Secret Children 3: Decorative Holly

By Desert Mouse

Holly sat up with a tired yawn. It was still dark outside the small window in her room. And it would be several more hours before any of the other girls in the castle woke up. It was always like this, she was the first one to bed and the first one to rise so she could start getting everything ready for the day. With a soft smile on her face Holly crawled out of bed and reached for the nightstand where she kept the oil lantern and her flint and steel. Once she had some light the fifteen year-old girl changed out of her nightgown into the forest green dress with deep red trim that she always wore.

It was a chilly morning as Holly walked around the dark, deserted castle on her way to the kitchen. The small lantern provided more then enough light but she would have been able to make the same trip just as easily blind. She stopped only briefly in the dinning room to light the fireplace to warm things up, then once more in the kitchen, just long enough for her to light the stove fires before going out the back door to the outside courtyard. She quickly did the morning feeding for the animals while most of them were still waking up, then she got the eggs from the chickens and went back inside.

She had a fairly simple breakfast planned for this morning using the eggs and the bread that she baked the previous evening so she held off on starting her cooking for just a few minutes this morning. Instead she started to grab some plates to get a head start on setting the table before the first of the early birds arrived.

"Let us handle this, you just focus on the cooking." Sapphire smiled. Standing behind her with a mocking grin on her face was Rose. The quiet girl pointed to the kitchen and made some motions with her hands like she was flipping some eggs in a frying pan, then put her hands behind her head and leaned back. Holly laughed at her.

"Alright you two can set the table, but I don't have time to relax." She said setting the plates down and returning in defeat to the kitchen.

"I don't know how those two manage it but they are always right behind me. I'm sure they don't go to bed until everyone else does though." Holly commented to the pile of eggs she was busy cracking open. By the time that she was bringing the food out, Jade, Sakura, and Emerald had joined the table putting the last few items into place. Soon Sapphire or Emerald would go wake up the rest of the girls.

"Rose can you meet with me in the sewing room after breakfast?" Holly asked looking at the younger twelve year-old girl. Rose smiled at her and nodded without speaking a word while everyone settled down to eat.

It wasn't even an hour later after breakfast had been finished and once more Holly had been pushed away from trying to help clean up the dishes. That the castles cook retreated to the sewing room. This was her quiet place where she could simply relax and no one would bother her. in a lot of ways the kitchen was like that too, but sometimes it could become too hot when she was cooking to really be at peace.

"She's early." Holly thought when she heard a knock at the door. She smiled to herself with one quick glance at the three dresses on display. She threw a white sheet over two of them before answering the door. It would ruin the surprise if anyone saw the gowns before the festival, that's why this room was also off limits to anyone except Holly and who she invites. It helped that she was also the only one in the castle that could sew.

"I'm almost finished your gown, would you mind trying it on?" Holly asked opening the door. Rose nodded at her and came inside. She looked at the only dress that wasn't covered up, it was a deep red colour with black outlines and a hint of green almost hidden beneath the folds. Rose smiled as Holly took the dress off the mannequin stand so that she could try it on.

"hmm not bad." Holly commented examining the fit. She marked out some last minute adjustments and circled around back to Rose's front. At last years festival Rose tore her gown running after the child Sakura whom had decided that a game of "catch me" would be more fun. Jade made the chase more difficult and rose had almost been injured.

"What do you think, there's still time before the festival if you want some adjustments in the colours." Holly explained. Rose thought about it for a moment, looking into the mirror and turning around quickly in a mock dance. Then she smiled brightly and hugged Holly.

"That's a no then?" Holly guessed. Rose shook her head and held out her hands like she was asking the seamstress to dance with her.

"Thank you for your ti…" Holly smiled. There was a knock at the door before she could finish the sentence. Rose got out of the gown while Holly went and opened the door just a crack so she could confront the castles two smallest residents.

"Gowns that dance and flow with the festival songs, your needle whispered of its work today." Sakura announced with a bright smile.

"Give me a minute to finish with Rose please, then I'll be right with the two of you." Holly replied. The twins had started to outgrow their gowns, in fact in recent years Holly had to make them both one every year to keep up with their growth.

Curious about something Holly knelt down and lifted the hem of Sakura's dress slightly, seeing how far it was to her knees.

"I think that tickles." Jade chuckled as her sister was giggling with the movement. Holly repeated it with Jade whom was the exact same size as her sister.

"you two are going to need regular clothing too." Holly sighed. She got up and saw that Rose was finished changing and had even been kind enough to cover her new gown so the twins could enter.

"Thank you Rose. Id like you to come back tomorrow for the last fitting." Holly said. Rose silently agreed before leaving the room so the seamstress could focus on the two little girls.

"Make yourselves at home girls, we have lots to do." Holly announced.

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