Scarlet hated Christmas. No, that wasn’t true, she hated buying presents. Actually, that wasn’t true either. If she had, like, a thousand pounds, buying presents would be amazing. What she hated was buying presents with no job, and no money, and too many random relatives she only saw once a year.
They’d all be getting books, anyway, ‘cause what else would you give? They wouldn’t be delivered in time, but it also meant she could do Christmas shopping via the mecca that was Amazon, thereby entirely avoiding leaving the house, freezing to death, or seeing stuff she wanted and couldn’t afford. Like food. And clothes.
Mum had done the yearly clothes shop last week, the not-so-mecca that was Primark fulfilling all their garment-related needs. Scarlet was trying to find the silver lining, there had to be one. Had to be. She looked down at the stripy, purple and grey jumper she was wearing, and sighed. Quotes lied. Not quite as much as old sayings, but often enough for her to be losing all faith in them.
She hadn’t had a lesson in two weeks, and it was all Martin’s fault. If he hadn’t been so stubborn, she wouldn’t have called him a dick, and he wouldn’t have got all high-horsey and told her ‘to respect her master, lest he decide that teaching her was no longer part of his life.’
She needed to do something, anything, other than sit in here, and stare out at the cold, and spend money she didn’t have on people she didn’t care about.
She needed a change, and that meant a change of status, and with a feeling akin to discovering the last frozen pizza, tucked down behind the wall of ice that was threatening to escape the freezer and take over the house, she closed Amazon, and opened Tumblr.
She had a couple of comments, a few reblogs, which was nice, and she spent a few minutes trawling for quotes she didn’t actually hate. Once that was done, she began to change her account, deleting all the old crap and finding new.
She would be seventeen in the new year, and things had to change. At least, her profile did, or her ‘people’ would get bored. The thought made her shudder. Losing friends who didn’t actually know you had to be the worst possible comment on you as a person.
Also, she wasn’t talking to Martin, and the threat of complete isolation over Christmas was enough to make her curl up and die. Just her and mum, for two weeks. Meh.
She played around with her theme, searching for the right poem to set the tone. Poetry was still, for the most part, a mystery to her, but there were some that spoke to her, often in the voices of weird old people. Did other people read poems to themselves in voices from Downton Abbey?
She found the right one, finally, that expressed just the right tone of loneliness and impotent rage. It was tough to find one that mentioned Christmas as well, but she got pretty close. It was beautiful, and mysterious, and made her want to know what happened after it ended.
Scarlet flicked idly, trying hashtags, but finding nothing that got to her the same way. She sighed, pushing her computer, blog blank but for the one poem, off her lap, and lay back. Her eyes drifted closed, and dreaming of snow, she fell asleep.
‘Scarlet, dinner… SCARLET ROSE PARKER, WILL YOU GET DOWN HERE!’
Huh, what, who the…? She sat up, blinking, shaking her head. The call came again and she stood, groaning, covering her face with her hands so the mirror couldn’t ambush her on the way out the room. She had the door half open when she turned, and glanced at her computer.
That was weird. The screen saver should have kicked in ages ago, unless she was only asleep for, like, two minutes, and there was no chance of that, because she could tell she had horrendous bed hair, even without looking in the mirror.
She let go of the handle and stepped back to the bed, brows coming together as she frowned. There were posts. Someone had posted to her new blog. How the hell had they done that?
She raced down the stairs, the smell of dinner filling the house.