First Few Pages of The Secret of Spruce Knoll
he bus flew like a rollercoaster through the wooded landscape, flinging Eren toward a new, unwanted life. All too soon it pulled into the bus station of a tiny town on the outskirts of nowhere Colorado. As if that wasn’t bad enough, she and an aunt she’d never met were going to have to drive another hundred miles into nowhere to find the town of Spruce Knoll.
Eren’s stomach turned as she entered the tedious crawl of sweaty bodies exiting the bus. What if her aunt didn’t like her? Or worse, what if she was an unbearable tyrant who was furious that child services had saddled her with an unwanted niece? It was too much. She had to remind herself to breathe.
Clutching her duffle bag a bit tighter, she reminded herself not to overreact.
See the bright side until you’re forced not to. That’s what her mother always told her. The memory helped slow her breathing and she was able to regain a bit of calm.
Not willing to stand in the press of rank smelling bodies any longer than she had to, she waited until the crowd around the luggage dissipated. When everyone walked away her big blue suitcase was the last one sitting on the sidewalk. Pulling it up onto its wheels, she turned to follow the retreating crowd toward the small bus station. The sight of a woman who could have been her dead mother brought her to a jarring halt and she sucked in a deep breath.
At five foot six, this woman was a bit taller than her mother and slender almost to the point of looking anorexic. Her black hair was cut into a cute bob that framed her round face. At first glance one would assume she was Hispanic, but a closer look revealed a more exotic ancestry that was harder to pinpoint. She was Maya, as was all of Eren’s mother’s family.
“Erendria! It’s fabulous to finally meet you!” the woman exclaimed.
It was hard not to cringe at the use of her full name. Back in California, Eren had never used it. The name had just never fit into her ‘it’ girl persona. Before Eren could respond the woman dashed forward and pulled her into a tight embrace. Everywhere Sylvia touched her sent a tiny electric shock like static electricity across her skin. It wasn’t unpleasant, just strange. It faded quickly but left Eren feeling charged.
When Sylvia finally let go she began chattering about how much Eren resembled her mother, touching her face and hair as she squealed in delight. Eren could only stare at her in wide-eyed wonder.
“Oh you have your dad’s blue eyes, how beautiful!” she gushed.
She’d never really thought of it that way, but Eren supposed her aunt was right; her eyes did look like her father’s. That kind of made her sad and she wasn’t sure how to react. Sylvia continued on without missing a beat, talking all the way to the black JK Wrangler halfway across the parking lot.