I rubbed my face as we were told to buckle our seatbelts and be ready for landing. You’d think I’d want off this plane after being in the air for 10 hours, give or take the hour I was in Texas as I changed flights. I shoved all my things into my bag from my 8 hours of being in a tin can. The lady next to me eyed me curling her lip as I accidently hit her. I rolled my eyes at her as the wheels touched down on the tarmac. I yawned as we got to the gate and the doors were opened for us to leave. “Welcome to sunny Hawaii. Have a good stay.” The stewardess smiled as I grabbed my bag slipping it over my shoulder waiting to get off. I pulled out my cellphone turning it on.
“Anastasia, wait for Danny and his son.” My mother said texting on her blackberry. I never understand her. We’re moving today so she is in a pencil skirt and 5 inch heels. I shook my head crossing my arms.
“Did you have a good flight, Darling?” Danny asked holding his and Matty’s bags waking over to us. He kissed Mom getting an ‘hmmm’ as she focused on her phone.
“I enjoyed the book you gave me.” I pulled it out of my bag giving it to him.
“Glad.” He smiled taking my bag off my shoulder as well as we started to walk to the exit. Matty was telling me about the movies he watched and the video game Danny had bought him before we left.
“You’ll have to play with me sometime. When we get home.” He nodded taking my hand as his father rearranged all the bags.
“I can take mine back, I’m sure it’s heavy.” Danny shook his head laughing.
“Matty’s weighs more than yours.” Matty shrugged smiling as Danny pulled out his cellphone to call whoever is picking us up.
“Danny, honey, I’m going to go with a friend. She wants coffee and they want to meet up.” She kissed his cheek. “See you later.” His mouth dropped as she just walked away from us. “What the…”
“First she’s here and then she’s gone. Nothing new there.” I rolled my eyes.
“She does that a lot?” He blinked as his phone beeped.
“More than you’d ever guess.” I sighed as a car pulled up in front of us. Danny shook his head.
“Ana, this is one of my close friends I’ve known for a long time. Ana meet Taylor Andrews, Taylor my stepdaughter Ana.” I smiled at Mr. Andrews.
“Nice to meet you Sir.” I nodded at him as Danny put our bags in the back of the truck. I buckled in looking out the window as Matty continued to chatter to Danny as I looked down at my phone hoping to get an answer for the text I sent before we left in Texas.
“Annie, you aren’t listening.” Matty growled at me. I looked at him shaking my head.
“I’m enjoying the view.” I shoved my phone into my pocket sighing. He sulks in his car seat as Danny talked to Mr. Andrews making Matty frown. I put a game on my phone handing it to him making him smile and play.
“Hey, Ana, do you think you can take him to get some ice cream or something? I want to get the house ready in silence.” I nodded.
“Sure.” Mr. Andrews pulled up to a little shopping center.
“I’ll come pick you two up. Call me when you’re done.” I nodded opening the door as Matty crawled out. I took the money from Danny as I ran after Matty. We went to a frozen yogurt place where you choose your own toppings. I had to make sure Matty didn’t take everything and put it on his frozen yogurt. He shoved it all in his mouth smiling at me. I shook my head at him as my cell phone vibrated in my pocket. I pulled it out looking at the message.
**New Message** Good to hear from you Baby. I’ll be able to find you a guy in no time. Just remember I want my pay. Call me soon -Z**
“Who is it?” Matty asked as the yogurt dripped down his chin.
“No one Bubba.” I picked up a napkin and wiped his face making him giggle. “You done?” I asked him eating the last of my fruit from my bowel. I didn’t feel like eating yogurt so I just got some fruit.
“Yup.” He wiped his mouth as I messaged Danny telling him we’re done. I look at the text message I got before.
** Thanks. I’ll call you tonight. Love, Ana**
“Hey Kids.” I looked up as Danny pulls up next to us in his car that got here last night. I sat silently in the passenger seat while Matty told his father about all he had. I watch the houses go by as we pulled up to the base we are now going to be living in. I have my new ID in my wallet making me safe to travel in and out when I want, and safe from being taken into custody for being on U.S. Marine property. I lean my head on the cool glass of the window next to me. I’ve moved more times in my 17 years than most adults. But I’ve never been on a Military base, other than the time I was visiting West Point when I lived in New York with one of my many Step-Fathers. I watched as we got through the base security before getting in. The houses went by one looking just like the other but each having its own flare of life in it.
“Daddy, what’s for dinner?” Matty asked as we pulled up into the driveway of what I’m thinking is our new home. It’s small but big enough that we’d all fit in comfortably. I know deep down Mom is not going to like this house. She like big houses, ones where we could live in it and not see each other. I wonder what her reaction is going to be when she sees this one. Nothing like our last house in Ohio.
“I was thinking about just ordering a pizza.” He looked at me. “That okay with you?” I blinked at him wordlessly. He’s asking me if it’s okay? That’s a first.
“Uh, yeah, that’s fine.” I shook my head trying to clear it. I got out as Matty went right in. Are all the houses like this? Or does he just know the house already. I pushed my glasses on top of my head going to the back to grab my bag.
“Do you think you can help Matt unpack his room? Everything is labeled with post-its. Your room has all the boxes in it as well. I got most of his room done when you were out but I need to work on the rest of the house-” I nodded at him.
“Yeah, sure.” But he didn’t hear me.
“I know you want to be alone even after flying all this way.”
“Danny, really, it’s fine.” I picked up Matty’s bag slipping it over mine.
“Really? Thanks Ana, this move is just stressful.” He sighed making me raise my eyebrows. “I thought your mother was going to be here to help move into our first house together.” I sighed. He’s just too good for her.
“I’m sorry, Danny. I’ll help if you want.” He shook his head.
“I don’t mind the work, it’s really the thought.” I frown at him.
“My mom isn’t a thoughtful person. Don’t expect much, you’ll just get let down.” I walked into the house as Matty looked around. “Come on Bub, into your room. Time to unpack.” I called to Matty reading at the post-its posted around the house to keep it organized. Damn, Danny is good at this. I dropped my bag off in my room before heading across the hall. In Matty’s room most of his things are already unpacked. He doesn’t have much furniture but I didn’t expect him too, he’s only 4. He has his bed with his sheets and blanket folded neatly on top of the mattress next to his bare pillows. His bed rail is already installed. His rug is in place on the floor and his clothes are folded on the floor out of the box next to the dresser. All we really have to do is unpack his toys and books and put them on his bookshelf and organizer unit. I opened the boxes and had Matty take his toys out and put them in the right boxes in his organizer unit. He did just that with the look of concentration as I put his clothes away and made his bed.
“Done, Annie.” He smiled as I finished putting the books on the shelves.
“Pizza’s here.” Danny called making Matty run as I took the empty boxes out of the room. “I’ll take those.” He smiled taking the boxes having me grab the plate he had in his hand. “Eat up.” I ate my slice as my phone went off in my pocket. I took it out ignoring the call putting it back into my pocket. I put my plate in the garbage as Matty focused on some TV show. “Now hungry?” Danny asked as he came back into the room.
“Yeah, maybe I’ll have another one later. I’m going to go unpack my room.” I walked into my room closing the door leaning my head against it. Everything is different and my mind is elsewhere.
**New Message** Are you ignoring me, Ana? I’m a busy man here and don’t take kindly to disrespect. Don’t piss me off, but you already know that. Call me –Z**
I sighed pulling off my top shirt sitting down on my unmade bed. My bed was like Matty’s, sheets and blanket in a pile with my pillows next to it. When I’m alone, I’m in my own world. I down have to worry about anyone judging me. I’m just….me. I can be comfortable to see my tattoos and now want to harass my mother. Not that she’d care. I rubbed at my hip at the two guns on both hips. Not many people know about me, truly know me.
“Ana, can you unpack-” Danny gaped at the ink on my body making my face drain of color. Crap.