Is there a ‘too late’ for changing the story’s narrative? Or at least, spicing it up a little bit? I hope not. Here goes.
In the evening of his birthday, Bogdan gathered all of his family together.
It had not been an easy task. He had to evoke his authority as the heir to the Raventree Estate to get them all to drop whatever they were doing and listen to him for a couple of minutes.
“I’m going to renovate the house and you’re all going on vacation”, he said. His father glared at him. Bogdan could tell that Aleksej didn’t look forward to the trip – he was in the middle of a negotiation with another big company, and he valued his work above all. “I will stay and oversee the project. The world is changing, and it is time that some things in our home changed with it.”
Aleksej got up, furious about his sons initiative. “I can’t go. I have to work on that…”
“Come on, dad”, Danny interfered. “It’s only for a few days. The company I hired is one of the best out there, and they will only work faster if we’re out of their way. And you can take your notebook and work from Granite Falls all the same.”
Lara just smiled. She knew all about Danny’s plans to renovate the house. Yes, he had a point there. The plumbing was old, the pipes were nearing the end of their life. The wiring was done unprofessionally – in fact, her father Sergej had built most of the estate himself. Being a scientist, he knew how things worked, but he was no engineer, no professional builder. Some things in the house were being held together by force of habit. Paint was peeling in some places. Wood was damaged by worms and beetles in others.
She was sad, too, because she grew up in this house, she saw its very beginnings, when she had to share a room with her sister because their parents didn’t have the money to expand. She watched the house grow. She helped shape it, when she came of age and her father retired to work on his garden and be with his family. She painted most of the pictures that decorated the walls. She painted the actual walls. She repaired the faulty plumbing more times that she could count. And she took care of Sergej’s garden after he passed away.
But she knew that the old had to make place for the new. She, herself, would soon make place for a new generation of the Voronov Family. She already survived her husband Bennett by over ten years. She knew she didn’t have long. Her father lived for a very long time. The Soul Reaper came for him on the day when his grandson and her son Aleksej came of age. Today her grandson and Aleksej’s son came of age, and that meant that the Reaper could come anytime for her. She was ready to move on, but she would stay as long as she could to help her grandson reach his goals.
He could certainly afford it.
The sales of her paintings and the winnings of the art galleries she helped create have accumulated more money than she could possibly spend, so the family’s funds grow richer and richer every day. Of course, her elder sons investment company helped with that too, and the selling of the garden produce, and the jobs of all the other household members.
The Raventree Estate came a long way since Sergej bought the plot of land and worked on his botanical science projects. It was more than a house, it became a community. Many different people lived here, some related to Sergej, some not. There were always visitors in the house somewhere. Sometimes Lara stumbled upon people doing art in the art room she never saw before, but it was alright. They were friends with someone living here, so she welcomed them all, and made them coffee, and invited them to eat dinner with the family.
This was the spirit of the Raventree Estate, and Lara’s vision too after Sergej died. She made sure it became her grandson’s vision as well. She talked to him about it on more than one occassion, and she knew Bogdan shared her vision.
Lara trusted him with his renovating project. She was a bit sad she would come back to a completely different house, but as long as the family’s belongings and all her portraits stayed where they were, it was alright for her.
On the next evening, after what seemed like endless sorting of things and the family bickering about who would get which bed, Lara went out the back door and took a deep breath. The air was heavy with smells of the forest, of earth and moss and wood and flowers. It was a whole different world from the dry warmth of Oasis Springs.
She knew she couldn’t sleep just yet, so she retreated into the kitchen to prepare some things for breakfast tomorrow. The family had finally settled in and went to whichever bed they chose.
Back at the Raventree Estate, Bogdan took care of personally taking the family portraits of the wall and storing them away for the renovation process. He understood their importance more than his father, it seemed to him. All his father was interested in these days were stock reports and investment fonds.
The next days would be probably the most taxing in Bogdan’s life, but he knew it was worth it.