Authors: TM Watkins
A Night Fire Novel
By TM Watkins
Copyright 2015 TM Watkins
Copyright © 2015 TM WATKINS
This book is a work of fiction. The names of characters, places and incidents are products of the writers imagination and are not to be interpreted as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locals or organizations is entirely coincidental. With the exception of quotes used in reviews, this book may not be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without the written permission from the author.
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I stood in the shadow of an alley, watching the workers moving in and out of the building that I had called home for about a month. My things were still in there, they weren't valuable if they happened to sell them but they held sentimental value. I wanted to get in there and save them, I needed my things but how? A security guard was roaming near the newly erected chain wire fence, one that would take a lot of effort to scale. How could I get over it and not be noticed? Answer, I couldn't. I'd have to wait until nightfall and then break into the place.
Thankfully there hadn't been any workers to install any kind of alarm system, I'd be done if that were the case. All I had to contend with was a fence and a few locked doors. Maybe I might be lucky and be able to access the broken window. It looked like the workers were gutting the interior office area, what had once been my sleeping accommodation. I sighed wearily, wondering where I would find a new home now.
Several fancy cars pulled into the adjoining car park, the drivers walked into the building. They had to be the new owners, the destroyers of my bleak existence. It's not as if I'd be allowed to sleep anywhere else, those that ruled the vagrant world in this town had deemed me too much trouble because I was only seventeen and a runaway. Not from my parents of course, I'd give anything to have them with me again. But life doesn't work like that, my parents were rudely snatched from me a year ago. Since then I'd been shipped around the foster homes, waiting to be adopted. But who wants to adopt a sixteen year old? No one. They'd rather the newborn babies, ones that they can pretend was theirs.
A rickety old office chair was thrown into the industrial bin, a chair that had been in the office next to where I slept. Anxiety filled me as I watched them bring more stuff out, tossing it away. It was only a matter of time before they started on the next room and then my stuff would end up in the bin.
Night was taking forever to get here, like some cruel twist the darkness seemed to be reluctant to show up. Growing impatient I began to stalk along the shop fronts, many of them closed for the evening. I rounded the warehouse to the side, the only part that wasn't fenced because it was bricked to the edge of the sidewalk. Casually I took a glance in through the dirtied window, it looked like the workers were packing up for the day. I knew of one broken window, one that was on the first floor but I could shimmy up the drain pipe and get in with no major issues. Just the roaming security guard.
I walked to the edge of the fence line, seeing him in the distance. His back was to me so I rattled the fence, the noise didn't get his attention.
“Okay Kaylee Chambers, get your ass over the fence and do it fast.”
With that pathetic attempt at a pep talk, I quickly scaled it and dropped to the other side and hid behind an industrial bin. It was a smaller one than the one out the front and it smelled awful. No doubt the contents hadn't been emptied in a long time. I looked up, the window was still smashed and the drain pipe was still attached to the brick wall. Knowing that I needed cover and a bit of help getting up the wall, I gave the bin a nudge. It moved a little but not nearly enough and it made a noise.
Not wanting to push my luck, I sat and contemplated my next move. Sit and wait? Maybe. Though the guard could be here all night which would prove to be annoying. A door flung open and through the crack of space between the bin and the wall I saw a man walk out. Tall and thin with tanned skin and he had the darkest blue eyes I had ever seen. His blonde hair was an unruly mop at the top, shaved on the sides with the top hanging over one side.
I stared. I couldn't believe that I could have ever come across someone as cute as this guy. He wasn't one of the workers, I doubted that they would allow him onto a construction site with converse boots. My eyes lingered up the black jeans and the loose white shirt, soaking in everything about him.
He walked to the bin and lifted the lid, tossing rubbish into it. In the distance I could see the guard moving back, waving at someone in the car park. I looked to the end of the small alley between this building and the next one, a garbage truck had arrived.
Shit. I was about to get caught.
The blonde fellow wandered back to the door, seemingly disinterested in the bin. Or at least that's what I thought. He closed the door that would have been in the way and began to pull on the bin. It creaked and groaned, scraping along the ground. I kept myself huddled to the bin, hoping that he wouldn't notice me darting through the door when we passed it.
I could hear the truck getting closer, slowly moving along the alley. By the time the bin had been moved to the door my thighs and calves hurt from my huddled walk. The blonde guy had his attention turned to the bin so I darted in through the door. Darkness surrounded me, I blinked hard as I looked around. I hadn't been in this section of the building.
There were certain sections that looked like they were going to crumble at any minute, out of safety I kept to the area that was close to the main internal wall. Now the building had been propped up with large metal poles, everything was safe. They had cleared out a fair amount of debris in here.
The door started to open and I gasped, stepping behind it. My legs felt heavy as I stood hard against the wall, watching the blonde guy walk in. He let the door close shut without looking at it or behind him, much to my relief.
Jaxon, pizza's here.” a male voice called out.
Right-o.” he returned.
I shrunk hard to the wall again as he turned his body to lock the door. He didn't turn fully he just turned enough to see what he was doing and then turned back. I wanted to fall to the ground in a sob of relief as he walked away.
When he was gone I quickly scurried to the room that I had been sleeping in and started to pack my things. The smell of pizza wafted through the door, making my stomach grumble. I hadn't eaten today, yesterday I had found a half-eaten burger. The woman had thrown it in the bin and then walked away. It was still hot, it was still in its cardboard box and it was incredible. I loved it when people were wasteful, I ate like a queen when they were.
The smell of the pizza gnawed at me, reminding me of how truly hungry I was. I slipped through the corridors and looked through a gap in the wall. The pizza was so tantalizingly close, unpolluted because it wasn't in a bin and so fresh it was steaming. Several boxes sat on a table in the open section of the warehouse, the people that had arrived in their fancy cars were eating the contents. They talked and laughed, ate the pizza that smelled so damned good.
They started talking of their plans for the building, then deciding to get up to take a tour of the newly demolished areas. All that remained at the table was a woman wearing a tight black dress, one that matched the color of her hair. She wore red lipstick, almost the same color as the outer sole of her shoes. Then she got up from the table, walking to the door that led to the bathroom. I wanted to thank someone when they renovated the bathroom, preferring to do my self-cleaning at a clean sink rather than a dirty one. But I also knew what it meant. It meant that things were going to change everywhere and that my days living here were coming to an end.
With hindsight I should have made a habit to take my things with me every morning but I believed that being discovered was a long way off. The access to the room that I was in was through a hole in the wall, the door was barricade with debris.
I crawled through the gap and made my way to the table, smelling the wonderful pizza. There wasn't many pieces left, I grabbed the last one from the box and stuffed it into my mouth, groaning with the pleasure that was cheese and pepperoni. It was so hot it seared the palate but I didn't care. Hearing a noise I grabbed another one, this time from the plate in front of me. Hopefully the beer cans on the table was a good indication of their current state, hopefully they wouldn't notice the missing pieces.
How wrong I was. One of the taller guys came back out, soon followed by the woman. He cracked it big time because his piece of pizza was missing and apparently it was the woman's fault. I frowned at the two of them, even though she was diminutive next to him, she stood up to his asshole behavior. The woman walked out, returning ten minutes later with another box of pizza. The jerk didn't want it and it looked like she wanted to punch him.
God, you two need to screw each other and be done with it.” I muttered quietly.
Yes, it was clear that there was a lot of tension between these two. I was only a few days away from my eighteenth birthday and knew little of the world of sex but I could see that these two needed to get a room, fast. He stormed off in one direction and the woman in another. I crept out and gladly took ownership of the unwanted pizza.
After nearly making myself sick on the pizza I laid back and read my book. It was worn, the pages were beginning to yellow. But I didn't care. It had been my father's, he read it to me every night. I loved it even though I didn't completely understand it. The Hobbit. I cried when I saw a billboard promoting the movie, my father would have loved to have seen it. I would have loved to have seen it. But I probably would have cried throughout the entire film, missing my parents.
Turning over the front cover I ran my fingers over the cursive script, wishing that I could see them one last time. To tell them that I loved them, that I missed them and to tell my beloved father that his lying brother would one day rob his only child of her inheritance. It wasn't much, it would have been enough to keep me going until I was old enough to work. But not anymore. He'd opened his arms and welcomed me into his home, depleted the bank account and then claimed that I was an ungrateful child. That he couldn't cope with a teenager that was a handful, that was always in trouble with the law and that was stealing from him to feed her drug habit.
I didn't do drugs, I didn't drink. I wasn't a handful and I only ever got into trouble with the law because of him. But no one believes the child, they dumped me into the system and that was it. But it was my father's words that made me walk away from the foster care system, nine little words that led me to this life.
Hobbits aren't the only ones that can have adventures.
Hobbits aren't the only ones that can have adventures.
I smiled as my fingers ran over the tattered spine of the book, now it took pride of place on a bookshelf. A bookshelf in my apartment, one that was mine legitimately. Four years have passed, at almost twenty-one I had improved myself and my life vastly since the cold lonely nights in the warehouse and the streets of Las Vegas. But there was one part of my life that had not improved, the one that I would like to see improve. My love life.
I wasn't going to dwell in treacherous thoughts that would have me sulking for days. Everything happened for a reason and I accepted that. But it would be nice to have someone love me. I could wait for the one, I know that one day he will find me but I worry that he won't see me. Or doesn't see me. Yes, that's closer to the truth.
Because he doesn't see me. I am invisible. I am one of the guys. I have been friend zoned and I hate it. No, what I hate more is watching him date other women. Soul crushing.
This morning had started off so well. I woke to a bright morning, turned on the television and was swamped with visions of him. Because he was famous. Because he had been on the town with Evan, one of the other members of his band. Because he was now dating Persephone Roberts. And because Evan had married Persephone's sister, everyone was tipping that Jaxon and Persephone were next. I cried.
Now I had to go to work looking like some puffed up freak with bleary blood shot eyes who walked around like she'd been kicked in the guts. Or had her heart torn out yet again. Why do I bother? Why can't I move on and find someone who actually notices me?
I slugged back the last of the coffee, a pathetic attempt at keeping my eyes open. Stupidly I had stayed up and watched a movie, now I was suffering for it. Stalking back into the bathroom I quickly readied for work. I had procrastinated far too much this morning and if I didn't hurry I was going to miss my bus.
Flicking through my clothes I found the tightest dress possible, hoping that he might notice that I'm actually female. It was unlikely. If he hadn't noticed in the past four years then he's never going to notice. I sighed as I stared at myself in the mirror, pulling my long auburn hair into a neat up style. It was expected that I turn up to work looking reasonable. There was no specific requirements but my boss insisted that I have a little decency.
I rushed out of my apartment and barely made the bus, the driver was shaking his head at me as he always did. He waited for me now and like always, I was grateful. The ten minute ride to work was not enough, I wished it was the weekend still. The weekend where the guy that I idolized got drunk and screwed some indie film director for the entire time? I tutted myself in my mind, yes it was that very same weekend.
He didn't care about me and I didn't care about him. That was a lie. I did care about him, a lot. Maybe I even loved him. There I admit it. I love Jaxon Ryan and he doesn't even look at me like I'm a woman. Just one of the guys, that's Kaylee.
So how did this come to pass? How did I go from being homeless and living in a warehouse that was being gutted to this, a working woman with an apartment and a crush on my savior? Well that was a few nights after the pizza incident, I had been pushing my luck by remaining at the warehouse for as long as possible. I feared those that ruled the real world, I wanted to hide forever. But that was never going to happen when I was living in someone's building.
Hunger burned through me after that pizza, my body craved more and I had searched through the makeshift kitchen they had set up, finding many glorious things to eat and drink. I had got greedy, I had become complacent and I got caught. I thought that everyone had left, I thought that it was safe to venture out from my hiding place. But Jaxon was waiting in the shadows, searching for the mouse that was eating their food.
I smiled, remembering our first introduction.
What are you doing in here?”
His voice was menacing, I cowered in fear. The man was tall, muscles bulged through the thin shirt. He looked over me and his face softened.
Are you homeless?”
I nodded warily.
And you're hungry?”
I nodded again. He sighed and flicked his fingers, indicating that I could keep the pilfered biscuits.
Are you living here?”
Again, I nodded. My mouth was crammed with choc chip biscuits that were to die for.
How old are you?”
Almost eighteen.” I mumbled, my mouth still full.
Fuuucckk.” he groaned. “You're a runaway?”
I nodded, stuffing yet another biscuit in. I feared he would take them away, changing his mind for the worse. But he didn't.
Cops know where you are?”
I shook my head. It was true, I wasn't from this town. Or even this state. I wasn't going to tell him which one either.
You know we're renovating this place, right? You can't stay here.”
I nodded sadly, nibbling at a biscuit. He sighed and sat on the floor beside me, leaning against the wall.
My mind gushed that I already knew.
Well Kaylee, we need to find somewhere better for you to stay and I think I know the person for the job.”
Ten minutes later I was standing outside a rather grand house, all of my things in a bag that was slung over my shoulder and the packet of biscuits in my hand. I ignored Jaxon when he said that I didn't need to bring it. It was food, you never let go of food.
Jaxon pressed the doorbell and a few seconds later a woman came to the door and opened it. She was an older woman, impeccably dressed and looked beautiful. Her fading black hair was pulled up into a loose bun, bright eyes looked to Jaxon with warmth.
Jaxon darling, what brings you to this end of town?”
Hey El, do you mind if we have a chat with you and Jerry?”
Of course darling, come in.”
This is Kaylee. Kaylee, this is Eleanor.”
She smiled warmly at me, offering her greeting. I smiled back and held onto my biscuits tightly. She didn't look like she needed to take them but I wasn't prepared to take the risk.
I walked into the house, the entry was rather lavishly decorated with a wood clock that ticked loudly, a chair that seemed to be placed in a rather pointless position against the far wall and a glass table with a massive bunch of flowers. Arched doorways sat either side of the room, each containing lounges which seemed rather excessive. Beyond the table was a sweeping staircase that curled around the room.
Jerry is in the den, why don't you two kids go into the sitting room and I'll fetch him?”
I followed Jaxon into the sitting room, feeling like I was dirtying the room just by stepping into it. It was so grand, so pretty. Soft lounges were placed in a u shape that faced a large fireplace. Jaxon sat and gestured for me to sit on the seat beside him.
Jerry and El are great people Kaylee. I've known them for years. Jerry's my bands manager and he's always had my best interest at heart.”
Why did you bring me here?”
To give you a better life.” he said simply.
I turned when Eleanor returned, a middle aged man followed her. He seemed a rather happy man, settling onto the lounge near me with a broad smile.
What's happening Jaxon? Who is your friend?”
This is Kaylee and I found her in the warehouse. She's been sleeping in one of the barricaded offices and stealing our food.”
The smile dropped slight as this Jerry fellow looked at me. His hand scratched through the salt and pepper hair as confusion slipped through him.
I thought the foreman checked all of the rooms.”
Well maybe he couldn't get into this one, she's been getting in and out through a hole. Anyway she's seventeen and a runaway.”
Eleanor gripped Jerry's hand with a sad face as she looked from me to him and at that moment I knew my
fate was sealed. I wasn't getting out of this house.
The bus rattled, hitting a pot hole in the road. I smiled as I thought about Jerry and El. My other saviors. They adopted me even though it wasn't necessary, they welcomed me into their home and they gave me a fresh start. With the promise of a job at the end of it, Jerry made me go back to school. I worked hard, I never made them regret their decision to take me in. I made them proud of me. They gave me a home and food which I desperately needed. They gave me clothes and an allowance, things that made me feel worthwhile. They gave me love when no one else would.