The very first thing Romany did when she woke on the hard park bench on Sunday morning, was thank god she was still alive. Seth hadn't done away with her in her sleep.
The very second thing she did was go straight to the phone box and call the estate agents. Within an hour she had viewed a property and bought it in simoleons then and there. It was the most expensive property she could afford and was situated right over the beach. It left her with $25 but at least she had 4 walls, a roof over her head and a door that locked.
At first she had been a bit doubtful over the property, it took a bit of talking through with the estate agent, but she could see the potential. It was going to need a lot of work but it would give her something to focus on.
There was some furniture included. A toilet, bed, shower and fridge. The essentials. She had spent a little bit of money on a mobile phone, so she could stay in touch with her friends the Bunch family and for emergencies.
Okay, so the house looked like its previous owners were tramps from the mud covered floor, filthy toilet, dirty shower, unmade bed and cheap fridge, but it was rather fitting really that she, another tramp, should become its new owner. There wasn't even electric, no light bulb.
She knew if she was going to do up the house and extend it, she was going to need money and a lot of it. She went round the town, asking everywhere she could for work. It just wasn't going to happen. She hadn't been able to afford new clothes and it would take a lot of money to do anything about the scar on her face. Her kind were generally not taken on, when it came to careers.
Disappointed, she returned home and sat on the bench at the side of her new home. She needed to earn simoleons. Perhaps she could catch fish in the pond on the corner of her lot, sell for money? There was also a little garden area, she could try growing and selling produce? There were possibilities.
She was stood mulling over some ideas when she heard someone calling her name. Spinning round, she came face to face with her Aunt Davina. Shocked, she stuttered a wary hello. How had her Aunt found her?!
'ROMANY!' her Aunt screeched, throwing her arms out wide. 'I have been so terribly worried about you! Thank goodness that lovely policeman let me know where you are! You MUST come home with me right away, look at you, skin and bone! What on earth has happened to your beautiful face, that scar, its horrible!'
Romany groaned inwardly. Her Aunt was always so melodramatic. It set Romany's teeth on edge. Such insincerity and down right snobbery.
'What do you want, Aunt Davina?' She asked through gritted teeth.
'What on earth do you mean? I want you to come home! What a silly question! Come, lets sit on this bench and catch up, there has been lots of changes since you vanished,' Davina replied.
'Why the concern, Aunt Davina?! You never cared about me, dont pretend otherwise!' Romany threw at her.
'Oh Romany, don't upset me, you know I struggle with confrontation, I am a very delicate person emotionally! Of course I care for you, would I have reported you missing if not?' her Aunt implored. 'Now come, sit down, we need to talk.'
Romany warily sat down beside her Aunt.
'That's better. Now lets stop this nonsense and you come home with me. Look at you, hair grown long, dressed in rags, in this...this...cesspit of a house! You are wasting away!' her aunt chastised.
'No Aunt Davina, I worked very hard to earn the money for this house, it may not be much, but its mine and I am staying' Romany said firmly.
'Besides, what makes you think I would go back to living with Uncle Brian and his...habits?!' Romany queried tartly.
Her Aunt recoiled as if Romany had slapped her.
'I suppose you wouldn't know would you?' Her Aunt said stiffly. 'Your Uncle Brian died two weeks after you left. It was very sudden, a stroke. So you see there is no reason for you not to come home with me. What do you think you will do for money? With a terrible scar like that on your face, I cant imagine the job offers are rolling in,' her aunt said critically.
'I intend on fishing for a living Aunt Davina. I have a bit of a skill for it, not that it has much to do with you. I already earned $220 simoleons in one day fishing!' Romany flashed back.
'You will need a lot more than that to do this house up Romany!' her Aunt said,smugly.
Romany's temper got the better of her. She stood up and began to shout at her Aunt.
'How DARE you come round here, to my house, and look down on me. I don't even KNOW you! Call yourself my Aunt, where were you when I was growing up? Call yourself my mothers sister, where were you when she needed you? Where were you after she died and my father and I were alone? Take your fake concern and clear off!' she yelled, seeing red.
Her Aunt Davina drew herself up off the bench. Her lips were pinched and face was white. She took a deep breath, and putting her hand out, she said,
'Stop right there little madam! What do you know about anything? You were just a tiny newborn when your mother died! How do you know that I wasn't there! I loved your mother, my sister, deeply and was devastated when she died, but nothing, nothing could make me come and console that terrible father of yours, not after what he did to her! Imagine, just imagine, cheating on your wife when she is all but newly pregnant! She died of a broken heart, knowing what he had done to her and didn't even get to see you! I hold him entirely responsible!' her Aunt burst out.
Romany fell silent. Surely that couldn't be true? Her father would never have cheated on her mother. He hadn't after she had died why would he before? No her Aunt was making it up and it wasn't like her father was here to defend himself, or her mother!
'That's a wicked thing to say! My father is barely dead, totally inappropriate! You should be ashamed of yourself Aunt Davina! Why should I believe you anyway, you were terrible to me, terrible! I ran away because of how you and Uncle Brian treated me and I am glad karma got him in the end!' Romany spat, seething.
Her Aunt looked guiltily at her.
'You are right, I did treat you terrible. I couldn't help myself. You were so slim, so beautiful and my Brian didn't look twice at me any more. He told me how fat and ugly I was, compared to the likes of you and I was too cowardly to leave him, so I took it out on you. I am also glad he is dead and I am sorry for the way I treated you. I will always be sorry, my sister would be so ashamed of me,' her Aunt said.
Romany was surprised. It actually sounded pretty heartfelt. She thought about it and yes, it must have been hard, having a young adult sent to live with you that your partner was lusting after whilst insulting and degrading you. She actually did feel a teeny bit sorry for her Aunt. But...
'Even if that's the case, you think you can come round here and drag my fathers name through the mud?! He never had any affair, he died having never been with any other woman since mother died. You take your lies and clear off, don't come back!' She yelled, glaring at her aunt and crossing her arms, to show she meant business.
Her Aunt sighed and smiled.
'Romany, you are still very young. Only just really starting out in life. You don't want to believe the worst of people, but when you get to my age, you have a better idea of human nature. You will learn. You hold on to your image of your perfect father, if it helps you. But it did happen and that IS why I was not around.'
With that, her Aunt walked away.
Romany sat on the bench shaking still. But why was she shaking? Was it rage, or perhaps the possibility that there was more to her mothers death than her father let on? Had he broken her heart? It couldn't be true. Could it?
For the reader, can you guess Davina's traits? One is no sense of humour. No cheating and looking at the exchange page!