17 years later
I stare out the window as my dad drives us to yet another town, with yet another new name. Now I am Violet Smith with brown hair, hazel eyes, and glasses of course. I can’t say I am shocked to be moving again and receive a new name. This move is kind of my fault after all. I had decided to sneak out and try to go to a party with some friends from my school. I made it out of the house successfully but my dad must have been doing one of his checks on me and noticed I wasn’t in bed. He was waiting in the kitchen for me when I got back at 3 in the morning.
We pass the Welcome to Dragconia, population 1,088, guess they will need a new sign. Why did they pick such a small town? Normally they go to bigger cities so we go unnoticed easier. Guess that means we won’t be here long. I rest my head against the window and watch as we drive through a forest getting pelted with heavy rain.
When we come to a stop I look up to see that we are parked in front of what looks to be a store with a sold sign on the window. Dad walks around and opens Mom and I’s door. We have a red crossover so our suitcases fit and it’s roomy enough to be comfortable. He then moves to open the boot to grab our stuff out. I put my sunglasses on, because I forgot to put my contacts in, and move to help him while my mom sees the realtor with the keys. We move to the trunk to grab some of our suitcases, I have two but Mom has three and Dad only has one and a small carry on. With my two suitcases and backpack on I make my way to Mom while Dad moves their bags onto the sidewalk. “Would you guys like me to show you around the place?” The realtor asks with a big smile on her face. She looks over at me and sends me a big smile that I find creepy and move behind my dad. She frowns at the movement but then turns back to Mom. While she isn’t looking at me I take in her appearance. She has fake curls in her blonde hair with a pencil skirt and blazer on, to top the whole professional look off she has black pumps covering her feet.
“No thank you, I think we have it,” Mom says, sticking her hand out for the keys. The realtor’s smile drops for a second before handing the keys over with her card saying if we need anything to give her a jingling. I am going to guess and say that means a phone call. Mom and Dad smile at her telling her thank you again before she walks over to a fancy truck on the side of the road. “I thought this would be a fun project for us. A nice little bookstore, we should be getting shipments of new books coming next week so we can clean everything while we wait.” Mom says as she opens the squeaky door. “William, can you fix that sound and maybe add a cute little bell on the door?” She asks Dad, he smiles at her and nods. I walk in behind Mom and see the tall bookshelves, the wall bookshelves even have those moving ladders on them. Of course, all the shelves are empty but it still has the scent of books in the air. The bookshelves are cherry wood with a nice covering of dust all over them. The floors are a light gray laminate, there is a display window to the right as you walk in and then the cash register next to it.
“Where are we supposed to sleep?” I ask Dad quietly.
“I believe in the back is a staircase that leads up to the apartment. Let’s head up before your mom makes more requests tonight,” he says rushing ahead of me. I giggle and follow him trying to be as silent as possible so my mother who is staring at one of the taller bookshelves intently. I hope she doesn’t take the ladders out, I think they are cute. Dad was right at the back of the store is a door that says employees only. My dad and I quickly walked through the door but I didn’t realize it was a swinging door and it came back and hit me in the butt, I released a small yelp making my dad laugh at my expense. To the left is a little nook with a desk and chair than to the right is the staircase. Straight from the swinging door is another door but this one has a screen in it. Dad looks at the door then at me and shrugs his shoulders. He sets the bags down and goes to open the door. I follow suit setting my stuff down and out the door. The door leads to a two-car driveway with a small, raised, garden. The small yard has a paper birch tree next to the garden with a white picket fence around the yard. “I did not know this place had a garden, your mom is going to be thrilled. I will take these up then move the car,” Dad says before turning around to go upstairs.
Just as I turn around I hear a small whimper come from over by the tree. However, with the receding sun, I can’t see what it is that made the sound. Slowly, I make my way over to behind the tree. In the fence is a cute little puppy stuck in the fence. My heart breaks a little seeing it like that, making quick work I get it out of the fence and pick it up. It’s a boy, not sure what kind of dog he is, but he is very fluffy and has floppy ears. The puppy and I make eye contact and I just know I can’t leave this little guy out here. He has two different eye colors. One is an ocean blue color while the other one is white. If he doesn’t have a home I am sure I can keep him.
When I finally make it upstairs with my suitcases and puppy in hand, my dad is on the landline. Probably ordering food. They must have made arrangements for it to be furnished before we got here. The apartment is small but fine for our small family. The living and dining room are the same room, I don’t mean like an open floor plan I mean the small four-seater table is a foot from the back of the gray couch. I make my way to one of the doors that is off of the living room and see it’s the bathroom. It oddly has three doors. That’s odd why there would be three doors in a bathroom, I wonder. One opens up into the living room so maybe one is a closet and the other bedroom. Nope, they both open up bedrooms. At least there are locks on the door, I go to the bedroom that looks smaller and set my stuff down. The room has a cute window seat and maybe a full-sized bed. I think it’s too small to be a queen, the frame on it is black metal. Covering the bed is a plain white comforter but with a pastel, blue, throw blanket and the pillows are pastel pink and blue. There are three doors here as well. The ceiling is slanted but I don’t have to duck at all. Times like this I am glad I am short, only 5'4. Next to the main door is a white desk with an old fashioned lamp sitting on it. Next to the desk is a short white empty bookshelf. I open up the other door and see a closet half full. I sigh and put my suitcases inside, deciding I will unpack tomorrow. I look at the clothes and notice there are very few sweatpants or leggings. I cringe seeing it, my mom most certainly picked this stuff out. I set the puppy on the floor and left to go get him some water. He is quick to follow me out of the room and into the narrow kitchen. I grab a glass bowl that Mom likes to put leftovers in and fill it with water. I watch as he quickly drinks it up.
“Food will be here in a half-hour. Violet, why is there a puppy in our kitchen?” Dad asks bending down to pet him.
“I found him stuck in the gate. Do you think if we can’t find his owner we can keep him?” I plead with him.
“I would love to have a dog, it’s your mom you have to convince here.” He pauses looking into the puppy’s eyes. “Huh, we should probably take him to a vet and make sure he’s healthy either way.” I smile knowing we are keeping him if the owner doesn’t show up. “They can also check to see if he’s chipped.”
Mom walks in at that exact moment. “See if what is chipped?” she asks then looks to see what dad is petting. “Violet, where in the world did you find this cute little guy?”
Dad answers for me, “She found him stuck in the fence out back.”
Mom looks at me then at Dad and the puppy. “Yes, we can keep him but only if his owner doesn’t show up and he will have to be properly trained.” I smile and hug her saying thank you multiple times. She laughs and asks Dad if he has ordered something for dinner yet. “What is he supposed to eat tonight?” Mom questions, “Violet, there was a pet store about three business over from ours, it’s only six they might still be open. Remember to put your contacts in before you leave and grab an umbrella!” She goes to her purse and grabs out a couple of bills. “Take the puppy with you and get him what he might need until we find his owner.” she pauses for a second, “Neither of you name it yet, I don’t want broken hearts when the owner shows up to take it.” Dad pouts when she says this.
I take the bills and put them into my wallet before going to the bathroom to put the colored contacts in. I then pick up the puppy and walk outside and onto the sidewalk with my umbrella in the other hand. I see the pet shop Mom was talking about two shops down from ours on the right. On the door shows their hours showcasing that I’ve just made it. A girl behind the counter looks up from her phone when I walk in. “Hi, welcome to Bailey’s Pet Shop. If there is anything I can help you with just let me know.” She says smiling at me.
“I need some puppy things. I found this little guy stuck in our fence and we need things until we find its owner.” I say looking down at the ball of fur in my hands.
“That’s awfully sweet of you. So, you’ll need a collar, a leash, food, and I would suggest giving it a bath in case he has fleas. Don’t want those things in your house. Do you want to get him food and water dishes?” She asks walking to where the collars and leashes are. I just nod my head when she looks at me. “This looks about his size,” Laliha, I read on her nametag, says while putting it around his neck. It fits perfectly so she takes the price tag off then grabs the matching leash. “Do you like this color for him?” It’s blue with little white bones on it, I nod my head. She smiles and clips the leash on him. I smile and take the leash from her and put him on the floor. He tries to bite the leash and then trips over it, causing me to smile softly. We walk over to the dog food, she grabs a small bag of dried puppy food. Then leads me over to the dishes. I pick out a white ceramic set that has little black paws on it. Laliah then grabs a small bottle of flea shampoo. Once we are checked out I hand her the cash and make the short walk back to the bookstore. The pizza delivery man pulls up as I get there. My dad comes out with his wallet ready. He must have been watching for him.
Once we make it upstairs I quickly put a little food and water into each bowl. Before grabbing a plate for the pizza. When we are all seated around the table my parents start up a conversation. “You, of course, won’t be starting school here." I try to hide my reaction but inwardly cringe at the idea of her teaching me. "I need to order your school books and both of us a new laptop. While I order everything for the store and for your schooling, why don’t you two take the pup to the vet and see if there is anything wrong.” Mom tells us, I sigh but nod my head in understanding.
The following morning when I got up I noticed my dad had dyed his hair to look more grey and shaved his beard that he grew out last time. He also put in blue contacts and put reading glasses on his head. He’s still in his pajamas, a pair of plaid pants, and a plain white t-shirt. He’s very tall, I think around six feet, and has a little muscle from working out. His fake name is William Smith, they are so creative with these names. When he comes into the kitchen where I am at eating a bowl of cereal he bends down and kisses the top of my head. “Good morning, sweetheart,” he greets me as he grabs a bowl for cereal as well. “I called a vet last night when you were washing him. They are able to get him in at eleven today, so we have a few hours before we need to leave.” I look over at the stove and see it’s seven in the morning. He pours himself a bowl of raisin bran. I make a face when I see that. He laughs at me but adds the milk anyway. “Your mom’s in the office ordering herself a shit ton of stuff.” he pauses and takes a deep breath. “She’s going to make us go broke before we open this store up I think.” I laugh and agree with him. She loves to shop, she does all of our shopping for us. She even does all of the shopping for our clothes.
I finish my bowl of sugary cereal, “I’m going to finish unpacking my suitcases while we wait and get dressed.” I head back to my room and leave the puppy in the kitchen with my dad. I take my suitcases back out of my closet and lay it on the floor. I carefully unzip it and start pulling t-shirts out first to hang up. I put them on the top rack next to the other t-shirts. Once I am done unpacking I look outside my window to see it’s raining and decide what to wear. I decided to wear a tan plaid skirt, a long, black, blouse, stockings, and boots. I go into the bathroom and pull my hair into a messy ponytail. I then put in my hazel colored contacts then the fake, round, glasses. I then exit the bathroom and look at the alarm clock on the nightstand. It’s 10:32, I grab the puppy’s leash that I hung on my bed and leave my room. My dad is sitting on the couch reading the newspaper with the puppy laying next to him. His fluffy little head is resting on his lap.
He looks up and smiles, “you may want to grab your raincoat.” He reminds me, I quickly go back into my closet and grab my long, black, raincoat. When I come back he has the puppy’s leash on and his raincoat. “We are all ready,” he tells me smiling. He hands me the puppy and starts to walk to the staircase. He opens the door for us and we walk down the stairs. “Make a mad dash to the car?” He jokes as we step out into the rain.