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About the author:
Ginnie write in her spare time, between a bike ride into town and a hike in the jungle. She loves a good cup of tea and watching her favorite TV shows. She can’t go anywhere without her own ebook reader and loves to get lost in a good story. That’s why she decided to create her own.
Here is a short sample from the book:
The car was quiet. Everybody was sleeping except me. And by everybody, I meant Sophie, my daughter, and Apollo, our dog. We’d been driving for days already, leaving Seattle behind us.
I was looking at the road, thinking about the changes that were going to come into our lives. It was definitely going to be different. We were moving from a big, bustling city to a smaller one, where there wouldn’t be half as many things to do. It would take some getting used to, but I knew we could do it. Our little family would recover. Besides, I had done it before: leaving the world I knew and was comfortable in for what seemed like a better one. And I was doing it again, in a very different way.
I looked in the rear-view mirror at Sophie. Her blonde hair was falling over her shoulders, her head against the window. She was sixteen years old and so beautiful. She had grown into a fine young woman, but it was for her protection that we were leaving Seattle.
We were moving to Smithfield, Virginia because of an incident involving my daughter, her friends, and the police. She was mad at me now, but it was for her own good. She didn’t understand yet, but she would one day. In the meantime, she wasn’t talking to me. After four days of driving, I had gotten used to it.
I remembered our interaction two days ago, which hadn’t gone the way I’d planned.
“What do you want to eat?” I’d asked her.
It had been a bit before lunch, and I was getting hungry. There was a rest area in a mile, and I wanted to know where to stop. When I looked in the mirror, Sophie had been looking outside, ignoring me.
“Sophie, stop that. Say something,” I had said. I was getting tired of her little game. If she wasn’t going to share her secrets with me, that was fine. She’d been doing that for a while, but I needed her to tell me the basic stuff: when she was hungry, when she was thirsty, when she had to go to the bathroom.
“You ruined my life,” she’d replied.
And that was the last time I’d tried. It had been two days since that event, and she still hadn’t said a word. I had tried not stopping to eat or pee, so she would have to ask me, but the little devil lasted longer than I did. She was winning the battle, but not the war.
We were only three hours away from our new life now, and I couldn’t wait to get there. I was exhausted, and Sophie not talking to me was driving me crazy. On day three of our road trip, I had started talking with Apollo, our German Shepard.
“You’ll see, Apollo. You’re going to like Virginia. We’ll be in a nice house in the suburbs, with a backyard just for you.”
He answered by moving from the backseat to the passenger one and curling up in a ball. I guessed I had his attention, so I kept talking with him. For some reason, it felt good to talk, even if Apollo couldn’t answer back.
“We should stop soon so you can run a little bit. And I’ll buy you a treat. You’ve been such a good dog during this trip.”
He stood up and let a little bark out, and I started laughing. That caught Sophie’s attention, and I heard her sigh in the back.
“Apollo, come here,” she said abruptly, disturbing my plans.
She wouldn’t talk to me, but she’d talk to the dog? I looked at Apollo, begging him to stay at the front of the car with me, but after giving me a pitiful look, he went back to his spot, his head on Sophie’s lap. I had lost a battle again.
I parked the car in front of the house. Number 34. It was the right one, according to the email from the realtor. It looked exactly like the one in the picture. It was a two-story house, colonial-style with plenty of windows on the façade, white bricks, and gray shutters. It was elegant and had character. It was exactly what I wanted.
I looked around, trying to find Angela, the realtor, but I couldn’t see her anywhere. We had never met, so I only knew what she looked like from her profile picture on the company website. I should probably have waited for her, but I was too excited.
I got out of the car and opened the door for Apollo to come with me. I had his leash in my hand, but instead of putting it on him; I put it in my pocket like I had always done with him. I didn’t like using it; Apollo would never hurt anyone or run away. He’d always come back home.
I smiled at him and led him up the driveway to take a peek at the house. According to Angela, it had been empty for a while now, so there was no problem with me walking around. I couldn’t go through the front door—I had to wait for her for that—so I decided to open the back gate and go exploring a little bit.
The house didn’t have a pool, but there was a beautiful flower garden and three tall trees at the back. The only thing I could think, seeing all that space, was that I’d have to buy a swing set. In Seattle, we had lived in an apartment, and the only outdoor spaces we had were public, which wasn’t great for privacy and a feeling of belonging. Sophie was probably going to think I was childish for wanting something like that, but that was how we were. She was the adult, and I was the child. She wanted serious when I wanted fun.
“Elsie!” yelled Sophie from the car.
She’s talking! That was my first thought. She had been calling me by my first name lately, and it was starting to annoy me a little. She had never done that before leaving Seattle.
“Come on, boy,” I said as I turned back to the house.
Apollo followed me like the good dog he was, and in a few seconds, we were back at the front of the house. Sophie was leaning against the car, looking away. It made me sad that she wouldn’t even look me in the eyes when I was talking to her, or in general.
I sighed, exhausted by this game of hers. That was when I noticed the black car on the other side of the street. The woman that came out of it was wearing a black skirt, the expensive kind that fit her body perfectly. She had long blonde hair, sleeker than what I could achieve with my straightener. Her manicured nails betrayed the fact that she cared a lot about her appearance. I was the complete opposite. My brown curly hair was in a loose bun at the top of my head, and I was wearing a simple white t-shirt and a pair of denim shorts. The contrast was so obvious.
“Hi! You must be Angela,” I said, trying to break her perfection by sounding personal.
“That’s me. And you are Ms. Anderson?” she replied. I could see in her eyes that she was trying to make an effort to meet me halfway, but she still had to sound professional.
“Call me Elsie,” I said, making it easier for her.
“How was the trip, Elsie?” Her smile told me that she had agreed to set professionalism aside.
“Long!” I said, laughing at the same time. Angela laughed with me, and it made me feel more at ease with her.
“Shall we go in?” she said, leading the way to the door.
I followed her inside. The place was empty, and there was a musty smell in the air, but that was something that I could work with. Opening the windows and getting our furniture would help a lot. The truck would be here tomorrow, so today would be all about cleaning and ventilating our new house. For tonight, Sophie and I had air mattresses to sleep on. It was the best we could do without furniture.
Angela started talking, but I wasn’t listening to her. I was too absorbed by my thoughts and had already started visualising the whole house. I knew where the couch and the TV would go. I already had an idea of the colors I wanted for the kitchen and which light fixtures I was going to change.
The house was around 150 years old, but still charming. From the pictures I had seen on the realtor’s website, the furniture had been classical, fitting the outside of the house, but that was going to change. I would bring a bit of modernity to this old house and make it mine.
Sophie finally came inside when Angela and I were visiting the second floor. I knew because Apollo was running around in the empty rooms and Sophie was trying to calm him.
“Stop, Apollo. Sit! Mom won’t be happy if you scratch her floor on the first day.”
The sound of the claws on the hardwood stopped, and I knew that Apollo had listened to Sophie like he always did. He was my dog, but he liked Sophie a lot because she kept giving him food under the table. I had known since the beginning, but she still thought that I didn’t have a clue about what she was doing.
“That’s better. Stay here. I’ll get you some food,” said Sophie as she left the house to go get something out of the car.
I had bought Apollo three years ago when Sophie started spending more time with her friends than me. She was busy at school during the day, and even at night, she would sometimes take the bus to go see her friends. Apollo had been my new companion, spending all of his days with me.
He was my best friend now, and it had always been hard for me to leave him, even if it was just for five minutes. Since I had nobody in my life, he could also be considered my platonic boyfriend, protecting me from thieves and sleeping at the end of my bed every night.