She stumbled into the room, still crying. Why had her father lied to her? What was so wrong with telling the truth? It's just as easy. Then she started to realize the truth of the situation. She knew her father had lied to her the first time he made it. She just hadn't expected it so soon. Clara wiped the tears form her face. She didn't need to cry anymore, and she knew that. She knew her father had only did this because he loved her.
As Clara scampered down the hallway, into her dirty, plain beige bedroom, she couldn't help but let out one last tear. Immediately following this tear, was a sob--a quick gasp of breath that managed to creep out her lungs so fast, it made a sound. The sound of a little girl crying. This startled her father, which led to the churning in his stomach called 'love and worry'. And to think, it all started with her scampering into the hallway.
"Clara?" He asked.
No answer came form the small room down the hall.
Reynold Darlen stayed perched at his desk as he waited for a response. Just as he was about to try again, he heard the small noise that came from the room. A noise that sounded as if muzzled in a pillow. The words were hard to make out, but Clara had replied, "Go away."
Clara's father let out a small sigh and tried again.
"Clara, Honey, what 'tis the matter?" He tried to say in his sweetest voice imaginable, but Clara still replied:
After a long moment of silence, Reynold tried one more time.
"Please tell me what 'tis the matter."
Clara answered with a question. "Who was the man?"
"The man today."
"The ****' man at the stream today."
Clara's father got furious. He got up from his desk for the first time in three days and dragged his lazy butt into the small room Clara called her own.
"You never say that word! Do you hear me? Never"
Clara was too frightened to answer, at first. She just stayed there looking at her father's eyes. Had he ever gotten this furious before the Navy? He used to hold her at night. Sing her a song. And he used to always finish it before he went to bed himself, even if she was already asleep. For her sake. But the Navy had mad him strong. Too strong.
Mr. Darlen managed to pull back all the restraint he had left in him and run back to his office. He never went inside the door. He just stood outside, pacing as he continued the conversation. Clara hadn't meant to say that. It just popped out. But why had she said it? Anise and Father had taught her plenty of other words she could use. But was she really that mad? She kept asking these questions to herself until her father had called out his question so many times already that he began to yell it, just to get it into his skull.
"Clara! Sorry." He calmed again. "What did Prv. Gennings tell you?"
"Who?" Clara was so confused.
"The man at the stream. Prv. Gennings. He came here today. When did you meet him? What did he tell you? What did you ask him? Why?" Capt. Darlen was massaging his brow, so stressed out by the moment.
"Well..." She began to look back on the past conversation. "I was crying in the park, for ruining your new carpet. I hate to let you down." She adverted her eyes from the ceiling and stared into his eyes. Clara's father stopped in place and stood as a statue as they locked in gaze, as if shocked that a clue to a mystery had just be solved. "He asked 'Which way to the house?' He had a childish voice. I almost thought he was my age. But his face was that of a college-boy. A twenty-year-old maybe."
"Yes, that sounds about right. Well I told him and then asked why he needed you."
Clara had intended to say more. What had happened. What Prv. Gennings said. Why she was so furious in the house, but she was lost in her own words as her father ran as fast as he could down the hallway, and raced to the bottom of the stairs. As he past Anise, he nodded and went on running. Anise curtsied at his site and said her name 'Master Darlen' as he walked on, then went on with her dusting. When she was sure he was gone, she ran up the stairs on her tiptoes, pulling the bottom of her dress up as she walked. The sound was tremendous and extremely loud. That was okay. She didn't mean to eliminate that effect. Besides, why wouldn't it be? She was wearing heels.
Anise found Clara lying on the bed, drying again. Her feet were thrown over the side as if sitting, but her head was face down on the pillow and it appeared wet form the tears. She so hated to upset her father. Anise stroked her back and highly wished her red hair was down instead of up in the high bun as she liked it. She felt like a mother to Clara. And as the small girl stopped crying, that thought of motherhood only grew.