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Original Poster
#1 Old 15th Apr 2016 at 10:37 PM Last edited by HCAC : 20th Jan 2017 at 10:36 PM.
Default The Life of Laura (Completed)
Chapter 1--Today is because of yesterday

The last thing I remember is falling asleep, and then waking up with a face full of Jell-O (jelly).

My mother would be so proud to know that in my first week in my new town I had managed to make a total fool of myself.

Actually, she’d be mortified, but that’s how she always felt about me anyhow. I was always a loser and embarrassment to her.

But, I’m strong. I’m breaking away.

I’m Laura Ellie. This is my life.

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers
Original Poster
#2 Old 16th Apr 2016 at 1:30 AM
Default Chapter Two: A Little Background
Chapter 2—A Little Background

My mother was one of those naturally thin and beautiful women who bases her existence around social climbing, reading Vogue magazine, and being as vacuous as possible to hook a wealthy or ambitious man.

She worked as a model for a few years after college but her real goal was to find a man who could keep her in clothes, nice vacations, and all the pleasures she had been raised to believe she could buy with her looks and family name. One evening by chance she met my father at a society fund raiser of some sort and felt this moderately successful business man was the key to unlocking all those goodies she craved.

They were married for years. And childless. My father worked and worked to provide for my mother as she demanded better clothes, another fur coat, a nicer car, a bigger house, and fantastic trips to Europe and Asia. I was only two when he died one night of a heart attack. I wish i remembered him but I don't. I was born when my mother was turning forty and my dad was sixty or so when he passed away.

My mother as a young model.

You'd think I'd become my mother's life, over forty two, well off, with a two year old to dote upon.

No, because i could never be the daughter she wanted--pretty and feminine, frilly.

When she was reading her fashion magazines, pointing out some cute outfit, I was sitting with my head in a book, or maybe my eyes glued to the tv. Stories and ideas meant more to me than matching headbands and socks.

There was another reason I was not fit to be my mother's dream daughter.
I was a chubby child and no matter how many diets she put me on, I could not slim down.

By the time I was a teen, my mother didn't hide her disappointment and disapproval of me or my "sloppy figure" which had ballooned from "chunky" to just plain fat. She didn't like the way I refused to fade into the background. In my teen years I rebelled more and more in my own way, dying my hair, wearing loud and colorful outfits, learning how to sing and dance, and draw attention to me.

"The trouble with you, Laura, is you are always trying to shock people."

One night after a very long and severe lecture from my mother about "getting my act together, losing weight if I ever wanted to find a boyfriend" I sat in my room an cried for hours.

Once I stopped, I made a vow.

I would not be the fat girl who hated herself for being fat.

My mother's issue with my weight was HER problem and I would not let life or society tell me I was someone "less" just because I didn't conform to one standard of beauty. I could be more than my looks and try to pursue my goals no matter what. I wanted to be a teacher and I enjoyed my hobbies and friends who came in all sizes and colors. If she couldn't understand that, then too bad. I would live my life any way I pleased. I would be someone successful and loved despite my size.

If only it was that easy.

"Do you REALLY need ANOTHER cookie?" demanded my mother.

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers
Original Poster
#3 Old 20th Apr 2016 at 6:35 PM
Default Chapter Three--I Meet A Friend and Learn a Lesson Myself
When I was in my last year of high school at Pleasantview Prep, I had to fulfill several requirements in order to graduate that June. All Seniors had to put in four afternoons volunteering at some local charity and our guidance counselor handed me my assignment to serve at Arris Homeless Shelter--a three floor building located in low income neighborhood that bordered Pleasantview to the North.

I had little contact with poor people in Pleasantview--my life had been coddled that way since I lived in an expensive neighborhood of mainly well off people. When I arrived at the address I was very surprised to see so many women with children living at the shelter. There were also a handful of elderly people and married adults with families occupying apartments. How could these seemingly regular people be homeless? I thought the majority of homeless people were either men, criminals, mentally ill or on drugs.

The typical residents of the Arris Town Shelter were families, like this one.

I was supposed to be a student tutor for any kids who needed some assistance in their homework. Nervous but excited, I took out books, magazines, and pens and paper and sat at a large table in the communal meeting area waiting to see if anyone would come by and talk with me. Residents went about their activities in the community room but didn't approach me. A few nodded politely as they prepared a microwave meal or read the newspaper or worked on what looked to be job applications.

Some kids had art supplies at one table and painted quietly while their mother fed their baby sister in a high chair. An older lady was sitting in the back of the room folding clothing donations.

After about half an hour a guy about my age came in the door.
Finally, I thought as he approached my table with a big smile.

"Are you here for volunteer help?" I asked.
"Oh, yeah, I am here for volunteering," he replied with Caribbean accented English. "My name is Leon LaViere."
"I'm Laura Ellie. So Leon, do you need help with reading or writing?"
He looked puzzled then laughed deeply.
"Oh, no, mon, I don't need tutoring, I am a volunteer! I come in once a week to hang out with the kids and play games."

I meet a friend.

"Oh, I'm sorry I thought--" I began but he waved my apology away with a quick gesture.
"No problem, my dear. It's okay! You'll learn we are more similar than different here."

Leon had a great sense of humor and a warm laugh.

One of the kids rushed over and hugged Leon.
"Hey, Leon!" he exclaimed.
"Tray, my man. How you doing, dude?"
"Okay, I got a B on my math test and Mommy says I can pick out a toy at the toy store when she gets paid next week."
"Well, all right!" said Leon. "How about that!"

Leon was like a fun big brother.

"Leon! Leon, come on over and dance!" called out another little girl.
"I'm coming. I'll be right over." He he turned to me, "Hey, Laura, I bet you like to dance ."
"Yes, I do!"
"Then join us and let's show these little ones some moves!"

We danced and played games with the kids.

I liked him immediately. He seemed so good with the kids and always smiling and very friendly. Instead of just doing the required community service, I signed up to work each Tuesday afternoon with him at the shelter. We got along great and soon became best friends.

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers
Original Poster
#4 Old 22nd Apr 2016 at 6:50 PM
Default Chapter Four--Prom
My mother was definitely not excited about my friendship with Leon or my volunteer work at the shelter.

"Couldn't you find something more dignified?" she asked over her morning newspaper. "Working at a place like that so close to Pleasantville is just wrong, Laura. It encourages the wrong sort of people to infiltrate the area. Before you know it, they'll be swarming all over our town."

"Mom, it's not like that!" I insisted. "They are nice people. Just people with problems. But I guess you couldn't understand that."

Mom was never subtle.

"Oh, look!" she continued, ignoring me. "Malcolm Landgrab is hosting the Prom this year at his mansion." She pointed at a photo of a huge house on a hill surrounded by iron gates. "Mr. Malcolm Landgrab, scion of the Landgrabs of Pleasantville, is graciously hosting the Pleasantville Preparatory School Prom May 18th. Mr. Landgrab's son, Malcolm Binginham Landgrab graduates this June as the school's football star and most likely to succeed young business man of the future. His twin sister, Bunny Quincy Landgrab is bound to be chosen prom queen..." her voice trailed off.

"Well, I'm not going, so who cares?" I replied.

She sighed. "I guess you wouldn't. I realize it's difficult to find a date this late but maybe I can help. There's someone who might take you. That's IF we can find a dress that can fit.

"No, don't!" I protested. "My friends and I don't do proms."

"Your friends? I guess you mean that Jamaican boy FRIEND of yours."

Mom butts in.

"He's not my boyfriend. He's my friend. Not that there is anything wrong if we wanted to date, but we are just friends. I don't want to go to any stupid prom."

She shook her head in disbelief. "Every girl WANTS to go to the prom and wear pretty clothes. Now shush." She walked into the living room and shut the door behind her.

I heard her whispering with someone on the other end and she said "Jamaican boy" several time. "What a shame!" she exclaimed.

"Stop it! Mom!," I demanded, bursting in the living room. "Hang up that phone right now."

"Talk to you later, Martha," said Mom, turning to me angrily. " How dare you!"

"What?" I demanded. "Stop planning my life. I don't need you telling me what to do or feel or finding me dates."

"Laura, you're hopeless," she retorted. "Go find some cake. That will always be there for you because I'm not going to waste my time anymore."

Mom is angry again!

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers
#5 Old 24th Apr 2016 at 9:48 AM
I'm finding this story to be very enjoyable. Keep writing and posting, please :D

Formally known as TotallySimsCrazy. Still addicted to custom content.
Original Poster
#6 Old 24th Apr 2016 at 1:40 PM
Originally Posted by TotallySimsCrazy
I'm finding this story to be very enjoyable. Keep writing and posting, please :D

Thank you for the feedback, TSC...I will keep it up!

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers
#7 Old 25th Apr 2016 at 8:42 PM
I like your story. I feel sorry for Laura. Her mom is so mean to her.
Original Poster
#8 Old 25th Apr 2016 at 9:07 PM
Originally Posted by Dsydk11
I like your story. I feel sorry for Laura. Her mom is so mean to her.

Thank you!!

I appreciate your comments. Will Laura continue to have a sad life? Will she (as the first chapter indicates) mature and find as a young adult life better than a teen? You shall see. I have the next chapter in my mind...hoping to get it up soon.

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers
Original Poster
#9 Old 28th Apr 2016 at 10:06 PM
Default Chapter 5---Two different Worlds
My mother ignored me for a few hours but she was a very attention driven woman so eventually she went back to talking at me. Notice I said talking at me, not with me.

The next day after school I found her in our home gym working out vigorously on the treadmill.

"Hi, Mom," I ventured to say. "I saw you had your suitcase in the front hall."

Mom getting fit

"Yes," she replied, stopping the machine, getting down, and walking over to the ballet bar to stretch. "I'm going to the Blue Water Resort this weekend. The taxi will be here at 7. It's time I treat myself for a change."

I wanted to say it must be difficult to treat yourself when all you did was buy clothes, go to the spa, the club, and out to meals with friends, but I held my tongue. A weekend without my mother's nagging would be like a mini-vacation for me.

Later that night, after she left, I texted Leon.
"Mom went away for the weekend." I wrote, opening a can of Pepsi.

"Really? So what are you doing?" he asked.

"I'm going to have dinner, then dye my hair."
There was a sad emoji on the screen.

Leon texting me

"What?" I wrote impatiently.

"You don't have to keep dying your hair stupid colors," he replied. Then my cell phone rang.

"Hi Leon," I said.

"Laura, are you going to dye your hair again, really?" he asked.

"Yes," I said. "But this time, I am washing out the old color and dying it black. That's my natural color."

"Hmm. How come you suddenly decided this?"

"Well, I think it's time I stop trying to be something I'm not. A good friend mentioned that last time I spoke with him."

Leon chuckled softly.

"Yeah, you don't need costumes or silly hair, Laura. You're smart, I tell you that all the time. And kind. Be yourself. People will love the real you."

"Thanks, Leon. How are you doing?"

There was silence.

"Are you okay?" I demanded.

"I'm okay. My dad and Mum were talking about maybe going back to Jamaica if he loses his job at the garage. His boss says business isn't good enough to keep on an extra mechanic. So I have to get some more hours at the diner. I'm going to work tonight and tomorrow on the overnight shift so we can pay the rent this month."

Leon had to work hard at his part time job just to help his parents stay afloat

"I'm sorry, Leon. Can I do anything?"

"No, just don't worry about me. I'm used to hard work, mon. I've been working part time since I was fourteen." He quickly changed the subject. "Have you heard from University of Pleasantville about your application?"

"Yes, I just have to send in the tuition and I will be admitted for the Fall term in the School of Education!"

"Cool, you will be a wonderful teacher, Laura. Oh, there's Mum calling. I have to go eat dinner before I go to work. I will talk to you when I can text."

"Bye, Leon."

I hung up the phone. Would Leon have to move? What would I do without my best friend? Who would support me in my daily struggles vs. Mom? I looked around at my beautiful house, my possessions, my books. I was lucky to have a future as a teacher and not have to worry about earning a living.

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers
Original Poster
#10 Old 1st May 2016 at 12:48 AM
Default Chapter 6--A New Relationship
My mother didn’t return until late Monday evening. I totally forgot it was a three day weekend and a day off from school. I spent the extra time working on some paperwork the college would require come Fall.

I heard her arrive downstairs and reluctantly rose from my desk—at least I would get to see her reaction to my now ebony colored locks.

Mom stood in the middle of the library sporting her own surprise—instead of her grey hair, now it was colored a warm honey tint and she looked to me greedy for praise.

“Laura, how do you like it? I figure you were an expert in hair dye,” she began rotating to face me. Her expression shifted from expectation to a scowl but she then smiled and looked pretty.

“I’m closer than I thought,” she finished. “Stealing my thunder, again?” She laughed with mirth which took me by surprise. “That’s a bit Goth, isn’t it? You’re not a Goth, now, are you?”

“No, Mom, I’m not,” I answered cautiously. “How come you dyed your hair? I thought you said you’d keep it grey forever?”

“Well, I was at the spa and there was this fantastic hairdresser everyone was raving about and Sammy said he detested grey hair on a woman, so I—“

“Who’s Sammy?” My intuition was kicking in. My mother had met someone who was obviously responsible for her sugary mood.

“Oh, that’s right,” she gushed. “I have to tell you everything, Laura. Remember last month when Martha and Stephan had that cocktail party at their house? The one for Harold, their nephew who was accepted in Yale? Well, Stephan knows everyone in this town and he invited some of his business connections and one of them was Sammy.”

“Uh, huh,” I replied.

“Sammy is C. Arthur Samuel Hunt, Laura—you know, the financier and real estate mogul. Seems like he took a shine to your mother, Laura, at the party, and guess WHO was at Blue Water Resort this weekend? C. Arthur Samuel Hunt.”

“That’s great, Mom.”

She frowned. “You don’t seem happy for me, Laura. He is the real deal—someone who can set me up for life. Not like your father, dabbling in this or that for pennies. This man is LOADED and he is going to advise me and help me invest my money.”

“Mom, this seems too sudden,” I replied. “You have to be a bit careful. I don’t know who he is and really neither do you.”

“What do you know,” she said coldly. “You travel in homeless shelter circles, so you can’t possibly realize what a wonderful opportunity this is for me. Besides, I think you’re jealous. He likes me. He really does. We spent nearly every part of the weekend together.”

She left the room and returned wearing an expensive mink fur coat and pranced around like a model.

“Sammy loaded my room with presents last night when I was down having a massage in the hotel spa. When I returned, there was this coat, baskets of fruit and wine, flowers, and more.”

“Fur, Mom, really?”

“Why not, Laura? Your father couldn’t afford anything this nice, no matter how hard he claimed he worked. I told you Sammy is rich and not afraid to spend it.”

She pulled out some photos from her purse and showed them to me. A well dressed and distinguished man of about sixty five or seventy stood in front of a gorgeous yellow sports car in the first picture. The second focused more on the car than the man.

"I took that one yesterday," she explained. "Isn't Sammy hilarious?"

“That’s one sweet car,” I admitted. Yellow was my favorite color and she knew it.

“One of four he owns. Did I tell you Sammy advises Malcolm Landgrab? And President Trumf?”

“He sounds impressive.”

My mother handed me a newspaper with an article all about her new boyfriend.

“Oh, he is. But you’ll be meeting him soon. I’ve invited him over tomorrow for drinks before we go out to dinner.”

“Mom, I have to talk to you about college tuition. We have to get it in by the end of June—“

She had already turned her attention back to herself in the mirror. “I have to try on a few of the outfits Sammy bought for me and find the right one for tomorrow night. Go put the flowers in water, Laura. They’re on the kitchen table. We’ll discuss college payments tomorrow when Sammy is here. He knows all about these things.”

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers
Original Poster
#11 Old 4th May 2016 at 5:08 PM Last edited by HCAC : 4th May 2016 at 5:19 PM.
Default Chapter 7-- Leon's not himself
The next day I caught up with Leon after school at the homeless shelter. He was making some sandwiches for a few of the residents who gathered there in the afternoon.

"You're a hard guy to chase down," I complained. "I called your cell phone and texted you four times since my mom got home last night."

Leon looked at me wearily. "I told you I had to work all weekend. Monday three people called out so my boss asked me to cover waiting tables. I made a whole day's wages yesterday, Laura, instead of part-time-- plus tips."

"That's good," I replied. "Guess what, my mom has a boyfriend!"

Leon piled baloney on wheat bread and smeared mustard on top. "Yeah, that's probably a good thing, I think. Maybe she'll leave you alone now and stop picking on you."

I shook my head. "I'm supposed to meet him tonight. Something seems odd, though. He bought her a whole load of presents after only knowing her a day."

I went to the sink and began to run the water to fill up the coffee and tea urns.

"Your mom has been alone a long time, Laura. She's just happy to get attention."

"He's given her a mink coat!"

"Well, I don't know about mink coats." He lifted up the plates and began to put them on the tables as the residents filed in. There were the usual family groups and a few loners. One man had been at the shelter a long time and he was very friendly with Leon. He gave Leon a high five.

They often talked about sports or life back in the Caribbean.

"Hey, Bill, how's it going, mon?" Leon set down a sandwich in front of the grey bearded man in a flowery print shirt.

"Going till I get back to Trinidad," replied Bill. "Too cold here for me, bro."

"Hope you get there, soon," said Leon, moving along.

"Tell your dad I want to see him next weekend on the cricket pitch at the park!" Bill directed. "We need him again."

I made tea, coffee, and a pitcher of lemonade for the kids.

Leon was back at the refrigerator putting out desserts the Sugar and Spice Bakery had donated that morning.

"Leon, have you ever heard of C.Arthur Samuel Hunt?" I inquired handing him some information I had printed off the internet.

He glanced at the paper disinterestedly. "I work a minimum wage job, Laura. I don't know about no finance or real estate people. I just wait tables, go to high school and maybe I can save enough someday to go to university."

"I think that he's dodgy. Something tells me he is. My mother is a gold digger but this guy is not in her league. Why he'd be interested in her is very puzzling."

"I think you're just jealous, Laura. You want some nice presents and a boyfriend, too."

"No, that's not it," I protested.

"Then give him a chance. So far all I can see is the guy has a lot of dosh and somehow you're holding it against him."

Leon was nothing if not honest.

"Okay, I'll check him out tonight. Are you okay, Leon? You seem distracted."

"No, just a bit tired. Sorry I'm cranky." He smiled. "Mmm, this chocolate cake looks good. No reason why we can't have a slice."

"No," I replied, taking the plate he handed me. "No reason at all."

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers
Original Poster
#12 Old 6th May 2016 at 3:18 PM
Default Chapter 8---I meet C.A.S.H.

Leon waved good-bye from the street corner where he dropped me off.

“Do you want to come over?” I asked through the open window. “I could use the moral support.”

“No, that’s not a good idea,” he replied, putting on his sunglasses. “I better get some kip.” He yawned. “I haven’t slept properly in a few nights.”


“Text me and let me know how it goes,” Leon said. “Whoops, I better get out of town, mon. Sun’s setting.”

“Don’t joke about that,” I countered. “I bet Pleasantville is a sundown town.”

“Life is sweet here, though.” He looked up at my house in awe.

“Not as sweet as in Jamaica, though.”

“For some,” he said, and waved, driving away.

I pulled out my key and walked into the front hallway. Several doors lead off in various directions opening into other rooms. A large circular staircase stood down the center of the hallway and ascended up two flights to other portions of the house. Quickly I raced up the stairs to the second floor to my bedroom, changed into a pink dress, touched up my makeup and bounded down the steps.

Voices were drifting from the library.

“Mom?” I called out, opening the second door on the left that connected to the library.

Hunt was admiring our antique piano.

“Laura, here you are. Come in.” My mother’s voice beckoned me forward and reluctantly I entered what was my favorite room in the house.

Mr. Hunt was standing near our white antique piano seeming to appraise its worth with his greedy eyes. He walked over to my mother and faced me.

“Sammy, this is Laura, my daughter. Laura, here is the famous Mr. Hunt I’ve been telling you all about.” She batted her eyelids trying to flirt.

He looked me up and down and then put out his hand.

“Your mother says you are quite a student, Laura,” he said with a distinct upper class Bostonian accent.

“I do well in school,” I replied. “Nice to meet you.” In my mind I was thinking there was definitely a reason my mother liked him. Even though Hunt’s manner was quite serious and severe, he was well dressed in an expensive suit and his demeanor screamed New England snobbery and wealth.

I suppose he had relatives that came over to the USA from England on the Mayflower. My dad had come over on a ship as a young refugee from Naples. The dichotomy made me laugh but I caught myself.

“I didn’t see any of your four cars in the driveway,” I said trying to change the subject.

Mr. Hunt sat down on the sofa next to my mother. "I never drive when I go out on the town in the evenings. I like to be able to imbibe with abandon."

"Sammy is going to give us good financial advice," said my mother.

“Sammy’s limousine driver dropped him off and will be taking us to the restaurant in an hour ,” my mother explained, filling his glass with one of the expensive beverages she kept in my father’s prized wine cellar.

Wine he had shipped over from his native Italy once he had been successful enough to afford this luxury. It was his one personal indulgence—so my mother had told me—and he had treasured each bottle.

My mother barely touched wine in the years after his death. Now she was doling it out to this man to snare him and his many dollars.

“Nice vintage,” he remarked, looking at the liquid. “I haven’t had Falletto di Bruno Giacosa in quite some time. Probably not since my meeting with the Italian PM in 2010.”

“Sammy, you know everyone,” my mother gushed. “Isn’t he amazing, Laura? Imagine hobnobbing with Malcolm Landgrab.”

“Yes, he is quite a character,” agreed Mr. Hunt, “but President Trumf is who I really admire.”

I smiled weakly, trying to be polite. I preferred Barney Landers and when he lost the election I was deflated for weeks. I didn't really like to discuss politics, especially with extremely narrow minded and Conservative people.

“Your mother tells me you plan on attending The University of Pleasantville this autumn.” Mr. Hunt turned his eyes from his glass to me. “What will be your major?”

“Education, early childhood education. I’m going to be a teacher.”

He raised his eyebrows and looked to my mother who nodded.

Mr. Hunt and Mom seemed to think I was clueless because I wanted to become a teacher.

“Indeed? And, how will you be funding this folly?”

“Folly?” I repeated quizzically. “How is being a teacher a folly? Besides, my father left me a trust fund for my education.”

“Laura, I’m sure your late father had good intentions but an early education teacher?” Sammy laughed shortly. “That is almost as useless in life as being an English major. These subjects never pan out to real lucrative careers.”

I frowned as he went on.

“You’ll be lucky to obtain a position at a department store with minimum wage after you graduate.”

“I told you she was stubborn,” said my mother as I began to interrupt. “It’s not like she’s going find a decent husband in those classes. Most of them are full of desperate, liberal women and a few idealistic, touch feely men."

“Yes, true. Real men major in finance or business or medicine.” Sammy enunciated slowly. “I think you have the makings of a socialist here, Philppa.”

“Now wait one minute,” I sputtered. “Is that why you wanted me to meet him? So you could both gang up on me?”

Two people ganging up on me was too much!

“You volunteer at a homeless shelter so you obviously have time on your hands,” Mr. Hunt set his empty glass down on the table. “I believe you need real life work experience and to start to learn how to pay your own way. Your mother has been more than generous—a car, private school, a lovely home, meals, clothes.”

When he said “clothes” my mother gave a short laugh.

“Sammy understands finance, Laura. He’s going to help me double my savings and get you started on the right financial road. If you want to pursue this sort of education, you need life skills.”

“I have been employed since I was 15,” he announced proudly. “I was a pageboy at my father’s law firm on holidays from prep-school. While at college, I worked there as well. I spent a year abroad in England in my uncle’s banking establishment before graduate school.”

“That’s fantastic,” I replied. “I’m not interested in law or finance so I guess that sort of “work experience” is not for me. I work with kids at the shelter.”

Sammy chortled when I said, “work.” I guess he only considered pay for work valuable.

I needed my trust fund money for my tuition to become a teacher.

I pointed to my mother, “Mom, I’ve told you before, I have to get the tuition in soon or I won’t get into the Education Program or the classes I need. Now can we please discuss this tomorrow in private and get the check to the college?”

“Oh, no, no,” replied my mother. “Sammy thinks-“

“I don’t give a darn what Sammy thinks,” I retorted. “He’s no one, just someone you met a few times and because he has a load of money you’re letting him ruin my plans. Well, it's not going to happen."

I turned to leave the room.

My mother apologized to Mr. Hunt. “I’m so sorry. I told you she was ungrateful!”

They were planning my future!

“This is far from over,” she called to me. “Sammy is going to find you-“

I slammed the door. I didn’t want to hear what she or C. Arthur Samuel Hunt thought they had planned for my future.

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers
Original Poster
#14 Old 7th May 2016 at 6:47 PM
Thanks for the feedback. It's interesting how you take the side of the mother (and maybe the rich boyfriend) over Laura. Then again, maybe you come at it from a different angle than others.

I do appreciate the comments because it encourages me to keep writing.

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers
Test Subject
#15 Old 7th May 2016 at 6:58 PM
I'm enjoying your story! Your characters are interesting and I'm interested to see how you develop them as you go along.
Original Poster
#16 Old 8th May 2016 at 12:32 AM Last edited by HCAC : 8th May 2016 at 6:35 PM.
Originally Posted by DianeHanna
I'm enjoying your story! Your characters are interesting and I'm interested to see how you develop them as you go along.

Thanks so much, DianeHanna. More to come soon.

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers
Original Poster
#17 Old 8th May 2016 at 8:00 PM
Default Chapter 9--Rude Awakenings
I avoided my mother until the weekend and she didn't seem to mind. Most of the day I was at school and at night she was out with Mr. Hunt. We were preparing to graduate from high school the following week and rehearsals took up most of the time. I just wanted high school over so I could go to college in the autumn. Even though I was just going to attend Pleasantview University, I would be living on campus and I was excited to start collecting things I would need like dishes, pots and pans, and books.

"I can't believe in three months I am out of here," I said out loud as I climbed the steps to our attic. The huge room was stuffed with the usual items you'd find like suitcases, boxes of clothes, appliances, toys, and many of my father's possessions.

While I was digging out the suitcases and dusting them down, I heard foot steps on the stairs--my mother ascended with Mr. Hunt behind her.

"So, this is where you are," she said.

"I'm trying figure out what I need for college and get started early," I replied. "We're going to have to buy some things."

Collecting things for college

"You see?" my mother said, turning to Mr. Hunt who was brushing cobwebs off his white suit with a disgusted look on his face.

"Laura, this time don't run away. We need to talk to you," began Mr. Hunt. "I'm willing to forget the insolent way you spoke to me because your mother needs my assistance. Certainly it's been difficult to raise such a headstrong child alone all these years."

"This is a family matter, Mr. Hunt," I retorted, setting a pile of books on the table. "Mom, you said that you'd write me the check this weekend out of my college fund. I just got another letter this morning from the Finance Office and they won't hold my spot in those classes until I send a down payment."

It's my school money!

Mr. Hunt took my arm and drew me into the corner of the attic near the window. The sun was shining and I could hear the mockingbird whistling in the old oak tree in front of the house.

"The time has come, Miss Ellie, for you to stop pestering your mother about money and get a job. Most teenagers graduate high school and get some sort of job to pay their way. That's what you will be doing, won't she Phillipa?"

My mother had been staring into a hat box full of old snapshots--one of them fell to the floor. It was my dad and mom on a vacation to Hawaii.

"What, Sammy?" she asked, stuffing the picture back into the bottom of the box.

"She needs to get a job this summer. We discussed this."

Mom looked up. "Yes, of course. You do. Sammy's been kind enough to arrange it."

"I'm volunteering at the shelter all summer," I protested. "Leon and I promised the director of activities we'd run the sports program for the kids."

"No, you'll be working as a nanny for my cousin, Doctor Richard Samuel and his wife, Betsy, just outside Boston. They have a little boy, Trevor who is two. This is the practical, real life working experience with young children you want--and you will get paid." He smiled smugly.

Learn to pay your way with a real job, Laura.

"No way, you can't just order me around. I won't go to Boston as a nanny just because you two say I have to!" I walked over to my mother. "This is not fair and not right."

"If you think I am going to pay for college, you will go," she said firmly. "It's only for the summer. When you get back, you can go to college. I'll send in the check the day you leave for Boston," she promised. Sammy nodded.

"This is blackmail!" I wailed.

"No, this is the real world," replied Mr. Hunt, turning and leaving the room. My mother followed.

I sat at the table and cried.


"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers
Original Poster
#18 Old 19th May 2016 at 9:09 PM
Default Chapter 10--I arrive in Newton, Mass.
My life seemed to be spinning out of control and I felt numb. I seemed to be sleepwalking through the next two weeks. High school graduation came and went—and then I found myself hustled on a train bound for Newton, Massachusetts which was a wealthy suburb of Boston.

“Maybe it won’t be so bad,” Leon had said to me on the phone the night before I left. “You’ll be earning some money and get away from your mother and her boyfriend.” He tried to sound optimistic.

"She just wants me out of the way," I had replied, feeling very much unwanted.

Just before the train passed into Massachusetts, he sent me a text.

“Good luck. Read your email tonight, okay? Leon.”

“Okay,” I texted back as the loud speaker announced my stop.

The train pulled into the Newton station about three pm. I was to take a taxi to 28 Cabot Lane.

When my suitcase on wheels was given to me by the porter, I pulled it behind me down the ramp to the street. Several cabs stood in the road and I walked up to one.

A dark man with dreadlocks who reminded me a lot of Leon sat in the driver’s seat.

“Can you drive me to 28 Cabot Lane?” I inquired as he put my case in the trunk and closed the door behind me.

He nodded drove down the road. He turned on some Ska music and didn’t say much to me.

I don’t remember anything else—the trip was about 10 or so minutes. We pulled up in front of a large brick house in a very neat and quiet neighborhood. There wasn’t much in the way of landscaping around the house but Mr. Hunt had told me his cousins just bought the house recently.

“Thank you,” I said, handing the fare and a five dollar tip to the driver who set my case on the end of the driveway.

“Okay, Miss. Thank you.”

He drove off and I pulled my case up to the front door. I wondered if I was allowed to use the front door. Maybe I’d have to use some back door like in Downton Abbey. I could only imagine these cousins were like Mr. Hunt and didn’t think I was going to be able to handle that for three months.

I knocked on the door, expecting a severe butler or housekeeper to open the door. Instead there was a thin, dark haired woman of about thirty. She looked tired but had pleasant features.

“Yes?" she asked warily, perhaps expecting a door to door religious missionary or girl scout selling cookies.

"I'm Laura."

"Oh, yes, come in."

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers
Original Poster
#19 Old 5th Jun 2016 at 1:17 AM
Default Chapter 11--Meeting the Samuel Family
I grabbed my lightest suitcase and carried it inside with me. The woman lead me to the foyer of her home. Inside smelled of new paint and carpets that had just been installed.

“I’m Betsy Samuel,” she said, extending her hand. “My husband Richard will carry in your other bags.”

Betsy Samuel seemed like a nice lady.

“Hi,” I repeated awkwardly shaking her hand. “Like I said, I’m Laura. Your, uh, um, Cousin, Mr. Hunt sends his greetings.”

“Oh, that’s nice.” Mrs. Samuel didn’t seem impressed. “I hope your trip wasn’t too unpleasant. Four hours on a train can be a bit boring.”

“No, it was interesting,” I replied.

“As you can see, Laura, we’ve just moved in, or just did a few days ago. The house was only finished a week ago. And my husband is trying to get the rooms set up the way he wants them. Right now the nursery is on the top floor. It’s not ideal—there isn’t a bathroom up there. I hope you don’t mind doing a lot of stair walking.”

“Not at all,” I said.

“Let’s go look for my husband. I think he was in the kitchen.”

We walked through an archway into the living room. Every bit of furniture was expensive, from the marble fire place to the velvet sofa. Rare paintings hung on the golden painted walls and sun streamed through the large windows.

“Well, this must be Laura,” said a tall man wearing a black shirt and white tie. “I’m Doctor Richard Samuel.” He also put his hand out and I shook it without hesitation.

Doctor Samuel was about five years older than his wife and had a serious expression on his face.

Doctor Richard Samuel seemed stern and had no-nonsense air about him.

“Cousin Arthur told us you plan on majoring in early childhood education. I’m sure Trevor will put you through your paces.”

“Thanks for the opportunity,” I said trying to be more confident. “I’d love to meet your son.”

“He’s napping right now,” replied Mrs. Samuel. “But he will be up soon and you can get to know him. Richard, Laura has a few things outside. Can you bring them in?”

“She looks like a strong girl and better get used to hard work,” retorted Doctor Samuel. “Laura, go bring your cases or things in one by one and put them in the foyer and we’ll all carry them up.”

I nodded, swallowing. It figured Doctor Samuel was as rude and blunt as C.A.S.H.

All of a sudden I had a wave of homesickness hit me. I missed my house, I missed Leon, I missed my---mom.

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers
Test Subject
#20 Old 5th Jun 2016 at 3:35 PM
Good chapter! I'm really worried about Laura's trust fund. Hunt seems like really bad news and Samuel isn't much better.
Original Poster
#21 Old 5th Jun 2016 at 6:26 PM Last edited by HCAC : 17th Jun 2016 at 2:19 PM.
Thank you for the feedback. I'm sorry it took so long to update this time. My son is graduating (I home school him) and I've had a lot on my plate personally. I have the next chapter partly done.

Update--I've been under the weather so I will have to post when I feel better. I haven't been able to finish anything or play Sims in a week!

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers
Original Poster
#22 Old 27th Jun 2016 at 1:39 PM
Default Chapter 12--Interesting Discoveries
Mrs. Samuel had suggested I have a meal and I made a sandwich and sat alone at the table while she studied in the living room. When I finished, I washed the dishes and glass and walked into the other room.

She sat on the sofa reading from several books but kept looking up with a concerned expression on her face. Something seemed to be bothering her.

After about an hour, Doctor Samuel came downstairs carrying their son in his arms.

Trevor turned out to be a cute little boy with bouncy brown hair and a winning smile.

“Mama! Mama!” called the little boy, stretching his hands out.

“Mama is busy,” said Doctor Samuel firmly. “Mama has to do her homework. Here is Nanny Laura who has come to play and take care of you.”

Mrs. Samuel frowned. “Richard, I think maybe—“

“No, Betsy, you know we agreed that he has to learn when to leave you alone so you can pass the Bar exam.” He turned to me standing in the doorway. “Laura?”

“Hello, Trevor,” I said, approaching slowly. “I’m Laura. Do you want to hear a song?”

Trevor looked at his mother and then at his father. Then he stood up and ran out of the room to the hallway.

“Go tend to him, Laura,” directed Doctor Samuel, setting himself on the sofa next to his wife. He pointed to her books and she sighed.

I went out in search of the little boy who was sitting in on the wood floor between the living room and dining room.

“Do you want to hear a song?” I asked again, softly.

“No. Go away. Want my mama.” He whimpered.

“Maybe you can just listen…” I began to sing a famous finger play for little kids called “Here Is Thumbkin.” Trevor seemed to like it very much and after a few minutes he was following along with me.

Where is Thumbkin? Where is Thumbkin?
Here I am! Here I am!
How are you today, sir?
Very well, I thank you.
Run away, run away!

After singing for a little bit, he asked me over and over for his bunny, so I went to climb the stairs to find it in the nursery. I stopped by the living room door and overheard the Samuels having a heated discussion.

“I told you I wanted to stay home and take care of Trevor myself,” said Mrs. Samuel tearfully. “We could have moved to Vermont and lived in that small house.”

“Not this again,” replied Doctor Samuel with anger in his voice. “I told you the Samuel Family lives and works in Boston. I’m not going to live in the sticks of Vermont! I can’t believe we are having this same argument again, Betsy. You promised me if I gave you two years, you’d take the exam and get certified as a lawyer. You know the mortgage we have on this place and how much it cost to decorate.”

“I wanted to move to Burlington!”

“I told you no,” he insisted. “I can’t carry the cost of this house on my own. We have an image to live up to and we’re in debt-the taxes alone on this property are-“ His voice trailed off as they heard me outside the door.

“I’m just going upstairs to get Trevor’s toy rabbit. I guess it’s in his room?” I called out.

“Yes, on the bottom shelf,” replied his mother. “Trevor darling come to Mama.”

“Mamammama!” he squealed rushing into her arms. I went up the stairs. This was going to be an interesting summer. I couldn’t wait to tell Leon all about it.

Later that night, Trevor was tucked in his crib and I finally had time to log on to my laptop and into my email.

To: starrydancer3219a@observermail.com
From: SkaislifeblokeUSA@jiffymail.com
Hey, Laura, hope you are able to read this tonight. I didn’t want to do it in a text. There isn’t an easy way to tell you this. My dad and mum and I are moving back to Jamaica this summer. Dad’s friend Marvin is going to get him a job at the hotel in our hometown as the handyman has retired. I will work as a waiter there, too, and save some money. The summer is a good time to earn a lot of tips. The internet is okay in our town so we can stay in touch until I come back to Arris. I will come back as soon as I save enough. Meantime, our town has a community college or I will take some classes online.

Don’t be angry.


"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers
Original Poster
#23 Old 25th Jul 2016 at 10:11 PM Last edited by HCAC : 16th Nov 2016 at 10:47 PM.
Default Chapter 13--Learning To Adapt
Living at the Samuel house was eye opening to say the least. Doctor Samuel ruled the roost and the rest of the weekend he spent his time directing his wife, his son or me to behave in the ways he felt were appropriate.

I was reeling from Leon’s abrupt news and feeling homesick. Trevor preferred his mother to me and even when I could amuse him, he kept looking around and asking for her. Doctor Samuel had her studying in his office to prevent interruptions.

At least I only had to work part of June, July and August. By September I would be in college full time back in my town and this would all just be job experience for my resume. But the environment was so disciplined and directed and critical I kept wishing for August to be here now.

Monday morning Doctor Samuel packed up his briefcase early and left to take the train into Boston where he was a partner in a large medical practice. I’m sure I heard Mrs. Samuel sigh in relief once the taxi pulled out of the driveway. I was taking Trevor out of his crib when she called up to me.

“Laura, get Trevor dressed quickly. We’re going to the Farmer’s Market in town.” Her voice sounded friendly and warm.

“Mama, mama,” said Trevor as soon as I set him down on the living room floor. She scooped him up and covered him in kisses.

“Does my darling was to go to the Market?” she asked, hugging him.

“Yes! Yes! Nanny see the ponies.”

Mrs. Samuel turned to me. “They have a man who gives pony rides at the Market. We can pick up coffee and some breakfast from one of the stalls and spend the morning shopping for fresh produce.”

“Okay,” I replied.

In a few minutes we were driving into one of the small country towns outside our city where they held a Market every Monday morning. Farmers and artisans would bring their wares and sell them in stalls in the large park.

“We don’t have market days in my town,” I confessed as she put Trevor in his pushchair/stroller.

“Right, you come from a big suburb. We have some good ones in Burlington.”

Mrs. Samuel sounded homesick.

“Well, let’s get a coffee and a few doughnuts. What flavor do you want, Trevor?”

“Chocolate!” he shouted with enthusiasm.

The market turned out to be fun and interesting. We arrived back home just after noon laden with fruit and vegetables. Trevor had lunch and fell asleep quickly for his nap.

After putting him in his crib, I went downstairs to help Mrs. Samuel put away the groceries. She looked sad and deflated again back in her lovely new kitchen.

“Let me do that, Mrs. Samuel,” I said, putting the tomatoes in a big bowl on the counter top.

“I wish..” she said, and then her voice trailed off.


“I wish you could call me Betsy. I like being friendly, not formal. Richard’s the formal one but he’s been raised that way.”

I nodded. “My mother tried to raise me formally but I refused.”

“He used to be fun when we first met. He was so kind to me when I needed him.” She looked off into space. “But his family—they demanded so much.”

“Families do, sometimes,” I agreed.

“Do you like Cousin Arthur?” she asked me suddenly.

“Um, should I be honest?”

“Yes, do.”

“Not particularly.”

“Neither do I. You being our nanny for the summer—it was his idea. Not that I don’t like you, Laura. I do. Even though you just got here I think you’re a nice girl, and you are down to earth, and very good with the baby.

“I like you, too, Betsy.”

She smiled. “You mustn’t call me that in front of Richard. He’d have a fit. Anyhow, Cousin Arthur got it in his head if we had a nanny I could study harder for my Bar Exam and of course, the Cash family likes the idea of servants. It makes them feel grand."

Suddenly she looked at the clock as if in a panic.

“Well, it’s after 2 and Richard will be home by 6. I better go study! Laura, clean up the kitchen and then make sure Trevor is up by 4 from his nap. You can take him down to the park if the sun stays out. Remember I pointed it out on our way to the market?”

“Yes, Mrs. Samuel.”

"Thank you for coming with us today, Laura. Tomorrow I have a study group at the library in the City of Boston. So you'll have to mind Trevor all day until the afternoon. I'll be driving in with Richard but taking the train home."

"Okay," I replied.

"Well, I'll see you later." She sighed. She was acting robotically strict again. I suppose that was life when you were married to a Samuel of Boston.

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers
Original Poster
#24 Old 29th Aug 2016 at 6:30 PM
Default Chapter 14--More Revelations, More Tensions
Chapter 14

I discovered Betsy was having an affair. I can't say that I blamed her because the tension and stress to be perfect in the Samuel house seeped into all our lives, Trevor's included. Although he was a pleasant child, his personality was too serious for someone so young. We'd play a game and he appeared to be having fun, then all of a sudden he'd get morose or sigh and just keep calling for his mother. He also napped a lot and appeared tired out and prefered to cling to either me or his mother rather than play.

Anyhow, that afternoon when Trevor took his nap, Betsy returned from her study group as usual. She greeted me in the living room where I was picking up Trevor's blocks and some toys he left scattered about. She looked particularly young and pretty and happy. Was it just the hairstyle and makeup she recently altered or something else?

Betsy unpacked her briefcase and pulled out a picture frame. Silently she handed it to me.

John Hazen was her college boyfriend

"Who is this?" I asked.

"That's John." She indicated I should follow her into the dining room. We sat at the large table.

"I haven't been going to study group in Boston on Tuesdays and Thursdays," she confessed. "I've been taking the train up to Burlington to see John."

"Oh, Betsy, why are you telling me this?" I asked, feeling now I had to also keep this awful secret. In only a few weeks I would be at college. But for now I was deeply entangled in the Samuel soap opera.

Betsy's confession made me nervous

"I had to tell you, Laura. I had to tell someone. Richard is so mean, so controlling. He's the one who MADE me go to law school. Did you know when I met him, I was a paralegal in my uncle's office? Richard came in for some legal advice regarding his trust fund and we met at the office. A whirlwind romance, a girl who just wanted out of her boring small town, and three years later, here I am."

Her head was cast down.
"I'm not proud of myself," she replied. "But John is everything Richard is not. He's into the simple life. He wants to move back to our small town outside Burlington and take up his dad's dairy farm."

"What does he do now?"

"Oh, he's working as a lumberjack."

I blinked. "People actually work as lumberjacks?" I inquired, confused.

"Of course," she said. "But he wants me to go back to Vermont and take Trevor and divorce Richard. No one leaves the Samuel family. You know how much money they have--and their influence...Cousin...Arthur alone has his own legal team and they are ruthless."

"I worry about my mom sometimes, dating him." I agreed.

"Laura, I know I will never see Trevor again if I want to divorce Richard. What am I going to do?"

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers
Original Poster
#25 Old 3rd Oct 2016 at 6:44 PM Last edited by HCAC : 18th Oct 2016 at 2:51 PM.
Default Chapter 15--In Too Deep
Why was I even still here? I thought later that night after everyone had gone to bed. I'm just a kid. I didn't even want this job and now I know too much. Betsy running off to meet a boyfriend was a heavy secret to keep hidden. I did like her and felt like Doctor Samuel was extremely firm and mean but still, how could she have an affair with this man knowing she could lose her baby forever?

The next day she had study group--Thursday--I had to babysit Trevor all day knowing Betsy was probably out meeting John. I did the chores and played games with Trevor who seemed like he was running a slight fever. Doctor Samuel came in at six and looked his son over briefly.

"He's just teething. Put him to bed and he will be better tomorrow," he said shortly. "Mrs. Samuel is still out at her study group?"

"She's not home yet," I replied, handing a frozen teething ring to Trevor who chucked it across the room. "MAMAMAA!" he bawled.

"I'm not in the mood for his caterwauling tonight," snapped Doctor Samuel. I picked up the baby and took him upstairs, then set him on the rug with his favorite teddy bear.

"I'll Skype Leon," I thought, sitting down in front of my computer. "I need to talk with someone rational for a few minutes." Trevor whimpered on the rug. He knew better than to cry loudly with his father home. It was very sad.

The computer wouldn't connect so I stood up when I heard the taxi door bang and peered out my open window.

Outside Doctor Samuel confronted his wife at the door.

"You're late," he said, eyeing her new outfit. "Since when do you dress like a Bohemian hippy? Is that really the image you want to project as an attorney?"

She frowned and turned away, walking back down the driveway.

"I'm not interested in what image I project as a lawyer," she replied, calling back to him. "This house is like a jail."

"No one can even get the mail here. What do you and that nanny do all day?" he demanded, following behind her. "I'm expecting some important medical journals."
He proceeded down the drive and opened the mailbox and pulled out a few letters and a magazine. One letter caught his attention and he ripped it open.

"Why does it say in this letter you cancelled your appointment for the Bar exam?" He angrily turned around to her. "We agreed that you'd be ready--

"No, you agreed, you agreed!" she shouted. "I don't want to be a lawyer and I don't want to take the exam and I want--I want--a divorce."

His eyes opened in shock and then he regained his cool composure. "I won't discuss our personal business in the road but this is how you repay me?"

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers
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