she had searched for attention her entire life, but did she really want it?
|People always say they wish their wishes would come true. Few people realize that the stories of the consequences of wishing on monkey paws or accepting three wishes from a jinn aren't the only ways wishes can bite you in the butt. Even when your wish comes true through perfectly natural means like hard work or perseverance consequences are far from uncommon.
Cecilia wished practically from birth to be seen, truly seen. She was the fifth of eight children. Cecilia wasn't the oldest which was attended to by virtue of being first or the youngest which was fawned over as the last. She was caught square in the middle of the birth order and felt all the more neglected because her younger brother was born less than a year after her. She didn't even get a full year of being pampered like a baby. Her parents had moved on to the excitement of expectation before she was even weaned.
The start of Cecilia's life had been far from promising, and the years of her childhood weren't any better. Her younger brother stole the spotlight from her at every opportunity. He learned to ride his bike minutes after she did, he got the celebration. She brought home a report which had earned an A+ and her brother brought home papers suggesting he be promoted an entire grade. He got a new bicycle.
Cecilia had skills and gifts too. She could have been a competitive gymnast if her brother hadn't needed orthodontic work. She wrote a novel by the age of sixteen, her parents were too busy worrying about balancing a budget stretched thin over ten people to notice. It never got published anyway...
Enough of the past, Cecilia was an adult. She had a good job as an accountant. It wasn't something she enjoyed but her budget was never thin. She still wished with all her heart that people would see her. It was almost supernatural when one morning her commute to work forced her on a literal detour. She was about to make the final turn back onto her usual path when a car smashed into hers from behind.
Cecilia checked herself and found no major injuries. She glanced in her rearview mirror and the limousine she saw flashed briefly as dollar signs in her mind. But no, she wasn't really hurt she couldn't sue when nothing really happened. "Perhaps," she thought, "she should get out and check her car before she decided nothing happened." It seemed reasonable.
Getting out of her car, Cecilia was poised to be very upset at the driver. She walked alongside her car and didn't like what she saw. The rear quarter had been squashed so badly that Cecilia couldn't see how she wasn't badly hurt. She turned from her car to glare through the windshield at the driver. He had occupied himself with arguing through a small window with his passenger. Neither driver nor passenger saw her glare. Cecilia sighed and leaned against her car to wait. If she gave them enough time they might notice her standing there and approach her.
There were particularly sheep-like clouds floating across the sky at a pretty quick rate. The air smelled of spilled oil and antifreeze. Other cars were driving around them in the outer lane. It looked very much like neither vehicle would be moving from the spot without mechanical aid. Finally, the sound of a car door opening drew Cecilia's attention back to the object of her frustration. The driver got out and took a few steps to open the rear passenger door. Cecilia was impressed with the number of steps it took. This was a fairly long limo.
The passenger got out of the car and smoothed his smartly styled suit. Apparently he was not the stuffy type that required himself to wear a full three-piece suit but he looked none the more casual for just a jacket and pants. His suit and dress shirt were all shades of dark gray and he wore a metallic silver tie. She looked up from his tie to his face. He had a superman-type face, jet black hair, chiseled jaw, and piercing blue eyes.
What amazed her is that those eyes looked at her and she knew he really saw her. "Excuse me Miss, but are you alright?"
Cecilia stared at his eyes, blankly. She had to shake herself to gather enough of a thought to answer him with, "Yeah, no major damage, except to my car."
He smiled and the clouds went trotting joyfully from the sky. "I am glad you are not hurt, perhaps we should exchange information. Do you have a card?"
Cecilia shook her head, she wasn't a partner in her accounting firm so they didn't bother printing her cards.
The well-dressed man snapped his fingers and held out a hand to his driver. The driver produced a note pad and pen. The man took it long enough to lay a card on the cover. Then he handed it back to the driver. The driver walked the pad and card over to Cecilia. She pocketed the card and began scrawling her insurance information on the pad along with her home address and cell phone number. The driver collected the pad and pen from her and walked back to his employer.
That was when the police car arrived and the real business of settling the wreck began. It was well after noon when Cecilia finally made it into the office. She rode up in the elevator shoved into the fart-laden right rear corner, so naturally the floor her office was on smelled practically floral as she stepped out. As she walked around the corner the smell intensified until she saw the glass front of the firm's offices. The waiting room was filled with flowers of all kinds.
Cecilia eyed the floral profusion and pulled open the door to the office. She was hit by three things the moment she entered; the scent of a flower garden, the receptionist's angry glare, and a sneezing fit because she was allergic to half the flowers in there.
"Cecilia! You have to tell him to stop!" Julia, the receptionist, shouted waving a stack of cards like the ones that came with flowers.
Cecilia frowned and took the cards, "Tell who!"
"Sebastian Christopher, these things have been coming half the day."
Cecilia blinked, the limo had belonged to a Mr. Christopher, but how had he known where she worked? She fished his card out of her purse along with her phone. She quickly dialed the number. It rang only twice before he picked up, "Cecilia! Did you like the flowers?"
"They are lovely Mr. Christopher, but really you shouldn't have. I am allergic to half of them, and the receptionist is quite upset. Please no more gifts!" Cecilia responded.
"Please call me Sebastian."
"Mr. Christopher, I really don't feel that is appropriate."
At that moment a man opened the office door and walked up to Cecilia, "Excuse me miss, this is for you." He handed her a thick padded envelope.
"It sounds like my surprise has arrived. I couldn't find a Corolla from the same year in the same shade of blue, but this one is the new model. It's fully loaded. Just to make up for this morning." Mr. Christopher said through the phone.
Cecilia paused. She shouldn't accept it. Her hands opened the envelope and removed the keys, "Thank you, Mr. Christopher. I will gladly sign a waiver of further responsibility for the accident. Just messenger one over." Cecilia felt this should be the end of the encounter, "I have work to do if I can let you go?"
"Certainly," Mr. Christopher hung up the conversation on his end.
Cecilia thought nothing more of it, except feeling slightly annoyed that the messenger with the waver didn't come that afternoon. She found her new car in the parking lot using the key fob button. It was the newest version of the light blue Corolla she had driven since college. On the drive home, she liked the fact it lacked the quirks her old "reliable" one had possessed. By the time she pulled into her driveway, she was prepared to put the day off as an overall lucky day.
She unhappily found a humongous teddy bear sitting on her porch. Mr. Christian didn't do anything by halves. She left it where it sat and headed in the house. His attention was getting a little creepy. She kicked off her heels and poured her self a glass of wine.
Cecilia was thumbing through her selection of frozen dinners when the doorbell rang. She answered it to find Toby, the delivery man from her favorite Thai restaurant. "Toby? I didn't order anything."
Toby nodded, "Some dude called in an order for your 'usual.' Here you go." He held out the bag to her. She started to fumble in her jacket pocket for a tip. "No, Cecilia the tip is all taken care of."
A shiver passed up Cecilia's spine, as she thought of the take out containers in her fridge, "Did he just order my usual? Or did he make a specific order?"
"That is the weird part, he ordered each item just like you would, and then added the words, 'her usual.'"
Cecilia smiled weakly and backed into the house. She barely caught Toby's, "Nice Bear."
Over the next few months, these incidents happened randomly but often. Mr. Christopher always knew more than he reasonably should, like the next time he sent flowers, absent the ones to which she was allergic. A random statement from her doctor told her how he had managed that feat. He had somehow accessed her allergy tests during a data breach at the office.
Cecilia called the police and reported him. He made no threats and they couldn't catch him at anything illegal if they even looked. Finally, Cecilia went to the drastic ends of packing a suitcase, calling a cab and running. Six months later "Antoinette" was living a simple life as a barista in Seatle. She no longer wished to be seen. One evening after her shift she went back to her apartment and took a shower. When she came out of the shower, A familiar, enormous teddy bear laid on her twin mattress.
c:red}What a Character Prompt for August 2020:
Write a story about a character who has their greatest wish come true,
only to then have to deal with an unexpected price or consequence of it.