She brings Teddy close to her, and tells herself it's to stay warm. After all, the window is right over her bed, the glass rattles under the might of the howling wind, the snow whips the roof and charges the room with even more cold through its cracks.
So yeah, Chelsea's cold. And that's also why her entire body shivers.
Before anything, it's her eyes that tremble. They sting and bulge and hurt, until she presses her face on Teddy's annoyingly welcoming tummy and lets the tears flow. Tears that Teddy's synthetic fur can't quite absorb.
Synthetic, fake, like all the paper bridges she thought she'd built with concrete.
Chelsea had truly believed she'd found a life of her own here. She may be nothing but a powerless child, a child that couldn't mend her father's wounds, a child that couldn't alleviate her sick mother's pain, but she had Grandpa. She had somewhere to call home.
How was she supposed to know she'd set everything on a temporary stone? It'd been a slap on the face, but she can't help but feel she was supposed to know how to dodge it, how to reciprocate. Chelsea should have known that a man- a man, not a boy, not a child- would come, steal her place in the house, in Grandpa's house, in Grandpa's heart.
Chelsea should have known, but she didn't. Her ladies' books hadn't prepared her for this, and now all she can do is grip Teddy tighter. Teddy- she'd named her teddy bear Teddy. It's bad enough she still has a teddy bear in her room, but that she'd given him the most stupid, juvenile name possible? How childish could she get?
As the stinging in her eyes turns into a chafe, as her cheeks dampen and get covered in a sickly sheen, the hampering thread snaps, and she finally understands. It hurts needing Teddy, but denying him hurts just as much.
A thud of the window's glass further perturbs the skin crawling sound of new footsteps somewhere in the house. Together, they force Chelsea to remember Teddy isn't the only thing she needs in this weak-kneed way.
The man barged into her life, or that life she erroneously thought her own all this time, to take everything away. Still, he gave her something- a small taste of a dream, a ripped piece out of a supreme patchwork. The prince, the man, entering her warm home to talk to her, offer his companionship, win her Grandpa's favor and become a loving pillar by her side.
Chelsea curses her books for not teaching her how to stop believing in fairytales.
The room is slightly warmer this time around. The sky is always speckled with powdery white, but now the wind's canines don't bite as viciously as usual.
Chelsea can't tell herself that she's just cold now. Even so, she may be holding Teddy, but her face is dry. Maybe, hopefully, she looks like a pensive lady, holding onto to the plush toy just to enhance her cuteness. If only her vanity faced towards the bed.
Instead, Chelsea's left with the wilted petals and the broken stem over the carpet. The flower is a ruin now, but amongst coats of snow, it had looked like a lost treasure. And with this rarity, she did what a child would- picked it up just to bare it of its color, use it for stupid games.
He loves her not. He loves her not, but she doesn't cry.
The last petal falling with all the inelegance of a rejection was the answer to all her doubts, to all the times she follows behind sure steps- always in front of her, never beside her- and feeds sugar with all her words, only to take back sour drops. And the answer was just what she'd feared all along. But she doesn't cry.
Chelsea isn't strong enough to resist the safety of Teddy's plushiness. Her books would condemn it, would tell her Teddy's place is amongst cobwebs and dust. She's just not strong enough yet.
But she doesn't cry. And that, Chelsea knows, is a right step towards a lady's path.