Ransom Her Luck
Chapter 1: Her Luck Is Her Downfall
Her smile. That smile, everything about the way she moved was mesmerizing. An Angel that was stuck between realms - or merely a mirage. That was the only way to describe Aranea Faith. A sight in which God himself could have created.
Her features made women envy and men stare. She was a truly beautiful person.
"Thank you so much for shopping at Creston's, please come again Mrs. Wiseman," She addressed the elder lady, letting her hand slip above the lotto counter and bring down a few scratch offs, handing them to the old woman. "These are on me, you look like you need a little bit of luck today - with your car troubles and all. How much did you say you needed to fix it?" Aranea continued, watching the woman's face slump a little.
"Thank you dear but I don't think a few three dollar scratch offs are going to change my luck any. Not enough to fix twelve hundred worth at least." Mrs. Wiseman said but took the three tickets the younger girl offered. It couldn't hurt.
"You never know Mrs. W. Just keep smiling, if you do that I have no doubt your luck will get better." Aranea countered, watching the old woman eye the tickets.
"Go on and scratch them, but smile when you do it. Never forget that. It's a secret I've learned." Aranea told her, touching the old woman's hand, smiling as she did.
Mrs. Wiseman smiled a little and returned the gesture.
"You're a sweet girl Aranea, thank you."
With that said, Mrs. Wiseman walked towards the door, the tickets still clutched in her hand.
Without any more thought she took the nine dollars from her pocket and put it in the register, unaware of the guy by the lottery machine who had been watching the whole thing.
"That was nice of you to do that. I don't see too many people like you anymore - none that I've had the pleasure of meeting anyhow."
Aranea jumped slightly, looking over across the small convenience store before smiling again.
"Sorry, I didn't see you there. Actually, I didn't even see you come in," She apologized glancing to the tickets above her head and selecting a pink one, handing it out toward the young guy. "I wouldn't play the machine, no winners coming up for at least half the packs. From my experience of watching people play. Try this one, bet you'll have some luck."
The guy smiled, walking over to the counter, taking it from her hand and handing her the money for it.
"Let's see if you're right." He chided, setting it on the counter and beginning to scratch it off.
As he got to the bottom he saw the starfish, which means he had won the prize next to it automatically.
"I won, let's see if it's more than face value." He murmured, scratching the prize off.
Aranea smiled knowingly as the guy stepped back slightly in shock.
"You really have a knack for good guess work on tickets. I just won a hundred dollars," The man murmured in slight disbelief, looking back to the girl. "You sure are lucky."
"Luck isn't really my trait." The girl told him, turning back to the door as it burst open.
"I won! I-I…it, the ticket!" Mrs. Wiseman exclaimed, going over to Aranea and slamming two of the three down onto the table for her to see.
Aranea chuckled, seeing ticket thirty-three and thirty-five. Fifteen hundred was plastered on each ticket, totaling three thousand dollars.
"I see you did the smile technique I told you about. This man here just won a hundred. Guess it's everyone's lucky day." Aranea chuckled, watching the elder woman glance at her awkwardly.
"Not everyone, you haven't played yet." The man spoke up, handing the ticket back for her to cash.
Aranea shook her head.
"Nah, bad omen. I play for others, not for myself. People can use the money more than I could." Aranea dismissed, waving her hand before handing the guy his winnings back.
The guy handed her a five from it and pointed to one of the tickets.
"I insist you play at least one ticket." The man told her, watching her frown.
"I-It really is against policy." She insisted, looking to the both of them.
The man shrugged.
"Tough, now choose a ticket - and not any of the tickets we've played." He insisted as Mrs. Wiseman stood watching.
Aranea shrugged and pulled down one of the tickets that had been sitting there for a while that no one's played.
She scratched it off before walking over to the trash to throw it in but the man caught the numbers on it and called her back over.
"Nice try, I saw the numbers. How much?" He demanded, watching her shoulders slump slightly.
"I don't know but I told you it's a bad omen, I really don't want or need the money. There are others who need it more." Aranea insisted, turning back to him and handing him the ticket.
He scratched the prizes off the two slots won.
"I'll be damned…" The man trailed off in shock, looking to her.
"I don't want to know, whatever it is take it - cash it, donate it, I don't care but I don't want to know," Aranea insisted, turning her back on the two occupants - wiping her hands on her pants legs. "Bad omen, don't need any more bad luck in my life."
The man showed the ticket hesitantly to the old woman who nearly fell over backwards from shock.
"Wow - Aranea, hun? I really think you should take this ticket. I really think -" She cut herself off when the girl started shaking her head.
"No, you take it Mrs. W…or he can but I don't want to know." She insisted, grabbing a broom and beginning to sweep the floor.
The man looked to the old woman and shrugged, handing her the ticket.
"It really is your lucky day. Go on and take it, get a new car - twenty thousand -,"he started but cut himself off when the girl stiffened. "Have a good day Mrs. Wiseman." He finished with a smile, picking up her tickets and placing them on top of the newer one the girl had scratched.
"God bless…" The woman trailed off speechless, grabbing the tickets and turning to walk out the door once more.
The guy chortled, placing the ninety-five dollars in his pocket and facing the counter.
"You're a special girl Aranea." The guy noted, seeing the girl chuckle.
"Hardly. I told you, luck isn't my trait. I prefer a different term." She told him absently, her task now on sweeping.
"And what pray tell would that be?" The guy asked on skeptically.
He snorted in response.
"I don't know about cursed Miss. Aranea but a word to the wise - I'd be careful of the company you help. Not all of them will appreciate it. Some will use it to their advantage." He warned her, taking his leave toward the door but stopped hearing her reply.
"Trust me, I know." She told him shortly as he took his leave, letting the girl get back to work.
Damien Foxx got back into his car, his mind abuzz with new thoughts - but different feelings. He looked down at the money in disgust. It didn't feel right to have, it didn't feel natural. It did feel good though, an accomplishment almost - he had won and he needed to pick up dinner for the poker game tonight for his friends that were coming over…and the money would help with that. So in a sense he won it for that purpose.
"There's a reason for everything," He justified, stuffing the money back into his pocket and looking out toward the store again. "There's a reason for you."
His voice trailed off in a whisper before starting the car and driving away.
Aranea let her mind wander, she was left feeling empty…almost void after the encounter with the stranger. He caused something in her to stir and she had no idea what - only that it left her with a sense of unease.
"Who are you?" She asked herself aloud, watching his car ride off into the distance, turning right and heading out of sight.
Her thoughts didn't have long to stray as another customer came in.
"Hi, welcome to Creston's -" She began, her voice cutting off rather quickly when she realized who it was.
She felt the air around her grow colder.
"Not you again." She sighed, looking up from the floor to the front entrance to see a man, no older than the one who had just left.
Aranea frowned seeing the gun he was pointing at her.
"Hello Aranea." The guy greeted pleasantly, walking over toward the counter and leaning casually against it.
"Hey Ryder, it's been a while huh?" She kept her voice pleasant, forcing a smile.
He returned it.
"Yes, it has," He agreed, his eyes going to the tickets. "I need money and I'm thinking you could help me out. How's about a date tonight? You, me, a candlelight stroll on the beach - near the casino…" He flirted, putting the gun away and smiling brightly.
Aranea pondered the idea for a brief second, knowing he would find a way to get what he wanted.
"How much do you need Ryder? I want as little contact with you as possible - if it means getting you the money to leave me alone then I'll do it but -"
She watched his eyes darken.
"That stung a little, A."
"I don't want you near me. I tend to become extremely unlucky around you - you use me Ry, how else would you expect me to react? Now how much do you need?" She demanded, seeing his eyes glint.
"Six hundred million. Like I said, I'll see you tonight. If you don't show up…you know what will happen." Ryder warned, turning his back and walking out - leaving Aranea to stare at him agape.
"S-six hundred MILLION? That boy is out of his fucking mind!" She yelled out in frustration before banging her hand on the counter.
"A curse…this is a curse." She murmured, a scowl returning to her beautiful features.