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Numb

 

 

I never knew what to expect when I turned 19.

Possibly that I would be filling out college applications after graduation.

Contemplating living in a college dorm.

What shoes to wear.

I didn't know that I would ever be sitting at my fathers funeral.

What are the emotions that one is supposed to feel with the loss of the only parent you had left?

Depression, anger, remorse, or do you think constantly of what you should of, could of, or would of said?

How about numb.

That's how I feel right now, pretty stinking numb.

 

 

"William Bailey was more then the man you see in the picture here today, he was more then the best damn attorney in LA

....He was a father...a friend....a husband..."

I couldn't listen anymore.

Instead I tried to focus on the carnations...I told my self not to look at the enlarged photo of my father.

If I looked at the photo then that meant that I would also see the coffin it sat next to.

Yeah....focus on the carnations.

I thought about the trip I was about to make.

This time tomorrow I would be on a flight to who knows where England.

The only family I had left was a great aunt named Victoria Kerr.

This doesn't happen to normal people.

A normal person with a normal family would have normal relatives who lived a normal distance away so that when ones normal father died....

I sighed.

 

My best friend Grace McGowan was sitting beside me, she was squeezing my hand so hard that it was going numb..just like the rest of me.

Grace and I had been friends since we were in diapers, play dates every Wednesday afternoon until we started kindergarten.

She was beautiful...She had a perfect complexion, a few freckles scattered across the bridge of her perfect nose, Grey eyes, and shoulder length auburn hair.

She was taller then my 5'4 frame, though I wasn't sure exactly how tall she was, I guess we never really got to measure each other in high school.

It was hard not to compare myself to her perfect beauty.

I had blonde hair, and green eyes, my complexion wasn't as perfect as hers, but it was a pale ivory.

You would think that growing up in sunny California would give anyone a nice tan, but the only thing it did for me was give a nice burn.

"Liz...are you okay?"

I looked up and realized Grace was talking to me.

"Everyone is leaving..."

I wondered how long I had been lost in my thoughts.

They were all headed to the cemetery where my not so normal father would be laid to rest.

"Liz?"

I swallowed and thought about what it was she was asking me.

Am I okay?

"No." my inner voice replied.

I shook my head but I stood up so that Grace could lead the way.

We walked out of the funeral home into the warm afternoon sun.

It was a little too warm, a little too bright.

I squinted ever so slightly watching as all of my abnormal fathers friends got into their cars.

Grace slid her designer sun glasses on before she grabbed her keys from her purse.

Slowly, still squinting, I followed her through the parking lot.

"Liz?" She asked me as soon as I shut the door of her VW Bug.

"Huh?

"What do you say we skip the last part of the funeral?"

I looked at her then.

"Come on, lets go somewhere else." She said again, putting the keys in the ignition. I noticed her well manicured hands shook as she started the car.

Grace knew me better then anyone else, she would know that I wouldn't be able to keep my calm facade much longer.

I thought about all of my fathers lawyer friends, standing around in their black suits, watching me, muttering their sympathies.

I thought of the Speech that I had just ignored, and of the speech I would have to endure no doubt once we got to the actual grave site.

Then I remembered that William Bailey was being laid to rest next to his late wife.

"Anywhere." I agreed. "Anywhere but here."

 

 

 

 

"Why cant you stay here?" Grace asked for the millionth time.

"I don't have any money, a house, or a job." I replied drinking my iced mocha.

We were sitting outside of our favorite coffee shop.

"Your Dad didn't have a will?" She asked.

"Of course he had a will Gray, he was a lawyer." I smiled a little to soften the sarcasm in my tone.

It didn't feel right to smile, it felt as if my face would shatter.

I pressed my lips together firmly then squinted out across the street.

There was a woman holding a little girls hand as they walked past the shops.

My eyes started to burn.

"Well? what was in the will?" Grace asked bringing me back to the coffee shop.

"Dad wasn't counting on his dying until after I turned 21."

"What about the house?"

"Left it to Karen."

Grace sighed.

Karen.

The evil step mother if you will, not that I believed in fairy tales or anything of that nature.

My real mother had died when I was 5.

Cancer.

My dad had remarried when I was 11.

Karen seemed to make him happy, so much so that I never told him she was an evil,greedy, snarpy bi-

"Why wasn't she at the funeral?" Grace asked.

Botox appointment." I replied.

I was only guessing, her excuse had been something to the extent of despair.

"You could stay with us, you know my mom loves you."

I shook my head, once again refusing the offer.

I didn't have a future here anymore.

"You'll call me right?" She asked, it was more of a demand then a question.

"You know I will."

I didn't have to go to England.

"Don't you have some long lost grandparents or something?"She asked taking a sip from her iced coffee.

I shook my head.

My Dad and Mom had met in college, both attending Harvard, it had been 'love at first sight' or so I was told.

My dads parents didn't approve of the match, when they found out that my mom and dad had married against their advice, they supposedly disowned him.

How would you go about disowning someone?

I had never met any of my fathers family, and I had no desire to seek out some long lost grandparents who probably didn't know I existed.

Besides, anyone who could disown their son so easily must not have very strong family ties.

 

"Maybe you'll meet some cute European boys." Grace smiled trying to find something good from the situation.

I looked up at her and she winked at me through her sunglasses.

I rolled my eyes.

 

"Maybe my Aunt will lock me in the highest tower, in an enchanted forest, and my prince Charming can come rescue me, then he will bring me back to LA and we shall call each other muffin...and cupcake..."

She laughed

What if I stayed? I silently asked myself

 

"You could stay here, work at a dinner busing tables, and go to a community college."Grace said as if reading my thoughts.

"They wouldn't keep me very long when it turns out that I can break every single dish in one day." I replied reminding her of my clumsiness.

"Murphy's law." She agreed.

"I could stay with Karen....become a heroin addict...and eventually die in a horrible accident involving a stick of celery." I suggested.

Grace laughed, then she shook her head.

"You never liked celery."

England was for the best.

Besides I wanted to go to the place my mother had grown up, I just didn't want to live there.

"How long do you plan to stay with your Aunt?" Grace asked.

As long as it took for me to forget.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was raining when my flight arrived.

I looked down at the brochure Karen had handed me at the air port.

I had read it a hundred times while on the plane.

How many hours had it been?

14?

I couldn't remember.

The brochure looked inviting.

"A journey through England is a journey through history - from the ancient megaliths of Stonehenge to the space-age domes of the Eden Project in Cornwall.

It's also a trip to the 21st-century: London is gearing up for the 2012 Olympics."

Hmm.

I glanced around looking for the exit, then decided to follow some of the people I recognized from the flight.

I had already grabbed my one suit case from the luggage rack.

I was terrified it would be lost,and I would spend the next few weeks becoming a nudist,but besides clothing, my whole life was in this bag.

I looked around the busy airport and saw some people holding up signs.

"That would be embarrassing." I mummered smirking as I continued walking.

Then I froze.

 

ELIZABETH BAILEY was written in capital letters.

I glared at the man holding the sign.

He noticed and quickly walked towards me.

He was an older guy, probably in his 50's, gray hair stuck out from underneath his baseball cap.

He was wearing pretty casual clothing, jeans, a tan sweater, and a black rain coat.

Probably a hired cab.

After all Aunt Victoria was probably in her 80's, had I expected her to meet me here?

I realized that I hadn't even talked to her.

Karen had made all the arrangements for me, almost as soon as she had heard about my dads accident.

I cringed at the reminder of my father.

"Elizabeth?" The man asked.

By now he was standing right in front of me, I was still glaring at his sign.

"How'd you know it was me?"I replied snatching the sign from his hands.

"You look just like your Aunt, My name is Sam." He said grabbing my suit case.

Hmm I look like an old women?

He had a nice accent, it reminded me of late nights with Grace eating pop corn and watching Bond...James Bond.

I followed him out to a Black car, it was raining pretty hard.

I slid into the backseat, tossing the sign onto the seat beside me.

"How far is it to my aunts?" I asked politely once he got into the car.

"Its not too far."

Incredibly descriptive..

"Do you know my Aunt?"

"I work for her." He replied smiling at me through the rear view mirror. He had kind blue eyes.

I had a funny thought, and before I could keep myself from asking I blurted it out.

"Are you her Butler or something?"

Sam laughed.

"Something."

We spent the rest of the drive in silence.

He was right, it hadn't been too far, the drive took about a half an hour.

I had been thinking of what it would be like to meet my aunt, I wondered if she would like me, and I also wondered about the fact that she had never sent me a letter or a card.

Weren't normal families supposed to keep in touch?

"Yeah, but you've never had a normal family'. My snotty inner voice chimed in.

We parked on the street in front of the house.

Having never been to England before I was surprised at how beautiful the houses were.

I looked up, Sam had gotten out of the car,and he was standing with my door open.

That was kind of gentlemanly.

I was relieved that the rain had slowed to a drizzle.

Not that it mattered, I already looked like a drowned rat.

"Thanks." I mumbled and watched at he grabbed my bag.

We walked up the steps, I was careful of my footing, and then he pulled a key from his pocket to unlock the door.

The house was nice. more than nice, it was beautiful on the inside.

It was a lot more appealing then I had thought it would be.

Hard wood floors graced the entry way and what I could see of the rest of the house, the wall were painted a cheery light yellow, with white trim.

There was a lot of expensive looking art.

We first walked into what Sam called the 'sitting room'.

I took note of the large area rug, and the antique looking furniture.

It all looked beautiful, old, and uncomfortable.

I wonder if the whole house was the same.

"Have a seat, I'll let them know your here." He said.

Them?

I looked around the room.

I ran my hand over a large burgundy chair, golden flowers were woven into the fabric.

This was the most comfortable looking place to sit.

So in true American form, I flopped into the chair, then cringed when it slid across the carpet.

I was glad my aunt hadn't been waiting on me, as I tried to scoot the chair back into place.

Then I heard footsteps, and froze.

"Hello."

I looked up and frowned.

My great Aunt Victoria was in her twenties? must be the jet lag.

"Hi." I said standing up and giving a little wave.

"How was your flight?"

"Good..."

"I'm Tori Fife.. Your cousin." She said reaching out to shake my hand.

I wondered why no one had told me I had a cousin.

Of course it didn't matter to Karen whether or not I made it to London much less to tell me any details she might have known.

"Nice to meet you, I'm sure you already know but I'm Liz..." I tried to smile but it felt a bit strained.

"Aunt Victoria is visiting family friends in the country, she sends her love." Tori explained in a lightly accented voice.

"Ah...Um when will she be back?" I asked

"A couple of weeks."

Some more strained silence...

Seems like the trend..

"I bet your tired, I can show you to your room." She said smiling.

That would be great.” I agreed.

I followed her to the second floor, then to the third room down the hall on the left,she said she would let me unpack, and suggested I get some sleep.

I had to admit I was proud of my ability to walk up the stairs, I only tripped once and it was hardly noticeable.

My room was large, and beautiful just like the rest of the house.

It was a little more modern looking then the sitting room.

I sat my bag on the bed, The comforter was white with a black flower design.

Then I searched the room, opening closet doors.

I was tempted to do a happy dance when I discovered a bathroom attached to my room.

After a hot shower, I climbed into the large bed.

Finally I let the tears start to flow.

As I drifted to sleep I thought of all the things I was going to miss in LA.

 

 

It was an odd dream.

I was staring into a mirror, my reflection stared back stoic.

Then everything changed.

I was clinging to a pier,struggling to stay above water.

People were pointing and laughing as I struggled against the current.

Karen was there.

She was standing over me, pushing me further off the pier.

The strangers laughed harder.

I couldn't hold on, and sunk beneath the water.

 

 

 

I woke up to the sunlight streaming into the room.

It was hot, and the bread spread had attacked me while I slept, twisting and tangling around my legs.

I squirmed away from the covers, scooting to the edge of the bed.

Geez

I really hated Karen.

I looked around my new bedroom, noticing more of the details in the daylight.

There was a large dresser across from my bed, it had a very pretty vanity mirror above it.

The floor in this room was the same dark wood as I had seen in the rest of the house.

After I brushed my teeth and pulled my hair up, I searched through my bag for something that wasn't wrinkled.

I found jeans, a tank top and a white zip hoodie.

Good enough.

The house was amazing,I peaked into most of the doors as I walked by, I saw a study upstairs,and three other bedrooms.

I carefully made my way down stairs and continued my search of the house.

I peaked into a sun room, it was beautiful, with sliding glass doors that led to the garden, I saw the sitting room, and another room with a fire place and piano.

I wondered where Tori was and realized I smelt something delicious.

I followed the smell to a large formal dinning room.

Three people sat at the table.

Sam, Tori, and an unnamed stranger we shall call Mr. Gorgeous for now.

He had shaggy black hair, and the face of a Greek God.

Had I walked out of my life and into a romance novel, or was it just lust at first sight?

I wondered if this was a friend of Tori's or maybe a boyfriend? He didnt look as if he could be her brother.

Maybe Mr. Gorgeous was another long lost cousin I thought with a touch of disappointment.

Sam saw me and smiled, bringing the others out of the conversation they were having.

Mr. Gorgeous stood up and quickly moved to pull a seat away from the table, and I tried not to blush as I sat down.

"Elizabeth, we weren't sure if we should wake you, are you hungry?"Tori asked, she was smiling at me.

"Liz." I corrected smiling.

"This is Finn." Tori explained smiling.

"Hello."

The sound of his voice was as appealing as his looks.

Nice to meet you.”I replied.

I took note of the platters of food across the table.

"What is all of this?" I asked.

"The full English breakfast - Sausage, bacon, eggs, fried bread, fried mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, black pudding, and baked beans." Sam announced , he was grinning with his perfect teeth.

"Black pudding?"

It sounded less appealing then my usual granola.

"Black pudding is a type of blood sausage." Tori answered.

I was right.

I decided on the eggs and fried bread.

"So Finn, how are we related?" I asked.

I had looked up ,intending to smile, but I immediately looked back at my eggs.

He was staring at me with a very serious expression.

Geez.

"We're not related."

His voice sent a little shiver through me.

Maybe I really had stepped into a romance novel, when I realized I would be coming to London for an extended amount I hadn't thought I would find a gorgeous guy sitting at my breakfast table on the first day.

Aside from the prince(oldest not youngest) I had always thought British boys would look a lot like Mr. Bean.

I had come to this conclusion after I had met Michael, a foreign exchange student, during my Junior year.

This felt more like I had walked into a James Bond flick.

I could still feel his eyes on me, and I was even more horrified when I felt my self begin to blush again.

"Finn is a family friend." Tori explained.

"Oh okay.”I said as I looked at Tori, and noticed something I hadn't noticed last night.

She looked as if she could be my sister.

She had blond hair that was pulled back into a pony tail, the same pale ivory complexion ,but brown eyes instead of green like mine.

The resemblance was almost as startling as Finn's stare. It was odd how Sam had said I looked like my Aunt, but I wondered why he hadn't said how closely I resembled Tori.

I wondered how much more uncomfortable I could possibly get.

The Handsome Greek God, the clone cousin, the Butler, and the Orphan.

I suddenly felt very alone, and I wished I would have stayed in bed.

No I wished I had stayed in LA and tried my hand at becoming a drug addict,I seriously doubted Karen would have kicked me out right away,I probably would have had a good month of drug abuse.

Ah but I had never been into drugs, not that I had never tried it.

Grace and I had experienced the complete and utter stupidity of pot when we were 15.

Thinking of Grace made me smile,I wondered what she would think of Finn.

I tried to see if he was still staring a me with out giving myself away.

As far as I could tell he was, maybe the British didn't know it was rude to stare.

Or maybe when you looked as handsome as he did, normal people didn't mind if you stared. But I wasn't normal, and his eyes were burning a hole through my confidence.

 

"Sorry, but I'm feeling the effects of the jet lag I think, Excuse me." I said quickly as I slid my chair back.

No one said anything as I left the room, but I felt as if all eyes were on me.

 

 

 

Afterward I went back to my room for a while, I listened to my favorite band on my iPod, but became bored quickly, so I found my way back to the study I had passed earlier.

Book cases lined the walls, there was a small desk with a lamp, a lap top, and a chair in one corner. And a black leather recliner in the other,

There were three windows with the drapes pulled back, and a window seat.

The books on the shelves ranged anywhere from poetry, to science fiction, to self help.

I decided this was my favorite room of the house.

So I picked up a mystery novel, sat down on the window seat, and tried to get away from my own reality for a while.

Tori had said my name twice before I looked up.

 

"Hungry?"She was smiling at me.

It was already lunch time,

"Sure."I replied and then followed her to the dinning room, hoping I could shake off my sense of unease.

When we arrived Finn and Sam were both waiting for us.

I hurried to a chair and sat down before anyone could pull one out for me.

I had thought about this morning very carefully and obviously no one had told Finn that chivalry was dead.

Sam asked me if I would like some tea, but I remembered someone telling me that no one in England served Iced tea, and I wasn't a fan of hot tea.

 

"Water please." I said smiling up at him.

 

I decided that I really liked Sam.

After every one had started to eat,Tori was the first to talk.

"So Aunt Victoria said that you were here to stay?"

"I'm not sure." I took a bite of potatoes.

"Are you going to attend University?" She asked.

College.

"I wanted to...But now I'm unsure."

"Finn could probably help you search for one here." Tori offered.

I looked at Finn, at the moment he didn't look like he wanted to help me at all.

"How are we related?" I asked her, I seriously wanted to talk about something else.

Tori looked slightly uncomfortable, and I wondered why.

How much of the family did your father tell you about?” she asked.

I paused for a moment, I was getting the feeling that she might be trying to make sure her story matched what I had already been told.

Well he never really told me very much about the families, and my mother died when I was five, so I didn't know I had any relatives until a few days ago.”I said feeling slightly uncomfortable as my eyes started to tear up.

I listened as Tori explained that my mother had an older brother whose name was Owen.

When my grandparents died Owen had been a fresher at university,translated to American, it had been his first year of college.

My mother had moved into her aunts house while her brother kept a distant relationship.

"Victoria couldn't have children, so she thought of Mya as her daughter."

So my mother had been an orphan as well.

"When Owen finished at university he married my mother and they had me." Tori smiled.

 

"So I have an uncle?" I wondered what that would be like.

 

"Sadly my father passed last year."she replied.

 

"Oh I'm sorry." I said looking down at my hands.

 

Think of something else! I told myself,

 

"So what exactly is Sams Job?" I asked smiling at him in a teasing way.

 

Sam laughed.

 

"Sam does whatever he wants really." Finn said, finally speaking.

I looked over meeting his eyes, and then looked away.

There as something about him that made me very nervous, and I was sure it wasn't because he was gorgeous, it was something on a deeper level.

I listened to them talk and wondered if there was something they didn't want me to know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The End

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