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Beautiful People

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“I got you six months of probation,” a tall man says as he enters the room. Nicole Haught is in a small room with bare walls and windows that she knows are really double sided mirrors. She’s sitting in a chair at a small table, leaning back and resting her feet up on the table. The man pushes her feet, gesturing for her to put them down before he sits in the chair across from her at the table. Nicole huffs and drops her feet to the ground, dramatically. 

“Six months? This is bullshit!” She groans, dropping her head to the table, on top of her hands.  

“First of all, watch your mouth,” the man warns. “Second of all, normally by now you’d be in juvy, so I’ll take a ‘thank you’ anytime now.” 

Nicole peels her head from the table. She glares back at the man, unamused. “Sure, thanks, Dolls,” she says, dryly. “This is my third probation in 2 years. Forgive me for not being ecstatic.” 

She waves her hands in the air, pretending to be excited. 

“Hence the reason you should be locked up by now,” Dolls retorts. “When are you going to learn, Nicole?” 

Nicole looks up, making eye contact with the man. 

“Learn and have to spend less time with my favorite probation officer?” She says with a devilish grin. She leans back in the chair, putting her feet back on top of the table. 

“Cut the shit, Haught,” Dolls huffs. His tone is more stern now. “And have some damn respect!” He gestured toward her feet. 

“And you told me to watch my mouth,” Nicole says with a smug look on her face, moving her feet back to the floor again. 

“Listen, kid, I get it.” The man’s tone softens. “Things haven’t been easy on you since-”

“Yeah, yeah, we really don’t have to get sentimental here, man,” Nicole quickly cuts him off. “Thank you.” She rolls her eyes at the man in front of her.  

“You’re welcome,” he says with a smile. She’s sure he can see through her sarcasm. The pair has spent a lot of time together over the past few years. Too much time if you ask her, but it’s been than the alternative. 

“Even though it was just a form of self expression,” Nicole argues.  

“Sure, but why can’t you self express on paper instead of the side of the Federal building?” Dolls asks. 

“It was dark!” She retorts. “I didn’t realize it was the Fed building!” She lets out another groan, throwing her head back for effect. 

“Seriously, Nicole, you can’t keep doing this.” Dolls tries to be sympathetic, but Nicole can tell he’s at his wits end with her. 

“I know, I know,” she says, a little softer this time. 

“You obviously don’t know,” he tells her. “Look, there’s one more stipulation.” Nicole brings her head back down, making eye contact with the man. 

“Community service?” she asks. 

“Well, yes, but that’s not what I mean,” Dolls says. He’s got her attention now. What else could it possibly be. She’s used to community service, that one is a given.

“What else have you gotten me into?” Nicole says in a warning tone like she actually has a say in the matter. 

“A new foster placement,” Dolls says quickly. It seems like he’s almost bracing himself to upset the redhead. 

“My foster parents are fine, Dolls,” Nicole tells him. “I get everyone I need. This has nothing to do with them.” She’s actually found a place she likes and is comfortable in, the last thing she wants to do is put this on them. 

“Obviously the city isn’t the best environment for you to make good choices,” Dolls tells her. 

“Come on, I like it here,” she pleads with him. “I have friends, I’m doing well in school. It’s almost my senior year!” 

“Too much freedom,” Dolls continues. 

“Isn’t that what we all want at the end of the day?” Nicole asks, laying on the charm. “To be free.” 

“Sure, but when you’re 17 and I’m your probation officer, I own your freedom,” the man says with a wink. 

“So you’re taking me away from my home now? That’s your solution?” Nicole asks. She’s tired and frustrated, but she knows she did this to herself. She was just trying to find somewhere to fit in. She had spent the majority of her life bouncing from foster home to foster home, never sure if she’d ever find somewhere to really call home. The city has been the closest thing to home that she’s felt since her dad was alive. He wasn’t necessarily the best option either, but he tried. 

Her mom left shortly after Nicole was born. She wouldn’t be able to tell her apart from anyone else on the street other than the small, folded up photograph that she has of her. She stole it out of a drawer in her dad’s office while he was alive. She’s not sure if he knew she had it, but it was the one thing that helped her realize where she came from. 

It wasn’t that she ever wanted to see her mom. Hell, she would probably just tell her off and tell her how much better off she’s been without her. She’s not sure if that’s even the truth. Twelve foster homes in ten years isn't really something to brag about. But she did her best. So what if she decides to spend her time tagging buildings throughout the city? It’s not like she was hurting anybody. 

“Look, this new place is great,” Dolls says. Nicole squints her eyes at the man in attempts to see if he is putting up a facade or not. “And I know the man, he’s real nice. We used to work together before I moved to the city.” 

“Oh, hell no,” Nicole suddenly protests. “You’re making me live with a stiff?” The thought of spending quality time with any more police officers was something Nicole wasn’t prepared for. She’s had more encounters with the police than she would like to account for, but never before has she ever thought about living under the roof of one. 

“Sheriff Nedley is a nice man, I assure you,” Dolls tries to tell her. “Purgatory is a quiet, but nice town. I think you’ll like it there.”

“A sheriff? Come on!” Nicole slams her hands on the table and slides her chair further out, allowing herself space to stand. 

“Nicole, I had to pull a lot of strings here. This could be good for you!” Dolls argues as the redhead begins to pace the room. 

“And if it’s not?” She asks, stopping in her tracks. 

“Then I’ll figure something else out. I know you don’t think so, but I got your back,” the man assures her. 

“Fine,” Nicole sighs. She feels defeated but she knows nothing she does or says is going to change the man’s kind. “When do I go?” She asks as she sits back down in the chair. 

“School starts in a couple weeks so we wanted to get you situated out there before before then so you can get acclimated with the area and maybe some of the people,” he tells her.

“Why can’t I just stay with you until I graduate? Or turn 18? You’re a stiff,” Nicole suggests.

“I’m going to pretend that’s not an insult,” Dolls replies, slightly offended.

“You know what I mean,” Nicole groans. 

“As much as I’d love that, that’s not really an option here, Nicole,” Dolls says. “The courts won’t accept that. This man is doing this as a huge favor to me.”

“I’m glad I can be your charity case,” the redhead sighs, rolling her eyes. 

“Maybe being around a new crowd will help you make better choices,” Dolls tells her, ignoring her last comment. 

“Except I’ll be bored out of my mind!” She whines. “What the hell kind of town name is Purgatory?”

“You never know, maybe you’ll find your place there. It’s a nice town,” he continues to try to convince Nicole that this really could be the best thing for her. He’d be doing a better job if Nicole wasn’t so stubborn.

“Find my place in a town called Purgatory? Sounds like hell,” Nicole huffs.

“Not quite,” he says with a wink. “You’ll fortunately still get me checking in on you, so it’s a win win!” 

“Really? Because it sounds like a whole lot of lose to me,” she says. She puts her elbows on the table in front of her and drops her head into her hands. This man is really about to uproot her for her final year of high school? Maybe it could be a good thing. A new scene, new people, new girls. How bad could Purgatory be? 


Nicole has the weekend to pack up her belongings. It’s more than enough time since she doesn’t really have many things that actually belong to her. There wasn’t much she actually cared about keeping, that was, besides her small collection of sketchbooks that she’s used throughout the years and her electric guitar. The guitar once belonged to her father, it was one of the few things they were able to save when their house flooded when Nicole was six. She doesn't have an amp, but she doesn’t care. She has managed to teach herself some basic skills over the years. She doesn’t quite call herself a guitar player, but it is more of a work in progress. 

She scans over the room that she has called her own for the past year and a half. This is the longest she’s ever spent with a set of foster parents and she found herself getting more used to it than she usually does. The room isn’t big but she has found it to be comfortable, one of the best she’s ever had. 

Her clothes are now all in a couple of cardboard boxes that her foster parents were kind enough to provide her with. She makes sure to let them know how appreciative she has been of everything they’ve done for her. She stacks the boxes on top of each other in the corner of the room, making sure she didn’t miss anything. 

This time packing feels different. She was left alone by her foster parents. In the past, different foster parents would sit in the room with her, watching her every move. It was like they were all afraid she was going to steal from them. Why let her in their house in the first place if they were afraid she was such a terrible person? Oh right, the check. 

Nicole knows she wasn’t much more than a monthly check to some people. She got over that at a young age. She did what she had to survive and sometimes that meant putting her head down and staying quiet. She went to school, made a few friends that never stuck around and moved in where ever she was told because when you’re part of the system, you don’t get many free choices in life. When she was younger she had a sliver of hope about adoption. But as the years went on, she accepted that she would age out of the system when she turned eighteen. 

There’s a knock at her bedroom door and she calls out, “it’s open.” The door slowly opens to reveal the smiling face of her probation officer on the other side. 

“Almost ready to go, kid?” he asks. He takes a few steps further into the room, looking around a little. “Need any help?” She senses sympathy in the man’s demeanor, which is a change from his usual uptight stature, but she doesn’t think too much into it. Once again, she knows she did this to herself. But she also trusts the man that he wouldn’t be putting her in a situation where she wasn’t going to be safe. 

At least with her other moves, she was still in a location that was fairly close to the last. She never really had to uproot her entire life. She was mostly still surrounded by the same faces, the same stores, and the same school. 

“I think I have it down to a science by now, sir.” Nicole mocks him a little. She likes to try to ruffle his feathers from time to time. She knows underneath it all, he’s probably not as uptight as he acts. 

“Nicole,” he’s apologetic. She shakes her head back at him, attempting to stop him before he gets too sappy. 

“No need to apologize, Xavier,” she says quickly. The man stops in his tracks and narrows his eyes back at the redhead. She can’t help but grin back at him. She’s not sure what the appeal is of getting a rise out of her probation officer, but it keeps her entertained. He lets out an audible sigh and pinches the bridge of his nose between his thumb and his index finger, closing his eyes tight for a brief moment. “Fine,” Nicole huffs. “Officer Dolls,” she corrects herself. 

“Thank you,” the man says. “Are these boxes ready?” he asks, gesturing to the stacked boxes in the corner of the room. “I’ll start to load the car.” Nicole nods and watches as the man carries half of her total belongings away in one trip down to his car. She moves over to the window in her room, separating the blinds enough for her to peer outside. She watches as Officer Dolls carefully places the box into the trunk of his SUV. There’s an ache in her chest and she feels her eyes swell. She quickly closes the blinds and takes a deep breath in, blinking her eyes to avoid allowing any real tears to form. 

“Get it together, Haught,” she says out loud to herself. She continues putting the rest of her sketchbooks in a smaller box and closes it by overlapping the flaps. Dolls returns for the second box of clothes and Nicole follows closely behind with the smaller box in her arms. 

She watches in silence as the man places the second box of clothes in the trunk. 

“You don’t have to be so gentle with it,” Nicole tells her. “It’s just clothes.” She sets the smaller box down in the backseat of the SUV. She’s more adamant about the safety of this particular box. 

“They’re still your belongings,” Dolls tells her. She won’t ever admit it, but she does appreciate how careful the man is not to ruin anything that belongs to her. It’s hard to swallow at times, but this man probably knows her better than anyone else in the world right now. 

“Thanks,” she says softly. Appreciation for others is something that she does feel often, but has trouble portraying. The man smiles softly back at her before they make their way back into the room. The only thing remaining is her guitar. Dolls places his hand on it, ready to carry it out for her. “I got it!” Nicole takes the guitar from his grasp. Dolls quickly removes his hand from the guitar, no questions asked. 

Nicole wraps shed fingers around the neck of the guitar and lifts it off the ground. They make their way into the living room of the apartment to find her foster parents. The goodbyes are brief. She never found them to be very affectionate people, but she knew they cared. They always made she sure had what she needed, which was never much. They’d ask about her day, which was more than some people did. They didn’t lecture her when she did something wrong, but she could tell they always wanted more for her. 

After leaving through the door of what was probably her twelfth ‘home’ by now, Nicole places her guitar safely in the backseat of the officer’s SUV. She makes her way around to the passenger side where she finds Dolls holding the door open for her. She shakes her head slightly at the man. “So how lucky are you to be my personal chauffeur today?” She teases as she hops into the passenger side of the SUV. 

“Yes, there is no place I’d rather be in the world than hanging out with a delinquent teenager for the next several hours,” Dolls says, dryly, before shutting the door and making his way around to the driver’s side. 

Nicole laughs at the comment, she’s not offended by what he says. She feels that he’s probably the only person in the world that could say that to her and she wouldn’t want to hit him for it. 

The drive out of the city is fairly quiet. Nicole messes with the radio a few times, only to get her hand swatted away by the officer. “My car, my music,” he reminds her. This isn’t the first time she’s been in his car. It’s becoming a sort of a routine for the pair. She does something to get in trouble, Dolls shows up, gives her the low down and sometimes drops her off at a new foster home until the next time she does something wrong. 

Nicole sits with her seat leaned back, closing her eyes for a moment. She isn’t paying much attention to life outside the car as they drive. The closer they get to Purgatory, the more nervous she becomes. She’s unsure why these nerves are building so fiercely. It’s not like Purgatory is entirely new to her either. Her dad took her there a few times when he was alive, but never to stay. Her dad wouldn’t be caught dead amongst those people. She wonders for a moment what he would think about her going to live there. 

They close in on the town sign and there’s a sudden change in her demeanor. She sits up further in her seat and reads the words on the sign in her head. ‘Welcome to Purgatory; you’ll never want to leave!’ She laughs a little. She doesn’t mean for it to be out loud, but it is. 

“Something funny?” Dolls asks. Nicole immediately shakes her head. 

“No,” she says quickly. She continues to watch out the window as they proceed further into the town. The houses are big, bigger than she remembers. They’re not on top of each other like in the city, she assumes there’s a lot less people here. 

The further they drive, the larger the houses appear to be. They’re surrounded by fences, she assumes to keep the riff raff out. The driveways are longer than she’s ever seen. Some of the houses are set so far back from the road that she can barely see them. There are trees everywhere. They line the streets, driveways, even the perimeter of some of the properties. It’s quiet here, but she’s sure there’s more to the town that meets the eye. 

They drive past the high school. It looks a lot different than the one she spent the last three years at. There’s a big marquee sign out front. The top of it reads, ‘Purgatory High School,’ and the middle advertises an upcoming ‘annual back to school football game.’ She’s not really excited about going to school there. But then again, there’s not much exciting about being the new kid for your senior year of high school. 

There’s a few people walking down the street as they turn the corner just past the high school. She assumes they’ve just come from the high school since a couple of the boys are wearing football jerseys with ‘Blue Devils’ on the front. There were a couple of girls trailing behind in short shorts and tee shirts with cheerleading graphics on the front. Her eyes lingered a little longer on the girls before they turn another corner and fade from her sight. The sound of the man driving the car coughing breaks her from her thoughts. She shifts her attention in his direction. 

He is still focusing on the road, but turns his head slightly to give her his attention before he speaks. “Ready to see your new home?” 

Nicole always uses the word ‘home’ fairly loosely. She was never sure when she would actually consider a house a home. She wasn’t sure she would ever know what it would feel like. 

“As ready as I’ll ever be,” she tries to force a little enthusiasm but is sure she’s failing at it. She is able to muster up a small smile before she turns to look ahead of her again, watching as the vehicle pulls down a long driveway. The driveway leads to a gate that is closer to the road, long before they reach the actual house. Dolls rolls down his window and presses a button on the intercom that is just outside the window.

“Xavier Dolls, here with Nicole Haught,” he says when there is a voice on the other side asking for the reason behind his visit. Nicole isn’t sure what to think. This can’t be a real place, right? She’s sure Dolls can almost hear her thoughts. “I know it’s not what you’re used to,” he says as he starts to drive through the gate that is now opening. 

“That’s an understatement,” Nicole says. She continues to take in the sight of the house in front of her. It’s definitely not a house that any police officer in the city would live in. Well, it’s also not a house that would even exist in the city. 

There are more windows in the front of the house than she can even count. Everything is perfectly landscaped around the front of the house. There is a pathway that leads from the driveway to the front steps. The porch wrapped around the majority of the house. She can’t see behind it but from the looks of it, there might be a pool.

As she opens the door of the car that is now parked, she sees the front door swing open and an older man with a mustache is stepping out onto the front porch. 

Dolls runs around to the passenger side of the car, but Nicole has already out and closing the door. Dolls waves up at the man on the porch and opens the trunk of the SUV. He takes a box out of the vehicle and heads toward the house with it, gesturing for Nicole to follow him. She reaches into the backseat and takes out her guitar before following the man. 

When they reach the front porch, Dolls sets the box down and shakes the hand of the other man. “Randy Nedley,” he starts. “This is Nicole Haught.” He gestures toward the redhead. Nicole gives him a tight smile that’s as genuine as she can manage. She puts her hand out for him to shake it. 

“Nice to meet you, Nicole,” the man’s smile is truly genuine. His handshake is firm but he seems like he’s a gentle man overall. Her nerves subside a little as her hand drops from his back down to her side. 

“Likewise,” he smiles. “Here, I’ll show you to your room,” he says. He reaches out for the guitar she is holding. She quickly retracts, pulling it closer to her body. She knows he was just trying to help. 

“I got it,” she tells him. The man nods and turns to open the front door. As the door swings open, Nicole moves her head to the side to look past the two men and into the house. 

Her eyes widen at the sight of the inside of the house. It’s immaculately clean, she immediately assumes they have a maid. She tries not to pass too much judgement on the people that live here before she meets them all, but it’s hard not to. There’s a large entryway as they step inside. It’s not the kind of entry way she’s used to where people just toss their shoes and coats off and make their way into the rest of the house. 

Everything is so spotless she is afraid she’s going to make it dirty. “Should I remove my shoes, sir?” She suddenly feels the need to be super polite. Randy shakes his head.

“Oh, no,” he says. “You’re fine.” She glances down at her shoes, a pair of old Chuck Taylors. They’re pretty worn in at this point, but she still feels like they have a lot of use left in them. She nods at the man. “Would you like to see your room?” he asks. 

“Yeah,” Nicole says. Dolls picks up the box of clothes and carries it with him as they make their way up the stairs. When they reach the top, Randy leads the pair down a hallway that overlooks what she assumes is the living room of the house. She glances over the railing, noticing the photographs on the mantel over the fireplace. She can’t make out any of the faces in the photos, but she thinks it’s nice to see a family that might actually care about each other.

As they reach the end of the hallway, Randy opens the last door on the right to reveal a bedroom bigger than any room Nicole has ever had in her life. She’s not sure what she’s about to do with all that space. The room is fully furnished with what appears to be a queen sized bed and more dresser space than she is ever going to fill. 

“Here we are,” Randy says with a smile. The two men step to the side and allow Nicole to enter the room. She gently places her guitar in one of the corners of the room and moves around the space, taking it all in. There is a bookshelf with a couple of shelves full of books. Nicole scans over the titles of the books, running her finger along the spines of the books. “I wasn’t sure if you like to read.” Randy’s voice breaks her from her thoughts and she turns around. 

“I do,” Nicole tells him. “Thanks.” She moves around the room again. There’s a desk on the other side of the room with a computer on it. “Thank you for all of this,” she says to the man, gesturing around the room “You really didn’t have to.”

“It’s my pleasure,” Randy smiles. Dolls carries the box of clothes into the room and sets it down near the dresser. Nicole thanks him. “Should we go get the rest of your belongings?” Randy asks.

“There’s not much,” Nicole admits. “I’m a light packer,” she tries to joke. She’s trying to show that she’s grateful for this opportunity, but she’s having trouble understanding what she’s feeling at the same time. 

They make their way back down toward the front of the house. As Randy goes to open the front door, it swings open and a girl with long, blonde hair is standing in the doorway. 

“There’s someone parked in my spot,” she huffs at Randy. She must have realized that he wasn’t alone because she quickly looks back and forth between Dolls and Nicole. Nicole musters a smile. “Oh.” The girl says, knowingly. “They’re here.” She moves past the group and heads for the stairs. 

“My daughter,” Randy says as he watches her climb the stairs until she disappears from sight. “Chrissy.” 

“Wow,” Dolls says. “She’s so grown up now!” Randy laughs. 

“Yeah,” Randy says. “Sometimes I wish she would go back to being little again,” he laughs. “Sorry about that,” he apologizes to Nicole. “She’ll come around eventually.”

“It’s fine,” Nicole says. She leaves the house through the front door to retrieve her box of sketchbooks. She tries to balance the box between her hip and the vehicle but falters, dropping the box on the ground as she goes to close the door. “Shit!” she calls out. Dolls quickly makes his way over to Nicole, helping her pick up the books that have fallen out of the box. “Sorry,” she says. 

“You okay, kid?” He asks in a hushed tone. Nicole nods quickly and shoves the rest of the books in the box, closing the top. 

“I’m fine,” she huffs as she lifts the box from the ground and brings it into the house. Randy holds the door open for her and she moves past him to head back upstairs to her room. 

She finds it weird to think of as her room since she’s only been there for about twenty minutes, but she’s going to try to make the best out of the situation if that’s what she has to do. Maybe if she puts on her best facade, she can get back to the city by Christmas. Or maybe that requires not playing by the rules. She just had to figure out what the rules were with these kind of people first.  

As she makes her way down the hallway, she hears a voice coming from one of the other rooms in the hallway. The door wasn’t open the first time she came through, but now she could see a glimpse of the inside from the angle she is standing at. The wall she can see is lined with pictures of what she assumes is Chrissy and her friends. There’s also a bookcase full of trophies. She’s not close enough to make out what the trophies are for, but based on the shape the girl is in, she makes an assumption she’s an athlete. 

“I don’t know, Waves,” Chrissy’s voice echoes down the hallway. She must be on the phone. Nicole can’t see her but she’s loud enough to hear every word. “Are you sure he was asking about me?” 

Nicole rolls her eyes at the conversation, but is curious about what’s being said on the other end of the phone. “After the back to school dance? Do you think he’ll ask me to go with him? Well I know it’s at his house,” she huffs. “It would just be nice to get a personal invite, you know?” 

“Did you forget where your room was already?” A deep voice comes from behind her, jolting her where she stood. 

“Huh?” She turns around to see Dolls with a smile on his face, carrying the second box of clothing down the hallway. “Oh, no,” she says as she continues her journey to the end of the hall. As she passes Chrissy’s door she sees her get up from her bed to close her door. She gets a slight look from the blonde that she can’t read quite yet but it doesn’t feel friendly. 

She sets the box on the bed in her room and turns to see a Dolls stacking the second box of clothes on top of the first. “Well, that’s all of it,” he says. Nicole waits for the joke, but it never comes. “Is there anything else you need?” 

“Take me back to the city?” Nicole suggests. Dolls laughs. 

“Look, you know where to find me,” Dolls says. Nicole plops down on the bed and looks up at him. She knows he’s trying to do what’s best for her. That’s all he’s ever tried to do since the first time they met. She knows she frustrates the man, sometimes on purpose, but she also knows he cares. She nods back at him. “I know you’re not excited amount this move, Nicole.” 

“It’s for the best, right?” She asks, trying to get to a place in her own mind where she believes it herself. 

“It’s really all you have left,” Dolls says, sympathetically. Nicole gets it. She knows she messed up so many times that there’s no other option right now. After all, the alternative would probably suck more than this. “I’ll be back to check on you periodically.” 

“Will I at least have a warning?” Nicole asks. “We both know how much I hate it when you just pop in unannounced.” 

“I’ll do my best,” Dolls says with a wink. “But in the meantime, make some friends, be a kid. But please, Nicole, within reason.” 

“How much trouble can I get into living with a cop?” Nicole asks. “But that was part of your plan all along, wasn’t it?” 

The man grins back at her. “You’ve always been smart,” he says. 


Dolls leaves about an hour later. He has a discussion with Randy that Nicole decides not to eavesdrop in on, no matter how much she wants to. She isn’t sure what they talk about, but it is probably for the best. 

She is in her room, laying on her back on her bed. She thinks about how she should probably unpack, but she figures she has time and it won’t take her long. 

There’s a knock at her door that she left slightly ajar and she sits up on the bed. The door slowly opens and Randy is on the other side. “How’s it going in here?” He asks as he enters the room. He looks around at the boxes that haven’t moved since they were placed there. 

“Great,” Nicole says, with a natural side of sarcasm. The man laughs a little. 

“You have time to unpack,” he tells her. “Are you hungry? Do you need anything?” Nicole shakes her head. She wasn’t really feeling anything other than sleep. “Please don’t hesitate to ask.” The man turns to leave the room, starting to pull the door closed behind him. 

“Thank you,” Nicole calls out after him, unsure if he heard. He pops his head back inside the room and smiles at the redhead. 

“You’re welcome,” he says. He seems like a genuinely nice guy. She is still having a hard time believing that it’s all real though. Her last foster parents proved her wrong, so maybe this one will too. Only time will tell. “Wait, one last thing,” Randy says as he makes his way back into Nicole’s room, handing her a box. She looks confused at first, but opens it anyway to discover a cell phone. “For you.” 

“Oh, no,” Nicole says. “You really don’t have to.” She tries to hand the box back to the man but he insists she keeps it. 

“In case you need to get in touch with anyone,” he assures her. She was never big on accepting gifts. They rarely came without a cost. She swallows her pride and stops trying to shove the box back at the man. Instead she thanks him and he leaves the room, closing the door fully behind him. When she hears the click of the door shutting, she climbs off the bed and sets the phone, still in its box, on the desk in the room. 

Nicole makes her way over to her boxes of clothes and decides to empty them, using the space provided in the closet and dresser to put them away. She never had much space of her own, but she was always good at keeping it neat. She empties the boxes onto the bed before organizing them into designated places. Her wardrobe isn’t big, or fancy, but it suits her well. The majority of it consists of jeans and flannel shirts so she’s sure she will stick out like a sore thumb at her new high school, as if she wasn’t going to already.