The taxi pulled up in front of the crumbling mansion. Emily frowned. It had been ten years since she last saw the family home, and it seemed there were even more shingles missing from the roof than before. Soon, there wouldn’t be a roof. Well, hopefully she would be long gone before that happened.
She hopped out of the taxi and paid the driver. “You sure you don’t want me to wait, miss?” he asked doubtfully.
“I’ll be fine. You must be new around here. This is my family home. I grew up here.”
He frowned more. “I heard about the girl who up and left ten years ago. Things aren’t the same, miss. I’ll just wait a few minutes.”
Emily smiled at the over-protective driver and bounded up the front steps. What a considerate little man. As if she couldn’t handle her own family. She opened the front door, and walked into pandemonium.
A scrawny naked man ran past her, as three maids stood by, shrieking. The naked man was pursued by a large woman who might be a housekeeper, by her dress. “Get back here, Lord Pultney. You cannot leave the house without your bath!” That awful old man couldn’t possibly be her father. She must have heard wrong in the chaos. She continued to stare at the hall. A person dressed up in a fuzzy dragon suit cavorted in the rear of the hall, surrounded by at least three, maybe five, barking dogs. The only person Emily recognized was her mother, coming down the stairs in the regal manner she remembered so well.
Emily opened her mouth to speak, just as a noisy crash resounded. She looked toward the noise, and saw a large crystal vase of flowers lying smashed on the floor.
“Stop!” The woman on the stairs bellowed that single word, and everyone in the hall froze in place.
She continued, in a slightly lower tone. “As you can see, we have a visitor. Samantha has chosen to grace us with her presence once again. Silence!” This last, as everyone started speaking at once. “Father, go upstairs and get dressed at once. Morgan, get out of that ridiculous costume and come greet your sister. Mrs. Lawn and the maids, you may return to work.”
Emily watched as her mother’s orders were obeyed in silence. Obviously, her mother would be her best shelter from the storm of family chaos, but could she count on her mother after all she (Emily) had done over the years?