Ch. 1 - Abandoned

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Authors Note: Welcome to my new Wattpad story. This is a work in progress, things may change as the story progresses. Make sure to follow me for updates on any changes. Also I encourage everyone to guess what is happening and where the story is going, and shout it out in the comments. I know some of what is to come, but not yet all. So you have a chance to influence Rhianna's fate.  

--strikethrough--I am aiming for a dark fantasy. We will see whether I pull it off LOL. So feedback helping me steer things in that direction is much appreciated.--endstrikethrough--

Added 9/6/15: I am now aiming for fantasy adventure rather than dark fantasy, based on feedback from my wise friend JessicaBFry and because I kind of knew deep down it was shaping up that way anyway. 

More coming soon. (love to jewel1307 for the cover design!)

Rhianna sat alone in the room, on the edge of an overstuffed sectional, picking at the loose threads of the fading floral-patterned upholstery. The walls, with a wallpaper border of ferns, pressed in tighter with every tick of the brass clock on the mantle. A small army of horse figurines crowded the clock, and pretty much every other shelf space in the room. Her mother and Pippa argued in the kitchen.

"Do you honestly think being here, will help?"

"You know I would never bring her here—to you—if it wasn't the very last option. Can't you do this one thing for me, Pippa?"

"So it's about you? I thought this was about her?"

"You won't take her?"

"I didn't say that. But—I didn't even know her name before today. She needs her mother, not a stranger."

"I can't. Stop acting like you know better than me!" The whine of frustration rose in her mother's words, and Rhianna clutched at the sofa cushion, digging her nails into the threaded patterns. Nobody understood her mother like she did. She needed to intervene and smooth things over. But her mother had told her, with that look, to stay here until she was done.

"If you have such a high opinion of me, Katrina, why are you leaving the girl with me?"

"Well—I am—ok. If you won't—" The pitch of the conversation became shrill and Rhianna half stood, torn between wanting to smooth out her mother's frayed edges and listening to her mother. Her mothers words echoed in her ears. Listen to momma, baby. It's the most basic survival skill you need on the road. But they weren't on the road anymore. Not if her mother did what Rhianna suspected she was doing.

The rest of the words descended into muffled blubbering. She heard the backdoor close and her heart lurched a little.

Footsteps came toward the living room. Rhianna pretended to be fascinated with the clock as the door opened.

The older woman was short and lean, her skin sagged slightly where muscle had once been. Her eyes were hard. She wasn't the kind of old lady that played bingo and knitted.

Rhianna made herself smile.

"I'm sorry." The woman sighed and there was a long silence before she said, "She wanted to say goodbye, but..."

"I know. It's ok," Rhianna said. "I'm sure she will be back soon." Abandoned.

"Do you know who I am?" Pippa asked.

She nodded.

"Well, that's a start." The woman puffed a stray lock of hair out of her eyes. "Rhianna, eh? Like the horse goddess?"

Rhianna frowned. Horse goddess?

The old woman chuckled. "Never mind. Did you eat dinner yet?"

Rhianna shook her head.

"Come on then, I'll show you where you can put your bags."

Rhianna hesitated.

"What is it, darlin'?"

"If you are my grandmother, why does Mom call you Pippa?"

After their awkward introduction, Grandma Pippa showed Rhianna upstairs to a room that smelled like mothballs and flowers.

"You can put your things in the closet, and there is a dresser there. But don't go putting any posters on the walls. This is only temporary."

Rhianna dropped her bag on the bed. She'd never put up a poster in her life. She didn't remember the last time she had stayed in one place for more than a few weeks. This was just another temporary stop, like all the others. And, where would she even fit a poster in her backpack?

Another thing didn't remember was her mother ever leaving her behind. Rhianna went to the window, putting her hand on the glass. There was no sign of the dusty Toyota in the driveway.

"She'll be back," said Pippa. "A few weeks at most. Maybe you will spend the summer."

Rhianna's heart lurched at the thought of being here for three whole months. She strained her eyes at a small cloud of dust in the distance along the road, leaving the farm behind. Her mother needed her. Who would remind her to stop for gas when the tank was low? Who would remind her to eat or take her meds?

No, Mom couldn't survive without Rhianna. She would be back in a few days—a week at most. If she didn't come by then, she was never coming back. Rhianna gulped and tried to unthink that thought.

"Dinner is at five o'clock. Make sure you wash up before you come down."

Rhianna plopped onto the bed after Pippa went downstairs. She bounced a bit to test its firmness, but it barely budged, all firm and no bounce. It could be worse—she remembered a fold out couch with a huge sag in the middle—and it was clean. Really, really clean. She ran her hand across the starched bedspread. Hundreds of uniform rosebuds marched across it's surface in an orderly pattern. Her hand stopped at the seam, where the pattern was interrupted.

She will be back. Rhianna didn't dare say it out loud; she would hear the lie.

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