Marigold was the new name, Mona had chosen for her on the day she had boarded the train. That train took her away from the circus, away from the Tempest family, away from the unhappiness she had known. That seemed such long ago, Marigold thought as she stood beside Mona who had an arm around her, showing her the surprise Mona had been keeping from her since that morning.
“Well, what do you think?” Mona smiled her best smile, showing her perfectly, pearly white teeth.
“There is a lot of work that must be done,” Marigold was being truthful about their future prospect. “The windows need to be washed, there is rubbished to be thrown out, cobwebs everywhere, and it has a particular smell. I think its from the trash inside.”
“You need to see beyond that,” Mona said. “Think big, and when you clean it up, think bigger. This will be our future. Yours and mine, like I promised. It will be our little shop where we make the most beautiful dresses. We will make women every where feel beautiful. I have had this dream for a long time and now, you and I, we do this together. You will see, we will be fine. What do you think?”
“I think you have gone mad,” Marigold admitted.
“Mad, I am not,” Mona said. “I dream big, and this has been my dream. A little shop we will run, just you and I, my beautiful Marigold.”
“I promised we will be all right, did I not?” Mona said.
“You always promised we will be all right,” Marigold was careful to choose her words as not disrupt her joy. Mona didn’t handle disappointment very easily.
“Don’t you love me, my sweet angel?” Mona gave Marigold a long kiss on the cheek.
“I do love you,” Marigold admitted.
“Then it’s settled. You be my good girl and make me proud,” Mona kept beaming.
Marigold wondered if this was another fantastical idea Mona always had and then they never turned out as planned.
“I know what you are going to say,” Mona said. “How will we pay rent? Where will we get the money for materials? I figured it out, don’t you worry about anything.”
“Are you sure about this?” Marigold asked.
“I am sure. Don’t you trust me, my sweet flower?” Mona gave her charming look to Marigold as she blinked demurely.
“I trust you,” Marigold said.
“Good, then it’s settled,” Mona said. “We move in today.”
“What?” Marigold was surprised, though, it shouldn’t surprise her since Mona did things like this behind her back, that was typical Mona. “How were you able to do this?”
“Never mind details,” Mona smiled. “Our future will be set.”
“I thought you didn’t like to settle down?” Marigold asked.
“I have been thinking it’s time to put down our roots,” Mona said. “You are not a child anymore, you are almost eighteen, almost an adult. Time for us to make a home for ourselves. We are a family.”
“I’m only sixteen,” Marigold corrected her. “And you dislike staying in one place more than six months.”
“Maybe I change my mind,” Mona shrugged. “Hush, someone might hear you. I’ve told you to never say your age.”
“Nobody heard, because nobody is around,” Marigold rolled her eyes.
“Does not matter,” Mona chided. “I’ve told you to never say your age. Nobody should know your age. I know this. If others know your age they will use it against you, mock my words.”
Mona had little quirks like that, some where rational others made no sense at all, but Marigold was accustomed to Mona’s peculiar ways of thinking.
“Yes, how can I forget,” Marigold said. “You say it to me all the time.”
“Remember that,” Mona warned, pointing her nicely manicured finger at Marigold. “Let’s go inside and start the first day of our lives for the rest of our lives.”