We never really grow up to be quite the person our parents want us to be. Do we?
Life was built on a fragile foundation, quietly biding its time for just the right moment to crumble around us.
At least that had been my perception. I mean, don’t take my word for it. I’d only been navigating this world for 19 years. My life in the past year had taken a drastic turn. Gone was that girl who would never take chances because her parents said it was too scary. Last year, I had a single lapse in judgment and the overreaction from my father made me realize I needed to step out of my comfort zone and live my own life.
I had one tiny act of rebellion and my father had a melt down threatening to move us to another country. Just to get me away from what my father called a wayward best friend that will only take me down the path that leads to trouble. My best friend Raine was loud and opinionated, but there was no real follow through when she threatened chaos. He just hated that she released my rebellious streak.
My first mistake or lapse in judgment? I did the typical college thing and went to a party with my friends. I eagerly caved from peer pressure and had my very first alcoholic drink. Making promises I can’t keep isn’t usually my style, but to perfectly honest, I wasn’t entirely listening when I promised my parents I wouldn’t drink at parties. They are paranoid by nature and all I could think about was sweet independence.
I won’t lie, drinking was great.
Until it wasn’t.
Mistake number two? Posting the evidence. According to my friends, being invited to an exclusive party meant you must post pictures. Under the influence, it seemed innocuous. It was only a picture of me and Raine, smiling at the camera.
Twenty minutes later, my father called me in utter outrage. The liquor turned to ice in my veins. My father had never yelled at me. Not once in my entire life. He demanded that I take the picture off of my new social media page. A site I wasn’t even supposed to have. Maybe I was projecting, but I was fairly certain I could hear the fear in his quivering voice as he spent most of the fifteen minute call laying down his law.
It took weeks for both me and my mother to convince him that nothing bad would happen. I promised to take down my social site and to stay focused on my studies.
And I had. But I also decided to nourish the tiny seed that had been growing in my mind since I was a little girl.
I’d always wanted to venture out and see the world. My parents have always been against it.
Shit. Why was I having flash backs of last year? Well, I knew why. It’s because this time Raine and I were going to get caught in our little ruse.
My heart jackrabbits in my chest. I turned quickly to squat behind a brick building. Raine was just a few steps behind me, out of breath from running and cackling like a lunatic.
Adrenaline surged through me, twisting my stomach in knots while a dozen scenarios played out in head. If I got kicked out of college, my parents would drag me back to their house and never trust me again.
“Keep it down. You’re going to get us caught.” Giving Raine a chastised look, I tugged her further behind the wall. She collapsed on her knees and leaned against the building while catching her breath.
“Shit, shit, shit.”
Raine cocked her head and lifted a pierced eyebrow as I continued to mutter explicits under my breath.
“We need to figure out a way to distract them, Callie,” she murmured.
Yeah, no shit. I’m just waiting for my brain to formulate a plan for us to escape.
“I’ve got nothing,” I admitted, yanking the blonde wig off my head.
“I don’t understand why you snatched the money from the guy and ran. You should have just let me punch him in the throat.”
If I weren’t in the middle of removing the brown contact lenses from my eye, I would have rolled them at the pissiness in Raine’s tone.
“It would have turned into an all-out brawl at that stupid house party. That guy had been goading you on all night, Rai. I think he wanted you to hit him. He was drunk and definitely wanted a fight and believe me, we would have kicked his ass, but his friends probably would have jumped in on it too.” I finished cramming the wig and contacts into my black backpack and slung the straps on my shoulders.
“And the last time I checked... five is more than two. We would have gotten seriously hurt, even if I am a trained fighter. Running was the best option. Unfortunately, it doesn’t help that they are loitering near the entrance of our dorms.”
I clutched my face in my hands and groaned. Yup, locked away in some far away tower playing video games and bonding with my parents. That was what my future would look like when I got caught for this shit.
You might be wondering how we got ourselves into this predicament. Well, it all circled back to me living more independently and not in fear, like my parents.
Seven months ago, I stood up to my parents and demanded they allow me to have a job while still going to college full time. Ha. I haven’t lost my mind. I did, however, ask nicely for some financial independence, explained that I wanted to learn the true value of a dollar. Mother bought it. My father, of course, did not. The man does not trust easily.
He argued with me for days about it. And since my parents were paying my tuition, I needed them to agree.
I had already set my trap. Mother was onboard and when she realized I wouldn’t budge against my father’s haughty attitude, she swayed him for me. Finally, he gave me his stamp of approval and a whole spiel about how I shouldn’t let it affect my schooling.
Of course, I had no intentions on alerting my parents to the real reason I wanted a job. For what I had planned, I needed to make my own money because using their crypto currencies wasn’t an option.
If I got yelled at for posting a picture online, my father would lose his ever loving mind if he knew I was traveling outside of the country.
It started off small, the traveling.
I went with some friends on a quick road trip to a city six hours from here. It felt like I was on an adrenaline high the entire time. I thought my father was going to show up any second and drag me back home. He never found out. So twice a month I’d take the tips I’d earned from being a server and travel to different cities, alone. I couldn’t risk getting caught because my friends found every moment post worthy.
My parents had no clue. I bought a whole new cellphone, in case Mr. paranoid was tracking me that way. Then I took it one step further. I bought a passport and traveled to Europe. Hopped on a commercial jet to Spain and saw firsthand the flying buses zipping through the sky. The cars hovered above the ground, no tires. Even the air smelled different. Cleaner somehow. Instantly, I was hooked! It was the most bizarre thing I’d ever seen in my life. I could only stay for two days. It depleted my travel funds, but it was so worth it.
But the thing is waitress tips alone aren’t enough to fund my travels. So I learned Raine is very skilled at manipulating guys, and I had the skills to perform a simple hat trick in darts. Which means three bullseye in a row and so the con was born into fruition. The amount of money we make from these swindling dart games was ridiculous and so easy it’s hard to stop.
We wore disguises and hit up different house parties and bars near the campus of our college. It had been going relatively smoothly for the last six months. Until today, I meant.
“Alright, here is what I’m thinking... It’s dark out and besides the lamppost illuminating the sidewalks, if we stick to the shadows and crawl to the dumpster, then from there to the pony wall.” I pointed to the green and blue stone wall near the entrance of the dormitory building. “The wall is just tall enough for us to crouch down and run behind the building and use the back entrance. It’s risky, but it’s the best idea I’ve got. That or we return the eighteen hundred dollars.”
“Hell no. We conned that banknote fair and square.” Rai scoffed. “We need a new plan. These are not crawling clothes.” Raine pointed to her short denim skirt.
“If you hadn’t left your backpack with our change of clothes at the party, we could have casually walked through the door without the stupid frat boys spotting us.”
“Alright. Stop point fingers. Fine, I’ll crawl through the stupid wet grass in a skirt.” Raine made a whining sound in the back of her throat. She peaked around the corner to make sure the guys weren’t looking our way before she took the lead.