Author's note: Many of the elements in this story are based upon my life. The protagonist is exactly how I would... Show full author's note »
Chapter OneI watched the old clock on the mantle. It had become a habit of mine lately and one I wasn’t willing to break. I loved watching the dulled brassy gong swing back and forth in the glass box in perfect rhythm to the ticking of the clock that set nestled on top. I felt almost hypnotized watching the gong. It wasn’t so much the gong that fascinated me or any part of the clock really. It was the memories that lay within that old clock. How I would be hoisted up on broad shoulders to the mantle to get a better view of it, how he would let me open the tiny door to the clock and I could hear the ticking much louder then. He would laugh and kiss my cheek before plopping me down on the soft peach carpet once again. I closed my eyes as these memories swept over me, reliving those past remembrances again.
“Ashley, could you come here please?”
I opened my eyes and sighed at the sound of my mother’s voice. I walked through the living room and into the corridor where my mother’s room was. As I reached her room, I silenced my steps so I could see what my mother was exactly doing. Everything Regina Duncan did was so angelic and graceful even if she was cleaning with her forehead glistening with a light shield of sweat on her fair skin. When I looked into my mother’s room, I saw her sitting at her golden vanity table, applying the make-up she didn’t need. Her long dark brown hair flowed slightly past her shoulders in cascading curls that shined brightly. I could see she was wearing her favorite lavender pleated dress and her white heels. That meant one thing and I knew what it was before she spoke to me.
“Ashley, darling, will you stop peeping at me from behind the doorway like that and come here. I need a favor from you.”
I was quick to stand at her side. I couldn’t help but find it humorous in my brain that it was almost like the servant beckoning to the call of the queen.
“Yes mother, what is it?”
She held up the shiny diamond Tiffany necklace. “Be a dear and put this on me please. I have a date tonight. With a lawyer.”
“Impressive,” I said trying my best to thicken the word with sarcasm, but she ignored me even though she detected the use of it.
“I think so. I hope he’s slightly better than that bank teller fellow I dated last night. Can you believe he ordered the calamari on the appetizer menu as a main dish?” She carefully lifted her hair away from her neck. God, looking at my mother’s perfect beauty made my stomach churn.
“How dare he do such an atrocity,” I retorted as I took the necklace from her and hooked it into place. She let her hair fall back to place. She stood abruptly and patted her curls.
“I should be home around eleven. If I’m not home by one for sure, don’t worry about me. If you need anything, don’t hesitate to call, but please don’t unless it’s an absolute emergency. Remember I’m your mother and I love you dearly.”
“Actually Mom, I was hoping we could go shopping for my dorm room tonight. It’s only a few weeks away and you promised we would get my stuff.”
I watched her grab a small white clutch and stuff her tube of lipstick into it hastily.
“Honey, I did that for you this morning. I ordered everything online. You said you wanted a pink room right? Because I found the most adorable little lamp and bedspread that should be here in 2-5 business days.”
I sighed. “Mom, I hate pink. I said I wanted my room in blue.”
Mom walked over to the doorway of her bedroom and smoothed her frilly dress, which I found pointless.
“Well, dear, why would you want blue? It’s so depressing. Pink is happy, happy, happy. Anyway college isn’t about the way you do your dorm room; it’s about getting an education like I did and that way you’ll have all the money in the world.”
“Is that why you’re living in your deceased parents’ house and dating lawyers and bank tellers?”
She sighed. “Darling, I have no time for this. Lewis is waiting for me. I love you darling.”
“Love you too Mom.”
But Regina Duncan didn’t hear a word I had to say as she sprinted down the long corridor toward the front door.