As soon as she was inside, she realised how cold it had been outside. The room was stiflingly hot to her, but to Emily's mother, it seemed rather cool.
"Spring is almost here," She said kindly, ruffling her hair, "It will get warmer. Both of you, I'll get you some soup. You go upstairs and sit at the table. We want to talk with you." She left the room, leaving Adeline and Sebastian on their own. Adeline led Sebastian up the stairs and into a small living room, and in the centre, stood a large mahogany table. The chairs clustered around it were miss-matched; some had high backs, some were covered with intricate detail, and one had a plump cushion positioned in the middle. On one of those chairs, sat a weedy man, with a pair of bottle glasses. He had thick, blonde hair, and his face was clean shaven. He was, in none too many words, the exact opposite of Adeline's father. She stood awkwardly, until Emily's mother came in. She sighed.
"James, please. Our guest would have liked to sit down."The man blinked. She took it as a yes, and sat down. Sebastian sat next to her, and winced when he rested his burnt arm on the table. She rubbed the back of his hand soothingly.
"So…when is Emily coming?" Adeline asked, curiously.
"In a moment. Emily? Adeline is here now." Adeline heard the door swing open, and a small girl with blonde hair, which had been tied up in a ballet-style bun, walked in, chewing nervously on the ear of a mangy teddy. She smiled when she saw Adeline sitting there.
"Hello. You're Emily, aren't you?" Sebastian said. Emily nodded. She moved over to him, and sat on his lap.
"Emily! You haven't asked!" Sebastian raised his hand, in a way that suggested he was alright with it. He bounced her carefully on his knee, while Emily's mother began to speak:
"First off, my name is Iris. Our daughter Emily told us you were here yesterday. And that you took the food," Adeline blushed. It was very embarrassing to be sitting on one of the chairs that had been sat on by the person you'd burgled, "But…she was talking about you non-stop. I think…she really likes you. She said she let you take the food. But you should have heard the way she went on about you. I…think you should know that I am now unable to have children. I used to be, but I had an operation. I thought it was for the best…but James and I have always wanted another child. And…we were wondering if you'd like to be adopted by us. Emily said you had no parents. And from what I can see…you don't. I wasn't expecting a boy as well but I am more than happy to house him with us if he means that much to you." The full extent of Iris' proposal hit her Adeline like a bullet in the face. A family. A stable home. A loving sister. But then she thought of Marcus and Mother, curled up at home. Their world had been torn apart. Then she had an idea.
"We'll stay. But…Iris? My brother. He won't want to. If you don't mind, could I write him letters? I promise, I'll help pay for all the paper." Iris smiled.
"Of course," she laughed, a soft shaky sound, "When you call me Iris, it reminds me all too much of my sister." Carefully, Iris guided her down the corridor to a small box room, with a small wooden bedstead in the corner. The walls were painted a mellow orange, and covered in painted canvases. Emily had leapt off Sebastian, and was now dragging him along by the hand, and into her room.
"Isn't it pretty!? But…you'll be sleeping next door with your friend," She looked at her shoes and shuffled them uncomfortably, then whispered, "Do you like me?" Sebastian laughed, and sat her on his lap.
"Of course I do! You're my sister now aren't you?" She giggled. He picked her up, ignoring the screaming pain in his arm, and carried her into the room next door. Adeline was perched on the bed, looking at the window. Sebastian put Emily down and let her run off back into her room. He sat down next to Adeline and grabbed her hand.
"What are you looking at?" He squinted, trying to see what Adeline was seeing. Then, he saw it. Just a glimpse; a flash of blue as it shot past the window. A bluebird. Maybe her bluebird. He took her hand, and they stared out of the window. For once, they were both on the same page. They looked out, over the city, over the river, over the fields, and locked their gaze onto the forest, just a black patch in the distance. They had the whole world ahead of them. But the only place they would ever be happy, is the forest. Her forest. Their forest…