Painting in Acrylic by @therealpaul
For those of you who missed the post of the release, I briefly explained how the series began as an idea for a Young Adult novel, and that I had in fact written what amounts to a novella taking place the summer before REBORN begins, and I decided to release it here on steemit.
Anna finished packing her stuff for the trip and stepped out onto the front porch, dropping in the swing that hung from the rafters. She frowned over at the spot in her driveway where she’d last seen Austin’s vehicle, wondering when he’d come to get it and if Gina had driven him. She made a face and pulled her phone from her pocket, willing him to call. Her stomach was knotted with anxiety. She couldn’t remember a time when he hadn’t returned a call or text from her within a few minutes of receiving it and hadn’t realized how much she’d come to rely on him for that consistency. She’d taken it for granted and was now paying the price.
And while she hadn’t heard from him, she had already heard about him. Since Jess had spent the morning with Nate she’d quickly found out the scoop. Her friend’s phone call still rang inside Anna’s head like a death toll: “He spent the night with that stupid witch, I can’t believe it, what could he be thinking?” She’d said more but Anna hadn’t heard a word of it beyond that first awful sentence. Spent the night with her, what did that mean exactly? Did he have sex with her? She shuddered trying desperately not to imagine the two of them together in that way.
In about an hour she would be heading out to the campsite with the girls to set up their tents for the festival that would begin that evening. The time couldn’t go by fast enough. They had adjoining campsites with a bunch of guys, Austin included, and it made her feel better just knowing she could see him, even if he wouldn’t talk to her. Although if Gina was with him….that was going to be extremely hard to deal with.
She walked out onto her porch and dropped on the swing. She needed to think about something else. For the first time since the day after graduation she allowed her mind to drift to the conversation she’d had with her dad just before he’d hopped his next plane. It had only been three weeks but on some level she knew it was an extraordinary amount of time to go without contemplating the things he’d revealed. In particular the fact that the maternal grandparents she had never known had apparently been deliriously wealthy and left every penny of their vast inheritance to her.
She closed her eyes. Her grandparents. A title that meant nothing to her having never known any such people on either side. Her father had never known his own father and his mom had not been worth knowing according to him. As for her mother’s parents-they had been bluebloods who had come from “old money” and when their only child had decided to marry “beneath” her they’d all but disowned her. Apparently they had changed their position and attempted to reunite with their daughter once Anna had come into the picture, but right before her second birthday a sailing accident had claimed their lives and a reading of the will had named her their sole heir.
The money had been held in a trust by her mom until her death, then it had transferred to Anna’s father who wanted absolutely nothing to do with it. He had immediately hired a financial manager and the moment Anna had turned eighteen it had been transferred into an account under her name, a fact that her dad chose to reveal once she’d graduated. At the conclusion of this conversation he’d simply said "It's yours by birthright sweetheart, it's more than enough to keep you living large for the rest of your days. Just try and always keep in mind that money isn't everything. I trust I've trained you well as to the important things in life, I'm sure for you it will only make life sweeter."
For the first time since the conversation had taken place she found she was curious as to what “living large for the rest of your days” actually meant. A few million? More? She knew her reason for not investigating in the first place was an immediate dislike for anyone who had thought her father was beneath them and anything associated to such people seemed like poison. But if she had millions sitting in an account…she thought of her friends and Austin and all of the things they could do with that kind of money and suddenly her denial of it seemed silly.
She sat up and grabbed her cell, locating the name of the financial manager. She pressed dial and took a deep breath.
“Mark Jenkins speaking.”
“Umm, hi. This is Anna Preston.”
“Oh my, Anna! I’ve been waiting to hear from you! Your father said that he would be speaking to you about the money, although I thought he’d intended to do so several weeks ago…no matter, what can I do for you? We should meet in person…
“Yeah,” she cut him off, “we probably should. Sorry, he did tell me about it a few weeks ago but I wasn’t ready to deal with it at the time. I am now. For the moment though…can I just ask how much it is?”
“Oh, well of course. Did your father explain that your mother chose to have the estate and all things associated with it, by which I mean physical properties, liquidated and turned into real money…
“Yes, he said something about that, which is fine, whatever she chose to do I accept.”
“Yes, right, so there are still a few things that are on the market since we were waiting for the right buyer…but essentially you have upwards of three hundred and sixty million dollars. A number that will increase once the remaining assets have been sold off….
The saliva in her mouth dried up. “Thank you Mark, that’s all I need for now. I’ll be in touch,” she croaked. She pressed end and swallowed hard. Holy shit. Three hundred and sixty million dollars. Holy mother of God. She fell back onto the mattress. Three hundred and sixty million--she’d won the mega-millions. Holy shit, she’d won the ultimate lottery. She couldn’t wrap her mind around it. She’d expected…well she didn’t know exactly what she’d expected, but it wasn’t that. Excitement bubbled up inside of her. “I’m filthy rich,” she said aloud. She reached for her phone, her first thought to call Austin, then dropped her hand to her side. Shit. Her excitement fizzled into frustration.
She brooded for a few moments before picking up her phone and made a noise of impatience-still a half an hour left before she was due to pick up Macey. She decided to give her friend a call and see if she was ready. They could at least head over to Marina’s where the rest of the girls would be meeting, and she needed to get out of the house. She thought briefly about telling her friends about what she’d just learned, but the thought of doing it without Austin present was depressing. No, she’d wait.
“Helloooo,” Macey sang over the line.
“Hey, I was wondering if you were ready, I kinda want to get outta here and head over to Marina’s.”
“Oh, yeah, okay, just give me ten minutes.”
“Great see you then!”
“Grassroootttsss!” Macey hooted into the phone before hanging up.
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