Welcome to Short Story Sunday
Welcome to Short Story Sunday. If you follow my blog then you are familiar with this. Short story Sunday showcases a short story that I will write, one chapter at a time. Today is the first chapter in Protected. I hope you enjoy! For my other books, you can shop them here.
Short Story Sunday - Protected
“Carmel latte for Rebecca. Rebecca?” the barista is staring at me with a puzzled look. She repeated. “Rebecca, right? You ordered a caramel latte.” Oh, damn. I will never get used to that name. I grab my latte and mumble a quick sorry. I am shaking by the time I make it back to my car. Rebecca Roman, 30-year-old female, born and raised in Folkston, Georgia. At least that is the story they gave me to memorize when I left my old life behind. I make my way back to my apartment or Rebecca’s apartment before having a complete panic attack. Will this ever get easier?
Six months ago my life was totally different. I was Charlie, short for Charlotte. I lived in Austin, Texas, and was a dancer. Not the job you write home and brag about but it was my job, and I was damn good at it. I had a beautiful condo, cushy savings, and paying for college without student loans. And I was 25 with a future a head of me I was looking forward to. One night, that’s all it took to change the course of my life forever. Charlotte no longer existed. Now I am Rebecca Roman, quiet, shy, elementary teacher. I have been exiled to small town Maryland. I am not sure how the higher ups pick out your new life, but a dancer to a teacher was a big stretch.
I arrive back at my apartment and start unloading the rest of my purchases. They gave me a nice saving to set up my new life. “We want you to be comfortable Rebecca. This is your new home. No contact with anything or anyone from your old life. No one,” the coordinator said with sternness in his voice. I understood completely. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now my life was in danger and now I had to be protected.
I am heading back to my car for the last load when I hear a voice, “You just moved it?” I turn around to the deep voice. “Yes,” I state nervously. My stomach is in knots. I don’t know who to trust. “I am your neighbor, Dean. Can I help you,” Dean asked as he extended his hand to grab some of my packages. “No, I got it,” I stated quietly. “Wow, ok. I am not an ax-murderer,” he said with a puzzled look on his face. “I didn’t say you were,” I replied defensively while juggling my last packages from the car. “Well, the look you gave me made it pretty clear. Don’t ever be a poker player,” he smiled. I have been told that before. “Sorry,” I said meekly. “I just moved here from Tex- Georgia,” I stammered. “Tex-Georgia? Never heard of it,” Dean replied. “I meant Georgia. I just moved here from Georgia. I am the new teacher at the elementary school. First grade,” I rush to my apartment, trying not to lose my shit or drop any of my packages. “I have a niece in first grade there,” he said as I shut the door in his face.
I drop my packages on the floor and watch an orange roll across the floor. I rush to the bathroom and began to retch. I almost blew it. Rebecca Roman from Georgia. Rebecca Roman from Georgia. As I splash cold water on my face, I continue to repeat this. I couldn’t mess this up. Not if I wanted to remain protected.