Cold Cruelties by Laura Hopkins

Prologue

They had seen nothing but flat land since leaving Marlton City. Their father had promise the drive would be fun. He had promise family games and activities. He had said they would stop at any point when one of them saw something that looked interesting. Unfortunately, all there was in this part of the country was flat land, a couple farmhouses and cattle. There was nothing interesting and the drive got more and more boring with each passing minute. Adelaide Buchanan was sure at any moment she would wake up and this entire day would have just been a dream.

Sitting in the back seat of the car with her younger brother James, Adelaide was bored. She had already read her traveling book. Her MP3 Player had resorted to playing the same three songs over and over again. James was snoring loudly. She had braided her auburn strands of bang eight times since they spotted the last farmhouse. She had even tried counting the number of fence poles they drove passed. It had all gotten her nowhere and she felt she would surely lose her mind at any moment.

The worst part of this entire situation was that she couldn't believe it was happening. Her father, the born and raised Marlton City man, had uprooted his entire family for a different pace in life. He, of all members of the family, had grown tired of the fast paced city life in which he had claimed to never want to leave. Near here they drove with all their belongings being towed behind in the old trailer and their furniture in the U-haul behind them driving across the country to the tiny town of Nesville.

Adelaide had not wanted to move. She was sixteen years old and had a ton of friends. She was happy and content with her life. She had a steady boyfriend who adored her. Everything was perfect right in Marlton City. Apparently it hadn't been so perfect for her father though. With a sigh Adelaide tossed her hair out of her face. She was planning on getting it cute as soon as they settled into this town. Her face was lightly tanned from days spent at the beach with her friends. She had deep blue eyes hidden under a pair of classic black framed glasses. She had a small sprinkle of freckles across her cheeks which she inherited from her mother but likely unlike James she only had that small sprinkle. Her brother was covered.

"Dad," Adelaide questioned him. "Can we stop for ten minutes?"

Gerald Buchanan made a grunting noise. Generally that meant no and so Adelaide sat back and sighed once more. To her astonishment though, the car slowed to a stop on the side of the road. The U-haul behind them followed. The stop didn't faze her younger brother who still slept but Adelaide, her mother Lily and her father climbed out of the beaten up on Pontiac.

"Thanks dad"

"Sure sweetheart" Gerald wrapped one arm around his daughter and kissed her forehead. "I needed a stretch too"

"I told you we should have just flown" Lily complained.

Adelaide's mother was a beautiful woman on the outside. Inside she was too obsessed with herself and didn't particularly care about the rest of the family. She was tall, freckled all over, and had the baby face of a perfect blonde. Everyone thought she was cutest thing in the world. And she knew it to be true. She had the deep blue eyes that Adelaide had but that was all she resembled of her mother. Lily was tall, slender, with long legs and a perfect tan as well. She was straight from a magazine. Which is probably the reason Gerald married her. No one knew why Lily married Gerald.

Gerald wasn't very tall. He would range average at a competition if such things were to exist. He had once been a slender fit man but over the years he let himself go. He was gaining weight around his middle. His hair was starting too bald and gray. It had once been the same auburn as his daughters. His eyes were a misty gray colour and very soft. It was his eyes that gave him away all the time. Gerald was a loyal man to his job, his wife and his family. He always did the best thing for everyone and sacrificed everything for them. That was why this move was happening. It was for their father.

"Darling" Gerald addressed Lily. "You know very well we could never have afforded 4 plane tickets on my cut salary"

Lily huffed and walked to the front of the car. She sat on the hood and lit a cigarette. She dragged and blew the smoke out. Adelaide shook her head and her father sighed. Neither of them liked that Lily smoked. They couldn't get her to quit though. She said it helped deal with her stress though they didn't know what stress she had. Lily was too into herself to worry about even raising her own children. Gerald had raised Adelaide until she was old enough to look after herself. Then Adelaide had done most of the raising James.

"Let's take a walk honey" Gerald suggested to his daughter.

Adelaide nodded her agreement. For as long as she could remember it had been her and her dad. James did his own thing now that he was ten years old. And Lily was in her own world. With his arm around his daughter, Adelaide and Gerald walked through the flat field and stretched their legs. Soon they would be getting back into the car and crossing the rest of the miles to Nesville. But for now they needed this break. It would be another three days before they reached their new home and their new life. Adelaide didn't know what to expect of this town. After all, she was born and raised a city girl.