Forgotten Love

By: Cher Etan


“Shut up and eat your breakfast,” Allen said the first time Frances tried to suggest she mosey on out and head back to the bunker before someone else discovered it.

“Why? Would you want to do this to yourself. You don’t really know me-“ she began to say.

“You didn’t know me when you took me home with you,” he interrupted her.

“Yeah well…” Frances smiled and shrugged one shoulder. “You wouldn’t have survived a week on your own.”

“True,” Allen agreed smiling back.

“You don’t owe me anything,” Frances said.

“Sure I don’t. Do you not want to stay with me?” he asked.

“What’s not to want?”Frances asked spreading out her hands to indicate the lavishness of the room they were breakfasting in.

“Well then? Stay.”

“Okay then.”

“Cool,” Allen said happily.

“What shall I do while you’re in school all day?” she asked.

Allen frowned at her. “You’ll come with me,” he said, like it was a foregone conclusion.

Frances frowned. “I don’t think so. I don’t really have any formal education; I’d have to go to the first grade or something.”

Allen looked perturbed. “Oh…well. We could hire a tutor,” he suggested.

“Hey, don’t stir yourself on my account, I’ll be fine.”

Allen said nothing but the next week, he went to discuss with his administrators the possibility of getting a tutor for Frances. They told him that as guardian, his uncle would have to sign off on that. Allen knew his uncle was resentful of Frances’ presence in their household, he called her a gold digger to her face and was rude to her when Allen wasn’t around. Still, Allen had learned to stand up to him, stand his ground; so he knew he would get what he wanted. He had his uncle’s number now, knew how to handle him. So he went in with a proposal; he would agree to endow his uncle with ten million dollars as soon as he attained his majority if he didn’t stand in the way of Frances staying with them, and signing off on anything they needed him to. If he refused, Allen would leave him on the street as soon as he was legal. His uncle could hardly refuse.

Frances got a tutor and Allen’s uncle signed off on her staying with them. She wasn’t in the system which meant nobody was looking for her. She would have to get into the system at some point, if she wanted to be a productive member of society so Allen had his lawyers working on that.

Frances turned out to be pretty bright and soaked up knowledge like a sponge. Her tutor was very impressed with her progress and informed Allen’s uncle as the legal guardian that he most likely had a genius on his hands. Since Michael St. James couldn’t care less how bright Frances was, he just grunted and handed the tutor his check for the week.

*****

Allen was a popular boy in high school. He had street cred for running away from home…And bringing back a street kid to live with him. He was also an orphan, a rich one at that, which added to his allure. He had no problem getting dates but he didn’t really have a steady girlfriend. He didn’t feel like anyone really understood him…except maybe Frances. She was his best friend and confidante. She made no effort to fit in with his school friends, tending to go off on her own with a book. But she always had time for him. His friends thought she was a strange girl, whose hair could use a trim maybe, possibly a stylist. Frances thought it was a huge compromise that she combed it everyday so she wasn’t about to sit in a salon chair and allow herself to be transformed into some stranger just so Allen’s friends could feel that she was less strange. She was strange, she accepted that; she didn’t see how it was anybody’s problem but hers. she figured she was making a major concession combing her hair every day.

When Allen was eighteen he met a girl; she was new in town, worked at the coffee shop where he stopped off every morning on the way to school. She was tall and blonde; beautiful in a fragile sort of way. Even though she was almost five foot eleven, there was something delicate about her that awakened Allen’s protective instincts. The first time they met, her boyfriend was bothering her at work, and her supervisor was inclined to let her go because of it; he had no time for that sort of drama in his establishment. Allen stepped in, defended her and saved her job. He also gave her (ex) boyfriend a black eye. It was the beginning of a tumultuous relationship.

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