“So we can check her out now then?” Michelle was a bit confused, but at least there was time left in the day to make it over to Alpine Springs to find a place; the afternoon was just starting to blaze on.
Cheryl smiled as she nodded. “As long as she doesn’t do any heavy lifting or push herself too hard, she should be just fine to leave. Doctor Brahms is probably going to want to see her again for a checkup, but she’ll call you to schedule something that works for you both. She’ll have to wear that cast for awhile longer, but with it in a sling and on her pain medication, she should be fine.”
“Yay!” Taylor cheered happily. “Thank you SO much!”
Cheryl giggled politely. “I know it’s not much fun being stuck in the hospital all day. Your recovery’s been remarkable, to be honest. Michelle, it’s been wonderful seeing you again. If either of you need anything and you can’t reach Doctor Brahms, please, don’t hesitate to call me.” She reached into her lab coat pocket to retrieve a business card and a pen, which she used to scribble a number on the back, and offer it to Michelle.
“By the time you’ve got her checked out, I’ll have her new prescription ready. Just ask at the front desk and the receptionist will print it off for you.”
“Thanks Cheryl, It’s great seeing you again as well.” Michelle smiled gave another hug and went over to the closest to retrieve her sister's belongings. “Sweet Pea, You wear the most adorable clothes.” pulling out a Pink T-shirt with Princess written in sparkles, and a pink pleated skirt, with pink tennis shoes.
Cheryl grinned. “Oh that’s pretty!” she added quite genuinely as she stepped out.
Taylor’s jaw dropped wide open. “Oh... My... GOD. I love it!”
“My lil sweet pea is a barbie girl.” Michelle giggled. “Ok there is a bag in here I can put all your new stuffed animals and stuff in; that’s good,” she commented as she began packing. Taylor giggled happily as she slid off the bed, holding her cast-clad arm close to her.
“Oh, I need to help you put your shirt on, till you get comfortable putting one on with a cast.” Michelle grinned.
“Oh, I didn’t even think about that. Yeah, this thing’s gonna be all kinds of in my way.”
Michelle abandoned putting the stuffed animals away and went to help her sister get dressed, “Such cute clothes, I wish mom and dad would have let me wear these, I’m kind of jealous of you.”
Taylor giggled a little but nodded. “Yeah, it’s really unfair. You’re just as much of a girl as I am. Maybe more.”
Michelle smiled, “At least you got to become genetic, I’m... ‘functional’ as a girl, but I can’t ever have kids or experience some of things you will get to when you get older sweet pea.” helping her with her last piece of clothing, “There you go, all dressed.”
“Wow, I never even thought of that.” She smiled and hugged Michelle tightly now that she finally could.
Michelle carefully hugged Taylor back, “So lets get you into the wheelchair because I know thats what the doctors are going to want till you get out of the hospital, and lets get downstairs and sign you out.”
“So where are we staying tonight?” Taylor asked as she reluctantly sat down in her wheelchair, just as Natalie appeared in the doorway.
“Trying to sneak out are we?” Natalie teased.
“Well I got a hotel room in Alpine Springs for tonight, I figured since the school was close to there, we might as well stay. Since its not late I think I might call that real estate agent.” Michelle smiled at Natalie now, “No, we were going to go hunt you down and say that she can check out now.”
Natalie giggled. “Yeah, I bumped into Doctor Brahms on my way back from delivering some supplies downstairs. Congratulations Taylor!” She smiled brightly. “I couldn’t let you guys go without saying goodbye. But you’ve got my cell number, so don’t be a stranger. If nothing else I’ll see you both next weekend, if you still want to go shopping then.”
Taylor smiled and nodded. “Thanks for everything Natalie. When I woke up I didn’t know what was going on, or where I was, and you really made me feel safe. I’m glad that we’ll be able to stay friends.”
Natalie smiled. “Hey, I almost moved to Alpine Springs last year. You’re going to love it there. Some of my closest friends live there, so we’ll definitely be seeing each other again. You just take care of yourself and get well soon.” She bent down to hug Taylor, kissing her cheek. “See you soon, Pumpkin.” She grinned.
Michelle smiled, “Next weekend is still on Natalie. Thanks for helping Taylor out.” as the three headed to the door Michelle pushing Taylor in the wheelchair.
“No problem. She’s a sweet girl. Really reminds me of my friend Crystal when we were younger. I guess that’s why I got so attached to her.” She smiled and gave Michelle a hug from the side. “Take care guys. I’ll see you again soon,” she added cheerfully as she disappeared down a side hallway.
“I think we both made a good friend with that one Taylor.” Michelle smiled as she got inside the elevator with Taylor to the lobby floor. “So what if we get a place to live today? You know our luck has been going that well.” Michelle giggled.
Taylor laughed. “Oh God that would be amazing! You know, if it’s pre-furnished too I’ll just die right there.”
Michelle giggled, “Me too. Watch we get into Alpine Springs, call the realtor, and all she has is a four or five bedroom house fully furnished and a pool. Every Doctor's dream.” She winked, still giggling.
Taylor giggled. “Oh God. Even if I can just dip my feet with this stupid cast, a pool would be sooo cool. I’m not holding my breath or anything, but since we’re dreaming, you know? Oh, and a nice big patio with a little table where we can eat and stuff.”
Once they got checked out and Michelle picked up Taylor’s prescription, she helped Taylor out of the wheelchair and they walked out to her car. “I know its not much to look at I was hoping to maybe snag one of mom or dad's cars.” she giggled.
“Oh God, I completely forgot about that. You haven’t seen Dad’s car have you? It’s a ...” she paused to try and think. “Well, I’m not sure what model it is, but it’s a convertible. You should’ve heard mom. She grumbled for two weeks straight about his ‘mid-life crisis’ - whatever that means. Anyway if it ends up in my name and we don’t have to like sell it or whatever,, it’s all yours.”
Michelle smiled, “I already talked to the estate lawyer for mom and dad, it’s all yours, but under my control till you turn eighteen. Well, except for one little thing... Dad kinda bought a yacht without telling Mom, and left it to me. I’m thinking about painting it pink,” she added with a mischievous giggle.
Taylor shook her head. “I don’t really want any of it. I mean maybe we can use some of the furniture, either at our new house or at your dorm in New Haven, but I want you to at least take half of it. It’s only fair.”
Michelle smiled, “Well what I had planned was for us to take what we could use, put it in our new home, and take the rest to storage, and sell the damn house.” she giggled at the last part as they pulled off the highway into Alpine Springs.
“So it’s 3:30, I’m going to pull over at this gas station and call that realtor.” Michelle smiled at Taylor as she pulled into the parking lot and got out her cell phone.
Taylor sat up and watched as a pair of blonde-haired twins left the store, each carrying a can of soda and turned back to her sister, nodding. “That sounds good. We can put the money from the old house toward our new place.”
Michelle looked at Taylor, “Want to go out and meet them and get a soda too?” reaching in her purse to pull out some money for Taylor.
“What? No, they look like they’re leaving soon anyway,” she lied. She just wasn’t sure about talking to them. She’d actually never even seen real twins before.
“Go catch up with them sweet pea; I’ll be right here on the phone, I can keep an eye on you as well.” She handed a twenty to Taylor.
“Um, okay. Do you want anything?” she answered, defeated.
“Diet Coke if you want to get me one, otherwise thats your money sweet pea.” Michelle kissed Taylor’s forehead.
Smiling, she hopped out of the car. She couldn’t help staring just a little as she walked inside. “They’ll probably be gone before I get back out,” she told herself as she picked up a pack of Bubblicious bubble gum, a Pepsi for herself,and a Diet Coke for her sister. After paying for everything, she unwrapped a piece of gum and popped it in her mouth, stepping back out again with the bag in her uninjured hand.
“We talked our step-sister Sarah into buying a shirt just like that,” one of the twins bubbled cheerfully, causing Taylor to jump. The girl giggled. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to scare ya. I’m Beth, and this’ my sister Em. What happened to your arm?”
“Beth!” Em corrected, “You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to. Are you new here?” the twins bombarded poor Taylor.
Taylor looked a bit nervously between the two girls, and nodded, “My sister and I are moving to Alpine Springs while she goes to Yale.”
“Oh wow!” both girls exclaimed. “Sarah’s real sister LeAnne goes to Yale too,” Beth added. “You’re gonna love Alpine Springs!”
Michelle waved to the three girls from the car like she had good news to tell Taylor, “Sweet Pea, you can bring your friends over here, and introduce me to them.”
Em and Beth both giggled, waiting for Taylor to start back to the car before following behind her. “Wow. I love your hair,” Em bubbled. “I’m Em, and this’ my sister Beth. We were just welcoming your sister to Alpine Springs.” She smiled brightly.
“Thank you both, She’s going to be going Sunshine while I attend Yale, but we will definitely be living here most of the time.” Michelle smiled. “I really don't know how to break this news to LeAnne though. I just moved into her dorm room with her.”
“Ohmygosh,” both girls exclaimed. Beth continued, “You don’t mean LeAnne Cameron?”
“Yes I do. She and I attend a lot of classes together. She’s been such a great help for me.” Michelle smiled.
“Wow, that’s spooky,” Em answered.
“LeAnne’s our step-sister’s - well, future step-sister’s, biological sister!” Beth finished, in that odd finishing-each-others’-sentences thing the girls loved to do.
“Oh you’re Sarah’s step sisters? LeAnne just bubbles on about Sarah and you both.” Michelle giggled. “Do you two need a ride home? Taylor and I have to meet a Ms. Smith on Roul Road.”
“Oh, we don’t want to keep you,” Em answered cheerfully. “We can just walk from here. But Roul road does sound familiar...”
“No it’s not an issue, we don’t have to meet her till five, I don’t mind taking you both home. Any friend or Family of LeAnne’s is a friend of mine.” Michelle smiled.
“Well, if you’re sure,” Beth responded, smiling brightly. “Hey, I wonder if Faith’s going to stop by today,” she added casually to her sister as the pair approached to get in the car.
Em giggled. “I think she’s crushing on you.”
“Shu-ut!” Beth laughed, blushing a little. “Taylor we so have to introduce you to our friends! Sarah’s away in Ireland right now, but I’m sure you’ll like her.”
Taylor chewed her lip for a moment or two. “Faith... Short girl, pretty super-long hair?”
“Extensions, but yeah that sounds like her. You know her?”
Taylor shook her head. “Maybe. I’m not sure,” she trailed off. “So what’s that Sunshine place like? Either of you been there before? It’s not like, super-strict is it?” she asked, changing the subject, and turning the tables on the twins’ rapid-fire questions.
“No but we have some friends who go there, I heard from them it’s pretty relaxed.” Beth replied with a smile, and Em chimed in, “Even the uniforms are cute.”
Michelle interrupted, “So you two will have to tell me where to go to drop you off, and I’ll use my GPS on my phone to find this Roul Street.”
“Oh yeah!” Em answered. “Just follow the main road here another block then make a left. We pretty much own the cul de sac at the end of the street. I mean, it’s us, Sarah’s friend Robin, and their friend Allison. It’s great because we get to listen to them rock out on weekends and there’s no grouchy neighbor to complain.”
Beth giggled, adding, “Oh, and we’re the big house on the left. Usually we bike everywhere, but since the convenience store’s so close we figured we’d walk.”
Michelle pulled up to the girls driveway, after noticing Roul Road was right near the cul de sac, and smiled, “Here you girls go, our road is just down there to the right it looks like. And it looks like its a new road.”
“Cool!” they both cheered. “Hey,” Em added, “If you guys move in nearby you’ll be able to come hang out anytime you want. We’ve got a nice pool here.” She grinned as both girls stepped out.
Both exclaimed, “Thanks for the ride!”
“You’re both welcome. Thanks for talking to Taylor; she needs to make some friends.” Michelle leaned over and kissed Taylor on the forehead again.
“Oh hey, before you go!” Beth announced, looking at Em, who grinned and pulled a pink ink pen from her pocket, handing it to her sister. Both asked at once, “Can we sign your cast?”
Taylor nodded, “Sure, I don’t mind, if you can find a spot to sign it.” she giggled and opened the door to let the girls be able to sign it easier.
“Ooh, here’s one,” Em answered, signing an elegant ‘Emily’, and dotting the i with a heart before handing the pen off to Beth. Not to be outdone, Beth used her short name to save space, but made the ‘B’ a pretty script-like letter. She giggled. “Thanks Taylor. Good luck on your house hunt!”
Michelle waved and waited for the girls to get inside before turning down the road, following abit finding only one house on the road, and it looked newly built three story house with a large pool in the back yard and a nice wooden privacy fence around it. “I don’t think we can afford this place Sweet pea.” as she pulled in front of the house to wait for Ms. Smith.
“Oh my God. I don’t think Mom and Dad could afford this,” Taylor answered with a frown. “I guess it won’t hurt to look, but I won’t get my hopes up sis.”
“Ms. Smith said it was a bargain house, but I don’t see any other homes on this street do you? And it looks too new to be a bargain house.” Michelle frowned.
“Maybe it’s haunted,” Taylor giggled.
As the two talked for a moment, a black BMW pulled up behind them and a woman in her mid thirties wearing a business skirt suit stepped out of the car holding a folder and started to walk up to their car, smiling professionally. As she approached Michelle rolled down her window.
“I know I’m early, but what do you both think from the outside?”
Taylor shook her head first. “It looks amazing, but...”
Michelle frowned. “But it looks kind of pricey, even if we can sell our parents’ house.”
“Well before I tell you the price and you both make your decision let’s have a look inside ok?” Ms Smith smiled as she pulled a key out of a pocket on her top.
Taylor and Michelle got out to follow the woman, Michelle commenting, “It looks brand new. Even the road looks new.”
“The previous owners were from California, but the man’s business went under and the bank had to foreclose on him unfortunately. It’s a six bedroom four bathroom house with an office that can be made into a seventh bedroom. It also has a partially stocked library slash computer room, exercise room, and a theater room, and the house is wired for high speed cable internet.” Ms Smith paused as she unlocked the door to let them in. “There’s also an Olympic sized swimming pool an indoor hot tub, and a full basement.”
Michelle frowned as she listened. There was no way she’d be able to afford this even with it being a bank foreclosure, but she promised herself she’d look around anyway.
“Oh and its partially furnished, especially the master bedroom and one of the bedrooms.” Ms. Smith smiled.
“Wow,” Taylor whispered as she peeked inside.
“Oh my God...” Michelle gasped. “Look at those hardwood floors!”
“I’ll wait in the kitchen while you two look around ok?” Ms. Smith smiled.
“I know there’s no WAY we can live here,” Taylor giggled, “But I’m gonna go check out the upstairs bedrooms anyway.”
Michelle smiled and hugged her sister. “Go ahead, sweet pea. I’ll be up in just a minute.”
Taylor nodded. Part of her wanted to race up the stairs, but she took her time. The last thing she needed was to break her other arm now. She poked her head in the first of the unfurnished bedrooms. It had nice, thick plush carpeting, but not much else. and continued to explore until she came to a door near the end of the hallway. She pushed it open, and stopped dead in her tracks.
“O-oh my God,” she whispered. A bedroom befitting a princess awaited on the other side. Thick, marble-styled white-and-beige carpeting, light rosy pink walls, a canopy bed with pastel pink curtains contrasting lilac bedding, a vanity, and at the far end, an open door revealing a huge walk-in closet.
Michelle stepped behind Taylor slack jawed, “I bet this place is a million or better.”
“Oh yeah,” Taylor sighed whimsically, “But can you just imagine. I almost feel sorry for the girl this room was built for, not to get it after her Daddy went to all this trouble.” She paused. Did she just say ‘daddy’? “Let’s check the third floor. I didn’t find the library or exercise place yet.”
Both girls finished looking around the house, wishing they didn’t because they knew there was no way they could afford it as they went into the rather large kitchen to meet with Ms. Smith. “So how do you both like it?” Ms. Smith smiled at them.
“I appreciate the gesture Ms. Smith. I really do,” Michelle sighed. “But I’m a college student on an honors scholarship. Even with the life insurance policy, AND selling the old house, there’s just no possible way we could afford this.”
“Well the house has been on the market for quite some time with no bites. Since it was foreclosed the bank is getting desperate to unload it. We’re asking for $92,000, with a thousand down.”
“Don’t you mean $920,000?” Michelle asked skeptically.
“No, Just $92,000, and we have a flexible payment plan.” Ms. Smith smiled.
“I-I think I need to sit down,” Michelle answered as she pulled one of the chairs from the table and sat. “How is it that nobody else has jumped on this place yet? There’s got to be something wrong with it. Incomplete plumbing, substandard wiring, a shaky foundation...”
Taylor smiled as she walked over to hug her sister. “Maybe it’s just nobody wanted to live in such a big house?”
“May be,” Michelle answered, “But the furnishings alone could pay for half the asking price easily. Aunt Sofia always said if it’s too good to be true it probably is.” She turned to look at the realtor. “I assume you’ve had the place inspected?”
Ms Smith smiled, “None of those things dear. Not many people want to move to Alpine Springs; they choose to move to the bigger cities like Kingsley or New Haven for the college. And yes we just had it inspected and cleaned recently, actually. I have all the paperwork right here.”
“You know, I bet I could talk LeAnne into moving in with us instead of staying in that cracker box of a dorm room of hers. That would help with utilities a lot. And we could commute together and save money on gas.” She trailed off thoughtfully.
Taylor looked at Michelle hopefully, “That means I wouldn’t have to live at Sunshine?” she squealed with excitement.
Michelle giggled. “Yeah. I mean, if we’re going to be paying for a house THIS nice we might as well live here all the time.”
Ms Smith smiled, “Oh, you mentioned you needed a house sold? I can go look at it anytime you want, I take 15% and we can apply the rest or part of the proceeds or whatever you wanted to the payment on this place.”
“That’d be great,” Michelle answered. “Neither of us really has a lot of sentimental value for the old place. I haven’t seen it since I was three, and Taylor... Well...” she frowned, changing the subject, “But anyway, it’s an older house, but it’s in Kingsley so it shouldn’t be hard to sell.”
“Well here’s the deal, if you have a thousand now you can move in right now, after we sign these papers, or you can move in once you pay me the thousand.” Ms. Smith smiled still knowing full well Michelle could scrape that right now, easily, even without the coven’s involvement..
“I could write you a check right now,” Michelle answered. “I just need your guarantee that there’s nothing wrong with it in writing. My sister’s been through hell, so I’m a little overprotective, you understand.”
Ms. Smith nodded as she opened the folder on the table. “I figured you might be wary of a deal like this and took the liberty to write up an affidavit on behalf of the company I work for saying there is nothing wrong at all with this house. By the way, you’ve probably noticed that this road dead ends here. You’ll own the property on both sides, about Fifteen acres on the other side and I think six on this.”
“Jesus Christ,” Michelle gasped. “Twenty-one acres? And if I’m not mistaken that’s protected national forest land behind us?”
Ms. Smith nodded, “You’re correct, however on the other side you can divide that up and sell it as lots or do whatever you want with it.”
“As long as it stays residential, personally I don’t care what happens to it. You?” she asked, looking over at Taylor.
“Can we make it into a playground or a park for everyone that lives near here?” Taylor giggled.
Michelle laughed and tousled Taylor’s hair. “That’s a great idea. Those girls, Em and Beth, and their friends all live just up the street from here. I’ll look into what it’ll take to get it rezoned as a community park or something.”
Ms. Smith pulled her pen out and signed the affidavit in front of the girls, “There you both go, And here’s the paperwork, once you write the check i’ll call it in and cash it over the phone if you don’t mind.”
“Oh, you have that new app too?” Michelle grinned as she whipped out her checkbook. “I love it. Makes paying the rent back in New Haven so much easier,” she added as she dashed off a check, signed her name to the contract, and handing the pen to Taylor.
Taylor asked as she took the pen, “I thought I was too young to have my name on here?”
Ms. Smith shook her head, “No sweetie, you can sign it as well.”
“Besides,” Michelle added, “When you turn eighteen this place will be yours if you want it. Not that I plan on going anywhere,” she added with a grin.
Taylor nodded and signed the contract with a neat girlish signature, and smiled, “There, and I would never want you to leave me alone ever Michelle; I just got you back.”
“I might get work in the big city after I graduate from college, but I think I’d love living here. This community is just so … so peaceful.”
Ms. Smith smiled, “The neighbors are very laid back, nobody really bothers anyone else, though sometimes you will hear teenagers tear down the roads, but thats kids being kids,” she added, thinking of her Nikki and that blasted Mustang.
Michelle laughed. “Oh, it’s only fair. I used to go to drag races,” she paused, coughing, “less-than-legal after-curfew kind not that long ago. Drove my poor aunt crazy, but at least I never actually drove in one. My old ‘69 wouldn’t stand up to the competition in a straightaway.”
Ms. Smith smiled as she took Michelle’s check and wrote void on it, “Cleared, you both are now legal owners of this wonderful home.”
“Yay!” Taylor squealed happily as she hugged her sister. Michelle giggled and carefully returned the gesture.
“Just out of curiosity, was Roul the guy that built this place?” she then asked. “Because if that’s the case I was thinking we could petition to rename the street. Taylor Lane has a nice ring to it.”
“We can set that in motion and it could be changed as early as next week for free.” Ms Smith replied warmly. “And yes, his name is Roul Alexander Moss.”
“Wow. That’s so cool!” Taylor giggled. “I hope his business picks up again so I don’t have to feel guilty about taking his daughter’s room. It’s just so perfect. This whole house is perfect. Thank you so much Ms. Smith. You have no idea what this all means to me!” she bubbled happily. Michelle, when Taylor wasn’t looking, quietly reached up a hand to dab away a stray tear, smiling softly down at her sister.
“I couldn’t agree more. Now when we go to meet with the Headmistress Taylor’s going to be in such high spirits. Speaking from experience that kind of thing helps a lot with those aptitude tests,” she added with a grin.
Ms. Smith smiled and handed three keys over to Michelle, “Here you go, and I’ll have the title mailed over to your house. It will reflect the payment system we have, and once it’s paid off you will get a clean title to keep.”
“Excellent. If you’d like, and of course if you have time, you’re more than welcome to come by and see the old house for yourself when we head over there in the morning. If not I can just drop off an extra key at your offices afterwards. I unfortunately don’t have one right now, but I think I know where they kept an extra set.”
Taylor looked at Michelle, “I got my house key.” she fished in the small pocket on the inside of her skirt and pulled it out, and smiled, “See!”
“Oh, good!” Michelle answered. “I was dreading asking Mom’s lawyer for permission to break the lock.” She giggled. “Come to think of it she probably has the other keys though anyway.”
“Well you two get what you want out, and do whatever with the rest, and I’ll have a cleaning company come in then take some pictures to put on our website. Just let me know when you're ready, and I’ll get started.” Ms Smith stood to leave the girls to their new home.
Taylor wiggled her fingers and grimaced. “Ow. Maybe I should’ve just pinched myself.” She giggled.
“It was a pleasure to make this sale ladies. I hope you enjoy your new life.” Ms. Smith added as she left.
“‘Life’,” Michelle echoed, but grinned. “Yeah, that’s really what this is. A fresh start for both of us,” she continued and stood to hug Taylor, waving. “Take care, Ms. Smith. Thank you for everything.”
Ms. Smith waved again and left, and Michelle looked over at Taylor., “Let’s go unload your stuffed animals into your room, and maybe see about getting a little shopping done for you because you really need some new clothes Sweet Pea.”
Taylor giggled. “Yeah, until we see what I have at the old place, this’ pretty much all I have right now. Oh gosh, going shopping is going to be...” she suddenly cut herself off. “Um, I mean, going shopping without Mom looking over my shoulder constantly is going to be a new experience.” … Of course what she meant to say was ‘going shopping as a girl is going to be a new experience.’
Michelle giggled, “I could do that for you if you want,” as she went outside and opened her trunk to pull out the bag full of stuffed animals and the box with the Stacie doll in it, heading back inside, “You can set these up anyway you want when we get back ok?” She set the bag on the floor by the stairs.
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