Delly decides she needs time away from Master Lamberts obsessive attentions.
Bay thought that she had turned out perfectly and that she would learn as she went along with life, making her even more perfect as she will have learnt the ways of the world and know how to deal with them. If Bay could smile, he would have. She was his perfect sister and he imagined that if he had feelings, he would feel love for her.
Master Lambert burst into the room; his hair was mussed from running his hand through it too often. He seemed tense.
“Is everything in order, sir?” Bay asked.
“Is everything in order? No, far from it I am afraid.” His master replied, taking a look around the room.
“What is troubling you, sir?” Bay watched as Master Lambert looked out the large window of the parlour as if he was looking for something.
“Delly, she has run off.” The master said as he hurried back out the door.
Bay hurried after him. “Should I fetch the constables?”
“No, no, I’m sure she’s just playing a game with us, she is quite fond of them.” Master Lambert said as he threw open the back entrance to the house. “Ever since the local children showed her how to play hide-and-go-seek, she has been playing it at random, but not playing it with anyone in particular.”
Bay stepped out into the sunny yard. “If you like, I shall check the maze, as I can find my way back much faster than you, sir.”
“Yes, thank you Bay. I shall check the gardens.” Master Lambert headed for the iron fence that led to the rose gardens. After a few steps he hesitated and turned to look at Bay. “Bring her back to me. She is far more precious than I had imagined.” Before Bay could comment he was off again, rushing towards the gardens.
“I am positive that she is safe, my lord. She always is.” Bay said to himself as he turned to enter the maze.
The maze was a pretty hedge and stone wall structure, with many hidden gardens and rest spots within its high walls. The entrance was an archway made of smooth cut bluestone with a cast-iron gate and SCIENTA POTESTAS EST in golden letters set into the stone arch.
The inside of the maze was just as pretty. The pathways were laid out in light coloured pebble paths with the bluestone and hedge walls rising high out of the ground. The late afternoon sun was giving everything a soft glow. The occasional roses climbed up the stone walls, giving the place a touch of colour other than green.
Bay walked through the maze noting that a few areas needed to be clipped back. That was Gam’s job. He was so cynical that the master had to put him in charge of something other than humans, so he had been given the garden to care for. Gam seemed to be better at tending to plants needs than serving the human guests needs. Every time Master Lambert had said thank you in any way, Gam had commented on how he was only thanking him to look better in front of his guests. After that he hadn’t been allowed to serve tea to anyone.
Bay picked a yellow tulip from one of the rest stops. There was a concrete bench seat surrounded by tulips and daisies. It was a nice little break from the constant green, grey and off-white of the pebbles.
As he went deeper into the maze he twirled the tulip between his fingers. Delly liked the colour yellow. He could easily bring her out of her hiding spot with the flower.
That was one of the amazing things about Delly. She had a favourite colour. Just like any other human she had a favourite colour. She said she liked yellow because it is the colour of the sun, which gives us warmth and gives the plants life. When she had told Master Lambert this, he had gone out and searched every pet store for a yellow canary. When he brought one home she was delighted. She named it Sunflower.
Bay turned a corner and heard music. A piano being played, soft and melodic, with a slow tune that suggested slow dancing and quiet attention. He saw ahead of himself the archway with the same words as the entrance in silver, showing he had reached the centre of the maze and the biggest and most colourful garden.
He approached the entrance to the garden and listened to the song as it changed in tone, going from a love song to a lullaby.
The garden had a fountain in the centre with a statue of Minerva, the roman goddess of wisdom, atop the glittering water. There were pond lilies growing in the water and small golden fish swum beneath them, weaving patterns through the cool water. The pebbled path went around the fountain, joining with the entrance path. Beyond the path was grass, sprinkled with daisies and dandelions. Around the edge of the grass grew yellow tulips and white lilies, red and white roses climbed the walls. In one corner there were lavenders and another corner had a single sunflower. Towards the back of the clearing was an apple tree, its leaves bright green and its branches heavy with dark red fruit.
In the shade of the apple tree sat Delly, her yellow and white striped dress spread out around her, matching the little flowers dotting the grass. Her dark ginger hair was braided with daises weaved into the dark strands. Master Lambert had done a good job at hiding the seams of Delly’s skin. She barely looks anything but human. Her skin was pale and her lips were a light pink. She had long dark eyelashes that brushed her cheek when she blinked. Her eyes were the colour of steel and the pupils shrank and grew as she zoomed in and focused on the flowers around her. She held a single red apple in her hands.
She looked up and smiled at Bay. Her mouth was open slightly and the song appeared to be generating from within her body, the sound flowing from her mouth.
Bay stepped closer offering the flower. “Your father is looking for you.” Delly was the only one that he did not refer to Master Lambert as ‘master’ in the company of. She told him it made her uncomfortable because it meant that Bay was below her father and she didn’t want him to feel like he was not equal to her, as they are both made by him.
The music stopped. “I know.” She said and took the tulip. “I am well aware of his worries.”
“Then why do you keep hiding?” Bay knelt down beside her.
“I enjoy having time alone, which I cannot have when he is constantly hanging around.” She sighed. It was still a shock to Bay, seeing an automaton sigh. “I realise that I am important to him and I should be grateful that he gave me life to begin with but I cannot help but feel smothered by him sometimes.”
“The master – I mean, your father – has never known what it is like to have a daughter. He could not possibly realise that is how you feel.”
“What do you propose I do?” Delly stared at the tulip and the apple in her hands.
“I suggest you tell him how you feel. Tell him that he needs to give you some space.” Bay put his hand on her shoulder and she looked up at him. “He will get used to the idea that you need to be left to do things by yourself sometimes and things will get better.”
“Father was right, you are optimistic.” She said with a smile.
Bay nodded. “Yes, I suppose I am. Now let’s get you back to your father.”
“Oh, if you must, you must.” Delly stood and brushed off her dress.
It was her favourite dress and it suited her very well. It had a low, square neckline with white trim and elbow length sleeves. There was a line of white buttons down the back of the bodice, stopping above the full skirt, which ended an inch above the ground, though that day it dragged in the grass at the back. Delly lifted the front so that she could walk without tripping, to reveal that her shoes were absent.
“You know what your father will say when he sees your bare feet.” Bay said.
“He can say what he likes; I enjoy the feel of the grass between my toes and those heels he bought me make my ankles ache.” She replied as she walked into the maze.