"At least promise me you'll try to fit in with this family," Ms. Grey tells me before knocking on the large wooden door in front of us. I give a barely audible response in return.
Ms. Grey has been the woman in charge of where I've been living for the past few years. Previously I had been in an orphanage, but then the woman running it thought it'd be best for me to live at Ms. Grey's all female foster home. She's been providing houses for young girls without homes for years, and there's no doubt in my mind I've been her least favourite person to stay in the residence with her.
The house before us stood at two stories, bearing dark brown shutters and several large windows. Flower pots filled with various plants are frozen like a picture frame, soaking in the strong rays of sun leaking from the sky. I think back to the last time I saw a house this nice and draw a blank. The neighbourhood that I come from didn't have flowerpots of freshly mowed grass.
"Why hello, you must be Lena. My name's Katherine. Come right in and meet my husband Rob, he's pretty excited to meet you." The middle aged woman says after opening the large door with a creak. She has light blond hair whisked up into a low bun at the nape of her neck. Her outfit is compiled of a baby blue button-down blouse, white capris, and a coral statement necklace. The aura she gives off seems motherly, nurturing almost.
Following her invitation, we step inside the house and I'm happily surprised with the interior. The walls are painted half pale green and half off white, and minimal decorations are scattered sporadically around the house, or at least what I can see from where I'm standing. We follow her into the main foyer where a man carrying a young child stands waiting patiently.
"Pleasure to meet you, I'm Rob and this is my daughter Lucy." He says giving me a handshake with his free hand. The little girl in his arms, who could probably count her age on one hand, gave me a little wave with a big toothy grin.
"I'm Lucy and I'm five years old," She said in an incredibly cute voice.
"Lucy, your four, remember?"
"Oh yeah, oops!" Lucy said, still bubbling with energy. Her platinum blond hair, which she probable inherited from her mother, gives me a big smile. Her eyes are an electric green, and sparkling with excitement.
Ms. Grey takes them into the dining room to fill out some paperwork while Lucy and I stay in the living room.
"Your really pretty," Lucy tells me, sitting down on the floor where a couple abandoned Barbie dolls were laying.
"Um, thanks," I say, not sure how to accept the compliment.
"My mommy and daddy said that you're going to live with us, won't that be cool? It'll be like a sleepover every night!" She says excitedly.
"Yeah, sleepovers are fun," I tell her, even though I haven't been to one myself. Sixteen years old and I haven't even had a slumber party.
I watch her play with her dolls for a while, nervously chewing on my lip.
What if they don't like me, would they send me back?
Soon after, Ms. Grey and Lucy's parents emerge from the dining room.
"Okay, she's officially yours, call if there's any," Ms. Grey glances in my direction, "problems."
"I'm sure there won't be, but thank you anyway. Have a safe drive," Katherine says, walking Ms. Grey to the door. She fetches my suitcase from the car and then leaves without saying goodbye.
"I'll show you your room so you can get settled. We usually have dinner around five, but if you're hungry I can make you something." Katherine tells me, leading me upstairs to the farthest room in hallway.
"It's nothing special, but you can customize it to your likings. Tomorrow we can pick up some paint and maybe a bedspread if you like."
"Thank you," I tell her, "For everything."
"No problem dear, I'll be downstairs if you need me." And with that, I'm left alone in my new room with only a suitcase of familiarity.
The room itself is an average size, equipped with an ivory dresser, a desk, a closet, a mirror, and a queen sized bed. Never in my life have I slept on anything bigger than a single, and my tired body craved the warm comfort of the covers already.
I start to hang up my clothes in the closet, knowing that it would have to be done sometime, and the sooner the better. I had only brought with me one suitcase filled with just the necessities. A few tee shirts, my jacket, several shirts, a few skirts and my favourite sweaters hung nicely in the closet that I could now call my own. Whatever was left, I folded neatly and placed into the dresser. All that was left was to place my school supplies on my desk and plug in my phone.
"Lena, my mommy told me to tell you supper is ready, and we are having pasta." Little Lucy says, tearing me from my thoughts.
"Okay, why don't we go down and eat then." I tell her as I step out into the hallway.
"My room is right beside yours, isn't that cool?" She asks me.
"Super cool." I tell her as she leads me to the kitchen table.
"You sit there, right beside me." She tells me before picking up her glass of water and taking a tiny sip.
"Okay, who wants to say grace?" Rob asks, hiking up his plaid shirt to his mid-forearms.
Katherine gives him a stern look, "Lena, are you any religious?"
"Um, I used to say grace on thanksgiving, so I guess I could do it tonight." I tell then reluctantly.
"Great, whenever you're ready." Katherine tells me. A large hand grasps my left one and I flinch slightly before I realize it's just Rob. Lucy takes my right one in her tiny hand, and I quietly start to recite. When I'm done, everyone smiles and starts to load up their plate. I put some pasta and a few slices of baguette on mine after helping Lucy butter hers.
Dinner's nice, everyone makes light conversation and I even join in a few times myself. When everyone's finished I offer to help Katherine wash up the plates.
"Thank you, I'll wash and you can help dry." She says before starting to clear the table.
The atmosphere in their house, my house now, is so calming. The fireplace in the living room gives off some warm heat, Rob's newspaper pages flipping makes a rhythmic melody, and every once in a while I'd here Lucy giggle at the show she was watching. For once everything seemed, peaceful; something I'd come to forget.
"There's a high school in the neighbourhood, and Rob and I were thinking of enrolling you there," She says after we finish cleaning up the kitchen area.
I haven't been to school since I've lived with my dad. At the orphanage, we just were taught there. I would be in high school now, with kids that have known each other their while lives.
"Yeah, when would I start, it's the middle of April, wouldn't they be halfway through a semester?" I ask her.
"Actually Riverview High starts a new semester on Monday... I know that's early and if you don't want to go that's fine too..." She says sheepishly.
"Well, I guess I could go. I live here now, so I'm going to have to go eventually won't I?" I say with a smile.
Katherine and Rob are so welcoming. I've only been here for a couple hours and from what I can tell, they actually want me here.
I haven't been wanted in years.