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Tough Love

by Jade_Thomas 

Posted: 25 March 2004
Word Count: 1280
Summary: Jade's mother dies and her new gaurdian, cousin Britney, is forced to send her away.

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Jade tried to braid her long, sleek black hair, but it wouldn’t stay put. Sighing, she brushed it straight down, like she did the day before, and the day before that, and then the day before that. Her best friend, Mary sat on her bed, playing with her short, wavy blonde hair. Once the two girls were ready for a day at the mall, they headed downstairs to meet Jades mother, who was giving them a ride.

As the entered the four story mall, Jade agreed to meet her mom in the food court in a few hours. Exploring the third floor, Mary dragged Jade into an amazingly huge bookstore that completely awed the both of them. Being a bookworm, and a straight A student, Jade couldn't wait to see what this place had in store for her.

Two hours later, Jade headed into the food court, looking for her mom, and carrying three shopping bags. Mary had found her mother in the mall while they were exploring and had left together.

Jade and her mom sat in her mom's Pt Cruiser excitedly chatting about her new treasures, until it started to pour heavily outside. Her mom needed to concentrate on the road. Jade didn’t notice just how bad the rain had gotten until her mother was approaching a dangerous intersection. The brakes were broken and the light was red. Jade and her mother both screamed before everything went black.

Jade awoke to find herself in a hospital room filled with gifts and flowers in all directions from her friends and fellow classmates. Her cousin, Britney, walked in noticing that she had awakened. Realizing something was wrong though her mind was a bit clouded; Jade wondered why Britney had come here.

“Britney, you live on the other side of town.” Jade said it as a statement but hinted as though to ask what happened. Britney suddenly looked uneasy trying to find an answer.

“I know. You were in an auto accident.” Is all she replied. Remembering a little more about the accident, Jade started to worry about her mother and whether or not she was still alive.

“Where’s my mom?” Britney looked even more unsettled than before as Jade asked her this.

“She’s um, not doing as well as you are.” Jade wanted to know if her mom was dead or not, no matter how unsettled Britney appeared to be. Jade thought Britney was being pretty vague.

“She’ll live, right?” Britney’s face went pale. Slowly, shaking her head, Jade realized her worst fear had become a reality. A million thoughts filled her mind now. Where will I live? Who will I live with? How am I going to live without my mother? I’m only 14; I can’t live on my own.
Britney cut into her thoughts like a knife cutting bread, saying she’d be her new guardian, and that the paperwork was already done.

Entering her new bedroom in Britney’s apartment, Jade took in the bare walls. Britney told her she could repaint them however she wants and Jade decides to go for a sort of mourning look, with all black walls and blood red drips here and there.
Her cousin seemed a little unsettled at the site of her room and tried to talk her into some bright reds and yellows, but Jade remained firm with the look she’d chosen. She did, however, agree to think about changing and headed out wearing her black turtleneck and hip huggers, topped off with a blue jean hat.

Entering a gas station, Jade picked up a magazine and started reading it. She walked through the store and picked up some candy bars and other things, stashing them in the pockets of her leather jacket. Approaching the magazine rack a second time, Jade set down the magazine and rushed out the door. Once outside, she started to run as an alarm sounded. As Jade ran down the street, she heard sirens coming closer with each step taken. She ran even faster trying to get away from them, knowing her efforts probably didn’t matter.
Jade spotted a deserted alley, and decided to run down it, hoping that maybe she could lose them. The cops turned the corner, and turning her head around, she saw that they were catching up. Before she can could reach the alley though, the car stopped and a tall, menacing cop stepped out. Jade slowed to a speed walk, and noticed after awhile that the cop was following her at a distance. As she slowed down, so did he. When she sped up, he sped up also. After testing her theory, Jade broke into a run, not going towards a specific destination.

Not too long after she first began to run, the cop caught up to her. He now leaned her against a wall, and searched her. As he drew her arms behind her with his handcuffs out, Jade started struggling against the officer’s hold. As his partner approaches as backup, Jade struggled even harder, but the cops hold on her was just too strong. Realizing she wasn’t going to be able to get away, Jade reluctantly allowed the cops to seat her in the back of the squad car.

Riding in the car, the officer not driving the vehicle asked Jade where she lived or might be staying at.
“I don’t know.” Jade replied half-heartedly. She wasn’t lying, she really wasn’t sure of the apartment number or building Britney lived in.
“Alright, we’ll just go downtown to the station and figure it out.” The other officer said sternly. He was obviously trying to scare her into confessing. Yeah, right. Whatever, Jade thought to herself. I really don’t know where I “live”.

Jade was locked in a small holding cell for a few hours before she saw an officer approaching with a ring of keys in hand. Britney was walking very close behind him. After being released from her confinement, Jade was handed over to Britney. Back at her new home, Britney surprisingly didn’t yell or punish her in any way. Jade did take in the fact that Britney seemed to be troubled by her behavior. She dismissed it and ran back to her room.

That evening, as Britney came in a said good night, Jade formed a plan. She didn’t want to stay here in this town any longer. She could steal a car, leave it along the state line whenever she got there and hitchhike her way to someplace else. Sneaking throughout the apartment, Jade peaked into Britney’s room and was pleasantly surprised to find her already asleep. She crept back to her room, changed out of her dirty clothes and silently slipped out the door.

Running outside the fence of the apartment complex, Jade stopped to take a breath and smiled. She was really doing this, and it felt like a weight had been lifted off her shoulders. Quickly looking both ways on the street, Jade jogged over to the other side and started walking. She had no idea where she was going to go, but she was free. It felt so good to be free. Nearing the street corner, Jade spotted a woman holding her child. She stopped in her tracks, her eyes frozen on the two. Her smile faded; she began to run in the other direction. Looking over at the complex where Britney lived, Jade sneered and ran even faster. Finally, she reached her destination. This was the parking lot she’d steal a car from. But she didn’t know where to begin. She paced through the cars walking up and down the aisles before she stopped at a red convertible with its top down.

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Comments by other Members

Anna Reynolds at 11:02 on 26 March 2004  Report this post
Jade, this is a very moving and interesting piece of writing. I felt really gripped by it- and I had a few thoughts, hope they'll be of use to you. Also I'd like to know more- are you planning a book or a long short story? is it something you've written and are uploading bit by bit, or writing it as you go along?

I think the opening works pretty well- the sense of normality, a young girl getting ready for a shopping trip, having hair problems, etc, then moving into the very dramatic territory of the auto accident. I wondered if there might be a bit more you could say in this passage where Jade lies in the hopsital, during the first encounter with Britney and finding out the terrible news- you go in a very short space of time from Jade waking up to britney saying she'd 'done the paperwork'. Is Britney caring or callous? how does Jade feel about her cousin, and being handed over to her in this way? have they been close before, is Britney a lot older than Jade- presumably, is there a father around? These are all questions I'm interested in finding the answers to, because Britney plays such a big part in the story here, it's probably quite crucial to know more about how Jade feels about her.

The section where Jade starts to steal, run away etc is great I think- you really show how alone she is and how nothing matters to her at that point, so she's not really afraid of the consequences of anything. And the moment of meeting the mother and child is very subtle and effective. I'm keen to know what happens next- can she drive? will she take the red convertible? Hope to see more, and welcome to WriteWords.

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