Only For You(2)

By: Genna Rulon

I continued to scowl at her, unimpressed by the single credit that I didn’t need to graduate this May.

Sam’s shoulders sagged as she looked at me with sincere eyes. “I’m scared, Everleigh, for both of us. The police haven’t succeeded in preventing the attacks. Every week another girl is beaten and dumped on campus. We need to do something to protect ourselves.”

Her concerns were valid, and I was scared too. The brutality of the attacks and frequency continued to increase. Although few details had been leaked to the public, the tidbits we heard through the campus grapevine were frightful.

I released an exaggerated sigh, wishing it wasn’t necessary to agree, but knowing I should participate. “Alright. I’ll do it if you promise to be my partner.”

“Deal!” she quickly agreed, clearly relieved she would not attend the class alone.

“And I’m going to find a way to pay you back for the early wake ups.”

“I know you will,” she smiled, evidently unafraid of my threat. “We need to leave in twenty minutes, so hurry up and get ready. There’s more coffee in the kitchen—your current mood is bad enough without adding caffeine withdrawal to the mix.”

I looked around my room formulating a plan of attack. I wanted to participate in self-defense classes about as much as I wanted to slam my hand in the car door. I was tempted to bury my head in the sand and pretend everything was normal, but ignoring the danger wouldn’t remove the threat. If I didn’t take the initiative to protect myself, who would?

I glanced at the clock again—6:40 in the morning and I was awake. I glanced back at my bed longingly, struggling to contain my frustration with Sam. I reminded myself that she was my best friend, regardless of the inconvenient enrollment she made on my behalf.

Samantha Elizabeth Magdalena Whitney, Sam, grew up in a mansion on the North Shore of Long Island surrounded by every amenity. She wanted for nothing, other than her parent’s attention and understanding. It was the same old story—her father was absent physically and emotionally, and her mother tried to micromanage her life. Sam emerged unscathed, no longer expecting her father’s regard and disregarding her mother’s propaganda. She followed her own path—living life joyously and without pretension.

My mother was a ‘domestic’ at the Whitney estate, a title synonymous with housekeeper. It was an ideal position for a single mother, permitting her to work while I was at school and only required the occasional babysitter when the Whitneys hosted a special event. The salary was conservative, but she was provided with a car and her compensation included health insurance for us both.

Mom and I shared a small two-bedroom apartment in an older complex—we only lived fifteen minutes from the Whitney estate, but we were worlds apart. My mom strived to provide all of my needs and as many of my wants as was manageable. She understood the importance of appearances to a young girl’s self-esteem and creatively protected me from peer scrutiny. I wasn’t outfitted in designer labels, but I never had to hang my head in shame, either. When we couldn’t afford store bought costumes, she sewed my Halloween costume from old clothing she found at garage sales until I had a couture masterpiece—I always had the winning costume at the school parade. As I grew older, she would find incredible vintage pieces at thrift stores, which my girlfriends coveted. I can only imagine the hours she must have invested to find each discounted treasure, motivated by her love for me. She even squirreled money away, enabling me to receive haircuts at a trendy salon, so my hair would ‘do its job to frame that beautiful face.’ She loved me fiercely and proved it not only in words, but also in actions. It was only in recent years I fully appreciated how blessed I was—what I lacked in trivial possessions was inconsequential compared to her steadfast love and devotion.

Sam and I met shortly after Mom was hired by the Whitneys. The school called the Whitney estate to advise Sam was sick but her mom had plans to go shopping in New York City, so she sent my Mom to collect Sam from school and care for her. Since the school day was nearly over Mom brought me along, unable to arrange a sitter on such short notice. I spent the afternoon keeping Sam company, and we had been best friends ever since.