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What a bitter pill it was to swallow. Not a literal pill however, the kind that one would find in the bottom of their medicine cabinet; meant for warding off the occasional nasties, not at this time, no.
This pill was in its own turmoil, and was being administered in a much sweeter form. At the moment the somewhat disoriented single father, was certainly beginning to feel the familiar symptoms of fever. Yes this medicine was incredibly welcomed, though still bitter none the less.
How typical of him! Here we had someone’s life that was tragically left dangling in the balance, and here he was, comparing the poor girl to pharmaceuticals.
And it wasn’t just anyone’s life, or future, that had been placed in his.. atypical hands…
Since his arrival to this wayward meeting, he found himself, once again, glancing over to the nearly adult girl sitting in the minimalist leather seat beside his own, only a few inches away.
Though he knew it would be best not to notice, she just happened to be close enough to smell the light flowery jasmine fragrance on her body and clothes, as well as the sweet coconuty scent of her hair. It smelled absolutely delicious.
He never knew coconut and jasmine made such a beautiful aromatic combination.
He could also hear her somewhat faint sighs, and the puffiness of her beautiful yet sorrow filled eyes were clear as crystal. It was incredibly difficult to comprehend what he saw when he looked at her now… after all these years…
Even more complicated was what he felt.
She was still that bold, intelligent and incredibly passionate girl that he remembered, since the last time he’d seen her some odd years ago. Still..
Everything else about her seemed to had changed.
What once was just adorable pudgy legs, and thick squishy cheeks, and short fluffy curls; after what really didn’t seem like much time at all, had become long, toned, strong limbs. Her gentle face, and dark mysterious eyes seemed to call to him. Her long intricately textured tresses, resting in a high, well maintained pony-tail, before casually falling behind her shoulders. Mature and reserved, this was no longer, ‘His “little” favorite’, as was his nickname for her when she and his own boy were but lads.. Much to the chagrin of his OWN son by the way. Nope, those days were long gone. Now?
She had now become a young lady.
With silken ebony skin and bright sullen eyes that sent his heart into a downward spiral, he found her heartrendingly beautiful. She likely saw him however, as nothing more than her father’s long… distant brother, at least that’s what she likely HAD thought of him. Now however?
It looked as though they might not be so distant after this fateful, thunder laden day.
“Ahem… Are you OK with this arrangement… Mr. Jackson?” Ms. Mitchell, the attorney of the deceased, sat calmly with a polite, implied smiled. One that clearly showed her impatience at having to repeat such a seemingly simple question.
“I’m sorry Ma’am…” Sam apologized, he found his eyes reluctant, straying from his ‘girly’, who at the moment seemed to be trying her hardest not to mourn her loss openly; only to meet the well versed lawyer’s expecting gaze.
“Would you mind running that by me again..? You’ll have to excuse me…” He gave her his utmost sincerely, softening the woman’s slightly annoyed expression. “My mind’s been sort of scattered here lately. Especially with everyone up and exiting on me…”
Out the corner of his eye however Sam could see the young girl shiver slightly, as the soft hiss of a stifled, mournful gasp escaped her glossy, subtly quivering lips. Immediately regretting his word choice and afraid he’d come off as callous to the obviously still shaken girl, he gently rested a hand firmly on her shoulder.
“There, there baby-girl… It’s all going to be alright.” He spoke in a calm, almost melodious tone, hoping to soothe her somewhat. Though he did not know the validity of his statement, he did however know what he felt, and that was a serious determination to make his promise a reality.
He would help make everything alright… and that seemed to be enough for the young woman. She took a long, incredibly deep breath, before calmly resting her hand on top of his own. In fact he found himself nearly enraptured as she finally, since arriving, turned to face him fully.
He could see her now… clearly.
And she nearly took his breath away.
Her large brown eyes, though they appeared slightly puffy and tired, still seemed to sparkle with such a marvelous, yet enchanting glow. She smiled at him confidently, and though they could both sense her effort as she tried, rather successfully, to give off the impression of strength and resilience. Thin cracks of vulnerability however still shone through the tough, stalwart surface of her facade. Especially was it obvious to him. He truly cared about the girl, always had… He could tell when something wasn’t right. Noticing her vulnerable state, his hand, almost instinctively, slid slowly etiler eve gelen escort to her soft, warm-to-the-touch cheek. Instead of pulling away or giving him a strange look as he might have expected, she instead responded by drawing closer against his cupped hand…
This couldn’t have been the first physical contact she’s had since…? Was it…? Oh no…
All he could do was continue softly stroking her cheek as he contemplated the depressing loneliness his beautiful niece had to endure throughout this entire last week; and watch in relative horror as her lashes fluttered closed momentarily. It almost seemed she would break then and there. The fact that she felt comfortable enough around him to show her emotions the way she had, almost made him swell with pride. She still loved her Uncle. What more could he ask for? His attention quickly shifted as she opened her deep soulful brown eyes. They glittered and glistened, in the dull hazy glow of the incandescent light fixtures above, with un-shed tears. Slowly she mouthed the words.
Strangely this time around, it was he that found himself stifling a gasp.
Damn… she was simply…
“Ahem…” Ms. Mitchell coughed abruptly, causing them both to flinch. The lawyer swiftly raised the large stack of papers she laid out before them on the desk, before thumbing through them and carefully stacking them, before finally handing them in one neat pile to the older gentleman.
“To make it short, sweet and to the point for you Mr. Jackson, YOU are listed in Mr. and Mrs. Jackson’s will, as the Executor of the Estate.” She reached out with her long purple coated nails and tapped a small section, highlighted in bold red, of the first sheet in the rather large stack of legal paperwork. “Article 2 states that everything that belonged to them, including Guardianship of dear Ms. Dominee Jackson, are now in your hands.” She flashed her polite half smile again, though the arrangement still seemed rather troubling. Not that he wasn’t up for it. He’d like nothing more then to provide a safe and loving home for his niece, as he had for a great deal of her child-hood.
“You have to understand Ma’am…” Sam began, as he carefully arranged his thoughts. The last thing he wanted was to make her feel unwanted.
Quite the contrary honestly…
Though he might not readily admit it, he really wanted her in his possession. He could keep her safe and secure… Yes.
He wanted her.
But for all the right reasons?
That still had to be determined.
“This is really amazing honestly, that my brother… would trust such huge and wonderfully important matters like this, to someone like me, but-” How could he finish this? Out the corner of his eye, he could see the girl’s almost hopeful expression, sink back to the detached indifference that he truly desired to relieve her of.
‘Shit.’ She probably thought he was giving her up. It wasn’t like that.
“It’s just… I know Dominee isn’t much younger then my boy… Which mean’s shes almost at the age where legally all this could go to her. I just don’t want to stand in her way of becoming financially independent. Plus my brother and I haven’t really…” Sam found himself purposefully letting the thought trail off, almost regretting nearly bringing it to light. Though he had noticed his niece inquisitively perk up at the mention of her father.
“You are indeed right Mr. Jackson. In their will, they do indeed have Dominee listed as beneficiary,” the woman slid her glasses down a tad, peeking at the man intuitively.
“but ONLY if she’s the legal Age of Majority. I’m afraid she’s still a year behind that magical number.” She eyed both of the parties sitting in front of her.
“Besides…” A quiet, depressed but incredibly sweet voice mumbled, leaving the two older adults in silent anticipation.
“I know I’m almost 18… but I’ve still got 2 years left of high-school… I hadn’t planned on moving until college…” Her sad gaze seemed to scream at him “Why are you abandoning me?”
He felt his chest tighten. Of course she hadn’t though about living on her own… she was still in school! He groaned softly, closing his eyes in quiet contemplation.
“Fine.” He finally stated point blank. Though he knew he had slightly ticked her off, he continued.
“I accept, but I want it to be made known right here and right now that I do NOT want any funds or properties to be signed under my name. When this girl is of legal age I demand that her right’s to her families property be restored in full.” He stared squarely into the eyes of the somewhat surprised attorney.
“That is… something we can look into having arranged.” Ms. Mitchell almost seemed taken off guard by his proclamation, as she began absentmindedly thumbing through a loose folder on her desk.
“Does this mean when I turn 18… you want me out as well..?” He heard Dominee mumble softly. Turning aptly to face her but noticing her melancholy etiler grup yapan escort appearance, he could sense a feeling, that he himself understood very well once again…
No. She wouldn’t have to feel that. He wouldn’t allow it.
But how could he get her to understand such a thing…? Almost without thinking he found himself reaching out to her once more. He just needed to show her someone was there.
He just needed to… connect.
“On the contrary…” He took note of her expression, how it went from broken and downtrodden, to surprisingly flustered, as his fingertips brought her chin, as well as her wary gaze to his own. She found herself memorized by the subtle changes in color his heavily lashed eyes seemed to reflect, as well as the confidence they alluded. Though it was confusing, she couldn’t help but desire to draw closer to this source of strength. Especially when no matter how hard she tried, she simply felt weak.
“You can stay with us as long as you like… I promise you that.”
He seemed so sincere…
So why had he been so hesitant…?
Doubt’s quickly faded however, to something much more complicated; as his thumb subtly, unintentionally, began stroking the smooth gentle curve of her softly pointed chin. His touch soothing as he light drug his finger down and under her lower jaw. She found herself momentarily, as well as voluntarily speechless. Her gaze trailed down once more to her toe-less sandals, her cheeks turning embarrassingly hot. He however found the dark pink hue under the beautiful ebony tone to be quite… Tempting…
It made him immensely eager to delve further into the inclinations and inklings that might have caused the sudden of change hue.
Finally though she found the initiative to regain control, and return his determination. Smiling proudly, though her bright eyes still glistened with well hidden sadness, she softly clasped his hand between her own; while gently caressing her warm cheek lightly against his inviting palm.
“Thank you… ” She whispered. Her voice, soft and sincere.
Hearing it brought him back to the days where he’d be on his hands and knees for hours, giving piggy back and dinosaur rides. After about the hundredth, even if little Johnny would run off, he could count on his little favorite to hop down with a hug and a soft “Thank you…”
Looking at her as she said it now however, brought a very different set of feelings.
Feelings that he’d probably do his best not delving into.
Watching her smile as she begun to speak about her excitement at being with-… well living, with him and his boy?
It made it hard not to delve even deeper.
“I’ve missed you and Johnny… So going back to the ranch will be nice… it’ll be like old times…” Her eyes twinkled as she smiled once more, her hope once again restored. Looking at her like this was enough, he believed, to make the most jaded individual see hope in the world again.
“Yeah… It will…” He said, still softly stroking her warm, soft, tear stained cheek as she held his hand firmly.
As badly as he wanted to reach out and hug this poor grieving lass, to help ease her anxiety’s and doubts… and just as surely she would have accepted gladly his comfort, they instead found themselves interrupted once again by their slightly distracted attorney.
“One moment.” She called from her stooped position, as she quietly browsed the low shelves lining the lower half, of her back wall. Soon after a moment or two of intense digging, Ms. Mitchell held up a manila folder with a dark stamp, labeling it “Confidential.”
“This record has everything you’ll need. Birth records, social security cards, health insurance documents, etc.” Though they were listening, his thumb, softly stroking the sensitive portions of her neck kept them both slightly occupied.
“We’ll need to hold on to this folder for a few days until you’re ready to make the transition,” She eyed them both, causing them to quickly straighten and pay their full undivided attention.
“Once you both are ready, this folder and all it’s content’s, as well as everything left in Mr. and Mrs. Jackson’s estate will, momentarily, belong to you… Mr. Jackson.” Quickly after grabbing two nearly identical sheets of paper out of the folder, their lawyer laid them before the unlikely pair. In big bold letter across the top, the form read “Temporary Guardianship Agreement.”
Picking up the phone, before first lying an ink-pen beside both clientele, the attorney had already begun dialing and speaking to the temporary foster family in charge of holding the displaced teen for the next few days.
They each took a black fountain pen and began silently going over the small dark print, learning exactly what changes they’d soon be facing.
Satisfied with the arrangement, and after making sure all the affairs they had agreed upon were properly in order, Sam finally, if not a bit relieved, signed his name boldly on etiler masöz escort the dotted line. There… It was now official…
At least on his end.
Looking over quietly however, he noticed the girl’s pen frozen against the signature line, everything else had been filled on the page, except for her name.
“Hey…” he nudged her lightly, playfully. Her bare shoulders heaved upward, then gently went back to their restful state as she sighed. She could barely registering his soft call.
“Everything alright..?” Once again instinct took over, as he began massaging the nape of her neck. The steady gentle movement seemed to help relax her.
“I just…” Though she appeared sturdy, beneath his finger-tips he could feel her quiver still, even though it was hardly perceptible. “I’d really like to leave this city… I’m just scared…” feeling slightly distraught by her admission, he knew he was going to need some clarification.
“Yes?” The attorneys attention had already been fully turned to them for once. She sat with her chin resting above her purple tinted, intertwined fingers. Her phony polite smile replaced with one of genuine interest.
“Where will my.. niece be staying for the next few days exactly?” his question procured a slightly inquisitive response from the downtrodden girl. Even Ms. Mitchell found herself peeking over the rim of her glasses.
“Hmm? Well… a friend’s family from Dominee’s school had agreed to be of any possible assistance to… Ms. Jackson, during her time of need…”
Suddenly the soft scratching of a pen scribbling the surface a of paper caught their attention.
Looking down, he could see in large incredibly neat cursive,
‘Dominee M. Jackson’…
Even her signature was stunning…
“It doesn’t matter…” Her soft voice quietly broke the somewhat stifling atmosphere. Carefully she laid the sturdy, metallic fountain pen before it’s proper owner.
“…it’s.. it’s not like I have anywhere ELSE to go…” She quietly sat back in her seat, taking a deep breath before slowly, almost cautiously exhaling. It seemed she was at the limits of her emotional edge.
“You don’t like staying with your friend?” Sam asked partially curious, though mostly concerned. If she didn’t feel safe or welcomed, he didn’t want to leave her in an uncomfortable situation.
“It’s not that… I just wish I didn’t have to be a burden on them… they’ve already got so many children they’re trying to feed…” She held up 5 fingers, before sadly staring at the lonely piece of paper.
“I know it’s only a few more days, but I just wish I knew someone else… Or…” Her voice lowered softly, giving him a subdued chill.
“If I simply… had another less crowded place to stay…”
Sam could almost feel Dominee’s eyes peeking at him from the corner of their peripheral’s.
He was about to speak up in her behalf when the familiar, slightly nasal voice of Ms. Mitchell protruded his still not quite formed thoughts.
“Well..” she interjected, straightening her thin rimmed glasses once more, before looking the young woman squarely in the eye. “There is your aunt.”
Upon mentioning the girl’s other relation, Sam noticed his lovely niece’s knuckles nearly turn nearly ghost white. Which admittedly was quite an impressive, though problematic feat.
Sam could see her entire demeanor change, it was subtle but definitely noticeable. She appeared silently impassioned. He watched as her long nails drug slowly against the ends of the armrests, carving small indention’s in the simply designed wooden oak tips; with each small grazing of her tense fingertips.
“Don’t.” She muttered quietly.
‘What…?’ Sam felt slightly confused, though the lawyer seemed indifferent to the silent protest, leaving him out of the dark no longer.
“Your aunt, she is in fact listed in the will as a possible option, though she certainly isn’t cited as their first option for… guardianship…” Their lawyer smirked slightly, while knowing damn well the reason. Hearing her speak of the woman nearly caused the young dark skinned girl to break out into fits of screaming rage.
“Yeah because the woman is a filthy, scheming, drugged up, fucking whor-,”
“Whoa, Enough.” Sam quickly whipped to face the young woman sitting with her arms and legs folded in the seat, hardly able to believe his ears. Her lips promptly stiffened, his words like a slap in the face, or an embarrassing paddling with a class-wide audience, though secretly she appreciated his tact…
He couldn’t help it, seeing her in this state of anger did something to him. Nothing good really…
For either of them.
It took a moment for him to register all that had happened, and to will himself not to bend this grown little girl over his lap. Doing so, however would likely be ineffective and met with A LOT of resistance. Besides… the insolent happened to be a bit too old for such a spectacle of discipline.
In this instance he had to remain calm. As well as in charge. Not just for her sake.
“Now go on and apologize to this woman, for your incredibly disrespectful choice of words.” Though she glared at him, her flustered appearance begging him to drop the entire subject, he knew he had to be firm. Though she was nearly grown, he would not tolerate speech like that from no one. Not even his son.
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