Chapter 3: Falling Into Routine

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September 5th, 2015

There is a difference between small town Tennessee and big county Virginia. Namely, that when they say they can do sport, they can do do sport. After school I headed to the changing rooms, quickly got ready and headed to the track- thinking I could warm up as they got out. Nope - they were already doing laps by the time I jogged up.

"If you being late, has any relevance to how fast you are, we seriously have some issues. Now get out there- go, go, go!" Kate shoved me forward as she yelled in my ear. I picked up speed, warming up normally as I easily fell into pace with the other members of the team. They all seemed nice enough and I recognised two from lunch though I didn't know their names.

It was a good two hours' practice and by the end it was official I was on the team. I wasn't the fastest, like I had been at my old school. But I was decent and becoming fastest was something I could fix. I headed to the changing rooms, took a shower, and started my walk home. Today had been decent. Everyone seemed alright- and yet I kept feeling eyes on the back of my head. I felt weird checking if someone was staring at me and if I'm honest it kind of scared me so I never looked for the suspect. But I knew it was happening.

Once I arrived home, I was surprised to see Dad smiling. Instead of our usual routine, he met me by the door and told me dinner was ready.

"So I presuming you made the track team again child?" He asked, referring to my late arrival as we sat down at the table.

"Yes sir, we had practice after school today. And twice more every week, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Tuesdays the track goes to the Coach's for -"

"You haven't asked me about how my day was!" He interrupted.

I bowed my head slowly, "I'm sorry sir, I was just excited. How was your day?"

He looked at me scornfully before replying, "It was good. I'm running a little team of people who are the backbone to this company, our roles are all very crucial. I also met this lovely young lady, very pretty. Seems like the marrying kind" I nodded throughout his explanation as if I was possessed. Keeping my head down. He was happy, so if I played this right, I could escape to my room and have a peaceful evening for once.

"That sounds incredible sir, I'm so happy for you. There is no one more suitable to whip this team into shape then you!" He smiled to himself at my words and nodded, finished his dinner, then left. I would have to clear the table and do the dishes, but at least I didn't have to make dinner too. After I'm done I'll just retreat to my room, study on my ancient laptop. Then when I'm tired, go to sleep, so I'm up early enough to make breakfast. Good plan- same plan. The only plan I've been doing since Mum left.


After a little jog (basketball practice doesn't start for another three weeks), I came home. Well, more to the house I live in- it's not a home. "A home is where you feel comfortable and loved. It can be a place a person or thing" my dad always used to say. But this wasn't any of those. This was a towering mansion with three floors and a basement. Tall columns on what was intended as the porch as you walk in come to a large two floors up ceiling in a marble floor foyer. This place was looming and sterile, not homely at all. But it was mine. Only mine- and I couldn't change it. Like always the only people here were Alla, Marc, and Antonio. Alla, the Russian housekeeper, is a beautiful middle aged woman, with light hair and a Albany complexion. The butler Marc is an excitable man, who also acted as my chauffeur when needed. Antonio, the cook, is a young Italian man, whose food was divine and only worked here part time preparing meals for Alla to serve when needed. He worked the rest of the time at some five star restaurant in Washington DC. If you ask him where he sees himself in ten years' time he replies, "Behind the counter bellowing orders at my chefs. Telling them we need to keep up the incredibly fast service that my restaurant is known for!"

"There was a call from your mother earlier, whilst you were at school." Alla said as I began to climb the spiral staircase to my room.

"Uh huh, what did she want?" I asked without turning around, the last person I want to have to deal with is my mother and her irritating husband. The man I'm supposed to call 'stepdad'. No matter how hard my mother tries she can't replace my real dad.

"Oh nothing much dear, just wanted to know how you were doing.."

"Couldn't have called me herself to find out?"

"Lahr said she tried but it went to voicemail"

"Well, I turned off my phone for school. Couldn't she wait for after?"

"She didn't realize school had started up again and that you'd be going she said"

"After school started! This is when school always starts and why wouldn't I be going!" I spat. Thinking about her just made me nauseous.

"Dear, I'm not trying to make you sad. I just want to warn you she might be here by then end of the month" she said sympathetically in her strong but calming accent. She too disliked my mum and the choices she had made, but of course she had to be respectful to her employers. Well I was her child, but not even that these days, so I didn't care for how rude I was to her. She could kick me out and I honestly would be better off than I am here.

The only reason I don't leave is because of Alla, Marc and Antonio. They are my new family. If I left, Alla and Marc would be out of a job and I don't think I could leave them ever. I'm just waiting for them to get annoyed with me then leave, yet they are strangely resistant- standing by me through everything. The good and the bad. Like a real family should. I may not have a home, my biological family, or real friends but at least I have them.

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