A sixteen year old girl moves from her suburban home into a run-down apartment complex in the city. She struggles to fit in at her new school and get along with her dad, who is starting a new job. Can she survive the big city, get a job, live through school and baby-sit her little sister?
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As I surveyed the street he came up the steps carrying a heavy box- sweat pouring down his red face.
"You know things would go a whole faster if you helped Jaimee." He panted.
"Sure I'll get the elevator for you dad, oh wait, it's broken." I continued to stare out into the street, refusing to give in to this move.
The place was a complete dump. Outside it looked like every other building, red bricks, blue doors, gardens under the windows. But once you stepped inside you felt like being sick. The walls, which I assumed had once been white, were stained yellow, the paint peeling off, a giant hole by the stairs. There was an elevator, with big metal doors which looked rusted closed and an "OUT OF ORDER" sign hung over the up button. As you climbed the stairs their condition got progressively worse until you got to the sixth floor. The blue carpet was moldy in places, a step was missing from the middle of the stair case and the banister had been ripped off. I'm telling you, the place should have been condemned.
At least the actual apartment was decent; freshly painted a horrible shade of swamp green, new carpet had been laid down and all the taps worked. There was even a small air conditioner propped up in a window, how much good it would do, I don't know.
I turned my eyes away from the street and walked inside. If it was even possible, I could swear it was 10 degree's hotter inside. I sighed a deep and heavy sigh and began to climb upstairs. I counted each step, trying to keep my mind off the depressing scene around me. My little sister came bounding down the stairs, her face bright red in color, her hazel eye's filled with tears.
"Why is Dad being so mean!?" she yelled at me. I pulled her into a hug and patted her small blonde head.
"It's just for a little bit Ashley." I said, trying to comfort her. "As soon as Dad gets another good job we can move back out near our old house." She wasn't fooled. She may only be 9, but she was pretty darn smart.
She stormed down the rest of the stairs, slamming the doors open at the bottom. I wouldn't say we were spoiled, but over the years we grew accustomed to a certain lifestyle. Our step-mom had been pretty well off and so she had given her two little 'daughters' everything we had needed. We got new clothes, toys, shoes, computers. I was even about to get my own car before they broke up. We had our own bedrooms, a study, a pool and a theatre room back at our old house. Now Ashley and I had to share a tiny shoebox in a claustrophobic apartment.
I continued upstairs and through the door marked '6C'. The living room, if you could call it that, was full of brown cardboard moving boxes, each one labeled with a different room name. I found a box with my name printed on it and carried it through to my new room.
Is it unfair to say that I hated it on sight? It was smaller than I had thought it would be, barely enough room for two beds and a desk. The closet was half the size of my old one and I had to share it now. At least there's a window, I thought as I looked through it to another window not even ten feet away at the next building.
I dumped my box on the bed and sliced it open with a knife off the desk. Inside were my things, Dad had warned us not to bring too much, "Just what you really want, girls. Everything else will have to go into storage." I knew what storage meant. It meant that he would store it in our grandmothers garage for two years and when he thought we'd forgotten all about them he would throw them away.
From the box I pulled out three photo frames. The first had a picture of my Mom and I. I was only 7 at the time, smiling beside my mother. The photo was taken just before Ashley had been born, I could see my Mom's bulging belly in the bottom of the picture. I swallowed the lump that had formed in my throat and moved on. The second frame had a photo of Ashley, Dad, Mom and me. Ashley was only a month old. Every time I looked at the picture I could see the difference in my mother. Her sunken eye's, her pale grey skin, the way she was struggling to smile while her eye's screamed with the agony spreading through her body. I propped the photo's up on the window seal and turned to the final picture.
This one I had taken only three weeks ago. Me and Spencer Wright. We had been dating for nearly a year, until he had dumped me earlier that morning.
"Look Jaimee, you know I love you and all, but I can't be dating a poor person. Just think of what the guys will say if they knew. There's someone out there who is right for you, but it just isn't me. You understand, right?"
Even though he was a shallow guy, I couldn't help but feel my eye's water as I remembered our conversation.
I composed myself just as my Dad walked in with my guitar in his hand.
"Where do you want it Jaimee?" he asked, glancing around the room. Silently I took it from him and waited for him to leave.
Sometimes life sucks.