Madelyn Ch. 00byFaireSansa©
It's been a very long time, but I've managed to have the old version removed and am now re-posting Madelyn, revised and ready for your reading enjoyment. I hope you enjoy this new version of this story. I've categorized it in the NonHuman section, which, for those of you who did not read it when it was posted under my old profile, will reveal itself in Chapter 1. Please don't hesitate to leave comments. I do realize my chapters are short, but I've attempted to add more information to each, making this a much richer story all around.
She walked alone down the quiet San Francisco street. The light from the streetlamps was dim and a cool breeze played through the trees. It lifted her blonde hair, gently playing with the curls before setting them down, only to pick them up again from time to time. The moon rose above the tops of the buildings. Slowing, she turned her violet eyes upward to gaze longingly at it. It was nearly full, yet it wasn't all that impressive to her that night. The haze of the city sky dulled the beauty she once found in it.
Picking up the pace once more, she looked back down the street to note she was nearly to her house. As she approached her building, she pulled her keys from her pocket then ascended the steps to her front door with a soft, defeated sigh. Once inside, she closed and locked the door before stripping off her clothes, leaving them in a trail on the wooden floor as she made her way through the house to prepare a hot bath. It was her nightly ritual, one she always looked forward to when she returned home from one of her long walks.
Nineteen year-old Madelyn Randell's life was a quiet one. She'd been alone the past 3 years. Her parents had died in a terrible accident, far away from home. They'd been adventurers, braving the wilds of Africa and the Amazon, to try to find lost civilizations, treasures, and people. They had written papers that were published in several magazines and a couple documentaries had been made of them during their searches. One even documented their triumph in finding a village of people thought to be long extinct. Unfortunately, they were killed in the Rocky Mountains on the way home from an investigation into reports of strange creatures not far from where their plane crashed.
The wings of the small chartered plane they were in had iced up. The pilot died instantly when the plane hit the sheer face of the rock cliff. The plane fell to a ledge and remained there for a few days, according to a recording found in the wreckage. Her parents, she was told, survived for a while, but died when the plane shifted and plummeted to the ground. Both had been severely injured and weren't able to get out of the plane while it was still on the ledge. Had they been able to, though, it was unlikely they'd have survived till help arrived. It was 4 weeks before anybody was able to reach the wreckage, and another 6 weeks to return the remains of her parents and their belongings to her.
The money they'd put into trust for her was enough to sustain her for a very long time, but she didn't touch much of it. She'd taken enough to purchase this small house in San Francisco. It was sufficient for her current needs, and she made it comfortable. She was fortunate that she was old enough when her parents died that she didn't have to go into foster care. At the time of their death, she had just turned 16. Over the next year, she lived with her parents' attorney, Brian Hemming, and he helped her with the forms for emancipation, and on her 17th birthday, the court officially recognized her as an adult.
Now, she was working from home, writing papers for English students at the University, and doing other odd writing jobs. It wasn't like she needed the money, but she did need something to occupy her mind and keep herself busy. It worked for her.
Stepping into the tub, she eased into the hot water and felt the tension in her body begin melting away. Turning off the water, she settled back, the ends of her golden curls floating in the water around her head and closed her eyes, drifting off to sleep.
"Maddy?" a voice woke her from her nap in the bathtub.
"Yes, Daddy?" she called as she stepped out of the now cool water. She'd fallen asleep in the tub again. It was a usual thing for her. She'd climb into a nice hot bath and relax so completely that she'd fall asleep.
Wrapping a towel around her dripping body, she reached don into the water and released the stopper on the old claw foot tub. Opening the door, she found her father standing there with a half-grin on his face. She smiled up at him and gave him a hug with one arm before pushing past him to scamper off to her room.
"We'll be leaving soon, darling," he said as she entered the bedroom.
"Ok, Daddy," she responded as she started to close the door. "I'll be down in a couple minutes."
She dressed in her usual attire: sweat pants, a tank top and a light long-sleeved zip up hoodie. She'd already planned to go for a run in the woods surrounding their home after her parents left for their trip. She walked down the hall and stairs to find both standing at a table with a cake and candles lit. Tears welled in her eyes as she realized they hadn't forgotten her birthday, which would be two days after they left.
"Surprise!" a voice said from the kitchen. It was her Uncle, who wasn't really her Uncle, but she'd always called him that since she was a child. Laughing, she ran and hugged him tightly then went and blew out the candles on the cake.
"You didn't think we'd forget, did you?" her father asked, smiling as he passed her a small wrapped package.
"Of course not, Daddy, I just figured you planned to celebrate after you return from your wild goose chase," she laughed as she tore the paper from the small box. Her father rolled his eyes as they laughed at her teasing tone. She'd always called her parents' adventures "wild goose chases" as they most often came back either empty handed, or nearly so.
Madelyn gasped as she opened the box. Inside was a lovely golden locket set with gems that together formed a sprig of holly. She turned and held her hair up as her mother took the box from her and removed the locket from it before fastening it around Madelyn's neck.
"We had it specially made, Maddie, dear," her mother said.
"Oh, thank you, Mother, thank you, Daddy!" Madelyn exclaimed as she hugged them both. "I love it!"
"And we love you, always remember that, my darling," Marie told her, pulling back to cup Madelyn's head in her hands. They looked into each other's eyes, both tearing up a little as they stared at one another. Marie's green eyes sparkled as she gazed into the violets that were Madelyn's. "Never forget how much we love you, Maddie."
"I won't, Mother, and I love you, too," she said, moving to hug her mother again.
They were interrupted by the sound of the phone ringing. Daddy went to pick it up and turned to say something to everyone.
Madelyn awoke with a start as the phone rang, tearing her from her dream. Tears began forming in her eyes as she heard the digital voice of her phone's caller id saying it was the attorney. Perhaps he had news about her parents' home that had been tied up with legal issues since their death?
Sighing, she climbed out of the tub, not bothering to dry herself off, and made her way to the hall to grab the wireless handset. Pressing the button, she put it to her ear and said, "Hello?"
"Hi, Madelyn, it's Brian. I have some news for you," the voice on the other end said.
Brian Hemming was an odd, but trustworthy and mostly pleasant, man. She believed he was well over 50 years of age. Standing 6 foot 7, with salt and pepper hair and the most beautiful blue eyes she'd ever seen, he'd been her parents' attorney since before she could remember. They had an interesting relationship, and he'd always treated her as if she were a granddaughter, or a niece. On Christmas and birthdays, he never failed to bring her a present. When he'd visit her parents for business, or even for a social visit, she'd always run to give him hugs and kisses on his cheek. As a small child, she called him 'Uncle Brian' and would sit upon his knee while he'd tell her stories of her parents' explorations. When she got older, his gifts went from toys to perfume or strands of pearls, and when she went to the prom for her sophomore year of high school, he surprised her with a limo and paid for her and her date's dinner at an upscale restaurant.
"Yes?" she replied as she returned to the warmth of the bath water, taking care not to let the phone get wet.
"It's concerning your parents' home in Oregon," he said, pausing a moment. Hearing the rustle of papers in the background, she was certain a decision had been made regarding her parents' estate, which had been tied up in probate since their death. The money she'd used to purchase this house had come out of her trust fund, which had been a couple million dollars to begin with, and over the years before their death it had doubled because the type of trust they'd set up for her was an interest-earning one. That combined with the investments that had been made over the years had put Madelyn in a very good position, financially.
'Oh please,' she thought. 'Maybe I can now go home, finally.'
She held her breath and bit her bottom lip as she awaited his next words.
"It's all settled. The court has released your parents' estate. You may return home just as soon as you're able to pack and sell your house in the city!" his excited voice told her. She knew he was just as excited for all of this to finally be over as she was.
She sat there, tears welling up in her eyes.
"I can go home?" she said hesitantly. "I can go home!" she exclaimed, without giving him time to say anything. "Oh, Brian, thank you! Thank you so much for all you've done to help me!"
"You're welcome Maddy," he said, calling her by her parents' and his pet name. "Would you like me to arrange for your city house to be put on the market?"
"Yes, please." She replied. "I'd like to get rid of this place as soon as I'm able, and go home."
"Leave that to me," Brian told her. "You concentrate on getting your personal belongings packed up, and just go home. Everything is as it was when you left. Well...everything but the kitchen."
She stopped, wondering what could have happened to the kitchen in her absence...
"What happened?" she asked, concerned.
"Oh, nothing a trip to the grocery store won't fix," he said, good-naturedly. "It has been 3 years, you know, Maddy. A week after you left, I had to empty the fridge and cupboards, to keep the food there from spoiling." He laughed, and she laughed with him.
"Ok. I'll get everything packed and ready to go." She stopped and thought about what she had in this little house in the city that she really wanted to take with her. "You know, all I really need is my clothes, pictures, and books... I could care less about most of the furniture here, Brian. Please list the house as being fully furnished. I'll take the 2 or 3 pieces I really want, and the rest can go with the house."
"Ok, Maddy. I'll make the necessary arrangements," he told her, "and don't worry about your house in the city, sweetie. I'll be sure you get top dollar for it."
"Brian," she said reprovingly. "I know you will always see to my best interests. You've never cheated my family. I trust you to make the right decision for my house. In fact, I don't really care what I get from it. I have enough to live out the rest of my life, between my trust fund and the inheritance of my parents' estate."
"I know, Maddy," he replied. "But I wouldn't ever let anybody take advantage of you. I love you as if you were my own...well, my own granddaughter."
"I know you do, Brian. And I love you very much, too. You've always been so good to me and I appreciate everything you do." She paused a moment before continuing, "And, Brian...When the house sells, I want you to take 25% of the selling price for yourself."
"Maddy, do you know what you're saying?" he said, not believing what he'd just heard. 25% was unheard of for a broker to earn from the sale of real estate. Her house was easily worth a few million dollars.
"Yes, Brian, I know what my house is worth." A smile crossed her face as she spoke to the dear man. "You've never wanted to take anything from me in compensation since my parents died, Brian. I've always insisted you at least compensate yourself for fees, materials, and at least take a little for your time, but you've never taken more than what your cost is. Believe me, I've checked."
"But, Madelyn...." He tried to object but she stopped him.
"No, Brian. Not this time. This time, you take 25% of whatever my house sells for. No arguments, do you understand?"
"Yes, I understand, sweetie," he conceded. "I'll be sure it is in the paperwork."
"Thank you, Brian...now, I need to get off here and make arrangements to fly up to Oregon. I'm so tired of San Francisco and the smells and noises and not being able to touch nature that I want to get the hell out of here just as soon as I can!"
"Alright, my dear," He told her softly. "Have a good night and a safe trip home."
"I will." She paused a moment before quickly adding, "And, Brian? Thank you. Thank you so very much."
With that, she hung up, put the phone on the counter, and settled back into the water again. She rested there barely a minute before she burst into tears. A combination of relief, anguish, joy, and uncertainty washed over her all at the same time. Would she be able to do it? Could she really return to the home she'd shared with them all her life until they died?
She didn't know. What she did know is that she didn't like the city and had to get away from here, right away.
When she was finished bathing, she climbed into bed and drifted off into a deep sleep, dreaming of waking up to the sounds and smells of home.
Two days later, Madelyn stood in line at Henry's, a mom-n-pop grocery store in a little town in Oregon, her cart filled with fresh fruit and vegetables, cereal, a package of oatmeal and other miscellaneous items. She was looking over the meat section, amazed at the low prices of her favorite cuts. San Francisco prices were unimaginably high as compared to here and she picked out a few steaks and chops to eat over the next week.
As she reached for a tri-tip roast, her hand bumped into someone else's and she gasped then turned to stammer out apologies.
"I'm so sorry..." her words cut off as she looked up into the face of the man beside her. Annoyance on his face was plain as day but as their eyes met, his features softened.
"No, please don't worry about it, miss...?"
"Oh, um, Madelyn," she blushed as she introduced herself to the handsome man in front of her.
"Randell?" he responded. "There used to be a family that lived not far from here with that name."
"Yes," Madelyn smiled as she reached down and picked up the roast she'd been reaching for and held it out to him. "That was my parents and I."
She wasn't certain why she was telling this complete stranger all of this, but it seemed right to her. Their fingers touched as the man grasped the package. He glanced down then looked back at her, a soft smile playing at the corners of his mouth.
"You take this one, Miss Randell," he said gently, releasing it and reaching for another.
"There are plenty here and I do believe you'd reached for that one first."
"Thank you, sir," Madelyn said as she placed the roast in her cart, puzzled by his behavior, but too polite to question it. He was already walking away as she realized she'd introduced herself to him, but had been too flustered to ask his name. 'How impolite he must think me!' she thought to herself as she started after him, only to find he'd disappeared.
Shaking her head, she continued with her shopping, wondering what other surprises her return home might bring for her.
He watched as she loaded the cargo space of the small car with her groceries. Picking up his cell phone, he searched through the contacts then called one.
"She's back," he said excitedly as the man picked up the other end.
"What? Who's back?" the other man responded, clearly confused.
"Oh." There was silence on the other end of the line for a moment before the other man continued, "Do not approach her, let her be, we'll have a meeting with everyone and we'll figure out how to handle the matter, ok?"
"Um, well," he stumbled over his words as he confessed that he'd already approached her, but quite by accident. "We were both reaching for the same tri-tip roast. I was rather annoyed when someone else was trying to take the cut of meat I wanted, but when I turned to deal with whomever it was, it turned out to be her." He went silent for a moment, remembering her rare and beautiful violet eyes, and he could still smell her scent.
"That's ok," the other man responded. "Just do not approach her again until the Council has a chance to meet and we can decide how to proceed from here, ok?"
The command was met with silence as the first man watched Madelyn climb into her Scion xA and leave the parking lot.
"Hey," the second man said sharply. "Are you hearing me? Leave her alone, don't do anything, stay away from her completely. The Council will meet and we'll let you know when you may start approaching her, do you understand?"
"Yes, sir," he responded. "I understand." The line went dead and he sat there a moment, upset he could not speak with her again until the Council told him he could. But perhaps there was something he could do. Nodding to himself, he turned the key in the ignition to his old truck and started formulating his plan as he drove home.