Note: I wrote this a while ago but got some feedback and now have reworked it a bit.
Ella locked herself inside her room and went to her laptop. She could hear the noise of her brothers arguing downstairs. Her mother and father were out of town on business and she was supposed to be the one in charge but the two brothers just ignored her.
“Fine, I don’t care,” Ella thought to herself. She turned on the laptop and waited. It was old and took forever to turn on. Her family was poor and couldn’t afford anything right now. Finally, the old laptop beamed bright with light and was amazingly still working.
Ella opened Skype and hoped Damien was online. He lived far away now but they tried to keep their relationship going via Skype and phone calls. “Oh why did he have to go to college so far away,” she thought miserably. He wasn’t online. He was busy with school and his part time job so was rarely able to even call Ella. Ella had been patient with him though and still thought of him as her boyfriend.
Ella looked at her pile of school books. She had to write an essay that was due tomorrow. She was a senior at the local high school and lately had been neglecting anything to do with school. She was pretty intelligent though so was not failing any classes. However, her grades had slipped. She already had been accepted to the local university so now she thought she could slack off.
The noise downstairs got louder. It sounded like the brothers were actually fighting and knocking over furniture. “Damn,” Ella thought, “They better not break anything.”
Ella decided to drown out the noise with some music so turned her radio on loudly. It muffled the sound of the fighting brothers but not completely. She wished she had an iPod but didn’t have the money for it. Her parents had recently lost a ton of money by gambling so they couldn’t afford it either. Her parents did have jobs that were considered decent but their pay was low. Her mother was a licensed vocational nurse at the local nursing home and her father worked for his father at a paper company in town. The business trip they were on had to do with the paper company.
As Ella sat listening to the country music station, she started to think about how much she wanted to get out of this house. However, her parents told her she would have to continue living there during college since the college was local and they couldn’t really afford to pay for a dorm room. Ella wanted the dorm experience though and begged them to change their minds. She even offered to find a part time job but her parents rigidly just stated that she must live at home.
Suddenly, the house phone rang. People rarely called it. The entire family managed to have cell phones even though there was a serious lack of money. Ella let it ring a few times then answered.
“Hello, may I speak to Ella?” a gruff voice questioned.
“Speaking, who is calling?” she answered.
“This is Officer Webster and I’m calling with some bad news. Your parents were both killed in a car crash on the interstate this evening.”
“Whaaa?” Ella stammered, at a loss for words.
“I am sorry. They were taken to a local hospital but they didn’t make it out of surgery.” the officer replied.
Ella slammed down the phone. She was in shock. She wasn’t sure what to to do. Later the tears would come but right now she was just stunned.
The brothers downstairs had stopped fighting and it was quiet in the house except for her radio blaring. She turned it off. The color had drained from her face and she was shaking. She walked downstairs to where her brothers were watching television.
Ella turned off the television and the brothers cried out in protest. “Hey we were watching that!”. She wasn’t sure how to tell them the news.
“Our parents died in a car crash tonight.” Ella said simply.
The brothers stared at her and wondered if she was joking. “I’m serious.” she said.
The siblings were all in shock now and silent. They didn’t really know what to do. No one cried yet. Ella felt tears coming on so ran back upstairs to her room and buried her head in her pillow. She sobbed quietly for a while. After about an hour, she sat up and started to think.
Ella called her aunt who she was close to. Her aunt was always there for her. Ella was still tearful while on the phone but her aunt told her she would come over right now. Her aunt didn’t live far away.
The phone rang again. Ella picked it up. “Hello, this is Trevor. I’m a social worker with child services.”
Ella replied, “This is Ella.”
“We were notified by the police about the accident. I’m very sorry. We do need to talk about who will be your guardian now.” Trevor tried to sound like a friend and did feel badly for the teens.
“Okay,” whispered Ella.
Trevor and Ella spoke on the phone for a short time. The conversation concluded with the idea that Ella and her brothers would see if their aunt would be their guardian.
Ella’s aunt agreed to be the guardian for the siblings. She was always close to them and really didn’t mind. The siblings moved into their aunt’s house. Luckily, there was enough room in the four bedroom house.
Over the next year, the siblings continued to live with their aunt. Auntie Sue is what Ella called her. Auntie Sue made sure they were comfortable and had taken care of the funeral arrangements.
Ella and her brothers missed their parents but liked living with their aunt. Auntie Sue was very lenient with them and didn’t have as many house rules as their parents did. The siblings had to change to a new high school since Auntie Sue lived in a different school district.
Slowly, the siblings made new friends but not without some difficulty. It was hard to change schools. They still kept in touch with their old friends though.
Life changed dramatically for Ella and her brothers on that fateful night. Life was never the same.
the original version: http://poetrycrash.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/ella/