Beep. Beep. Beep.
I grown, rolling over and slapping the 'snooze' button on my alarm clock. I smile, realizing I was finally using that button. And for a second, I felt like myself again. Not Sutton Campbell, but Maddison.
"Sutton!" Joan raised her voice, opening up my door.
And now I'm Sutton again… I look to my newly opened door as Joan emerged from it. Joan shot me an odd glance, "You do realize we are leaving in twenty minutes, right?"
I cock my head back. Surprised, I turned to look at my clock. What the hell? Exactly how many times had I used the 'snooze' button? I flip the sheets off of me, jumping out of bed. I walk quickly past Joan and over to my bare closet, grabbing my freshly cleaned red 'life guard' sweats from off the shelf.
"So I was thinking after you get out of the farm at noon, we would go shopping." Joan said while glancing at herself in my mirror that hung on my bathroom door.
"Uh…sure." I yell from my walk in closet as I tighten the waist on my sweat pants.
"Are you going to be ready in twenty minutes when I leave or should Arthur take you?" Joan asked.
I walk past Joan once more to get to the other side of my room and into the bathroom. "I'll be ready if you want to take me."
Arthur walks into my room, "If you're spending the day with Joan, I want to take you."
Oh, sure, everyone conjugate in my room. What is it? 'Party in Sutton's room' day? And there I was, back to referring to myself as Sutton, just as everyone else around here did.
"You've driven her everyday this week." Joan snipped at Arthur.
Are they really fighting over me right now? What the hell? I watched Joan and Arthur's glare at one another in the mirror as I combed my hair.
"Your point?" Arthur raises an eyebrow.
I walk past them and out the door. I was not touching that fight, I decided. I made my way into the kitchen, grabbing a yogurt from the fridge. I knew the next thing Joan would be doing is hovering over me to make sure I was going to eat something.
"Fine." I hear Joan say in an annoyed tone. Most likely she had her arms crossed and was glaring at him right about now, I imagine. "But Sutton better eat breakfast." Joan adds before walking out of my room.
I called that one, I think as I take another bite of the strawberry yogurt.
Her heals clash with the floor, the pattern becoming louder as she made her way into the kitchen. "Good, you're eating." Joan smiles in content, placing a hand on my back.
"Yep." I smile at her.
Joan raised an eye, knowing my smile was fake. "Come into my office once you're done at the farm, okay?"
I nod, "Yes."
She nods once before making her way over to Arthur who was leaning against the kitchen stove. She leaned in as to give him a kiss, but quickly backs away, shaking her head back and forth playfully.
"Really Joan?" Arthur glared.
She flashed him a look before taking off in her tracks out of the kitchen. Soon the sound of her heels slamming against the floor was gone, leaving the house silent.
Arthur sighed heavily before he made his way over to the kitchen island where I was sitting. With his handss pressed against the table he leaned forward. "That woman…" He shook his head back and forth.
"Do you two always fight like that?" I ask before placing another bite of yogurt into my mouth.
"Not everyday." Arthur shrugs, "Just when she is in her moods. Or a certain time of month, if you know what I mean."
"Yeah, I know exactly what you mean." I let out a small laugh. Honestly, I didn't even want to see how bad Joan's moods could get. "Maybe you should consider knocking her up?" Oh shit…it finally hit me after the words had already came out of my mouth. Way to go! Bringing up touchy subject, why don't I?
To my surprise Arthur only laughed, as if the thought of Joan being pregnant didn't bring up any bad feelings at all. "Been there, done that. And let me tell you, those were the worst nine months of my life." He shook his head back and forth.
I laughed. Honestly, I was surprised about how cool Arthur was about it. Maybe the saying was true, the only person that missed the newborn is the mother, who spent the previous nine months with the child.
Arthur placed both hands on his hips like Joan usually did. "Arthur! Go make me another sandwich!" He raised his voice to a high pitch, pretending to be a pregnant Joan. "But Joan, I already made you a sandwich." Arthur said in his regular voice. "You put mustard on it!" He said once more in a high pitched tone.
I laughed. "I don't blame her, mustard is nasty."
"No it is not." Arthur argued, "Mustard is delicious."
"Your argument is not valid." I said with attitude.
He points at me and smiles, "Same tone, same word choice, same facial expression. You're secretly Joan's twin, aren't you?"
I roll my eyes, almost annoyed. "No, I can personally guarantee you I am not Joan's twin."
"Uh-huh." He says playfully, "That's what they all say."
I laugh, rolling my eyes. I took the last bite of my yogurt before getting up from the table. I walk over to the dish washer, opening it like you would a door. I place the spoon with the rest, closing the door. I loved this house and it's advance technology.
I place the rest in the garbage before grabbing my gym bag. "I'm ready." I smile.
My arms were crossed as my eyes were focused as I listened to the couch attentively. He had gathered us around him, preparing to announce what the training consisted of today. "Okay, today is another physical test. We will be doing push-up, sit-ups, and a timed two-mile run. Everyone pick a partner for the sit-ups."
"Want to hang tonight after this bull shit?" Jackson said. I was so focused on the coach instruction, I didn't even notice him standing right next to me.
I smile at him, my arms still crossed. "I'd love to, but I already have a prior engagement."
He cocks his head back, "With who? Thomas?" He asked. Thomas was the name of the boy who continuously stared at me at the farm. Honestly, I didn't like him one bit. But Jackson didn't know that. I thought it was cute how jealous he got over the thought of me going out with him.
The couch continues. "You will be tested and timed on all three. If I hear any winning, I will kick you out an you will be given a zero for the day."
"No." I shook my head back and forth, whispering to Jackson. "My mother. She wants to take me back to school shopping."
"I thought your mom wanted to kill you?" Jackson challenged, as if I was lying to him.
People around us began to stare as if our silent whisper was going to ruin there score on the physical test. I raise my shoulders before lowering them, "She did. The woman is bi-polar, I swear."
"I saw your mom on the elevator this morning. You look exactly like her." He smiled at me.
I nodded in agreement, "I know we do, but personality wise, we couldn't be farther a part."
Jackson shakes his head back and forth, "I don't know. She seemed pretty nice. She held open the door for me and everything."
"The door? I thought you said you saw her on the elevator?" I ask, flashing him a 'caught you' look.
"I followed her from her car; we walked in together. She held open the door for me and then we rode the elevator up together."
"Everyone grab a mat and a partner. We will begin with sit-ups." The coach commands.
Jackson and I make our way over to the other side of the room where they mats laid. Everyone followed.
I laugh, "Let me get this straight, just because she held the door open for you, you think she is nice?"
He nods, "Yes. The other women in this building wouldn't have. She was being very sweet."
I roll my eyes, "Is this the part where you tell me you want to bang my mother."
He shook his head back and forth, "No, I don't want to bang your mom. Although, she does have a nice ass." Jackson winked. "That's another thing you both have in common."
"I hate you." I said jokingly, flashing him a smile. "Now get on the floor, you're going first, partner." I wink back at him.
"Yes, ma'am." He chuckled before laying on the floor.
I was honestly excited to shop with Joan. This would be a first time for me, shopping with a mother figure. I was always jealous of those girls that went back to school shopping with their moms. Not because they got every clothes item they wanted, but just simply because they had someone there to tell them what looked good on them and what didn't. Of course, I had friends that would tell me their opinions, but a mother's opinion was different. It was an opinion I never got. It was an opinion I found myself constantly seeking.
"I'm taking you to the Potomac Mill's. They have so many shops to choose from it should keep us busy all day." Joan said with excitement in her voice. She carried a smile from ear to ear.
I nod, giving her a smile as she glanced at me. "Sounds like fun."
Joan nodded. The car went silent once more, despite the music playing in the background.
"Do you have any favorite stores?" Joan asked, trying to make conversation.
Goodwill, second hand shops, Ross: all the stores I could afford. I felt embarrassed, knowing she would never even think of stepping into a store like that. "American Eagle, Victoria Secret, Forever 21." I listed off stores I would shop at on occasion, when I was able to gather enough money. And by 'gather' I mean whatever was left over from my paycheck at work. And by 'shop', I mean one shirt, if that. Foster parents didn't give you shit, only using the money on themselves, usually.
She nods, "I've heard of those stores. I purchased a Forever 21 gift card for my fourteen year old niece the other day, actually."
She has a fourteen year old niece, I file in my memory bank. I smile, "I bet she enjoyed it." I knew I would have…
"Well, my sister Laura told me Forever 21 was one of her favorite stores, so I'm assuming so." She took her eyes off the road to smile at me briefly.
We pulled into the shops, selecting the first spot available. Joan turns off the ignition as I unbuckled my seat belt and got out of the car. My jaw drops as I glance around. The mall was huge. Hundreds of stores lined the three story outlet mall, thousands of people swarming around them. "Wow." I let out.
"Told you." Joan said, slamming her car door.
We walk side by side. I quickly step in front of her as we approached the entrance, opening the door for her. She smiles at me before walking inside. The first store we come across had an entrance bordered with hot surfer boys and girls dancing in bikini's. The stores perfume became more presentable as we got closer to the door.
Joan's face lights up as if something caught her eye through the window. "Wanna stop here?"
I shrug, never being one to wear Hollister.
Joan walked in front of me and opened the door, not even waiting for my answer.
"Sure, I guess." I muttered as I followed her into the store.
All the parents dressed in suits gathered in the front of the store, socializing in a parent circle as their daughters shopped. Joan, of course, walks over and joins the cult, leaving me. I walk around the store, trying to make it look like I was interested in these clothes. In truth, I wasn't the slightest interested.
"Hey Joey!" I heard Joan say in a fake overly happy tone. "And Tonia!" She continued. They were probably work friends, I assumed.
The price, used to be my excuse for never wearing Hollister clothes. But now that I had someone willing to purchase them for me, they looked completely unappealing to me. I didn't even have the slightest urge to even try them on. Who would want to spend $40 bucks for a shirt that says the name of the store on the front? Not I.
"What are you doing here?" One of the men asked Joan in a surprised tone.
"I'm school clothes shopping with Sutton." She answered as if everyone knew who I was.
"Sutton?" The man asked. He either doesn't work for the CIA or never got the email I was sure existed.
"My daughter." Joan explained, not even flinching or hesitating. She turned around and pointed at me.
I turned around and pretended not to see her pointing at me. I look for a size in the blue shirt in front of me, having no desire to meet her friends.
"Sutton!" Joan called.
Fuck me. I look up and put the best fake smile on my face, "Yes?" I ask, walking over to them.
"She looks just like you." Tonia commented, as I walked closer to their parental colt.
"I didn't know you and Arthur had a daughter." The man in the blue button up tee commented.
Joan nodded proudly, "Yep."
I stood next to Joan and smiled politely at the adults as they examined me up and down, as if they were checking for a stain on my shirt. And I'm pretty sure the man in the stripped blue tie was checking out my boobs. Creeper.
"This is Sutton." Joan introduced me. Each person looking from Joan to me, continuing to analyze me once more.
I smile, shaking their hands as they placed them in front of me. "Nice to meet you all!" I said in an overly friendly valley girl tone. It almost hurt.
They all nod. Only Tonia gave a verbal, "Like Wise." What a bunch of ass holes…
"You're lucky. My daughter would never drop her clothes to meet my friends." The man in the button up tee stated. I was assuming he was trying to be funny, but he was failing miserably given the fact he was the only one who laughed.
Joan spoke up, "Sutton knows I would kill her if she ignored me for clothes."
Someone just got served, I think to myself. Everyone but the man chuckled at Joan's snide parenting comment, while the man flashed Joan a glare. I continue to innocently smile at Joan's friends.
Joan turns to me, "Find anything?"
"Not really." I admit, wanting nothing more than to leave the store. The horrid smell was getting to my nose and was going to cause me to develop a week lasting head ache, I was sure.
Joan points to the blue dress in the corner, short enough to be a shirt. "What about that dress over there?"
"Too short for my taste." And too expensive, too. Why would I spend $50 bucks on a dress that barely covers my ass? Like really?
The man laughed, "Wow. Can you trade places with my daughter?" He asked me, joking of course. "Sofie always buys clothes that are way too short for her."
"Sutton is very conservative and picky with her clothes." Joan added.
I felt like asking her, 'how do you know, bitch?' but instead I remains silent, letting Joan sell the cover of her being the perfect mom, and I, the perfect daughter.
"Just like her momma." Tonia jokes.
"Apple doesn't fall far from the tree." The man, who was previously checking out my breast, commented.
It fell far enough from that "invisible tree", I think. In fact, once that apple fell, it kept rolling until it jumped off a cliff, landing into an ocean where it sunk forty-thousand feet under the sea.
Joan sighs, "Well, it was nice to see you all. See you guys next Thursday for the fundraising banquet."
The all nod, Tonia pulling Joan in for another hug. I walk over to the door and open it for Joan. She smiles at me as to say 'thanks for playing along' before walking out of the door.
I follow her, resuming my spot to the side of her as we walked to the next store.
"Well your friends seemed nice enough." I attempt to make conversation.
She shrugged a shoulder, "They are Arthur's golfing buddies and political friends. Tonia is nice. But the others are douche bags- especially Jonathan."
I cock my head back, not used to hearing the word 'douche bag' coming out of Joan's mouth. She was so proper and elegant. I thought a word like that would make her melt to the floor. "Is that the guy you bragged about your parenting skills to?" I winked at her, letting her know I was only playing.
She shrugged. "Yeah, well, his daughter is a brat." Joan raised an eyebrow, sticking her index finger out. "And for the recored, I was making a point. Making a point is completely different from bragging."
I raise an eyebrow, "Still bragging."
She chuckled at me, "Whatever."
Which I knew Joan well enough now to know that "Whatever" was her way of saying 'fuck you' and 'drop it'. Silence approaches us as we continue to walk through the mall. Stores I've never even heard of before filled this never ending mall.
"What about Juicy Couture?" Joan asked, pointing to the store next to us. "I see a lot of teens with those bags."
Juicy Couture? Hell yes I liked their bags. Did she know how expensive they were? Juicy was a store my friends and I used to go into just to glance around, scared to even touch the fabric. "Um…let's just see what they have." I said, barely containing how excited I was just to walk around and look.
"Okay." Joan said as I opened the door.
I didn't even wait for Joan to follow me, I was that excited. I turn 360 degrees, glancing around at all the clothes. Bright color clothing and bags filled the walls. Hell yes.
"What brings you ladies in here today?" The blonde lady with an overly excited expression on her face asked us.
"School clothes shopping." Joan stated, offering the girl a smile. I was too busy glancing in awe to respond.
"Well you chose a good day to come in. Twenty-five percent off on jeans." The lady smiled.
Joan nodded, walking past me and over to the jeans that were hanging on bright pink hangers on the back wall. I was still looking around like a kid in a candy store, not knowing where to run to first. I glance at Joan who was holding up a pair of dark wash jeans, scanning them. "What are you? Like a 25? 26?"
"25 on a really good day." I smile at her. Was I really going to try on a pair of Juicy jeans? You have got to be kidding me. I walk beside her as she continued to make her way around the store, picking up anything she thought was cute. And I was okay with that. "This blazer is adorable." She commented, throwing a Medium into her pile that was forming on her arm.
Joan points to the track suits that hung on the wall across from us. "Go get yourself a velour sweats and hoodie. At least they are presentable enough to wear out of the house."
I smiled, not even caring that she had just dissed my sweats. Peach, pink purple, blue or black? I wonder, scanning all the colors. Peach, I decided. I grab my size and turn around to find Joan standing behind me.
"Peach is a cute color, but the blue would make your eyes pop out. Grab that instead."
And that's when I realized, she wasn't giving me advice, she was dressing me. And I was oddly okay with that.
I follow Joan into the dressing room. She hands me a pair of jeans, tank, and a pink lace cardigan. "Try this on first." She commanded before I shut the dressing room door. The way Joan stood so close to the dressing room I wasn't sure if she was going to attempt to come into the dressing stall with me.
As I slipped the jeans on, I glanced down at the tag. Two hundred and thirty dollars for jeans? I swallowed hard, scared to see how much the lace cardigan that I had on was.
I opened up the door to find Joan standing in front of my dressing room door, waiting patiently for me. I smiled at her. I kind of enjoyed her hovering. It made me feel like she cared.
She nods as she scans me up and down. "I like those jeans on you."
I smile back at her. Despite the incredible expensive price, I loved them to pieces.
"And I like the cardigan on you as well, but I think the color is too bright."
And too expensive. "I agree."
"Try on the blazer." Joan suggested.
I didn't even want to know the price as I picked up the blazer, putting the dark blue blazer on over my white tank.
"That's adorable." Joan smiled.
I walk out of the dressing room and over to the four-way mirror. "I agree." I mumble as I stare at myself in the mirror.
"Go try on the dress, now."
"Okay." I said before stepping back into the dressing stall.
The dressing room fell silent as I pulled the lavender dress over my head, carefully adjusting the spaghetti straps on my shoulders. The silk was soft against my skin, and the waist nipped perfectly, making my body look a little curvier than usual. The dress hugged me in all the right places, fitting me like a glove.
Joan's eyes widened as I opened up the dressing room door. "That looks gorgeous on you."
I smiled up at her, feeling like a model. I tried not to stare at myself too hard in the mirror, but I couldn't help it. The dress made me look amazing. Joan may have been used to trying on expensive clothes that made her look like a million bucks, but I had always settled for the good-enough pieces of clothing from Goodwill or hand-me-downs from other foster care kids. I felt so special to be in something that fit me like a glove. I felt sunning.
"That is going in the for-sure pile with those jeans, Sutton." Joan smiled excitedly.
I swallow hard. "I can't." I mumbled.
"Why not?" A wrinkle formed on her brow.
Even though I wanted this dress badly, there was no way I was going to allow Joan to spend three hundred dollars on a dress. That was way out of my comfort zone- I'd feel terrible spending the Campbell's money on something so frivolous.
"I can't let you spend three hundred dollars on a dress for me." I admit.
Joan sighed, stepping closer to me. She placed a hand on my shoulder. "You're going to let me buy the dress and those jeans for you and whatever else you find today that makes you look amazing, you know why? Because I am your boss and I say so. I know this is hard for you to spend this money on clothes, but this is the type of clothes you're expected to wear. Think of this as selling your cover. Forget about the price. Your father makes the price of that dress in an hour, Sutton. Money is not an issue."
But its your money. Not mine. I didn't fight with her. I just smiled back at her before walking back into the dressing room. This was going to absolutely kill me to allow her to spend this money on me, but I knew she was right. Sutton would be wearing two hundred dollar pants and a hundred dollar sweater on a normal day. In fact, her closet would be filled with expensive clothes.
A few blouses, three pairs of jeans, and three dresses later, I was down to my sweats and sweat coat to try on.
"Hand me everything in the 'yes' pile so far. I don't want you to get them mixed up with the 'nos'." Joan commands.
"Yes, mom." I said, just because I could. It made the little back-to-school-shopping-day-with-mom fantasy I had going on in my mind realistic. I opened up the door and handed the items to Joan.
"While you try on your track suit, I'm going to go look at the jewelry. You need a necklace and earrings to match your dresses."
Yeah, I 'need' a hundred dollar necklace and earrings to 'match' my three hundred dollar dress. Just the thought of it made me cringe. It's for your cover, I remind myself. "Okay." Is all I find to respond.
I look at myself in the mirror, dressed in my light blue velour sweat pants and coat. I looked good. I was exactly what I imagined Sutton to look like. Hello gorgeous. This is what a lazy-day Sutton looked like, I imagined.
I changed back into Joan's sweat and black tank top, feeling completely underdressed and embarrassed. I laugh at how much I could change within an hour of shopping with Joan. It wasn't just my confidence level that changed, but my attitude. I was starting to get scared about how much I would change in the next three years. Would I even be able to recognize myself?
I walk out of the dressing room and make my way over to Joan who was standing by the cash register. I hand Joan the sweats, she handed them to the lady who quickly rang them up, and set them into an already filled bag.
"You're one luck girl." The blonde girl cashier said, jealousy present in her voice.
I scoff, "Yes, I know."
"You should see the cute purse your mom bought you." The girl smiled.
I glare at Joan. How much was she planning on spending on me? This is was past ridiculous...
Joan smiled at me, "You need a school bag, Sutton." She defended herself, knowing I was about to yell at her.
My jaw drops as I notice the four boxes of jewelry that sat next to the pile of clothes. What the hell? I take a deep breath, just let it happen…Just let it happen…
Joan points to the bags across the room. "Go over there and guess which bag I got you. Do not come back over here until I've paid." She commands me. Knowing, I would spontaneously combust if I saw the total cost.
I looked at the gorgeous leather and velour bags that lined the back wall, trying to listen in on the conversation Joan was having with the cashier. I couldn't make out the words, only making out the beeps from the price tag and the chuckle from Joan and the girl.
Within minutes Joan puts a hand on my shoulder. "Which one?"
I shrug, "I'm hoping it's that black velour bag."
Joan shook her head, "It's the black leather bag. I almost got that one for you, but the leather matches more and last longer."
I give her a hug, "Thanks Joan."
She hugs me back, "Don't mention it."
I pull away from her. Joan immediately hands me two bags out of the three she was carrying. I walk along side her as she scans the mall for another store. "Awe, Nordstroms. I love Nordstroms."
Of course she does… I nod, "It's your turn to shop."
"It's ours turn. Nordstroms has the cutest teen clothes. I've even gotten myself some clothes from BP a few times."
"Oh, god." I said under my breathe as I followed her into the brightly lit store. How much would we spend in this store?
As soon as I walked in the smell of leather, new clothes, and sugary perfume swirled in my nostrils. Glassy eyed mannequins dressed in pleated chiffon skirts and herringbone jackets posed with their hands on their narrow hips. Stiletto heels much higher than anything I've ever worn before lined the perimeter of the store.
"These would look cute on you, Sutton." Joan said, holding up a silver wedge.
"Those are cute!" I said, grabbing them from her hands. I discreetly checked the price. Four hundred and seventy five dollars? I tried not to swallow my tongue, immediately setting them back down without Joan seeing. There was no way I was going to allow Joan to spend any more money like that on me. The amount of money she had just spent in Juicy was equivalent to the amount of money I've spent on clothes in my entire life span, I was sure.
"Sutton, I saw you put those down." Joan said as she looked down at the shoes on the isle next to us.
How does she do that? Did she have eyes in the back of her head? "Uh…"
"Pick them up and try them on." She said before turing around to face me.
I take a seat next to her. We both tried on cute pumps. Joan removes her attention from the shoes on her feet and glances up at me, "What size are you?"
"Eight. Seven and a half in heels."
She smiles, "So am I." Joan says with excitement. "That means we can share. I'm so excited to show you my shoe collection."
Oh God. Were we going to be the same bra and underwear size too? If so, that's where I draw the mother fucking line. I could see it now, me waking up in the morning to find Joan in my closet, stealing my pumps and sweaters. Great.
Joan points to the line of sandals on the table across from us. "Go grab those Marc sandals. Those would look great with your skinny jeans and purple sweater."
I nod, grabbing them. I refused to look at the price, only trying them on.
"Those look fabulous on you." She smiles. Bull shit, you just want them for yourself. I was beginning to like this woman.
"Thanks!" I smiled back at her.
"And they match a sweater at home I've been needing to buy shoes for."
And the truth emerges…. I continue to smile at her.
"Are you ladies finding everything okay?" A man in a black suit asked as he approached us.
Joan smiles and nods up at the man, pushing four boxes of shoes towards him. "I think we are ready." She glances at me to make sure I didn't want anything else.
I nod, standing up from the comfortable couch. If we got one more four hundred dollar pair of shoes I was going to vomit. I don't think I'd ever be used to shopping with abandon. Would I be okay with it if I was raised in this world, the thought crosses my mind. I swallow hard, knowing the answer would be yes. I would probably be one of those spoiled bitches that spent all daddies money on shoes and clothes. I shriveled as I envisioned myself as someone like that.
Joan handed me one of the shoes bags. I took the bag, sighing at the added weight on my hand. I was not use to carrying this many shopping bags. Ever.
Joan glances around the first floor, spotting the BP teen section. Of course they would place it right next to the shoes. Joan nodded once to herself before walking across the room. She glances back at me to make sure I was following her. I smiled at her, walking faster to catch up to her.
"Hello!" An Asian girl in her late twenties smiled wide. She was wearing the same outfit as the mannequin. What a great advertisement, I thought sarcastically. I was pretty sure the mannequin was a bigger size than her, too.
Joan looks up from the shirt to smile politely at her, "Hello." She looked back down at the blouse. Joan glances at me and nods, "This would look good on you."
"Sister shopping day?" The Asian asked, trying to strike a conversation.
Did she really just say that we looked like sisters? No, just no.
Joan chuckled, "No, I am her mother."
I still found Joan declaring herself as my mother odd to hear. I knew it was my cover, but it was still weird to hear coming out of her mouth. To be honest, sometimes I found myself wishing it was true.
"No way, you do not look old enough to have a child her age!" The girl raised her voice up high, her voice almost comparable to a chipmunk.
Yes, she does… you lying Chinese whore. Let's be honest here, we all know you just said that to get commission. I wonder how many times she used that line in a day?
Joan smiled at her, completely flattered by her comment. "Well, thank you."
Joan went back to ignoring the girl, now focused on the pink rose blouse that hung next to the blouse she had been previously looking at. She picked up a pink rose shirt. "What do you think?" Joan asked me.
I shrug, "It's cute."
Joan, noticing the uninterested tone in my voice, sets it back down. Her eyes shoot to the blouse next to it. A cute sheer purple shirt. Now this one, I liked.
"That's cute." I said before she could say anything.
She nods, holding the shirt up to me. "I agree. You have the gorgeous dark hair, like Arthur, so you can pull off purple perfectly." Joan stated before laying the shirt on her arm.
My 'gorgeous' dark hair, was the only thing different between Joan and I when it came to features. It was almost creepy not to be someway related to her.
Maybe her baby didn't die? I find the thought crossing my mind. I immediately dismissed the idea, knowing my accusations were absurd. I felt almost guilty for having the thought cross my mind.
"Sutton, what about this?" Joan asked, knocking me out of my trance.
I nod at her and smile, "That's cute, too."
Guessing by how big this section was, Joan and I were going to be here for a while. I begin to drag my feet, following her to the next section of clothes.
"This would look adorable on you!" Joan's voice rises.
I nod, "That is very cute." I agree.
Five more stores, ten more bags of clothes, and thousands of dollars later, Joan and I made our way out of the mall. The sun, which was bright and risen when we walked into the mall, was gone. "What time is it?" I ask as we approach the car.
I set the bags into the truck, freeing my hands of them. My hands were beet red, covered with lines from the bags, imprinted in my hands. I now knew what the saying, 'shop till you drop' meant.
"Almost seven thirty." Joan said before opening the door to her car. I climb inside the car, taking the seat next to her.
"Let's go eat dinner." Joan muttered before starting the car, pulling out of the traffic filled parking lot.
I nod my head vigorously, "Food sounds good."
Joan nods once as if to agree with me. "Where is your favorite place to eat?"
I shrug, knowing that any restaurant I mentioned she wouldn't even knew existed. Plus, she knew the area better than I did. "I do not have one, you pick."
"Okay." She smiles, pausing for a second to think. "Cheesecake factory it is." She decided.
Cheesecake factory? What the hell was that? The way she said it made it sound like she assumed I knew what it was. I had no freaking idea. Was it really a factory that made cheesecakes? If so, I'm all in. I didn't want to ask her, feeling embarrassed. I hated feeling embarrassed with her.
"Change into your Juice sweats or something more classier than what you have on." Joan commanded.
Here? In the car? "Now?" I ask, my eyes widened.
She nods, "Yes."
"Um….okay." I grab the juicy bag from the back seat.
"I won't look at you." Joan said, seeing me hesitate to take my shirt off.
"I…I don't care." I lied. I wasn't used to undressing in front of people. The only person I've ever taken my clothes off in front of was my ex-boyfriends and Katherine, and that took me months to do.
We drove to the other side of the mall where a few classy buildings clung together. One of them labeled 'The Cheese Cake Factory'. Joan parked the car before getting out of the car. I followed her into the entrance.
The inside was full of people, every table occupied. Lines of people filling the waiting area with black beepers in their hands. Waiters dressed in White shirts with black pants swarmed in between the tables, delivering food and drinks.
"Well, it doesn't look like a factory." I said under my breathe, but apparently loud enough for Joan to hear.
Joan laughed, taking a breath to calm herself. "Have you not eaten here before?"
"Uh…No." I mutter.
She nods, "Well, you'll like it. It's delicious."
Judging by the cheesecakes in the window, I was almost sure of that.
"It's going to be about an hour and a half wait." The girl announced to the couple in front of us.
Oh my god. What the hell? Their food must be damn delicious for that long of a wait. The couple in front of us grabs the black disc and get out of line.
Joan and I walked to the counter. "Two for Campbell." She announced with a smile.
The blonde girl in a black lace cardigan smiles, "Hello Mrs. Campbell. I haven't seen you in here for awhile. Would you like your usual spot by the window?"
What the hell? I look from the girl to Joan who wasn't surprised at all by the girls response. Did Joan know everyone?
Joan nods, "I'd like that."
The smiles, "Right this way." She said as she grabbed two menus from off of the desk. People waiting in line began to glare as she escorted us back, sitting us in the booth overlooking the city lights.
"What happened to the hour and thirty minute wait?" I asked Joan, taking the seat in front of her.
"Arth…Your father…" Joan corrected herself. "Is friends with the owner."
I smile, "I bet he has a lot of friends."
Joan nodded, "He has a friend everywhere. And everyone of those friends become your friends once you have the 'Campbell' as a last name. You'll start to notice it at the farm and school."
"I've already noticed it." I nod. "It's not just Arthur. It's you as well. The minute people find out I'm your daughter it's like I'm the only person in the dessert with a bottle of water. 'let's be friends.'" It felt odd referring to Joan as her daughter. Almost awkward.
Joan laughed, "You and your similes."
The waiter approached our table, interrupting Joan and I. "My name is Stephan and I'll be your waiter. Is there any drinks I can get you?"
Well, hello Stephan… Why are you here and not Hollywood?
"I'll have a glass of White Zinfandel." Joan smiled up at the handsome man.
"I'll have an ice tea." I said. The man still continued to stare at Joan, not even looking away as he wrote down our drink order.
Hey, um, Stephan…I'm over here. Stop looking at her. I'm more your age. But I didn't blame Stephan. Joan was pretty for her age, gorgeous even. Her make up and hair was done perfectly. While I was over here with my hair up and no make up on. At least I was dressed in my Juicy Sweats.
"I'll have those right out for you." He winked, disappearing down the hall.
"Well, hello Stephan." I joked.
Joan laughed at me. "Yeah, he wasn't too bad on the eyes, I have to admit."
"And he thought you weren't either." I pointed out.
She smiled at me. "They all do." Joan almost cringed saying it, laughing to cover it up.
"It's true." I admit. "Everyone looks at you like you're some kind of a majestic creature."
Joan burst in laughter. "Majestic."
I laugh with her. Joan takes a deep breathe to calm herself, "They look at you that way, too. And in a year or two when your features become more heightened, no one will be able to take their eyes off of you."
I felt an urge to bring up a comment about how it was strange we had so many similar features, but I kept silent. Even the lady at Bobbie Brown makeup counter went on a twenty minute rant about how much Joan and I looked a like. "Well, thank you Joan. That's very kind of you." I smile up at her.
"It's true." She smiled back before glancing down at her menu.
I read the menu, not sure of what to get. Everything looked so good. I was in the mood for chicken. Problem was, there was like seventy-five different chicken dishes. And most of the ingredients on the description I didn't even know existed. Can I just get a piece of chicken? Was that too much to ask?
Joan and I both look up from our menus when glasses and bread were set on our table. "Do you know what you would like to order?" Stephan asked, looking at Joan once more.
"I do." Joan smiled back politely. "I'll have the Chicken Piccata."
"Okay." The man smiled, looking at me for the first time tonight. "And for you?"
Fuck it. "I'll have the same." I decided, knowing it had to be good if Joan was ordering it. Right?
"Okay, I'll put those orders in right now." The handsome man said, winking at Joan once more before walking away from our table. Really? She is like fifty, bro. And you're like twelve. What the hell is wrong with this world?
Joan smiled uncomfortably back at the man. Once he turned around she grabbed a piece of bread. I did the same, buttering it before taking a bite. And by 'buttering', I mean a four inch thick layer of butter. I was going to die at thirty from my eating habits, but as of right now, I didn't care the slightest. Within seconds the piece of bread in my hand was gone. I wasn't sure if the bread was truly that delicious or if I was just that hungry.
"So, out of all the stores we went to today, which was your favorite?" Joan asked, striking a conversation.
"Nordstroms." I decided. "They have the cutest shirts, jeans, and shoes." And the shirt and jeans at BP were under fifty dollars, which made them ten times cuter.
She nods in agreement, "It's my favorite, too."
I grab another piece of bread from the basket.
"I'm sorry we didn't get to go into Forever 21 or Victoria Secret this time."
I could just see Joan and I in Victoria Secret together. Awk…"No, it's okay."
"I'll tell you what, I'll buy you a piece of cheese cake to make up for it."
I nod my head vigoriously, "You're forgiven."
She smiles at me, "Well, I think we've just established your price."
I nod, "Yes, if you ever want to apologize in food. I'm perfectly okay with that."
Joan laughs. "I'll remember that."
As we got onto the freeway, Joan turned the radio up. I immediately recognized the song. "Call me Maybe" By Carly Rae Jepsen. It was a song that played non-stop on the radio.
As soon as the chorus came on, Joan began to sing along.
"You're stare was holding, ripped jeans, skin was showing. Hot night, wind was blowing, where you think you're going baby? Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy. But here is my number, So call me maybe?" Joan sang along, knowing every word to the chorus.
I just stared at her with my mouth dropped. What the hell? Who was this woman?
She turned to look at me and laughed, "What? It's on the radio all day long. It would be sad if I didn't know the lyrics to it."
"Who are you and what did you do with Joan?" I asked, still surprised. I was so used to the perfectly proper Joan that this was side of Joan was foreign to me.
She chuckled,"You just don't know me very well. I'm actually a pretty fun person."
I couldn't help but laugh. Joan and fun in the same sentence? Yeah right.
"I'm being serious." She said in the most serious tone she could muster while laughing.
"I'll take your word for it."
Joan rolls her eyes, knowing I still didn't believe her. "I'm a different person on a friday night than I am on a Tuesday at work, Sutton. In time, you'll see that."
I nod, "I know." Now this I could believe. She had to keep her professional Joan face on while at work. On the weekends, she could be herself. Whoever that was.
Joan flips her blinker on and turns into the Blockbuster parking lot. She parks, flashing me a smile. "Now let's go find ourselves a movie."
"A movie on a Friday night? Joan, you go hard."
Joan chuckles as she turns off the cars ignition. "Shut up."
*The man on TV walked into his step daughter's bedroom. He took a seat next to her on the bed. "Mommy isn't feeling well right now. Why don't you just lay down and read a book."*
"Uh, yeah she isn't feeling well. You infected her with some alien juice, you ass hole." I said with the best straight face I could manage. I didn't even realize it until after it came out of my mouth that I had cussed in front of her. I immediately turn to look at Joan, worried for her reaction.
Joan began to laugh, rubbing her forehead with her hand. She didn't even glare at me for using profanity. It was like I was watching a movie with a friend, not my strict cover mother.
"What a creep." I continue, "I would move out of the house."
"She is six!" Joan protested.
I raise an eyebrow as I point to the TV, "Even more of a reason for her to live with her dad. The step dad is creepy and infected her mom with some creepy alien thing." I argue, watching the show in the background.
*The little girl looked up at the man, "Why isn't mommy feeling better? Can I see my daddy?" The little girl hugged her teddy-bear tight.*
I continue, "I'd be like, 'Sir, get away from me. you. creepy. old. man. You can keep my mom. I am going to go live with my father. See you later."
Joan laughed, shaking her head back and forth. "I can not watch TV with you."
I raise my index finger and point. "Hey, I'm just stating the truth here. You know you'd miss my sarcastic commentary if I wasn't here."
She shrugged, "Probably."
Click. The garage door opened, entering was Arthur. Joan and I both look at the front door and then back at the TV.
Arthur sets his brief case down next to the door with his shoes. "What are you two watching?" Arthur said horrified.
"Some creepy horror film Joan picked out." I crack a smile and shake my head back and forth at him.
Arthur shook his head back and forth, "Never let her pick out movies, she has horrible taste."
"I do not!" She argued playfully. "I decided upon this movie because George Clooney is in it."
"More like George Looney." I rub my eyes, "It's not even a scary movie, it's just plain creepy."
"What's it about?" Arthur's left eyebrow raised as he watched the TV in front of us.
"It all starts when a hurricane comes and ruins the town. The hurricane is just a front for an alien invasion. Well, blondie over here is found the next day floating in the river, naked. Her second husband, who is the sherif, I named him Mr. Creepy, finds her and injects her with more creepy green alien juice which makes her forget stuff. Mr. Creepy is either working for the aliens or is one himself; I'm not sure, yet." I explain with a straight face. I was pretty sure I lost Arthur at 'The Hurricane'.
Both Arthur and Joan were laughing at me.
"Who is the little girl?" Arthur asked, gesturing to the TV. I'm pretty sure he wasn't even interested in the movie. He just wanted to hear me describe it all.
I point to the little girl on the screen. "That poor little girl is Blondie's and her first husbands creation. Which by the way, her first husband is completely hot and actually sane. Can someone say downgrade? Anyways, Mr. Creepy is trying to be all fatherly and bond with this little girl so she will be on his side."
I look over at Joan and Arthur who were both exchanging glances at one another while they chuckled. Joan was shaking her head, "It's impossible to watch TV with her. She comments on everything."
I shrug, "It's true."
"So, how was shopping today?" Arthur asked, changing the subject.
I nod, "Successful."
"Good." He said, glancing at Joan. "Have you two eaten already?"
Joan nods. She grabs the blanket on the couch and pulls it closer to her, resting it on her legs. "There is left overs in the fridge."
He nods, getting up from the couch. "Well I'll leave you two to watch your creepy film. I'm going to go eat."
Joan nods, watching him walk into the kitchen.
Joan turned off the TV once the movie ended and the credits started. She clears her throat. "You know, this movie wasn't that bad."
I shoot her an odd look, "You're a liar."
Joan laughs, "I've seen worse. At least the characters were good looking."
I roll my eyes, "Next time, I'm choosing the movie."
Joan nods, "Deal." She stood up from the couch, grabbing the two water glasses and our empty bowl that used to be filled with pop corn from off of the wooden table that was placed in front of us.
"Come on." Joan invited. "Let's go see if Arthur enjoyed the cheese cake as much as we did."
I shrugged, "Okay." It's not like I had anything better to do. I followed Joan into the kitchen. Arthur, like Joan predicted, was sitting at the kitchen island, scarfing down our delicious cheesecake Joan had brought home.
"You found the cheesecake, I see." Joan stated, walking past the kitchen island and over to the dish washer where she placed our used bowl and glasses.
Arthur nodded, "It's delicious. I'm pretty sure you qualify as the best wife in the world right now."
Joan flashed him a smile, "I know."
Arthur and Joan stare at one another longingly before they kiss. I'm pretty sure if I wasn't in the room right now this is when shit would go down. Right here and now on the kitchen island. Awk… Remind me to never ever sit at the kitchen island again, I make a mental note.
Arthur turns around to me, "So how was the movie?"
"Well, it wasn't as good as Hallmark movie we got going on here, but it was okay."
Arthur and Joan both laugh.
"Hallmark movie." Arthur repeated, still laughing. "You're pretty funny, kid."
I smile, "Well, thank you."
"Arthur, can we keep her?" Joan asked jokingly, as if she was asking to keep the puppy she found on the side of the road.
Arthur nodded, "We can keep her until she pees on the carpet. And then she is out of here."
I laugh with them, "Thanks, guys. Thanks."
I believe this was a first time in my life that I stayed home on a Friday night. On a usual Friday night I would be out at a club or getting drunk at a park with my friends. Instead, I went shopping and watched a dumb horror film with Joan Campbell, C.I.A boss.
Honestly, what the hell? If you would have asked me a week ago what I was doing Friday night. This would have never would have crossed my mind as a possible scenario. Truth is, I loved being Sutton. I liked Joan and Arthur. I liked the C.I.A despite it's bull shit training. I loved this house. I loved my bedroom and the plasma TV's. And most of all, I enjoyed hanging out with Joan. Even though the thought of Joan screaming "look elsewhere for a mother" burned constantly in the back of my mind, I still found myself viewing her as a mother figure.
Did I miss parts of my old life, like my best friend Katherine? Hell yes I did. But did I regret the deal I made with Arthur? Hell no.
Tonight, I was one of the luckiest girl on this planet, I decided.
Please review! :) Reviews encourage me to write longer...
In your review please tell me the things you want to see.
FYI: for those of you who are requesting Annie and Auggie to make their appearance...It's happening soon. (Chapter 7 or 8 soon)