"Gracelyn?" He asks. I stand up and nod. "I'm Andras. I didn't know Rachel had a child." He admits. Neither did she half the time.
"I didn't know she had a brother." I shrug. He sighs looking a bit sad at that.
"Well we know about eachother now." He nods firmly and turns to Torrez. "Thank you officer Torrez for bringing her. I appreciate it." He says offering a handshake. Torrez is very eager to take it and even blushes. What the...? "If you follow Richard he will show you out." Richard appears out of nowhere and corrals Torrez out of the room like a sheep.
"So... come with me, I'll give you the tour." Andras leads and I follow. I map out the place and try to take in all the cameras and exits. I see people milling about the yard looking too stiff to be out for a walk. I file that away too. If im not careful my brain files are going to explode out my ears.
This entire house is so clean and white and expensive I feel like a piece of mud messing it up. I am in awe of it all its like walking through a museum. Im afraid to touch anything
"You look like you're in shock." He chuckles.
"Ya... im not used to this." I admit. "It feels like im walking around in a magazine." He chuckles again.
"I'll take that as a compliment."
"I meant it as one." I rush to assure him. Great job grace, insult the guy! "Do I have an aunt or cousins?" I ask suddenly. The idea slamming into me like a brick.
"No. Im afraid my work has always been in the forefront. I never really settled down." He confesses. I nod my understanding.
"Officer Torrez said you were a lawyer?" I ask.
"Um... yes. I am. How much do you know about criminal law?" He asks. Oooh... too much.
"Im seventeen. Probably not as much as you." I evade. He smirks down at me but I see that calculating look again. Shit. "Ok, lets cut the shit." I say halting our progress down a hall full of more scribble art. I watch his smirk spread into a grin.
"I didn't like my parents. They didn't like me. I've been living on the streets for two years because it was safer than at home." I say a bit shortly. "Now you." His eyes are hard but he nods.
"Im a criminal lawyer. I defend lowlives for a living. Mostly high profile cases." He admits. I nod and he continues. "Rachel was a mess last time I saw her. That was twenty years ago." I nod.
"I assume im going to a new school?" I ask.
"Yes. I have my assistant enrolling you now. He will be back within the hour with your uniform." He grins at the face i must be pulling.
"Uniform?" I ask.
"Afraid so. Its a good school. Snobby though so you may end up liking the uniforms after all."
"Great." I mutter. "Oh well. At least I'll get into a better college." I say more to assure myself than him.
"College? I thought you were on your own." He says brows pulling down in confusion.
"Im good at school. Im not going to get anywhere without it so I made it a priority. I've been applying for scholarships." I shrug. He beams proudly at me.
"Good. Thats a good way to think." He commends guiding me down another hall and into a room. I almost pass out.
Its all lavender and cream with matching furniture and needless pillows. Again, like a magazine. HGTV eat your heart out!
And its huge. Its got a couch and a bed. Rich people man, I tell you. Andras shows me to a private bathroom through a door off to the side. Its huge too.
All white tiles and lavender accents. The bathroom matches the bedroom. What the hell? He starts laughing at me.
"You look almost disgusted." He laughs.
"Not disgusted... bewildered." I admit.
"What is bewildering you?" He asks still smiling.
"Its just a big change. Why is there a couch and a bed? Why are there so many pillows? Why does the bed have curtains?" I ask causing him to laugh harder and wave at me to stop. "You laugh but im serious!" I grin at his red face. We both turn at a knock on the door.
A handsome man in his early twenties in a grey suit and black framed glasses stands in the door looking a bit scared. I raise an eyebrow at Andras who straightens and puts a professional stoic mask on.
"Ah, Christian, this is my neice, Gracelyn." Andras says stiffly. I cant help the smirk that crosses my face. I step forward so Andras can't see it.
"Its Grace. Nice to meet you." I say offering a handshake. He takes it in his large calloused hands and his coffee brown eyes widen a fraction as I shake his hand. I notice the edge of black ink under his shirt collar. File that away.
"Nice to meet you too. I assume these are for you then." He says handing a dry cleaning bag.
"Oh, thank you." I smile taking them from him and set them in the closet which is also huge. I shake my head as I hang it up.
"Whats wrong with the closet?" Christian asks.
"Nothing. Im just waay out of my comfort zone here, thats all." I shrug. He nods with a gentle smile. He turns to Andras with a hard look that completely changes his face. He looked so cute with his dark hair flopping in his eyes. Now he looks likes ready to kill someone if Andras says so. Another little something for my file. Also, on an unrelated note kind of hot.
"Anything else sir?" He asks.
"No Christian that will be all. Have a good evening." Andras nods firmly. Christian nods and turns to leave with a smirk to me before closing the door. Oh my damn. I hope I don't have to spend much time with him I may not make it.
"So, I take it you don't have much with you?" Andras asks back to his normal self. Or at least what he was like before Christian came in.
"I have my bag." I shrug.
"Ok. Then you'll need clothes and a school bag." He looks me over. "New shoes and a jacket. Oh hell, I might as well just get someone to help." He says exasperated by the monumental task of making me presentable.
"I'll be fine." I say harshly. I see the realization cross his face.
"Im sorry. I wasn't thinking. I just meant that you deserve nice things. And you need new shoes and a jacket. Your shoes are covered in duct tape." He winces.
"Ok. You have a point about the shoes. But im not taking your money. God knows I already feel like a charity case here." I mutter.
"Youre not. You're family. Oh god! Mom and Dad!" He shouts raking his hands through his hair. "Theyre going to kill me if I dont tell them about you! They've been bugging me for years for grandkids!" He cries.
"I have grandparents?" I blurt making him laugh.
"Oh ya! I'll invite them over for dinner tomorrow." He smiles. "Ok! Lets go get you some clothes and we'll go out for dinner. Sound good?" Apparently im being ignored about the whole clothing thing. I sigh but follow him out to a black challenger. I want to steal it.
We make it to the guard station where the guard who took my fake ID grins at me but opens the gate without a word.
"Whats with Greg?" Andras asks.
"Oh I had to show him my ID. All I have is fake ID." I shrug.
"We will fix that too. When is your birthday?"
"May 9th. Yours?"
"June 5th. We'll have to celebrate yours soon then huh?" He smiles. "I should probably call in the big guns. Im probably not the best person to be shopping for women's clothing." He admits pressing a button on the steering wheel. The car speakers start ringing until a female voice answers.
"What do you want andras?" She demands distractedly.
"I have a job for you."
"No." She says firmly.
"Come on please?" Andras begs.
"No, the last job you had was breaking up a bad date. That bitch followed me home!" She cries as I try to hold in a laugh.
"This one is simple and you'll like it. It involves shopping." He grins.
"Im listening." She says cautiously.
"My niece is living with me and needs clothes. We both know I am not the right person to do that with her." He taunts.
"Well of course not. Be at the shop in fifteen." She says before hanging up.
"My best friend, Emily." He says with a soft smile.
We park the car and he leads me to a store that is so far from Walmart and salvation army its not even funny. I am so out of place here. I see a couple women look at me and Andras and start whispering to eachother. I hate feeling this uncomfortable and unsure. I raise my chin and walk proudly like I would anywhere else. Own your shit Grace. You have nothing to be ashamed of. I can practically hear Ray in my ear. "Come on little mama, you got this."
Andras stops at the makeup counter in front of a tall curvy blonde in a blue bodycon dress and coughs loudly.
"Shut up Andras. I'll be with you in a minute." She says waving him off not even turning around. He chuckles.
"Grace this is my best friend Emily." He says anyway. With that she whirls around and blinds me with a dazzling smile.
"Oh my god you're real!" She squeals hurrying around the counter and bringing me into a hug. Im quickly held away from her and surveyed. "So, what are we doing today?" I shrug.
"She needs new everything." Andras says I frown at him but he ignores me.
"Thats ok. Let's leave him and get to know eachother. I'll tell you all the embarrassing stories." Emily whispers as she leads me through the store.
Emily is a shopaholic. I have new everything and then some. Who needs five pairs of shoes? Apparently i do. I also have three jackets because why not? I mean I also have several bras that fit me and aren't trying to kill me with the underwire. So thats a perk.
Im in a new outfit of black jeans, a loose grey tank and a sleek leather jacket by the time we leave. I tie up my hair in a tumbling ponytail and call it the twilight zone. I look so different. Clothes that actually fit, theyre clean, don't have holes. I take a deep breath and make sure my tattoo on the back of my neck is covered by my jacket and store my knives in my combat boots and jacket. Im going to have to sew in sheaths to all these pants.
Im greeted by a beaming Emily and Andras which causes me to step back a bit.
"Come on, Grace, i promised food." Andras says leading me to the car. I say goodbye and thank Emily before following. It was really nice of her to do.