Here's part 7 - I'm sorry it took me so long to submit it, but you know how it is... exams, Christmas, New Year, exams, busy, busy. Plus I didn't feel like writing in English. It gives me a headache, hehe :) Anyway, here it is now, sorry for mistakes and a HUGE thanks to everyone who have commented on my stories :)
Here's part 7 - I'm sorry it took me so long to submit it, but you know how it is... exams, Christmas, New Year, exams, busy, busy. Plus I didn't feel like writing in English. It gives me a headache, hehe :) Anyway, here it is now, sorry for mistakes and a HUGE thanks to everyone who have commented on my stories :) As it took me so long to update, here's a brief summary of what happened in previous parts:
Audrey Goth, a 17-year-old girl moved to Pleasantview with her father Jonathan Goth, who is the son of Don and Cassandra. Jonathan is happy to be back in his old hometown, but Audrey misses her friends and feels like an alien in this little place where everyone knows everyone.
Audrey and Jonathan are on their way to visit Martin (who's the son of Dina and Mortimer Goth, so Jonathan's uncle) and his family. Audrey hasn't met them before.
Enjoy! :) After 15 minutes of walking - Pleasantview really is small - we reached Martin's place. The house looked nice. And big. I felt nervous.
"Are you okay?" my father asked, ringing the doorbell and looking a bit worried.
I nodded and tried to smile. Whenever I'm surrounded by people I don't know, I get very self-conscious. I don't even know why. Maybe it's normal. Or maybe it's not and there's just something wrong with me.
I kept the smile on my face, looking at my relatives. To me, they were strangers. I didn't know the name of the woman my father was hugging. She looked...pregnant. Martin's wife, I thought, who else. The man - Martin, I supposed - was looking at me, smiling. The little girl he was holding was looking at me, too, her eyes curious. "Audrey!" the woman said my name and stepped closer to give me a hug. My father went to greet Martin.
"Welcome to our home! It's so good to see you after such a long time."
"Thanks," I mumbled.
"I'm Daniela, by the way," she added with a friendly voice, probably understanding that the last time she had seen me I'd been too young to remember her. The next one to greet me was the little red-haired girl.
"Hello, Audrey, I'm Irene," she introduced herself politely and then had about a dozen questions for me.
"Would you like to come and see my room? Do you want to play? Would you like me to play piano to you? Do you want to go outside? Do you like swimming? We have a pool!"
There was such a hopeful look in her eyes that I almost agreed to do all these things but luckily Martin came to save me. "Later, Irene," he lauged. "Audrey just arrived. Maybe you can help your mother in the kitchen with something? Go and see."
Irene sighed but did as she was asked to.
"It's nice to see you, Audrey," Martin turned to me then. "Welcome."
Daniela had prepared salmon for dinner. Usually, I didn't like fish very much, but this one was delicious. I was sitting with the others, listening to their conversation and enjoying my meal. Suddenly, Martin asked Irene to go and see what took Crystal so long. He sounded almost angry. I was surprised. Who was Crystal?
Now that I thought of it I believed I'd heard Martin asking about her earlier already, right after we had arrived.
Once again, Irene did as she was asked to. She left the table, running, and was back in 30 seconds. "She said she'll come in a minute," the little girl announced, climbing back to her chair.
"What's she doing?" Daniela wanted to know.
"I don't know," Irene simply replied, shrugging her shoulders.
Martin sighed. I was confused. "Crystal is Martin's cousin," Daniela explained. "She's living with us. I think you met her at school yesterday."
"Oh... Possible. I can't remember all the names yet." Crystal, Crystal...this name didn't sound familiar. And then I saw her. Of course I had met her at school. She was the girl who had laughed at me with her friends. I had cried because of that yesterday. Suddenly, I didn't feel so well anymore. "Crystal..." Daniela started but the blonde girl didn't let her finish.
"I know, I know," she said. "I'm sorry I'm late, but I really had some important things to do. Hello, Jonathan, welcome to our home!" "Hi, Audrey, nice to see you again," Crystal said very politely and smiled. My mouth fell open. She sounded sincere. "Aren't you going to join us?" Martin asked the girl when she went to let Gabrielle - the youngest member of the family - out of her high chair instead of taking a seat.
"No, I'm not hungry." "Crystal, we have guests."
The situation was obviously uncomfortable for Martin, and for Daniela, too. "I'm going out with Josh," the blonde girl said, not paying attendion to what Martin had just told her. "Hi, Gaby!" she added with a playful voice, picking up Gabrielle.
"Who's Josh?" Martin demanded.
"My boyfriend, of course."
"I thought David was your boyfriend."
Crystal laughed. "That was last week, Martin." "Look, Crystal," Martin got up from the table.
"I'll be back by 11 o'clock, don't worry. You'll take Baby for a walk, won't you? Thanks! Bye everyone!" Crystal said, not giving Martin a chance to add something or to argue with her, and gone she was.
There was a complete silence in the table for some time. Then Irene asked for dessert, making us laugh. Later that evening Irene wanted to play piano to us - She could play quite well for her age. I was listening to the melody she was playing, and Martin asked Daniela to dance with him. They were cute together...Their marriage looked so different from the one my father had recently ended. "Dee, do you mind if I go out with Martin? We'll go to see some places where we used to hang out when we were little...Or maybe you want to come with us?" My father asked me after some time. He was asking my permission to go out. Weird.
"No, that's ok, I'll stay here," I told him. I didn't like the idea of hanging out with my father and grand uncle Martin...I'd be the fifth wheel. "No one's listening!" Irene complained and stopped playing. She disappeared somewhere but it didn't surprise me...this house looked bigger than ours, and I'd always thought of Goth manor as a HUGE house. My father and Martin left the house, laughing and joking. They took Baby, Crystal's dog with them and promised to be back in an hour. As much as I disliked Pleasantview, it was clear that Dad was happy here. "Men," Daniela said, standing in front of the fireplace, looking at the flames. "They never grow up. Not really."
She was smiling as she softly stroke over her baby bump. "Martin wants a son. Right now it's just him against four girls."
"Crystal has been driving him mad for 17 years already," Daniela laughed, taking a seat. I took a seat, too.
"Really? So...they've always lived together?"
"Yes. Well, except the time he was away in college. How much have you heard about Martin's life, Audrey?"
"Not much," I admitted. "My grandmother didn't like talking about him." "I'm sure she had her reasons. But I can tell you some things about him if you want to know."
"I do," I assured her. "I don't know almost anything about him. I know my father was 4 when Martin was born and that Dina and my grandma...well, they didn't like each other as I've understood, so Dina moved out with Martin."
"Yes," Daniela nodded. "And when Dina died - " "What happened to Dina?" I wanted to know. I'd asked it from my father earlier but hadn't got the answer.
"Oh, it was a horrible accident..." Daniela replied. "No one knows what happened exactly. Somehow, fire started in her kitchen when Dina was cooking. It was late and Martin was already in bed..." "He woke up, hearing his mother screaming, but by the time help arrived it was already too late for Dina. Martin was lucky to survive." I studied Daniela's face as she spoke. I saw how the harmless flames in the fireplace got a new meaning in her eyes.
"Nina, Dina's twin sister, moved in after that horrible night to take care of Martin," she continued. "At that time, Nina was single and had been living alone for many years. It must have been difficult for her to accept her new role as Martin's mother. It took time for both of them to get used with the new situation." "Years passed and Martin grew into teenager. One of Nina's brief relationships had just ended when she found out she was pregnant." "Martin was 14 when Crystal was born. She's always been like a little sister to her." "What about Crystal's father?" I just had to ask. I couldn't be sure I'd get chance to ask it from someone later and I wanted to know.
Daniela didn't seem to mind answering my questions. "Her father was a rich stockbroker, an old man. He visited her often when she was a child. He died of heart attack when Crystal was 6." "Nina was a strong woman. Bringing up two kids alone couldn't have been easy but she did her best to be a good mother to Martin and Crystal." "Time passed, Martin went to college. Aging was Nina's biggest fear as Martin has told me. Her appearance had always been very important to her and years had taken it away from her." "But Nina had Crystal, her young and beautiful daughter. Crystal believes in everything that her mother believed in. That's why she is who she is now. And I might not approve everything she does but I understand, I really do." "I've been living with Crystal for 5 years now and I know how much she loved her mother. Nina passed away three years ago..."
"That's so sad..."
"It was very difficult for Crystal. But she's a strong girl. And Nina taught her well. She would be so proud of her." "Mothers are telling their sons to keep away from Crystal Caliente," Daniela laughed. I laughed with her.
We heard the oncoming footsteps too late. It was Crystal. She was home.
"How dare you, Daniela?" she shouted. "HOW DARE YOU???"
"Crystal, I didn't mean to...Let me explain," Daniela tried to calm her, getting up. "SHUT UP! I HATE YOU! I HATE ALL OF YOU!!!" Crystal ran away, sobbing. The door of her room closed with a loud bang. "Again, she only heard the last words I said, not the whole story..." Daniela sighed. I felt bad for her. She really seemed to love Crystal.
"Irene?" Daniela called. The girl was there in five seconds.
"Please keep an eye on Gaby, I need to talk to Crystal..." Standing there, I felt completely useless. The least I could do was to help Irene with keeping Gabrielle happy. Little Gaby was sooo cute. It was easy to keep a smile on her lovely little face. Daniela returned in a few minutes.
"Crystal refused to talk to me," she sighed. "Is there anything I can do?" I asked, feeling guilty. What had happened was my fault, I knew it. I had been the one who wanted to know about Martin and Crystal.
"Well," Daniela said, picking up Gabrielle, "It's time for Gaby to go to bed. If you want, you can try talking to Crystal." "But you don't have to," she added quickly. "What happened was not your fault, though you probably think it was. It's not the first time Crystal gets upset about something I say."
"But maybe she'll talk to me..." I don't know why I thought she would.
"You can try..." Daniela told me. Daniela took Gabrielle upstairs and I went to talk to Crystal. I felt I had to explain her how things were and that she had no reason to hate Daniela. I stopped in front of the door. Talking to her suddenly didn't seem such a good idea anymore. I didn't know her. She didn't know me.
I was deliberating over what to do next - whether to knock on the door or turn around - for several minutes. I decided to knock on the door.
"Crystal?" I said. "It's me, Audrey. Can I come in?"
There was no reply at first. I waited and was starting to think that this still had been a bad idea, but then I heard her saying "okay". I opened the door and stepped inside. Crystal's room was extremely...pink. So pink that it hurt my eyes to look around. How could she live here? "Wow, Crystal, your room looks really...pink"
I had to say something to explain why I was there, but this was all I could come up with.
"Thanks," she said, unimpressed. She was sitting at her computer (which was pink, of course), chatting with someone, and didn't turn to look at me. I was just standing there, not knowing what to do. Several minutes passed. Then, suddenly, Crystal got up. "Look, Audrey," she said. "I'm sorry you had to see that today." An apology was the last thing I'd expected from her. "Erm...It's fine. No need to be sorry."
She smiled. "I have problems with controlling my emotions sometimes." Right after saying these words the smile faded from her face and she looked worried. "My friends don't know...so..."
"Don't worry, I won't tell anyone."
"Thanks." We ended up sitting on the floor, chatting like old friends.
I found out that Crystal's a really nice girl. "They're back, dads are back!" Irene yelled, rushing into Crystal's room.
"Shhh, Irene, isn't Gaby sleeping? You'll wake her like that," Crystal told her in a way a big sister would.
"Oops...sorry," Irene was whispering. "I think you'll have to go home now, Audrey..." "Well, see you on Monday, then," Crystal told me with a friendly smile.
"Yes, see you at school," I smiled back, happy that I had found a new friend in such an unexpected way. Thanks for reading! :)
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