The problems started already on the next day, when he walked bye from the hall in the centre of her part of the house and he thought he saw something yellow lashing across the floor. The illusion was so appalling, he almost crooked over wishing to see it again.
“What is going on here?!” he bellowed, breath stuck in his throat, seeing another sunbeam flying across the floor.
She yelped from her spot on the top of two chairs and had to pull out several very risky stunts to keep her balance. After gaining it, she thought better to clime down as judging by his face, he was just starting with yelling.
He jumped around the rays as if he was dealing with lasers and pulled the curtains closed again, leaving them both in the dim light. She observed his hand that he had forgotten exposed between the slides, jaw dropping – it was covered with deep scars and the tone was almost ivory, shining through.
“I’m cleaning.” She stated the obvious, gathering all her power not to look at his hand. He hissed at the same moment she managed to get her eyes away from the horrid site and he jolted it as if he just touched a fiery iron.
“I can see that! Why are you doing it?”
“Because it’s my duty list and…”
“I did not…” He was taken back.
“Yes you did. Last night. You had me repeat your every order and you nodded vigorously.” She sighed, turning her attention back on the curtains. “Seeing the place, I’d say the last cleaning lady left hundred years ago…”
“Curtains are not to be removed during the day – I assumed my mother already explained you, why!”
“You get blisters from Sunlight.” She repeated her words. “But if you’re not even in the room, you won’t get any sunburn!”
“I’m very sensitive to light!”
“Ludicrous!” she grunted and stooped up on the back of the massive sofa to pull down the thick dusty curtain to shove them into the washing machine.
“You touch that and you’ll be the first one I come haunting!” he shout out with real fear filling his voice.
She stopped cold, then stepped down, feeling she’d fall the moment she burst laughing. That was the most idiotic reason not have a clean house she had ever heard.
He glared her rolling over laughing, before nailing her between him and the couch.
“I said I don’t want anyone touching the curtains! What part from my order did you not understand?”
Her good mood vanished and after filling herself up with the anger, she shoved him off with a heavy punch to his stomach that sent him crouching on the floor.
“I will wash them and that’s that! You may enjoy living in the house that makes you sneeze fifty times a minute, but it’s unhealthy! And you won’t die from mere minutes in sunlight – you’ll get few blisters and that’s all. Tough! I know! But life is touch! Get used to it! Besides, you said I can do what I need with this side of the house and I’m not gonna spend my time fighting with mites.” as she said it she climbed back on top of the couch again and freed the first snatch from the rod, wondering, what color those might have been.
The light that penetrated the dusty glass made him take rapid steps back to the door. He stared in shock how she removed one fabric after another sneezing like crazy.
“They look like… They look as if they haven’t been washed since they were put up here. Tell me, did you buy the house with the furniture and the curtains?”
“I only wanted some peace and no fuss with decorating!”
“Oh you did manage that!” she mumbled, letting out another loud sneeze. “Oh!” she struck him cold, when he had jumped away from another spot of light. “In the light of the recent fact – I’m planning the same tour with your side of the house!”
“You will not!” he roared, but his anger was short as he pulled another inch further back.
“Oh yes I am!” she stood in the straight sunlight, hands akimbo. “You don’t buy a house that was last cleaned the last century, move in and start living there!”
It took him half a minute to understand her anger – he was stunned how she shined there, standing on the backside of the couch, angry as a devil and glimmering like an angel.
“You really wish to play that vampire thing?” she asked suddenly and earned a deep scowl. The angel turned back into tiny pest he had thought her to be the first time he laid his eyes on the little woman. She took it as agreeing to her point. “Then don’t ask, why! Besides,” her voice picked up bell like glimmer, “if you allow me this – I have a surprise for you.”
“I hate surprises!”
He hid himself in his room for the whole day, pretending to be reading, imagining how he will march up to her and tell her she was no longer welcome in the house. He was thoroughly agitated by every noise that came from the house – the batting steps, the noise of the washing machine… He would gladly walked over her room, scrambled her clothing back together and thrown her out on the street, but he was stuck in his room with no passage to out.
When all finally quieted, he didn’t go out. He feared the daft girl had removed all the covers, so he decided it was best to wait for the sunset before going exploring and then tell her she was fired.
The first thing he noticed was indeed what he had expected – all the curtains were pulled back. And it smelled different, fresh. He automatically reached his hand to pull the curtains closed, but stopped a second before the deed. His eyes landed on the centre of his garden and on Kristin, sitting there, head back and observing stars with hot drink warming her hands. The Moon was high now, fully glowing and bathed her in smoothing blue shine.
“It’s quiet.” She said, when hearing him walk behind her. “And beautiful.”
“Do you come out often?” her voice was dreamy and he figured she had thought about it a lot.
“I opened the windows.” She continued, calmly zipping her hot drink and sighed, pushing her head way back so she could see his face. “I’m sorry I did this.” She apologized fast. “I know I must look like some lunatic, but…” she had to pull her head up again. “Well, I’ve been afraid of this house for so long and… I don’t know, I just had to do something to like, gain control over it I guess…”
He watched her tiny neck shudder for a moment and smiled in recognition. When he first came here, he had felt the same thing. Only his way of dealing with it was scowling at it for a long time, like scaring the building before entering.
And it did need cleaning, he found himself thinking, remembering the flowery smells from home, where he remembered his nanny constantly cleaning something. He felt like smacking himself – he was now making up excuses not to send her away! What was wrong with him? And what was wrong with her? She talked with him as if they’d known each other in years while one of the girls never got over formalities.
He sat on the chair next to her, wondering when the last time he had stepped outside was. It had been too long for sure – he remembered daffodils blooming. Now it was near the end of the dandelions.
“You said something about surprise…” he murmured half loud, laying back and staring at the sky, eyes wide.
“Surprise!” she giggled and offered him her cup, filling it from the thermos. It had hot chocolate in it. He let out a loud sigh, seeing the drink. “I found the closed package on the shelf.” She explained. “Judging by the thickness of the dust and a handwritten February on the cover, you haven’t made it for long time.”
“No I haven’t.” he purred, eagerly gaping it in. “Brother Thomas brought it to me, he said it will cheer me up on a damp day.