11 YEARS LATER
"Riley! Time to get up!" My mother's distant voice ringed up the stairs and through my bedroom door. I groaned and rolled over on to my stomach, hugging my pillow over my head. "Riley!" I attempted to ignore her again, clutching the pillow tighter. "Riley! I will not say your name again!" I sighed, and just tried to relax, knowing that there was no way I was going to fall back asleep now.
No more than thirty seconds past before I heard stomps coming from the main floor up to the second.
Now I was awake.
I frantically jumped up into a sitting position and desperately tried to untangle my legs from my bed sheets. Frustration and determination were the two things on my mind at the moment.
After quite the struggle, I broke free of my blankets and slid out of my bed, silently cursing to myself. It should be illegal to wake up a teenager on a Saturday, even if it was summer break.
The harsh steps were quickly advancing towards my doors, and I barely managed to close the door to my closet before my mother barged in.
"Thanks for knocking." I muttered as I analyzed the wide variety of clothes I had. Or at least I pretended to.
"Riley?" My mother's muffled voice was gradually advancing
"I'm changing, Mother." I lied.
The shadows under my closet indicated that she didn't comprehend that I needed privacy. Before I knew it, the barrier keeping me from seeing the five and a half foot tall woman was open.
I pretended to cover myself. Mock horror covered my face. "Mom!"
"Please, Riley. You're talking to the woman who gave birth to you." She rolled her eyes a turned around, walking towards my bed. "Hurry up and get dressed, we're going apartment shopping today."
The frustration and determination turned into motivation. There was a week left of summer vacation before I would be re-doing twelfth grade at Brooksdale High, which meant I needed a place to live.
Yes. I said "re-doing". The first time around wasn't successful. Twelfth grade is supposed to be the grade any student who wants to go somewhere works the hardest in. I guess I didn't want to go anywhere, so yes, I failed. It wasn't that I was dumb or lazy. I just had lack of interest.
I don't have friends, but I'm not a loner. People come up to talk to me and converse with me, but still, they're no friends of mine. I just wanted a place where I could start fresh.
Up until now I had attended Langhash High, but if you knew me at all, you'd know that I'm not one to set any aspect of my life in stone.
I'm eighteen. A young woman. I'm entitled to change my mind whenever I please.
Hence, moving equals different scenery which also equals different school.
Too much math for you? Yeah, I feel the same way.
"Riley, come help me make your bed." The voice belonging to my mother beckoned me.
By now I was dressed in my skinny jeans and ballet flats ready to take on Portland's rain day.
I made my way over to the opposite side of the bed and straightened the blanket.
“I was looking online last night, and I saw that there were a few apartments for rent close to the school which would help you save gas.”
I nodded not really paying attention. We had been house hunting a total of three times now. Each place we’ve looked at so far have looked okay to me, but of course, Mom being the mom only wants the best for her daughter, so every single one has been disapproved. Personally, I could care less. I figured that I’d have a job and maybe some friends which meant I’d be out of the house fairly frequently.
After the bed was made, we headed downstairs to eat. I had fruit salad and freshly squeezed orange juice. Once I was settled in my chair at the dining table, my mother joined me and rolled her eyes in disgust as she looked at my bowl of colourful deliciousness.
"No dairy for Miss Riley this morning?" She asked innocently.
"Nope." I said simply and started eating.
She sighed, "The reason you're a vegan totally beats me."
I didn't reply as I thought about it for a second. Being someone who loves change, I guess I just woke up one day and decided I didn't want to eat meat or any animal by-products for that matter.
My father came into the room, his broad shoulders barely fitting through the doorway. "Good morning ladies," he greeted, "How are you guys doing this morning?" He bent down to kiss my mother's cheek, and then came beside me to give me a quick hug.
We both replied with "good" and a smile, then resumed with our meals. After some breakfast chit-chat, my father left for work, leaving us alone again.
Once I was finished with my breakfast, I put my dish away and took a few vitamins. Then I trudged back up the stairs and into my bathroom.
I took my toothbrush out of its holder and squirted some toothpaste on it. After damping the end of it, I started brushing and looked at my reflection in the mirror.
My long brown hair hung down in loose curls down my slim body. My eyes were a light, chocolaty brown that had a hint of a cute little twinkle that I only got to see when I was in a good mood. A little further down my even face was my small, but straight nose. Then came my mouth with pink, plump lips and straight teeth, due to the braces I had in fifth grade. My skin was naturally a light tan colour, which came in handy when it came to living in Portland.
I came out of the bathroom and took my phone off of its charger and grabbed my phone. I met my mom in the car, and then we were off.
It took about forty minutes to get to Brooksdale.
The ride consisted of terrible country music and my mother's constant chatter of what her expectations were for my new home. I, for the most part, ignored her babble.
When we got there, it didn’t take long to find the apartment the complex. The building itself looked quite nice. It definitely didn’t have the Hilton Hotel structure to it, but it was perfect for me, and my mother, surprisingly, agreed.
On the inside, there were two bedrooms, one bathroom, a decent kitchen, and a good sized living room. As I walked through the place, I pictured where all of my furniture would go, and couldn’t keep the smile off of my face. The master bedroom was a little small, but I didn't have to worry about cramming all of my belongings into a tiny room. The whole apartment would be my room! The management staff had replaced all the appliances only a few months ago which was a bonus. All in all, I could definitely see myself living in a space like this.
My mother could see my face, and she knew this is the place I wanted to live in, but she wasn't impressed.
She turned to the landlord, who was a pretty nice guy, and said, “Uh, I don't think this is the place my daughter will be living in. Thanks though."
My heart sunk. What did she just say?
"But Mom -"
"This isn't the place for you Riley May. End of discussion."
We exited the building, and I made sure to slam the car door when I got in. Judging by the annoyed sigh she gave, I obviously had an effect.
"Look Riley, I don't believe that those apartments are the best in the city. Let's just keep looking. By the sounds of it, nobody's been even giving the guy offers on this rooms. If we can't find anything better by next week, we'll come back. Okay?"
I nodded, feeling a little better.
"Now," she said, staring the car, "I don't know about you, but I'm starving."
We headed downtown, where all the locally-owned places sat side-by-side. Mom parked in no area in particular, and we got out and just walked.
First we roamed the main street until we found the first food place. Entering Sandy's Sandwich's, an aroma that made my stomach grumble so much it almost hurt hit us like a freight train. It wasn't to busy so we were able to sit down and order right away. The wait wasn't very long either.
It was love at first bite. The sandwiches were to die for! I had ordered a veggie sandwich, and it had tasted absolutely delicious. There was the greenest roman lettuce, and the best tomatoes. The peppers were their deepest colour, and the bread was toasted to perfection. My mother, who had gotten a pizza bun, had also thoroughly enjoyed her meal. Even I was attracted to the yummy scent of pepperoni and cheese.
After finishing mine, I was absolutely full, but very tempted to order another. We finished up quickly before we actually would order one more each. My mom gave our waitress a generous tip, and we set out again.
Since we had nothing else planned, we decided to explore a little more. It was exciting to know that I'd soon be living here. Although I hadn't actually conversed with anyone here yet, there was a friendly vibe about this town.
We walked about, going in and out of stores. There was one store that had funky lamps and different decorations for interior design that I kept note of.
After an hour and a half of being on our feet, my mother complained about being tired. We still had the drive back home and we were cutting it close to being home for dinner. I was about turn around, but a familiar voice stopped me. It was a singer's voice. I couldn't quite recognize its significance, but it intrigued me enough to follow it. The song played through my mind like a distance memory.
I glanced over my shoulder, "I'll only be a minute, Mom. You can go to the car, I'll meet you there."
She nodded and turned away.
I walked a few more feet, and found myself at a music store. The building was quite tall with many windows. The door was open, allowing the summer breeze to flow in and out. I stepped inside and observed the store.
There was orange carpet covered in footprints everywhere. Records and various CDs were all over the place and guitars and posters covered the walls. The place was mellow.
Music had definitely something I was once passionate about. I used to enjoy singing and playing guitar. When I was younger I learned how to play the piano, and violin. When I was eight, I had started the cello, but stopped after a couple months. Actually, that summer in third grade was pretty music-less.
"You have a lovely voice." Someone behind me said, making me jump a little. I turned around and faced a guy who had a slight smirk present on his face.
"I'm sorry?" I said.
"Your singing voice," he clarified, "it's pretty."
Had I been singing?
"Thank you." I said, stiffly. It had been forever since I'd last sung, and now I had done it and hadn't even realized.
He nodded, and then gestured to the records I was looking at. "Can I help you with anything?"
I looked around before nodding my head, "Are you guys hiring?" I bit my lip wondering if it was possible to take that question back. It was completely spontaneous, and I had absolutely no clue why I said it.
"Well I'm not sure. Do you have a resume I could give to the owner?" He ask with a smile. He had a dimple in his right cheek that made my heart melt.
"Uh no." I felt embarrassed now, "You know what? It's totally okay, just forget I asked." I said with a nervous laugh.
He looked a little disappointed, but wiped it clear from his face when we made eye contact, "Are you sure?"
"Yes." I sounded certain, but knew I was starting to second guess myself. This would be a pretty awesome job. "I mean, I don't even live here. Well I will be...living here, I just haven't found a place yet. My mother, she's very picky, and..." I stopped myself, there was another evident smirk playing on his gorgeous lips again, "I'm babbling, sorry."
He smiled, "Don't worry about it."
I nodded again, and began to turn away, but his voice stopped me again, "But you know, if you had a resume and got a job here, most of the employees live in the suites upstairs."
"Suites?" I asked, "Upstairs?"
"Yeah, I'll be sure to tell my boss about you. I'll put in a good word." He winked, making me smile.
"Okay." I agreed. We stood in silence for a moment.
"Excuse me?" said a man who was standing behind the guy whom I couldn't seem to take my eyes off of.
The green-eyed beauty turned around, and politely asked what the man needed. Apparently he needed his attention because Mr. Green Eyes turned back to me and apologized because he had to go.
I smiled, but it probably looked like a grimace. I watched him walk away with the costumer.
Realizing that my mom was waiting for me, I headed out of the store. As I walked out of the door, I felt as if someone was watching me. I turned around, humouring myself, and spotted those two emerald eyes looking right at me. Since I didn't know what to do, I threw a quick wave at him and continued walking.
Once I got into the car, my mom asked me where I was. I shrugged and told her I was at a music store. I made sure I didn't mention the job or the suites - if she didn't approve of the apartment we had just seen, she definitely would not like the idea of living in a suite located on top of a music store.
After I had explain the store. She gave me a long look before a small smile was placed on her face.
"What?" I asked?
"Nothing." She said, her smile getting bigger, "Nothing at all."