Home > On Dublin Street (On Dublin Street #1)(6)

On Dublin Street (On Dublin Street #1)(6)
Author: Samantha Young

“It’s been difficult,” Ellie announced her re-entrance into the room. She was carrying a tray of tea and some snacks. “Finding a roommate, I mean. Very few people our age can afford somewhere like this.”

I inherited a lot of money. “My family is well-off.”

“Oh?” She pushed a mug of hot tea towards me as well as a chocolate muffin.

I cleared my throat, my fingers trembling around the mug. Cold sweat had broken out across my skin and blood was rushing in my ears. That’s how I always reacted when I was on the verge of having to tell someone the truth. My parents and little sister died in a car accident when I was fourteen. The only other family I have is an uncle who lives in Australia. He didn’t want custody of me so I lived in foster care. My parents had a lot of money. My dad’s grandfather was an oil man from Louisiana and my father had been exceptionally careful with his own inheritance. It all went to me when I turned eighteen. My heart slowed and the trembling ceased as I remembered Ellie didn’t really need to know my tale of woe. “My family, on my dad’s side, originally came from Louisiana. My great-grandfather made a lot of money in oil.”

“Oh how interesting.” She sounded sincere. “Did your family move from Louisiana?”

“To Virginia.” I nodded. “But my mom was originally from Scotland.”

“So you’re part Scottish. How cool.” She threw me a secret smile. “I’m only part Scottish as well. My mum is French but her family moved to St. Andrews when she was five. Shockingly, I don’t even speak French.” Ellie snorted and waited on my expected commentary.

“Does your brother speak French?”

“Oh no.” Ellie waved my question off. “Braden and I are half-siblings. We share the same dad. Our mums are both alive but our dad died five years ago. He was a very well-known businessman. Have you heard of Douglas Carmichael & Co? It’s one of the oldest estate agencies in the area. Dad took it over from his dad when he was really young and started up a property development company. He also owned a few restaurants and even a few of the tourist shops here. It’s a little mini-empire. When he died, Braden took it all on. Now it’s Braden everyone around here panders to–everyone trying to get a piece of him. And they all know how close we are, so they’ve tried using me, too.” Her pretty mouth twisted bitterly, an expression that seemed completely foreign to her face.

“I’m sorry.” I meant it. I understood what that was like. It was one of the reasons I had decided to leave Virginia behind and start over in Scotland.

As if sensing my utter sincerity, Ellie relaxed. I would never understand how someone could lay themselves out like that to a friend, never mind a stranger, but for once I wasn’t scared of Ellie’s openness. Yeah, it might cause her to expect me to reciprocate the sharing, but once she got to know me, I’m sure she’d understand that wasn’t going to happen.

To my surprise, an extremely comfortable silence had fallen between us. As if just realizing that too, Ellie smiled softly at me. “What are you doing in Edinburgh?”

“I live here now. Dual citizenship. It feels more like home here.”

She liked that answer.

“Are you a student?”

I shook my head. “I just graduated. I work Thursday and Friday nights at Club 39 on George Street. But I’m really just trying to focus on my writing at the moment.”

Ellie seemed thrilled by my confession. “That’s brilliant! I’ve always wanted to be friends with a writer. And that’s so brave to go for what you really want. My brother thinks being a PhD student is a waste of my time because I could work for him, but I love it. I’m a tutor at the university as well. It’s just… well it makes me happy. And I’m one of these awful people who can get away with doing what they enjoy even if it doesn’t pay much.” She grimaced. “That sounds terrible, doesn’t it?”

I wasn’t really the judging kind. “It’s your life, Ellie. You’ve been blessed financially. That doesn’t make you a terrible person.” I had a therapist in high school. I could hear her nasally voice in my head, ‘Now why can’t you apply the same thought process to yourself, Joss. Accepting your inheritance doesn’t make you a terrible person. It’s what your parents wanted for you.’

From the ages of fourteen to eighteen, I’d lived with two foster families in my hometown in Virginia. Neither families had a lot of money and I’d gone from a big, fancy house and expensive food and clothes, to eating a lot of SpaghettiO’s and sharing clothes with a younger foster ‘sister’ who happened to be the same height. With the approach of my eighteenth year, and the public knowledge that I would be receiving a substantial inheritance, I’d been approached by a number of business people in our town looking for investment and to take advantage of what they assumed was a naïve kid, as well as a classmate who wanted me to invest in his website. I guess living how the ‘other half’ lived during my formative years and then being sucked up to by fake people more interested in my deep pockets than in me were two of the reasons I was reluctant to touch the money I had.

Sitting there with Ellie, someone in a similar financial situation and dealing with guilt (although a different kind), made me feel a surprising connection to her.

“The room is yours,” Ellie suddenly announced.

Her abrupt bubbliness brought laughter to my lips. “Just like that?”

Seeming serious all of a sudden, Ellie nodded. “I have a good feeling about you.”

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