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Here is the latest segment of Cheryl’s Adventures.
Nica caught Cheryl’s glance as she strode up, “You like?”
Cheryl nodded, honey blonde hair waving in the movement, “I do, actually. I’ve never seen something like this.”
Nica grinned as they call climbed in, Cheryl claiming shotgun since she instigated this meeting, “That was the idea. I hate blending in with everyone else.”
They arrived at X’s home, surprising Cheryl as he clearly came from money, like her family. But unlike her family whose fortune had been made in the last few decades; X’s family was clearly old money from the appearance of the rambling Victorian manor they lived in, clearly in need of some upkeep. They pulled up the drive as the twins and Kenny were piling out of a simple blue jeep.
X met them at the door, after the butler had let them in.
He waved them all with him to the study.
Cheryl didn’t waste any more time, “Okay, we’ve all been patient, now cough it up.”
A grin played across X’s lips before vanishing.
He pulled out a book, binding barely held together by copious amounts of tape.
Placing it on the large desk he’d sat behind, “This book has been in my family for generations. It’s said to hold the key to our fortune, but we weren’t to translate it until the money was nearly gone. You can probably see by the state of the manor that the money is dwindling. The problem is, in the last six generations, the knowledge of our native language has died alongside our original heritage. The longer we’re in the US, the less we know of where we came from. When Kenny introduced us to you, Cheryl, I had a gut feeling that if anyone could translate it, you could.”
Scott asked, “Why translate it. If you’re that far gone from the origin of the fortune, why not remake it in America?”
X frowned, “We’ve tried. As we watched the fortune dwindle, my grandfather and father tried to pad it. But while they’ve made some money, it never built up into any significant savings. Instead, every time the savings approached $50,000, we lost it all. The original fortune was never touched but every bit of the additional money was gone. We’re down to the end of it. By the time I have kids, should I have kids, the money will be gone. So, will you help me?”
Cheryl frowned thoughtfully, knowing what it said. She had a feeling, if X was telling the full truth, the knowledge of just how the fortune was made in the first place was also lost.
“On two conditions.”
“Depends. What are they?”
“One: I see the rest of the book and translate it. The pages stop suddenly so I know you didn’t give me everything. I can’t direct you on what to do if I don’t have all the knowledge. That leads me to my next condition. I go with you when you go to Indonesia and direct you. I can tell you from what I’ve translated, you’ll need to return to where the fortune was made originally.”
“It’s too dangerous.”
“Then you better get a job and be careful to not make more than $40,000.”
X huffed, “It was just me, I would. But my grandmother is still alive, as well as my parents. My grandmother depended on my grandfather and my father’s grown discouraged from his failures. If I don’t rebuild the fortune, they’ll die paupers and likely on the streets as this house will crumble to the ground eventually.”
“Then we better pack.”
X scowled which deepened with Scott’s next words, “If she’s going, we’re all going as well.”
“IF it’s too dangerous for her to come with, why do you think it would be safer for you.”
Sam interjected, “I’m sure he meant all of us.”
Scott, Kenny, Izzy, Nica and Lori nodded.
“Sure, it might be too dangerous for two of you. But safety in numbers.”
X rubbed a hand over his face, exasperatedly.
“I can’t change your minds, can I?”
The other seven shook their heads.
“Alright, fine. I was planning to go over Spring break two weeks from now.”
Cheryl spoke, “I’ll buy the tickets.”
HE opened his mouth and she interrupted, “There’s no point in you using any more of your fortune than you have to, and this ensures you don’t try to leave us behind out of some misguided sense of protecting us.”
© Paula Crofoot
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