Chapter One: the unexpected arrangementsMature

After over 20 years of being alone and running away from her past family life, Mia Cry, finally finds her sisters and her old best friend but has to fight her own demons to let them in her secretive past.

 

The Simpson Times, the most beloved newspaper in the country. Read by both paper and electronic users, and the workplace of my sister who I haven't seen in twenty-two years. The building soars through the Red Brook skies making other buildings seem like specks of dust. Even the elevator doors seem to be perfectly polished steel. I take a deep breath, and then another. I tap two fingers on my leg waiting for the doors to open.

Maybe I should just bail, what if it isn't her, maybe it just looks like and has the same name. I think to myself.

The elevator doors glide open with a beep to reveal a long hallway decorated with ivory and silver. There are doors on each side with names on them. The more I seem to look down the hallway, it stretches longer.

Just go, I take a deep breath and start walking. The hall is noiseless besides the muffled voices in one of the offices and the fading clicks of my heels on the polished wooden floor. The door on the end has the name “Amy Black, Executive Editor” on a silver plate. It’s already partly open. I grab the golden door knob and push, and knock on the door with my other hand.

I glance over and see a familiar a red-head with medium length hair standing behind her desk, scribbling on a piece of paper. She looks up wide-eyed.

“Oh my god,” She says “It is you.” She comes up and hugs me. I gaze around her office. There’s a nice large chestnut colored desk in the middle of the office. Matching the  floors. A large window on the right goes from the top to bottom of the room. With rain streaking the glass with a view of the dark grey clouds covering the sky. Amy pulls away showing her even, pearly white teeth in a smile.

“I can’t believe it’s you!” She says. I didn't know what to say. I have a weird tingling feeling in my stomach and a smile creeps onto my face.

“I-I can’t believe it’s you either,” She is different when I saw her when I was nine of course. Now she’s working for a large company with clean pressed suits and everything. I’m living off our mothers inheritance. We never had any proof that we even went to school, so it’s impossible to find a decent job. I wonder how she got this one.

“How are you? What’s been going on?” She says.

“Um, good, good, um… nothing much,” I say. In that moment I seem to have forgot the good and bad that has happened and my mind just went blank.

“Hey, let’s talk over coffee. You like coffee?”

“Um, yes,” Just as much as I like to breathe oxygen. “Don’t you have work to do?” I glance back over to her desk. Amy smile.

“No, this is important.”

***

Rain pours down the grey streets and into the drains. The chilling wind howls making in rain tilt. Blurring the glass of The Palm Cafe,  squashed between two large buildings.

Bamboo brown tables spread out with booths on each side of the light green walls. Tiny plants sit on each booth along with tiny packets of sugar and napkins. The café is filled  with the fine smell of coffee and the warm chewy softness of chocolate chip cookies.

Amy and I slide into the nearest booth from the counter with our drinks. Vanilla latte for me and a espresso for her. I take a sip of my warm vanilla flavored coffee. Amy does the same.

“So,” says Amy, “tell me everything.” She puts her drink on the table and smiles.

“Well, I would rather hear about your life Amelia,” I give her a weak smile. I play with a loose string inside my black trench coat’s pocket. She chuckles.

“Well, I don’t go by Amelia any more,” She said. Oh I thought she was going by her fake name, like mine Juliet Black. Juliet being my middle name. 

“And not much, I have been focusing on my career,” She says.

“Well, that’s good,” I say. I hear the mumbling voices of from other tables, a bell chimes when someone came in..

“What do you do?” Amy says taking another drink.

“Oh, well I don’t have a job,” Amy’s brows come together and puts the cup down.

“No job, but how do you….”

“Mother’s inheritance,” I say quick and I give her a another weak smile. I still haven't understood why I got all the money and Amelia and Bridget got none. I felt like she will get mad at this. I bite the inside of my lip.

“Oh okay,” she says. I turn my head when I hear a baby cry on the other side of the Cafe. The mother calms him or her in only a few seconds. I look back over at Amy and gaze hand which as a has nice golden ring with a huge diamond on top.

“Married?” Amy looks down at her ring.

“Oh n-this isn't a wedding ring, looks like it doesn't it?” She gives me a smile I could tell was fake because there are  no wrinkles in the corners of her eyes. I don’t why she would lie. It would be hard to hide a person from me.

“Have you meet Bridget yet?” I freeze until I process what she said.

“Hav- have I? No, have you!” I sound both confused and excited.

“Yeah, of course,” She says “I can call her and we can meet at your house?” She says sliding off the booth and putting her red pea-coat back on.

“Oh-um, sure why not?” I pull my coat over my shoulders.

“Okay then come along,” She motions her hand to say “let’s go”

***

Red Brook. Uptown Red Brook actually. It’s filled with tiny shops and markets. Colored with hues of brown, green, and blues. It’s not raining as hard here. More of a drizzle.

The bus stops with a loud screech. Amy and I get out. The bus was so full that we had to sit in separate seats. We hear people talking as they walk past us. Rain drops and creates tiny puddles on the sidewalk. The wind blows making my black ringlets get in my face.

At the corner the street is a flower booth in front of flower shop. The name “Sunshine Flowers,” streaked onto the wood in white paint. Different colors of flowers cover the booth. Which is ran by a round man, of tan complexion, and a dark bushy mustache and brown hair. 
“Oh, pretty flowers” says Amy. I keep walking and pass a couple, the man gives the girl a red rose.

A chilling wind blows that makes me bring my black trench-coat together.

Damn, it’s cold, I think to myself.I like the cold though, but not like the Arctic.

“Come on, let’s get some flowers,” says Amy with a smile.

“I don’t need flowers,”

“Okay fine, where’s your house anyway?” She says as we turn the corner.

“Not far,”

***

After a few blocks of walking we make it to my L-shaped house painted white. We walk across the large circular driveway. There's not much grass besides the center with a tiny tree. I take my keys out of my coat pocket and open the door.

"This is a nice house you have here, what are you going to do when all the money runs out?" I glance around the living room while I take my coat off. Other then the uneven pile of books on the wooden coffee table, it looks like no one lives here at all.

"I will think about it when that happens," I say with a tiny smile. I can hear Amy judging me. She nods.

"Well, I will call Bridget" She says. I nod and she goes outside. I sit there for a while until I look over at my bookshelves. I get up and slide a book called "100 Years of Crime and War" out of its spot. I run my hand over the cover before opening it to the first page and read the first line.

We lived by our own terms, own rules, and our own minds. Living that way was a threat, so they brought us down with all the words and weapons they had. 

I smile and laugh to myself. Amy comes back. I shut and slide the book back in its place.

"She's on her way," She says taking her coat off. I nod.

"Perfect." 


_______


After thirty minutes of Amy and I talking, there’s a knock at the door. Amy opens the door before I even had a chance . She smiles as she opens the door.

“Hey,” Amy says. A girl with short black hair steps in and hugs her for a few seconds before turning back with a smile.

“ I can't believe it's you Mia!” Bridget says before coming up and hugging me. Ugh, stop with the hugs. Wait- who? Oh, never mind. I'm not used to people calling me by my real name. I have always told people my name is Juliet. 

“Hi, Bridget,” I say. She pulls away. It's her. Oh my god. This is the best day ever.

“How are you?” she says.

“Um, I’m fine, you?”

“I’m awesome!”

Amy smiles a little. How do you guys know each other? I spent half of my life looking for either one of them and I only found Amy when I read the paper.

“How do you know each other?”

Amy and Bridget exchange looks.

“Oh you know, we just bumped into each other,”

I can tell she was keeping something from me. It’s easy. Well, for me it is. I'm a good liar. I can't  understand how people could be bad at it. All you do is just say stuff. Except when you have told lies for a long time, it’s hard to tell the truth. Bridget smiles at me again.

“So, do you have a boyfriend?” Bridget says.

I almost laugh. Oh god no. I chuckle.

“Oh no,”

“What about you Brit?” Says Amy.

“Surprising no,” Bridget says then laughs.

I am awful  about conversations about guys. I never thought of guys as attractive even when other girls said so. The only “boyfriend” I had I only liked him because we were friends for a while. 

“What about you Amy? Do you have a boyfriend,” She looks back over and hesitates.

“No,” She says and look back over to Bridget.

“That’s surprising,” Says Bridget.

“Thanks Britt,”

After a few minutes they start to chat. I get up off the white chair and go into the kitchen. I get a glass of water before coming back and watching them talk. I couldn't understand what they were saying. They talk faster than anyone else I knew. It was entertaining to watch. I take a drink of my water.

“Speaking of boyfriends,” Says Bridget. I look back up to her.

“Have you met Drake yet?” 

Hearing his name almost made me choke on the water.

“Drake?” I said “Oh, no” Lair. 

“I should call him,” Britt says taking her phone out of her jean pocket.

I give out a forced laugh.

“Yeah, sure,” I say a gulp down more water.

***

 

Boyfriend, Boyfriend. That word racked in my mind like a metal ball just banging against the sides of my head. It's true that Drake and I, when we were young, were close. Much like Bridget and Amy.  Bridget would always tease me by using that word to describe us. First of all, I was nine and as my mother said. That word shouldn't even be in your vocabulary. 

Bridget is on the phone in the kitchen. I felt nothing. I didn't feel happy, or not as happy as I should have been. When I imaged this, I saw either Bridget or Amy and me. We would share stories about our lives and then would try to find the other. But, times have changed since I thought like that, and I didn't want to share anything.

One thing that bothers me is that Bridget and Amelia already knew each other. Talking, sharing, becoming best friends. Yes, I was far away from them when that whole incident went down. But still, it just didn't feel right. 

Bridget comes back in the living room while I pretend to not notice Amy secretly looks at my stuff. 

"He said he will get here later," she says and then claps fast and smiles. "Yes, family reunion! " Amy and I exchanged looks. There was silence for a few seconds before Amy pretends to notice something for the first time that i'm sure I saw her look at before. But she needed to break the silence. 

"Is this how you found me?" She says flipping to the page I saw her name on. I nod. 

"Yes," I say.

"You never read the paper?" 

"No, I have. Just not who wrote the articles." 

That was another thing. For over twenty years of searching  the only thing I had to do was read how wrote the articles of the paper. When I saw it. A voice in my head whispered idiot. 

"Why do you have so many books?" says Bridget. I turn my head.

"I like to read." Bridget nods and puts a book back. I also love the smell of books, the way newly books open, how I  can just escape somewhere else for hours,  and how I can fall in love with fictional characters and obsess over them but I can't talk about them because i'm a huge book nerd and people

Just. Don't. Understand. 

"So, what does Drake do now anyway?" asking Bridget like I didn't already know. We met a little over ten years ago and it didn't go well, or it did. Depending how you look at it. 

"Business, I think," she said looking at the books on the shelves. She gasps.

"You have One-Hundred Years of Crime and War!?" When have I not? She takes it off the shelves. Be careful Bridget. It was my favorite book, about the Ivan civil wars and how our family started. Also about the Limican, Mequilian, and Mesoasian from a neutral side. 

The one-hundred symbolizing the seemingly endless civil wars,protests, violence, and rebellions. Fighting for Equality while asking for help from the Limicans, Mequilians, and Mesoasians. All three countries had cultture based on social equality. The sad thing is that, they wouldn't help a country that was actually fighting for it. Also some info about how my family came to be because of this. This book is banned  by all three countries. 

"I need to borrow this from you one day," she says with a bright smile.

"Of course,"  

______________________

"So what do you do for a living" I ask Bridget who was now siting in the ivory couch. She hesitates for a moment. 

"A coffee shop," She says. I sense like she isn't saying the full truth. Telling if someone is lying is like my sixth sense. 

Great,so I'm the only one without a job. Sorry Mom. Looks like I'm the Family disappointment. 

"Nice," I say. When is Drake supposed to get here again? 

I feel a sharp throbbing pain in my head. I rub my temples with my fingers. 

"You okay?" Says Bridget.

"I'm fine, one second." I go upstairs and into my bedroom bathroom. I grab  a bottle of migraine meds that was next to my sleeping pills, next to my anxiety meds,next to my depression. I don't use the Anxiety much anymore. They're for when I have another nightmare about my mom dying and then have a panic attack. The nightmares are the reason I hate sleeping and basically turned me into a  Insomniac. My life is awesome. 

I never used the Depression ones. I had a Therapist a long time ago prescribed me them.  I got angry and told her I wasn't. So, I don't have a therapist anymore. I don't even know why I have them.  I take another sip of my water along with the pills when I got back downstairs. 

"Okay now?"  Says Amy with her brows together.

"I'm fine." I will be as soon as these pills kick in. At least this one isn't as bad as other ones. I try to ignore it. 

"So, when's Drake supposed to get here?"

"Later."

"Oh,right."  I sit back down in the chair and wait. I hate waiting...

--------

When “later” arrived, Drake knocks on the door. Bridget lets him in. 

“Hey Jules,” He says.

“Hi Drake,” I say and look at Bridget whose happiness was flooding out of her like sun rays. 

Drake and his stupid black tousled hair and facial hair, and those blue eyes. One part of my mind says. Oh please, you still like him. Sometimes that part of my mind needs to shut the hell up. 

“How are you?” he asks.

“Fine, you?” 

“I’m good.” 

Bridget picked up a sense of awkward silence before Amy and her amazing observation skills kicked in. 

“Mia,” says Bridget, ‘How did you find Amy anyway?” 

“The Newspaper,” I say. 

“Yes,” Amy chimes in “I wrote an article about the salary gap between the genders.” 

Even though I have lived in the country more than Limica. I’m still confused about the gender salary gap. It’s odd. Why would women get paid less? In Limica all genders are paid the same when they do the same job.

“How did you get that job anyway?” I ask. 

“Oh well long story short. It was my old boyfriend.” 

“Your boyfriend got you a job as an Executive Editor?” 

“No my ex-boyfriend got me a job as a writer, I just made my way up.” 

“Have you ever had a boyfriend Mia?” She asks just to take the spotlight off her. I can tell Drake getting more interested in this conversation.

“Yes,” Well more than a boyfriend. He was my Fiance but things happened.

“What about you Drake?” He hesitated. 

“Yeah, but nothing serious.” 

-----

After a few hours of talking about random stuff and other topics I don’t even remember. Me and Bridget sit on the bench on the porch watching the sun begins to go down. Bridget sets her head on my shoulder and Amy went inside to get a glass of water and Drake went home. She sighs.

“I lied,” I knew it. 

“What about?” 

“I don’t work for a Coffee Shop. Well… not anymore,” 

“Oh,” I said. I was in the same situation Bridget was in before I got money and a house bigger than I need. 

“How are you doing?” 

“I’m fine for now.” 

Thinking of my past life of doing small jobs and living with little money. We have no record of any of ushaving an education. We were home-schooled. When you family was one of the biggest crime organization in the eastern hemisphere does have it’s perks. Because if you can’t get a normal job. You are forced to work for them. 

That made me say something that shocked me. 

“You can stay with me.” 

Wait what did you just say? 

Bridget look at me.

“Are you serious?” 

“Yes.”

I’m sure my sanity packed up her things and left. I turn my head when I hear Amy come back outside. 

“What are you guys talking about?” 

“Mia asked if I wanted to move in with her,” 

“Wait you told her,” Amy says “Well at least I will have a reason to check up on you,” 

What did I just do? 

 

 

The End

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