But I wish she could have stayed in the other world and have Max be alive and for them to grow old together.
But then I there wouldn't be a story you know..
Flamehair - Yes, Michael does have some semblance of sense sometimes it seems, even if it is rare...
Begonia9508 - Glad you like Serina
isabelle - thanks hun, knowing you think that Michael is good is such a relief because as I think you know, he's really not my favourite character to try and write about. as for Thomas and Emily meeting, sorry but I kinda skip over it...hope you won't be too disappointed by what I have planned though
Ellie - I'm sorry for confusing you, just people jumped to conclusions so quickly, I couldn't help pointing out there was nothing to confirm it. As you know, you were right first time though.
roswell3053 - Welcome to the story, thanks for reading and glad you're enjoying it.
I'm back . I'd advise against getting too used to frequent updates like this, but I am doing my best. Glad everyone seems to like Serina, you'll be seeing plenty more of her as the story goes on.
Hello to any lurkers out there, thanks for reading and hope you're enjoying the story.
Anyway, it's late, and I've got lectures tomorrow so I'll simply leave it by saying that I hope you all enjoy the chapter, feel free to tell me what you think and hopefully I'll be back next week with another part...assuming nothing goes wrong in RL...
"And this is the bathroom..."
Liz smiled and nodded as she looked around. It was a nice place...a really nice place...
"Well...? What do you think...?" Mrs Wratly, the woman who owned the apartment block looked at her expectantly.
She swallowed and nodded again. "It's lovely..."
"I don't want to push you honey, but I do have plenty of other people interested..." The middle aged landlady waited patiently.
"I-I know..." Liz chewed on the bottom of her lip. She really liked the apartment, it was great... But she had known this was pointless from the start... A hundred and eighty dollars a week was a huge chunk of her wage...to say nothing of the month’s rent in advance as a deposit…just where was she supposed to get that amount of money…? She had been looking for somewhere for nearly a week now, but anywhere that was decent was simply just out of her price range... The fact that she had a job was great, but it was minimum wage even with tips, and even working 40 hours a week or so, that still only paid around two hundred and fourty dollars. From that money she needed to buy food, anything that Emily might want, and of course pay the rent… It seemed impossible… She swallowed and looked up. "I-I am interested...but I don't think I can afford the deposit...I'm sorry for wasting your time..." Without giving the lady a chance to respond, she hurried out of the room, exiting the apartment and heading down one floor where she stopped in front of one of the doors and knocked.
The door opened a moment later to reveal the figure of her friend. "Liz hey...come in...what did you think of the apartment...?" She stepped aside to let her in, and then closed the door, waiting to hear her answer. When she had heard that one of the apartments on the floor above hers was up for rent, she had been certain it would be exactly what Liz was looking for.
Before Liz had a chance to respond, she was almost knocked over as Emily came running up and threw her arms around her mother's legs. "MOMMY!"
She laughed, scooping her up in her arms and lifting her daughter high, smiling as she listened to her giggling. For the moment all her worries were forgotten as she concentrated on her daughter…
Conversation between the two young women was then put off further as Serina caught sight of her five-year-old son perilously close to the pan of hot pasta she had been cooking. He must have gone over when she took her eyes off him to answer the door… "THOMAS NO!" She cried out in horror, hurrying over and pulling him back before he burnt himself.
"But mommy, I'm hungry!" He protested, looking up at her and rubbing his stomach.
"In a minute!" She told him firmly, laughing at the look on his face and shaking her head.
"Mommy, me hungry too!"
As Emily echoed the little boy's sentiments, the two young mothers both looked at each other and burst out laughing. "Kids first, talk later...?" Serina suggested with a small smile. Clearly it seemed that unless they did the first, the second would be full of interruptions…
Liz nodded in agreement. "Sure...do you want some help...?" She asked as her friend moved towards the stove.
She raised her eyebrows at the sight of the little girl still clinging to her arms. "Nah...I'm okay... Besides, you look like you have your hands full..." She pointed out, laughing softly and urging her younger friend to take a seat.
After the kids had been fed, they seemed happy to play for a little while in Thomas' room, leaving Liz and Serina alone to talk.
"So...you never told me what you thought of the apartment...?" Serina commented as she brought over two cups of tea, sitting down and setting one in front of each of them.
Picking up hers, Liz cradled it in her hands, taking a small sip. She swallowed and looked over at her friend. "I-It was really nice..." She responded awkwardly. She didn't want to seem ungrateful; she knew that Serina had just been trying to help...
"But..." Serina read between the lines. She could see that there was something that Liz was leaving unsaid... Her reaction didn't speak of someone who had just got a new apartment... "I'm sensing a but..."
The younger girl closed her eyes and shook her head. "I can't afford it Serina... The rent's a huge chunk of my wage for the week, and I don't know how I would ever manage to afford the deposit..."
Serina watched in silence as she saw the desperation in her eyes. It was a look she knew well... The whole thing was a situation, and feeling that she knew well for that matter. A few years ago, that had been her... Straight after dropping out of college, a young child to care for... She had wondered how she would ever cope. Even now if she was honest it was a struggle…and certainly Thomas needed fewer things now that he was older than when he was Emily’s age. She could well understand how Liz was feeling. "Oh Liz..." She reached out to touch her arm. Part of her felt guilty now for suggesting it...she should have known it would be too much... "I'm sorry..." She apologised softly.
She sighed. "I should have thought more about the money..."
Liz shook her head quickly. "NO, it's fine Serina...you were just trying to help, I know that, and I'm grateful... I just wish I could have afforded it...it was great, you were right..." She gave a wistful smile and then set her drink down on the table and buried her head in her hands, a lump getting stuck in her throat. "I-I just don't know how I can do this Rina...it's so hard, and I j-ust..." Tears began to well up in her eyes as, deep inside, she began to think about everything she had lost.
"Hey...it's okay...it's gonna be okay..." She stood up and moved closer, pulling the younger girl into her arms as she stood at her side.
Pulling back, Liz shook her head. "H-how...? You said yourself, the area I'm in at the moment isn't good, but I can't afford any better..." She hated that fact, she wanted the best for her little girl, but she just didn't have the money... She chewed on her lip and shook her head again. "Emily deserves more than this, and I should be able to give her it, but I just can't...I hate it, but there's nothing I can do..."
"Maybe there is..." Serina spoke slowly as an idea surfaced in her mind.
Her friend looked up, surprised. "I-I don't understand...I mean I could take on another job, it's not that I'm lazy, but then I'd have to find someone to look after her...I j-" She sighed and shook her head. She didn't want to have someone else looking after her daughter all day... She was all Emily had left, just as the little girl was the only thing which kept her going, and she didn't want to be a mother who saw her daughter for a few minutes a day. Just as had been true from the moment she had given birth, she wanted to be there for her... Certainly in the past she had school, and even work, but she had always made time for her daughter, and she would continue to do so... Perhaps it was being selfish, but she couldn't bear to think of losing the time she had with her now...
Realising what she was jumping to conclusions, Serina shook her head, wanting to banish such misunderstandings. She could see the hurt in her eyes, and hated that she had caused it...that had not been her intention... "No Liz...that's not what I mean... You need your rest, and Emily needs some time with you..." She assured the young girl quickly.
Liz swallowed and looked at her, confusion in her eyes now. "W-ell what then...?" She didn't see how else she was going to be able to get more money... It had been hard enough to get the job she had found... Single teenage mothers were hardly thought of as ideal employees, and given the fact she hadn't even finished high-school, in truth a minimum wage job was all she could expect... Surely given all that, the only way she could get more money was to work more hours...?
Serina smiled. "Come live here...share with me and Julie...?" She didn't know why she hadn't thought of it sooner... It seemed like an ideal solution...
Her eyes widened. "What? No, I can't ask you to do that!" Liz protested quickly. She couldn't believe it was being suggested, but she just couldn't impose on Serina and her friend like that...
Serina shook her head, waving away her objections though. "Why not...? She asked simply. "You need a place to stay, and I know it's not a huge place, but the kids could share Thomas' room, and as long as you don't mind not having a proper bed, there's a perfectly serviceable sofa-bed over there..." She grinned, obviously taken with the idea.
"B-ut this is your home...I mean..." She trailed off, realising she probably wasn't going to win this... It wasn't that she was turning her nose up at what was being offered...just she couldn't help thinking it wasn't fair on the older women.
"So...?" Serina shrugged. "I mean seriously, you'd be doing us a favour... Money's pretty tight with the rent, and having to pay for Julie to baby-sit now, so if there were three of us paying instead of two, We’d both have a bit more free..." She looked at the younger girl eagerly. "So...what do you say...?" The more she thought about it, the more she knew this was a great idea. They might not have known each other very long, but Liz was a friend, and she wanted to help her... Besides, as she had said, it worked both ways too...
Liz opened her mouth, appearing to be about to object again, but at the last minute she seemed to think and nod her head with a small smile. "Okay...if you're sure...t-thanks..."