It was the usual ‘happening’. She was going to get kicked out of the house and a new family was going to pick her up from Children’s Services. Maybe this time she’ll get a nice family, but Bree didn’t get her hopes up. The last family, and at least two before that, had been okay after she had gotten used to the chores, the mountain of other children in the house, the punishments, the cold, the heat, the dirt, the… whatever.
Ever since Child Services took Bree away from her grandmother (well, the streets actually) her life had been miserable. For the past four years she had about a dozen of families she stayed at, and half a dozen were fine people but didn’t like her attitude and her response to older children in the house. The other half… well… she was just glad that she could defend herself despite her height and age.
She was sipping on a cola – Oh shit, glorious cola, I’ve died! She thought – when Maurice walked in with a very tall guy with brown fucked up hair and a woman about the size of Bree herself. “Bree, these are Mr. and Mrs. Sayles, your new foster family.” Maurice said.
Joy, Bree thought and simply nodded. She ignored the two people introducing themselves, despite them looking well groomed and extremely clean, Bree knew that appearances could lie.
Their car was big and she only sat down on the back seat because the tall guy, Jason, opened the back door for her to climb aboard. During the ride, the two people talked about their lives, one was a cop and the other a teacher. Ugh
When they finally arrived at their destination, Bree was amazed by the size of the house. Sure, she’s lived on farms between cows and horses – she loved horses – but this house was huge. Oh well, not that she’d go inside, they’d probably stuff her in the shed, which was fine too.
“Your house is huge!” Bree said as she hopped out of the car, she couldn’t help but being excited, and then realized what she had done. She had spoken before being spoken to. “Where’s your shed?”
“In the backyard, why?” The tall guy responded.
“Okay.” Bree headed towards the back of the house but the tall guy stopped her. Get your hands off me! “You don’t want me in your house, do you?” Bree shrugged.
“You’re not staying in the shed.”
“I’m not?” Wow, that was a surprise.
“Elsa’s worked hard on your room, come on, let’s go inside.” He smiled down at her. “Knowing Elsa, she probably has made a few sandwiches already, we’ve been in the car for so long, you must be hungry. I know I am!”
She didn’t really like it when Jason guided her towards the house, he had his hands on her and it was just too soon for him to become so familiar with her. She stopped dead in her tracks when she saw the house on the inside. Everything was spotless and beautiful and looking expensive. “You are certain I’m not staying in the shed or basement or something? What if I accidentally stain something?!”
“You’re a kid, you’re allowed to stain something. Just comet o me if you do, that way I can cover it up.”
Jason then explained the simple lay out of the house. “You’re not sleeping on the same floor as me? I’m upstairs? Dear Lord, I’ve died.”
He then took her to her new room. It looked just as expensive, clean and new as the rest of the house. She absolutely loved the colors but were they really going to have her sleep in there? What if she’d break something? Or what if she’d make things dirty? The bed looked absolutely comfortable. Bree was sure that they were screwing with her head; she just knew that they’d have her sleep there for a while to make her comfortable and then kick her to the shed anyway. It had happened before.
Jason then took her to the kitchen and the woman, Elsa, had made a platter of sandwiches, just as the guy had told her she would. Jason told her that he wasn’t going to take the first sandwich and Bree was hungry. She grabbed a handful of sandwiches and started to stuff her face, only to pause to savior the taste, it was so good! “Ohmygod this is delicious!” She said with a full mouth.
“I’m glad you like it,” Elsa smiled. “Can we get you anything or do you want to do something?”
“I’m good.” Bree shook her head and wolfed down another sandwich.
“Take it easy,” Elsa said. “I don’t want you getting sick or something. You need new clothes? We can go shopping, just you and me.”
Bree tried not to freak out. Shopping? For clothes? Are they nuts? “I’ve got clothes, what’s wrong with my clothes?” Bree looked down on herself; an adult sized t-shirt and tight jeans. Honestly, what was wrong with them? It was a shirt of Toby, one she had to wear because Toby had ripped her only shirt apart a couple of days before that when Toby wanted her to pay for her safety.
Elsa shook her head. “They are fine, but I thought you might like some new things that are your own, and fit…”
“But you already are putting me in a big room! With a swimming pool as a bed! I… “ She emptied her glass of lemonade. “I can’t…” Oh god, I’m having a panic attack… or I’m about to have one.
“There are two other rooms up there that you can choose from. They all have the same size bed,” Elsa pointed out. “We just want you to be comfortable.”
“My head’s spinning, Miss.” Bree admitted. “Maybe, if you want to be seen with me, tomorrow?”
“First its Elsa, and Jason,” Jason spoke up, smiling. “And we both would love to be seen with you.”
“Now you do…” Bree sulked. It would be different in a couple of days, Bree just knew! She needed to be excused, and fast.
“Well, there’s a new notebook on your desk, and a couple of pens if you want to write, Maurice said you like to write, how about you go and make your room really you? Or take a nap? Elsa and I will be right here.”
“You can do whatever you want,” Elsa added, glancing at Jason. “Feel free to explore the house to your heart’s content. You will find there is nothing to be afraid of.”
Bree nodded and ran up the stairs to her room. Was it her room? Really? She took a few deep breaths and just tried to get everything in one place in her head but it was so difficult. Don’t freak out, Bree, you know they’re just messing with your head. Just go lay down and take a nap or something. Or hide. Or whatever. You know what your future holds. Don’t close the door, you need a way out. And they need a way in.
Bree kicked off her shoes and buried herself underneath the thick duvet on her bed. Her bed was as comfortable as it looked, so nice and warm and fluffy… Eventually, Elsa came up and Bree wondered why the woman knocked. The door was open, it was their house, wasn’t it?
Bree had wrapped herself up in the duvet on the bed and looked at Elsa. “I’m awake, do you have a chore for me?” She didn’t mean to sound sleepy, but she did.
“No,” she replied, shaking her head. “May I come in?”
“This is your house.” Bree nodded and sat up, unwrapping herself from the duvet.
“And this is your room. I came to see what kind of pizza you like. We thought we would order in tonight,” she said as she walked in to sit on the bed next to her.
My room? For now! Bree thought and collected herself, she needed to appear normal and not as fucked up as she was. “Whatever you’re having is fine, Miss… Elsa.”
“That’s not how we work around here. You have just as much input as Jason does when it comes to dinner. Unless of course if you are allergic to something, but we work together. We share the chores, and take turns on everything.”
“I don’t know if I’m allergic to something.” Bree said. “I like pineapples on a pizza and bananas.”
“Different,” Elsa nodded. “Okay, well I know Johnny’s has pineapple but if you want banana on it, there is in the kitchen we can add later. I doubt you would like what Jason does so he usually ends up with a pie for himself with everything spicy under the sun.”
“Pineapple with something hot and spicy is great too! Or even steak on a pizza… or pasta on a pizza or pizza dipped in custard…” Bree said excitedly. She was used to eating anything, if there was food at all. The only thing she really didn’t like were molded foods, it tasted funny and her stomach would be upset for days.
The woman laughed, in a nice way. “Let’s try just pineapple tonight and do something different next time. How does that sound?”
“I don’t mind eating leftovers; you don’t have to order me a pizza.”
“Again, not how we do things. Leftovers are for Jason to take to work. I refuse to cook special for his lunches. You on the other hand, maybe.”
“Oh I can cook, if you want me to!”
“Maybe we can cook together. Bree…or do you want me to call you Breanne? Whatever you like or are more comfortable with…”
“Everyone calls me Bree… or shortie, or midget, or hey you, or whatever really.” Bitch, runt, mouse, rat…
“Then we’ll work with Bree. I wanted to just tell you that you can come to me, or Jason, if you want to talk. Or, if you want to share something, even if it is just one of us, you can write it down in a specific notebook or journal that you are okay with one of us to read. We won’t have to talk about what you write unless you want to. Just – something that could help us become friends, or a family?”
Talk about being direct. What was this woman thinking? That Bree would stay with them forever? She wasn’t going to, she would give these people a couple of days before they’d snap because of something that Bree would have done wrong, she’d then be sleeping in the shed and eating Jason’s leftovers. A couple of months later, they’d call Maurice and ask if she could be re-homed.
“Sure, I could do that.” Bree nodded. “If you want me to do that, I could do that.” Bree crossed her legs. “Jason’s tall.” She made a face, only to say something that would make Elsa happy.
“Only if you want to,” she repeated, making sure that was understood. “And yes, he is. But his hair makes him look taller than he really is. It does have a life of its own.”
Bree forced a giggle. “That’s funny.”
“Yeah, I think so too. Do you want to lay back down for awhile or come look around? You don’t have to stay in here all day.”
“Okay.” The girl replied. “Do you want me to do anything?”
“Nope, I’m making Jason do everything tonight. Come on,” Elsa said standing up, holding her hand out invitingly.
Bree hesitated a little, but took Elsa’s hand nonetheless. “How many other children do you have?”
She hesitated before looking at her. “None. Um, I’ll be honest with you. Jason and I did try for a long time to have a baby ourselves but we just couldn’t. It was his idea to try and help kids like you, give you a home that isn’t like the others. Try to give you what he and I had growing up.”
“I’m sorry to hear that.” Bree said quietly. “I’ve been told that my dad’s in prison and my mom… well… she was a streetwalker.” She continued, again offering Elsa a ridiculous detail that was probably in her file anyway. And Bree didn’t care to talk about her parents. They weren’t parents. They should never had kids, that was the problem. “Both addicted to drugs and alcohol. Grams wasn’t much better.”
Smiling, Elsa patted Bree’s hand softly. “You are here, with us now. Let me show you around.” She led them to the balcony that overlooked the front door and living room where Jason could still hear them from the kitchen.
“Oh wonderful husband of mine. Bree and I have our dinner orders for you!”
“Oh yeah? What is it? Oreo pizza?” Jason smiled up to the two ladies.
“Oh… that sounds good.” Bree replied.
Elsa rolled her eyes. “No you junk food junkie. Bree would like pineapple, and I’ll have my usual plain. And pick up stuff for sundaes on your way back. Dark chocolate syrup, not the regular, and get a pint of whipping cream. I’ll make it fresh instead of the canned crap.”
“Anything else?” Jason grinned as he walked towards the coat rack to get his coat.
She made a face as she thought about it before looking at Bree for her opinion. “Anything you want?”
“No I’m good, thank you.”
Elsa looked down at Jason and shrugged. “Boss here said nothing else.”
“I’m so whipped.” Jason shook his head laughing as he exited the house.
“Yep, he’s my personal slave. You don’t have worry about a thing,” she winked at Bree. “Alright. Tour?”
“Sounds good.” Bree nodded.
She finally went to bed around 9pm. It had been a long day and Bree was sure that tomorrow wasn’t going to be any different. However, she couldn’t sleep and heard Jason and Elsa talk about her downstairs. She sneaked out of her room and laid down flat on her stomach to look at the two people from the bars of the balcony.
“…. left the information out to cover their asses or whoever’s ass that placed her with them. I think she’ll come around. She did good today considering everything that we threw at her,” Elsa smiled as she leaned over the back of the couch to kiss Jason’s neck.
Oh Ew! Bree thought.
He chuckled and pulled Elsa on the couch with him. “Yes, she did and you were awesome too.”
Elsa yelped and Bree watched as Elsa fell down over the back of the furniture, right into Jason’s lap. As if it was fitted for her. “I just want to make her happy and feel safe. I did manage to get the entire week off from work so that I can stay with her while she settles in. I thought maybe we could hire a private instructor for her, just for this year before throwing her to the wolves of the Port Jackson school system.”
Oh please… I’d hate that… a private instructor? Money wasted, me thinks!
“Honey, we both work full time…” Jason said as he kissed the top of her head. “I don’t want her to think we got her just to abandon her while she stays at home to get tutored or with a nanny.”
“Then she and the tutor would come with me to the high school. The drama room is pretty much empty until sixth period. I just don’t want her alone with all those kids if she freaks out over something. Not until she truly knows nothing will happen to her, that we won’t hurt her.”
“Alright.” Jason caressed Elsa’s hair. “So you’re going to take her into town tomorrow then?”
“My god yes! She needs new clothes, that fit her. Not someone else’s hand me downs that are stained and a mile big on her. Oh! And a cell phone or something…..”
Bree sighed as she crawled back into her room. Typical over-eager foster parents. Not that the other families she had stayed with were over-eager but she had heard of them. They’d spend a ton of money on her to win her over, to make her love them and then dump them like garbage. Yes, don’t get too comfortable, Bree.