Disclaimer: I do not own Resident Evil, the characters or anything related to the series. I am simply doing this for fun, that's all.


A Remedy for Lonely Hearts

By Violetta-Night Butterfly

Pairing: JakexSherry (with PiersxHelena and others)

Loneliness is overwhelming, it's that feeling of isolation and the feeler will always try and find a cure to that loneliness, an endless search, anything to make them feel complete.


Chapter 1:

A New Start


Introduction

I guess you could say I'd finally had enough. I was tired of being sheltered, being forced to live a life that my parents expected of me. I have always been told to study hard in school, be top of my class, graduate valedictorian - go on from high school to study at a prestigious university somewhere majoring in something along the lines of physics, chemistry, or hell, become a top-notch lawyer. This would have pleased my father and mother greatly.

At least that's what I deduced while growing up.

It wasn't until I reached my junior year of high school that I 'accidentally' asked myself a question that would rock my world, and I did so unintentionally. I say 'accidentally' because... well, I have my moments when I wish I had never began to dwell for even a moment on that dreadful thought.

'Am I doing this for myself... or for them?'

I barely realized my answer came so fast until it did.

Yes. I was doing everything for them.

I was living my life to impress my parents. To earn some sort of appreciation from them - something I've always longed for my whole life.

From a young age, nothing I did was ever good enough. I was reading very early in my life but because I wasn't able to read a music scale, I was poorly educated - my father's words...

So I kept working towards it - success. I wanted to master everything that came my way - anything to gain their acceptance.

But I never got it.

Instead, all I ever got was an overwhelming feeling of loneliness.

I took a good look at myself that dreadful day in high school while I wrote a creative writing assignment for the class. The topic was for us to give the reasoning behind who we were at the present day. Everyone else seemed to say it was because of their experiences like lost love, hard times in orphanages, and some were even brave enough to admit abuse of some form during childhood.

As tears were shed, I listened quietly to everyone around me. Most of them bullied me at some point when we were younger. I finally understood why though - because they were bullied by life itself. That said, they had no concept of the fact that I too was bullied.

By my own parents.

The burdens of responsibility they placed on my once meek shoulders had shaped me into who I was that day in high school - a lonely and timid child with no real dreams of my own.

I was no different from any of them in that classroom. Yet all my years of being raised in a home of privileged scientists had made me believe I couldn't talk to any of them.

'They're jealous of your lineage Sherry - and rightfully so.' My mother would say, to later go on and on about how I was a Birkin with a special blood that made me exceed the average human - thus I should relish in it and the fortunes it would bring me in the future.

As I read my creative writing essay that day in front of everyone in my class, I watched with tear-soaked eyes as everyone looked at me in shock. For the first time ever, I'd been honest with them all about who I was. After years of being lonely and friendless, drowning in misery with no identity of my own... I spoke up.

I received many hugs that day.

Hugs were something I'd never received from my parents in my entire life.

From that moment and forward, I was unafraid to make friends. I spoke to anyone who would speak to me, I even attended school dances.

By my senior year I'd grown very close to one of my school counselors, Claire Redfield and her friend - a police officer by the name Leon S. Kennedy. They went on to become parental figures to me with their genuine concerns and help with anything I needed. Because of them, I no longer felt I was a nobody with no dreams of my own and I managed to graduate and succeed in everything I wanted to.

I did it for myself, no longer under my parents influence.

Being labeled as valedictorian was the last thing my parents could consider a gift from me. I knew that was something they wanted and while I held bitter feelings to them, I didn't hate them – I still don't, so I resolved to give them one last present. That would definitely be the last, because from that point on I was going my own way.

I graduated valedictorian and at high school graduation, my parents didn't show, and I expected as much - but I wasn't as broken hearted as I thought I would be because I had the rest of my peers and fellow graduates around me offering encouragement. Their support made it easy to deal with their absence.

That feeling of loneliness was suddenly... gone.

Leon and Claire were also there and their presence was more than enough to make me feel special. They acted as if they were my parents that entire day, even being kind enough to take me out for a congratulatory dinner – where I decided it was a good time to discuss my future with them.

Despite the usual college prep procedures and everything that was to go on before graduation, I never disclosed my ideas with anyone, not Leon, Claire and definitely not my parents. But that day at dinner with Claire and Leon, I finally voiced my plans and was relieved when they offered assistance to my cause.

So, at 18 years of age, I packed all my things and with her acceptance, I moved in with Claire.

I would be separating myself from my past to start anew. I would attend an university of my choosing, in a major I liked, once I had enough money to do so. Yes, I wanted to work for my own money, to live a life like the people I admired. I didn't want inheritance. I didn't want to live another day with William and Annette Birkin or like them.

From that day on, I, Sherry Birkin told myself I would achieve through my own efforts and desires.

It's funny though, how life seemed to stir me for a loop when an opportunity for employment brought with it a life altering experience that would place me in a predicament that would shape my future in a way I can only define as...

A Hexagon… of problems...


It was a busy day, undeterred by the pouring rain outside. Listening to the soothing sounds of the downpour, I leaned over the cool, white counter before me and slowly began to rest my head onto it. I was so ready to go on my break already, the rain outside made me long for a cat nap to ease my exhaustion.

Charlie's Coffee Shop was always either one of two things: a long drawn out day that would bore the hell out of me, or a hectic day that kept me smiling in the face of the usual bad scenery. Today was a bit of both and this was a rare event.

"Sherry?"

I jerked my head up instantly, wiping the small amount of drool that had threatened to drip out the corner of my mouth. Blinking my tired eyes, I cursed myself for dozing off on the job like this. My eyes made out a female figure. I recognized it was Cindy Lennox, one of my coworkers. She smiled sweetly at me, her pretty blue eyes shining as she did.

"Cindy! I'm so sorry I was - "

"It's okay, Sherry." she put a comforting hand on my back, "I just wanted to wake you before the new wave of customers showed up and..." I felt her pinch me and I nearly jumped out of my skin. "So you wouldn't miss your break or should I call it, 'catnap'." she giggled at me.

I smiled awkwardly, "Thanks, I appreciate it."

"Yep." was all she said as she turned away to waltz over towards a customer who had already been served, a pot of hot coffee in her hand. Most likely she was going to see if they wanted another serving.

I watched as her long blonde hair bounced within its ponytail. I began to feel for my own hair that I kept short. Maybe one day I would grow it. Maybe...

In the meantime, I was late for my break!

After grabbing my coat and umbrella, I gave a shout towards the only other worker besides Cindy and myself today - Brad Vickers to alert him of my departure. He worked in the far back of the shop making donuts and other sweets along with his partner Richard Aiken who today had the day off.

Brad acknowledged me with a smile and wave, sending me off with a salute. "See you in a bit!" he beamed and immediately afterwards, I walked out the place.

The wind was strong outside, the rain was even more aggressive now than before I dozed off inside the coffee shop. It was cold, typical autumn weather with dark, cloudy skies. It looked to be near 5 o'clock in the evening. I glanced at my watch as I stood beneath the large awning hovering over the opening to the shop, sheltering myself as much as I could before I made a dart towards my car. My watch said it was a little after 1:00. I sighed, wishing I was through with my shift but it wouldn't be over with until at 4:00.

I opened my umbrella and started to walk quickly to my dark green 2002 Ford Focus. I looked around, watching for possible threats to my safety, a frequent behavior of mine. I noticed the parking lot was bordering on empty except maybe a few scarce cars beside my own.

Typical, I go on break once business has died down dramatically. Then again, it was the lunch rush...

I pulled out my car keys from my black leather purse, unlocked the doors and sat down on the seat. Closing my umbrella, I sat it on the floor on the passenger's seat and shut the door. I gave a blissful sigh and closed my eyes. My car wasn't warm but it wasn't cold. Not that I cared, I was just ready to nap.

The rain beat mercilessly on the windshield. I was just about to doze off again until my stomach grumbled. I knew I should get some food but I was so tired.

I dozed off once more...

My stomach growled again.

"Great." I said aloud to myself. "Well, I've got an hour for break, may as well quickly go grab a snack and then crash until time to start my shift again..."

I put my keys into the ignition and turned it. My car started up with a hum and I flicked on the wind shield wipers. I reminded myself to be careful over and over to remember that the rain was pretty bad, I had to drive very carefully.

With a sigh and another grumble from my tummy, I backed out of the parking lot.


The Pita Sandwich shop wasn't very far from my job so I figured I would grab a chicken wrap and head back to work before my break ended.

I stood in a small line behind a couple with a little girl boosted up onto who I assumed was the father's (because he could very well be the child's brother in these times) shoulders, the female companion of the man was placing the order in with the cashier.

The place was well lit, giving a cheerful exposition with its many lights of blue, yellow and shades of green. It was a small place, nowhere for people to sit and chat, it was simply a stop and buy place, definitely perfect for people on the go.

Behind me the doors of entry seemed to open and shut frequently, the sound of the harsh rain never letting up as others entered and fell behind me in the line.

The couple before me left the line soon after they were given their food. As I stepped forward I heard them exit the restaurant through the glass doors. I smiled to the cashier and made my request. A minute or so later I was also leaving out the door.

I barely was able to open my umbrella as I stepped out into the raging weather. Stuffing my chicken wrap into my coat pocket, I bolted to my car just a few feet away and practically leaped inside.

Glancing at my watch I realized I had 30 minutes left of my break. That was okay with me. I would drive back to the shop, eat my chicken wrap and then hopefully take a ten minute nap.


"Shift's almost over! Yay!" I heard Cindy squeal to me as she walked by with a platter of empty coffee cups. I ceased wiping the table in front of me and looked to her with a small smile on my face - I knew what she was thinking about.

"That's right! It's girl's night out!" she beamed with a sweet smile like always, "You're coming right, Sherry dear?" she was looking at me over her shoulder. Perfect model shot if you asked me - she was tall and pretty enough for it.

"Maybe," I started, returning to my cleaning regime. The wooden table was already shining with its off-white color but I wanted to make sure it was in tip top shape for when our manager would come through in the morning before we would.

Cindy just sighed softly with what I was sure was out of frustration, "Come on Sherry! You haven't come out with us in a while!" she sat the platter onto the front counter - our usual station but it was twenty minutes until closing time so we were wrapping up the shop for closing time.

I felt a pang of guilt settle in my stomach; I would love to go but I just didn't have the money for it this time around. I had some things to straighten up with my apartment's landlord. I couldn't take the risk of going out shopping and blowing money this weekend... I just couldn't.

"Sorry Cindy," I forced a grin onto my face, "You girls have fun tonight though. I've just got some things to fix up so I'm booked for the weekend."

She sighed but nodded in understanding, "Alright... maybe next time."

Yeah, maybe next time...

Just then, Brad emerged from the back with his coat and everything else he needed to take with him for his leave. He grinned to us, "What a day, huh ladies?" Cindy and I nodded in union to him. "Well, we better be out of here soon or me might get stuck for the night. There's another flash flood warning saying the rain's gonna get worse - 'posed to take place in the next hour or so."

Immediately, I went grab my things again for the last time of the day, clocked out and waited by the door with Brad as Cindy emerged from the back with her things as well.

"I guess girl's night is cancelled for today." Cindy sighed.

Brad walked to the front window and flipped the open sign to closed while I pushed the door open, battling a losing battle against the storm outside. Brad ushered Cindy and myself out and shut the door behind him, locking it with the keys as Cindy and I opened our umbrellas against the even more powerful winds.

"Wow," Cindy shouted over the howling gusts. "I hope we don't lose our umbrellas to this! Or even worse, mess up our hair!"

"Mine is already messed up!" I shouted back to her as we laughed.

"Come on girls, I'll get you to your cars!" Brad called.

We followed him, the wind blowing our coats and hair around wildly. Cindy's car was closest so she got in hers first but not before saying thanks, goodbye and telling us to be careful. I was next and boy was I grateful because it was very, very cold now. I stepped into my car and thanked Brad for being courteous enough to concern himself with my safety. He nodded to me against the storms raging rainfall and immediately rushed to his truck.

Within three minutes we were out of the parking lot and on our way home.


Things were really starting to look grim for me. My landlord was very money hungry, seeming to raise my payments every time it was due and for reasons he could never fully elaborate on. I was growing frustrated and beginning to really question my moving out of Claire's so soon. I should have known minimum wage just wouldn't cut it.

That night I sat at home, huddled up on my couch with a blanket, hot cocoa in my hand and my small television was on. I was watching the news to keep updated on the storm outside. The coffee shop was in the area of a hurricane warning now, much worse than what Brad heard. Tall Oaks (where I lived) as well as a city called Herstine were the ones under the flash flood warning.

I was worried. I truly was. Charlie's Coffee Shop was in the middle of a possible hurricane and if the place suffered any serious damage, I was sure to be out of a job.

The coffee shop was a city away from Tall Oaks, the city was called Junery, while the shop was in a small town called Seri. It was just off the express way lying between Junery and the other town, Herstine located on the other side was full of travelers and people looking forward to vacations and fun. It was because of Herstine that the shop was always frequented by people on the go, be it for the long road trips, morning coffee, or just because they were coffee lovers at heart.

I applied to work at the place for that very reason. My love for coffee was strong too... and a nice donut never hurt either.

I loved working at Charlie's Coffee Shop just as much as I loved coffee - which was a lot, but on days like these, I just felt distressed. I worked full time there, trying to make ends meet when it came to my apartment and utilities. I would work whenever I could, but despite all the hours I worked, I could never manage to make enough money to pay for the important things and have extra on the side.

Topped off with constant anxieties I felt whenever a storm occurred, this job just felt more like an encumbrance than an advantage.

I began to pace the carpet floors of my small apartment, it did little to provide me solace at the moment. It was a simple apartment, the living room took up most of the space. It was a one bedroom, one bathroom flat with a kitchen within the same vicinity as the living room. Nothing too special but at least it was clean and affordable - that is, whenever the landlord wasn't bugging me.

Minimum wage was not easy to manage. Claire told me that numerous times and she was right as always. But I would tell myself I didn't care. I was just excited at the semblance of finally - at 22 years old - being able to move out of Claire's home and officially be on my own [much to her dismay because not only are we like mother and daughter, we're best friends].

In hindsight, I shouldn't have made such a rash decision.

I hugged my blanket tighter around my body as I looked out a small window to the left of my loveseat. I could barely see anything outside. With a sigh, I picked up my cell and began to text Leon and Claire, I needed cheering up - badly.

One heck of a storm outside, huh? I texted and then balled up on the loveseat again with the tv remote in my hand. I turned the tv down and began to listen to the rain, feeling overwhelmed.

Leon texted me back first. Yeah, you said it. How you holding up kiddo?

I'm alright, I lied, How are you?

Doing well, got promoted to a more 'dangerous' job! I imagined him grinning with a Kool-Aid smile. Leon was a pretty serious guy but he was charming and silly as well.

You're joking right? I wondered, no way he could tell me that information if it were true right?

Very serious. Can't tell you what it is though. I sighed, typical him being so busy, well, at least he's got a nice paying job...

Just then, Claire began to ring my phone. I answered and asked her to hold for a second before she could even say hello. I texted Leon and congratulated him then promised to give him another text later. He responded by giving me an okay, and then told me to be careful.

"Sorry about that, Claire." I said softly, returning to the call.

"That's okay Sherry, I'm sure Leon's bragging to you about the new job, huh?"

I giggled, "Not really, but yeah, he's geeked." I flinched as I heard thunder roar outside. "Um, Claire, it's storming outside, what're you doing calling in a storm?"

"I'm not in the city so I had no clue," she said anxiously, "Are you okay?"

"Yeah, I'm fine. Where are you if you're not here?"

"I'm in New York and I have something very important to ask you."

I felt a little nervous oddly; she sounded almost too solemn, "...What is it?"

"Okay, I'll make it quick so we can get off the line. Sherry, I just got a job offering in Europe - "

Was everyone getting new jobs but me?

" - and since Leon will most likely be unavailable majority of the time, I was hoping you would come with me."

My heart stopped. What did she say? "... What?!"

"Yeah, do you want to come to Europe with me? I'm going to be involved in some social work there for a while. I can't pass this chance up, Sher! I want you to come along. Who knows? You might find some nice employment over here and with luck, we'll both find a boyfriend!" she laughed.

I was speechless. Europe? Oh boy, that sounded wonderful but... my job...

"My job..." I started. "What about my job?"

"It's up to you, Sher. I won't force you sweetheart. Look, I'll be leaving on Thursday. If you want to come along you've got to contact me by Wednesday morning, okay?"

Lightning flashed outside and I knew I definitely should get off the line, "Okay, Claire. I'll let you know by then, okay?" I sighed softly.

"Think well about this Sherry. It's an opportunity to truly find yourself. Europe isn't much different than America... I think." I smiled at her silliness. "And think of the different scenery. You can try anything you want to see where your heart truly lies."

I smiled even wider, "Thanks Claire."

"I mean it Sherry, think about it."

"I will."

"Okay, I'll let you go now, be careful, stay strong and I'll text you in the morning - hopefully the storm will be over by then."

"Okie dokie." I rhyme cutely to her.

"Love you, Sher."

"Love you too, Claire."

The call ended when we both hung up.

With a sigh, I got up from the couch, my blanket still wrapped around me. I'd felt so anxious earlier, so unsure about my future, but suddenly I was feeling... relieved. I had a choice now as I decided to weigh the pros and cons in my head for both situations.

I could stay here where I enjoyed greeting people at the coffee shop and serving them with a smile. I could stay here with the faces I'd grown to love and enjoy coffee as I please. But I'd also be working minimum wage and struggling to get by as I constantly had to battle it out with my landlord. Not to mention the hurricanes that constantly threatened my job in the first place.

If I stay here, the truth is, I'll be at high risk to lose more than I could gain.

I thought about going to Europe - another country and a place I'd never been before and didn't have much clue about because of how vast it was. I knew a bit about places like England, but not much besides that they spoke English, had adorable accents and had a handsome prince who got married recently. But that was just one culture out of so many more.

There was France, Spain... I felt so clueless.

That would be the cons of all of this. So many languages I didn't know, besides maybe a little French. I had no clue of the terrains there either.

But, at least I'd be with Claire and she was right, it would be a nice change of scenery. I might be able to find a very nice job there and I'd finally be able to see more of the world like I always wanted [since my parents had always kept me sheltered]... and hell...

I wouldn't mind a boyfriend at all.

I smiled to myself before glancing at the microwave clock in the kitchen. It was a quarter to midnight. I cut off the tv and passed out on the couch, too exhausted to make it to my bedroom.

I had to be to work by 8 am tomorrow...

I sighed, snuggling up in my blanket and closing my eyes.

Let's see what tomorrow has to offer.


The shop wasn't damaged much to everyone's relief, including myself, but we were experiencing some power outages in the entire area as a direct result of the hurricane.

The manager gave Cindy and myself a call early morning and told us we were free of work until the power was restored. Cindy was relieved, I wasn't. We were off without pay - and this spelled bad news for me come my next paycheck. I was certain I wouldn't be able to afford to pay the monthly fee for my apartment next month if even one check was cut short.

The same thought crossed my mind over and over. I had to fight the itch to call Claire and accept her invitation. I wanted to make a wise decision, I wanted to be patient and wait this out until tomorrow, Wednesday morning. By then, if my boss called me in to work or not, I would know what choice to make and from there I would call Claire to confirm it with her. It would be last minute of me, but what else could I do...?

"What are you doing, Sherry?" I asked myself quietly as I stood in my kitchen, a cup of orange juice in my hand. I stared at the brown tiles that complimented the eggshell colored walls around me.

I was being difficult.

I wanted to talk to someone about all of this, but I was hesitant about talking to Claire about it. I knew she wanted me to come with her. I needed to speak with someone who could give me the bright side of staying in the U.S. point of view right now.

I thought of Cindy. If I left, I would miss her. We weren't the closest friends but we did depend on each other from time to time and we got along very well. She invited me out for drinks and movies with her friends Alyssa Ashcroft, a reporter for the Herstine newspaper and a rookie cop who I was certain was in love with her, Kevin Ryman. They were nice people but I wasn't really interested in establishing friendships with them.

Sometimes I still struggle to form relationships with others...

Cindy on the other hand was always nice to work with. I was fond of her, her sweet smiles and girly traits. I enjoyed sitting with her whenever we had breaks [and I wasn't exhausted and ready for nap]. We would tell jokes to each other and talk about our future plans. We were both the same age [22], we were both blonde, tall [even though she was taller than me by 3 inches], and I liked to think that I was pretty as her.

Once during one of our breaks, Cindy and I got into the discussion about why we were working at the shop and what we wanted to do that was 'better'. Cindy was working at Charlie's because she was hoping to do the same thing as me which was gather enough money to attend a university somewhere. Only difference was that Cindy knew what she wanted: she wanted to become a registered nurse.

As I stood there in the kitchen sipping my juice, I wondered to myself about my own goals. Claire's words came to my mind again.

It's an opportunity to truly find yourself...

...You can try anything you want to see where your heart truly lies.

Perhaps if I joined Claire I could do just that. I could find myself and see where my heart would take me.

But-

My indecisiveness was killing me. I picked up my cell off the counter beside the microwave and dialed Leon's number.

"Hello?"

"Hi!" I greeted him, my glee was a bit forced.

"Hey, I see you made it through the storm kiddo! How are you doing?" he was pleasant as always.

"Yeah I did and so did you." I giggled a bit, "I'm a bit stuck with a problem... if you're not busy...?"

"I'm free for an hour," I let out a sound of relief. "What's on your mind, Sherry?"

"Leon, Claire called me yesterday and told me something that I'm not sure should make me happy… or not."

"What did she tell you?"

I explained to him my personal dilemma first, then went on to the entire conversation I shared with Claire. I knew Leon liked to put two and two together by being filled in - before I would try and explain my feelings about a matter. He would always say it was because the facts would give him an idea of the feelings that would follow, afterwards he could possibly provide a solution for me. If I told him my feelings before the ordeal, it would complicate things for him.

Men...

"Well Sherry, I imagine you're feeling as if you're on a train with two different routes and both routes don't seem to have a destination that you're sure of -" I sighed, thinking the same thing. "- At least, that's what you think."

"What do you mean?" I wondered.

"Well, I'm sure you've weighed both options so far right?" I answered him, yes. "Sherry, it's up to you to decide which route you want to take, but you need to really consider Claire's offer. If you stay where you are and risk the money issues further you might end up in quite a predicament. You could move in with me but I'm hardly home and with this new job I'm taking I'll be moving around frequently so you'd be alone quite often."

I listened to him very closely.

"But what's the worst that could happen if you go with Claire? You might not get a job right away but Claire's never had a problem keeping you around. She always told me how helpful you were and how you never caused her any trouble. When she told me about your job she was worried that you'd struggle - and you say you are, right?"

"Yeah..." I answered gravelly.

"Claire knows that and that's why she wants you to come along for the ride. There's nothing wrong with going with her Sherry, but there is something wrong with staying where you are - full of worries and troubles. Especially since you refuse to accept help from us." he laughed.

I smiled and laughed a bit myself, "But my job..." my sour mood returned tenfold.

"I know Sherry, I know..."


5:22 am

My boss called my phone. The coffee shop was back up and running and he expected me clocked in by 8.

I would be returning to the minimum wage work that lead me nowhere. I was risking a lot I realized, that was why I made my decision the night before when I called Claire.

I took a deep breath.

"I'm sorry, please forgive me." I listened to him questioning me, confused for the moment but I was about to make everything clear. "I'm... leaving today. I'm going to Europe."


Claire pulled up in front of my apartment building in a red crossover SUV. She beeped the horn with a silly grin on her face for me as I lugged my many travel bags of clothes, supplies and anything else I could carry out of my apartment towards her. She hopped out and helped me load everything in her crossover, she was almost overtly giddy as she did so, humming a tune and cheesing like she just got laid.

I almost collapsed into a fit of giggles.

"This everything?" she asked looking from the piles of bags all around me and back to her ride.

"Yep, well, except my car." I chuckled still stuck on my earlier thought.

She nodded, "Get in it and drive ok?"

I looked at her confused, "Where am I taking-"

"You could leave it at the airport or leave it with Leon since he's got a garage for it... or have it brought overseas by boat." She shrugged, "I'm leaving mine at my brother's house."

"How - I mean, if you're driving it to the airport?"

"Chris and his friend Jill are going to meet us there tomorrow. Jill's gonna drive his truck back to his house and he's gonna take mine." she answered calmly, getting back into her vehicle. "You want to leave yours at Leon's?"

I nodded, digging in my pockets for my keys. "Yeah, if he's okay with it."

"He doesn't have a choice - he never does when it comes to our needs!" she grinned and cackled like a devious hyena. "But you can call him. Tell him you're dropping your car off with him, along with the keys. He's got a big tall mail box you could drop them into that only he can open with his key."

"How do you know?" pressed, teasingly. I liked to tease the two of them because they seemed like a couple at times but in the end, they were more like siblings. I knew this but it was still a little fun.

"We swapped cars all the time remember? He's a terrible driver, so to keep his record clean we always swapped and that's where I would leave his keys and mine when I was done." I laughed. "Well, enough about that. Come on, we'll drop off your car and head to my place. We've got a long day tomorrow and it's starts bright and early!"

I smiled and felt a sudden overwhelming feeling of sentiment and nostalgia. I looked at my apartment building, taking in the tall tower with its open balconies and flowery platters. The freshly cut grass before it. The black rooftop with white brick siding.

I'd just done this with my apartment room. It felt maudlin for me but this would be the last time I would look at the walls in my room and gaze upon this building I stayed in for four months. This was my first independent experience - my first place of my own, Charlie's coffee shop was my first job where I had to put every penny where it was needed.

I would never forget it.

But it was time for a change.

Getting into my car, I started it up immediately, glancing out my rear view mirror at Claire as she started off down the busy streets of Tall Oaks, expecting me to follow. I smiled once again and whispered a quiet goodbye to my old life, then pulled off driving after Claire.

It was time for a new start. I had no regrets.


As I sat in my seat on the plane, I had large smile on my face. I had the window seat so I was able to peer out at the clouds as much as I pleased. Even though Claire and I didn't have seats next to each other, I could see her a few seats ahead of me - listening to music on her iPhone. I had headphones on as well, listening to a few songs Claire had downloaded onto my cell. Some new song had came on that was by Maroon 5 and I rather liked it.

I pulled off my headphones for brief moment, only to hear a child crying behind me.

"Marlowe, you have to be quiet now. You don't want to disturb the other people riding the plane do you?" came a firm but quiet voice.

"I gotta go pee!" I could practically imagine the child squirming in their seat as they fussed. "I gotta go!"

"Marlowe..." the man sounded very frustrated.

I picked up enough nerve to take a gander behind me and noticed a little boy, who looked to be maybe three or four years old. He was wiggling viciously in his seat and struggling with his seat belt. Beside him was a man who I can only describe as intimidating. He was clad in all black. I could even make out a black turtle neck underneath his leather trench coat. Topped off with the fact that he wore black sunglasses on a plane. The only thing that wasn't black on him was his blonde hair.

"Daddy! I gotta pee!"

The kid was super cute. He looked like a plush teddy bear in his full body coat with overalls. He was like a splash of color beside his father with his blue and white scheme topped off with a lavender knit winter hat and matching rubber boots. He was way over dressed for autumn weather but he still looked so cute.

"Marlowe..." the man said again.

I hatched an idea and sat up from my seat to tip-toe towards the two. As I neared them, I smiled and looked to the father. I felt nervous but I really wanted to help the little fussy child.

"Um, I was just on my way to the restroom... shall I help him?" the father gave me a sharp look behind those shades of his. I felt my nerves worsen. "He... can go first since he's so anxious..." I chuckled awkwardly.

The little boy, Marlowe looked at me from his seat belt prison. The belt was across his cheek and the other part strapping him firmly around the chest to the seat. He'd wiggled himself there... "I gotta pee bad daddy..."

I almost squealed at his cuteness but I maintained my calm and turned back to the father. "That is... if you're okay with it...?"

He stared at me for a moment, "Sure, that would be fine."

I breathed out in relief quietly. I turned to Marlowe to help him out the seat belt. Immediately, he began to make an awkward stumble towards the bathroom. I followed suit to make sure he would be okay.

In front of the door, he struggled with his coat overalls and after a brief fidget, he looked innocently at me - his big blue eyes almost mimicked my own. "Help me, please?"

I grinned. "Sure!" I crouched down and unbuckled the coat for him. With a thanks, he practically ripped them off and then he bolted into the room.

While he was inside, I picked up the bottom coat and took it to the father. "Um, here, he struggled with them... maybe he could keep them off while he's on the plane? It'd make it easier for him and you." I teased him a bit with a small grin on my face, hoping to ease some of the tension I was feeling.

"Hm, perhaps so." I felt relief again. "Thank you for your assistance. He is quite a handful."

"He's adorable."

"Hmph, he's a busy body." I smiled again. Well, at least the father wasn't too bad, but he was still a bit scary.

Just then, Marlowe emerged from the restroom. He pranced around me to get to his father and gave him a big grin. "I did it! No accidents!"

"That's great," I said softly. I didn't understand why I felt a need to give him approval... maybe it's because his father simply nodded to him before reaching for a newspaper article to read.

This all looks familiar...

"Thank you lady!" Marlowe said to me as he crawled back onto his seat next to his dad. "What'cha doing daddy?"

His father peeked at him, showed him the paper, and then returned to doing his pleasures. I wanted to believe he was just tired, anything to explain the detachment but my gut told me otherwise.

"I'm assuming you never had to use the restroom." I froze as he spoke to me. "You simply wanted to help my boy didn't you?"

I felt my face grow hot, "Y-Yes..."

"You look like a cherry face!" Marlowe shouted at me. I laughed internally, but his father was scaring me again.

"Um, sorry to disturb you, I'll go have a seat now..." I felt an urge to run for my seat but I told myself to remain calm. I started to walk away but turned to glance back at Marlowe's glowing face. "Be good to your father, ok? He's tired."

Marlowe looked from his dad and back to me, "Okay lady!"

As I returned to my seat, I picked up a book beside me, anything for entertainment. The book was titled Alice in Wonderland. I remembered it from my childhood, I once had a nanny who read it to me, well, before she was fired a year into my life by my mother who accused her of what I now knew as encouraging my father to commit adultery.

I highly doubt my sixty year old nanny wanted to bang my father...

For old times' sake, I opened the book and began to read it. Soon I was sucked into book entirely but soon after, a small blur to my side caught my attention. When I looked though, there was nothing there. Something told me to look behind me, so I did and immediately caught sight of a snickering Marlowe, etching around the seat next to me, to peek at me.

I reckoned I would play along to humor him. I couldn't help but wonder how he got out of his seat belt and away from his father anyway. I was able to see a newspaper held up by two hands a couple seats away, and I got my answer.

Every time Marlowe peeked at me, I would smile at him. He yipped and ducked to hide. I came to the second seat and peered around it just as he was doing the same and caught him red-handed.

"Aw, you found me!" he pouted.

"I think you found me first though, didn't you?" I encouraged him. I never got a chance to play much when I was his age so I fancied I would help him, even if for just a while.

"...Yea I did!" he cheered, "I win!"

"Excuse me." I heard one of the flight attendants interject, she approached Marlowe and myself with a scowl. "I'm sorry ma'am but your son is going to have to have a seat."

My son?

My jaw dropped, "O-Oh no he i-isn't mine - "

"Marlowe," his father's stern voice sounded out. "Come sit down, now."

Marlowe's lips formed into another pout, "Okay... I just wanted to sit with the pretty lady..." he said sadly.

As he sulked back to his seat, I don't know what came over me... "Um, wait!" I called out, catching his, the attendant and his father's attention. "Would he be able to sit next to me? I have a children's book right here and I don't mind reading it to him."

The attendant looked from Marlowe's father, to the kid and then back to me. "It's up to the father."

His dad looked to him, "You may sit with her, so long as you will stay put."

Marlowe jumped up, hugged his father's neck [oddly he didn't budge from it at all] and before I knew it, he was right beside me, a wide grin on his bright face. "I'll be good, I promise!"

He warmed my heart in that instance. I barely knew this kid yet he... was so precious. "Okay, I believe you. But... you have to do me a favor." He gave me a wide eyed blank gaze, "Put this seat belt on and as a reward I'll read to you this book, okay?" I held up Alice in Wonderland for him to observe.

He scooted himself further onto the chair and like a sweetheart, allowed me to snap a seat belt around him without protest.

"There we are!" I cheered for him, "Thank you very much."

"You're welcome." he mumbled softly.

I was shocked to see him settling down so quickly. I was even more stunned that just a couple pages into the picture book, he had fallen asleep.

He was even cuter when he slept.

I started to feel a bit drowsy myself at that moment. I leaned my head back against the pillow and closed my eyes, letting sleep take me.


"So," Claire started once we disembarked the plane "I drifted in and out of sleep during the flight but I do recall glancing back a couple times and seeing you play with a cute little kid. I guess I really am rubbing off on you, huh?" she laughed.

I grinned widely, shifting my bags around in my arms. "He was so precious Claire."

"Aw, sounds like you got a soft spot for the kid." she sighed, "Too bad you probably won't see him again..."

"Actually..." I looked down for a moment and took in a deep breath to prepare her for what would surely shock her, "I will definitely see him again."

"How?" she wondered, her eyes searching my face in curiosity.

"Before I've even made it to our residence, I can't believe I've been offered a job already!" I squealed the last part and Claire's mouth hung open.

"No way! That's great! What's the job?!" she took my hands and gave me the biggest and prettiest smile. "Tell me!"

"The kid's father offered me a job - I'm gonna be his nanny!"


A/N: UPDATED (08/30/2013)

Corrected typos and errors.

For newcomers to this fic, I hope you will continue on in this fic and have fun with it as it is full of laughs, romance and plenty of touching moments. Enjoy! ;)

-Vio