Chapter 10: I Don’t Know Who To Trust

WARNING: There is semi-nudity in this chapter.

It wasn’t until the day had begun to fade away into night that Onamara decided to stop. She braked next to a field and parked her scooter. Then she walked aimlessly, inexorably taking the time to think over all that had come to pass. Why had Pierce locked her in the cellar and lied about helping her? Had it been his intent from the start?

Onamara couldn’t figure it out. Nothing made sense. As lost in her thoughts as she happened to be, she was stricken dumb when she became conscious of a man not too far away watching her. Scared without real reason, Onamara had a thought to race back to her scooter and get away as quickly as she could. Yet her feet stayed planted solidly on the ground and the man came up to her.

“I’m sorry to bother you, ma’am. No need to look so afraid.” The man tipped his hat and smiled, putting Onamara a little more at ease. “You just looked so lost and weary over there that you had me worried for you. Thought I’d come and ask if there’s something I could do.”

Onamara smiled back at the polite man. “I’ve just been traveling for a while and I guess I’m a little tired…and hungry,” Onamara added as her stomach gave a low rumble.

“Well ma’am, I have a small cottage just west of here. You’re welcome to come by and have a bite to eat, maybe have a nice warm bath. That is, if you’ve got nowhere else to go.”  Onamara was overcome with doubt and distrust suddenly, but the old man continued to speak. “My wife would see to it that you don’t leave without all that you need, that I can guarantee.

Onamara thought it over. If she could escape from a dark and dank cellar the way she’d done, she could escape from anything. Onamara took pride in her new found strength suddenly. What did she have to lose? Besides, a hot meal and a bath had never seemed quite so inviting, and she really had no idea how far from the Christens’ house she was. She nodded her head and smiled. “Alright. That would be nice, sir. Thank you.”

“Is that scooter over yonder yours?”  “Yes, sir.”  “Well we’ll just set it in the back of my truck and be on our way, if you don’t mind.” “That’s fine.”

She followed the man and he said, “Oh, sorry, almost forgot we hadn’t been properly introduced.” He stopped to face her and held out his hand for her to shake, saying,”My name’s Tomas O’Malley.” “Hello, Tomas. My name is Onamara..Onamara Greaves.”  “Pleasure to meet you,Onamara.” They shook hands and then continued their trek to Tomas’ truck.

When they arrived at Tomas’ home, a woman was standing outside. He pointed at the woman and said, “That’s my wife, Candace. We call her Candie, though.” Then he hopped out of the truck and helped Onamara out of the truck.

Pulling her scooter from the truck bed, Tomas shouted out to his wife, “This is Onamara, Candie. She needs a place to gather her wits. Told her she could come by and have some dinner and a bath.”  Candie smiled sweetly and nodded her head. “Always nice to have company. Come with me, dear.” Onamara smiled gratefully and followed the woman inside.

Candie and Tomas’ home was beautiful. Not too spacious, not too tight, with gorgeous colorful rugs in all the rooms and the hallway. It was cozy and welcoming.

“Dinner will be ready in a bit,” Candie said to Onamara. “How ’bout we get you in the bath ’til then?”  “That would be so nice,” breathed Onamara. Candie smiled and opened a tall closet door from which she pulled out a white fluffy towel with a matching rag.  “Here you are, dear, and the bathroom is through that door on the right.” “Thank you.”  Again, the woman nodded and smiled kindly.

After the tub began to fill, Onamara stripped and locked the door. Then she sank into the lukewarm water. Nothing had ever felt so sensational.

She couldn’t help the smile that crossed her face as all the grime melted off her body as she washed herself with the frothy body wash. She cherished the feeling of the soft rag rubbing over her skin.

Time passed and Onamara lost track of it. All she was aware of was the wondrous feeling of being clean. A knock at the door roused her, and only then did she realize she’d fallen asleep. Onamara wrapped the towel about her form and said,”One moment.”  “Oh dear,” Candie’s voice said from the other side of the door,”keep enjoying your bath, please. Dinner still has a bit to go. I only came to bring you this candle. I thought it might help you relax.” Onamara cracked the door enough to poke out her head. “It’s chamomile,” Candie said with that soft, sweet smile still on her face. “Oh. Thank you.” Onamara politely took the candle and went back to enjoy her bath.

She promptly drifted back off to sleep.

Dinner that night was delicious. When it had been served, Candie had come to retrieve Onamara from the bath, and Onamara had been pleased to find that as she’d drifted off Candie had come through the unlocked bathroom door and fetched Onamara’s clothes. She’d washed them and even added a lovely lilac fragrance to her dress. “Just a little spritz of some of my favorite perfume,” Candie had said with a twinkle in her eye. “Plates are served up on the kitchen counter. Help yourself.”

Onamara had walked into the kitchen, simply following the smells. On a long kitchen island were heaps of mashed potatoes, corn, roast, and sliced ham. Candie had piled everyone’s plates high. Onamara grabbed one and headed to the dining room that was connected by a sliding partition left partly open. Candie and Tomas grabbed a plate and followed close behind.

They all sat together and began to eat.

“Onamara, I don’t mean to pry, but do you live someplace around here?”, Tomas asked around a mouthful of mashed potatoes.

“Um,”answered Onamara, “I guess you could say so..Well, but..I don’t really know. I guess I’m sort of lost.” Candie smiled and patted her hand. “That’s okay, dear. We have a guest room you’re more than welcome to stay in.”  “Oh, I’d never dream of putting you out that way! You’ve both already done so much!”  “Really dear, you wouldn’t be putting us out at all. Right, Tomas?”  “That’s right,” Tomas answered. “Not at all.”  “Well, if you’re sure..”  “We’re sure, dear.”

“So,” said Tomas, “mind telling me how you got lost in the first place?”  Onamara shrugged. “Sure.”

She told them of how she’d been in Sunset Valley for four years, searching for more information about her mother and hoping to find relatives. She told them of the Christens couple that had lovingly taken her in, and of Pierce and the cellar. At the latter, they shook their heads and tsk-tsked. “Dunno what the world’s coming to,”Tomas said . “So you see why I was a little nervous about coming here..I guess, after what’s happened, I can’t help feeling a little apprehensive. I think…I think maybe now I don’t know who to trust.”

“Oh, you poor dear!”, cried out Candie. “Welp, you can trust us, Onamara.”

Onamara nodded. “Yes, I see that. I’m so grateful for your generosity.”

After dinner, Candie showed her to the room she’d be sleeping in. Once she was alone, she stripped off her dress and slid underneath the heavy comforter with a sigh.

The morning seemed to come all too soon, but the birds chirping and the sun shining into the room instantly brought a smile to Onamara’s face. Then she heard Candie’s voice call out to her. “Onamara dear, I’ve invited some friends over I’d like you to meet.” Candie then tapped at the bedroom door. Onamara pulled the covers to her chin. “Come on in.”

“Did I wake you?”, Candie asked?  “Oh, no. No, you didn’t wake me.”  “Alright, that’s good. I was saying to you I’ve invited over some friends of mine. I thought we could try to see if anyone knew of your Mama. Maybe we can find out if she has relatives nearby.”

“That’s so kind of you, Candie. You didn’t have to do that.”

Candie smiled. Onamara was growing to love that smile of hers.

“Get dressed now dear. I’ve already prepared breakfast.”

After she’d dressed, Onamara found that she was more than a little eager to ask Candie’s friends if they knew anything about her mother or her mother’s family. She raced to the kitchen where voices were happily chattering amongst one another.

******************************

“Yes, I know Pierce, that swine! He always did have a thing for your Mama, but she wouldn’t give him the time of day. And they were never even friends, but it makes sense he’d say they were. He had such a crush on her!”

“He sure did. I bet he locked you up in that cellar ‘cus you look so much like your mother! He probably thought he’d keep you for himself, like he never could with Adoria.”

“Oh, it’s just so sick!”, exclaimed Amanda, one of Candies’ friends’ daughters. Amanda’s mother reached for the refrigerator’s door to get the jam as Amanda stamped her foot in rage and disgust. “He shouldn’t get away with it!”

“I know, I know”, said Onamara, “but now all I want is to find out more about my mother. That’s all I’ve been able to really think about.”

“Well,”said Amanda’s mother, Florentine, “Candie and I have millions of friends here in Sunset Valley. Somebody’s bound to know more about your mother. I’m sorry I can’t be of much help, but your mother and I went to two different schools so I only ever saw her at our church. We never spoke one on one, I just heard gossip is all.”

“No, Florentine, that’s perfectly fine, and like you said, someone’s bound to know something.”

After breakfast Onamara thanked Candie, Amanda, and Florentine for all their kindness and wrote down the directions for all the friends Candie and Florentine ticked off. “I only wish I could say thank you to Tomas in person.”  “I know, dear. I’ll tell him you said thank you and goodbye. He left for work right as the sun came up.”   With that, they all walked with Onamara out to where Tomas had parked her scooter. She hugged everyone goodbye and started up her scooter…

Or, that is, she TRIED to start it up…but the scooter gave a nasty chug and cough and then died.

“Welp, guess we better call a taxi, unless somebody here knows somethin’ about scooter engines and things,” said Candie. They all looked at one another in silence and Candie laughed. “Florentine, fetch the phone book, will you?”

Candie called for a taxi and then came to sit next to Onamara in the living room. Amanda started a fire and her mother sat on the other side of Onamara.

“Taxi station is a ways off from here. Probably be about nightfall before it gets here.”

“That’s okay with me,” said Onamara. “I mean, as long as you don’t mind having me here.”  “Not in the least,” said Candie. “I’ll go make a fresh pitcher of tea.”

************

Candie had provided Onamara with the cash she’d need to take a taxi, but that wasn’t all. She’d also given her enough to travel to each of her friends’ homes and then enough to travel back to her home..that is, once she could find out exactly where that was. To top it all off, Florentine had given her a cellular phone and told her to keep it. Not many people in Sunset Valley had phones, and Amanda had bought the cellular for her mother.  “I went off to college in New York,” Amanda had told Onamara,”and I was real surprised when I saw the fancy wireless phones all the other girls had. So, I bought this one for Mama, but nobody really uses phones here in Sunset Valley.  “That’s right,” Florentine had said. “Nothing wrong with writing letters or speaking in person. Technology these days makes everybody think a text message or an email is the right way to keep in touch. Well pshaw on that!”

Though it appeared to be rather late, it was in fact only 6 pm. Onamara figured she’d have enough time to travel to at least two homes, and if anything at least she could determine where exactly she was and how she could make it back home to the Christens’.  She knew they didn’t have a phone-the sole purpose of the cellular would be to call for taxis. Onamara felt rather sad that she’d had to leave behind her beloved scooter, but she figured she could always ask Mr. Christens to fetch it for her when she found her way back, for Candie had given her the number to Tomas’ work phone.

The first house Onamara went to belonged to a young Asian woman, named Sunee Ono.

Sunee Speaks of Adoria

Onamara handed a 10 dollar bill to the cab driver and stepped out onto lush green grass. She crossed to the front steps and rang the doorbell.

A lovely woman, dressed in red, stepped out to greet her.

“Hello, my name’s Onamara. A friend sent me here. She thought you may be able to help me.”

“What can I do for you, Onamara?”

“My friend, Candie O’Malley, said that you knew my mother. Her name was Adoria Day’Lee Eulalaio.”

Sunee stepped outside,closing her door. “I just put the baby to sleep. Would you mind if we talked outside?”  “Not at all,” answered Onamara.

Sunee walked down the steps and to the front of her yard. Onamara followed.

“Yes, I remember your mother, Onamara. She was very well-known and liked in college.”

“The two of you went to college together?”

“Yes, we did. I recall your mother saying how much she wanted to be a heart surgeon. Is that what she does now?”

“My mother passed away quite some time ago, when I was very young.”

“Oh my. I’m so sorry for your loss. Adoria was a wonderful woman.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Ono.”

“Don’t thank me. It’s nothing but the truth.”

“I came here to Sunset Valley hoping to find some of my mother’s relatives….my family.”

“Oh, your mother has plenty of relatives in Sunset Valley, but not anywhere on this side of town. From what I can remember, your mother’s family all lived in the Upper East Side, in Sussurate Mesa. That’s moderately far from here.”

“May I ask where here is?”

Sunee chuckled. “You’re in Equi, the heart of Sunset Valley.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Ono, you’ve been incredibly helpful. Could I ask if you know where the Christens’ ranch is from here?”

“Oh, I know the Christens’. You’re speaking of Dorie, correct?”

“Yes!” Onamara beamed. “Could you tell me how to get there from here?”

“Oh, sweetheart, it’s very far, and I see you don’t have a car…I’d invite you in, but my husband doesn’t take too well to visitors. He’s very ill…But..I do have an old camping tent, and right off of our property is a strip of land where people sometimes go to fish and camp out..I’ll give you directions and you could leave first thing in the morning, but maybe you should rest for the night and I’ll bring you a bowl of hot soup and rice.”

“That would be nice, Mrs. Ono, thank you.”

“Okay, just wait for a moment here. I’ll bring you the food and the tent and show you where to go.”

*************

Onamara shouted in resentment as the wind whipped up her tent for the fifth time. She’d been trying to pound the pegs into the muddy ground with a rock, but the wind was in a playful mood tonight.

Onamara sat down in the muddy grass with a huff and waited for the wind to die down.

When she could assuredly keep the tent somewhat tied down (though the slightest gush of wind caused it to lift just a hair) she was frazzled and fatigued. She slid into the sleeping bag Mrs. Ono had found for her and slept tranquilly.

******************

Next stop, Ray Pritchard

Onamara’s next visit was with a man named Ray Pritchard. He lived only 25 minutes from Mrs. Ono.

“We’ll have to speak outside. I live with my grandmother, and she isn’t too keen on having company these days since my grandfather’s passing.”

Onamara was starting to think she must smell…Either that, or maybe she just seemed a little off her rocker?

“No, I really didn’t know your mother, but I knew Zef, or really, I just knew of him. He used to get beat up a lot. No offense or anything, but he was always a little geeky. Why are you still looking around anyways if Sunee already told you where your Ma’s family is at?”

“Ray, this stupid goat won’t eat! Come feed the damn goat!

“Dammit Grandma, I’m tryin’ to have a conversation here!”

“You get your ass over here and feed this damn goat ‘fore I shoot it!”

“Shit, I have to go. Sorry. Hold on, Grandma!”

“Hurry up!”

“Alright, alright! Yellin’ so loud I think you popped my damn eardrum!”

“That won’t be the only thing I’ll pop!”

*************

Next stop, Mr. Heller at his book store

“Good evening, Mr. Heller. Oh…” Onamara averted her eyes.

“You here to buy a book?”

“Um…no. I just needed to ask a question or two. It’s about my mother-”

“Don’t know, don’t care. Either buy a book or get out.”

“I don’t have enough money to do that. I only have enough for cab fare. Besides, I just need to ask you a few questions about my mother-”

“Nope. Shoo, shoo, shoo! You buy a book or you leave!”

“Fine!,” Onamara shouted. “But just a word of advice:consider wearing a damn shirt!’

“Leave, go, go, leave!”

“I’m leaving!”

“Asshole”, Onamara muttered as she pulled the cellular from her bra and called for a taxi.

***************

“Oh Florentine, I’m so glad you’d given me your address, and so glad you’re home! I’d considered heading back home or maybe even to Candie’s before heading out to the Mesa but your house was so much closer. You don’t mind me being here, do you?”

“Oh, you silly girl, of course not! I was wondering how you’d gotten on! You can sleep here tonight before going out to the Mesa tomorrow.”

“Oh Florentine, thank you so much! I don’t even know where I’ll go once I get there.”

“That’s okay, Onamara. You’ve made it this far. I think you’ve got somebody looking out for you.     Come on, let’s get you fed and in bed.”

Ah, a bed…How heavenly.

*********

“Child, why on earth are you sitting here outside in the cold? Is the bed not comfortable?”

Onamara laughed. “That bed is the most comfortable thing I’ve slept on in four years. I just can’t sleep. I used to have nightmares about my mother. Now I dream of the cellar all the time…”   Onamara stood and dusted off  her dress.  Florentine came to stand before her. “Dear, it will take some time to get over that. It’s only natural to dream about it, but you just have to give it time. Wounds can’t always heal overnight, and we can’t force ourselves to let go of something our subconscious has stored up. You just have to wait it out, dear.”

“I know,” said Onamara. “Sorry if I worried you…You can go back to bed. I’ll be fine.”

“Oh, don’t worry, it’s still early out. We can talk, Onamara. I don’t mind at all.”

And so, Onamara began to open up to Florentine.

…”..and I had a journal that belonged to my mother. It probably would have been so useful now, but I can’t remember what I did with it. I remember when my..my foster mother…had given it to me …”

Onamara told Florentine of the dreams she’d had of her mother in the past. She told her of Cat and what she’d done…

She told her everything.

And when Onamara’s cab arrived the following morning to take her off to the Mesa, the two women embraced warmly. “I’ll be with you in spirit, Mara. I just know you’ll find all you’ve been searching for.”

“Thank you, Florentine. Thank you for everything. I’ll miss you.”

“I’ll never be too far, and you’re welcome here any time.”

************

Well, here I am in Sussurate Mesa, thought Onamara.

Now what?

Onamara paid the cab driver and got out in the middle of a nice suburb. The only thing she could think of to do was to walk around and ask people questions. It wasn’t much of a plan, but she had to start somewhere, right?

She approached the first person she saw.

“Excuse me, Miss, I’m sorry to bother you, but I’m in town looking for my relatives and I seem to have gotten lost. Have you, by chance, ever met a woman named Adoria Eulalaio, or have you perhaps heard of any of her relatives living in this town?”

“No, I’m sorry. I’ve never heard of the Eulalaios.”

“Okay, thanks anyway”, said Onamara as she walked away, heading down the sidewalk to search for yet another person she could stop and question.

******

Hours went by as Onamara questioned the people who happened to be standing out on their lawns doing this or that.

Late evening came and with it, a grayness in the clouds. It was going to rain…

“Excuse me sir, have you ever heard of the Eulalaio family?”

“No, I’ve never heard of them. Why do you ask?”

“Oh, I was just hoping you had. I’m lost and needed directions to visit some family members…Anyway, thanks.”

The man nodded and walked back up to his porch where he’d been lounging on a rocking chair.

Onamara was getting cold, hungry, and tired.

Maybe she’d made a mistake in coming here.

Onamara pulled the last of her money from her bra and counted it.  50 dollars. What would she do when all the money had been spent?

Onamara thought back-how much had that train ticket been? Around 30 dollars. Then she’d also have to take a cab to get to the station….

She pulled out her phone and called for a taxi, hoping she’d have enough…

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~ by Daylilypetals on 12/06/2009.

3 Responses to “Chapter 10: I Don’t Know Who To Trust”

  1. Wow! This is a very long chapter. It must have taken you ages to create it!

    There are a few things I don’t understand. Mrs Ono said ‘here’ was ‘Equi’, yet she goes there again the next day? And why didn’t Onmara go straight to the ‘Upper Side’?

  2. Ah, glad to see you around again my dear friend. And what has you confused is in fact a typo! lol I meant Sussurate Mesa, aka the Mesa, but I typed in Equi instead! The Upper Side is the Upper East Side, which is Sussurate Mesa.
    Sorry for the confusion, and thank you for letting me know. It’s fixed now so if I confused you too much you can go back and reread it. On a more personal note, I hope your son has been getting better. Grief is hard to cope with and pain heals fastest and with less scarring when you have loved ones to lean on. He’s blessed to have a mother like you.
    Warm wishes.

  3. I re-read it! 🙂

    Thank you so much for your good wishea. He will be on medication for quite a while, but he is getting better all the time. xxx

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