The Long Road Back Ch. 04bysexygirl76©
"When I awoke the next morning, I was disoriented. The sun was coming in the wrong window and my bed felt different. Opening my eyes, I looked around the hotel room.
Marie was sitting on her bed reading some papers dressed once again in that same brown tweed suit. It was then that the day before came back to me and I choked back a sob. Marie must have heard me because she looked up at me and smiled. "Well good morning. Are you hungry?"
I thought about that for a minute until my stomach gave a loud rumble. I had never eaten the rest of my burger and fries last night. "Actually I'm starving." I said pasting a smile on my face.
Marie smiled softly. "Well once you get dressed, we'll go get something to eat then head on into LA. We should be there by noon or one at the latest.
"What time is it?" I asked standing up and stretching.
She looked at her watch. "A little after eight."
I nodded; picked up the clothes I had carefully folded the night before and walked into the bathroom.
After I dressed I splashed some cold water on my face then moved back into the main room. As I sat down on the bed and pulled on my sandals, I said. "I don't have any tennis shoes or anything with me."
I heard Marie chuckle and looked up at her. "Like I said last night, the Mason's will get you whatever you need." She put the papers back in her briefcase and went into the bathroom while I finished doing up my sandals and ran the brush through my hair. I picked up the hair tie that Marie had given me yesterday and quickly pulled my hair back into a ponytail before dropping the nightgown and brush into the duffel bag and zipping it up.
I was sitting on my bed, holding my duffel bag and staring at the now turned off TV when Marie came out of the bathroom. I looked up at her and stood up when she asked if I was ready to go. "Yea." I replied sorrowfully then followed her out of the hotel room.
3 hours later, we pulled up in front of a ranch style two level house. The lawn was well kept and there was a tire swing hanging from a tree in the front yard.
Grabbing my duffel bag out of the back seat I slowly followed Marie up the lined driveway to the front door.
While we waited for someone to open the door I looked once again around the house. It was brown with a kind of orange trim around the windows. All of the downstairs windows had flower pots sitting in them with different kinds of flowers in each one. There was a flower garden underneath what I assumed was the living room window.
I turned back to the door when it was suddenly pulled open. A woman stood there. She was about 5'7", petite with long black hair and very kind amber looking eyes. She was dressed very casually in a pair of white shorts and a polo shirt. She had let her hair rest over her shoulders and she had a kind smile on her face. I imagined she had been a real knockout when she was younger.
"Ah, Mrs. Jenkins, I was figuring you would be here soon." It was then that she turned to look at me and I noticed the smile stayed on her face as she looked me over. "This lovely girl must be Crystal."
I smiled and tried not to laugh. No one had called me a lovely girl since I was 6.
Mrs. Jenkins was suddenly very businesslike. She was nothing like the kind woman who had held me in her arms last night.
I suddenly realized this was her moment. This was her glory. I looked at her and waited to see what she would do. "May we come in?" She asked.
Mrs. Mason looked stunned for a minute as if she had forgotten that we were standing on the front porch. She suddenly blushed crimson. "Of course, forgive me. Please come in."
She moved back to allow Mrs. Jenkins and myself enter the house silently closing the door behind us. When my eyes adjusted to the lower light I looked around.
We were standing in an entryway. Off to the right, there was an open doorway that looked like it led into the living room. There was a set of stairs in front of us that I assumed led upstairs to the bedrooms and when I looked a bit closer I could see that the hallway led off to the left assumedly into the kitchen and dining room.
Nancy led us into the living room and asked us to sit down. Mrs. Jenkins sat down and started pulling things out of her briefcase while I just stood there looking around. There was a fireplace with a bunch of pictures of children at different ages on the mantle. Across from the couch was a 25 inch flat screen TV with what I assumed was a cable box sitting on top of it. Over on the other side of the room there was an artists' easel and a piano. I wondered who drew and who played. There was also an overstuffed chair sitting kitty corner to the couch and a tastefully decorated wood coffee table with a crocheted doily and magazines sitting on top of it along with what I assumed was today's mail.
I was pulled out of my observations by Mrs. Jenkins and Mrs. Mason talking. Mrs. Jenkins was telling her everything she knew about me. I was Crystal Miller. I was 17, I liked butterflies. On and On and On.
Finally Mrs. Jenkins stood up, picked up her briefcase and moved towards me. "I will be back in two weeks to check on you. I don't want to hear any bad reports. Understand?"
I nodded not sure what to say.
She nodded at me. "Remember what I told you last night." I nodded again and looked at the floor. I heard Mrs. Jenkins and Mrs. Mason move towards the door, heard it open and close then heard a huge sigh.
I looked up. Mrs. Mason was standing with her back against the door a huge smile on her face. "Boy am I glad she's gone. That woman always makes me feel like I'm about 3 years old."
I smiled back and chuckled still holding my duffel bag in my hand.
Mrs. Mason quickly moved over to me and led me back into the living room. Once we were both seated, me on the couch and her in the chair, she looked at me. "Well now that she is gone we can get to know each other."
"Yes Mrs. Mason." I said looking at her.
She grimaced. "Oh please, call me Nancy. When you call me Mrs. Mason I look around for my mother in law. I couldn't help it, I laughed. Somehow this woman I had just met had put me completely at ease.
She looked down at my duffel bag clutched tightly in my hand. "Is that all you brought?"
I looked down at the bag and instantly loosened my grip on it. "Yea, it is just some clothes that Mrs. Jenkins picked me up last night and the clothes I was wearing before." I quickly looked towards the window. "You have a beautiful home Mrs. Ma...Nancy."
Nancy smiled at me. "Thank you dear. I like it." She looked around the living room then looked back to me. "Well if you can get by today we will go shopping for you tomorrow. Classes start in a couple of weeks and you are going to want to be prepared."
I nodded but inwardly cringed wondering what kinds of clothes she would get me. She must have sensed it because she smiled again. "Don't worry dear. I know all the latest fashions and I won't let any of my foster children look out of place in their new school. It is hard enough being in a new place and a new school without looking like you just stepped out of a fifties movie."
I visibly relaxed and let out the breath that I didn't realize I had been holding. "Now I understand that you are a senior?"
I nodded. "Very good. We should have no problems getting you set up for classes." Suddenly Nancy looked very straightforward and stern and I instantly tensed up.
"Now. We don't have many rules around here. I know you have the rules set forth by your caseworker as far as your curfew and that you can't leave the house without permission or telling us where you are going."
Again I nodded, waiting for the blow to come. "Andrew and I do have a few rules of our own. We want you to be happy here. We want you to treat this as your home. But to also remember that this is our home also. You are to show us respect and we will show you respect. You will be required to do a chore every night. Which will be clearing off the table and doing the dinner dishes. We have dinner every night at 6:00 and if you won't be here for dinner let us know so we know whether to save you some or not." Again I nodded.
"You are to keep your bedroom cleaned up." She waved her hand around. "Oh I don't mean spotless, I know how teenagers are. But I do ask that you keep your dirty clothes picked up and that you vacuum your floor once a week."
Again I nodded, sitting tensely. I kept expecting her to yell at me. Or do something that I knew I wouldn't like but she just continued in that same sweet tone. "Your laundry day will be on Friday. You are expected to do your own laundry." She looked at me. "Do you know how to run a washing machine?"
"Yes." I said my voice coming out more like a croak. I cleared my throat and tried again to speak. "Yes I do."
"Good, good." She clapped her hands together. "Our last foster child Wayne had no idea how to run a washing machine and dryer. It took me two weeks before he had it figured out." She laughed a soft childlike laugh. "Andrew will be home around 5:30 and I know he is anxious to meet you."
Once again I just nodded. Nancy looked around as if trying to decide if there was anything else she needed to tell me then suddenly put her hands on her legs and stood up. "Well why don't we go get you settled and then I'll give you a tour of the house."
"Ok." I said standing up and following her out of the living room. We moved to the stairs and up them with her in front of me. I didn't say anything just kept my eyes down.
When we reached the second landing I looked around. There were four doors, two on the left and two on the right. The walls were covered in 18th century art. "Andrew is a big art fan." She said when she realized I was looking at a picture of the Mona Lisa.
I looked at her and nodded. She stopped in front of the first door on the left and opened it. "This is Andrew and I's room. If you ever need anything at night, don't hesitate to knock on our door."
I nodded then followed her to the next door on the left. She opened this door to reveal a tastefully done bathroom done in gold and black.
She pushed the door open further and we stepped into the room. It was a medium sized room with a toilet, sink, counter, bathtub/shower combination and a closet next to the tub. She led me over to the closet and opened it. On the top shelf there were the normal things you would see in a bathroom. Shampoo, soap, razors. "This is my shampoo and this is Andrews." She said holding up two bottles.
I nodded as she put them back down on the shelf. Then she turned to me. "You will have your own shampoo bottle to. Is there any particular kind you use?"
I shook my head. "It really doesn't matter."
Nancy nodded and turned back to the closet. "Washcloths and hand towels go on the second shelf." She said indicating the shelf beneath the shampoo and stuff. "Bath towels go on the third shelf." She indicated that one.
I just nodded then followed her out of the bathroom. I expected her to take me to the door on the right hand side nearest the stairs but instead she led me to the door across from the bathroom. "This is your room." She opened the door then saw my gaze travel to the other closed door. "That is just another bedroom. Sometimes we have more then one foster child at a time."
"Do you have any other foster children right now?" I asked so quietly I wasn't sure if she heard me.
"No. Our last one turned 18 about 6 months ago. He still comes to visit sometimes but that is about it. We may get another foster child while you are here. It is hard to tell."
I nodded then followed her into the room.
The room wasn't what I had expected. The left side of the room was taken up by a queen size bed with a wolf comforter on it. Along with two nightstands, one on each side of the bed.
Off towards the right, there was a four drawer dresser, a desk with a computer and lamp on it and a closet that looked big enough to be fit for the queen of England. "Is this alright?"
I turned to look at her and realized she was really worried about my response.
I dropped my duffel bag on the bed and walked over towards the desk. I looked in the drawers of the dresser, opened the drawers of the desk then walked over and opened the closet. One half was full of shelves for books or whatever, the other half had a pole for hanging stuff up.
I turned back to look at Nancy. "It's wonderful. Thanks."
I saw her visibly relax and watched as she came over and embraced me. "Come on I'll show you the rest of the house."
I followed her back downstairs and into the area of the hallway that I hadn't seen before. I realized there was a downstairs bathroom which was decorated pretty much like the upstairs one.
Off to the left was a dining room with a medium sized table with four chairs surrounding it and a bouquet of fake flowers sitting in the middle of the table. There was nothing else in the room but I noticed that the walls were covered like the rest of the house with older and newer forms of art.
I saw Michelangelo's sis teen chapel and smiled. I followed her into another room off the dining room which led into the kitchen. It was just your normal modernized kitchen. Stove, microwave, dishwasher, fridge. There was plenty of counter and cupboard space.
Off in the corner was a small round table with three chairs sitting around it. "We usually have breakfast in here." Nancy said when she saw my eyes move to the table. "Dinner is always served in the dining room though." I nodded.
"You always eat at the table?" I asked looking at her.
Nancy nodded. "Yes. Didn't your family eat at the table?"
"Yea." I said looking once more around the room. It was then that I saw a pair of sliding glass doors over by the refrigerator.
Walking over to them I opened them and walked out onto a deck. I heard Nancy come up behind me but didn't say anything as I looked over the backyard. There was an Olympic sized swimming pool with five lounge chairs sitting by the side. Over to the left there was a child's swing set. And a barbecue set sat off to the right end of the deck.
"So what do you think of our home?" Nancy asked looking at me.
I turned to look at her and smiled a true smile for the first time since I had stepped into the house. "I think I'm gonna like it here."
I turned and walked into the house deciding that I had better get started on my new life."