes down the street past Blair and focused on the vastness of the mountains. Its beauty was the only thing that kept me calm at the moment and I was truly grateful. The last thing I wanted to do was to make a fool out of myself in front of my boss.

I was feeling bad for myself also. Growing up with a sister probably would have made my life a little easier. Especially in times such as these when I needed her the most in my state of confusion, sadness, and anger. But I was yet robbed once more of another family member caused by the actions of my heinous mother once again. “You wouldn’t happen to have a picture of her, would you?” I was desperate to know what she had looked like. I wanted to see the look on her face and know that she was happy and not constantly tormented by visions of her afflicted childhood.

Blair pressed his lips together and shook his head. “But I know Declan has some.” His voice grew happily as if he had a brilliant idea. “He keeps them all in a box for Brook.”

“Brook? Who’s Brook?” I asked as I frowned at the unfamiliar name.

“Brook is Desiree and Declan’s daughter.”

18 thoughts on “1.4 The Brook Amongst the Willows

  1. Ahhh cliffhanger! Must meet Brook! I have to admit I’m a little happy surprised that Declan has a daughter since he never mentioned it. You think he would have…Makes me wonder if there is something that he’s hiding, although I don’t understand why he would do that.

    Great chapter! I’m glad Corrina has a job that she enjoys, working with animals would definitely be preferable to working with people. LOL. Can’t wait for the next chapter now! 🙂

    • Thanks, I’m glad you liked it. I know it was a little short and a lot of dialogue, but I couldn’t have continued on with the story the way I wanted to without having to do that.

      It is strange that he never mentioned it to Corrina, but he has a reason for it, which makes me feel even more sorrier for him…even though I made him up. LOL.

      LOL…yes, I would prefer working with animals rather than people too. Dream job right there! 😛

    • She’s gotten really close with Declan over these past couple of months, so the thought that he would even keep such a huge secret like this from her is a little hurtful to her. But he has a reason for it. Thanks for reading! 😀

  2. Declan has a daughter?!
    With Desiree?!
    Oh man, this just keeps getting better and better. I think it is safe to say that I am completely and utterly in love with your story. The characters are great, the plot is fantastic, and the writing is brilliant. You have everything I could have ever possibly asked for in a story. I absolutely love this.

    • Aww thank you!!! *blushes* Lol. That really means a lot to me. 🙂

      Yes declan has a daughter with Desiree. Its really sad she was left without her mother, but both her and declan eventually learn to cope.

  3. Corrina looks like the kind of person that would be looking after animals. I think this job beats the coffee shop any day… Minus the wetness 🙂

    Ugh idk maybe I’m wrong but Blair leaves me feeling very unsettled, even in the last chapter but I’m trying not to judge him too quickly. Even Declan, idk…It’s like they’re all hiding something from her… Maybe I’m wrong though. And where’s Brook?! I must read more… 🙂

    • Declan does have a harmless secret, which will be revealed very soon for you, lol. Blair on the other hand…he…well, you’ll find out very soon also. 😛

      Thanks for reading!

  4. Ahhh another cliffhanger! I can’t believe that Declan hadn’t told Corrina about his daughter, especially since Brook would count as her niece. I wonder why he didn’t tell her.
    Hmm, I thought Blair was okay at first but for some reason I feel somewhat uneasy about him. There seems to be a lot of secrets at play here, and I can’t wait to find out about them all (or maybe not, they don’t seem like nice secrets lol).

    • Lol yeah it’s all craziness. Declan didn’t tell her at first to protect Brook. He didn’t know Corrina from Adam, so he just wanted to make sure she wasn’t like her mother or suicidal like her sister. He also didn’t want to put too much news on her all at once since he saw how overwhelmed she was when she first arrived to the house. He did what he thought was best. 🙂

  5. What??! Declan has a daughter?! Which means Corinna has a niece? Why the heck did he decide to keep such info from her? I can’t wait to meet her!
    Blair is… very interesting I’s say. For almost their whole coversation I was wondering why he couldn’t tell her that he knew who she was like a normal human being lol. I don’t think he’s ill-purposed (at least I hope so), but he’s definitely a little strange..!

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