Disclaimer: I own nothing.
AN: So...here's Chapter two and Mandy's first appearance. Let me know what you think.
April wasn't sure what to expect when she navigated her way through arrivals and to baggage claim. She had spoken with Mandy once and several times with a man who identified himself as "Jim". She had tried to make it clear that she could just get a taxi to the address she'd been given but Jim had insisted that it would be no trouble to have someone pick her up.
Thus with luggage slung over her shoulder and being pulled along behind her the red head juggled the task of carting one duffle bag and two suit cases, all while dialing the contact number she had-of course this was all after having called Casey to assure him and the turtles she was fine. Though in an afterthought she figured that since there were no reports of a plane crashing they could have assumed she was fine, oh well.
The phone only rang twice before the, getting to be familiar voice, of her niece answered, "Hello?"
"Hey Mandy it's-" She cut off when she almost lost her balance and her luggage…and her phone, managing to lose none of it and saving her pride she decided to stand still for the phone call. "It's April…I'm headed out of the terminal now but really, I can just get a taxi, it's no big deal, I-"
"I'm already waiting outside." Mandy stated, just a simple statement with a bit of humor in it, "Just look for the green and brown truck okay?"
April frowned a little, the girl was going through enough as it was, let alone having to pick up not so distant relatives from the airport, still she didn't comment on it. "Alright…I'm going to hang up because apparently I can't walk and talk at the same time."
There was an amused, "Alright." From the other end of the line before she did as promised and continued her trek outside. The description the younger girl had given was only half true. While the truck in question was a patchy green and brown (and we're taking a decaled job) Mandy had clearly forgot to mention that it was HUGE.
Okay, April had to admit that she wasn't exactly used to seeing large pickup trucks in New York, mostly taxis.
She meant to say a lot of things when she first arrived, when she first saw her niece. She had a dozen or more comments to make to let the girl know that she was there for her, and that she understood what Mandy was going through.
So of course, the first thing out of her mouth when she made it to the truck and her niece hopped out to help with the luggage was, "How the hell can you drive this thing?"
There was a chuckle from the girl; it was just one of those things, human emotions. She'd just lost her parents and should have been completely sullen and depressed but it was said that the most cherished moments of a person's life were only shared at their funeral and it was true. There were just as many laughs shared as there were tears. "I get by." The dark blonde offered with a shrug before moving to help April load her things into the bed of the truck, despite the older woman's protests and comments about the truck needing its own zip code.
Within minutes they, and April's things, were all loaded up and Mandy was pulling away from the curb, migrating back into the bustling airport traffic. Not comfortable with the silence April glanced around the cab of the truck while tapping her fingers on the arm rest, "So…new car smell?" She questioned, having noticed it, and the lack of dirt, dust and clutter in the car.
"Yeah…It's Dad's new..." She paused for a second before, "Dad's new truck. He ordered it months ago and it came in last week." She explained, "You're the first person to ride in it, 'sides me." She offered, keeping her focus mostly on the road, April didn't blame her for that, when you were driving in a behemoth of a truck you needed to.
"Oh..." Well damn. That back fired. Oh well, since it had already been brought up might as well ask, "You have a car don't you?" She questioned hesitantly, the mysterious Jim fellow had told her that there was a car she'd be able to drive while she was in town, thus eliminating the need for a rental, "What do you plan on doing with this?" If she wasn't mistaken most of the car companies had that thing where you could return a vehicle if something happened, or if you didn't like it within a month or something. She wasn't sure if this truck qualified but she knew, from conversations with Jim, that Mandy didn't have much income on her own and she wasn't sure how the girl would keep up on the payments for something that probably cost as much as her apartment.
There was a light shrug from the girl, "Keep it, I like it…I…I guess I won't need it much in New York but…but I really don't want to get rid of it." She offered, fingers curling a little tighter around the steering wheel as she spoke.
April was silent at this; it was heart breaking even if she barely knew the girl, still as the outsider, she was trying to look at this from a financial stand point. "What are the payments?" She settled on finally, rather than asking if the girl could even afford the insurance let alone the monthly bill for the car.
"It's paid off." She answered, as if expecting the question, having perhaps heard it before. "Dad isn't a big fan of credit or loans so he just saves and buys straight out." She commented before frowning over the present tense, or perhaps April was reading too much into it.
"Oh…Well that's smart." She commented, drifting into silence again…and again the silence was too much for her within minutes.
Thankfully Mandy decided to break it this time, "Are you hungry? I hope you don't mind, Mr. Jim wanted me to stop by after I picked you up then we can get something if you are."
April nodded lightly, "A little bit, pretzels just don't fill me up." She commented, talking about the little baggies they handed out during the flight, "Sure thing, I'm curious about this Jim fellow."
The rest of the semi short ride was spent with light conversation that danced around the dreadful topic that rested over both their heads and hearts.
As Mandy pulled them off the highway and into an industrial area of town April began to get confused, especially when they pulled up to a gated yard which, after Mandy entered a code on a little number pad, opened up to let them in.
"Aren't we going to see Jim?" She questioned as the green eyed girl drove them in.
"Yeah he's at the office." She mentioned, nodding towards a little nicely built trailer that they were heading directly for, it looked like one of those on site construction offices only a fair bit larger. All around them were lines of large trucks in varying colors of green and brown, to blue and white. Those of the first color scheme had big boxed in back ends and some had those little extendable baskets that you saw electricians in sometimes. The blue and white trucks looked like they should be hauling loads of rocks, and some had plows on the front.
"Mandy…where are we?" April questioned, unsure of what all she was seeing.
"The yard…Dad and Mr. Jim own it; it's where they store their things." She explained, April assumed 'things' meant even bigger freaking trucks than the one she was currently in. Thankfully Mandy elaborated before more questions could be asked, "Dad started a tree removal service about ten years ago, cutting down trees, trimming them, digging out stumps and that sort of thing. All of his are green and brown. You know, trees?" She stated rhetorically. "After Dad's business took off, him and Mr. Jim started a plowing and salting business for the winter, that's the blue and white ones." She stated with a nod.
April was surprised, she knew Megan and her husband were doing well for themselves but she was a bit surprised to know that her deceased brother in law owned at least half of what was in this yard. "How many employees does your dad have?" She questioned, leaving the unasked, what's going to happen to them now? Can't run a business without its founder, owner or CEO after all.
"About thirty total. Sometimes more depending on how busy the season is. Mr. Jim technically owns the plow service and all those trucks; and he's going to buy Dad's business off me and all the equipment and stuff." She stated evenly, it was hard to judge whether or not she was alright with it. "It'll be nice you know? He'll keep it going and make it bigger and stuff. I'd hate for all the guys to lose their jobs and that won't happen this way."
April was a little shocked, "He's buying the whole company?" She wasn't exactly business savvy but she did wonder if there were any other options to help her niece out more. Like liquidating the assets, or selling out to a competitor. She only knew of those because she'd thought about doing that with her shop once or twice when she'd found other work.
"Yeah…I mean him and Dad already ran both companies together so it's not like he doesn't know what he's doing already-and most of our customers already know Mr. Jim too so it's not like someone totally new stepping in." She offered, pulling the car into what would be considered a parking spot as there were no yellow lines by the little trailer office. "Mr. Jim is the executor of mom and dad's will, he's pretty much taking care of me." She continued as they both climbed out of the truck.
This had April wondering, as Mandy rounded the vehicle to join her before they entered the trailer, "Mandy…why don't you stay with Mr. Jim instead of coming to New York?" She didn't want the girl to think she wasn't welcome, but it was an honest question. This Mr. Jim had to be pretty well off given his business plans, and Mandy spoke lovingly of him.
She gave a sad smile then with a little nod as if she understood where April was coming from, "Mr. Jim is great…he's like an uncle to me but…but staying here…" She paused, glancing away for a second as the first of many tears were wiped away as Mandy composed herself, "It'd just be too hard…Maybe I can come back but right now…" She shook her head.
Regretting what she had caused, April stepped forward immediately, and though she barely knew the girl, she didn't hesitate in wrapping her up in a hug-which Mandy returned, leaning against the older woman's hold.
It took only a few seconds that stretched on forever for the twenty one year old to compose herself and pull back with a murmur of thanks; taking a deep breath in before sighing it out Mandy motioned towards the door and led the way in.
Sitting at one of two cluttered desks sat the infamous Jim, or Mr. Jim as Mandy called him. There was little special about him in appearance, a man of his forties, perhaps early fifties. He had dark hair that was peppered with grey and stood of a decent height. April inwardly admitted that his voice matched his appearance perfectly. Standing, the older male moved first to hug Mandy before turning to offer a hand out to April, "You must be Ms. O'Neil. I trust your flight was alright?"
She nodded after accepting the warm handshake, "Not bad at all and you must be Jim." She commented and he nodded with a bit of a smile that was worn at the edges, the look of a tired man- not necessarily physically but mentally and emotionally.
"Got it in one." He stated as a little joke about her 'guess' at his name, causing her to smile lightly, she could see why Mandy liked him.
"You said on the phone we could talk about accommodations? If it's alright with you," She glanced to Mandy for that, "You can just drop me off at the nearest hotel."
"It's not okay with me." Mandy stated causing April to frown in confusion and the younger girl to sigh. "April…Aunt April," She corrected herself despite the red head telling her it was alright, "You're like…the only relative I know who hasn't asked me what they're getting in the will. Everyone mooched off mom and dad while they were alive and now they're doing it when their dead." There was no sadness now, just anger, "I want you to stay at the house with me, that's one less bed for some… some-"
"Mandy…" Jim seemed to warn against whatever foul words she was going to use and she took the hint.
"Some…other person." She finished, not what she wanted to say, but it would have to do.
April was a bit stunned at the sudden outburst, though Mandy hadn't really raised her voice, her anger at the issue was clear. She couldn't help but nod in agreement to the girl's wishes. "Alright…I'll stay…but I demand coffee to wake up in the mornings." She stated as a light warning, both joking and serious all at once.
Mandy couldn't help the slight chuckle, her anger deflating immediately, "Yeah…well we'll just have to stock up."