***Just the first chapter, so no fantasy elements yet. Please tell me what ya think!
The Beginning of it All : Chapter 1
Cue the annoying beeping of my cell phone alarm. Five more minutes? I ask myself as I roll over and set my alarm back five minutes. I sink back into my warm slumber until I'm woken again. I sign and put on my stereotypical hipster glasses and dart to the bathroom. Every day it's the same thing, not that I'm complaining. I like my boring morning routine. It's familiar. I dress my curvy but lean body in skinny jeans, a black shirt with lace sleeves, a green tank top and a matching scarf. I put my long dark blond hair in a bun, do minimal makeup, and leave my contacts out of my blueish green eyes. My mom, Kay Allen, is still in the shower. I hear the water running in her 24 square foot bathroom. Downstairs my dad is actually letting the chef rest while he cooks. My little sister Eliza bobs around me, begging me to french braid her hair.
Eliza is my 7 year old sister. I'm 15 and a half, so the gap is definitely there, but I love her so much. Me and her do everything together because our parents don't give us the time of day, but I don't mind. "Of course I'll braid your hair Elly," I say affectionately to her. She squeals in delight and plops down in front of me. As I intricately french braid her hair, I wonder what school will be like. I'm what would be considered "popular" at school. I don't mind, but everyone is so ignorant. No one seems to ask the questions I do, or see things as I do. Oh well, I am only in high school; hopefully as I get older it will get better.
When I'm done, Elly dashes around the house looking for her school stuff. When will she learn, I wonder as I look into the corner where I place my belongings every day. Being organized is one of my strong suits. I think it comes from being in the advanced classes, but who knows?
"Breakfast," my dad, Kevin Allen, calls from the kitchen in a voice that would put any lawyer to sleep. I meander in and can't help but be over whelmed by the room, no matter how many times I walk in. A long oak table made for 22 stretches along the center with a huge chandelier that's incrusted with diamonds over top like the fire of a birthday candle. The walls are painted white, but decorated with what my parents call "art". It's mostly just a bunch of dead relatives. I sit down on the opposite end from my family. I like being left alone with my thoughts. They don't notice.
Mom and dad are chattering about a great investment they made, while Elly vies for their attention, bringing the grand total of our fortune to around 97 million. Not one cent was earned. It was simply passed down through generations. When my parents finally bite it, me and Elly will get it. When I turn 18 my trust fund starts giving me 10 thousand a week until they die. Same when Elly turns 18.
I pat my bun to make sure it's in place, and then gulp down the rest of my omelet. Yuck, I hate eggs. "Daddy," I say, calling the groups attention towards me, “can I get some new books today?" I ask. I read ALOT. I finish at least 3 books a day, and not 100 pagers. More like 300 pagers. It's because I'm gifted or something, but I'll get to that later.
"Of course baby," he says. My parents support my giftedness. When I was little they had me tested because I was spelling with my blocks before I was one. It turned out I was wickedly smart. I love being smart, being able to see the world in an intelligent way. I used my gift to its full advantage of course. And my parents fund it all. They bought be numerous instruments. They paid for all my music lessons for the instruments so I could learn saxophone, piano, guitar, and trumpet. They bought me a state of the art laptop for school. Of course, they fund my reading addiction also. He doesn't hand me any cash and I don't expect him too. We all have a credit card linked to the families’ account, even Elly. I'll just have LIMO take me after school. Speaking of school...
"I'm leaving, bye." I say as I swiftly stand up and head out the door, only pausing to pull on my blue Uggs and red coat. It's snowing. I breath in the cool clean air of the trees surrounding our house, and peer at the long driveway. I smile a little and make my way towards LIMO. LIMO stands for Live Instantly Marina Owens. I came up with it when I was four because I thought LIMO was an acronym and no one would tell me what it meant. Who would've thought it would stick? It sounds stupid, but hey, I was four. LIMO is my best friend because LIMO is driven by Carl, who has been my companion since birth. He's driven me everywhere my whole life, and has helped me with all my problems. He even lies for me. I glance at the clock, 7:30 am.
"Hey Genevieve, my darling," Carl exclaims as I step outside. He's full British and I adore his accent. "Hey," I reply. With that one word he knows I’m dreading school and upset over my parents, as usual. He immediately tries to cheer me up "I know you're parents seem preoccupied but they DO love you. And all those girls at school ARE idiots, you're gifted sweet heart! Now, I have a gift for you!" He's managed to make me smile in less than 3 minutes. I wish my dad was more like him. He hands me four books, the next ones in the series I'm reading. The ones I was going to get tonight. I'll be done with them by the end of the school day. He knows me too well.
Now let me tell you a little more about Carl. He's 55 years old and looks exactly like Morgan Freeman but he's white. He's also gay. I know this because he told me, and because he has that gay lisp. And when I say I wish he was my dad, I mean it. My dad and I have never had a deep conversation like me and Carl. He's just too busy, but Carl always listens and helps. He's awesome. My mom's the same as my dad, but at least she taught me how to dress myself.
When I say he lies for me, I refer to the fact that my school day starts at 9, and he swears to my parents it starts at 8. Not that they care either way. Every morning me and Carl go to Denny’s for breakfast. We laugh and talk and eat and it makes me happy. I love Carl like a father, and he loves me too.
Even though my mother would die if she saw me doing so, I sit in the front with Carl. I plug in my iPhone and blast my music, me and Carl singing along the whole way. So what if my parents don't notice me and I can't connect with anyone at school. I have Carl.
We arrive at Denny’s, eat, and then we head towards my school. It’s a private school, in the middle of Chicago. We live in a suburb, near a forest, but my school is right in the middle of everything. I watch the commuters as they hurriedly walk to work. They all look so busy. Carl drops me off at the one and only Monroe High School of Chicago, IL with a promise of getting me after school lets out. He never breaks his promises.
When I step into school I look at the familiar blue and white lockers and sigh. The walls are lined with academic and athletic awards. Many of the academic awards were won by me. I'm greeted by friendly smiles and waves. I make it a point to be kind and generous to everyone I come across, unless they are rude. I don’t tolerate mean people and everyone knows it. Money doesn’t make me happy, but brightening some ones day does.
I don't really have any one particular friend I like talking to, so I just head to class room 103 English, my first class of the day, sit down, and take out one of my new books. I get lost in the story and I'm halfway done with this 200 page book when the bell rings. Thirty minutes I note, looking at the clock. Not bad.
School is boring. Boring boring boring. I ace everything without trying so I usually sit in the back and read. None of my teachers care, nor do the students. Most of the time. After lunch I have 11th grade math. I'm only in 9th grade, but it's still unbearably easy.
As usual, I'm not paying attention. "Hey," I hear a low, warm voice mummer. I look around and see a tall guy I've never seen smiling sheepishly at me. He has short disheveled dark brown hair and green eyes. His nose is slender, and his lips are wide and happy. “Can you help me? I don’t understand this." he asks. I nod and turn around and start explaining the complicated equations. He gets it in no time, but keeps talking to me. This is weird, I think to myself.
Guy's usually don't talk to me. It's because once in 8th grade some guy had the nerve to call me stupid when we were talking and...Well...I punched him so hard in the testicles he had to have surgery. I mean, I was totally PMS'ing and, HELLO, I'm not stupid. Maybe I have a bit of a temper. Sue me. My parents paid everyone off, but all the guys stay away now. Scared I guess. Or they think I’m crazy. It's lonely, but I'm sure there's someone out there...for…me...crap. What did he say?
"Hello? Did you hear me? You're Via right? I've heard all about you! Gifted! Wow!" He stammers. He sounds nervous. Maybe I should talk. "Yes, I'm Via. Actually it's Genevieve. But everyone calls me Via." Everyone I don't talk to at least. "Wow! You're so...so...quiet! I thought you'd be loud and snobby..." he trailed off, studying me curiously as if waiting for me to morph into a total bitch or something. Quite? Am I really that quiet? Maybe at school I guess...hmm..."Well," he says, pulling my from my train of thought and still trying to talk to me," I'm Dominic Daft. I just moved here from Florida. I really like it here in Chicago! So much action. But what's a rich girl like you doing here?" Apparently he's going to pause long enough to let me get a few words in. Annoyed by his question, I curtly answer “We live here because we always have." then turn around and continue reading.
He tries to apologize but I ignore him. At the end of the day I walk out into the snow and spot Carl next to LIMO. I'm about to start heading towards him when Dominic runs up to me. His red button down is a tad disheveled, to match his hair, and his jeans are sprinkled with snow. The Puma's housing his feet look slush ridden. "Genny, wait. I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to be mean. I have no friend's here and you're so smart I thought maybe you'd like someone else smart. Not that I'm trying to be cocky. Well, um I..I..I.." he sneezed in the middle of his explanation, covering his nose, then kept going." I'm gifted too! So I thought I could understand you. Everyone says you’re so popular but I see you never talk to anyone. I'm sorry I just talk a lot when I'm...well, all the time." He finishes lamely, looking down. "Bless you, Dominic." I say, feeling rude not acknowledging his sneeze. We stand there staring at each other when something shifts inside me. Maybe a real friend would be good. "I'm sorry for being rude. Want to come book shopping with me? My treat," I offer, expecting him to turn me down. No one likes book shopping with me.
Much to my surprise, he accepts enthusiastically. I lead him toward LIMO and Carl. Carl hugs me and whispers in my ear “New friend?" I smile and shrug. Carl Walks towards the back of the car and opens the door. For a moment I'm confused, and when Dominic see's I'm not moving, he too looks confused. Then I realize what Carl is doing! He’s never opened a door for me and he knows I’d never expect him to! "Carl! You know you NEVER have to do that for me, “I stammer, marching towards him. He cracks a smile. “I care too much for you to treat you like a servant.” "As you wish," he says solemnly and lets himself into the front. I sigh and led Dominic to the back of LIMO.
"Isn't he you're servant, though? I mean, I'm not rich but I know most people don't care for their drivers like family." he says, looking at me for an explanation. "I love Carl. He has taken care of me my whole life and I trust him more than I shall ever trust anyone." I retort. No one will insult Carl while I'm around. Dominic looks at me in surprise, but doesn't say anything else. I shift around so I can talk with Carl. "Book store, please." I say. He simply nods.
"So..." Dominic begins slowly, as though coming out from deep thought. I wait patiently for him to finish his sentence, but he never does.
When we arrive at the store I let Dominic out first then call back to Carl, "Get us at five please." It's 3:30 so we should have plenty of time. We wander around the book store and both end up with a stack of about 19 books each. "Hey, let me carry those." Dominic offers as he takes my stack. I lead him toward the counter and the cashier beings ringing up of all the books. Throughout this whole outing Dominic and I have hardly spoken. He seemed deep in thought, and I like the silence.
"Wait. You aren't seriously buying ALL those books are you?" I give him a surprised look "I told you it was my treat." "Yea, well you're spending like $200 on me!" "I don't mind." I say, handing the cashier my credit card and grabbing some bags. Dom grabs the other half. "Wow, thank you so much! You're so nice! I'm glad were friends. Hey, wanna come over for dinner? My mom would love to have a chance to feed someone besides me, my brother and my dad." "You talk a lot," I say," but I find it comforting. Anyway, Carl is here. He can give you a ride home. I can’t come to dinner with you I have planes" I lie unconvincingly as Carl pulls up to the curb and gets out to help with the bags. "You don't have to talk like a queen all the time. You're a kid! Grammar isn’t everything!" Dominic complains. I stay silent. He doesn't understand. Dominic gives Carl his address. I get dropped off at home first. With a wave from Dominic I watch them drive off.
I turn around and stare at the house. Its four stories and its Victorian style, based on a house built in the 1800’s. Our house was built in like 1902. It has 6 bedrooms and 12 bathrooms, one connects to each bedroom and the other six bathrooms are scattered around. Floor one is the huge modern kitchen, large dining room, the "gathering room" where mom and dad have their social escapades, an entertainment room, a powder room, and a bathroom. Floor two contains all the bedrooms and a sauna. Each bedroom has the standard furniture, a huge TV, DVD player, desk, and sitting area. Floor three is my music room, my personal library, Elly's play room, more bathrooms and Mom and Dad's offices. Floor four is storage. And another bathroom.
I love the house because when you walk in there is a huge foyer with a spiral marble staircase that leads up to all the floors but the fourth. There are also a mini version of this stair case in the kitchen and gathering room. The only way to the fourth floor is, a) a stair case in my library or b) a stair case out back. To get to the stair case in my room you pull The Stairway to Heaven album on my book case in my private library and it opens to a secret stair case that leads to a room on the fourth floor that I turned into a reading room. Only me, Carl, and grandpa know about this. Grandpa kept it hidden and told me when we inherited the house. I always was his favorite
I love my secret reading room but now I want to be so alone that no one can find me, not even Carl, so I ditch my stuff in the garage and start walking around back into the wooded area. There’s a slender path that flows into the woods. The air is cold and fresh. Snow falls on my head. Once I’m deep enough I sit down and just listen. The animals scurry around, the leaves rustle softly. It’s so peaceful.
I love the woods. I feel like our family was born in some old magical forest ages ago. The first Allen was probably a woodsman with a loving family. I wonder where we got the money. The story is one of my ancestors found it while fishing. They lived in England and soon after we got the cash the family became rich political figures. The Allen’s lived in England until 1802, when they moved here and built a huge house in New England. It was burned in a fire and some years later they recreated it here in Chicago, when my great-grand father was a little boy. The family has lived in it ever since. We have about 40 aces, all forest. I’m 50& British, 50% French. My parents were the first in the family to marry outside of English blood, but my mother was pure French. She moved to America when she was 6 months old.
I check my watch. Six o’clock. Time to go in I guess. I stand up and head back. I walk through the wooden gate surrounds our formal back yard. Past the trampoline, pool, basketball court, gazebo, and hot tub. I walk into the kitchen though the back door and notice how shiny the stainless steel looks. The maid must have cleaned. I grab an apple from the fridge and head up the side stairs to my room. Carl already brought my school stuff and books in. I click on my phone and see a string of Facebook notifications from Dominic. He added me. Then he sent a million messages. I debate for a minute and decide to ignore him and watch some cartoons.
At 7 Chef Joe calls for me for dinner. I walk down stairs and barley notice the absence of my parents. What I do notice is Elly crying. She runs up to me and hugs my legs. “Genevieve! This boy at school has been calling me ugly all day and after lunch the whole class joined in and started throwing stuff at me!” she wails. My poor baby. “Sweetie, bring me the phone book.” She does as I say and sits on my lap when I sit at the dining room table. I ask her the name of the boy who started this. ”It’s Kevin Daft,” she sniffles. I’m stunned, but proceed to look up the number and call their family. Of course, it’s Dominic who answers. “Hello?” he says. I hear a kid laughing in the background. An oven beeps. “Dominic, it’s Via. I’d like to speak to your mother,” I say curtly. He says ok and passes the phone to his mom. Elly whispers “Here it comes,” as I start talking. “Hello. My name is Genevieve Allen. My sister Eliza just came up to me in tears because your son was calling her ugly and got the class to join in. I love my sister more than anyone and if you don’t control your child, I’ll have to step in and protect her.” I say. Mrs. Daft is silent for a few moments. I hear here muffled voice reprimanding Kevin. Finally, she speaks. “I am so sorry! I know how names can hurt a child. Kevin told me he’d apologize tomorrow and he would stop. Where are your parents? Shouldn’t they be making this call?” she asks. I see where Dominic gets his nosiness from.
Immediately I’m enraged. Why AREN’T they here? Why must I do this? I feel a tear slip down my face as I haughtily answer “That’s none of your business. Just make sure your son doesn’t hurt my sister. Good bye, Mrs. Daft.” I hang up the phone and try to pull myself together for Elly.
Apparently I’m not together enough. “Did he say mean things to you too? I’ll beat him up!” Elly makes a “tough face” that makes me laugh. “No,” I say, “I’m fine, just thinking of ALLLL the homework I have!” I throw Elly over my shoulder and dash into the gathering room and throw her on the couch. She tries to fight back, but I know all her tickle spots.
We are still giggling and play fighting when my parents walk in with some stuffy friend. They shoot daggers in our direction. I sigh and straiten Elly and myself. They ruin everything. Elly knows what’s going on and she shifts behind me, trying not to get punished. Mom angrily mouths “Get out.” as they lead their guest into the dining room, clearly embarrassed. Why can’t I be good enough for them? What am I doing wrong? Fresh tears fall down my face and I hurry out of the house. All I know is I can’t let them see me like this. I CAN NOT let them win. Carl is startled to see me storm out of the house. I don’t want to explain. I feel so weak. “Drive,” I order as I slide into the back seat so I can hide from his all knowing gaze.
He does as I day and it makes my angrier. I hate them. Why don’t they love me? Why did I leave Eliza? Why can’t I be stronger? When we stop I look up. Carl starts rolling down the privacy window to talk to me but I can’t listen. Not now, not like this. I jump out of the car and run. I was on the track team last year, so I know I can go far. I don’t want to stop. I want to be alone.
God, please let it end. I can’t take my parents always ignoring me, treating me like a show dog to throw away as soon as someone important comes around. I want to run away. To find a real family. I sigh and slow to a walk, looking down. I couldn’t leave Eliza. She needs me. I can’t let her end up like me. I won’t. So I’ll stay, maybe when I’m 18 I’ll move out and she can live with me.
I imagine me and her roaming London, Paris, and Rome. Traveling like on TV and in movies. Finding love and adventure and happiness. She’d be so happy. I yearn for this life, but I know it won’t happen. I’m still walking briskly. I’m no longer upset, but embarrassed at the way I acted. I can’t face any of them after what I just did, not now.
I’m so far into my day dream that I don’t notice the man walking right in front of me. I run smack into him and almost fall on my face, but he catches and steadies me with a “Whoa there, you okay?” Crap, I know that voice, it’s Dominic. I sigh and look up, meeting his eyes. They light up in recognition. He smiles, teeth showing and eyes crinkling. Jealousy rips throw me like a bullet. Why can’t I be that happy?
“Hey! What are you doing out here so late alone? Where’s Carl? My mom told me why you called. I talked to Kevin. He just thought Eliza was cute and wanted to get her attention. Mom was worried that it wasn’t your parents who called, but I know it’s nothing. You just wanted to protect your sister. How is she? He didn’t do anything too mean did he?” I can never tell if he’s actually asking a question he wants me to respond to or if he’s just thinking out loud.
I keep walking swiftly, but he keeps pace with me. “I was just going for a walk. Carl will find me soon enough,” I say as we come to a bench and sit down.
I don’t know why, but him being there makes me feel a little better about the whole situation. I’m not so alone. “Hey, do you have a cell phone? I’d love to text you and hang out more. Making friends is hard and we seem to be getting along fine! It’d be nice to have someone to talk to when I’m bored,” he hands me his phone and I put in my number without saying a word.
Just then Carl pulls up and rushes up to me, enveloping me in a much needed hug. “Are you ok?” he asks frantically. “I’m fin. I’m so sorry. My parents…they just treat us like we are nothing but pawns to them. It’s infuriating. I want out, but I couldn’t leave Eliza. Maybe one day though…oh well. I’m fine now. I just want to go home and make sure Elly is ok.” I finish lamely as he ends the hug. He nods and moves towards the car, glancing at Dominic before getting in.
I spin around and see Dominic’s eyes wide. His face looks pained. It doesn’t look right on his normally happy face. I can’t help it, I blurt out “What’s wrong?” His pain makes me upset. He shakes his head. “I’ll call you.” With that he departs, but just as he turns to go, I see a tear slip down his face. What’s wrong?