She was being forced to see a counselor, the state decided it would help her find an inner happiness, or at minimum a way to deal with the rotten hand she had been dealt. But her counselor was a young, recent college grad that grew up the daughter of a Mayor, in the most expensive neighborhood in the entire county.
Ella didn’t believe that anyone could truly help her, just as no one had been able to help her mother, not even herself. But she knew that some entitled girl would never understand what it was like to dumpster dive just for a bit of apple core. Or how it would feel to find you were a child born out of an affair, and that your very existence ruined a family.
No, Alice would not be able to help.
She had hated her Mother, and loved her, in this messy way. Had wondered if her life would be better without her, if Kenzie would have just taken them away as she had always threatened. But now she was gone, and she still didn’t fit in. There would be no happy family for her, she was just a half-sister, a step child, an extra that people pitied.
She thought she might love her only friend, Dean, but he had a girlfriend, and she never saw him at all anymore. He didn’t love her, he barely had time for anyone but Evie. Evie, Evie, Evie. Spit rose in Ella’s mouth at the mere thought of that dimwit girl, with bright eyes, and an easy smile.
Ella was not an Evie. She was complicated, angry, a misfit that loved her mother and equally feared becoming her.
She was mean to Manny, even though she knew he was tormented at school. She couldn’t be any other way.
And when Marta had broken up with Cesar, she had pretended to feel sympathy for him. He was the only person she truly cared about, but Marta had never been good enough for him.
Secretly, she reveled in his despair. Relieved to be rid of Marta, knowing that she would have been an unjust, horrible step mother.
She envied the twins, with their lack of knowledge. Their Mother’s death had saved them. They were allowed to imagine Annie to be anything they wanted, they could be angry that she had died, but they would never truly know her. They weren’t really damaged. Cesar had saved them, Annie’s death had too.
Going to the kid center for good grades was a treat. The pizza tasted like cardboard, she hated that they were able to enjoy these niceties, that they didn’t know any different. How was it fair that they’d never remember sleeping on the floor with dirty diapers, surrounded by filth?
Marisol makes friends easily, without effort. Ella barely has a single friend. She repels people like her Mom did, and she doesn’t know why. She doesn’t want to sit alone, while Dean makes out with his girlfriend, she doesn’t want to wish it were her. She’s just a kid to him, a kid that his Mom helped rescue, but really didn’t.
Manny has it too. He’s teased at school, and doesn’t have a friend to call his own. Ella can see the similarities between herself and him, and this gives her a softness towards him. It’s small, and barely viewable to anyone, but Ella knows it is there.
Cesar has to leave early to open up the car dealership. It’s Ella’s responsibility to get the kids onto the bus. He believes in her, even if his parents think she is a lost cause already. She takes this task seriously, and the twins never miss their bus, no matter how much Manny delays. He already hates school, and he’s barely begun.
Ella used to attend regularly, sitting in the back desk, hiding behind her hair, but suddenly she just stopped. She went enough, but skipped even more. She hiked a good distance to reach a diner that was near her old house. Cesar lived in a decent neighborhood, but it never felt like home, not like the north side with its rundown buildings, abandoned warehouses, and cockroach infested homes.
It was all about the people, and the dirtied floors beyond repair. Generations had sat in the booths, walked the floors, ate alone or with others. She liked the feeling of history, and the people that frequented were like her. Not whole, or perfect. The outcasts in society.
She wondered what it was like for the other people in the world, with two parents in a home, to be born inside a marriage of love, to a mother who wasn’t a depressed alcoholic. They had it better, and didn’t even realize.
Sometimes people talk to her, they don’t judge her for being young; they don’t see her as a misfit. They don’t know that her Mom died, nor feel sorry for her.
Sometimes this obnoxious, bossy girl sits across from her, Rhonda. She scolds Ella for skipping school, demands that she attend the next day, that she’s ruining herself for no good reason.
Rhonda, the girl that has two happily married parents in a cracker box house that has a yard. Ella doesn’t care for her ideas of wisdom.
Sometimes Ella pays for her food, and sometimes she can’t afford it. Cesar doesn’t always have money to give, sometimes people don’t buy cars at all. She only buys pie, it’s barely over two dollars, but then she got caught.
It felt worse than any other scolding she’d received. This was the only place that felt like home, and she’d ruined it. But even that sick feeling of guilt wouldn’t be shown to the hostess.
She tried returning a few weeks later, and the proprietor chewed her out, said she wasn’t welcome. And then Ella, really had no where to go.
Cesar found out about her poor attendance shortly after. He didn’t handle it well, and Ella found herself conflicted. His yelling had shown a care towards her that she hadn’t witnessed, and it made her feel wanted. But she hated being parented, after raising herself, she didn’t want curfews and regulations.
Cesar made arrangements for the bus to pick them up at the dealership, and drop them off there afterwards. That meant many hours, doing nothing. Sometimes Jett would get off at her new bus stop to help pass the time.
But usually it was just her and Maria. Clicking her tongue, and lecturing her.
Cesar wouldn’t approve, but she doesn’t tattle. She endures it, like its a penance that she deserves, and she lashes out on the twins and their belongings. She fears that Cesar will give up and send her to live with Matt forever, she doesn’t want that, but she can’t just be what everyone expects of her.
It’s been a dry month of sales, Cesar is working daily just to pay the bills, rain or shine. An anger grows within Ella, watching him bust himself to sell, in a rainstorm, while the guy just shakes his head no. She wants to hurt him, teach him that he shouldn’t waste people’s time, especially in inclement weather.
Ella doesn’t believe that Alice can teach her how to find happiness, not with the deep-seeded anger that is imbedded into her very being. She desperately wants her too, but if she couldn’t save her own Mother, how could anyone save her?
Notes: Ella was quite a bit of fun to play this session. Dean is her “one” she is totally crushing hard on him. And he is an older teenage boy with a serious girlfriend and a part-time job. He doesn’t have that much time to spend with a younger girl. She did call him numerous times, but he was never home. I could see Evie being jealous of him having a relationship with her as well, they are teens after all.
She rolled the want to sneak off without paying for her food, then got caught. The hostess chewed her out, and when she went back in to use the restroom, the proprietor did the same. Ella really did smile, and do the arm pump after Marta called it off with Cesar. I had never seen that before!
Maria lectured her on her own accord as well. Maria is also super depressed about how her son’s life has turned out. She’s in aspiration failure, she just wants Cesar to settle down, get married, all of that good stuff that he keeps avoiding.
Cesar had less than a hundred dollars this play session, people were not buying cars. Finally at the end he was able to get some sales and pay his overdue bills.
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