17 Going On 18...and in Danger (Part 2)
A teenage girl's chances of seeing her 18th birthday are threatened by someone close to her
Jillian Rosen gave her chilly greeting to her teenage stepdaughter, Veronica "Ronnie" Hartnett, who was tied up and gagged in the trunk of Jillian's car, which Jillian drove to an isolated area late at night. "Oh, I'm so sorry," Jillian said sarcastically, "I shouldn't call you Veronica, right? I should call you 'Ronnie'! I always hated your father for coddling you so much. Trapping me into that marriage, forcing me to be a mother for a brat like you. I deserve to be in the lap of luxury, not to be saddled to you for the rest of my life!"
The trunk later closes, but it's that exact moment that Ronnie found herself in her bedroom, as her nightmare came to an end. The last few days have been a roller coaster for Ronnie; she finally reunited with her mother, April Donnelly, for the first time since she was just under a year old. However, just as they were really enjoying their time together, Ronnie is nearly run down in a parking lot in front of her mother, who tells her that Jillian may be behind the attempt. Ronnie and Jillian's relationship had been strained in the year that passed since the death of Lucas Hartnett, Ronnie's father and Jillian's husband, but Ronnie never thought that Jillian could have any reason to even consider harming her.
At least, until the day she snuck in to Jillian's office.
After searching, there it was, in black and white: a will stating that Ronnie was the benefactor of a massive fortune, with Lucas as the benefactor until his passing, when Jillian took over. There was the possible motive. Ronnie was still shocked by this, and she had so many questions. Whose fortune was she set to inherit? How did she become the benefactor? And more importantly: is Jillian plotting to eliminate her for monetary gain?
Ronnie wasn't sure what to believe, but to be on the safe side, she planned to use her last days before her 18th birthday to spend as little time around Jillian as possible.
Just as Ronnie was close to being out the door and on her way out, she heard the voice of her stepmother. Not wanting to arouse any suspicion, Ronnie turned to Jillian and gave a genial smile. "I hope you're not too busy," said Jillian. "Actually, I was hoping we'd spend some time together. It's been quite a while."
"Sure thing," Ronnie replied, not knowing what to expect, but also doing so to play up the appearance of having no knowledge of what she had recently learned. To Ronnie's surprise, Jillian took her to her favorite ice cream shop; the same one that she regularly frequented as a child with Lucas. As both women sat at their table, Ronnie flashed a wide smile, with Jillian doing the same.
"You weren't expecting this, were you?" asked Jillian.
"No, I definitely wasn't!" exclaimed Ronnie.
"Lucas mentioned that he would take you to this place a lot when you were a kid," said Jillian, "and I had kept that in mind ever since we needed something like this. I know you miss your father; I do, too. And I know I can be a bit...controlling, but I just want to protect you."
"Protect me from what?" Ronnie asked, as their order--a banana split--was served. It was exactly as Ronnie remembered from her childhood: split banana, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and three scoops of ice cream, with a cherry on top of each scoop. Both women dug in quickly, but instantly, Ronnie began feeling strange--suddenly developing shortness of breath. Jillian instantly knew what was wrong and started searching for an Epi-Pen, which she quickly to Ronnie, who injected the pen into her thigh.
"Veronica...Ronnie, are you all right?" asked Jillian. "I can't believe this happened; I specifically said that there should be no nuts on this."
"The ice cream...," Ronnie said, "it's peanut butter flavored." Jillian gave a shocked expression after her stepdaughter's statement, but before she could speak, she was interrupted by Ronnie.
"But you knew that, didn't you?"
"What?!" asked Jillian. "What are you saying?"
"Mom was right about you," Ronnie said before running away from Jillian, who rushed after Ronnie, only to stop upon seeing Ronnie catching a nearby bus. Ronnie took the entire ride back to her house; she wanted to be as far away from her stepmother as possible, as she was fully convinced that Jillian had nefarious intentions for her. Once Ronnie returned home, the first thing she did was contact April.
"You were right about Jillian, Mom," said Ronnie. "Can I please come with you? I don't feel safe in the same house with her." Her phone conversation with April was cut off by Jillian's arrival at the house, but having heard Jillian's car driving in, Ronnie went up to her room and started gathering some of her things.
"Ronnie?" Jillian called, though Ronnie ignored her stepmother, who went up to Ronnie's room.
"Get away from me, Jillian," warned Ronnie. "My mind's made up, I'm going to live with my mom."
"Ronnie, please..." said Jillian.
"Enough," said Ronnie. "Don't act like you care about me all of a sudden. Especially when I know what you're really after: my inheritance!"
"What are you talking about?" asked Jillian.
"I know about the will, Jillian," said Ronnie. "I know that I inherited a lot of money and my father was in charge until he died, and now you control everything!" Jillian knows that Ronnie had to have somehow entered her office; it was the only way she could have known about the will. Ronnie expected many things from Jillian; anger, a reprimand, even a slap. Instead, Jillian breathed a deep sigh, expressing a semblance of relief.
"It's time you knew the truth, Ronnie," said Jillian. "First off, about the inheritance. You see, the inheritance...it's from your father."
"What?!" asked Ronnie. "Dad hardly had a penny to his name."
"Honey," said Jillian. "Lucas wasn't your father. You were the result of your mother's affair."
"Oh, I knew it!" an angry Ronnie shouted as she walked past Jillian. "You're making up this story just to slander my mom."
"It's the truth," said Jillian. "Lucas told me when we met. April had an affair with a rich man, and he got her pregnant with you. She went back to you guys after being dumped by her lover, but she clearly didn't stay too long. After your mother left, Lucas received the news that your birth father passed, and left his fortune to you." Ronnie stood silently as she took in everything Jillian was telling her, though she remained unsure about whether or not it was true.
"I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner," Jillian continued, "I know I had only been in Lucas' life for only four years, and then he suddenly tells me about all of this, and even went as far as to add my name as a guardian..."
"Wait, what did you say?" asked Ronnie. "My dad added you to the will? And all of a sudden, my dad suddenly dies, even though he showed no signs of illness? Did you kill him?"
"No!" shouted Jillian. "How can you believe such a thing?"
"I've heard enough," Ronnie said as she walked toward the front door. "Mom warned me about you. She told me about how you went crazy when she visited you. Maybe she knew you killed her husband!" Jillian rushed towards Ronnie as she was opened the door, but before leaving the house, Ronnie gave the following warning to her stepmother:
"Stay away from me, or I'll call the police on you!"
Ronnie went to a nearby park, as April instructed her daughter to wait for her there, however, she found herself followed by that same car who nearly ran her down a day prior. Believing that it was Jillian pursuing her, Ronnie ran through the park and towards the sidewalk, finally making it to an alley, where she appeared to be safe; she looked around and didn't see the vehicle. As Ronnie turned around to head towards the other alley opening, she found herself stopped by that same car, with the driver exiting and moving towards her.
The short-haired brunette woman gave her ominous greeting, though Ronnie recognized her instantly. "You're from the ice cream shop," she said.
"Deanna," the woman said with a smirk. "The name's Deanna. You know, you should really learn the names of people who serve you. Otherwise, they could do something to you...like trigger your peanut allergy."
"You'll never get away with this," said Ronnie.
"I admit, my first two attempts came up short," Deanna said as she took out a gun and pointed it at Ronnie, "but this time, I definitely won't miss." A fearful Ronnie backed away and closed her eyes, as the gun went off, but once she opened them, she saw Deanna down on the ground, having been shot to death. The second thing she saw was a sight that surprised her pleasantly.
April emerged, with a gun of her own, as she had appeared and saved Ronnie from Deanna's attempt. Afterwards, mother and daughter hugged each other tightly, with Ronnie being immensely happy and grateful that she was saved by her mother. "Ronnie!" said April. "I was waiting for you at the park and I became so worried."
"I'm so glad you're here!" exclaimed Ronnie. "Who is this Deanna?"
"It doesn't matter," said April. "What matters is that you're safe, and you can come with me. We're going back home, dear." Ronnie got in April's car without any hesitation, and afterwards, they drove straight to April's house, and within moments, Ronnie understood what April meant when she said that they were heading back home. Ronnie remembered that very house as the one from her infancy, and once she entered, the memories continued to flow.
"Wow!" Ronnie said incredulously. "This is exactly as I remember it!"
"I honestly didn't think you would remember," said April. "After all, you haven't lived here since you were a baby. Since it was just the three of us." Ronnie continued walking around the house that she once lived in, though when it came to her old bedroom, she saw that the door was padlocked. Before she could wonder about the state of her old room, Ronnie heard her mother calling for her.
"Come on down, Ronnie!" shouted April. "I have a surprise for you!" Ronnie came down and suddenly saw that her mother had a birthday cake all prepared for her, and had cut two slices--one for each of them. "Happy birthday, sweetheart!" she said to her daughter.
"Thanks, Mom!" replied Ronnie. "But my actual 18th birthday is still three days away."
"I know," said April, "but I missed so many of your birthdays. I just wanted a chance to celebrate with you while I can." Both mother and daughter took a bite of their slices, but as Ronnie dug in to her own slice, her mind stayed on her padlocked room. Also, how is it that April had a birthday cake reserved for her? As Ronnie looked around the living room, she suddenly noticed something else that surprised her: a photo of April with Deanna, and they were holding hands! Before Ronnie could react, she found herself feeling lightheaded--expressing some of the feelings she had at the ice cream shop.
"Honey...are you OK?" April asked, somewhat facetiously. Ronnie searched her bag for her Epi-pen, only to hear the following words from April:
"Looking for this?"
Ronnie saw her own mother holding her Epi-pen, while also flashing a fiendish smile on her face. "You shouldn't need it," April said, "after all, I only used the smallest possible amount of peanut oil while preparing this cake. You should only fall into a deep sleep."
April's ominous words were only a blur, as Ronnie's consciousness decreased while her mother spoke. She had what appeared to be a dream, as the same dialogue from her nightmare was uttered, but that was the only similarity. Instead of being in the trunk of Jillian's car, Ronnie was in the house--sitting on her baby seat. Another big difference: the person uttering the horrible words to baby Ronnie wasn't Jillian, it was April, meaning that what Ronnie was experiencing was a memory and not a dream.
Ronnie didn't wake up until the following morning, and she found herself in what looked like her old room, but what she saw stunned her. The walls were littered with photos of herself over the years with Lucas, and some others featured herself with Lucas and Jillian. What was once Ronnie's baby bedroom ended up becoming a shrine that was dedicated to April's obsession with Ronnie and her new family, and just moments after Ronnie woke up, April entered the room.
"Hello, dear daughter," April said in a coy manner, right before hearing Ronnie's cell phone ringing. "Well, well, looks like Jillian's been trying to call you. Sorry, Jillian, Ronnie can't come to the phone right now...or ever."
"Mom, please, let me out of here," Ronnie pleaded, only to be slapped by April.
"There you go again," April snarled, "always crying for something. You completely ruined my life. When I took you to your actual father, I was hoping to live in the lap of luxury, but he wanted nothing to do with me! So I went crawling back to Lucas, but he kicked me out as well!"
"Dad heard you," said Ronnie. "He heard you say all of those horrible things to me."
"I was telling the truth!" shouted April. "You were born weak, letting a silly little peanut allergy affect you. Lucas wasn't even your actual father, but he acted like this sweet father of the year and gave me a few pennies to stay away from you. And then I hear that your real father not only kicks the bucket, he left everything to YOU?!"
"You knew?" asked Ronnie.
"All I wanted was my share," said April. "I wanted what was rightfully mine, but Jillian kicked me out; arrogant bitch. Even worse, Lucas was right there, not saying anything, letting his new wife push me around!"
"Dad was there?" asked Ronnie.
"Jillian didn't tell you?" asked April. "Lucas was there, like the little pet I remember him to be. I wanted that to be the last thing he ever did. I never thought I had the temerity to actually act on it!"
"What do you mean by that?" asked Ronnie, who noticed April's evil smile in a silent response, which told the entire story in Ronnie's eyes.
"You killed Dad?!"
"All I did was sneak back into the house and inject a lethal overdose of fentanyl into him," April boasted, "and poof! Instant heart attack! At least that's what it looked like."
"The woman in your photo..."
"Deanna was my girlfriend," said April. "She'd do anything for me...even try to kill my own daughter. Of course, she got too reckless, so all I did was tie up a loose end before she could even become loose in the first place." After putting on a pair of leather gloves, April took out a syringe and grabbed Ronnie by her hair, while Ronnie glared at her diabolical mother after everything she learned. "I hate you," Ronnie said intensely. "You're an absolute monster."
"Like I said, all I want is what's mine!" said April. "And with you gone, and Jillian set up for your murder, I'll finally have the wealth I deserve!"
"No, you won't!"
April turned around and saw Jillian appear in front of her, much to the delight of Ronnie, who was still in her twisted mother's clutches. "Let my daughter go, April!" declared Jillian.
"Your daughter?!" shouted April. "You think everything of mine is yours, do you? My money, my husband, even my daughter."
"Ronnie hasn't been your daughter in years," said Jillian. "Now let her go! It's over for you. Not only did I find your location, but the police are on their way." April scoffed at Jillian's statements, but once she heard the sirens close in, she became panicky. Her frantic demeanor turned into rage, and she actually lunged at Jillian, who delivered a right cross to April, followed by one of her own from Ronnie, which knocked April out cold.
Two Days Later - Ronnie's 18th Birthday
"I can't wait to see this!" an excited Ronnie said as she and Jillian walked in front of the house, with Ronnie's eyes covered. Once Jillian uncovered Ronnie's eyes, the newly-turned 18-year-old was elated to see what was in front of her: a brand-new red Corvette. Ronnie gave Jillian a big hug upon seeing her gift.
"Thank you so much!" exclaimed Ronnie.
"You're very welcome, sweetheart!" replied Jillian. "Listen, I'm sorry I've been a bit of a control freak. After I lost your father, I was frightened. I was afraid I'd lose you. I should have told you about your mother sooner; you would have been safer if I had."
"That woman who is behind bars is nothing more than a stranger," said Ronnie. "You are my mom, and that's never going to change." Jillian and Ronnie hugged once more, doing so after Ronnie showed her appreciation for everything Jillian had done for her. The circumstances may have been tragic and perilous, but the result is a closer bond between the two women.
Thank you for reading my story! If you like this story, click the heart, and click the subscribe button for more of my stories! Tips and pledges would be greatly appreciated, but only if you want to do so!
Wow, the twisted ending. The plot thickens so many times. Great read for sure. Could not wait . Compelling story for sure. You are a great writer. I feel a part 2, I don’t know about this Jillian Character? 😉
Every time I thought I had it solved, it flipped! Loved this so much. Part 2 is even better than part 1!
Love it! Very insightful.