I couldn't believe he was going to let me live on my own; that was what he had said, wasn't it? Wait, 'fair enough' was him acknowledging that being fostered had negative sides to it. I'd have to press my case even further. I could look after myself thank you very much, I've been doing it for years - my parents were usually away with something relevant to their jobs, on romantic breaks (more or less every other weekend, they weren't completely without feelings, just when it came to me it seems), or I was locked away in my room.
I was usually the cook, my chores consisted of cleaning everything thoroughly, I'm old enough to learn to drive and trust me, we have the money; so yeah, I could live on my own with no problems whatsoever. I told David this, and he listened to me, which surprised me.
"What are your grades like?" He finally asked after considering my previous argument for a good ten minutes, jotting things down as he thought of them.
"Straight As," I replied automatically - at least SOMETHING good comes of being all on your own with nothing but books and exams.
"Good," he suddenly grinned, "Okay, I've got a deal for you: I'll get you official, legal pardon for certain age-related issues, such as fast-tracking you through university, and then you'll be fast-tracked through whichever post-graduate school you desire; this shouldn't take more than a couple of years, and then eventually, I'll need you to get a job. I suggest that you take a loan out for university funds and the government will supply you with money for bills so you can concentrate on studying instead of getting a part-time job," I just kept nodding, until he concluded his little speech, "and I'll also have someone, myself or another of the agents, stop by once a week for the first four months, then monthly until I've made the decision that you don't need to be checked on anymore; you can of course come back and visit me any time or ring me - I suggest that you at least get a telephone so that you can get in contact with someone in case of an emergency. Here's my card."
That was a lot to take in, but if it meant my freedom, and lots of it, I really didn't mind.
When I was taken back to my house, Ian apologised to me about my parents' deaths, well, about the way I found out, and sent in a team of cleaners that went around the entire house, cleaning every speck of dust, leaving no nook or cranny untouched.
When they finally left, it was almost nine o' clock, and as I locked the door, I sighed to myself, content but anxious, and definitely famished. How long had it been since I had last eaten? I couldn't remember, so I went down the stairs and into the kitchen in search of inspiration of something to eat, coming across some chicken kievs and some frozen vegetables.
Whilst they were cooking, I made some pink lemonade with raspberries and lemons, my favourite ever drink.
I topped up the ornate glass jug, and dished out my meal. Just as I speared a carrot, about to put it in my mouth, there was a knock at the door. I sighed, standing up, scraping my chair back, and made my way over to the door.
It was the postman of all people; I was surprised to see him as we don't usually get post this late unless it is really urgent.
"Thanks Sam," I smiled, taking the package and signing for it.
"Wonder what it could be," he shrugged, grinning.
"Want to come in?" I offered, already knowing his answer. He was afraid of my parents too.
"Thanks, but I'm running late as it is; see you around chuck!" He made his way back up the path. I didn't blame him for wanting to get away from this place of nightmares, for wanting to get back to his loving wife and kids, or even from cringing away from my bruised complexion. It had to be the first time in months that I'd removed my veil when in company; I wouldn't even remove it for President David when he asked, too embarassed about my traumatic past.
Once I'd waved Sam off, I locked the door again and took my package to the table where my meal was waiting. I popped a carrot piece into my mouth, savouring the flavour, and started to unwrap the brown paper.
I stared at the box. It had a note attached to the top of it, reading:
I've been thinking a great deal about our little arrangement, so I have purchased this mobile telephone for you to use. It is pay as you go, with 10 denarius (about 20 euros) currently on it. I have enclosed an instruction manual, and programmed my personal phone number into the address book.
Please send me a text (SMS) message as soon as you receive this package.
President David Smith