Today I am giving you a story that may or may not grow into something more. It is just something that I have been tinkering around with.
Without further adieu please enjoy the beginning of Strange Love:
Riding a bus to school, sucks. Riding a Greyhound from Texas to Seattle sucks ass. I watch the landscape turn from wet dark greens to yellow and dry. Happy Graduation to me. At least someone is excited that I graduated from high school. My horrible foster parents decided that right after the ceremony was the best time to tell me I was no longer welcomed in their home. It wasn’t because I was a bad kid, oh no. With large brown eyes they looked at me as though it were actually painful for them. All three of us knew they only pain they felt was from the checks that were no longer coming. So they handed me a bus ticket, destination wherever I wanted. Thanks.
I was about to book my ticket to Florida, so I could head to Disney World in hopes of getting work but then I had gotten a strange call from some lawyer in Seattle. He said something about my worthless parents having left me some money.
My head was spinning as I became totally lost in the things he was telling me. So like a zombie I made my destination Seattle.
I know, stupid eighteen year old traveling by herself to the coldest wettest state in the union just for a promise of money. Money that might not even be there. But money is motivator and since I don’t have any and I am sort of desperate I have to go, without further question.
I glance up as the bus jerks to a stop finding that we are in the small town of Stanfield, Oregon. I looked down at my watch and raise my eyebrow. At the rate we are going we might never make it to Seattle. This little bus ride is only supposed to take two days and seven hours. We are just closing out on day one.
I stretch my arms over my head the moment I step off the bus. The rich musty smell of water hits my nose. It smells different here then it did in Houston. For one the air smells cleaner, and feels cooler. Gone is the ever present humidity, not that I am going to miss it, and in its place is a crisp breeze brushing along my skin leaving behind goosebumps.
The bus driver announced we are staying for an hour. Just enough time for us to get a new driver and for me to get a bite to eat. I wonder along the long walk way towards a small sandwich shop conveniently located at the bus terminal. My asshole foster parents were nice enough to give me a hundred dollars of the money the recieved on my behalf so I wouldn’t leave empty handed. I roll my eyes as I pass a fifty dollar note to the cashier. It is what I have left, only after being super frugal with what I have. That means I skipped out on a few breakfasts, only ate a large lunch since it was cheaper and skipped dinner. I have no idea how expensive things will be in Seattle, but am assuming it is well over what I have.
I take my sandwich, a small turkey club, then head back to my seat on the bus. I want to sit on the bus, alone while I can. It helps to think, to let my situation really sink in. Everything seems so unreal, and yet exactly how it was supposed to be. I should have known that I would have been cast aside. The signs had all been there. During the holidays I was never included in family photos, or Christmas cards. I was never asked to come with them to Rita’s sister’s house at Thanksgiving. I often spend turkey day eating a frozen turkey dinner alone while watching the Macy’s day parade. When I was little, well the neighbor’s daughter watched me for a cheap price until six when I would head to bed and she would head home. Sometimes when the Ross’ came home in the middle of the night it used to freak me out, but by my tenth birthday I got used to it.
By the time I finish my sandwich other passengers start getting back on the bus. Most of them look familiar, having gotten on in Houston. Others appear to be new. I like watching people, I like wondering why they are traveling. Perhaps they are missing someone, or they are looking for a fresh start. I blink back tears as reality hits me. No one from Houston cares I am gone. The pain of knowing that never bothered me before but now that I am sitting here in Oregon it does. I thought I had friends. I thought I had plans. College was on my list. I even applied to Texas A&M, and was accepted. But thanks to my foster parents I had nowhere to live. Based on the ticket they gave me, I got the impression they didn’t even want me around. Maybe I could go to college in Seattle, perhaps the money that I may or may not get from this lawyer could help with that.
I brush the tear on my cheek while gazing out the window. Yes, Seattle had to be the fresh start I was looking for.
“Thank you for coming.” Mr. Matlock said to me after shaking my hand. “I know that it was a long trip for you.”
He is an elderly man with stark white hair and skin wrinkled like a newborn elephant.
“I would have come to you but,” he points to his leg. “I just had my hip replaced and flying is murder on my back.”
“It’s ok.” I say with a forced smile.
He glances away from me to a stack of files sitting on his desk. For a moment he just looks at them, then he reaches out and grabs one from the middle of the stack. I watch as his eyes dance along the paper, his thick bushy eyebrows furrowed while he reads. His lips purse and move with each word he runs across. Then he jerks his head up to look at me then back at the paper.
“It seems that your parents left you a trust.”
“Ok.” I say hardly knowing what that meant. I went to school with a few kids who were trust fund babies. Which from my understanding, meant they were getting a butt load of money for the rest of their lives once they turned a certain age.
“Are you planning on staying in Seattle?” He asks.
I don’t want to tell him my plans, mainly cause I don’t know what those plans might actually be yet.
So I shake my head.
“Ok, then I’ll write you a check for this month now and once you have an address I can send you a check once a month.”
“Wait, how much?” I ask suddenly getting excited. Maybe I wouldn’t be homeless after all.
“Like I said your parents left you a trust.”
“Ok, what does that mean? How much?”
He closes the file and reaches down pulling out a drawer and bringing back up a check book. As he writes he says. “Your parents left you ten million dollars with a monthly allowance of ten grand.”
I swallow. The first thing that pops into my head is “where the fuck was this money when I needed it? And why was I in foster care!”
“So, I’ll write out the first check and when you get an address just let Molly, my secretary know, so she can continue with your checks.” He says looking at me, making sure I understand before writing out the check.
With shaking hands I take the money from him and wonder if I can get this in twenties.
“I would suggest opening a bank account.” he smiles. “Do you need cash now for anything? I can give you some cash, I’ll just take it out of your next check.” he says with a grin.
My parents trusted this man, and so far he seems pretty legit. He goes on to explain to me that he and another lawyer are the executors to my trust. He assures me that I will never have to work if I don’t want, as he then mentions that I have a separate trust for school.
“If you tell me the school you are planning to attend I can set up the tuition payments for those too.”
As I leave his office I can’t help but get this weird feeling that this is all too good to be true.
I push that nagging thought out of my head once I’m out in the wet, cold Seattle afternoon. The bank wasn’t that busy, but they were surprised an eighteen year old had a check for that much money. Thankfully they didn’t call the cops. Instead they set me up with a checking account and savings account-all with a smile-until they told me I couldn’t have access to my money for a few days. I frown.
“We just need to make sure the funds will clear.” she smiles. “Because the check is so large.”
Ok, good thing that I received cash from the lawyer.
“Where should we send your bank cards?” she asks.
I managed to get a PO box, they gives those out now with real address, thankfully she takes it.
An hour and half later I am out of the bank, with no money. The three grand in my wallet feels heavy but it is enough to get me started. I managed to get myself a studio apartment near the University of Washington. Where I also submitted an application. Sadly, I might have to wait until next term but we shall see.
Sitting in my unfurnished apartment I sit in the middle of the living room waiting for the bed guys to show up. I bought numerous things from IKEA and opted for them to be delivered since public transportation wasn’t accommodating. Since I needed a bed right away I decided to head to a store that could deliver right away, so I had to get one on credit. First time for that.
I slept restlessly that night. All I could image was that this was all a joke and someone would take everything from me. I heard my foster parents laughing at me, I heard my real parents snicker at me. This was all there elaborate scheme to further humiliate and damage me.
Sometime in the afternoon I gave up on sleep and made a large pot of coffee. While it brewed I looked around my apartment, which overlooked the city of Seattle and decided that I should decorate it. Perhaps I was was uneasy in my new home because it looked like a warehouse littered with boxes everywhere.
The hours seemed to pass by while I worked. By the time lunch rolled around I was almost finished with the living room. The instructions for my IKEA furniture were pretty easy to follow, just tedious. I stood back admiring the view of my living room, which now looked exactly like the catalog on page six.
When I finished with that I decided that I needed to get out, I needed to get lunch anyway.
I walked down the streets of Seattle taking in the beauty of the day. The sun was out and the clouds were far far away. My lungs filled with the clean crisp air while my ears took in the sounds around me. There were a lot of people at Pike’s Market. Voices from different countries floated around, people laughing, carefree and enjoying the day.
I wondered what that feeling felt like as I stood in line at a deli shop for a sandwich. I was so engrossed with the world around me that I didn’t notice the cashier was calling for me to approach. Not until some tall guy behind me tapped me on the shoulder.
I turned around to see what he wanted, afraid he was trying something else. His eyes were dark, and narrowed. He was much taller then me, with wide shoulders and a narrow waist. He clenched his jaw and pointed behind me.
I swallowed feeling embarrassed then turned towards the cashier.
After I received my sandwich I decided to eat it near the water. The day cooled off a little but it was still lovely. I ate, completely unaware of my surroundings. Something I never did.
“Are you always in the way?”
I turned around finding the guy from the deli staring at me as though I had just peed on his shoes.
“I’m sorry?” I said softly. “I’m on the pier, not on the sidewalk.”
He snorted. “You are on the gate for the ferry.”
“Oh damn. Sorry.” I said noticing above me the sign. “I didn’t notice that.”
“Yeah, you seem like you don’t notice a lot of things.”
“Hey, you don’t know me.”
He shrugs as though it doesn’t matter if he did or didn’t know me.
“So, could you move?” He says looking at me with those dark narrowed eyes.
I frowned and moved aside. He started to open the gate but stopped when I cleared my throat.
“Where does this ferry go?”
“Bainbridge Island.” he says.
I nod and look out at the water.
“Are you new around here?” he asks coming to stand next to me.
I look at him noticing his eyes are no longer narrowed. His face is friendly looking, even handsome. His nose is slightly crooked, his lips are plump and his jaw is square. Up close like this I can release he must spend hours in the gym, he is lean but muscular almost everywhere. I doubt I’d be able to find a pinch of fat.
In that moment I make a rash decision to trust him. “Yes.”
He nods. “Well, you should know that you shouldn’t be so oblivious to your surroundings.” he then leans closer to his lips are merely inches from mine. “Seattle is a big city and in big cities there is sure to be crime.”
“So,” he leans away from me, “my ride is here.” he tilts his head towards the ferry that is now docked.
I nod. He waves to me then enters through the gate towards the ferry. I watch him, knowing that this person is probably the only interaction I’ll have for the next few days until I start school. The idea both saddens me and makes me nervous.
Starting new chapters in your life is hard, especially when you are eighteen.
Copyright The Scribbling Writer, at Thescribblingwriter.com This is a story provided by the Scribbling writer. This story or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
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