Author's note: My freshman year English teacher had us find a pair of shoes online that we liked. Then she told... Show full author's note »
Chapter 1I plopped down on my new bed. Starring at everything I had now, the only thing I had now, material things. Slowly lying back on the bed, I reached for my bag, looking for the few material things that weren’t new, but I cherished most. A pair of basketball sneakers, a teddy bear, a picture of my family and my baby nieces little shoes. Tears building in my eyes as I wish I had everything back. The light tap on the door brought me back to reality and I said “Hold on I’m almost ready.”
“Okay sweetie. Come downstairs when you’re ready,” Auntie Jill says.
“Okay Auntie, be right down.” I say getting up from the bed and rummaging through my bag for a dress. I find my purple sequenced dress and my mascara, grab my sneakers off the bed, and run to the bathroom. Quickly putting everything on and letting my hair flow over my shoulders. Wishing my dad was here to tell me my dress was too short and my mom to argue with him that the dress is just fine. Then, later my dad whisper in my ear -“You look beautiful.”
I grab my phone and head down stairs, and there is my aunt, my uncle, and my four cousins, Jade, Jake, Dylan, and Kirsten. I look at all their faces and I feel like a burden, like I don’t belong. ”What the hell are you wearing? Why are you wearing sneakers with a dress like that?” Jade says as if she is one to talk. Wearing a short, green, trampy dress with black knee high boots.
“Just what I always wear!” I say with the same high pitched squeal in her voice. My cousins all laugh and my aunt gives us a lecture on how this is a party for my uncle and we shouldn’t ruin it for him, because we don’t get along. We both say we will not, but not leaving the gaze of each other’s death stare. We both finally snap out of it as the door bell rings and we put smiles on, even though hers is real and mine is just a smile to please them.
It’s the morning of the first day of school. I walk down stairs looking for breakfast, but still not in the mood to eat even after all these months. I move slowly back up the stairs while my lovely cousin, Jade, makes her way down the stairs like a princess. Her only words to me are “Why are you up before me? I have to inspect the kitchen before Mom gets up. If it is not spotless, you know how she gets.”
“I didn’t touch anything your royal highness, and your moms not bad in the morning, she’s just not a morning person. Be lucky you have a mom.” When Ms. Princess didn’t say anything I kind of thought I did what I had to do to make her respect me more. Just those few words were all it took. As I get up the stairs I hear Dylan and Jake fighting over whose going to wear the Air Jordan’s. I walk in and say” Jake its Dylan’s turn to wear them you wore them Friday.”
“Thanks Anna.” they say in unison. As I continue to walk down the hallway to Kirsten’s room to make sure the boys haven’t woken her, but unfortunately she is awake. “Anna, I don’t feel good!” she exclaims.
“What hurts?” I say concerned
“My tummy” and that was all she could get out before she threw up. I pick her up and run with her down the hallway. I’m already thrown up on and finally get her to the bathroom. I tell her I’ll be right back and run to go her mom. She gets to the bathroom and makes sure she is okay and then pulls me out of the bathroom.
“I can’t stay home today I have a major international meeting. Could you stay home with her? I mean I don’t want you to miss your first day of school, but would you mind?”
“Auntie its fine, I don’t mind. It’s only the first day they usually lecture and that’s all”
“Okay thank you so much. I owe you” she says as she run down the hallway to finish getting ready. I walk back into the bathroom and find Kirsten fast asleep on the bathroom rug. I pick her up and bring her back to my room and I put her on my bed. She can’t sleep in her bed. As she is sleeping I go to her room and strip her sheets. I walk down stairs with the sheets and throw them in the washer machine. I have my back turned to the door, but I can feel someone standing there looking on. I finish starting the wash and turn around to find a tall, 5’10”, dark hair, blue eyed, god leaning in the door way.
“Hi. I’m…umm..Jade’s…boy…umm...good friend.”
“Nice try but I’m not that stupid when you start to say boyfriend, be coyer about it and say boyfriend that’s a friend that is a boy.” Looking at this guy and thinking why he would flirt with me when he has Jade this isn’t real. I try to walk past him and he blocks my way, I step back and say “excuse me”
“After you plant one” he says as if he thinks he can get every girl.
Smack. “In your dreams asshole!” I exclaim and walk past him.
Jade comes running in and runs right past me to him “John are you okay?!” she yells as if she wouldn’t be heard with that high pitch squeal she has already.
“Shush!” I tell her “Kirsten is upstairs still sleeping.”
“Why is she still sleeping and why aren’t you ready? We leave in ten minutes. John’s taking us this morning.” She adds trying to rub it in my face, which she wasn’t really rubbing in my face as much as she thought she was.
“She’s sick she threw up this morning, but you wouldn’t know that since you were probably on the phone all morning with your boyfriend” adding air quotes “ when he obviously has no problem flirting with your cousin.” I add a smile hoping she will totally ignore me and just leave for the morning, but that doesn’t happen.
“You probably made the first move anyway”
“Yeah it’s called trying to move out of the laundry room, not on your boyfriend!” I say with complete sarcasm.
“Whatever!” she says when she actually cares. I walk up the stairs so they can have their five minute make out session while I make sure the boys get downstairs so they ruin it.
“Boys are you guys ready?” I say hoping I can rush them.
“Anna, can you come here for a minute?” Kirsten calls for me
“I’ll be there in a second. I just want to get the boys down stairs honey.”
“Okay” I hear her little voice say. I walk into the boys’ room and they’re just finishing brushing their teeth.
“Sorry we didn’t answer we were brushing our teeth.” They say in unison, again.
“You guys really have to stop that whole unison thing. It’s kind of creepy, or is that your plan so you can creep out your teachers?” They just give me mischievous smiles, meaning yes. “Okay well get down stairs and ruin your sister and her boyfriend’s make-out session.
“Okay that’s always our job.” Says Jake smiling another mischievous smile and the two of them run down the stairs yelling “JOHN.” I can’t help but laugh, when I realized Kristen called me earlier. I run down the hallway to my room and find her lying there looking around.
“How are you feeling?” I ask hoping she say better and not worse.
“A little better.”
“Do you want some ginger ale or tomato soup or chicken noodles?”
“No, but can you read to me?” she asks, looking at me with big green eyes.
“Sure.” I say “I’d be happy to.” I pull out the book that my aunt gave me when I first got there. The only book that was saved in the fire. It was old and a little burned at the edges, but it was in perfect condition to me. I wrap my arm around her and start reading. About 5 or so minutes later the doorbell rings and I look down at Kirsten to find her asleep again. I slowly move my arm from her head and pull the covers over her shoulders. As I walk down stairs the butler is crossing the parlor. I yell “I got it Jimmy, but thank you.”
“Please Jimmy how many times do I have to ask you to call me Anna”
“I’m sorry just old habits” he apologizes.
“Well were gonna break those old habits” I say smiling and laughing as I walk to the door. “Who is it?”
“The police” I hear on the other side of the door. I open it and they say “Are you Anna?”
“Yes” I say as my throat closes up and thoughts start reeling in my head. “What is it?” I ask trying to keep my voice even and not look like I’m about to break down.
“May we come in?”
“What’s going on?” Now worse thoughts were reeling in my head, like is it my grandparents, is it my brother’s girlfriend, or is it my cousins, my aunt, my uncle. I lead them to the parlor and ask Jimmy to get them some iced tea. The officers both introduce themselves and start talking about the fire and I can feel the tears welling in my eyes as they proceed to tell me more and more. “I know the whole story I don’t need it told to me again the first time was hard enough.” I say sterner than I expected, than any of us expected.
“Well ma’am. We don’t think it was any accident.”
“What are you talking about? It was a gas leak and when my dad went to start the grill everything exploded.”
“Where were you the night of the explosion?”
“I told the officers on the report and you should talk to them not me.”
“You think I would kill my own mother, father, brother and baby niece? Are you crazy?”
“No, I am not some selfless person that has no pride or self respect to kill everyone I love and everything I know or now I should say everything I knew. So, put this in your report” as I flip them the bird and walk to the door and open it.
“If you change your mind and want to talk here” as he tries to hand me his card.
“I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want to talk to you in a distant dream let alone in the future at any point in time.” And I slam the door as if they weren’t there or getting a bug out of the house. I lean against the door, slide down, and put my head in my hands.
Jimmy walks in” Anna will you be okay or should I call your aunt?”
“No, no that isn’t necessary. I just need sometime, I’ll be okay” I walk outside to the guest house. I find the key on top of the door and open the glass French doors. Walk to the fridge and pull out a Red bull, hoping if I’m too hyper things will seem better. After sitting down on the couch for about an hour, I feel I should do something productive. I can’t move, my body is too weak or maybe it is just my mind. The hard knock on the door startled me and I moved from the couch, when the door came barging in. I quickly grabbed the nearest lamp and rip it out of the wall and run for the back door. I’m yanked back by my hair and placed on the floor, looking at a tall, brown eyed man. “What the hell are you doing? And who the hell are you?”
“Get up and shut up”
I stand up and say “and who the effing hell are you to tell me to shut up. When you are in my house with your fancy s***?”
“If you don’t shut up I’ll make you shut up”
“Nope, I’m definitely not shutting up” then without blinking and eye my mouth is duck taped and I’m being led out to a bullet proof Charger. I’m placed inside like a rag doll, luckily I’m able to kick the guy in the nuts and run for the house I hit the front door. Throw open the door, run up the stairs with two men hot on my trail and head into my room. I quickly lock the door behind me. I sit down on the bed and rip the tape off my mouth.
I look at Kristen and see her frightened eyes. I wrap her in a hug and try and comfort her. I look around my room for anything I can put in front of the door to stop them from pounding it in. I find nothing, in a state of panic I grab all my clothes and anything else I can find. I throw it into a bag, throw it out the window on to the trampoline. I grab Kirsten and tell her to hold tight to me. I scale the side of the house till I reach the ground. Run to the trampoline snatch the bag and head for the back of the garage. I realize the keys on the kitchen counter and turn around. I hear them yelling “she got away she got away. What do we do?”
“She couldn’t have gotten too far. FIND HER!” he yells pissed.