"Welcome to the Town of Bear Creek." That welcome sign was the first thing Charlotte Fischer and her son Elijah saw as they entered Bear Creek. From the looks of it, Bear Creek was a small town, located basically in the middle of nowhere in the "Lone Star" state of Texas. It was definitely a change from the busy streets of sunny Los Angeles, California. Though whether it was a good change or a bad one, Elijah wasn't sure.
It didn't take Eli long to notice how distraught his mother was. She had been acting odd for a couple of weeks, skipping work sometimes for days at a time. Then a week ago, out of the blue, his mother quit her job as a doctor, instead taking a job in Bear Creek as akindergarten teacher. She had chosen teaching as her minor, but Eli had never actually expected to fall back on it. Out of the eighteen years that he had known his mother, he had always believed she loved her job. So to suddenly find out that they were moving to a completely different state so she could take a teaching job was definitely a shock to Eli.
It didn't help that his mother gave him no insight whatsoever as to what prompted her to quit her job in the first place. Eli and Charlie told each other everything. So to find out that she was keeping something from him, something he could tell was traumatic for her, was making him a bit antsy. Every day he prayed that his mother would have the courage to tell him someday the secret that she was keeping from him currently. They had always been close, and it was killing him knowing there was something eating away at his mother that he didn't know about, rendering him pretty much useless in the area of comforting her.
The two of them rode in silence for almost the entire length of the trip. Eli stared out the window of the car, watching as mile after mile of road and unoccupied land passed by, until after about five minutes since passing the "Welcome" sign, they saw signs of civilization. The area was severely different from Los Angeles, occupied of quite a few stores less than all of the shops in California. There was your general grocery store, a small gas station, and a few stores that appeared to be family run. A few minutes more into the tow, they passed by the school Charlie was going to be teaching at, until eventually, they found their way to the "Sunset Ridge" ranch.
Eli watched his mother as she shut of the ignition of their car and he waited for her to get out of the car before slowly following behind was a younger girl playing in the front yard, her reddish-orange hair tied back in a neat ponytail, and she paused as she saw them before dropping what she was doing and running into the house. Moments later, a man came onto the porch, looking at Charlie and Eli as the little girl stood in front of him, pointing at them.
He had shaggy hair, dirty blonde, and it seemed to naturally curl at the ends. His baby blue eyes looked at them curiously, his eyebrows furrowed in confusion. After a few moments of standing there in silence, the man, who looked maybe just a couple of years older than Charlie, finally spoke up. "Who are you?" he asked.
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Reese inhaled deeply and grinned, taking in the smell of eggs and bacon for a moment before exhaling. He loved the smell of breakfast in the morning. He would have to teach Lennox how to cook once she got older. She was always saying how she wished she could cook like him. And it would probably be good bonding time for them. Not that they didn't have bonding time already, seeing as he had raised Lennox on his own since she was three.
He heard a car pull up in the driveway, and he finished up the eggs. As soon as he shut the burners off, the kitchen door opened and slammed shut, and Lennox burst into the kitchen. "Daddy, someone's here!" Reese chuckled at his daughter and followed her out onto the porch. His face contorted in confusion as he saw a woman around his age, possibly a few years younger, standing in the driveway with a teenage boy. He studied the two for a few moments curiously. Well that wasn't who he had been expecting. He had been expecting a man named Charlie Fischer to come today with his son. He had rented rooms in the ranch in response to an ad he had put online.
"Who are you?" he asked in confusion. The woman looked at him and looked at her son before speaking.
"I'm Charlotte Fischer. But feel free to call me Charlie."