A NEW HOME
By Amanda Pizzolatto (alias Aurora Mandeville)
Word count: 1716
Summary: An unhappy orphan finds a loving family
The carriage rolled up to the gloomy castle as wave after wave crashed upon the distant shore. The boy curled up inside felt that the waves matched his emotions that dreary morning, angry and destructive. Though he was blond with blue eyes, a dark shadow laid over his countenance. He hated this constant moving about, the orphanage seemingly going to great lengths to get him out of their hair ever since his brother died. Not many families would take him in after one look at him; some could stand a few days, but then he was back at the orphanage again, waiting for another family to feel generous enough to take him in. And of all things, this family just had to live in Spain, meaning he had had a great, long journey to get from Paris to here. Couldn’t the orphanage get any more evident in their distaste of him? He grunted under his breath as the carriage rolled over a few bumps in the road; if they had really wanted to be more obvious, they would have sent him to England to give them trouble.
“Whoa!” called out the driver as the carriage finally came to a stop. The boy uncurled from his seat in the carriage as the driver hopped down to the ground, opened the door, and announced, “We’re here, Senor Hyacinth.”
Hyacinth noticed that, though the driver spoke quite casually, there was still a hint of nervousness in his voice. Hyacinth seemed to cause perfect strangers unease, and even more so for those who knew him a bit better. He didn’t know why he made everyone uneasy; someone once suggested that it was his Polish heritage, but he often used it to his advantage. This time, however, the driver was perfectly alright in his book, and tried to tone it down.
“Thank you, Senor Gonzales,” Hyacinth smiled sadly.
“I hope you’ll find a good family here. It’s certainly not easy having to move from place to place,” Gonzales continued, signs of relief evident in his manner as he unloaded Hyacinth’s lone bag from the carriage. He walked Hyacinth up to the door and rang the bell. It was answered by a tall and slender man in his early forties.
“Hola, Senor Fernandez, I believe this young fellow is here for the Don and Dona.”
“Ah, yes, Senor Hyacinth, I believe?” drawled Fernandez.
Hyacinth began to brighten up; this butler wasn’t so bad, either. Maybe he could stomach living here if he could have the butler to talk to, at least. “Si, Senor.”
“Do you have a surname?”
Hyacinth shook his head, “I only go by Hyacinth.”
“Very well. Thank you for getting him here safely, Senor Gonzales; here’s a tip for your services.”
“Why, thank you, Senor Fernandez! You are too kind,” stated Gonzales as he exchanged the luggage for the money.
“It is the Don’s pleasure.”
“Of course, thank him and the Dona for me, please? I’d like to stay and chat, but I really must go. A good day to all of you!”
“Good day, Senor Gonzales!” waved Hyacinth as the driver headed back to the carriage.
“Shall we go inside, Senor?”
“Of course, Senor.”
“Ah, if you please, just call me Fernandez; you are to be a member of the family, after all.”
“Thank you, Fernandez.”
He led Hyacinth through the foyer and into the sitting room, where Hyacinth noticed that the family was sitting comfortably in front of a fire. A maid was currently serving them cake.
Fernandez cleared his throat and once he got the attention of the family, continued, “May I present Senor Hyacinth?”
“Is that the orphan? He looks naught but skin and bones!” blurted the maid as she took a step back.
Fernandez shot her a look before turning back to his employer. But the Dona had let out a gasp, and Hyacinth braced himself to run.
“Why, he looks cold and tired! Are they actually feeding you at the orphanage? Come here, sit by the fire and get warm. Josephine, go get him a plate and some hot chocolate!”
Josephine did a quick, nervous curtsy, “Yes ma’am.” She dashed off as Fernandez gently nudged Hyacinth closer towards the fire.
“Welcome, Hyacinth,” spoke the Don, “allow me to introduce my family. I am Gabriel Medina, this is my wife Maria, and our children, Dominic, Ann, Martin, and Rose.” The boys bowed elegantly and the girls curtsied gracefully.
“Pleasure to meet you, Hyacinth,” they chorused.
“Um, th-thank you. A pleasure to meet you, too,” stuttered Hyacinth as he gave a quick bow.
“That bow could use some work,” muttered Martin.
“Martin, he is an orphan and has not had the pleasure of receiving a proper education like you have,” remarked Gabriel as he eyed his son. “However, I’m sure Fernandez will be able to bring him up to speed in no time. I can tell he is a bright boy and will learn quickly.”
The maid reappeared. “Here’s the hot chocolate, ma’am, and some cake.”
“Thank you, Josephine. Here, eat up, my dear; this should hold you until supper.”
“Thank you, Dona,” said Hyacinth as he took the cup and plate gratefully.
Gabriel turned to Fernandez while Hyacinth ate and drank. “Good, now if you could show him to his room when he is finished, help him unpack, and give us a list of everything he’ll need by supper, that would be excellent.”
Fernandez glanced at the bag still in his hand, “Well senor, expect a long list.”
Gabriel chuckled, “I have no doubt about it, but you know I prefer a detailed list.”
“Of course, senor, you shall have the list by supper.”
“Thank you Fernandez. Now, if you’ll excuse me, my dear, I must tend to some business matters before supper.”
“But of course! We’ll take care of Hyacinth,” Maria smiled with understanding.
Gabriel kissed his wife’s hand before leaving the room. His children took to reading while Hyacinth ate his cake and chocolate. But almost as soon as he finished, Fernandez just about whisked him away to his new room. The two set about unpacking, though Hyacinth did the majority of it. Fernandez took to measuring him, looking through the few clothes he had, and writing up a very detailed list. With all of that, Fernandez was still able to find an old suit of Martin’s that just barely fit Hyacinth and helped him get ready, just in time for the supper bell.
Hyacinth walked towards the table nervously. What would they think of him now?
“Why, don’t you look very smart!” smiled Maria when the family noticed him.
The girls smiled shyly at him, and even Gabriel nodded with satisfaction and said, “Much, much better. Though I can tell that this was one of Martin’s old suits, it is so much better than the rags you came here in. And the list, Fernandez?”
“I placed it on your desk, senor.”
“Good, very good. We shall go shopping for Hyacinth first thing after breakfast tomorrow. How about we all take a trip into town?” His children chorused in the affirmative. “Alright, alright, we shall make a day of it. My dear?”
Maria smiled in agreement.
“Then let’s hurry up with dinner so we can finish our evening prayers on time and get everything ready for tomorrow!” suggested Gabriel, to which the children willingly complied. And though there was a bit of chatter during the meal, it occurred primarily between the adults, the children concentrating on eating so they could finish much quicker than normal. Hyacinth took a little longer than the rest to finish, for he was still unused to eating fine foods. But once he was done, they dashed off to the sitting room where they said the prayers before rushing off to get everything ready for the next day.
Hyacinth was up early in the morning. After the way the family had treated him yesterday, he had a good feeling that he was here to stay. A smile began to grow on his face; he was going to be part of a real family, finally! The smile vanished as his thoughts turned to his brother. Would they have taken him in, as well? His thoughts then turned to the two Medina boys. Could either of them take Charles’ place? Could either of them come to think of Hyacinth as a brother, the way Charles had thought about him? Though, if Hyacinth could bet with anything, he would bet on Dominic being the one who could come the closest to taking Charles’ place. Martin clearly looked down on him, intentionally or not, but in a way Hyacinth was glad of it, for that meant Martin wasn’t as wary of him as others had been. He thought about the whole family as he left his room; none of them acted like they distrusted him. Perhaps his difficulties in the past had to do with being an orphan or being of Polish descent? People had thought he seemed…what was the word they used? “Creepy”. Now, maybe all that would change.
The family outing proved to be a success, and Hyacinth found himself smiling so much that it started to hurt. The Medinas were doing everything they could to help ease Hyacinth into the idea of having them as a family, and even Martin helped, whether or not he wanted to. After lunch, Fernandez, with some unexpected help from Rose Medina, took Hyacinth aside and began their daily lessons. As Gabriel rightly guessed, Hyacinth was a bright boy and learned very quickly. It wasn’t long before he, too, was sitting with the family, enjoying a good book by the fire’s glow. Sometimes he would pause in his reading, glance at the dancing flames, and wonder if he would go on an adventure like the one was he reading. Unknown to him at that time, he was being primed and raised to be the hero of an adventure, one that would take everything he had in order to save the family he had come to love.