The hallway was as clean as a whistle. The dark oak floorboards were so lustrous that Juvia could see her own ragged reflection in them. A strip of red carpet ran down the center of the floorboards to the staircase. The staircase was a masterpiece in itself along with its own dark oak boards and spotless red rug, the railings were carved with designs, beautiful works of art that could’ve taken decades to create. The walls were covered in decorative brown wallpaper and a chandelier hung gracefully from the again spotless white ceiling. There was a set of dark oak, double doors to the right of the entrance, and to the left there was a massive archway leading into the kitchen.
The kitchen was magnificent. Directly to the left of the arch, a white, floor to ceiling window let in a multitude of light, so much the so that indoor lights weren’t even necessary. There was a white marble floor, and light sky-blue wallpaper draped around all four walls of the room. In the center of the kitchen there was an island with three leather seated bar stools and a plentiful fruit basket atop the marble island. The island also included more cabinets. There was a toaster on the counter as well, beside a cutting board and a cinema-style popcorn maker. Dark oak cabinets hung from the ceiling above the island.
On the right of the arch there was a black double-door fridge and beside that a marble counter space including a single double-door cabinet. There was an oven under the microwave beside the cabinet and a dishwasher on the side of the oven. After the dishwasher the counter curved into an L-shape, leaving tons of counter space to cook on.
Too stunned to think properly, Juvia’s stood for what seemed like hours staring at the breathtaking kitchen.
After her mind cleared, Juvia turned to the set of doors opposite the kitchen, now curious as to what they contained. Images of the house in its disastrous state from the pictures flashed through her mind as she walked over to the huge set of double doors. She was about to place her hands on the handles to open the doors when she noticed a small paper sign on the door’s golden handles, tied with a bow in golden string. The sign read “Welcome” in elegant golden calligraphy. The sign was freshly made, the ink still damp from creation. No one had been in the house for many weeks. Stunned and somewhat in a trance, she slowly untied the sign from the door handle and opened up the doors. The sign dropped to the floor and she walked forward.
Her eyes glistened and gazed in wonder at the sight of the room. There were bookshelves inside the walls, and vintage, leather-bound books inside looked very inviting for a cold winter’s evening. There was a small wooden desk in the corner of the room, with a leather seated chair in front of it. There were papers still on the desk, with an inkwell and a few pens on those papers. There was a red couch in the center of the room, and underneath it there was a decorative red area rug. There was also a small coffee table in front of it, and beside that, inside the wall, there was a brick fireplace. On both sides of the fireplace there were floor-to-ceiling windows that were also as clear as any other normal window. The wallpaper was a dark shade of blue with small ornamental decals on it.
“What in the sugary cinnamon bun? Why did I never come to visit this guy!” Juvia yelled in delight. “Finally!” She laughed and squealed back into the hallway, grabbing her backpack and leaping up the stairwell.
“A house of my own!” She cried.
Upstairs, there was another hallway, this one with the dark oak flooring. Heat rose up to her cold little feet. Heated floors.
To the right there was a dark oak door, and at the end of the hallway there was another. A hatch in the ceiling with a small latch above her led into the attic.
First, Juvia opened the door to the left. She found a decently large bathroom. Inside, there were white tiled floors and walls. In the corner, a large stand up shower with white frosted glass. It was like a warm hug was greeting her. There was a large mirror on the back of the door and one in front of the sink. There was a small window beside the shower across the room about an inch from the ceiling.
The thermostat clicked and the heaters began heating the room. By the time Juvia was ready to take a shower it would be nice and warm. Turning on her heel, Juvia walked out of the bathroom and made a right towards the door at the end of the hall. She did so carefully taking small steps, suddenly struck by a sense of awe that the room gave off. A mysterious air. She opened it slowly, gingerly grasping the handle as she did so. The door creaked, but swung open quickly on it’s hinges.
Inside, there was a beautiful four poster, dark oak wood, carved, Victorian bed. Clear white drapes hung gracefully from the rods at the top, flowing to the floor at the sides and ends of the bed. There were light lavender coloured sheets on the bed, as well as a lavender colored comforter with mixes of white in a swirling pattern. The sheets were turned down, all ready for Juvia to fall into and go to sleep in. Just like the one Juvia had always wanted from an old furniture shop in Terrance. Briefly the memories flooded her mind.
One in particular floated around her memory as she gazed at the bed. A warm smile crossed her face as she thought of her mother and herself in the shop when she was young. How she would get onto the bed and beg for her mother to buy it. How she would roll in the sheets and tell her mother all about the one she would have when she was older.
“The Princess and her Pea.” He mother would often chuckle at her remarks.
Behind where the door opened Juvia flung her duffle on the ground and her backpack on top of it. There was a set of drawers there planted inside the wall surrounded by built-in bookshelves.
Inside the drawers Juvia discovered a pair of high-heeled dress shoes and a pair of sheer black tights. Atop the dresser, there were two silver bracelets layed out and a black leather watch. The bracelets had many little charms, small hearts, elephants, and accompanying them was a silver necklace - a simple chain with one pendant shaped as a heart.
There was a large window seat beside the bed on the side of the L-shaped room, and beside that window was a large dark oak closet—it reminded Juvia of the closet in Narnia: The Witch and The Wardrobe, a favorite book and movie of hers.
On the doors of the closet there was a note, similar to the one that had been on the door to the living room. In carefully written golden cursive letters it read, ‘For your first day of work’
Inside the closet there was a professional-looking black mini skirt, a white chiffon blouse, and a feminine black dress coat.
“What the…” Juvia’s voice trailed off with a frown.
Juvia closed the doors of the closet, then turned to the dainty lace curtains of the window and shut them too. Her hands stopped short as she closed them. How were the windows clean from the inside, glistening like water in a pool, but from the outside they were painted black as the night?
Nothing made any sense. Everything seemed backwards in this house.
Perplexed and paying no attention to the world around her, Juvia proceeded to flop down on the bed and stare at the ceiling in wonder. He mind wandered through a meadow of ideas, reasons for the strange happenings of the day. Of the house. But the thoughts quickly dispersed, and the meadow slowly faded. The bed was far too comfortable and welcoming to even think. Exhaustion took over Juvia, tired after her day of planes, airports and taxis.
The last of the money her grandfather had, he left to her, and she had used that money and the rest of her money to get here, to her new house. In her purse there was twenty-three Euro and thirteen cents left of it all. It probably was some of the fifty her father had given her for lunch when she left the house. He wasn't sad to see her leave. She had lived in his basement until a few nights before and he was getting tired of her. She in turn was getting tired of him.
The papers that said the house was hers were in her hands only minutes before she left. She was excited to be leaving. To have a house. Her life was starting - finally.
Twenty minutes later Juvia had almost all the lights off in the house. The door was locked, and the water was running hot, the shower already filled with steam and warmth. On the bathroom sink, there were small bottles of shampoo and conditioner, as well as a rack with towels and facecloths. There was some soap with a little red ribbon around it on the ledge of the shower waiting for her. The water was clear and warm, a fully functional shower head was in place, but perhaps a newer one with a stronger current was on the to-do list for her new house.
After her shower was over and she was dry, Juvia dressed lightly in her black camisole and light blue, cropped sweatpants…considering that she hadn’t brought pyjamas. The floors were warm anyways and the thermostats were heating the house nicely. She tied her long strawberry blonde hair up in a wavy messy bun and trotted down the stairs to see if there was a piece of fruit in the kitchen that she could snack on.
She flipped the lightswitch on and snatched an apple from the bowl in the centre of the island, then took a bite of it. Turning sloppily on her heel Juvia turned off the light again and headed upstairs.
She put away a few pieces of her clothing, mostly skinny jeans, tight shirts, a few fancy shirts and a couple of date-night outfits, then out of her duffle she drew a huge, stuffed, disheveled white teddy bear with a light brown ribbon tied around its neck. She plopped him onto the bed in the centre where he flopped sideways weakly.
“C’mon stay put.” Juvia remarked, grabbing her toothbrush out of her backpack. “This is home now.” She sighed, launching her apple core into the garbage can.
She strided through the hall into the bathroom to brush her teeth and quickly ran a layer of night cream over her face. She dropped a couple of eyedrops in her tired green eyes and, after they were mostly clear, walked hastily back into her room and flipped off the switch. Lazily she fell onto the the bed and cuddled against her bear. It had been a strange first day, but tomorrow would be much worse. Tomorrow was job day.