Thank You Richard

as reply to too tired to fall asleep

Victoria and Cameron had been staying at her friend Melissa’s house for half a week following the fire. The authorities were still conducting an investigation, but it appeared so far to be her neighbor’s fault. The one who that tall strong man had dropped the package off for. After talking to people in the parking lot it seemed the building insurance would probably cover all the property damage, but she still would need to find a place to live at short notice, while continuing to work. Luckily, they were able to salvage most of her things, but Cameron’s room and toys were all destroyed. It was a miracle he had fallen asleep watching TV. He awoken in the middle of the night by all the commotion, but was rushed away by firefighters, separating him from his mom. Eventually they found each other in the mass of people standing around the parking lot.  
It was tight at Melissa’s place. She lived in a medium sized house with her husband and 3 step children in middle and high school. She had offered Victoria her basement until she found a place. After taking some days off of work, Melissa helped Victoria look for prospective houses and apartments to move to, but they couldn’t find any good prices. Victoria hardly had any money. Definitely not enough to rent an entire house and most of the affordable apartments seemed unavailable at the moment. Melissa kept offering names of friends and family nearby, but none of them seemed right to Victoria. At this point in her life she needed her privacy and own space. Even Cameron needed his solitude. The past couple of days had been hectic for him and he seemed to be more withdrawn then usual. Mostly just watching the older kids play video games or reading comic books to himself. They still hadn’t had time to shop for new clothes.
“Why don’t you stay with your brother?” Melissa suggested after they reached another dead end in their housing search.
“You know we don’t speak, Melissa. I haven’t seen him in over 4 years.”
“He stills lives in town though, I see his real estate logo everywhere. He must be loaded.” Melissa said.
“Yeah, I guess.. I don’t think he’ll want to speak to me. We have such separate lives now.”
“Well maybe this is the time to reconnect. Hasn’t he helped you out before?”
“Yeah he has, but I don’t like asking him for things. It feels wrong. I don’t even feel like I know him anymore.”
“Does he still talk to your dad?”
“No. I think he stopped speaking to him before me. He doesn’t even visit him in the home.”
“Well, I think he’d love to help you out. He was so nice when I met him.”
“Well that was like 10 years ago. I don’t know.. He’s different now. When his business became successful, something changed in him.”
“He’s probably just busy and gone all the time. Think about how happy Cameron would be in a nice big house. I bet he lives in Ravenwood too!”
There was a chance he might help her, Victoria thought. They had always been close through their mother, him especially. But after she died, his company took off and they had little reason to interact and when they did, she found him uncomfortably cold and distant far different than the happy little boy who would take her on nature hikes and buy her ice cream. He seemed so wise then. He was older by 6 years and would share things with her that no one else could. She remembered when she ran away from home once after fighting with her parents. He was the one who had picked her up. He knew exactly where she was. On top of her favorite hill in the back of Munson Park. He didn’t question her when he found her. They just listened to music and he told her about a book he liked, Kafka on the shore. He told her the main character also ran away from home to escape his father. She reminded him of one of the characters. Later that night she read the whole book without stopping once. She still had the book and it had been her favorite ever since. It was in the bottom of some bag in Melissa’s basement. It was the one physical object that connected her with him. 
“Alright I’ll call him.”
Victoria walked down into the basement and dialed his number.
The phone rang several times and then she heard his familiar voice.
“Hello Vicky.” Mr. Gardner said softly. “I haven’t heard from you in awhile.” Victoria paused for a moment as she carefully chose her words.
“Hey Richard. I’m sorry to do this, but I really need to ask you for a favor.”
“What do you need, Vicky?”
Victoria struggled back tears as she thought of the quickest way to ask him for help.
“Well… My apartment complex had a fire the other day and Cameron and I have no place to stay. We’ve been looking for houses, but we can’t find any right now.”
“That sounds terrible Vicky. Are you two ok?” Mr. Gardner said slightly faster yet still calm.
“Yeah we’re fine.” She said crying a little harder. “I just don’t know what to do.. I’m staying at a friends house right now, but there isn’t enough space. Could we just spend a couple months at your house until we figure things out.”
“Hmm. I think I can help you out. I’m afraid you and Cameron will find my place undesirable. But… I have a have a property you guys could reside at for the time being.”
“Really! Thank you Richard. How long can we stay there?”
“As long as you need Vicky.”
“You don’t know how relieved I feel. So how are things? I’m sorry I haven’t caught up in awhile. I guess we were busy living our own lives.”
“Things are well. I’m sorry too… it is nice to hear your voice. I didn’t think I would hear it again.”
“What really? I haven’t been avoiding you, you know.”
“Yes I know. I just didn’t think you desired to see me any longer.”
“Yeah well, It was hard back then. And I’ve been busy. How come you never reached out to me?” Victoria said.
“It didn’t feel…. necessary, Vicky.”
“Yeah, I understand. So, where is this house?”
“The house, yes. It’s one of my property’s in Avalon Woods. It’s a very safe, quiet neighborhood. And there is a park across the street. Perfect for Cameron.”
“Ooo that sounds perfect. Cameron is 9 now, can you believe it!”
“I’m am looking forward to speaking with him.”
“Ok cool. Do you want to stop by or something?”
“Yes. I will stop by tomorrow evening at 8:30 and move you in.” Mr. Gardner said. “I’m sorry but I am going to have to let you go now.”
“Ok cool. Here’s the address….”
“Goodbye Vicky. I will see you at 8:30 tomorrow.”
“Thank you Richard.”
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