June 21 1996
The tiny little girl, more like a doll than an eight year old child was hidden in the cramped little hidey-hole. She looked so delicate, so pale in her black ruffled dress. It was a beautiful summer day, belaying the fact that this little girl's world had just fallen apart.Inside those shiny, dark caskets rested the bodyof her mother, and her father. Her eight year old mind could still not grasp the concept that she would never feel her mother's silky blond hair as she sung her to sleep, or hear her father's deep, gruff laugh. She knew she was supposed to beseated beside her brother on thosewooden benches, listening to the priest talkabout how her mother and father would find their way to heaven, because god needed them. But she didn't want them to go to heaven, she needed them way more than god did.And with this thought a few warm tears scalded her icy skin before she could hold them back.Herlittle button nose, red from the cold air,tried to sniff back the water works.She tried to hold in the noisejust in case anyone caught on to the fact that she was in here.HerAunt Trudy would be very angry if she caught her in here. It wasn't proper etiquette.She really didn't want to go live with Aunt Trudy, but her parents lawyer said she had to. She wanted to live with the Huntington's they were very nice, and she loved playing with their two daughters.Plus all Aunt Trudy wanted to do was make her ``mind her manners`` and she loved to pinch her cheeks. As she thought about her Aunts overly perfumed hands gripping her soft cheeks, her tiny little face scrunched up into a ferocious frown, and her tiny little fingers gripped the sides of the wooden cupboard she was hidden in, even tighter.
``Wow there tiger!You look quite angry.Want to tell me what's got you in such a fury little darling?``She heard a pubescent boys voice say, followed by the view of his face as he bent down to makeit level with hers.
As soon as she raised her aqua blue eyes to his hazel ones her previous mask of twisted discomfort turned into a dazzling smile as she matter of factly said:``Lulu is that really you? I missed you. Do you want to know something? Aunt Trudy's daughter, Melissa, makes me play dollies with her. Isn't that horrible?``
Lucas Huntington couldn't help but laugh at her horrified expression, Alex was truly a tom boy.From the top of her tangled main of caramel colored hair to the tips of her grubby little toes. Although he noticed that today none of that was in evidence, she looked all polished and poised in her black ruffled dress and Mary-Jane shoes. Aunt Trudy's work most likely, if her tortured expression was any indication.He then said in a serious voice, which belied the sparkle in his eyes:``Now,now young miss, young ladies are always supposed to take part in very ladylike activities such as playing with dollies and sipping tea while talking about the latest fashions aren't I right?``
She caught on immediately and played right along, adopting a rather snobby English accent:``Oh why of course my dear Sir Huntington, I would never dare do any such thing as unladylike as even drinking a coke, or speaking of sports, such disgusting dirty things they are my dear, dear sir. How could you even ever think of me as such a girl. It's disgraceful! But playing dollies well that, dear sir is for ladies-in-training, but me ,well I am a great ladyof 8.`` She finally finished barely able to keep in her laughter because everything she had just said was pretty much false.
He then gave her a quizzical look and asked her:``Why Miss are you sure that's you, and not perhaps Alexandria's good twin. Yes,yes the more I think about it the more I am convinced .I mean just look at your finger nails; not a speck of dirt underneath them, my Alex always has dirt under hers. And your hair is so neat and shiny; the Alex I know has the messiest hair ever.Then there's that dress,``he continued in a disapproving tone``Alex never ever,not in a million years wears any dresses. So now there's only one question to be asked where is Alex, and do I have to tickle you so I can find out?``
She had been giggling when he mentioned her imaginary ``twin`` but the minute he mentioned tickling, her face darkened with nervousness. Alex was frighteningly ticklish, and Lucas knew that, Alex could just tell by looking at his devilish grin. So as he moved in closer wiggling his fingers tauntingly she whisper shouted, ``No! Lulu you can't. If you do I'll laugh so hard that aunt Trudy will find me, then she'll scold me and then I'll have to go sit back down on those awful, hard benches. Worst of all I'll have to listen to that old man talk about my parents. My dead parents! He doesn't even know them.``
Lucas had known Alex Cruise since she was 2 and he was 6. Long enough to detect that she was on the verge of tears. He then did what any other honorary big brother would do, and gently grasped her by the waste bringing her against his chest. As she sobbed into his tuxedo jacket his hand came up and smoothed her silky hair. Every heart wrenching sob caused his heart strings to tug in empathy for her. He couldn't imagine losing both his parents in the same fatalaccident.And top of all herrecent sorrows she would have to go livewith that atrocious holier than thou aunt Trudy.Her sobs had been minimized to little sniffles now. Itmade him sad to see how broken she looked, at the tender age of 8.As she looked up into his facewith watery gem blue eyes he felt a distinct urge to do something for her, and her brother Aaron. Him and Aaron had been best friends since they were born, and he owed him.His sharp thirteen year old mind then worked hard to find a solution to this intimidating problem looming over them. And then a very distinct thought formed in his mind;he might not be able to bring backher family, but he could offer her a semblance of a new one. Theirfamilies hadbeen friends for so long, that it seemed thatthey had melded into one. Everyonewas surprisedwhen it turnedout that the willhad given guardianship, to Alex'sdads sister.Alexandher brother Aaron, wherejust like his parent's kids, it was just amatter of legalizing it, and convincingTrudy. With enough money offered Trudy wouldprobably backoff, and he already knew hisparents would do it.He would try his best.But right nowhe had a biggerproblem on his hands;the sad little girl who was in desperate need of comfort.
So he looked down intoher upturned, tear stained faceand soothinglysaid, ``It's ok June bug, everything's going to be okay. You're going to come live with me, and Angel, and Muse.You'renever going to have to have to playdollies again, or listen to auntTrudy.``
And just like that, as shelooked up into his already handsome face, he was transformedinto the fairy tailprince she had always secretly dreamedof.
``Am I going to have to wear dresses?`` sheasked in aslightlynervous tone.
``Oh no mylittle June bug, no more dresses ever again.`` Hesaid grinningat her with straight white teeth.
She responded witha dazzling smile of her own. She was melting inside though.
That was the day Alexandria AcadiaCruise fell in love with LucasJames Huntington.
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