Chasing Happiness

December 10, 2009
By , Evansville, IN
I.
Lauren sat on her new, comfy bed staring off into space. She had nothing to do, not even one chore. Her life changed so dramatically over the past couple of weeks. Eleven days ago I would have been doing the dishes while trying to stay clear of Aunt Rhoda and Uncle Tim. It’s such a relief to not have to worry about them anymore. I still can’t believe I’m away from them now; it’s so surreal. I wonder if Mom and Dad are looking down on me from heaven. I hope they approve of me living with Edward. Do they think that I made the right choice of running away? Things would be so much better if they were here, though. I just need to stop dwelling on the past, and start moving on with my life. Okay, I’m really bored and need to get out of my room!
Lauren hopped off her bed and skipped down the massive marble staircase. She needed to do something; she wanted an adventure. Making her way to the front door she observed the beauty of her new home. The main hallway, lined with candle fixtures, was extremely spacious. Large, famous paintings hung between each candle. The doors to every room looked the exact same; a very ordinary style and painted white. Oak floors, shiny enough to see one’s reflection, covered the entire edifice. Room after room exuded expensive belongings, extravagant decorations, and the yummiest color of walls ever imaginable. The countless number of doors combined with the lengthy hallways and corridors made her feel as though she lived in some sort of mesmerizing maze.
As she opened the large, wooden front door of the castle, she felt a tingle of warmth on her back from the sun. The gently blowing breeze gave a relief from the mid-day heat. All around her, she saw luscious green grass, old yet sturdy trees, and birds chirping vibrant songs. Every so often, the sweet aroma of roses permeated through the air. She ditched the long concrete pathway and ran across the never-ending front yard to find herself approaching the woods. They appeared almost spooky, but since she wanted an adventure she ventured in anyways. She stopped abruptly in her tracks when she noticed a figure of a man leaning against a tree. Who is that? Are they supposed to be in our woods? That man’s hat looks a lot like Uncle Tim’s…but no, it can’t be him. It must just be someone taking a walk and got off tracks. Maybe I’ll just turn around and spend some time with Edward. Lauren turned to run back to the castle. She really did not know why she was running, but something in her gut made it seem necessary.

II.
“That was so nice of you to make my favorite dinner for me,” Lauren exclaimed to Edward graciously.
“I just want you to feel at home Lauren. I know all of this has happened so fast and you must be feeling a whirl wind of emotions,” Edward consoled.
“You have no idea… but I have no doubts that this is a good thing. I’m just so happy with how things are going. I am so lucky that I found you; it almost feels like I’m in a movie or something, you know?”
“Everything happens for a reason, Lauren. God has had this planned for us. He knows that you are longing a parent, and that I have always wanted a family. I know that we haven’t known each other long, but I truly do care for you and I am looking forward to our new life and the memories it will bring,” Edward said.
Lauren could not hide the enormous smile that spread across her face. It took everything in her to keep her from shedding tears of joy
as she said, “I love you.”
“I am so glad. You know I love you too, right? I’ve wanted to say that for the past couple of days, but I did not want to scare you. I am not trying to replace your parents and I don’t want you to think that I would ever try to do such a thing.”

*****After Lauren and Edward finished their dinner, they enjoyed a nice evening of bonding. The two of them spent hours playing cards and he even taught her a number of new games. Edward allowed Lauren to pick out a movie for them to watch, and she chose Mary Poppins. They decided that they would watch a movie every night. She had not felt such joy since her parents were alive; for the first time in almost 8 years, she felt love and happiness. Finally, I can enjoy myself and not be tense and sad all the time. He finally experienced what it felt like to be a father. They were both so happy to have found each other. Lauren fell asleep during the movie, so Edward carried her to her bed then went to his study to read.
IV.
Lauren woke with a smile on her face and jumped out of bed to go find Edward. He was not in his room so she ran to the kitchen to find him. “Sasha, where is Edward?” Lauren asked the cook.

“Mr. Edward has not been down this morning,” Sasha replied.

“Oh okay…Well, thanks. I guess I’ll go look in his study.”
As Lauren started off for the stairs she thought to herself how weird it was that he was not waiting for her in the kitchen like he normally does when he wakes. The door to his study was cracked open and she felt a brief feeling of suspense as she approached it. This is so silly, why am I even nervous that he won’t be in there? We had a great night last night and he put me to sleep. I have nothing to worry about.

She opened the door and what appeared before her eyes gave a jolt of pain. She felt as though she could not breathe. A knot formed tightly in her throat; she wanted to scream and cry but she could not find enough air in her lungs to muster any noise at all. A dream-like feeling swept over her. She wanted to run and get help, or make some sort of noise, but nothing happened. Finally, the tears streamed down her face as she stood frozen in time. I know it was them. Why are they ruining my life? God I hate them with a burning passion. They will pay. As Lauren turned to run for help, she came face to face with her uncle in the doorway. There was no chance of escaping now; he cornered her.
V.
“Well, Lauren. It’s so nice to see you,” Uncle Tim said.

“What are you doing here? Why did you kill him? Can’t you just leave me alone and let me be happy for once?” Lauren screamed as the tears continued to fall down her cheeks.

“You don’t seem too happy to see me,” Uncle Tim stated sarcastically as he walked towards Lauren.

“Of course I’m not happy. I hate you! Why did you kill him? Why are you ruining my life?”

“You see, your parents left you a great deal of money. You’ll receive it once you turn thirteen. Your aunt and I were awfully disappointed that you decided to run away two weeks before you turn thirteen.”

“That’s what this is all about? You guys want my money?”

“Well, aren’t you catching on quickly? Yes, this is all about your money. That’s the only reason your aunt and I have kept you alive all these years.”

“What? You guys are crazy. Get away from me!” Lauren began to run out of the room as her Uncle Tim grabbed her wrist.

“You aren’t getting away now sweetie!” Uncle Tim said as he shoved a rag in her mouth and began to tie her hands behind her back, “We are going to go back home to Aunt Rhoda. In a few days you will be thirteen and we will give you a lovely birthday party. After you get the money from the bank, you’ll receive your birthday present; you’ll finally get to see your mommy and daddy!”





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