She was quite young when the accident happened, only 6 or 7 years old. Her parents, the famous media moguls, were conducting some out of town business when they were killed in a horrible car accident. Their small car was hit by a drunk driver in an SUV. Lillian could still remember her nanny coming in to wake her with the news. She later learned all the details as a teenager by searching the local library for newspaper articles related to the accident. Her parents had been returning from an evening lecture where they'd been presenting information on how to garner the newest market. They had stayed afterward to answer questions and chat with old friends. When they left to return to their hotel there was no traffic on the streets. About a block from their hotel, a drunk driver ran a red light and drove straight into the driver's side door, instantly killing her father. The speed at which the SUV traveled forced their car into a telephone pole. Her mother had been rushed to the nearest hospital but there was too much internal damage for her to survive.
The next day Lillian was officially a ward of the state. Besides her now deceased parents, she had no other relatives to speak of: her grandparents had already passed away and neither of her parents had any siblings. Lillian would receive a sizeable amount of money from insurance claims and lawsuits against the other driver but her parents had already dictated in their living wills that none of her inheritance would be available until her 18th birthday. In her research of the accident, Lillian found that all of the articles made little mention of her. This was another thing dictated in her parents' wills: that their daughter was to be kept out of the eyes of the public. Her parents' lawyer was to act in her best interests and find the appropriate foster parents to care for her. It was important that the family she lived with was not only interested in stealing her fortune. Mr. and Mrs. Johansson were finally selected after the proper background checks were completed. Lillian came to love them as she'd loved her own parents. They had already had several foster children come through their home but they were always open to more.
When Lillian turned 18 years old, she was legally adopted by the Johanssons. She left their house to attend community college and live with several of her close friends from high school. Very little mention was made to her of her birth parents. She had been using Johansson as a last name since the beginning of high school so very few of her friends were aware of who she really was. Even fewer knew of the inheritance she received. Lillian still acted like a normal teenage, keeping a part-time job while studying at community college, and she was very smart with her money. Through her parents' lawyer, she was connected with a banker who handled her investments. Together, they set up a system for supplementing her regular income which could only be utilized for well-deserving purposes such as rent, groceries, or car payments. Lillian desired to be thought of just like everyone else. The Johanssons gave no special treatment in raising her. Whenever she entered a new grade in junior high or high school, the teachers were informed of her situation and advised to keep their mouths shut. Were it not for the memories she had, or the horrible nightmares that occasionally assaulted her sleep, Lillian might have forgotten what had been.
At the age of 18, Lillian and four of her closest friends pooled their money to rent a house less than a five-minute walk from the local community college. While Lillian's lawyer had informed her that the college fund her parents opened when she was born would more than pay for any college's tuition for at least 5 years, Lillian decided to stay close to the Johanssons and complete some general educations credits while picking her major. She had a mild interest in social work, and a part of her knew that would be a smart choice, but another part of her wanted to be an artist. Lillian still remembered the last Christmas before her parents were killed. They had always been sensible with the gifts they gave her. They wanted things that would teach her new skills, not disproportioned Barbie dolls whose latest accessory was pregnancy and a diaper bag. Lillian often received books or tools she could use to make things. That last Christmas, her parents presented her with an elaborate drawing kit. It came with colored pencils, charcoal pencils, felt tipped pens, calligraphy pens, chalks, paper, and anything else she could possibly need to let her imagination unleash itself on a blank page. They instructed her to first practice with the physical everyday objects that she could see and touch. A few weeks later, any and all of the small and large items in the house had been sketched. Next, they told her to move into the pictures that her imagination created. Soon Lillian had mastered the skill of transferring the mystical images of her mind onto paper. She took pleasure in lying on the couch for hours imaging entire scenes in her head before daring to sketch them on paper. Any new piece of artwork was proudly displayed on their refrigerator before being put into a file cabinet. After her parents' death, Lillian was even more enthralled by sketching and continued to be so for many years. Upon her entrance to college, she did found it a welcome distraction from the tedium of homework.
And that was how she sat now, the Saturday before finals week, sketching a fruit bat devouring a grape. In truth, she had never seen a fruit bat in person, let alone a fruit bat eating a grape, but she could imagine it happening. The calculus studying could wait. Her final wasn't until Wednesday anyway, she just thought she might get an early start. Her psychology final had been scheduled for Monday, but the teacher had decided a take home exam would be the best measure of the education they'd received from the past 16 weeks of classes. Lillian had been able to finish most of the exam during the last class and the few questions remaining just needed better support from the textbook. Her keyboard technique class was meeting to perform the pieces they'd learned over the semester. Lillian had just taken the class to remain a full-time student but eventually found the class helpful with her computer keyboard skills. Their performance class was also being held on Wednesday. She had reserved one of the practice rooms for about an hour on Tuesday figuring that would be enough time to perfect her piece. And so, with everything seeming to be planned out well, Lillian sat at her desk, sketchbook open, favourite pencil in hand, dreaming of her fruit bat. Her sketch had begun with a bunch of juice grapes. Next was the head of the bat biting a grape. She drew the outstretched wings, skillfully shading them in all the right places. She finished the sketch and sat back to admire what seemed to be motion in the bats' wings.