The Other Side of Tomorrow

He was too good, a fantasy. He was like an angel, a French angel. Her angel.

He smiled down at her, "Sweetheart," he sighed, "I'll make a deal with you."

"What's that?" She questioned.

"I'll take you to France if you get your life together."

She scrunched her eyebrows together as she looked up at him. It was too much to take in all at once. His face was shining in the sun and his hair had a sort of glow, "Get my life together?"

"You know exactly what I mean by that Alesha," he replied.

Alesha bit her lip. It was no secret her life was mess she barely scraped enough money together to take care of herself.

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2. F R E D R I C K

🌹"No matter how many times I see you my heart always races and I don't know what to say."🌹

Fredrick watched as Karlie ate a burger hungrily. She was talking in between bites and after she had finished her burger she smiled and wiped her lips to get off any sauce or remnants of food. To tell the truth, he had not been listening to any words that had escaped her mouth. He was too worried about Alesha. She had smiled once at him during the day but it hadn't even been a real one. Maybe she was having a bad day? He shook his head, why was he worrying about her? He had just met her. Was it even worry? Or maybe it was--

"Fredrick Wayne Knight Stapling."

 

His head snapped up at the mention of his full name. Only a handful of people knew it and one of them was sitting right across from him. He grinned sheepishly at Karlie who had her arms crossed over her chest as she leaned back in her chair to study him. He tried to look innocent and erase any evidence that he was thinking about Alesha. He picked up a fry from his plate of untouched food and popped it into his mouth chewing slowly to give himself time. He regretted his decision the moment that the food touched his mouth. The fries had been sitting out so long that they had turned cold and stale, leaving a starchy and weird feeling his mouth once he had forced it down his throat. Fredrick took a swig from the glass of water set in front of him. When he looked back up again Karlie was smiling wickedly and had on a face that he didn't like.

"You're thinking about her aren't you?" She asked leaning forward with an excited energy.

Fredrick smirked trying to play it cool, "What? No, why would I?" He retorted back.

She studied him for a moment but when he kept his face in a gorgeous smirk she gave up and instead turned to a different tactic. "She texted me while I was in the bathroom, told me something about her feelings for you."

His smirk faltered. This was not what he had expected. Either his cousin was playing with him just like she had done back when they were kids or she was being truthful which was very rare for her. He was itching to know what she had said so that he could stop worrying about her, but at the same time, he knew that if Karlie was playing with him then he would have just walked into her trap. Fredrick tapped his fingers on the table as he looked past her and out the window. He noticed that raindrops were splattering loudly against the once clear glass. How had he not heard the rain? It was deafening. The rain was coming down so hard that it had turned the whole street into a world of grey. From his seat, he couldn't see anything except the falling rain.

"What did she say?" He finally replied to his cousin once he had watched the raindrops roll down the window for a bit.

Karlie's smile widened, "First you have to tell me if you were thinking about her."

Fredrick shook his head, "I'm not going to say anything."

She wiggled her eyebrows, "I guess I'll just have to tell everyone here about the time that you peed your pants in sixth grade." He scoffed not believing that she actually had the guts to do what she said. His eyes widened in horror when she pushed back her chair and stood up, he grabbed her arm the minute that she opened her mouth. Karlie glanced down at him with an upturned smile.


"Yes?" She asked slowly.

He sighed kicking himself internally for telling her anything. Karlie was known for having a big mouth, tell her something and two days later everyone knew about it. "Yes. Yes I was thinking about her. Now sit down and tell me what she said."

His cousin smirked in victory but sat back down, "She didn't text me."

Fredrick glared just as the waiter came to hand him the bill. He grabbed it and placed a card into the little pouch inside the book. The waiter smiled and rushed back to the counter to pay the amount.

Fredrick pointed a finger at his cousin, "If you play any more tricks on me like that then you can kiss seeing me again goodbye."

Karlie grinned, "I'm sorry."

He took the card out of the book and stood up along with her to exit the restaurant. Holding the door open for her he pocketed his items and followed her to the parking lot where their cars were located. It was raining and they both rushed to get into their own vehicles. He pulled up to her rolling down the windows to give her a goodbye. She smiled and drove off. Fredrick grinned while shaking his head, she hadn't changed a bit from when they were kids. The rain pounded against the hood of the car and he decided after listening to it for a few minutes that it was time to go to his appointment.

🌹🌹🌹

The building in front of her seemed so cheerful and happy it was hard to believe that it was an orphanage. It was a small brick building with a vegetable garden on the side. She walked through the door and heard the bell ring announcing her arrival. An older woman with graying hair and somewhat wrinkled skin appeared from behind the counter. The woman beamed at Alesha as she stood up to greet the visitor.

"Alesha you don't look so well," said the older woman at the counter. Alesha knew exactly what she was talking about. She'd looked at herself in the mirror dozens of times and each time she had gotten worse. She had barely gotten enough sleep this past week and her schedule didn't look like it was about to change any times soon. Her eyes had bags hanging underneath with some slight color and her eyes were usually a pale pink.

She grinned awkwardly at the woman, "I'm fine, besides these children need me."

The woman sighed and handed her a key ring, "I'll go get them, but be careful it's supposed to rain today."

With that she left leaving Alesha to stand in the bare room by herself twirling the keys around her pointer finger. She sighed rubbing her head gently to get rid of the pain that had settled there a few hours ago. Her eyes glanced out the window and she thought about Fredrick. The way he'd seemed so laid back and yet handsome at the same time. She was puzzled at why he had chosen to sit next to her. She got so lost in the daydream that it took her a moment to figure out that a bunch of kids ranging from the ages of five to sixteen had made a semi-circle around her. She glanced down at the child who was tugging on her shirt. Alesha smiled warmly and picked her up.

"Hey Nichole," Alesha said giving her a big hug.

The girl grinned, "Guess what happened Aunt Alesha?"

Alesha pretended to think about the question really hard, "A fairy visited your room?"

The little girl giggled, "No silly, I lost my tooth!" She smiled even wider and Alesha gasped. It was one of her front teeth the hole left a gap in the top row.

She messed with the girl's hair playfully, "Did you put the tooth under your pillow and write a letter to the tooth fairy?"

Nichole nodded with glee. Alesha patted her back before addressing the other kids who were quietly waiting for her.

"Today we'll go to my house and have a movie marathon, how does that sound?" Alesha asked. The children nodded in agreement and followed her out the front door to a parking lot that held four cars. The one that they all piled into was a rusty van. Starting the car she backed out and smiled; happy to be doing one thing that she loved. Polly had been right, the rain was coming down hard and she was glad that they were staying inside.

🌹🌹🌹

The roads were slick and wet so traffic was worse than ever. He let out a huge sigh as he sat in the car. Hopefully, the rain would clear up soon. The movement to his right caught his eye. A rundown minivan had pulled up next to him at the light stop right off of the freeway. The once bright, red paint was peeling and rusty giving the impression that it had lived a long life. The windows were scratched and some only closed halfway due to jammed gears. He looked inside to see children ranging from five to at least fifteen sitting quietly as a woman in the driver's seat looked down at her phone. Fredrick did a double take when he noticed the braid and small bow in the woman's hair.

Alesha?

He stared long and hard at the van wondering why on earth she was driving that sort of vehicle especially with a group of kids. She wasn't married was she? He silently prayed that she wasn't. The woman finally looked up and glanced out the window to see the shiny car that she was next to. Fredrick didn't fret knowing that she wouldn't be able to tell that it was him since the windows were tinted. He could look out but others couldn't look in. He watched as her eyes silently judged the good looking sports car, it was a white and black Lamborghini with a specialized license plate. Her mouth pulled into a quiet 'oh' and her eyebrows shot up. The light turned green and she looked away focusing on the road as she drove. Fredrick followed her out of interest to see where she was headed. The rain poured on but he kept following.

She turned down some back roads and then stopped at the side of the road in some neighborhood. He slowly crawled his way behind her and furrowed his eyebrows. Alesha hopped out of the poor car and kicked the front tire out of frustration. The kids poked their heads out of the windows to see what she was doing. Fredrick pulled up next to her the minute that she had jumped back into the car to get out of the rain. He rolled the passenger window down and leaned over the seat with a hand on the steering wheel.

"Do you want some help?" He inquired.

Alesha turned to him with wet eyes and a red nose, "What are you doing here?" was her reply. She really was shocked to see him riding that sort of car and she was embarrassed to have him see what kind of vehicle she had.

He pulled forward disappearing into the grey before coming back out of his car. Alesha stared at him, he had taken his shirt off and now he was just wearing a pair of fitting jeans and his shoes. His tan skin was wet and raindrops rolled down his toned upper body. She couldn't help but look as he stood at her door. In a few seconds, his once dry hair had turned into a pile of floppy hair that dripped over his eyes. She wanted to run her hand through his hair and feel the sensation of his skin.

"May I?" He pointed towards the hood of the car indicating that he wanted to check it out and see if something in there was the problem. She nodded and he vanished once more in the thick downpour. Alesha sat quietly in the car with the kids. Some had fallen asleep while others talked in hushed whispers amongst themselves. A girl's voice broke the silence.

"Is that your boyfriend?" Asked one of the teen girls from the very back row.

Alesha froze in horror since Fredrick was back at her door. He gave her a lopsided smile making her heart race. His hands were greasy from touching the engine.

"No." She said.

The teen girl smiled slyly, "Is he gonna be?"

Fredrick winked at Alesha and replied for her causing her to blush, "Hopefully." He wiggled his eyebrows at the teen girl who giggled along with the other girls. He returned his attention back to her, "Bad news, your car is dead, and you will have to buy a new one, the good news is that I can push your car since I live a few houses down from here, you all can crash there for a bit."

Alesha started crying, "Why are you being so nice?" Really she couldn't wrap her mind around the reason for him wanting to help her.

He opened the door and pulled her into his arms trying to soothe her. She seemed to calm down a little bit after he held her for a few minutes. Fredrick dipped his head down to her ear, he whispered slowly.

"I'm helping you because it's the right thing to do. If you saw someone in need wouldn't you help them?" He responded. She went quiet and nodded against his chest. Against both of their own will, she pulled back from him and stared at him.

Alesha sniffled, "Do you want me to help you push the car?"

He nodded, "But first let me drive down to the house and drop my car off. I'll be back in a few minutes." He climbed into the passenger side of his own car as she popped back into the van. His hands were shaking as he turned on the car. Was it from holding her? Or the nervousness that felt like a knot in his stomach from acting so boldly? He arrived at his house before he could even think of an answer and he parked it in the garage. He hopped out stretching just a bit before running back to where they were stuck. He knocked on the glass of the car and she stepped out smiling.

"Fortunately my guard was willing to keep the gate open so that we can just push it right on through." He explained already trying to find a good grip, he finally decided on opening the door and placing a hand on the dashboard. She nodded and watched in fascination as he found his position. The rain still hadn't let up and it was coming down harder than before. In a few minutes, he was ready and smiled. "Hopefully this works." He struggled but eventually, the car started to move. Slowly they reached his house and he quickly pushed the van into the garage where he vowed to work on it and buy new parts. The kids hopped out of the run down car and stared in awe at his house. Fredrick especially watched Alesha's reaction, her mouth dropped in surprise at where he lived.

She couldn't believe it, he lived in a mansion. The building itself took up a lot of property with its gigantic porch and balconies. A small, square building was at the front which was the garage and mud room it was connected to the circular driveway. He opened the door and they stepped into a hallway made mostly of glass allowing them to see the well-manicured lawn and the real house. Even the roof of the hallway was made out of glass and she looked up to see that the rain had stopped and the sun had started to come out from behind the clouds. She touched the glass careful not to make an imprint. He led on through the hall and stopped at another door which he opened and held until all of the kids and Alesha had walked through and had entered the main building.

Alesha shushed some of the kids who were 'oohing' and 'aahing' at the room that they were in. It was the main room and had a huge screen tv plastered on the farthest wall. An arrangement of seating was all faced towards the screen.

She felt some heat coming from behind her and she looked up to see Fredrick standing behind her. He still was shirtless but he had dried off somewhat and his hair had stopped dripping.

"Make yourself at home," he said to the guests. Alesha sighed as all of the kids flocked to the tv and switched on some random kids show. He grinned down at her and motioned for her to follow him. They walked up the spiraling stairs and landed at the second landing which had another hallway and doors lining the wall. He opened the very last door and beckoned for her to come in. Hesitantly she followed him and grew a little tense when he closed the door behind them.

"Relax, I just want to talk to you," he said opening the closet door. Alesha warily looked at him as he took out some clothes. He handed her a pair of sport shorts and a shirt. "They may be a bit big, but hopefully they will work for the time that you're here. There's a bathroom to the left."

Alesha grinned at him thankful for his generosity, "Thank you, Fredrick."

He smiled over his shoulder, "You're welcome," he replied before entering the closet and closing the door.

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