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The Gardens
Published Jun 10, 2020

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Hera: No, no! Absolutely not.
Clark: Hera, I have already agreed.
Hera: How could you? Without consulting me at that?
Clark: There is no discussion. I made the decision and it's final.
Hera: Am I not your wife? It's bad enough the help does not respect me but now you?
Clark: You are overexaggerating. This is good for everyone.
Hera: I don't see how.
Clark: Seraphina is like family. She has been with me since Dominic was born. She has always worked well and cared for this family. She has never asked for anything up until now. And the only thing she wants is to let her niece work here in exchange for room and board while she attends college. It's a win-win. Besides we have been through plenty of help in the last years.
Hera: And that's my fault.
Clark: They were working under you.
Hera: I have high standards.
Clark: She came to me and needed help.
Hera: We know nothing about this girl
Clark: Her name is Sansa. She'll be a freshman. She received a scholarship but it doesn't cover housing. She's been living with Seraphina's other brother. Her parents passed away when she was small and they have been caring for her since then. She's like a daughter to Seraphina. Every vacation she goes to see her. They talk all the time. She's all she talks about.
Hera: I don't pay attention to the help.
Clark: I told you never to refer to Seraphina as the help. She deserves more respect than that.
Hera: Why? Cause she was your son's nanny?
Clark: You know why.
Hera: Then why didn't you marry her.?
Clark: Stop being overdramatic.
Hera: I don't want this girl here.
Clark: I have already agreed and made arrangements for her arrival. She comes tomorrow. And you will be on your best behavior.
Hera: Or what?
The next morning:

The driver pulled into the driveway of the estate. The young lady stepped out of the car amazed at the sight before her. This was more than she imagined.
Sansa: I thought Ina lived in a house. This is a hotel.
Her thoughts were interrupted when she heard her name from the far end of the house.
Ina: Sansa! Are you just going to stay outside?
There was the tiny framed lady standing in front of her. Her smile was warmer than the sun. She held her hands out to the girl.
She ran across the field to the older woman. Both laughed as they embraced.
Sansa: Aunt Ina!
Ina: Sansa. It's only been a few months but I feel like it's been ages since I last laid eyes on you girl. Look at my darling child. How was your first trip across the country?
Sansa: Long but I'm glad I'm here.
Sansa: Thank you again for letting me stay. I hope I won't be a bother to family.
Ina: Of course not. I've been with them for almost 20 years. Mr. Sullivan is a good man.
Sansa: I'm just a little nervous.
Ina: Nonsense. Are you ready for school? It starts in a week.
Sansa: Don't remind me. I saw the campus pictures and the campus looks huge. I can only hope I don't disappoint.
Ina: Nonsense girl. You were given that music scholarship because they saw something in you. You earned it. Now come in. It's getting so hot out here.

Sansa grabbed her bag and followed her aunt inside the house. She took one last look before entering the double doors.
Hera: And this must be Sansa. I have heard so much about you.
Ina: Yes ma'am. Sansa, this is Mrs. Sullivan. She is the lady of the house.
Clark: Hello dear.
Ina: And this is Mr. Sullivan.
Sansa: Pleased to meet you both. Thank you so much for agreeing to let me stay here.
Hera: It is my pleasure. Seraphina is like family.
Hera: I heard you received a scholarship to attend UniSim.
Sansa: Yes Miss. In music
Hera: My stepson Dominic goes there as well.
Sansa: Right. Aunt Ina has told me about him.
Hera: Of course you two have different majors so you may not see each other there. Or anywhere else for that matter. He's been out of the house for a little while.
Hera: Well it was lovely meeting you. I don't want to keep the two of you any longer. Seraphina will show you to your room. I made sure it was nice and cozy for you.

Seraphina nodded her head slightly as she was dismissed to take Sansa to her room on the east side of the estate. It was the servants' quarters and where most of the staff stayed.
Sansa: So that is Mrs. Sullivan?
Ina: The NEW Mrs. Sullivan. But she is nothing like his first wife. Only a poor replacement.

Ina took her to her assigned room. It was not cozy at all. It was the smallest room in the far corner of the estate. There was nothing in there but a twin bed and dresser.

Seraphina: I hope you don't mind staying in this room. The Mrs. wouldn't let you sleep closer to me.
Sansa: This is fine. It's only for the first year.

Hera: Aren't you proud of me. I behaved just as you asked.
Clark: Did you have to give her the smallest room.
Hera: She won't be working full time. Why should she have a bigger room? It wouldn't be fair to the other staff.
Clark: You are something else woman.
Ina: How did you sleep dear?
Sansa: Well. The bed was better than the one at Uncle Larry's.
Ina: Well then. Let's begin.

Ina guided Sansa through the estate starting with the outside and working their way through the wings of the property.
Sansa: I can't believe you live in a place so big.
Ina: It used to be a lovely place to live. But once Ms left, it turned cold. I've only stayed on this long for Sir.
Sansa: Is that why there are no family photos in the house?
Ina: Dominic took them all. He took it really hard when his father married his assistant. He took them all before she could throw them away.

They walked to the furthest side of the house.
Ina: This is Dominic's wing.
Sansa: He has an entire wing.
Ina: Yes. I am the only one allowed here.
Sansa: You're the only one he trusts.
Ina: I'm the only one not afraid of him. I was hired as his nanny at first. His mother grew ill after his birth and needed extra help. And when his father began.... when his parents divorced, I was sent to live with him and his mother to help her as well. But since their latest fight, he hasn't been home in a month. Come on. Let me show you more.
First day:

Sansa was an hour early to campus. She missed orientation and didn't want to look lost. So she decided to give herself a walkthrough of the campus. The campus was small but overwhelming. UniSim was a prestigious university. Only the best, elite, and richest were invited to attend. She was beginning to feel out of place as the pathways filled with students all wearing designer clothes and accessories. How was she going to fit in?
Sansa: Excuse me can you tell me how to find the Hawthorne building. I can't quite find it on the map.
Woman: That's because it was just built this year. You're looking at the old map. Let me show you.
The two women walk to the far end of the path where Sansa was directed towards a lavish building at the end.
Woman: Music student?
Sansa: How did you know?
Woman: That's the new music building. The Hawthornes put alot of money into the building. The university was happy to take the donation. You must be good.
Sansa: I don't know.
Woman: They built a music program and only invited the very best students to attend, so you must be good. What do you play? Jazz? Classical?
Sansa: A little of everything.
Woman: Well good luck.
The first weeks of school were just as hard for Sansa. Although she was doing fine in her classes there were still parts of college life that were hard to get used to at UniSim. The cafeterias were like malls and hosted a variety of vendors to choose from. She often brought her lunch to avoid spending extra money. This time she forgot her lunch and had to find the smallest cheapest dish on the menu. She took a deep breath as she looked at the tiny bowl of ramen.
Sansa: I can't believe this is $15. It better be good.

Her stomach growled back at her.
She heard her name being called from across the room. She looked around but didn't notice anyone. Then she heard it again. She hadn't made any friends so she couldn't understand how someone would know her name.
Sansa walked towards the voice and found two females seated at a table. There was a look of confusion on her face.
Female: Sansa right?
Sansa: Right.
Female: You're in my Mandarin class. I sit behind you. Melany Choi.
The young lady's smile was welcoming so she agreed to join them.
Melany: This is my friend Chrissy, Chrissy this is Sansa.
Chrissy: Chrissy Griggs.
Sansa: Sansa Willard.
Chrissy: Of the LA Willards?
Sansa: I don't know any LA Willards. I'm from Idaho.
Chrissy: Oh.
Melany laughed: You can be such a snob. Anyway, I called you over here because you have been killing it in class. I could use a tutor.
Sansa: I don't know. I've never tutored anyone.
Melany: I can pay you. My father is making take the class. He wants me to learn.
Sansa: It's not the money. It's just I don't know if I have the time. I have another job as well.
Chrissy: You work?
Melany shot her a dirty look.
Just then a crowd of females began leaving the cafeteria.
Melany: It must be the Dream Team.
Sansa: Who?
Melany: You really are not from here. The Dream Team. Or as I like to call them the Mean Team.
They call themselves the F3. Each of them is a legacy to UniSim. Their great grandfathers are founders of the University. And they all come from old money. The girls call them the Dream Team. But to me, they are just a bunch of rich kids that take advantage of what they have to treat others like dirt. Even the professors can't say anything to them out of fear of losing their jobs. Simon Horne IV. His family owns the Horne hotels, the 3rd largest hotel company. He is the eldest of his father's children and is said to be taking over the family business on his 21st birthday. He's just going here because it's tradition. But he is already expanding the family business with a few nightclubs in the major cities.
He's a big-time playboy that prefers to be with older women.
Lee Hawthorne. His family were the first settlers in the town. Mostly everything has their name on it.
Sansa: The Hawthorne Music building.
Melany: Yep that's his family too. They built it specifically for him to have a place to play. He started the new Music program along with his professor. Lee doesn't really talk. He's a man of few words and prefers his instrument than being part of large crowds. He plays 7 different ones and was considered a child prodigy.
And then there is Nic Wright. His family made their money in the stock market. They do a little of everything. He made his first million on his own when he was 15 years old.
Sansa: I only made $1000 saving for 3 summers of babysitting.
Melany: He's the ringleader and the worst of them all. He never smiles only when he's about to emit some horrible act on someone. Girls like him because he's a rich bad boy. I don't see anything cute about that at all. I'd advise you to just stay out of their way.
Sansa: Wow! I mean I know I went to a rich school but this is crazy.
Melany: You get used to it after a while. Everyone here is either old money, celebrity kids, and moguls in the making.
Sansa: You?
Melany: My parents do well. But I don't let that bother me. Money isn't everything you know.
Sansa (to herself): It is when you don't have it.
Sansa was so busy looking at her schedule she wasn't paying attention to where she was going. Before she knew it, she bumped directly into Lee.
Sansa: I'm so sorry.
Lee: It's okay Sansa.
Sansa: Wait. You know my name?
Lee: Of course. Sansa Willard. Freshman. Music major. I'm Lee Hawthorne.
Sansa: Do you memorize all the freshmen?
Lee (laughing): Only the ones I like.
Sansa: huh?
Lee: I am part of the board that selected you to come here. I liked your selection.
Sansa: Oh.
Lee: You play wonderfully. I just knew you had to come here.
Sansa (blushing): Thank you.
Lee: I can't wait to hear you perform in person. See you around.
Melany: Wait! Lee Hawthorne said all that to you.
Sansa: Well yeah.
Melany: Lee doesn't speak to anyone. I mean seriously. He barely speaks to anyone except to the F3.
Sansa: What all do you know about Lee?
Melany: Why? Are you interested in him?
Sansa: Don't be silly.
Melany looked at her in disbelief.
Sansa: I'm just curious.
Melany: Curious huh?
Sansa: Okay, okay, I might be a little interested in him.
Melany: Get in line.
Sansa: So what do you know?
Melany: I'll talk on one condition.
Sansa: What?
Melany: Go to a party with me tomorrow night.
Sansa: A what? No. Uh uh
Melany: Then you must not want to know.
Sansa: You know I don't like parties. Especially not with that crowd. I feel like everyone is staring at odd girl.
Melany: You're with me. They won't be bothered. Trust me.
Sansa: what do you know?
Melany: Not much. Like I said. He's a quiet and mysterious type. He and Nic grew up together and have been best friends since childhood. He created the Talent board for the Music program and serves as the President of the committee. I know the girls here fawn over him but he doesn't pay them any mind. I thought he was dating a duchess or something but it was all rumors.
The next night:

Melany: See! Aren't you glad you came out with me?
Sansa: It's not as bad as I thought. The Dj is great.
Melany: C'mon I want to introduce you to some people I know.
As they made their way through the small groups Sansa gripped the side of Melany's arm.
Sansa: He's here.
Melany: Who?
Sansa: Lee.
Melany: Well go say hi.
Sansa: No. I can't.
Melany: Want me to do it?
Sansa: Absolutely not.
Melany: then go.
Sansa took a deep breath as she walked closer to Lee. She was only just a few yards away but it seemed to take a long time. Suddenly she felt herself getting moved around the crowd. The crowd was growing between them and she lost sight of Lee. When she finally regained her balance she fell into a large bump in her path. Sansa: Oh! Excuse me. I didn't mean to spill your drink.
She grabbed the closest cloth to wipe the drink off the shirt.

Voice: Are you stupid or dumb?
Sansa: Huh?
Voice: You must be dumb to not notice me standing here.
Sansa: I said I didn't mean to. It was an accident.
He grabbed her arm and swatted it off of him.
She saw his cold eyes looking back at her. She had never met him face to face but she could tell who he was. Nic Wright. The small crowd that was close to them began to hush as they eavesdropped.
Nic: Oh I'm sorry. You're stupid then.
Sansa: Stupid? You're a jerk!
Nic: What did you call me?
Sansa: A jerk. Or are you stupid or dumb?
Nic: Do you know who I am?
Sansa: I know and I don't care. You can't just talk to people like they're nothing.
Nic: If it walks like a duck...
Sansa: I'm sorry. What I meant to say is you're a BIG jerk. If you go around talking to people like this you will never get anywhere in life.
She pushed passed him and found Melany in the party before leaving to go home.
Nic: I can't believe this girl had the nerve to talk to ME, Nic Wright like that.
Simon: You did call her dumb. What do you expect?
Nic: She called me a jerk! If that's what she thinks...I'll show her. You can't talk to me like that and get away with it.
Simon: I don't like that grin on your face.
Lee: You've never hurt a female Nic.
Nic: Who said I was going to hurt anyone? I'm not going to lay a finger on the girl.
Lee: Then what are you going to do?
Nic: I have too many people to do that for me. Soon she'll be begging me. Begging me.
Simon: You can be a cruel man Nic.
Nic (laughing): I know. You gotta teach them how to respect people. Otherwise, they will never know their place.
One week later:

Nic: It's been days and this girl hasn't cracked yet! They've hidden her clothes, set rumors on her. She's like a weed that keeps growing.
Simon: Maybe you've just met your match Nic. Maybe it's time to give up.
Nic: Give up? Naw. She's gotta pay.
Lee: It's okay man. It's not worth it.
Nic was growing frustrated. For the past few days, he has sent people to disrupt Sansa's life. But every time she would bounce back. He's done everything he knew how to embarrass her in public. There was no way he was going to let her get away with talking to him. She was a common girl with nothing.
He had to admit she was resilient and bounced back everything he threw at her. A smile almost raised from his face as he remembered her face arguing with him the other night.
Lee: Well I have to get going. Midterms are tomorrow and I need time to practice.
Simon: I don't see why. You're the best one there.
Lee: I have to be perfect. It's worth 1/3 of our grades. Everyone has to do it in the program.
Nic: Everyone huh?
Simon: You did what?
Nic: I had a few people lock her in the girl's locker room after her morning workout. And she missed her music exam.
Simon: Nic. You've gone too far, man.
Nic (waving him off): If this doesn't get a rise out of her..... I know she'll be begging me to stop now. I can't wait to see her face when she-
The double doors swung open.
Sansa: Leave us...NOW!
A large group of people left the common room, leaving Nic, Simon, and Lee in the room.
Sansa: You-

She walked right to Nic.
Nic: So you've come to beg
Sansa: Beg?
Nic: Beg me to stop.
Sansa: So it WAS you!
Nic: Of course it was. Are you dumb or are you stupid?
Just as he raised from his seat there was loud slap! Nic felt a hard sting hit his face. He touched his cheek.
Nic: Did you just smack me?
Sansa: It's because of you and your petty pranks that I lost my scholarship.
Nic: Me?
Sansa: I worked hard to get here and now, because of your childish, egotistical ways I missed my final exam. I've lost my scholarship and I have to drop out of school. And why? Because I bumped into you. You are not human. You are dirt! You may have all the money in the world but it can't buy you class.
Sansa: People like you have never had to work hard a day in your life and you couldn't possibly know what it means to really earn something. If I ever see you again, I promise you I will do more thank smack you. I hate you! You've ruined my life.
Sansa wasn't going to let him see her cry. Instead, she ran out of the room before a tear could fall.
Simon: Too far man.
Melany ran after her friend and tried to calm her down.
Sansa: And to make matter's worse I almost lost my scholarship.
Ina: Almost?
Sansa: I guess the board felt sorry for me and let me do a retake. But it could have been worse. Can you believe someone would go that far to prove a point? I've never done anything to anyone.
Ina: Sounds to me like you have a crush?
Sansa: A what?
Ina: A crush.
Sansa: He's a jerk.
Ina: He's a guy that's a little immature at expressing his feelings.
Sansa: A little?
Ina: Okay. A lot. But like most men he just wants your attention. He has a terrible way of getting it...unfortunately.
Sansa: I don't ever want to see his face again. I hate him.
Ina: While you're hating him, can you grab that tray and bring it to Dominic.
Sansa: Dominic?
Ina: He's finally home. But he's not spending dinner with the family and their guests this evening.
Sansa: I thought you were the only one that can go in his wing.
Ina: Well the Mrs. wants me to make my famous Key Lime dessert tarts so I need some help with my other duties.
Sansa: No problem. I guess I will finally get to meet the mysterious Dominic Sullivan.

Simon: So are you going to apologize to the girl?
Nic: I don't apologize. Never have, never will.
Lee: But you made her miss her final.
Nic: I'm still not apologizing. Did you hear her call me all those names.
NIc: Besides, I think I am the last person that she wants to see right now. You heard her. She hates me.
Lee: I'd hate you too.
There was a knock on the door.
Nic: Finally dinner. Come in! I need to get my mind off this stuff.
Lee: How can you eat at a time like this?
(The tray dropped on the floor)
Sansa: OH NO! IT'S YOU!!

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summoner.witchDec 30, 2020

I love this story as the first one.

socajade VIPAug 23, 2020


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