I know, another story. I love to write. Is that a crime? I promise not to let it affect my other stories that I have going, but let me warn you, I doubt I'll ever get back to writing Welcome to Vegas. :( I plan to delete it within the next week, so if you want to read what I had so far or if you have any objections, feel free to tell me.
Anyway, here's the first chapter of a story I like I've already fallen in love with. :) Enjoy.
My cellphone vibrated on my hip while I bent over the lit, layout room table hard at work on a triple homicide. I wanted to ignore it, but plenty of people needed me for one thing or another throughout the past week. So reluctantly, I snapped the overused device out of its nest and almost rammed it against my ear.
"Sidle,"I bitterly answered.
"Hi, this Jennifer Kellogg. I'm trying to reach Sara Sidle," her calm, soft voice filled me with concern.
"Speaking," I removed the edge from my tone.
"Oh, hi, Ms. Sidle. I'm Temperance Kelly's lawyer. She recently passed away and she left you something in her will. We'll be having a hearing tomorrow to discus it."
I released a breath I didn't realize I'd caged inside my lungs, set my hand on the edge of the table and leaned into it.
"Temperance Kelly? Sh-she died? How?"
"A few months ago she was diagnosed with terminal cancer," she said after a few awkward moments of silence.
I squeezed my eyes shut for a moment and fought back tears. Why didn't she tell me? What could she possibly give me? She gave me everything. She saved me from the cruelty of more foster parents... She saved me from myself.
I took a deep breath.
"What time is the hearing?"
"Two 'o' clock."
"Meeting Room five."
"I'm deeply sorry-"
"It's okay. It's better you don't say anything."
I hung up and gulped. I needed to get back to work. I needed to think about anything other than the information I gathered.
I stared out into the hallway. A clumsy new CSI stumbled round the corner, Nick and Warrick laughed down the hall with a case file and a bag of evidence in Nick's hands and three bags of evidence in Warrick's hands. Grissom walked toward his office, but turned around with a quizzical look and headed toward reception. He asked Judy a question and then made his way back toward his office. Some lab rat fiddled with a new toy and didn't bother to watch where he was going, but everyone who crossed him knew how to stay out of his way.
I took another deep breath, closed my eyes and turned on my heels until I faced the table. Time to get to work.
"Sara...Sara," a male voice somewhat coolly called out to me as he shoved me from side to side.
I think I might've groaned and wiped some drool on my sleeve before my eyes cracked open to near darkness.
"You fell asleep in the middle of your case. It's five in the morning," the man, now identified as Grissom, informed me.
That time I definitely groaned and sat up int the chair I apparently dozed off in a few hours ago.
"I thought you stopped working overtime like this," he began to rub my shoulder.
"Yeah, I didn't...but...I don't know. I guess I just...lost track of time," I lied. I knew why I worked so late, why I bent over backwards for the case at hand. But this time it had nothing to do with the case.
Normally, it'd be a domestic violence case I would jump through a number of considerably small hoops to figure out what occurred. This time it was outside, personal forces that reverted me back to my old workaholic self. I wasn't about to talk to my supervisor about my problems. I figured I never would.
"Why don't I take you home. You look beat. I'll be nervous if I let you drive yourself," he faintly smiled.
I forced myself to return the smile and shook my head.
"I'll be fine. I promise I'll call you when I get in so you don't panic."
"Okay," he sighed and nodded. "I can never win with you, can I?"
"No, you definitely can't. And the day you can will be the day that something's seriously wrong."
He lightly laughed and held out a hand. I took it and he pulled me to my feet.
"Any time," he smiled.
Once I stood outside my apartment door, memories cluttered my mind and demanded I think about her.
"This is Temperance Kelly. She's going to be your new guardian," my social worker informed me as she showed me a picture of the woman she had mentioned.
I remained silent and sat with wide eyes, tense shoulders, and my ankles crossed.
"She's not like the other foster parents you've had. She doesn't have any children and when she herd about you, she wanted to meet you. She's in the next room right now, waiting."
I didn't even nod. I was afraid this Temperance would hurt me like all the others. Like my father, like my last foster parents, like everyone I've ever met. So I sat still. I didn't appear to want to move.
My social worker held out her hand and offered a friendly smile.
"I promise she's a nice lady."
The only thing I could think was: That's what you said about the last one.
I squeezed my eyes shut for a bit and when I opened them, I shoved my key in the lock and turned it. I was home. I could sleep. I needed to sleep. I had to be at City Hall in about nine hours.
I slipped into something loose that I normally wore as sleepwear and shuffled to my bed. I slid under the cool sheets with a sigh and relaxed as my back hit the mattress. My air conditioning turned on and I hummed into a deep sleep.
I had no choice but to follow her. If I didn't, she'd force me to me meet Temperance and that would scare me as the rest of my life had.
I tried to trip over myself to seem too disturbed to meet, but my worker gently pulled me by my wrist. I bit my lip and stared down at my ratty shoes I'd worn since I was put in the system, which had been three years prior to the involvement of this Temperance character. I hoped her name wasn't deceiving and reflected her personality, but what were the chances?
I heard her gasp as I entered the room and out of the corner of my eye, I witnessed her hands rush to cover her mouth. I didn't want to look up. I wouldn't look up.
"Sara, this is Temperance Kelly," my social worker introduced me though my eyes were still focused on the tattered and torn fabric that was supposed to pass as shoes.
"Sara," her light, heavenly voice flowed through the closed space like music from a music box.
It was so melodic I had to see who I would have to deal with for however long it would be this time.
Her delicate face displayed a proud smile and watery eyes. Her hands appeared fragile and soft though they'd seen their fair share of rough work. Her body frame seemed too tiny to do much damage and as much as I wanted to tell myself looks didn't matter because the person could still be a vicious animal inside, I couldn't. There was something about her, something genuine, I couldn't explain. All I knew was that I felt safe as a stared into her impressively green eyes.
Her hair was lighter than mine; a sort of ash blond. She had it pinned back and out of her face. She had minimal paint spots on her floral dress, which told me she had to make some changes to something before she came to see me. I blinked a few times to make sure I wasn't dreaming everything and when I was confident it was all real, I tried to smile. I hadn't smiled since the first day of kindergarten. Now...I was twelve.
"Oh, sweetie," Temperance lightly laughed. "There's no need to force anything. Seeing you is enough. You really don't have to smile if you're not comfortable."
I slowly nodded and stared back and forth between the two women before me. I didn't know what to do now, but Temperance came prepared.
"So...when can I take her home? When will she be ready?"
"She doesn't have any personal supplies so...you can take her now if you want. All you need to do is sign some papers and you'll be on your way," the social worker smiled at her.
"Oh," Temperance frowned. "No personal supplies? Where on earth has she been?"
She looked at me and crouched down in front of me.
"We'll go shopping the second we get out of here, okay?"
I nodded yet again and intently observed her every movement, her every word. She was different and I could relax knowing social services finally did their job right. I could let my guard down, but that would take time. I'd learn how to do that later. For the moment, I was going to a place I could actually call home.
I woke up to the bright, Las Vegas sun. With sleepy eyes, I attempted to read my alarm clock: 1:15. I had forty-five minutes to make the hearing.
I threw the covers onto the other side of the bed and scampered into the bathroom before I yanked on the shower. I rubbed my eyes and looked over myself in the mirror. A lot of work needed to be done if I wanted to look presentable. Thank God for running water, clean clothes, and soap.
After my shower, I wiped a patch of my foggy mirror clean so I could see myself well enough in order to successfully do my hair. I wouldn't do anything fancy with it. I just didn't want it to come out a hornet's nest of a mess when I brushed it.
I brushed my teeth as I would on other any other day and flattened my shirt out with my hands. I sighed as I took that final look before I decided it would have to do because there was no way I could change my entire personality in under twenty minutes. But personality didn't matter. It was a hearing about who got what in a woman's will.
Call me crazy, but I guess I wanted to show Temperance I'd evolved. Plus, I'm sure it had to do with the guilt that controlled me because I hadn't seen her since I left for Vegas four years ago. I'd called her occasionally, but not enough. Not like a daughter should call her mother, not like a granddaughter should call her dying grandmother.
Guilt. Strong, heavy guilt.
I flew into the building and went straight to the front desk.
"Meeting Room five?"
The man behind the desk pointed down the hall to my left.
"Thanks," I breathlessly replied as I rushed into the hall. I counted the room numbers until I reached five and clenched and unclenched my fists. I didn't know what to expect behind that door and I didn't know what to expect the rest of my life to be like after I found out.
I turned the knob and pushed forward. I saw the freshly polished, wooden table and several people grouped around it. A man with a paper at the head of the table looked at me over his glasses, which rested on the bridge of his nose.
"Ms. Sidle, I presume?"
"Yes," I nervously responded.
"Take a seat. I'm Judge Carson. I'll be unveiling you're newly acquired assets," he seemed to announce to the entire group of individuals.
That's when I noticed a little girl at the end of the table with a young woman. Her brunette hair and almost catatonic state reminded me of myself as a child. I wondered why she would be at the hearing due to her age because I was under the impression Temperance had no children other than me. I was her first child and as far as I knew, I was the only one.
She looked to be about eight, but I never was any good with guessing a person's age, especially a child's age.
The young woman said something to her and she nodded with a "Yeah," which allowed me to see her missing tooth behind her left incisor. She was still losing teeth, or it was her last to lose. Her eyes were a dark, chocolaty brown, much darker than mine; a person could get lost in them. I knew I already had.
"We'll start with Ms. Kellogg."
The woman I talked to over the phone, the lawyer. She got something too?
"Jennifer, you've been great throughout everything and I wanted to thank you for being more than an amazing lawyer, but a tremendously incredible friend. In order to do that, I feel you deserve those plates and quilts you adored."
Jennifer smiled with tears in her eyes as she nodded down at the table top. It didn't sound like much, but the plates and quilts meant something to her so I nodded along as I remembered Temperance's ability to touch any person's heart.
"Next, is Josslyn. To my darling Josslyn, I give you all the trinkets you fell in love with the minute you stepped into my home. I also leave you with a special teddy bear I kept a secret from you all those days you came to visit me in the hospital. I figured if I had given it to you sooner, you'd cry and that wasn't how I wanted to go, seeing the pain on your face. You've suffered enough for a lifetime, sweetie. I love you."
I knitted my brows. Josslyn? Who in the world was Josslyn?
Then, the little girl brought her knees to her chest in her chair and rested her chin on top of her knees.
"And Sara," the judge started. The second I heard my name, my stomach twisted and turned into knots, tight knots, and I braced myself for water-works. "I know you're probably wondering why I didn't tell you about my diagnosis, but believe me when I say it was for your own good. You would've taken time off work, too much time. I couldn't let that happen, not because of me.
You know I trust you with my life and you know I've loved you ever since the moment I set my eyes on you in that office so many years ago. Of course, when you're writing you're will on you're death bed, it feels like yesterday. God, I'm going to miss you.
I'm giving you the house, the rest of my savings, anything you can dig up in that atrocious attic and parental rights over Josslyn."
I froze as the little girl stared at me with wide eyes I was sure would pop out of her head at any minute, but the judge continued.
"I know she's a total stranger to you and she might take some time to warm up to you, but you two are nearly one in the same. If she ever tells you her story, you'll figure out why I wanted you to take her. And don't even think about cursing me because you're no good with kids. I know you, Sara, and I know you'll take great care of Joss."
Still in shock, I turned to face Josslyn and blinked several times as I had when I first saw Temperance. She stared back at me the same way and I was positive we shared the same thought: I'm doomed.
Thanks for reading. If I can get up to 10 reviews, the next chapter will be up within 24 hours. :D