Sunday, October 9, 2011

Handbags & Gladrags Part 2

          He'd hung up on her as if she were a wrong number or an annoying telemarketer. Her immediate solution was to think the whole thing was a joke or one of those "scared straight" tactics, but just to save face later on, she decided to pay a visit to the financial aid office anyway. She got information about loans, scholarship possibilities, and payment plans, but left still an enrolled student. She never imagined the conversation that was to take place when she got home. Mostly instigated by her witch of a step-mother, her father scolded her on the lack of responsibilities she had, that ultimately came down to the fact that her father had never allowed her any - but of course she didn't say that out loud. He also shouted at her about the way she "walked all over him" and "flaunted his money as if she'd done anything to earn it." To that she craved a chance to defend herself, though she was never given an opportunity to do so, as her father monopolized the entire exchange. She would've gladly brought up her previously voiced desires to make her own money and her father's insistence that she focus strictly on getting a proper education without any distractions.
          After the conversation, which was really a one-sided debate about the cons of being a father to a spoiled, clueless, college-aged child, she was informed that in addition to not paying for college anymore, he wasn't paying for anything else either. She was told "you'll have to get your own place after the wedding and start making your own money." He went on to say that with the help of his new wife (surprise, surprise), his eyes had been opened to the error of his previous ways. He ended the whole discussion with one last tidbit.
          "Oh and even if you do somehow come up with a way to pay for and graduate college (as if the thought of it was impossible and repulsive to him), your trust fund won't be there waiting for you. I've written you out of that, as well as the will. It's high time you learn that your problems cannot always be solved by me, or my money. And if you sit around with hope of money to come in the future, you'll never take this seriously."
          She sat completely stricken, not really caring that the money was being "taken away" but that he cared so little for her to basically erase her from the family tree in the only way he knew how. After a few minutes of contemplation, she struck up the courage to say, "Are you broke or something?" and then quickly regretted it once both he and his wife began an endless tirade of unpleasantness directed towards her.
         Thinking about it all only made the anger and frustration within her surge even more, and the overwhelming urge to walk over and slap sense into her father almost taking hold of her bodily functions. All she did, though, was continue to stare at him from across the room. She no longer saw the gentle, kind man he'd been when her mother was alive. She no longer sensed his love for her, that once swelled out of him and enveloped everyone around him. She no longer felt any connection to him, and feared she never would again.
          "No, Dad," Cheryl finally managed to squeak out, "I won't be needing Maxwell to drive me anywhere."
         "Fine then," he said after a short pause. As he guided his wife toward the hallway, he looked over his shoulder and shot her an almost sympathetic glance before exiting the room.
          All her fight evaporated the instant they were both out of sight, and she slowly slumped onto the bare mattress. She felt the sting of tears in her eyes and at the back of her throat, and immediately bit down on her tongue to distract herself and keep her emotions at bay.
          You can cry later, she thought. Just get done with this and get out of here. You'll have all the time in the world to wallow in your own self-pity.
          She immediately stood back up and began stacking her bags and boxes at the top of the stairs. The butler, who'd been with her family since her parents had married over twenty-five years ago, suddenly appeared.
          "Miss Cheryl," Frederick greeted her with a familiar smile and a warm, deep voice.
          "Frederick you don't have to help," Cheryl said as he bent down to pick up an armload.
          "But of course I do," he began as he turned to go down the steps. "If you aren't a member of this household anymore, that makes you a guest. Either way, I've got to do my job."
          As he hit the bottom of the stairs, he turned toward her and sent a wink back up her way. Cheryl felt herself smile a little at him and was extremely grateful he was there to help keep her calm.
          After a lonely and hardly acknowledged farewell to her ex-home and ex-family (made up of maids, butlers, drivers, and dead - both figuratively and literally - ancestors), Cheryl climbed into the idling cab and told the driver directions to a nearby motel.
          She went in and paid for a month up front, before returning to the cabbie and asking if he'd drive her around the building to her new "home." His generosity was ever-evident as he helped unload her pitiful belongings into the pitiful room that acted as combo bedroom/living room/dining room. She glanced around at her surroundings as the driver made his way to the door. It was as close to a "culture shock" as she'd ever been. The place wasn't nasty or gross, but it certainly wasn't extravagant or upscale like she'd been accustomed to her whole life. There was a small kitchenette off the far wall and an even smaller bathroom to her right, but overall, the place wasn't bad. At least it'd do until she found something more permanent.
          "Well if that's all miss, I'd better get going."
          Cheryl turned to look at the kind older man with wrinkled hands and deep lines in his forehead. She reached down to the small purse slung over her chest and resting on her left thigh and pulled out the cab fare with a little extra for his helpfulness.
          "Thanks for everything," she said as he shut the door behind him.
          The quiet and stillness that closed in on her was instant and it took all her strength to make it to the bed before she collapsed. Slowly she brought her knees to her chest and rested against the wall that doubled as her headboard. She wept all night and eventually exhaustion overcame her. She had no choice but to give into it.

Hope you liked it! Part 3 soon to follow (: Come back for more!!

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