1. Meet Emily

1. Meet Emily

A Chapter by Craig2591
"

Chrissy finds out that she doesn't hate kids after all.

"




Chrissy was lucky that she had such a beautiful spring day to replace the throttle cable on her motorcycle. Many people were out enjoying the first really nice day of the year. A lot of the kids that lived at the apartment complex were playing various outdoor games and making a lot of noise. Chrissy paid no attention to them. She didn't like kids.


The asphalt of the parking lot was warm as she set her tool box down and knelt to open it. She took out a wrench and started loosening the bolts that held the cable in place. Naturally, the final one was rusted tight and she had to struggle to break it loose. She yanked on it so hard at one point that she almost pulled the motorcycle over on herself.


“Hello,” said a voice next to her. Chrissy looked and saw a little girl with long blond hair and thick glasses watching her. It was one of the kids that lived in the apartment complex. Chrissy had seen her from time to time. She often sat on the steps of an elderly couple's apartment, watching the other kids play. Sometimes the other kids teased her, but mostly they just ignored her. Once in a while, Chrissy saw her walking up and down the sidewalk carrying a stuffed animal, singing to herself. Chrissy thought her a little odd, but who was she to judge? She gave the girl a curt nod and went back to working on her motorcycle.


“What are you doing?” the little girl asked.


“What's it look like I'm doing?” was Chrissy's terse reply.


“Fixing your motorcycle?”


“Bright kid!” she said sarcastically.


“What's wrong with it?”


“Didn't your mom tell you not to talk to strangers?!”


“My mom's dead.”


Chrissy stopped and looked at her. “Oh... that's too bad. What about your old man?”


“He's dead, too. They were killed in a car wreck.”


“Geez, kid! That stinks! So, you live with your grandparents?”


“No, I live with Marge and Henry. They're my foster parents.”


“Don't you have any family?”


“Not really. I have an aunt in prison and a grampa in the nursing home. That's it.”


“Well,” said Chrissy, “I guess I know how that is. I don't have any family either.” She went back to working on her motorcycle.


“Are you married?”


“Yeah.”


“Isn't your husband family?”


Chrissy stopped and looked at her again. “Yeah,” she said thoughtfully, “I guess he is.” She turned her attention back to her work.


“Can I help?” the little girl asked.


“Why don't you go play with your friends?!” Chrissy nodded toward some kids kicking a soccer ball around the parking lot.


“They're not my friends,” she answered.


Chrissy looked at her again. “Don't you have any friends?”


“I have a couple at school, but they don't live around here.”


Chrissy sighed. “Well, you still shouldn't talk to strangers, so...” she stuck out her hand, “I'm Chrissy.”


The little girl shook her hand, “I'm Emily.”


“Well, Emily, that was a lousy handshake. When you shake someone's hand, you do it firmly. Now, let's try it again.” They shook hands again. “Now that's a proper handshake!” she said. Emily smiled. “Now,” she continued, “If you promise not to bug me with a bunch of questions, I suppose you can help me. Deal?”


Emily nodded.


“Okay, get down here,” she said, pointing at the tool box. Emily knelt down. “Do you know what a wrench is?”


She shook her head.


Chrissy gave her a quick tutorial on basic tools. When she was done she said, “Okay, let's get started then. Hand me a ten millimeter wrench”


Eventually, Chrissy got her throttle cable replaced, though she had to remind Emily about the 'no bugging' rule twice. She started the motorcycle and tested it out to her satisfaction, then gathered up her tools and set the toolbox on the front steps. After that she walked Emily back to her apartment. They went in through the front door and Emily called out, “Marge! Come meet my new friend!”


An elderly woman of about seventy came out from the kitchen area. She was obviously expecting to see another child with Emily and was surprised to see Chrissy standing there. “Oh!” she said, “Um... hello.”


“Emily was helping me fix my motorcycle,” said Chrissy, “I figured you didn't want her talking to strangers, so I thought I'd come down and introduce myself. I'm Chrissy Allen.”


“Well, how nice of you! I'm Marge Gann. I hope Emily wasn't being a nuisance.”


Chrissy shrugged. “I don't mind.”


“Do you live nearby?” asked Marge.


“I live in number sixteen with Ian Stewart. He's my husband.”


“Oh, yes. He's the artist, isn't he? I've spoken with him a couple of times,” she said with a touch of uncertainty.


“Yeah, he's a little weird, but he's harmless.”


"You're his wife?!"  As soon as she said it she realized she had made a faux pas and became a little embarrassed.  "Oh, I didn't mean -- "


Chrissy made a dismissive gesture.  "It's okay.  I'm used to it.  That's what I get for marrying an older man."


Marge smiled. There was a moment of uncomfortable silence, then she said, “Would you like a cup of coffee?”


Chrissy was about to decline when she looked down at Emily and saw her smiling up at her. She didn't know why, but she answered, “Sure. Why not?”


It was over coffee with Marge Gann that Chrissy learned that Emily was nine years old, that her parents were killed in a car accident when she was six, and that she had no other family to speak of. Through no fault of her own, the poor child was on her third foster home in as many years. The first home she had been sent to was a couple with two teenage children. But the couple split up after the father found out that the mother was having an affair. So Emily was sent to a family that cared for several foster children, but it was discovered that the man was cashing the checks from Children’s Services that were meant for the care of the children and using the money for online gambling. Emily was then sent to live with the Ganns. They had been caring for foster children ever since their own children grew up over twenty years ago. Marge informed Chrissy that Emily was a very sweet child and gave them no behavior problems to speak of. She was, however, a little concerned that Emily didn't have any friends among the neighborhood children.



~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~



This was the best summer ever for Emily! At first, she had dreaded the approach of summer. She hated school, but the thought of spending the entire summer basically alone with Marge and Henry was just depressing. They were very nice, and Emily liked them a lot, maybe even loved them. But they were old and didn't do fun things. At least not Emily's idea of fun. She didn't have any friends at the apartment complex either. It was going to be a long, boring summer.


Then she met Chrissy! Chrissy was so cool! With her tattoos, and the nose ring and lip ring and... Emily didn't even know how many earrings she had! And she drove a motorcycle! She dressed cool and wore cool make-up, too. Everything about her was cool! One of the other kids teased Emily for being friends with the 'Vampire Lady'. When Emily told Chrissy about it, she chuckled.


“Aren't you mad?” asked Emily.


Chrissy just shrugged. “Why should I care what that little twerp thinks of me?” she replied. That was so cool! She loved the way that Chrissy didn't care what other people thought.


And Chrissy taught her how to play Backgammon! Backgammon!! It sounded so exotic! Like it came from some country far away where they dressed funny and drank spiced tea. None of the other kids had ever heard of it.


Chrissy took her fun places, like the neighborhood pool. She overheard her telling Ian that she liked taking Emily to the pool because the men didn't hit on her when she had a kid with her. Emily wasn't sure what that meant, but she didn't care! She was having fun! Sometimes, when Ian had to work late, Chrissy asked Marge or Henry if she and Emily could walk down to the pizza parlor for supper. Sometimes, on the weekend, Ian and Chrissy took Emily to the park for a picnic. Then, Chrissy sat and watched while she and Ian kicked a ball around, playing their own version of soccer in which they made the rules up as they went along. Chrissy took her to visit Ian at his studio a couple of times, too. Emily had never been to a real artist's studio!


She liked Ian, too. He was so different than Chrissy. He was always smiling or laughing and acting goofy or telling stupid jokes that made Chrissy roll her eyes. Chrissy almost never laughed and hardly ever smiled, although Emily eventually discovered that Chrissy did smile, but she smiled without smiling, if that made sense. It was something in her eyes that you could see if you knew how to look for it. Emily had tried to copy it in the bathroom mirror at home, but couldn't. It seemed to be something that only Chrissy could do, which just made her that much cooler!


Chrissy did have a moody side, though, and Emily experienced it more than a few times! But Ian explained to her that that was just the way Chrissy was sometimes and that she was like that with him, too. So whenever Chrissy was short with her, she just took it in stride.


Every night, Emily said a prayer to let her stay with Marge and Henry a long time so that she could stay friends with Chrissy.


This was definitely Emily's best summer ever!


~~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~~~


It was a Saturday evening in late July. Ian had spent the afternoon at his studio working on his latest painting while Chrissy took Emily to the pool. When he came home, he found Chrissy sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee. He could tell something was on her mind. He poured a cup for himself and sat down with her and silently waited for her to talk. Eventually, she said, “After I walked Emily back to her apartment, Marge pulled me aside and told me that Henry has been diagnosed with the early stages Alzheimer’s.”


“Oh no!” said Ian, “That's too bad! He seems like such a nice guy.”


Chrissy kept looking at him. He could tell there was more, so he waited. Then it hit him! “Oh my God!” he said, “What's going to happen to Emily?!”


Chrissy nodded. “Exactly.”


“Aw, the poor kid. She seemed really happy with them.” he said, “Of all the rotten luck! I feel sorry for her.”


Chrissy continued to look at him. Apparently there was more, so he waited. It took a while, but she finally said, in a very matter-of-fact way, “I want us to apply to be Emily's foster parents.”


Whoa! Jesus Christ! You blindsided me with that one, Babe!” he exclaimed, “Are you serious?!”


She just looked at him. She was serious all right.


“Do you know what you're talking about?!” he asked with amazement, “Befriending the kid is one thing, but being her caretaker, that's a hell of a lot of responsibility!”


“I know.” she replied, “I've been thinking about it all afternoon. I understand it's a big responsibility. But I want to do it.”


“I don't think you do understand. I've raised a kid. I know what we'd be getting into. You don't! It will completely change your relationship with her.”


“I don't care.” she said calmly, “I can't stand the thought of her being packed off to yet another stranger's home. She needs to be with people who care about her. Besides... well... I guess I've fallen for the kid.”


“She is a sweet kid.” Ian responded, “And I guess I have no problem with it, but...” He was silent for several minutes. The last thing he wanted to do was raise another child at this stage in his life. But, he had to admit, he liked Emily. And he felt sorry for her. Life had certainly dealt her a bad hand that she didn't deserve. He tried to imagine what it must be like for her. She was all alone in the world, at the whim of a government bureaucracy that was often overwhelmed and understaffed. She probably felt lost, scared and uncertain about the future. S**t! He'd realized he'd just talked himself into it! He knew he couldn't live with himself if he didn't try to do something to help her. Goddammit! He sighed. “If you're really sure about this... then okay, I'll go along with it.”


She reached across the table and, in an uncharacteristic show of affection, took his hand in hers and squeezed it. “Thanks, Ian.” she said, “This means a lot to me.”


He smiled at her, but he was worried. There was something that she obviously hadn't considered, but he wasn't going to bring it up now.


Applying to be foster parents would mean a background check!



© 2013 Craig2591


My Review

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Featured Review

This was a very interesting backstory to read about Emily. I already have read some of the future drama with her and Chrissy, but seeing how she came to adopt Emily and the joys of dealing with government bureaucracy and background checks is going to be a fun journey to go through.

I feel very sorry for Emily. You did a good job of turning my sympathy towards her.

Just one comment about the section below:

“I live in number sixteen with Ian Stewart. He's my husband.”

“Oh, yes. He's the artist, isn't he? I've spoken with him a couple of times,” she said with a touch of uncertainty.

“Yeah, he's a little weird, but he's harmless.”

"You're his wife?!" As soon as she said it she realized she had made a faux pas and became a little embarrassed. "Oh, I didn't mean -- "

~~~

The "You're his wife?!" comment seems to be awkwardly placed, unless the delayed reaction was intentional. This section would improve by perhaps moving the "he's my husband" to where Chrissy says Ian is weird but harmless.



Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Craig2591

9 Years Ago

Yeah, you're right. I've never been real happy about that part. It's a bit awkward. Thanks for th.. read more



Reviews

I loved this. I usually can't stay focused long enough to read the longer writings, but this held me up.
The way you've written it allows the reader to feel the special relationship between Chrissy and Emily. Wonderful job. Great dialogue too.

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Craig2591

8 Years Ago

Thank you very much.
This was a very interesting backstory to read about Emily. I already have read some of the future drama with her and Chrissy, but seeing how she came to adopt Emily and the joys of dealing with government bureaucracy and background checks is going to be a fun journey to go through.

I feel very sorry for Emily. You did a good job of turning my sympathy towards her.

Just one comment about the section below:

“I live in number sixteen with Ian Stewart. He's my husband.”

“Oh, yes. He's the artist, isn't he? I've spoken with him a couple of times,” she said with a touch of uncertainty.

“Yeah, he's a little weird, but he's harmless.”

"You're his wife?!" As soon as she said it she realized she had made a faux pas and became a little embarrassed. "Oh, I didn't mean -- "

~~~

The "You're his wife?!" comment seems to be awkwardly placed, unless the delayed reaction was intentional. This section would improve by perhaps moving the "he's my husband" to where Chrissy says Ian is weird but harmless.



Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Craig2591

9 Years Ago

Yeah, you're right. I've never been real happy about that part. It's a bit awkward. Thanks for th.. read more
Oh man, didn't know you had a round two of this (series?) already!

It felt clunky to read until Emily's part. Some sentences felt too short or like they were half of a thought that got completed in the next one. When it changes into Emily's perspective, I really liked that short, childish, blurting voice she's given; the words 'parlor' and 'supper' didn't feel right coming from her, though. The repetition of italicized "cool!" was good - that she doesn't have another word for Chrissy helps solidify that she's only 9 years old. The blindside comment Ian makes feels redundant with the 'he hadn't expected it' part; I think it only needs one or the other.

I like the direction you're taking these characters. Adoption fits with Chrissy better than a pregnancy; though I think a pregnancy would be interesting for her, too. Emily starting at the age she is adds an element I'm looking forward too as well. She should be aware of what's happening a majority of the time and able to make her own opinions to (potentially) challenge both Chrissy and Ian. I'm excited for this continuation!

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Craig2591

11 Years Ago

Hmm... the term 'pizza parlor' perhaps is generational or regional. That's what we always called su.. read more
SpeedyHobbit Armstrong

9 Years Ago

*sneaks into the exchange* I agree about the pizza parlor comment, 20-somethings of New York call pl.. read more
I like this chapter. Their married and perhaps about to have a kid with them. But she doesn't have a very good background....will it be overlooked? The government can and often is harsh enforcing rules.

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Craig2591

11 Years Ago

Thanks, Aurora. I uploaded this chapter prematurely. There are other chapters that come before this.. read more
Tina Kline

11 Years Ago

You did a great job!
More! How long did it take you to write these chapters? You must have been on a roll!

Posted 12 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on May 16, 2012
Last Updated on May 11, 2013
Tags: romance, love, humor, parenting, foster parent, adoption


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Craig2591
Craig2591

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I am a visual artist with no formal training in creative writing. I get stories knocking around my head and sometimes I write them down. I decided to join this site to share them with other writers .. more..

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A Story by Craig2591