Wednesday, August 20, 2008

One Thing Away from Ruin

Mr. Appleton pulled me aside today for a talk. That sounds funny, doesn't it? Cuz you know he'd need a tractor to literally pull me aside, and what he actually did was sit me down for a talk. While he stood. Looking up.

"Melly, we're tapped out. We've taken out loans and second mortgages in order to set you up in your shed. The money we get from the state doesn't cover any of it, or even a fraction of your food budget."

He must have noticed my expression of worry because he quickly added, "Not that we're unhappy to have you here. Quite the opposite, in fact--I've never seen Becka happier since the day I married her."

This sounded true, 'tho Mr. Appleton really only talked about Mrs. Appleton being happy, and not himself or Jay. Mrs. Appleton seemed so happy to have a girl around that she hardly paid any attention at all to her own son anymore, which was yet another reason for Jay to resent me.

"Any little thing could be the end for us," said Mr. Appleton. "Any unforeseen expense, any unexpected damages, any injury caused to another person, or anything that costs us any money at all. If any of these things happen, the state will take you away and I honestly don't know what would happen to you then. Do you understand?"

I nodded, but Mr. Appleton was waiting for more than just a head-bob so I also told him, "Yes, I understand." I'd never seen his face so tightly drawn and serious.

I never imagined things were so bad as Mr. Appleton made them out to be. How would I ever keep from costing the Appletons whatever was left of their life savings when the world and everything in it is as delicate as Ma's old porcelain tea set--which she never let me play with, but which I still ended up breaking when I accidentally bumped into the house hard enough to knock over the curio cabinet.

"Also," said Mr. Appleton, just when I thought there couldn't possibly be any more, "we usually hire a few farm hands to help with the harvest, but this year the orchard budget is a little tight. Jay and his friends will help some but I really need you to step up."

"Of course," I said. I always helped Ma and Pa at harvest time and it's not like there were any crops this year at Mills Farm anyway. "What about that GlomCorp sponsorship?" I asked "That would help a little, wouldn't it?"

Mr. Appleton smiled a little with just the right side of his mouth. "That would help a lot, actually, but I haven't heard from GlomCorp in a week now and anyway, Becka's not too keen on anyone using you to shill products for them. For now, we'll assume the sponsorship deal is dead and be pleasantly surprised if it ever does happen."

When he said that, Mr. Appleton reminded me a little of Pa. Both of them had that "hope for the best but expect the worst" thing going on, and both of them kept their distance from me. With Pa, it was cuz he loved his horse more than he ever loved me and that's okay cuz he did still love me too. But Mr. Appleton doesn't like me at all and only keeps me around cuz it makes his wife happy. He still thinks I'm a monster. I can see it in his eyes.

3 comments:

  1. *sigh* Rough, Melly.

    That's the adult world for you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It maybe tough, but Mr. Appelton's attitude does make sense (about the budget thing anywaY). Poor guy, I'm sure he doesn't mean to harbor animosity, but he can't help it. People are like that Melly. Sometimes a person makes their mind up before they even get to know you. Have faith Melinda Mills. Things will work out eventually.

    ReplyDelete


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Illustrator Challenge

Artists can create illustrations of me or the events in my life, as long as they are appropriate for my young readers. Any previous post on this blog can be illustrated. If I like an image that goes well with a post on the blog, I may add a small thumbnail version along with credit to the artist and a link to the full-sized image. Images of me posted elsewhere should link back to the "Giant Girl Rampages" blog.

If you want to draw a picture of me, here's what you need to know:

I'm 15 years old and almost (but not quite) 18 feet tall. Mrs. Appleton says I'm very pretty and well proportioned, which I guess is a complement. I'm not super thin or anything but I think I'm in pretty good shape.

I have dirty blonde hair that's kind of wild because I trim it with Pa's old hedge trimmers. My eyes are green as the ocean, as Ma always said, but I wouldn't know because I've never seen an ocean. My skin is tanned from being out in the sun a lot but not too dark and (usually) not burned.

I wear a blouse and skirt-shorts that my mother quilted for me three years ago. They look like a big patchwork cuz she used many squares of fabric and cowhide. I've grown since then, so the skirt-shorts no longer come down to my knees, my blouse is way tight, and there's a bit of skin showing in between. I don't have any shoes (and that makes me sad to think about so I usually don't).

If you do draw my picture, send the link in a comment so I can post it to my blog. Thanks!!!

Fan-Fiction Challenge

You can write fan-fiction about me if you want. Just let everyone know your story is made up and not real, unlike this blog which is absolutely 100% true.

Be sure to link back to my blog and I'll link to the stories I like best!!!