Adelia was guided through the halls of a group home of foster care. The halls were dimly lit, the natural light was struggling to warp its way around the many bends and hallways of the house.
Adelia couldn't help but observe the depressive atmosphere. The old, vintage mounted lights had hardly any result. The rouge carpets were clearly discoloured and detached from the corner of the floor. Yet, Adelia was in awe.
Those worn down features only complemented the vintage, wooden spiral staircase accompanied by huge columns. Dotted throughout the house, were the same wooden archways, with detailed stained glass resting above them.
Adelia had no further time to continue gawking at the design of Hemlocks Yard. The home of Seven children, patiently waiting for the day they will be fostered and given a new home.
She was directed into a substantially sized room, to what she assumed was the living room due to its decor. All seven kids were sat up straight on three sofas with their hands resting respectfully in their laps. Their attention drew towards the doorway, where Adelia was standing.
Well, all except for one.
Sat on the ground, directly below six of those kids, was a young boy. He was very close to Adelia's age. Yet, from his displayed manners, you'd think he was the youngest.
He had his legs tucked up to his chest with the nail of his left thumb being torn apart by his incisors. His head was hanging low, the only head in the room which wasn't tearing the presence of Adelia apart.
He was the anomaly in the room, causing Adelia to spot him straight away. He looked out of place, like a bride wearing black on her wedding day.
"Okay, everyone," The kind, middle-aged, women who guided Adelia through the house announced, "This is Adelia, she is our new apprentice."
Adelia's eyes continued to be fixated on the anomaly of a boy sitting on the ground. She watched as his head snapped up when the announcement broke through the silence of the room.
His eyes landed on Mauve, the name of the lady standing before the children, introducing them to Adelia. It took the boy a few seconds to turn his gaze towards Adelia but once he did, he began to perk up.
His expression remained the same, blank and almost emotionless. Yet, his legs fell flat to the ground, his hands sat to the side of him and his head was held with a greater manner.
"Good morning, Adelia." Adelia jumped when the voices of six of those children echoed through the room.
That one teenage boy who had all Adelia's attention refused to greet her. He didn't say a word.
"Adelia will be here five times a week. She will be helping out around the house and hopefully bringing a few of you out of your shells." Mauve stated. As the last few words of that sentence fell from her mouth, Mauve's gaze was also directed to the boy sitting on the ground.
"Come," Mauve turned to Adelia, standing across the room from her. Mauve whispered towards her and gestured for Adelia to come over and join her at the front of the room.
Adelia hesitated, but she pushed all her nerves to the side. She shuffled somewhat anxiously to the side of Mauve. She now had an improved view of all the children. There's a range of age, size and race among the seven children.
Starting from the left, Mauve introduced the children to Adelia one by one. She stated each of their names, Adelia knew she wouldn't be able to remember them all. Until she was introduced to the final boy.
"And last but not least," Mauve said in her clear British accent, pointing towards the boy sitting on the floor. His head now held up by his palm, "Adelia, this is Noah."
Adelia sent him a cheerful smile, the same smile she greeted all the other children with. She expected him to say a small 'hi' or 'hey' as the others did, but he remained speechless. Adelia didn't even receive a modest smile from Noah, only the same bare expression.
"Hi." She muttered, after waiting numerous amount of seconds for his nonexistent response.
"Okay, great!" Mauve clapped her hands and plastered a beaming smile on her face, "Adelia, if you come with me, there are a few things I'd like to go over before I leave you be."
Adelia nodded and followed behind Mauve. Adelia was led out of the living room, leaving the kids sitting in silence.
Mauve made sure to offer Adelia a quick tour while making their way to the head office. She pointed out the strangely placed toilet and storage cupboards. Along with the kitchen and dining room.
Adelia adored the feel of Hemlocks Yard. It was not a place many would like to live, but the atmosphere reflected Adelia's character. She felt comfortable and excited to work here. Despite the damp patches surfacing the aged wallpaper. And the oddly placed tears on the curtains, collecting dust.
"They seemed to like you." Mauve beamed as they reached the office, each of them taking a seat at the desk.
Adelia furrowed her eyebrows and gazed over at Mauve. She was confused by this comment.
"All except for one," Adelia stated, but in a sweet and down to earth tone.
"Oh, Noah?" Mauve was aware of who Adelia was referring to straight away, "He actually gave a larger response than I was expecting."
From this comment, Adelia was made aware that it was common to catch Noah in that state. She felt relieved, she was delighted that his reaction was not directed towards her.
Adelia strived to make everyone happy. She carried the goal of always brightening the day of those around her. She couldn't bear the idea of being the reason for someone's frown. That is the exact reason Adelia found herself as an Apprentice at Hemlocks Yard foster care.