Serana watched in shock as she watched a girl quite obviously much younger than herself quickly and efficiently fit the three of them into her small car and drive into the parking lot of an apartment worlds apart from than the one she previously sub existed in.
Cerin climbed out of the car and led the two of them up to the third floor then showed them to two obviously recently cleaned rooms. One relatively large one and a smaller one.
" When the baby is born Rylla can move into the smaller room but for now she's still rather young and would benefit sleeping with you."
Serana tried to thank Cerin once again but was cut off by the younger woman who began to speak in a rather harsh tone.
" Honestly speaking, I want to allow you to stay here for free but that's not going to happen because I'm not a rich second generation moved by your beauty and poor situation. I'm a university student and a female one at that so whatever spending money you need you'll have to work for it. You're four months along so for now I'll only expect you to take care of such things like cleaning up the house and preparing Ryella for school."
Serana listened carefully but was aware that despite the harsh tone Cerin was providing her with a way to stay without feeling like a freeloader.
" I will handle cooking by myself as I have a rather specific diet I'm sticking too and you will only eat the things I prepare. When your children have grown enough I will not be against you branching out and finding other houses to work at, as long as neither your work here or your children are neglected. You will be paid minimum wage at most for your work at my home and I will pay you by the week not by the hour Since that is all i can afford at the moment."
As she talked, Cerin had tied an old traditional apron around herself and a matching headband around her hair and had whipped into the kitchen to prepare lunch.
" As for Ryella's needs such as school fees and clothing we can go out later and sort all of those out . I won't expect you to pay me back through monetary value but feel free to let your gratitude reflect in your work."
Her knife moved at seemingly impossible speeds across the chopping board and the stove roared alive with the pans and pots set atop it. The two , Serana and Ryella watched in amazement as Cerin twirled around the kitchen making cooking, a usually mundane chore look like an art. Ryella watched the older woman with sparkling eyes as she took in the scene in front of her.
So far the only older women she had come across were her mother, who was strong but had been beaten down by life so much that she looked aged beyond her years and her smile was filled with a bitterness she did not realize her child could see. Her grandmother, the roaring drunk and drug addict who was prone to lashing out at others and her teacher at school who never helped her out with the bullying because her mother was too poor to gift her with the yellow envelope filled with money that the other student's parents did.
Although Cerin was fully concentrated on the cooking she couldn't help but notice the young girl that sat perched atop the alternate counter. her large eyes following Cerin around the kitchen as she prepared dinner. This only reinforced Cerins original impression of her and she almost burst into a smile. Because of her good mood her cooking became even flashier and flashier.
" The food will be done in a few minutes so please go and clean up."
Serana had to pull her awestruck daughter away towards the bath and could only sigh as she realized the cause of her glimmer in her daughter's eyes. Her foam filled hands paused in the midst of waching her daughter's hair, causing Ryella to snap out of her daze and look at her mother,
Serana smiled at her, that same bittersweet smile she constantly tried to hide,
" I was just thinking dear…. Its fine…. We're fine"
She quickly finished bathing her daughter and led her out to the kitchen where a whole feast had been prepared. Cerin gestured for them to sit,
" I was a bit rushed so pardon the sloppiness."
Ryella stared at Cerin once more, so intensely that even Serana at the side became a bit uncomfortable and she quickly led her daughter to take a seat.
" Im sure there is no such thing. it looks wonderful. Thank you once again benefactor."
Ryella echoed quietly,
" Thank you benefactor"
Cerin slightly frowned, pulling her plump lips into an uneven arc.
" Since we'll be living together in the future, don't you think we should call each other a bit more familiarly?"
Serana nodded, not that she would have disagreed with anything Cerin said.
" If you wish, but what would you like to be called?"
" You can just call me Cerin or the ninth and Ryella can call me aunt. will that be fine?"
Ryella and Serana nodded but Ryella couldn't help but ask,
" The ninth? Are there eight other Cerins then?"
Cerin smiled brightly for perhaps the first time that day,
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