A/N: I'd just like to say how SORRY I am for the long wait. Updates will not take a year or so to arrive, I promise.
Thank you to all those who read the prologue, reviewed, favourite and alerted this story all on the prologue. Please accept virtual chocolate chip cookies :D
So, read, enjoy and review
The image stared back at me from the mirror with the same expression that I felt; fed up, exhausted and utterly bored out of my skull. Glancing to the clock on the wall I willed the time to hurry up. More importantly I silently willed my parents to hurry up and leave. They should have left more than ten minutes ago to go to some big important meeting about the business they owned, which left me pretty much alone for a good four days. A trip to the third planet; Fellops, is at least a day ride in the fastest ship. Two days is for the time it takes for them to 'rest' and then become up to date on the latest news.
I sighed at the inevitable sounds of my mother arguing with one of the maids about the 'appropriate' dress code she is required to wear. Bleh,was my opinion on appropriate. The only thing appropriate was for them to leave.
"Adelaide, me and your father will not be back for four days. Mary will do as you ask and please practice what we learnt last night!" My mother shouted up.
Rolling my eyes I walked over to the door, opened it and shouted back, "Yes mother! I will practice!" Anything to keep her happy, God if I ever got on the wrong side of her there'd be blood to pay.
My father's voice greeted my ears next in its booming tone, "Well will you not see your parents off then?"
"Coming," I chimed back as cheerfully as I could. All the time I had to put a show on for them, pretend like I'm royalty or of close relation to it. Quickly I glanced back to the mirror and checked my image. Rich looking dress, check. Neat and blonde tidy hair, check. Presentable in my mother's eyes, check.
Making my way down the hall I mentally ran through my wardrobe, picking out what I'm going to change into in the next twenty minutes. I'd gotten it down to; black cargo pants, a navy vest and my favourite leather brown jacket and brown boots, not the ones for show; the heavy weighted ones used for work, before my mothers arms wrapped around me as she kissed my cheek. "Remember Adelaide, be good and eat what you are given. We will see you again in four days."
"Goodbye mother," after hugging her I turned to my father, "goodbye father. I hope all goes well for you."
"Yes, well, it will do as it always does." Doing a mental roll with my eyes I smiled cheerfully to him. Oh, my black hooded jacket, I couldn't forget that for later. It was late Autumn, early Winter, so I needed to stay warm, especially if I didn't want to get ill. The question is, do I wear a hat? Yeah, definitely, especially if I was going to be lending a hand.
My head snapped back to the present only after the front door had slammed shut. "Finally," I muttered to myself as I flung myself back up the stairs and into my room. Throwing off the annoyingly itchy dress I scrambled into my desired outfit and picked up the baker boy hat and a bobble, tying up my hair as I held the hat in my mouth. I passed Mary on the way out, who only smiled and nodded at me in approval.
Bless her, she's at least forty and she looks after me as if I were her own. Her blonde hair is always tied up into a small neat bun and her uniform is always in check. She's a brilliant person and I refuse to call her my maid. I've talked to her and found out she has two children of her own who live in a small workers house just down the road from where I live. Her husband works as a farmer, bringing in the food and selling it. Her children help with the work.
I nod back to her, shrugging my shoulders to answer the question of 'What time will you be back?' I never do know until I actually get back. With a smile firmly planted on my face I zip up my jacket and pull the hood out and over the top of the leather jacket.
Stepping out into the icy chill of the wind I thanked whatever part of my brain told me to pick up the scarf that I quickly wrapped around my neck as I made a quick march towards the town square.
Passing working people in the workers houses I kept my head down. Not everyone was as nice to the Lapinsky family as Mary. The one time I tried to talk to another girl my age she pushed me away and her parents almost scolded me just for talking to her. It didn't help that the next person's father cocked a shotgun and warned me to stay away.
I hadn't said anything to my parents about those incidents. It wouldn't be right what they would do to them; after all it was my parents fault in the first place. Shaking my head to myself I picked up my pace and kept my eyes glued to the ground.
Keeping up my pace I jumped up the small flight of stairs that led into the main area of town, where the richer people shopped. The buildings were clean and shiny, bright with colours and expensive to buy; even the road looked as posh as the shops, with very little litter surrounding the area.
I hurried past everyone, my head still down. The last time somebody saw me that recognised me told my parents of the blasphemy that I was committing. Whatever. This time, I wasn't going to take any chances.
At the bakery my feet turned right and the lights dimmed slightly. The streets rolled with small pieces of rubbish that hadn't been placed into bins. More people mulled past dressed similarly as me. Not a lot, but still some. The familiar sight of the antique bookshop caught my eyes and I made a left. This was where the rich were separated from the poor. High class from middle and lower class.
Another set of four steps led down and I kicked at an empty rolling can. My eyes watched as it skittered across the floor and came to rolling stop next to this little kid. He had seen it, looked down at it and kicked it in return. A smile greeted me and I threw one back at him. This was where the kinder people lived.
Walking past him I looked up at his begging mother. My heart sank and my hand dug into my pockets. I found thirty coins and dropped fifteen of them into the small metal tin she was waving about. "Thank you," she happily called after me.
My lips twitched and I kept my head down. The wind brushed against my cheeks and I shuddered lightly at the touch. Fists formed in my pockets to try to keep the circulation going. Damnit, it was cold. Shops veered off to the right and this was where my feet took me, broken doors and windows lining the streets with dust and litter picking up in numbers here.
A hover car zoomed towards me and I pushed myself up against the nearest wall to avoid being pummelled. Some people just didn't have any respect these days. The gleaming shine that bounced off the black exterior shone more than necessary in this weather. How could that be possible if there wasn't any sun? Huh, I shrugged my shoulders and pushed on forward, finally reaching the garage.
Every time my eyes caught sight of it I knew that it brightened my face up. It had every right to. I almost skipped right up to the front door, just like every other time I've come here.
The heat pounded on my face, stinging the cold away and I inhaled the smell of grease, oil and altogether dirtiness that you wouldn't find in my house. It gets better every time and I rip my scarf away to slow the sweltering heat from baking me. The backroom beckoned me in, always cooler than the front of the shop. So I allowed it to drag my feet towards it and strip me down of my coat, scarf and my black jacket. The hat was placed on top of everything and I hitched on a rag in the waistband of my trousers and set foot back into the oven.
The desk, housed a few order sheets for what was needed on what vehicle. My finger grazed down the list to find one I knew I could do myself, a simple gravitational fix. 'Ha, easy'. I jogged along the small row of vehicles and stopped beside the one that was sat on the old car lift. After years of practice my eyes were able to pick up the problem almost immediately, so after grabbing a wrench, some field extrapolators and a screwdriver, my hands began their work.
It seemed like hours I was underneath there, tinkering away with the heat of the room pressing down on me, before the creeper I was on, was pulled out. As soon as I saw the culprit I gave him a mock glare, I almost banged my head because of him. "Hey Ad's," he sweet smiled me, grinning with a lop sided grin that always made me want to smile back.
I kept up the façade of angriness, "Hey Mark."
His frown only lasted for a second before he jumped at me and dragged me to my feet. I tried to protest, but he kept a firm grip, "Oh no. It's time you had a break. You've got four days to fix that heap of junk."
"That 'heap of junk' is what will keep you going," I pointed out to him, allowing him to drag me towards the backroom.
The door swung open, the cool air refreshing against the sweat on my neck. I barely heard his deep chuckle at the truth I threw at him. He literally forced me into an old wooden chair that strained threateningly underneath my weight. My hazel eyes trailed after him as he wondered over to the small fridge as he opened the door. Rolling my eyes I jumped out of my seat and sat myself on the more sturdy bench top that ran across the back of the room.
It was a cosy room, not too small to feel cramped with two people but not too big that it felt empty neither. Boxes stacked up in the far corner, towards the loading docks at the back door. Each box and crate was labelled with what parts were in it, all reorganised to Mark's liking. It was hard, from an outsiders perspective, knowing how he catalogued all of the stuff both inside the packages and on the item list. It took me a good eight months to properly become acquainted with the system.
Two larger boxes with a large metal, corrugated, aluminium bin sat on the other side of the room. This was where the broken bits of engines went, or broken tools to be taken to the recycling plant and reclamation dump on the other side of town. The walls were a warm summer, pale blue, which apparently was to make it a more comfortable place to relax. It did its job perfectly than.
There was a phone hooked up on the wall next to the door that led to the main workshop area, along with a clipboard with the infamous list of supplies sat. Fold down chairs, broken and rusted, large sheets of metal for any major repairs and large reels of wire sat on one side of the room, next to the fridge. "Red or blue?" Mark's voice cut in.
"Blue, same as ever," was my automatic response. Seconds later he appeared in front of me, stopping the swinging of my legs against the door-less cupboard beneath me, a bottle with chilled blue liquid inside. "Thanks."
"No problem," he smiled back at me and I couldn't help the smile that broke out on my own face. We both drank from our bottles, refreshing from the cold rivers that swirled down out throats, marking its path through our bodies clearly. The sound of smacking lips and a bottle meeting wood made me drop my own to my side, held between the fingers on my right hand. Mark had put his down next to me, his aquamarine eyes meeting my green ones.
"So," he started, eyes dancing over my features, "For four days I have you all to myself?"
I rolled my eyes but quickly shot them back, playing along with his game, "I wouldn't say all to yourself?"
"Oh yeah?" he bit his lip as he leaned closer, hands either side of me, firmly planted on the workbench. His jaw was solid, square and rounding off at his chin and his face was finished off with the odd grease marks here and there. My free hand gently came to rest on his shoulder. We both closed the distance in a steady, tender and longing kiss that was cut short by the ringing of the customer bell. When he pulled away he was smirking at me, hands on my waist, "Guess we better make the most of this time huh?"
That bell rang again and I smiled back at him, "Guess so." I pecked him on the lips and watched his retreating back as he went to deal with the customer.
I sat there, on the bench and sipped the rest of my drink, relishing in the peacefulness of not having to push myself to finish something I hated. Smiling, I pushed a strand of blonde hair out of my face and popped the two half empty bottles back into the fridge, grabbed my hat and pulled it low over my eyes. It wouldn't be good for somebody to see me and recognise after all this time.