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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Hoping to appease 7 & 8 of book 2

I am the worst blogger ever, I'm sure. My life, at this point, is just so busy! I've been out of town and not thinking about blogging!! Anyway, tomorrow is my youngest's birthday and I am planning a lovely Alice in Wonderland party. I shall have to post more on this later. I've made dresses for the red queen and the white queen (my 2 eldest) and the little one shall be Alice. The table is lovely with tea ware and linens. Well, as I said I'll post more on that later....... For now I shall be good and post more of my book for you. Here are chapters 7 & 8!

7New York
    As she walked back toward her room, she encountered Scott in the courtyard. “I was looking for you, Babe. We’ve got to go. The car is already here to pick us up,” he said. “Oh, ok. My stuff is all ready, I was just mailing a letter,” she replied. They said their good-byes to the staff of HtW and went out to the street. Rachel was surprised to see a black sedan waiting for them. Scott seemed a little nervous about what was ahead of him. “Are you ok?” she asked him. “Yeah, it’s just that it’s been three years since I was home. I’m not super excited about going to work for my dad again, but I know that it’s what I need to do,” he answered. She began to notice that they were not going to the regular Miami airport, but decided not to bug Scott about it. They eventually pulled into the same private airport where Sam had his plane. Scott finally explained to her, “Dad sent his jet to pick us up. He didn’t want me flying home commercial.” “Oh,” she said simply. The small aircraft was even nicer than Sam’s plane and she was in awe. She had wanted to read on the flight to New York, but kept getting distracted by the opulence of the plane. Scott leaned over and said, “You know, we should be enjoying this time alone.” He kissed her and stroked her face. She knew that as soon as they arrived in New York their lives would be turned upside down. “We will get you settled into your apartment first,” he said later. She started to get anxious about meeting Scott’s dad. He sounded like such a formidable character. She decided whatever he was like, it would be better than her family. No sooner had she settled in, they began their decent to the private airport where the Fillman plane was kept. A black suv was waiting for them near the hangar. As they stepped off the plane, Spencer Fillman came out of the car. He was handsome for his age and obviously wore a hand tailored suit that fit him perfectly. “Don’t worry, I’ve told him everything about you,” he told her as they approached him. Airport workers unloaded their luggage and brought them to the back of the suv. He walked up to Rachel first as a gentleman would and extended his hand. “Hello, you must be Rachel!” She was shocked to hear his Australian accent since Scott didn’t have a drop of an accent. “Yes sir, you must be Mr. Fillman,” she said nervously. “Please, call me Spencer. I’m so delighted that my son found you,” he said. “Oh, thank you. We are glad we are going to be with you now,” she said as politely as possible. Finally, Spencer turned to his son and embraced him, “Welcome home, son. Well, shall we?” They loaded into the suv and the driver moved briskly toward the city. “Dahling, I hope you find your apartment to be satisfactory. I’ve done my best to prepare it for you and anticipating what you will need,” he said to Rachel. “I’m sure it will be wonderful,” she said.
    Wonderful didn’t adequately describe Spencer’s apartment. He had ordered it to be completely re-decorated in a country style fitting for Rachel. He had installed a computer with internet and also a laptop for her school work. The refrigerator and pantry were fully stocked. The view from the windows was incredible. She knew this apartment would cost a ton of money if it had been leased to someone else; but he was letting her stay here free. “I...I don’t know how to thank you enough, Mr. Fi……I mean Spencer,” she said. “Ah, but I’m not done. I’m on the board at NYU and I’ve gotten you a scholarship. You start in the fall; if that is what you want to do,” he said. She was shocked and stood there for a moment with her mouth open. “That is amazing! Thank you so much! I don’t know how I can ever repay you, but I hope to be a good wife to your son. Perhaps that will be a good trade?” He smiled and nodded. “Well, you don’t owe me anything. I’m just happy to have Scott and you here. Now, we are going to take his things back to my home and then we will come and get you for dinner at seven.” There was no negotiating with Spencer, so she just nodded. As they were going out the door, she heard him say, “Son, I like her a lot. I see why you have fallen in love.” She was relieved and felt that she could now relax for a moment. She took her things to the bedroom. It had a king size bed with beautiful floral bedding. She wanted to bounce on it, but thought that wouldn’t be a good idea. The closet was the size of her whole room at HtW. She hung up her few belongings and thought that they looked a bit pathetic in that enormous closet. She pulled out one of the dresses that Sam had bought for her, found an iron, and pressed it. She thought that she ought to dress up for Spencer. Since she had no idea where they were going to eat, she could only picture the restaurants that Sam had enjoyed. She picked out a pair of heels to match and then went in the luxurious bathroom. There was a vanity with a cushioned chair where she could do her hair. She had a few items of makeup and did her best to apply them. She twisted her hair up into a neat bun and then put on a necklace. She looked at herself in the full length mirror and thought, “My parents would never recognize me.” She went out to the living area to look out the windows until Scott and Spencer returned. The busyness of the city fascinated her and she thought she could watch people forever. After just a few minutes, however, her door bell rang and the men were back to collect her. She opened the door and Scott’s mouth dropped open. “Wow! You look amazing!” he said. Spencer just smiled and then remembered something, “Oh Dahling, I forgot to give you the keys! Here is your set. This one if for the door downstairs and this one is for this door.” He handed her the keys and she memorized them before sticking them in her purse. “Alrighty, then, let’s be on our way,” he said as he walked at a good clip toward the elevator. Rachel locked her door and then took Scott’s arm. They joined Spencer on the waiting elevator and it tickled her tummy as it descended. The same suv was waiting out on the street and it navigated the busy streets like an elephant in grassland. She was relieved to see that she had guessed correctly at the proper attire for their dinner. They were escorted to “his” table in the elegant, dimly lit Italian restaurant. After they had ordered, Spencer cleared his throat and pulled out his smart phone, “I want to get my calendar set up for the coming year. So, now, have you two set a date for the wedding?” Scott said, “No, not yet. We need to see how her schooling and my job acclimation go.” Spencer smiled, “That’s wise, son. Good way to plan. Rachel will start in just a few weeks. My assistant will take you there tomorrow for enrollment, by the way. She can also take care of shopping for books, supplies, and clothes, and anything else you might need. Don’t even think about objecting; you’re going to be my daughter and I want to give you everything you need.” Their bread and wine arrived at the table and briefly paused their conversation. Rachel had never even tried wine before and was a bit reluctant. Scott whispered, “Just sip a little. You kind of have to get used to it.” She was glad he was taking care of her and she did as he said. After Spencer’s thirst was sated he continued with his speech, “Scott you will start work on Monday. I’ve cleared out the office next to mine and my assistant has lined up some jobs for you to do. Oh, and your brother will be getting out of the army in September. He thinks he can just do free lance photography and journalism when he returns, but I’m sure he will have a rude awakening. Let’s see, we also have a fund raiser dinner in November, but we can talk about that later.” He finished and dug into a piece of bread and the salad that was put in front of him. Rachel stared at her plate feeling like she had been kicked in the chest. “How on earth could he have not told me he has a brother?” she thought. She didn’t want to look at either of the men and show them her shock. After a few moments of silence, Spencer’s phone rang. “Excuse me, I need to get this,” he said as he rose from his chair and went to the front of the restaurant. Rachel looked at Scott and asked him, “Why is it you didn’t tell me you had a brother?” “Gosh, sweetie, it’s a long story. Can I please tell you about it after dinner?” he pled. She nodded and he was glad she agreed because Spencer was back at the table in less than two minutes. They finished eating quickly since there wasn’t much talking going on. Scott asked to be dropped off with Rachel because he wanted to spend some time with her. They went up to her apartment and she took off her uncomfortable shoes. She was trying to make herself busy to avoid feeling like Scott had betrayed her. He finally took her in his arms and led her to the couch. He sighed deeply and then began his story. “My love, I know this will probably sound like I’m being childish, but I want you to hear my whole story before you judge me. My older brother Danny was born competitive. He thinks that I was born just so he could have someone to beat at everything. He took my toys when I was a kid; he competed with my accomplishments and took my girlfriends when I was in high school. I went to a different university just to get away from him and he transferred! He is the popular guy that everybody likes and nobody knows. A year before I left for HtW, I told dad and Danny about it. Dad was impressed that I was going to “save the world.” Danny couldn’t stand it that Dad was pleased with me. He went out a month later and joined the army. Now, I’ve come home and look, he is coming home, too. And, I’d bet my life he is going to try to steal you away from me. It won’t matter that we are engaged. God knows why he has to beat his little brother at everything, but I just wish he would get a new life purpose. I’ve told Dad about it, but he won’t say anything. Equality and all that. Anyway, that’s why I didn’t tell you about him. It’s a rather sore spot for me and I think I would just lose it if he stole you from me.” He searched her face for a moment. She thought for a few minutes and then replied, “Scott, I love you more than anyone I’ve ever loved in my life. This will not come between us, but next time, just tell me about it anyway. I will feel more prepared to face this with you. He sounds exactly like the kind of guy that I don’t like.” Tears of relief rolled down his cheeks and he held her tight for a long time that night.
    The next day she woke up early and got ready to go meet NYU. She had just eaten some toast when the door bell rang. A lovely woman in her forties stood at the door with her hand extended, “Hello, I’m Kathryn. I’m Spencer’s assistant and I will be taking you to NYU today. It’s so nice to meet you. I’ve known Scott since he was young.” “Yeah, it’s nice to meet you, too. I’m sure that I will really appreciate knowing you in this family,” Rachel replied. Kathryn smiled and then hurried Rachel out the door. There was a dark blue sedan with tinted windows waiting for them out front. “Washington Square,” Kathryn said as soon as they were seated. Rachel thought she would go crazy and start dancing when she saw the university. She felt that she was entering a time machine that would take her from the last century, where she had lived her whole life, to the present day. Kathryn was all business at the school and acted as though she had done a good deal of research for her role as Rachel’s guardian through the enrollment process. They were finished in a couple of hours and went to find their driver. They did a little shopping, went for lunch, and then went shopping some more. Rachel really liked Kathryn and could see why Spencer had kept her for so many years. She took Rachel back to her apartment and helped Rachel program her phone number, as well as Scott and Spencer, into her phone. Rachel sat reading over her classes and schedule for a while. She felt like a little girl who had been given the best doll in the world. As the sun started to set, her door bell rang. She dropped her books and schedules and went to answer the door. Scott was there with a big smile. “Hello, Babe, I hear you are a full-fledged college student. I think I need to kiss the new student.” He came through the door and swooped her up in her arms. She let him kiss her for a few minutes, and then drug him to the couch excited to show him her class schedule. He programmed her schedule into his phone and then asked if he could continue his former pursuits. “Well, do we need to talk about our wedding?” she asked. He raked his hand across the back of his neck and sighed, “Sweetie, I think we need to wait until we know what your classes are going to require of you and I haven’t even started back to work with Dad yet. I’m going to need time to settle in there. Let’s just wait until we can see some light at the end of the tunnel. Ok?” She smiled and nodded, but inwardly was beginning to worry that their wedding would be put off indefinitely. He was starting to kiss her again, when his phone rang. “Ugh, it’s Dad,” he said. After a lot of “uhuh” and “ok,” he hung up. “Dad wants us to meet him for dinner at our house,” he explained.
    Finally, Rachel got to ride in a yellow cab. Scott didn’t like to use the family drivers and believed in supporting the New York City icon. Rachel was excited and disappointed when they arrived at Spencer’s home in just a few minutes. He owned a super pricey brownstone and Rachel tried hard not to gawk. Spencer wanted to know all about her classes and schedule and her general thoughts on NYU. Once that was thoroughly discussed, they really had nothing else to talk about. She was bored and hated the way Scott was so uncomfortable around his father. True to herself, she stayed smiley and polite the whole evening. He accompanied her home, but was very grave and silent. “Do you want me to walk you up?” he asked. “Oh, no, that’s alright. You look tired and I’ll be fine,” she answered. He gave her a little kiss and she got out of the car. “Wow, I hope I don’t have to do that often!” she thought.
    The weeks before school started went by at a snail’s pace. Rachel was sick of waiting around her apartment for a phone call or visit from Scott. Two weeks before classes Kathryn came up to see her. “Let’s see, I’m in a hurry, but let me explain these to you. This blue card is your meal card for the café at the university. There is enough on there for lunches for the whole semester. This silver one is your own credit card. Use it for anything you want or need. Mr. Fillman has given you a 5,000 a month allowance on that card. I’m sure you can figure out how to use them. Well, I must be off. Call me if you need anything.” Kathryn was already out the door as she finished speaking. Rachel held the plastic cards in her hands for a long time. She still wondered why Spencer was so generous with her. “Perhaps he is testing me,” she thought. She put the cards in her purse and looked over at her new backpack longingly. Then she had a wonderful thought, “A library!” She looked online and there were no libraries within walking distance of her apartment, but there was a large bookstore. So, she thought she could go to the bookstore and read and only purchase what she knew she would read over and over. The store was fantastic and two stories wall to wall with books. She wanted to touch every one of them and had no clue where to start. She thought of her upcoming dive into the life of a college student and thought perhaps they would have some books on proper assimilation. With the help of a rude salesperson, she found the right section and began perusing the selections. She found a couple of candidates, bought a coffee, and settled into a quiet corner of the store outfitted with a plush chair. The information in the books was quite overwhelming and she spent more than an hour deciding which one she wanted. As she was checking out her phone rang. It was Scott. She chatted with him while trying to complete her transaction, to the chagrin of the cashier. “Sorry!” she whispered when he handed her the receipt. She glanced at a display to the left of the cash registers and gasped. “What? What’s wrong?” Scott asked. “I don’t believe this, but I think my former sister-in-law is a famous published author. There is a big display here with her picture and it says Anna Nathan. That’s her maiden name,” she said in shock. She went over and thumbed through the book. “Hmm, it says she will be here in a few weeks to do a signing. I just have to come back for that!” she exclaimed. “Hey, do you want to just come to my apartment for dinner? I’ll make you something yummy!”she said. He agreed and she hung up the phone. She hurried back to her apartment to see what she could make with the gourmet food that had been stocked in her pantry. She was trying to learn to cook with less fat and was watching cooking shows almost daily. She knew that her family ate very fatty food and she couldn’t eat that way since she no longer worked on the farm. She studied the refrigerator and the pantry for a while and settled on oven fried chicken, wild rice, and broiled asparagus. She was busy cooking when Scott arrived, so he let himself in. They spent a happy, peaceful evening together. They chatted a little about his work, but he didn’t particularly care to talk about it. She could tell he was unhappy, but he was determined to be a good son. She asked him what he thought about everything Spencer had done for her and the large monthly allowance. “I honestly don’t know what he is up to with all of that. I’m sure you will be smart about it and make him proud,” he said. She washed up the dishes and they settled into the couch to enjoy each other’s company for a while. Before he left he took both her hands and said entreatingly, “Rachel, promise me you won’t let my brother or anybody at the university steal you from me. Promise me, ok? I love you more than anything and I’m afraid for this stage in our lives. It’s all so uncertain.” She wanted to tell him that they should just go ahead and get married and the uncertainty would be gone, but she simply replied, “I promise.” He kissed her passionately and then left. She didn’t like the uncertainty either, but convinced herself to focus on her studies.
    The time for her first university classes finally arrived and in her excitement she was a half an hour early for her first class. From the start, she was the eager beaver on the front row that everyone dislikes because it makes them look bad. She took copious notes in each class even though she noticed everyone else recording classes on their tablet pc’s. She abhorred math, but gave it due diligence since it was required to graduate. Scott met her in the café on her fifth day of classes. “So, how’s my university student?” he asked and then batted her pony tail. She smiled and said, “Great! This is so fun. I’ve learned a lot and it’s only my first week! I do have a bunch of homework to do this weekend, though.” They ate lunch and she told him more about each of her classes. She felt a little nervous, knowing that he had already been through the whole university experience several years ago. After a while he looked at his watch and said, “Well, I’d love to stay here with you, but I’ve got to get back to work.” “You sure look handsome in that suit,” she said and then kissed him good bye. She walked across the campus for her last class of the day. The weeks began to fly by as she kept up with a heavy class load, homework, and other reading.
    One Saturday as she sat down to do her homework, her bookmark fell on the floor. She leaned over to retrieve it and remembered, “Oh goodness, today is Anna’s signing!” She scooped up her purse and ran to the elevator. Once she was inside the bookstore, she was shocked at the long line waiting for a signature from Anna. She stood on her tip-toes until she got a glimpse of her former sister-in-law. She was gorgeous. Her hair was long and styled and she wore a very fashionable outfit. She was calm and friendly as she signed the numerous books shoved in her face. Rachel waited in line over an hour before she remembered that she didn’t even have a book for Anna to sign. Thankfully, the guy in front of her gave up on ever getting his book signed. “May I please have your copy? I forgot to grab one on my way in,” she asked. He shrugged his shoulders and handed her his book. She started to read it as the line slowly inched forward. Before she had even finished chapter one, she knew instinctively that this book was about her family. Her stomach soured, but she knew that there would be nothing exaggerated or invented in this account of her bitter relatives. When it seemed as though she would never reach the lofty table, a salesperson told her, “You will be the last person.” He told everyone after her that they would have to try another time to meet her. “And, who should I make this out to?” Anna asked sweetly. She looked Rachel right in the eyes and there seemed to be a slight hint of recognition, but it passed quickly. “Um, Rachel, just Rachel,” she said. She thought for a second about telling her who she was, but as soon as Anna had put her pen down the salesperson scooted Rachel toward the checkout. Rachel watched Anna as she walked out of the store. She was even stronger and more confident than before. Rachel hoped that she would be like her in the years to come. She suddenly regretted not telling her who she was or setting up a time to talk. By the time Rachel exited the store, Anna was long gone. “Hmm, I think I need to call on detective Franklin again,” she thought.
“Franklin, it’s Rachel. How are you? I need to ask you a favor again,” she began as Franklin listened with delight. She asked him to find Anna’s parents, and then tell them about Rachel, and how she had left the family, and wanted to contact Anna. He agreed to his new mission;  she told him about her studies for a while, then hung up. Rachel sat wringing her hands for a moment, thinking that perhaps her parents wouldn’t give any information about Anna. She decided not to worry about it since she had lots of homework to tackle. A week later, Franklin had not called back yet. Rachel was a little anxious, but there was nothing she could do. As she was walking to her apartment later that afternoon, her phone rang. She juggled her backpack and purse looking for her phone. “Hello?” she finally answered. “Ah yes, Franklin here. I’ve got a couple of big news items for you. First one first, I’m in New York to see my favorite girl!” Rachel screamed in the phone and then asked, “Where are you?” He told her the name of the hotel where he was staying and she hailed a cab before he had even finished. “I’m coming to you right now. Meet me in the lobby, ok?” she said. The poor taxi driver couldn’t drive fast enough for Rachel. She paid him as quickly as possible and flew into the hotel’s opulent lobby. She immediately spotted Franklin, dropped her books, and gave him a big hug. “OH, my goodness! It is so good to see you,” she said. “You, too, kid,” he said. They found a nice couch and sat chatting for a long time. After they had caught up on her life and his, he pulled a small slip of paper out of his pocket. “I talked to Anna’s mother quite a bit the day after you called me. She didn’t want to give out Anna’s phone number, but she did give me her email address. I’m sure you can understand her hesitation, but at least you can contact Anna this way. Then, if she wants to talk to you she can call you.” He handed the paper to Rachel and let her look at it for a moment. “Franklin, you are my hero, thanks so much,” she said. She then told him they should go get some dinner together. They chose a restaurant close to his hotel and were soon seated. Rachel was looking over the menu, trying to decide between chicken parmesan or a Caesar salad. She was engrossed in their descriptions when Franklin said, “Girlie, I think your phone is ringing.” She realized he was right and tried to get it out of her purse quickly. “Oh, it’s Scott. Excuse me for a minute,” she said as she left her chair and walked to the restroom. “What’s up?” she asked him. “Well, my brother is here. Dad wants to organize a big dinner. Can you come tonight?” he asked. “Oh goodness, I’m so sorry. I should have called you earlier, but Franklin surprised me with a visit and we are having dinner right now. Is there any way to have the dinner tomorrow night?” She hoped there were no concrete plans already in place. He sighed and held the phone away from his face. “Dad, she is busy….visitor from out of town. She wants to know if we can do it tomorrow night.” Rachel couldn’t hear Spencer’s response, but discovered she was holding her breath. She didn’t want this to be the thing that upset him. Scott got back on the phone, “Yeah, it’s fine. I’ll pick you up at 7:30 tomorrow.” She barely had enough time to say good bye before he had already hung up. She wondered if she had offended him by not telling him about Franklin. “Everything ok?” he asked when she returned to the table. She put on her smiley, polite face, “Oh yes, of course!” Franklin was exhausted after dinner, so she walked him back to the hotel and told him good night.
    Rachel stared at the computer screen for several minutes before deciding what to write to Anna.
Dear Anna,
I’m not sure how to begin this letter. I guess I just have to say that I am so, so sorry for what my family put you through. I’ve read your book and you have described them well. I only wish I could take away some of the hurt that they caused you.
Last year I left home. My parents tell my siblings that I am dead. I travelled to South and Central America with an organization called Help the World. Through them, I met my fiancé. We are now living in New York. I am attending NYU and getting a degree in anthropology. I am very happy, but my heart has sore spots from my family.
Just so you know, I was the last girl in the line for book signing at the bookstore here in New York. I wanted to say something to you, but at the same time I completely understand that you want to distance yourself from my family. Anyway, I would love to talk to you. I’ll send you my number if you have any interest.
Again, I am so sorry. I hope that you are finding happiness where you are. You look great!
Love, Rachel Muller
She stared at the letter for a few minutes before clicking the send button. She had no idea what to expect, if anything, in return. She glanced up at the ceiling and decided to just be at peace about it. She knew she could not push Anna; just as she didn’t want anyone pushing her. She went to the kitchen and stole a couple of bites out of the small carton of gourmet ice cream in the freezer. She figured it was all hers, so she could stick her spoon back in the carton as much as she wanted. She finished up a paper for her Freshman English class and then went to bed.

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