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LoaMR: Ch.XVI: Daphne and Claire 6

by MailicedeNamedy


Secluded in an isolated world, Claire lived her pipe dream. This world she created, where she was the impetuous, voluntary centre, could evoke any scenario imaginably.

The thoughts formed repetitions of the memories. Like a carousel, she spun the days and gave the people in her head the sentences they were allowed to utter.

It was a perfect world in her eyes.

There was neither pain nor deceit. There was neither suffering nor lies.

Claire often lost herself in her fantasy. Everything happened the way she wanted it to.

But no matter how many times she repeated the evening with the three of them, her play came to the same result. This resentment left her speechless and tense. Distanced, she sat a few inches away from both of them as they headed home. The monotonous, assembly-line night greetings blinded everyone.

Helplessly, she pulled herself under the covers and was filled with disgust. She could not say no. Claire had to agree to yes. There was no going back. Fed with distaste, she tried to think positively. If she were to come face to face with her father, her future would be ruined.

Instead of a beautiful reunion, there was a beating, shouting, and a dislike. Her head was lost in pessimism. It didn't end with seeing the reunion once. Many times, it was replayed, each time with a far worse ending.

Claire had heard from people from Regenschloss how fathers forcibly married off their daughters or sent them abroad. Some resisted by suicide, others fled, others accepted their fate. Claire would not accept it.

Sceptically, she thought about a possible escape.

There was no one in this world who could help her.

There was no aunt.

There was no Emma.

There was no Léonard.

Lonely and abandoned, she had to go to her father.

Ponderous and depressed, she supplied her scripts in her head. There was none for a meeting with him where she could get off lightly. What was she to say? What was he supposed to say? She could not defend herself.

It was a mental low she received in the morning hours. Burdened by the voice in her head, the world deteriorated. The small, positive voice appeared but could not win. How could it? Anything good couldn't come to Claire because she didn't believe in it. If anything, good was going to happen, it was going to be undone. There wasn't even a reason for anything nice to happen to her.

She admitted that she did not want to be disappointed. That's why she set her expectations so low. She didn't want to get that feeling of failure and restructuring. She didn't want people to laugh at her for it. All the people paid attention to her.

Claire was terrified of her own view. No matter how much she didn't want to be the centre of attention, her head put her in the birdcage in a black vision where everyone could laugh at her. Suddenly the whole world knew she had run away, it was in newspapers, you heard it on the radio and saw it on the news in the cinema. Every resident of Berlyne knew where she lived, lurked outside the front door waiting to catch sight of her.

Claire kept a distance.

Daphne noticed it all too well. In the apathy, an ice shield grew around the former openness. Nothing nice could happen while the meeting was imminent. Pain struggled in her stomach whether she seemed to be enjoying herself or not. Unhappily, they both marched through the city centre. There was no conversation. Everything pointed to tomorrow.

Daphne almost wanted to take her to a doctor because the apathetic posture seemed unhealthy. She thought Claire was like a balloon that kept blowing up until it was about to burst. Claire avoided any dialogue that had anything to do with her father. It was only in the evening that she could not resist when Ernst organised a meeting for her.

***

"We'll be there in ten minutes."

Ernst didn't know how to deal with children and young people. He was not much older than Claire, possibly twelve or thirteen years, but he could not understand this nervousness. Women generally remained a closed book for him.

Line II drove in. Boar arcades was left behind them.

"Daphne said you were very interested in technology."

"Trains... but not how to build them or anything, just how they work. These tunnels. It's a fascinating art of construction. How did they dig them?"

"I'm sure there are others who think the same," Ernst said kindly, "I for one find them exhausting. When you travel with them day in, day out, the motivation fades."

Claire did not seem disillusioned at all.

"My excitement rises every day when I see the trains."

"You probably see them as a metaphor," he concluded, "I see them as a simple means of transport."

Silence. Three stations ahead of them.

"Do you know if my father is there yet?"

"He usually comes after me," he replied, "You can wait in the office."

They had agreed yesterday not to come right out with the truth that Claire was living with him and Daphne. Ernst knew how Benedikt reacted to bad news. Better than his daughter, but still worse than most people.

"How long have you known my father?"

Reeling, she had to ask. The words fell out of her mouth as she tried to breathe. Stage fright made the pit of her stomach a piece of iron to be hammered on.

"Five, no... six years. He has trained me so that one day I can succeed him," Ernst mentioned proudly, "Although it will be that I am transferred to Wasserrund."

One station between them. For the last time, the train entered the dark tunnel.

"Do you want to know what he's like?"

"No." Claire returned lifelessly.

If you live in Berlyne, you have to go to the farthest place in town in your life. If you make it, you can't get past the buildings there: Seelenherz Inc.

The imposing, dignified skyscrapers were aspired to by employees and admirers alike. They were all tiny ants amidst the imperial stones.

The glorious history of the oldest company in the Free Duchy demanded that a status symbol be placed in the former capital. Whoever got off the train was in a blue-red mixture of bricks and tiles. Seelenherz was the name of the station. On the walls hung inventions and achievements of the company. Historical founding fathers and chairmen were dedicated busts on the central level. A gigantic coat of arms, assembled in a mosaic, formed the floor.

A pink heart with a tangled end that merged into waves lay on white velvet and blue sea spray. A violet prism was enthroned on the right side of the heart. Surrounded by a sombre aura of yellow and azure, it also formed the flags that waved in the wind in the square.

Everything in the immediate vicinity had a touch of pink.

Almost united with the sky, it resembled one of Claire's many dreams. Frozen, the people waited for her order to proceed. The clouds remained like stones in the firmament and the sun on the horizon slipped back.

It looked like a sprightly fortress from the Long War. The skyscrapers symbolised the heart of the city. All around there were hills and trees in the middle of the old town. It seemed like a dream as Claire took the steps up with Ernst. This wonderful, pigeon-free square bore the name of the station and the company.

The thought of her father working here was uncomfortable and irritating. She tried to relax by reading the history of the company at the station.

***

The office was on the seventh floor of the main building. The rather narrow room had two bureaus, a cramped ponytail palm, and cupboards and shelves with folders and typewriters. A newspaper lay on the table obviously reserved for the boss.

"Have a seat."

Ernst pointed to a rickety chair behind the door.

Silently she sat. With calm eyes, she looked at the wooden partition and waited for her father. When she heard footsteps, she was startled; when she heard someone cough, her pulse increased; when she heard someone knocking on the office next door, her legs and arms trembled.

Ernst offered her a tea. She declined.

While the scenario in her head tried to straighten everything out, the second voice was busy imagining how her father would behave. How often does it happen that you get a visit from your children at work?

There was no clock in the office. There were no paintings or any distractions on the walls. It was a sterile, lonely workplace.

It must have been half-past nine when the door opened.

Benedikt Silberlilie had arrived.

"Good morning, Rothmann."

"Good morning, Mr. Silberlilie. Did you have a pleasant journey?"

"At Star Square, they are building new entrances for the underground. That's why there was a little traffic jam," he explained.

“That sounds bad,” Ernst agreed, “You have a visitor, Mr. Silberlilie."

Ernst Rothmann pointed at Claire.

Benedikt was not aware of whom he had sitting in front of him. The small, inconspicuous girl he had left at the age of five was sitting there on the chair actually reserved for business partners.

There was nothing to say. They were both similar in a certain way. Empathy rarely existed with them. It took him almost a minute to realise who he had sitting in front of.

His pale eyes spoke first.

The enlarged pupils and a subsequent sudden break of sweat were little noticed by Claire.

He knelt down slowly and looked as if he had forgotten what he wanted to do. Hesitantly, he raised his arms and put them around his daughter. Claire avoided physical contact and smiled sheepishly at Rothmann, who was disinterestedly removing the creases on a leaf. The crush was an immediate relief. The hungry embrace created consternation. She sat motionless before him, looking bitter. At last, Rothmann smiled back as Benedikt rose.

"It's good to see you, Claire."

"Hello."

A cold shiver. Goosebumps. Should she have said father?

"It... well... I didn't think I'd see you again so soon," he spoke softly, "How are you or what are you doing right now... I don't think we need these questions."

A breather gave the opportunity to put overwhelm first. Or was it resentment?

"Can you leave the room for a moment?"

"I apologise for a moment."

Ernst hurried out of the room. A reluctance grew there. Claire could now say anything she wanted. All the words she had put in place. The consequences would remain the same.

"I'm glad you're OK," her father said.

Claire remained silent. She waited for the but.

"At the same time, I wonder what I did wrong that you lied to your aunt and me for no reason at all and turned your back on Regenschloss. What has got into you?"

"I don't know."

"And then your letter where you berate yourself and don't accept me, finally your phone call...? How do you think I feel when I read something like that and hear something like this? I was worried about you, but you throw things around that you don't know anything about."

He waited for no answer. He stared at her. Claire swallowed anger. It was not enough to spit it out.

"It's not the right time to talk to you about this. There are so many things I need to talk to you about - almost argue," he continued, "I don't want to hear an answer, you've disappointed me badly."

He was almost spinning in circles. Benedikt had no idea how to deal with her.

"Just get out of my sight now. I don't want to see you anymore."

Stunned, she shook her head. Not a word came from her. He reached into his jacket pocket and lovelessly handed her a key.

"You know where I live. Stay there until I get there tonight. Your things are already there. You can tidy up."

Claire looked at the silver thing.

"Do you understand me?"

"Yes."

"Good." he spoke from the office, "And tomorrow you go to school. You're lucky that the headmaster is an old friend of mine. They'll turn a blind eye to you."

Claire sparkled at Ernst's desk. Her father was not really angry. He looked overwhelmed. That's where the anger came from. Perhaps she was not concentrating on his daughter but on himself. Claire wished it as she clenched the cold metal in her hand. Instead of warming it, her fist froze.

"If you heard me, answer me, Claire!" he said loudly.

"Yes."

"Out you go then! I'll see you tonight."

To XVI.7.


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Tue Mar 29, 2022 8:54 pm
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RandomTalks wrote a review...



Hey Mailice!

RandomTalks here with a short review!

I actually did not expect the reunion between the father and daughter to take place so soon. Usually, you introduce the idea of encounters like these between the main characters and then use the next couple of parts to build up the anticipation until your readers can't take the suspense any more. However, I found this break of pattern to be quite welcome as it hits on the emotions that are still raw, thereby creating more effect.

Secluded in an isolated world, Claire lived her pipe dream.

I really loved the way you translated Claire's building emotions in this part. Usually, she buries herself so deep inside the imaginations of her head, that it becomes a little difficult to decipher what she is thinking or feeling. However, her emotions were clearer in this part, and the reader could feel the jumble of nerves and fear that she herself experienced. I liked how you set the mood for the part in the very beginning, giving us a precise idea of what is going to follow. The entire first half of the part seemed to be situated inside Claire's head, and we were able to navigate her thoughts and feelings regarding the approaching reunion with her father. It was a good supporting piece and I really liked the way it complemented the other half of the part where more of the action and dialogue was based.

There was no aunt.

There was no Emma.

There was no Léonard.

Lonely and abandoned, she had to go to her father.

I thought it was interesting that in her moment of helplessness, when she truly did not know what to do, Claire's thoughts turned instinctively to Leonard and Emma, as though she half expected some miraculous interference from them to bail her out of this encounter with her father. It is strange because Leonard and Emma are not exactly the first people one would depend on in situations like these. For one, they have never been there when she really needed them, and Leonard has a long history of carrying out his plans and then discarding the pair of them when he has finished using them. It seems almost illogical that her thoughts would turn to them in this moment, especially when she is so dedicated to icing out Daphne who was right beside her the whole time and was very much concerned about her well being. The only conclusion I can reach here is that it was wishful thinking on Claire's part. She knew that nothing could really stop what was about to happen, and so she focused her energy on miraculous suppositions that could never come true but at the same time provided her a little relief by giving her the chance to wonder about it.

They were all tiny ants amidst the imperial stones.

I loved the descriptions you provided here. They felt kind of separated from the main text in this part and cleared a little space for the readers so that they were still able to breathe amidst the conflict of feelings inside Claire. It provided a break in the narration and painted this beautiful, distracting visual that for a moment took our attention to somewhere else. I could imagine Claire's awe at it as well, and I could almost imagine the moment of buffer it created as she was swept away by the elegance around her.

This part along with her conversation with Ernst about trains did not have any immediate connection to the plot of the story, but I appreciated the change it brought to the tone and pace. It was almost a small moment of respite before we were swept again by the turmoil of emotions Claire was experiencing.

Hesitantly, he raised his arms and put them around his daughter.

I really liked the start to this reunion. Benedikt enclosing his daughter in a hug, hesitantly and unsurely, as if it was more of an instinct rather than a physical act was a really sweet moment and for a second, I could almost imagine that things could be this easy between the father and daughter. It had, after all, been a long time since they had seen each other the last time. I liked the way you portrayed the different reactions in this short scene - Benedikt's shock and surprise at seeing his daughter, Claire's discomfort and the silent bitterness she held against her father and Ernst's awkwardness at being an intruder in this private moment between a family. Claire's second-guesses about how to act in that situation increased the tension and somehow her doubts and concerns felt very realistic in that moment.

Her father was not really angry. He looked overwhelmed. That's where the anger came from. Perhaps she was not concentrating on his daughter but on himself.

Somehow, the reunion got out of hand more quickly than I could ever have anticipated. I knew things were not going to go very smoothly, but the transition in Benedikt's behavior towards his daughter changed rather abruptly. It was like a switch going off, instantaneous and without any warning. It did feel like in that moment, he was harsh towards her simply because he did not want to give her the chance to speak. He was hasty in telling her to get out of his sight, giving her the key to his place almost like he wanted to get rid of her in that moment. It later occurred to me during my second re-read, that maybe that had been the point all along. Benedikt and Claire both do not like expressing their emotions and most of the time, they do not know how to express them either. In that moment in his office, Benedikt was very much overwhelmed by the surprise of seeing his daughter again. He did not know how to react and thus he harshly and almost hastily, removed Claire from the situation so that he could actually process his emotions without her standing witness to it.

However, what surprised me most was Claire's own conclusion that her father must have been overwhelmed and had been focusing more on himself in that moment rather than on her. This was a surprising change, mostly because until now, Claire has always grabbed at any opportunity to present her father as the anti-climatic villain of her story. The understanding with which she now considered him was a surprising change, but I also got the feeling that it was what she wanted to believe for herself rather than what she actually believed.

That's all!

Keep writing and have a great day!

Until next time!






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HarryHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

Hi! I'm here to leave a quick review!!

First Impression: Well...that confrontation came so much faster than I was expecting it to...and ahh, it looks like there's so much that's going to be happening here in the next bit and we've just ended on yet another cliffhanger...ahhh

Anyway let's get right to it,

Secluded in an isolated world, Claire lived her pipe dream. This world she created, where she was the impetuous, voluntary centre, could evoke any scenario imaginably.

The thoughts formed repetitions of the memories. Like a carousel, she spun the days and gave the people in her head the sentences they were allowed to utter.

It was a perfect world in her eyes.

There was neither pain nor deceit. There was neither suffering nor lies.

Claire often lost herself in her fantasy. Everything happened the way she wanted it to.

But no matter how many times she repeated the evening with the three of them, her play came to the same result. This resentment left her speechless and tense. Distanced, she sat a few inches away from both of them as they headed home. The monotonous, assembly-line night greetings blinded everyone.


Welll...that's a world we all love to visit, can't blame Claire for having her own version of that one, it is one of those rare very happy places in the universe even though sadly one can't spend too much time in it.

Sceptically, she thought about a possible escape.

There was no one in this world who could help her.

There was no aunt.

There was no Emma.

There was no Léonard.

Lonely and abandoned, she had to go to her father.

Ponderous and depressed, she supplied her scripts in her head. There was none for a meeting with him where she could get off lightly. What was she to say? What was he supposed to say? She could not defend herself.

It was a mental low she received in the morning hours. Burdened by the voice in her head, the world deteriorated. The small, positive voice appeared but could not win. How could it? Anything good couldn't come to Claire because she didn't believe in it. If anything, good was going to happen, it was going to be undone. There wasn't even a reason for anything nice to happen to her.


Well...this changed tone rather abruptly, but not surprisingly...that particular train of thought was heading towards the station from quite a while now ever since that little revelation at the end of the previous chapter.

Daphne noticed it all too well. In the apathy, an ice shield grew around the former openness. Nothing nice could happen while the meeting was imminent. Pain struggled in her stomach whether she seemed to be enjoying herself or not. Unhappily, they both marched through the city centre. There was no conversation. Everything pointed to tomorrow.

Daphne almost wanted to take her to a doctor because the apathetic posture seemed unhealthy. She thought Claire was like a balloon that kept blowing up until it was about to burst. Claire avoided any dialogue that had anything to do with her father. It was only in the evening that she could not resist when Ernst organised a meeting for her.


Okayy...well, it seems this meeting is going to actually end up happening in this chapter. I was not expecting that...but well, things are certainly about to get very interesting, very fast...and hopefully not too bad for poor Claire, surely her thoughts are only the worst case scenario and it will not come to pass.

"Five, no... six years. He has trained me so that one day I can succeed him," Ernst mentioned proudly, "Although it will be that I am transferred to Wasserrund."

One station between them. For the last time, the train entered the dark tunnel.

"Do you want to know what he's like?"

"No." Claire returned lifelessly.


That conversation managed to be far less awkward than I was expecting it to be...and hmm, well it certainly lets you in on a few interesting details as well...let's see where this takes us next.

Ernst pointed to a rickety chair behind the door.

Silently she sat. With calm eyes, she looked at the wooden partition and waited for her father. When she heard footsteps, she was startled; when she heard someone cough, her pulse increased; when she heard someone knocking on the office next door, her legs and arms trembled.

Ernst offered her a tea. She declined.

While the scenario in her head tried to straighten everything out, the second voice was busy imagining how her father would behave. How often does it happen that you get a visit from your children at work?

There was no clock in the office. There were no paintings or any distractions on the walls. It was a sterile, lonely workplace.

It must have been half-past nine when the door opened.


Ooooh I feel like some really dramatic music needs to be playing at this point. We have definitely built upto this point rather strongly here. It looks like this conversation is mostly definitely going to happen now and nothing will come up last minute to prevent it.

Ernst Rothmann pointed at Claire.

Benedikt was not aware of whom he had sitting in front of him. The small, inconspicuous girl he had left at the age of five was sitting there on the chair actually reserved for business partners.

There was nothing to say. They were both similar in a certain way. Empathy rarely existed with them. It took him almost a minute to realise who he had sitting in front of.

His pale eyes spoke first.

The enlarged pupils and a subsequent sudden break of sweat were little noticed by Claire.

He knelt down slowly and looked as if he had forgotten what he wanted to do. Hesitantly, he raised his arms and put them around his daughter. Claire avoided physical contact and smiled sheepishly at Rothmann, who was disinterestedly removing the creases on a leaf. The crush was an immediate relief. The hungry embrace created consternation. She sat motionless before him, looking bitter. At last, Rothmann smiled back as Benedikt rose.

"It's good to see you, Claire."

"Hello."

A cold shiver. Goosebumps. Should she have said father?


Oh well...that started out about as well as I was expecting it to. As much as the whole shouty thing was what Claire was expecting, it seems my assessment of Benedikt based on the scenes we had of him earlier was more accurate...xD. Well I guess things will eventually circle towards the phone call, but for now, things are going somewhat kay at the moment.

"At the same time, I wonder what I did wrong that you lied to your aunt and me for no reason at all and turned your back on Regenschloss. What has got into you?"

"I don't know."

"And then your letter where you berate yourself and don't accept me, finally your phone call...? How do you think I feel when I read something like that and hear something like this? I was worried about you, but you throw things around that you don't know anything about."

He waited for no answer. He stared at her. Claire swallowed anger. It was not enough to spit it out.

"It's not the right time to talk to you about this. There are so many things I need to talk to you about - almost argue," he continued, "I don't want to hear an answer, you've disappointed me badly."

He was almost spinning in circles. Benedikt had no idea how to deal with her.

"Just get out of my sight now. I don't want to see you anymore."


Well that escalated rather quickly, it looks like all that from earlier vanished rather fast. I was honestly expecting a slightly more measured response and while this is certainly a measure response, it does still look like he's about to end up punishing here somehow here.

"Good." he spoke from the office, "And tomorrow you go to school. You're lucky that the headmaster is an old friend of mine. They'll turn a blind eye to you."

Claire sparkled at Ernst's desk. Her father was not really angry. He looked overwhelmed. That's where the anger came from. Perhaps she was not concentrating on his daughter but on himself. Claire wished it as she clenched the cold metal in her hand. Instead of warming it, her fist froze.

"If you heard me, answer me, Claire!" he said loudly.

"Yes."

"Out you go then! I'll see you tonight."


Well, I'm guessing those instructions are not really going to end up being followed...

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall, I think you've done a pretty solid job on this one here...we've got some pretty interesting things getting set up quite nicely here and I can't wait to see how this plays out because I can't imagine Claire will just go along with those orders.

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Harry






Thank you very much for your review! :D



HarryHardy says...


You're Welcome!!



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Sat Jan 22, 2022 10:41 am
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ForeverYoung299 wrote a review...



Hey! Forever here with a tiny review!!

Finally, Claire has managed to see her father. I wasn’t expecting the fact that Claire will go to her father that soon but ah, the meeting wasn’t bad at all. It actually went quite well. The behaviours of both the father and the daughter were as one would expect them to behave (at least it wasn’t very surprising to me). Anyway, I wonder what is going to happen next. On one hand, the meeting was all very well and on the other hand, it seems like life is going to be hard for Claire. I kind of feel that Benedikt is going to make Claire do things which she don’t want to do.

Also, Daphne suddenly disappeared from the story. Maybe she hasn’t but I had the feeling like she did. Why did Daphne not accompany Claire? Was there a specific reason like she had her own work to do or something? I don’t know but she disappeared a bit fast than she should have done it. I don’t see if there’s any way Claire is going to contact with Daphne (I mean there are a thousand ways but will she use those? Will she ever contact with Daphne?) and her life is going to be how it was for these few days. That, now is a pretty sad incident.

If I am not very wrong, the meeting was a lot better than what Claire had expected. It was very fortunate that Benedikt didn’t want to know where Claire lived for all these time and why she decided to come here. I am afraif though… maybe he is going to ask these questions later and she will not be able to find an answer to all these questions. That is not going to be good. Also, the school. I don’t know how interested she actually is in attending school. I have already forgotten if any opinion on school was mentioned before but hm… probably it will be against her will.

Oh I didn’t really know that Claire was very interested in Technology. Hm… It was indeed mentioned that Claire was fascinated by the trains and all. I wonder why I never managed to get it out. Anyway, this might be important later. What if she wants to work at Seelenherz? That isn’t impossible because she, at a time wanted to be like Daphne. Taking that into account, she can wish to be an employee of Seelenherz.

We have come far. It was evident in this very part. If I am not very wrong, it all started with her father sending a letter to her auntie asking her to send Claire to him. And then she escaped and then a lot of events followed. This part kind of took me to the past and made me recall all the events that led to this specific situation.

Keep Writing!!

~Forever






Thank you very much for your review! :D




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— Maurice Sendak