Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Chapter 1 - Delayed Departure, Awkward Arrival

NOTE: This story has a rating of PG-13. It is intended for a mature audience, as it contains strong references to things such as woohoo, crime, language, etc. You have been warned!

"Are you sure you have everything?" Laura Cross asked for what must have been the tenth time.

"Yes, Mom," Whitney replied as she placed the last of her suitcases into the waiting cab. "I'm going to be fine."

"Are you sure you really want to do this?" Laura furrowed her brow, unconvinced.

Whitney sighed. They'd been over this a hundred times, and she wasn't about to change her mind. She was going to leave Riverview and go to Bridgeport to pursue her dream of becoming a country music star. No one was going to talk her out of it.

"Laura, let her go," Whitney's father, Gavin, said. "We've been through this."

"I just thought..."

"Well stop thinking, okay?"

Whitney tried not to cringe. This was another reason she was anxious to leave - her parents. They were at each other's throats over the smallest things anymore. It's been even worse since Whitney announced that she wanted to move to Bridgeport to become a country music star. Her mother was convinced that she'd never make it, and wanted Whitney to stay home in Riverview and become something "real and important", like a doctor. Which was pretty ironic since Laura herself was quite the couch potato, hoping that Gavin's farming abilities would pick up and mimic the ones of his parents and grandparents, but he didn't have the natural green thumb, so it wasn't as easy. In fact, the Cross family didn't have a very big house with a lot of land for farming, only a small garden, so Laura hadn't been too thrilled when she'd had to get herself a job to help make ends meet, especially since Gavin wanted to be a jack of all trades, trying his hand at different careers.

But Whitney's heart had been set on music since she was 12 years old. Now that she could be on her own, she was going to do so. She'd show them all.

Dustin, her 15-year-old brother, came out of the house then, looking like he'd just rolled out of bed (which wouldn't be a surprise).

"Still here, sis?" he asked as he wiped the sleep out of his eyes.

"Yeah, for now," Whitney replied.

"Can I come to Bridgeport with you? I want to get out of this crappy town and do something."

"Dustin!" Laura scolded. "Watch your language!"

"What? Crappy isn't a bad word."

"Dustin..." Gavin's voice was stern.

Dustin just rolled his eyes and shrugged his shoulders. His freckles, so like Whitney's own, seemed to jut out and laugh at his parents. He and Whitney both had their mother's freckles, but Dustin inherited their father's dark hair and their mother's eyes, while Whitney got her father's eyes and mother's light brown hair.

Finally, Whitney said, "Listen, I have to get going. This cab won't be here forever."

The cab driver cleared his throat impatiently as if to confirm this statement.

With a sigh of defeat, Laura finally stepped forward. "Well, if you're sure about this..."

"I'm sure."

Laura gave her daughter a quick hug, but not one that was particularly comforting or one that would wish good luck. Whitney didn't expect any such thing.

Gavin stepped forward next and gave his daughter a warm embrace.

"Make your daddy proud," he whispered in her ear as his beard tickled her cheek.

"I will, I promise," Whitney whispered back.

Gavin's hug was one that said he'd miss his daughter but wished her the best. He wanted her to pursue her dreams and be happy in life, even if that meant doing something that many had found impossible.

Whitney faced her brother, who heaved a sigh of resignation, and stepped forward to give his sister a hug.

"See ya, sis," he said.

"Bye, Dustin. Stay out of trouble."

"No promises."

After the embrace, Whitney climbed into the cab. The driver seemed relieved to finally get going. Whitney waved to her family out the window, who waved back at her as the cab disappeared down the road.

Finally, Whitney felt free. She was leaving the farm lands of Riverview behind, and entering the exciting city of Bridgeport. She was so excited she could hardly sit still.


The ride to Bridgeport seemed to take forever. Whitney felt her heart speed up with every bump in the road that  brought her closer to her destination.

Many went to Bridgeport to "live the dream", meaning to become famous as a musician, actress, director, or even a model, but several had failed and returned to where they'd come from, or stayed in Bridgeport pursuing different careers and dreams. Whitney was determined that this wouldn't happen to her.

However, she wouldn't start out living as upper class. She wouldn't be able to afford even the cheapest apartment in Bridgeport on her own, so she'd had to look through the want ads and hope to find someone that needed a roommate. Luckily, she'd been able to find a somewhat affordable place with a young woman about her age, and the two had met and hit it off. Whitney would be living with Darcy Coombs, an aspiring actress who worked as a mixologist on the side.

Finally, the cab stopped in front of the building that would be Whitney's new home. She paid the cabbie, grabbed her suitcases, and got out. She looked up at the tall building. It wasn't too much to look at, and the best view was the butterfly garden on one side and scaffolding on the other (though the Aquarius was next door), but to Whitney, this would be home.

Whitney felt her excitement growing as she went inside and rode the elevator to her floor, 18. She already had a key given to her by Darcy, so she didn't have to buzz herself in.

Of course, buzzing might have been the more appropriate approach since when she walked in, she was confronted by the last thing she expected to see.

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