It was one of these hot presummery days in April, when Jaune would have preferred to jump into the pool. But she only had 2 weeks left to learn a lot for her final exams.
She knew that her father still kept an old book on the attic which she could use for her paper in geography. Geography was her favorite subject. Nowhere else she’s learnt so much about other countries and cultures like with her teacher who himself had already seen half the world.
In the dark small room all kinds of stuff was lying around. She had never noticed the old knight’s armor, e.g. But there on the floor were the garden utensils, which her mother still wanted yesterday.
Jaune didn’t get distracted from the mess in the room and went directly to the long bookcase. She had to pass some obstacles like her old toy cars and her father’s ancient chess table. Sometimes she wished that she had inherited a bit more logic from him.
The geography book was found quickly thanks to the thick, colorful cover. As she let her gaze wander on the shelf by the remaining treasures, she noticed yet on another book. Actually, it was nothing special. It looked as old as most books here, colorless and dusty. But it stood out a bit and won Jaunes attention. When she reached for it, a photo fell out.
Just married: Ken and I.
was written at the back of the photograph. Jaune hesitated. Those were not her parents. She looked more closely at the book from where the photo fell. In calligraphy was written: Amber Lavelli’s diary.
Aunt Amber? This diary belonged to her great-aunt, who had died many years ago and never got to know Jaune? Jaune often heard that she was a lot like Amber. She forgot her geography exam for the moment and began to read through the private chronicle of her aunt at every free minute.
From now on, she kept the diary as a treasure. She was so fascinated by the exciting stories that she even read until late in the night.
Amber Lavelli dared decades ago a big adventure: She left Sunset Valley and moved to the unfamiliar city Bridgeport on her own. There she began a new life. In her diary, aunt Amber wrote about sinister figures, financial difficulties and existential fears. But she also told about wonderful friendships, the man of her life, her soule-mate, and the pride of being a mother, grandmother and legacy starter.
“The greatest happiness that could have ever happened to me was the venture. The venture to start from scratch. The past could not harm me there, I wrote my future myself and the present gave me the challenges through which I could grow.
I wish, one day my descendants would grab the opportunity with both hands and stat a new adventure on their own.”
– 2 weeks later –
One evening before her first exam Jaune studied in the large dining room, as her father took a seat next to her with his own book. Reading was probably a family hobby. The presence of her father calmed Jaune down and always let her feel relaxed and safe. He was her first call when she had difficulties or questions. However, tonight she was particularly nervous. She wanted to discuss something with him, but did not quite know how to start the conversation. Finally, she took a deep breath and plucked up her courage.
“Dad?” she said in a low, unusually shy voice as she put her textbook aside.
“Yes, dear?” Her father looked up from his book and smiled at her.
Jaune cleared her throat.
“I’ve been thinking … about the future.”
“That sounds like a big thing. And to what conclusion have you come?”
“I want to travel. I want to get out of Sunset Valley,” she summarised her wishes briefly.
“And where do you want to go?,” her father asked with a smirk on his face. Jaune did not like it. She had the feeling that he did not take it seriously. Did he thought it was a joke?
“To another town. I want to get to know something else than the everyday Sunset Valley park with its festivities which are always the same. I want something more exciting!”
“Where does this mad idea come from?” her mother interfered who just walked into the dining room with freshly baked brownies.
With her full red hair she looked like Arielle, Jaune thought. Fortunately, she had inherited it. Her mother felt comfortable in Sunset Valley, because she had everything she needed: Her family in a beautiful house. She had never wished to see the world. In her mind, adventures were something out of the unreal world of books.
“My idea is not mad!” Jaune blurted in a voice that was a little too outrageous for the taste of her mother.
“Jaune, dear, please put your textbooks aside so that we can drink tea, will you?” Her mother hoped with the change of subject the excitement would lie down by itself. She had not reckoned with the persistence of her daughter.
“Mom, this is important to me! Why should I stay in Sunset Valley after graduation?”
“What’s that for a question?” her mother exclaimed surprised “You have already managed to get a part-time job for this summer at Mr. Mills’ shop for fishing. You bridge the waiting period for your college place. Don’t you want to study Literature anymore? The applications still running! Isn’t the college adventurous enough?”
Jaune had already forgotten about her university place. But the question was entitled: Did she still want to go to college?
“I want to write. That’s what I always wanted. And I don’t need a college graduation,” she decided energetically, “aunt Amber had never graduated and …”
“Aunt Amber?” Her mother intervened.
“Yes, great-aunt Amber Lavelli. She was the sister of Dad’s grandfather.”
“Now it’s clear to me!” Jaune’s mother made a face as if she had solved a mystery. “David, that was your great-aunt, who decided to turn her back on Sunset Valley and never came back, right?”
Her father remembered, “Aunt Amber has always had a great adventure urge, grandfather used to say. Sometimes he regretted that he never followed her. Jaune, you are the image of her in so many ways…”
“I found her diary in the attic,” Jaune admitted sheepishly.
“My cousin sent it to me a few years ago after Amber had died. He said, if you’re so like her, then you should get to know her.”
Finally, after a short break of the recollection her father sighed.
“All right, if you are so anxious to see the world, then we let you go.”
“David!” her mother gasped.
“Elena, our daughter grows up. We both know that she could never become happy in Sunset Valley without spreading her wings first. And as soon as she has enough of her independent living, she’ll return,” he winked at his sad wife.
“Dad!” Jaune grinned from ear to ear, “Thank you!”
“Not so fast, kid. There are conditions, of course.” It would have been too great if it were that easy, Jaune thought . “For your final exams you’ll do your best. Don’t you dare to work sloppily because you have your alternative plan… Moreover, you have to get some money to start with. You’ll get only your savings book from us, no more money. Aunt Amber had nothing back then as well. However, you’re not allowed to go without seed money. Unterstood?
Jaune had to digest this first. Her mother was still not excited about this crazy idea, as she called it. But her father has finally found the right words to persuade her at least. Her parents gave her their blessing to drop college and to start with a bit of seed money somewhere new. The venture to start from scratch, as aunt Amber had called it. And finally Jaune unterstood the meaning.
– 3 months later –
Jaune passed her final exams. Who knows what she might need them for. She worked in her part-time job at Mr. Mills for the past 3 months to save as much money as possible. She even managed to part with some of her books and sold them quite successfully.
“Call us as soon as you arrive in your new home, will you?” her mother sobbed when they hugged goodbye.
“I promise, Mom.” Jaune was a bit sad, too. Although she was so eager for the big new world, she already missed her parents. They had constantly been around for the last 18 years. While she looked forward to the new challenge, she also was afraid of being on her own.
She had insisted to walk alone to the bus station from where she’ll drive to Willow Creek.
– End of the Prologue Lavelli Legacy –
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