Amanda had arrived at Los Santos International Airport an hour early just in case the flight had been early. She was picking up her niece who she hadn't seen since the nine year old was born. Amanda's sister had been put into a six month rehabilitation program a few months prior while her boyfriend had been arrested just a few days ago. Not wanting to put her daughter in foster care for another extended period of time, she called Amanda and asked her to take her until she was released from rehab in March. When she had explained her younger sister's request to her husband, Michael actually took it quite well and agreed to it. He had even said it might be fun to have someone over from the family for Christmas this year.
Amanda had been thrilled that there hadn't been a fight about the ordeal. However, the kids hadn't been too keen on the situation. Tracey complained that she'd be stuck babysitting while she should be focusing on finals and Jimmy had just been selfish saying that he wouldn't be getting as much for Christmas with a kid around. Just for that comment, Michael already decided not to get him the first thing on his Christmas list. Enraged, Jimmy had stormed out of the house. Of course he returned after an hour, complaining that riding his bike had made him tired, thirsty, and hungry.
She had arrived at the airport by herself since Michael was working on producing another movie with Solomon Richards and couldn't get the day off. She understood and didn't start a fight considering she hadn't seen him this happy in a long time. She was glad he finally had something to look forward to on the week days. Furthermore, it kept him busy and he didn't have time to bum around the house annoyingly. For the first time in her life, Tracey had a legitimate excuse as she had class. She, of course, was known to skip, but the fact that finals week started next Monday, she actually had to go. Jimmy, on the other hand, just simply didn't want to accompany his mother. She didn't beg or ask him a second time to prevent another fight.
The flight did end up arriving forty minutes early. She stood, trying to see over the crowd to find a little girl who flew to Los Santos on her own. She spotted the girl who had light red hair that could be mistaken for blonde if she were in a different light. A flight attendant was leading her around to help her find her way. Amanda didn't have a picture to go by, but her sister's description had been enough. "Are you Amanda De Santa?" the flight attendant questioned her as she approached.
"Yes I am, thank you," Amanda said. The flight attendant had asked for ID, which she had provided after fishing through her purse for her driver's license. Satisfied, the flight attendant left the girl with her. So, this was Erica Meyers, a girl who looked too small to be nine years old and was being raised by her heroine addicted sister who still stripped for a living. Amanda assumed she had started to sell herself, but she couldn't be sure as her sister never admitted to doing that. Her sister's boyfriend wasn't even Erica's father, so she wondered how this little girl's home life had been while her mother had been gone. Not to mention that she had been in foster homes three times in her young life. Amanda felt sorry for her as she hadn't had a stable childhood. Well, Tracey and Jimmy hadn't had the best childhood in North Yankton, either, but at least they always had their mom and dad.
Erica had these striking blue-green eyes that were filled with mystery. Her sister mentioned Erica got into trouble a lot, so to be wary of her. She wondered what kind of trouble a small nine year old girl could get into. Obviously, Erica looked nothing like her sister who had brown hair and eyes very much like herself. "Hi, Erica. I'm your aunt, Amanda," she introduced herself.
"It's nice to meet you," Erica replied politely.
"Where's your suitcase?" Amanda asked her.
"I didn't have one. Grandma made me put everything in my backpack," Erica explained and emphasized it by putting a hand on the lilac strap. Amanda had to force herself not to shudder at the mention of her mother, a woman she was never too fond of. "I don't like her, either," Erica said, noticing a look Amanda must have had on her face.
"Let me carry that to the car."
"No, I'm fine carrying it by myself, thank you," Erica insisted. Amanda smiled as she led the girl outside of the large airport and into the parking garage where her red car was parked. Erica sat herself in the passenger seat. She looked incredibly at ease for a girl who took a plane from North Yankton to Los Santos by herself. Amanda knew her mother had probably just dropped her off at the front and let the poor girl fend for herself.
Erica kept herself silent and busy by looking out the window. Amanda had tried to start conversation with her, but the girl either replied with a "yes", "no" or an "I don't know". After failed attempts at asking her about school and whether or not she was excited to come stay in Los Santos, Amanda finally gave up. She found that Erica was stubborn, but she had to remind herself that she was just a kid who was forced to spend the next few months with strangers. The drive back home seemed even longer than it should have, but they finally arrived in Rockford Hills. Erica's eyes went wide at the mansions and her jaw dropped when Amanda pulled the car into the driveway of one of the largest houses the girl had ever seen. "You live here?" she asked her aunt.
"Yes I do," Amanda stated proudly. She wondered what kind of home her sister lived in. Despite being a heroin addict, she hoped her sister had a nice sized home due to the fact her boyfriend made money the same way Michael used to. It was unfortunate that he got caught robbing a bank. Amanda was thankful Michael had given up that life before he was behind bars or dead.
"What a lovely home," Erica complimented. When the girl turned back towards the house, Amanda raised an eyebrow in confusion after she thanked her for the compliment. She wondered what nine year old would ever use the word lovely.
Amanda led her into the house. She noted that Tracey's car was in the driveway so she assumed she had just gotten home from college. She was proud of her daughter who had decided to turn her life around. She gave up booty calls and partying in order to set herself up for a career. "Let me show you your room," Amanda said. Erica nodded and followed her up the stairs.
"Thank you," the redhead replied. Amanda opened the door to the spacious guest bedroom. Erica walked over to the queen sized bed trying to hide how in awe she still was. Perhaps she never thought she'd set foot in a mansion. Amanda didn't blame her; she never thought she'd be living in one. She set her backpack on the bed and started to unpack the small amount of belongings she had. She neatly refolded the clothes, and Amanda wasn't sure why she refolded them.
"Did you need any help unpacking?"
"Thank you, but I think I can manage," she replied putting her shirts, skirts, and underwear neatly in the mahogany dresser drawer and hung up her dresses in a large closet. She didn't have too many clothes- four dresses, two shirts, and two skirts. She took out a small makeup bag which probably only contained her toiletries. The only item she seemed to have was a tablet which she carefully put on the nightstand. Overall, unpacking was rather quick.
"If you'd like, we can get you some clothes," Amanda suggested.
"No thank you," Erica replied in an adult-like manner which was again strange for a child her age. "I don't need any more clothes than this."
"Okay, Erica," Amanda said not wanting to push her niece. "But if you change your mind, we can go shopping."
"Thank you," Erica replied. "If you don't mind, I'm just going to take a shower."
"That's fine. There's a bathrobe in the closet for you and towels are in the bathroom down the hall. Dinner will be ready in an hour." Amanda left the bedroom to go start preparing dinner. She wasn't much of a cook, but she figured she'd be able to get something on the table. She didn't want to get takeout the first night Erica was staying, so she decided on making something simple. She had prepared the mashed potatoes the night before so all she had to do was heat it up. She had to cook the chicken and the broccoli. She hoped Erica wasn't a picky eater like Tracey had been at that age.
Jimmy entered the kitchen and took a seat at the island. He had brought his laptop over and he was typing furiously, most likely on Life Invader. She had greeted him when he entered, but he ignored her. She wondered why he'd come into a room not to acknowledge her. She wondered where she went wrong with him. For a while, she was wondering what was wrong with Tracey, too, but at least she turned her life around and was going to school.
She heard Michael get home. He came through the front door, announcing his presence. She heard Tracey's footsteps come down the stairs to greet him. Despite everything, she had always been a daddy's girl. They made their way into the kitchen where Amanda was preparing the chicken. "Hey Mandy," Michael said before kissing his wife. "Since when do you cook?"
"Since we have a guest and everyone is actually under the same roof at the same time," Amanda replied. "How was work?"
"It was great," he smiled genuinely. "So, where is Erica?"
"She wanted to shower. She should be coming down soon," Amanda responded.
"Erica better not make the bathroom all disgusting. I already have to deal with him," Tracey said, nodding towards her brother.
"Hey! I'm not the one who has like a million shampoos and soaps in there! Not my fault if I knock something over," Jimmy defended himself.
"Maybe if you'd put down the Cheetos-"
"That's enough!" Michael interrupted. "You two have been getting along okay for the past few weeks. Let's not ruin that, all right?" Jimmy and Tracey glared at each other, as if they'd strike one another if their parents weren't there monitoring them.
"Anyway," Amanda decided to change the subject. "How was school, Tracey?"
"It was okay, I guess. I found out I have to prepare to write a fucking essay for my English final. It's like who cares about Hamlet?" she complained. At that moment, Erica had entered the room. She didn't seem nervous, but it was probably because she had been introduced to multiple families and lived in their homes.
"Kids, this is your cousin, Erica," Amanda said introducing them. "Erica, these are your cousins Tracey and Jimmy." The redhead nodded before taking a seat next to Jimmy, seemingly undisturbed by the unwelcomed look Jimmy gave her. Amanda didn't want to point it out to upset the household, but she'd keep an eye on him. Erica sat upright so that her back wasn't touching the chair. "And this is your uncle, Michael," Amanda continued.
"Nice to meet you," Erica said to the three. Michael responded nicely while the kids seemed to force their response. When Amanda eventually served dinner at the dining room table, she noticed just how quiet everyone was. This time, Erica was sitting beside Tracey. The thin nine year old picked at her food, eating it slowly. She turned to Tracey which shocked Amanda.
"I overheard you talking about Hamlet and how you had to write an essay," Erica said and swung her legs back and forth on the chair.
"Oh," Tracey put her fork down. "It's not really important."
"I was thinking maybe I can help? I've read the play a lot. I mean, it is extremely hard to understand, but I got it after the fifth try. Maybe it's because I'm not even ten yet," Erica shrugged.
"Thanks, but I like understand it." Tracey went back to her food.
"Well, Ophelia's a good character. I'd write about how Hamlet was the villain."
"How can he be a villain? He's the protagonist," Tracey rolled her eyes. Amanda was about to say something but stopped herself at the realization that her daughter actually read the play and didn't blow it off.
"True, but he's like the villain in Ophelia's story. He's more of a…secret villain. He's indirect about it but he hurts Ophelia a lot making her kill herself."
"I'll keep that in mind." It wasn't genuine by any means, and Amanda could sense that Erica could tell, so the redhead put her head down, looking at her hands in her lap. It was evident now that she was nervous, but she had been hiding it.
"Never thought a kid your age would be reading Shakespeare," Michael chuckled. "You're a smart kid."
"Not really. I'm horrible at math," Erica admitted. "I just really like words and books."
"Hey, everyone has their strengths and weaknesses," Michael replied. "So, Erica, how was your plane ride?"
"It was okay," she shrugged. "I just slept." They continued to eat, Amanda noticing that Tracey's dark look towards her cousin had subsided. Apparently, she was over it for the mean time. It was a miracle she was even home for dinner, and Amanda told herself not to get used to it. She wished she and Tracey were closer, like one of those tight knit mother/daughter duos who went shopping together or went out and got lunch. Amanda wondered if having a nine year old in the house now would make everyone happier with the childlike wonder around. However, she hadn't seen any proper nine year old behavior from this girl. Needless to say, it was awkward to see a kid this young sitting there with her back straight, elbows never hitting the table, and didn't have a single toy other than her tablet.
Jimmy kept his look on the girl, probably jealous of her for some unknown reason. He was being completely unreasonable, and she'd have to have Michael talk to him whom was oblivious to the unspoken meanness. "May I be excused?" Erica asked politely. She looked directly at her aunt, waiting for an answer. Amanda was surprised when the girl had no broccoli on her plate, but she only ate half her piece of chicken and barely touched her mashed potatoes.
"Of course," Amanda replied. Erica nodded her thanks and headed towards the stairs and to the guest room.
"What a weird kid," Jimmy spoke up.
"Stop it," Amanda said, giving him a warning look. Without saying a word, Tracey got up from the table and headed up the stairs.
"Jim, she's just a kid. You're an adult. Start acting like it. I didn't like those mean looks you were givin' her tonight," Michael started to raise his voice. Amanda sighed in relief that he actually wasn't oblivious. She just sat back and let her husband take care of her twenty year old son who acted like he was fourteen.
"It's not my fault she's fucking weird," Jimmy answered. "And she's gonna take all my presents!"
"You need to stop. She's nine for fuck's sake!" Michael pointed out. "And she's your cousin who hasn't had all the privileges you had."
"From what I remember, we lived in a trailer and we were poor before I was like ten!" Jimmy countered.
"At least you had me and your mother! Huh? You want to be like her being tossed from house to house? Show the kid some respect. She's harmless! We are going to make sure we are hospitable towards her. Right, Jimmy?" Amanda knew Michael was getting all riled up, but she didn't stop it. Jimmy had been making her angry since the announcement that Erica would be coming to stay with them. Irritably, Jimmy took three more bites of his second helping of mashed potatoes and got up, storming upstairs.
"What are we going to do with him?" Amanda sighed as she rested her chin on her hand.
"It's all right, Amanda. He'll come around eventually," Michael said and stood behind Amanda, massaging her shoulders and neck.
"You think so?"
"No, but we'll make him." He bent down and kissed her cheek.
If anyone is interested in this story, I'll definitely continue it. Also, I am accepting OC's. There are specific ones that I'd like to use such as a music teacher and a friend(s) for Erica when she goes to school. I will also accept random OCs and I'll try to incorporate all of them in somehow. There will be more drama and some action. If you guys have any ideas, I'll definitely try and put it into the story.
Also, if you aren't fond of Amanda (I pretty much like all the characters in GTA 5), the story won't always be in her perspective so no worries!
Thanks for reading!