"I won't want to," Arnella said sullenly.
"But you'll do this?" Bancroft asked impatiently.
"Yes," Arnella said reluctantly. "The things people have to do for money."
Bancroft chuckled. "Your problem, Arnella, is that you have no concept of what people have resorted to for money, and my hope is that you never will."
Arnella got up, "I am not staying with you and Aunt Celeste for two years."
Bancroft put his hand in the small of her back and they walked to the door.
He turned back, grabbed his checkbook from a drawer, and scribbled on it swiftly. "Here; this is enough money to cover your art supplies and whatever else you may need in the short run. I don't care where you stay, once you take care of yourself properly. I will put an allowance in your account for the first year. The second year you better find yourself a job."
Arnella exhaled and took the check; he was more generous than she expected. Tears crept into her eyes and she batted them back. What was wrong with her? She did not usually cry.
"Thanks, Uncle Ryan."
Bancroft hugged her around the neck and they walked to the door. "Don't you dare stay away so long when you know you need help," he said gruffly. "You are Oswald's only girl. I often wish I had taken you and Vanley from that mother of yours when you were growing up."
He reached the office door. "Stay out of trouble. Classes for the next semester officially start the first week in September, three weeks from now. If you are not there, I am going to hunt you down and drag you here kicking and screaming."
"Yes, Sir." Arnella smiled weakly and headed out of the building, feeling a little brighter than when she arrived.
Next stop would be a house on Mount Faith Drive. She drove slowly toward it.
The house did not have any room that would be conducive to painting, but despite her forced school attendance, she was not going to neglect her first love. What was she going to do?
When she drove up to the house, the gate was open, and a late model Mercedes was in the driveway. Deidra was standing beside it, talking and laughing with Kylie, who had one of those designer puppies under her arms.
"Hey," she waved to them when she got out of the car.
"Hey," both Kylie and Deidra said to her at the same time.
"What are you doing up here?" Kylie asked, hugging her when she came closer to them. "You never told me you were coming, I could have arranged for us to hang out."
"Uncle Ryan demanded that I come to school for two years, so we'll have all the time in the world to hang out." Arnella sniffed. "What are you two doing here, especially you, the new Mrs. Bancroft?"
Deidra grinned. "I love hearing that. I came for some stuff from my house and Kylie was here so I stopped by. So, are you going to live here now?" Deidra asked, looking at her bags in the back of the car.
"Not sure," Arnella shook her head, "I won't have anywhere to paint if I live here. All the rooms are too small and doesn't have enough light for my purposes."
"You paint?" Deidra asked surprised. "What do you paint?"
"Anything that catches my eye," Arnella shrugged. "The other day I started sketching handbags, of all things; I have a whole folder with them."
"Handbags?" Deidra's eyebrows rose. "That's my sort of business. Let me see what you have."
Arnella shook her head. "I don't want to..."
"Show her," Kylie interjected before she could finish her protest. "I have seen your work before and you are really good."
Arnella sighed and reached into the back of the car for one of her sketchbooks. She handed it to Deidra and turned her back dramatically. She usually felt odd when people were looking at her work in front of her.
"Only handbags are in that book." She looked over her shoulder as Deidra scanned through the sketchbook. "You can tell me if you hate them you know; I won't mind."
"I can't believe it." Deidra had spread the sketchbook on the trunk of her car and was leafing through. "You designed these from out