Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp did some things her senior year of high school she never dreamed of doing
1. Run away to New York City
2. Tattoo a unicorn on a pop star
3. Fall in love with a Scottish graffiti artist
I was always homeschooled, sheltered from the outside world in my own little bubble in England.
That all changed when my parents died before my freshman year of high school. My uncle lamb became my guardian but he is an archeologist and travels the world and didn’t want that life for his favorite (only) niece. He promised to care for me and do what was best for me, which apparently included sending me to boarding school in Massachusetts since that’s what my father had planned.
So here I am at Treadwell Academy for spoiled poor little rich and famous girls. So maybe my dad was a well known preacher with his own tv Channel and podcast and maybe my uncle was technically famous in the academic world… I still felt like I didn’t belong.
It all started freshman year when everyone was obsessed with my accent. And I was cool and had my fifteen minutes of fame, until i didn’t party or drink and would rather grieve my parents then sneak off to smoke.
And so for the past four years, they called me Jesus freak. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t even sure I believed in God since my parents died in a car accident. It didn’t matter that my best friend Geillis was actually rumored to be a real sell your soul to the devil kind of witch. I was a freak, an outsider.
A month in and Senior year was off to a rough start. Of course I can't decide if i want to be an artist or a doctor so im in AP Art and AP Biology and the new course load is kicking my butt. My roommate and one of my only friends, Geillis, is acting weird. She is always really rude and snappy and just… off. This is supposed to be our year. We spent the past three years in this hellhole as underclassmen and we finally have a cool cottage apartment right off campus and finally have some cred. (Not that I care what these people think of me).
I come home from a rough bio lab involving some gross flies that have to reproduce to study their genetics, to find Geillis packing up all of her stuff.
“Going somewhere? Can I come?” I jokingly ask.
She stops rummaging through her drawers and looks at me.
“You’ll find out soon enough.”
She tried to move past me to the door but I stopped her because I am so confused.
“G talk to me, What the hell is going on?” I cringed internally. I didn’t like to curse or say words like that even if I am unsure in my faith but the situation called for it. She stopped dead in her tracks when the “witch” heard me, the Jesus freak, say hell.
“ C, my dad is in so much trouble. There’s some big financial scandal. Apparently he has been like, smuggling money. I don’t know what to do. But I can’t stay here. I don’t think we can afford to have me stay here.”
After calming Geillis down and making her a cup of tea, I look up articles about her father. And it seemed bad.
“So what are you going home to be with your family?”
She paused, “ I’m not sure if I can be with my dad right now, I have no idea who he is.”
But before I can even think of a reply, an article catches my eye because it mentions one Henry Beachump, my father.
“No, no, no”
“What, what is it Claire?”
She grabbed the laptop and read the article before I got a chance.
I know it’s weird that the Jesus freak and the witch were best friends, but really it goes way back. Our parents knew each other somehow and both involved with charities and stuff. Being into this witch stuff was Geillis being rebellious, I didn’t have that luxury since I didn’t exactly have parents to rebel against anymore.
Turns out our parents didn’t know each other through charities and good Christian acts, but through white collar crime.
“ Claire, turns out all those charities our dads worked with together…. weren’t really charities, they smuggled money or evaded taxes or stole money or something”
I felt numb.
I didn’t know my parents at all. And I never will. The image I had of my perfect family, of my righteous father and loving mother shattered as I learned the truth about them a little too late. I wanted to hate them. How could they do stuff like this when they taught me otherwise. They taught me right and wrong, don’t sin and heaven and god loves you and all that crap. How could they be hypocrites? How could they do that? How could I still love them, remember them the same? But, could I really hate the dead, especially my parents? What could I do? My uncle was halfway around the world in some desert somewhere digging up dead things. Did he know? Was he in on it? What are we going to do?
“ we have to run away.” Geillis answered my unspoken question.
“ I’m moving to New York. I was going to after high school anyway, might as well get a fresh start now. Join me. We are in this together.”
“G we can’t really just move to New York, can we?”
“ well we can't stay here. The other girls will eat us alive. They already call you Jesus Freak C, how much more are you willing to take?”
Somehow I ended up on a train out of Boston to New York with the money from my debit account and the clothes that fit in my carry on suitcase with my best friend, wondering where we were going to sleep that night, and every night to come.