Chapter 1: I Was That Little Kid Being Told That Vacation Was Canceled | My Little Girl
I smiled down at my phone before looking back up at the mirror in front of me and smoothing down my hair one more time. I had just finished blowing out my hair and all that was left to do was to wait for Karly to finish taking her shower.
“Perfect,” I whispered to myself after one more once-over.
Class started at nine so I was going to be early once more.
I walked out of the shared room Karly and I used and scurried over to the bathroom where I could still hear the shower running... exactly like always.
“Karly, hurry!” I called while knocking on the door.
I waited for a moment until I heard her yell something from the other side of the door. I wasn’t quite sure what exactly she said but I knew that it was something in between the lines of “Go without me”.
“Are you sure?!” I called once more.
“Yeah! Buy me some coffee on the way there!” Karly screamed back through the sound of the running water.
“Okay!” I responded as I rolled my eyes.
I told her to go to bed early last night but she was too busy watching the newest episode of her favorite Investigation Discovery show. I didn’t really know at what time she had decided to go bed. All I knew was that at some point in the middle of the night I had heard her shuffling into bed without even so much as changing into her pajamas since all I saw when I woke up in the morning was one of her jean-clad legs sticking out from under her comforter.
We had two weeks left before semester finals so I had spent the entire afternoon, yesterday, studying while thinking about how exciting Christmas was going to be this year. I had everything planned for the Holidays.
My mom and I were going to have so much fun this year.
I was sure of it.
I left the dorm Karly and I shared with our roommates: Gloria and Brandi. They were almost never there since Gloria spent her days in the library while Brandi was off doing God-knows-what with all of the people from the millions of clubs she had joined the minute she started university. They were cool the few times we actually crossed paths.
I always ended up doing the morning run to the Starbucks on campus on my own since Karly was always late... always. Whether she needed to shower, do her makeup, or quickly finish an essay she was supposed to have done days ago... she always had a way of being late. But I guess I couldn’t complain, Karly balanced me out like no one else could.
I checked the time once more and once more I was doing perfect timing. Since I knew I would reach class earlier than usual I decided to waste some time by calling my mom. I usually called her at night but since I knew for a fact that Karly was not going to get to class until the last minute and I spoke to no one in English class, I had the perfect opportunity.
As I waited for my mom to answer the phone, I prepared myself for the pang of homesickness that was going to come as soon as she answered the phone. I missed her so much. Going to an out of state school had been a difficult decision on my mom and on me... we were all each other had throughout the years, after all. She had worked her ass off to make sure I was raised to be a responsible human being that would be a good adult when the time came. My father had never been in my life before and to be honest, I never felt like I missed out on a parent since my mom was just so good with everything. Well, I did have to give credit where credit was due.
I did know my father.
Technically, the checks that came in the mail each month addressed to my mother and myself, had come to be my makeshift ‘father’ for the entirety of my childhood and teenage years. Mother never used any of that money for anything other than my college fund. She was a hard worker. I had a lot to thank her for, one of which was the ability to buy Starbucks every day without going completely broke like some of my friends
I waited for a few seconds... and nothing.
She didn’t answer.
I bit my lip and dialed her number once more.
Still no answer.
That wasn’t normal.
My mom always answered her phone. Even when she was at work she always answered no matter what.
I spent the next fifteen minutes calling her but she never answered. I shook my head and instead walked into class since I wanted to be on time. When Karly walked in I sent her a text and told her to call me when she could.
It was just so strange.
I tried again after I finished all my classes but still nothing.
I sent her a text reminding her of me coming come for holiday break in hopes that she would send me something back but I went to bed at eleven at night and she still never responded.
My anxiety was flaring up a bit and I could tell Karly had noticed because she had thrown a bar of chocolate at my head and told me to relax.
I put on my best smile and watched some Netflix with her just to assure her that I was okay but it didn’t help at all. And of course Karly wasn’t fooled even for a second but she had thankfully not pushed me on the topic because I reminded her of the report that we both had due in our mandatory science class in two days.
The next morning when I woke up, I finally got a response text from her.
I sat up quickly, almost slamming my head right on top of the ceiling since I had the top bunk in our room. It was close to six in the morning and I rushed to open her text as quickly as my fingers could manage.
“You can’t come home... what?” I questioned out loud in complete and utter, confusion.
What does she mean I can’t come home? I had everything planned.
Christmas cookies, movies, and hot chocolate... a trip to that park that they always filled with Christmas lights... I had been looking forward to spending the holidays with her from the minute she dropped me off at my dorm and now she was telling me that I couldn’t come home?
I sighed momentarily trying to come up with every scenario under the sun to attempt to understand the situation, before dialing her number.
It rang and rang and nothing...
I knew it was beyond early but I needed answers now.
After four calls she finally answered.
I closed my eyes and sighed in relief... finally.
“Mom? Mom, I got your text, what do you mean I can’t come home-” I began to say.
“Sweetheart,” she interrupted me in a whisper.
My thoughts froze for a moment because of her tone, “What’s wrong? Are you okay? Why does-”
“Y- you can’t come home this break... I’m sorry. We have a horrible pest problem right now. The house is quarantined.”
At least I knew that she was okay and nothing was as bad as I had convinced myself it was yesterday.
But it didn’t matter, we could still go to a hotel and do everything I had planned except maybe the cooking.
“Mom, that’s okay. We could go to a hotel and we could spend-”
My mom chuckled weirdly... it was a mix of concern and humor that I couldn’t quite place.
“Sweetheart, I can’t. My boss booked me for an upcoming trip overseas. They need an engineer there and my boss assigned me to the job,” My mom sighed.
I bit my lip in disappointment.
“But... so close to Christmas?” I asked... damn, even I could hear the sadness in my own voice. It was like I was that little kid being told that vacation was canceled.
“Oh... well, I’m really sad about not spending time with you, I was... looking forward to it-” I tried to tell her.
“Sweetheart, I have to go. I’ll call you later.”
With those parting words, she hung up.
I looked down at my phone in shock.
My mom never hung up the phone on me.
“Is that what you wanted?! She’s upset! What more do you fucking want?!” I screamed at them through my tears while throwing my phone down to the ground. I breathed a sigh of relief when the gun was finally lowered from my temple... as soon as it was though I could only register one thing.
My little girl.
My little girl was sad...
This was the first Christmas that we were going to be separated.
And for what?
For these assholes?!
One of the cruel bastards smirked, “You did well... one more phone call and maybe we’ll let you go. How does that sound?”
“Why are you doing this?!” I asked them for what seemed like the millionth time. Not that it even mattered. They never answered my questions anyway. But that didn’t mean that my damn head didn’t cycle through them every five seconds. Mainly the most important.
Why was this happening?
I... I just didn’t understand it.
Any of it.
“Don’t worry about it. There is nothing that you need to know, just be a good mommy and you might get to see your little girl one day,” The evil bastard that had held the gun to my head, chuckled.