00075. Side Story 002: Ten years ago. 1/3
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My wife used some voodoo magic on me and I've been feeling a lot better. I was able to write another chapter today, so here is a new chapter for you guys to enjoy.

Daniel started to laugh before she finally broke down, sometimes it felt like the whole world was against her. For years she had kept up a brave face, never complained and never gave into the loneliness she felt around her family. She kept that same brave face as she left her parents estate earlier in the day, she didn’t want her parents to see her being weak. But now that her car had broken down in the middle of nowhere, she finally couldn’t hold it in anymore. The dam on her emotions finally broke and she couldn’t help herself as she let out years of pent up anguish.

Most people would think being born into her family was a blessing, but to Daniel her life was nothing but a curse from the start. Her name being Daniel wasn’t a mistake like most people thought either. Her parents didn’t make mistakes. Her parents wanted another boy, when it turned out she was a girl. They just kept the name and treated her like a boy instead.

Daniel quickly realized at a very young age that her family wasn’t normal. There was no love in her family, only how useful you could be to the family. If you weren’t useful, they would find a way to make you useful. She easily learned to put up a false face in front of everyone else, she knew she couldn’t show weakness in front of her family. It wasn’t long before Daniel started planning on how to leave her family.

It was the worst years of her life as she sacrificed everything and focused on her schooling. But she was able to graduate from the private school her parents sent her to when she was only fourteen. It was the first time Daniel had seen her parents actually seem happy about something she accomplished. It was also the first time she started to second guess her plan of leaving her family, maybe her family wasn’t that bad after all. Her parents had both hugged her and said they were proud of her and that they knew she was special.

She still buckled down and focused on her next obstacle, her SAT test. She almost had a perfect SAT score when she finally took it a couple months later. Again her parents seemed pleased with her and told her they were proud of her. Again she started to doubt if leaving her family was the right decision.

But she still applied to Harvard and while she would like to think it was from all of her own effort. She knew her family, most likely her father had pulled some strings to get her enrolled with how quickly they accepted her. But that didn’t bother her, she would gladly use her family while she still could. She next focused on her studies and took a course load that could break most normal people.

She considered it a blessing that she was one of the middle children out of six. So while her parents put a lot of pressure on her from a young age, she had some freedom to choose her own career. Well, as long as she selected from their list of careers that they deemed acceptable for someone of her family background.

She decided on law school and took everything she was allowed plus any extra classes that would help her in her future career choice. She was graced by her parents with a house they bought for her to use during her stay at college. It was across the street from the main campus and made it very easy for her to get to most of her classes.

They also wanted to staff the place to make her life easier, but Daniel argued it would be better if she lived alone. She said it would give her good life experience that way. They didn’t like the idea, but they accepted it. Plus it would help her when she broke away from her family and wouldn’t have butlers and maids to count on. She could use this time to learn to live on her own and wouldn’t have to worry about her parents spying on her.

During her three years at Harvard, she focused completely on her goal and prepared for the day she would leave her family behind. She knew that once she went against her parents, they would cut her off and she would be completely on her own. But she still held out some hope that maybe it would get better, after all her parents were proud of her. Maybe if she was the top of her class when she graduated her parents would say they were proud of her again?

While she was still in her private school she came up with a way to siphon off money from her parents. If she just used her credit card to take out a cash advance all the time, her parents would most likely catch on and put a stop to it. So she came up with a few ways to use her credit card to save up money and not be obvious about it. The main one was using it to eat out or buy groceries.

Whenever she paid, she would ask for cash back if she could and would take twenty to sixty dollars each time. It might not seem like much at first but doing that almost every day for over three years adds up pretty quickly. She opened up her own savings account in a small credit union and started to store all the money she saved up there, away from her parent’s reach in case she really did leave her family.

When summer came she didn’t want to spend it with her family, so she told her parents she was going to use the summer to prepare for next year's classes. While she did spend most of her extra time studying, she also found a job close to her house and worked it for the summer to save up even more money. Her parents weren’t happy when they found out she was working a ‘normal’ job as they thought it was beneath her. But they only voiced their displeasure, they didn’t force her to quit working.

It was at her job where she was able to finally see what a normal family was actually like and she almost broke down into tears from it. She had always known her family wasn’t right, but she never knew how much until she saw her boss interacting with his family. The love and closeness they showed each other was a stark contrast to the relative coldness and distance she received from her own family. It also made her no longer second guess her plan, leaving her family was the right decision.

During her three years of law school she made sure she prepared herself for everything she needed to do. Which included getting her drivers license, a copy of her high school diploma, birth certificate, social security card and a few other things. Her parents didn’t even question when she requested those things, they just sent them over when she asked. Or in the case of her getting her drivers license, they sent the head chauffeur to teach her how to drive while she had her learners permit. 

After three years of law school, she graduated top of her class summa cum laude. While her parents showed up to her graduation ceremony, this time neither one seemed to be proud or even happy for her. It was as if they expected nothing less and would have been disappointed if she wasn’t in the top of her graduating class. While her parents wanted her to return home right after graduation, she was able to hold them off for a few weeks under the pretense of taking care of a few things at school before she left.

The first thing she did was check her savings account and make a budget for what she needed to buy. She had a little over thirty thousand dollars in her savings account and needed a car. So within those two weeks, she went out to find a decent used car to buy. She also went out on a shopping spree to buy a completely new wardrobe with her parents credit card. She needed to have some nice clothes for job interviews and then whatever job she landed afterwards.

The used car she bought was a little more than four grand. She then took the car in for a full service check up after she purchased it and was happy to find out that it was in great shape.

The mechanic did recommend that she purchase new tires and have the oil changed, once he found out she was going to drive the car to New York City. She found his recommendations reasonable so after both of those were completed she headed home to pack up.

Once the two weeks were up she loaded up everything she owned into the Volvo two forty she had bought and drove to her parents estate a little over five hours away in upstate New York. It was a little after six PM when she arrived and Daniel wasn’t greeted by her parents when she arrived home, but by the family's head butler.

He led her through the mansion and into her father’s study where her parents were waiting for her. Her father was seated behind a large wooden desk, which was made out of a dark brown almost black colored walnut. Her mother stood on the right side of her father’s chair and both of them didn’t seem happy to see her.

Before her parents even greeted her, her father said, “I see that you squandered money on a cheap car. If you desired a car all you had to do was ask for one.”

Daniel kept her face schooled as she opened her purse and pulled out the credit card her father had given her and placed it on his desk. Her father raised an eyebrow at her action, but waited for Daniel to speak. It took a few moments before Daniel calmly said, “I only came home to return your credit card and to tell you I am moving to New York City to look for work.”

Her mother frowned as she said, “You don't have to worry about a job, your father already found you one."

Her father nodded in agreement as he said, "I came to an agreement with a friend of the family. You will begin an internship at his law firm in Delaware in about six months."

He glanced at his wife as he said, "In the meantime we also found three possible suitors for you. Your mother will be sending you out on dates with each of them before you head off to your internship. We expect you to find one of them acceptable and then we will iron out a marriage agreement with their family afterwards."

“No.”

Her father narrowed his eyes as he said, “That wasn’t a question.”

Daniel was calm as she said, “It doesn’t matter, I told you what I am planning to do.”

Her mothers voice was raised slightly and filled with authority as she said, “We are your parents, when we tell you to do something, you do it. Now go to your room and we will have someone unpack that vehicle and dispose of it.”

Daniel smiled at her mother as she said, “I already told you both what I am doing, I was hoping you would wish me luck. But I guess even that was too much to ask for.” 

Both of her parents frowned this time before her father said, “If you really want to leave, then do it. But do it knowing you will be cut off. You will never receive any help from us again.”

“I understand father and I am willing to accept that.”

Her father waved his hand towards the door as he said, “Then go, you are no longer welcome here.”

Daniel turned around and walked out the door. She paused for a moment after she closed it and could hear her mother as she said, “We shouldn’t allow her to leave.”

“It’s fine, give her six months to struggle alone and she’ll be back. We will just have to push back our plans for her a little bit.”

Daniel quickly walked away after that and went directly to her car to start her drive to NYC. A few hours passed before she heard a loud snap followed by some banging and her car seemed to lose power, while something was scraping the ground underneath the rear of her car.

It was incredibly hard to control her car properly, but she managed to slow the car down and was able to pull over to the side of the road before she came to a complete stop. After she turned off the car she laughed a little at her situation, before she finally broke down and started to release painful, gut wrenching sobs. She had no idea how long she sat there crying into her hands, but at some point there was a knock on her window.

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