I was resting on the couch when a tentative knock came on the door.
Marta peered through the screen, crying. That sobbing hiccuping cry that sixteen year old girls have done for eons.
"Soley, you have to help me he's gone crazy angry! He's going to send me away. It's not my fault. Ashley and Taylor were picking at me because they went to New York. Pandora made me do it, it's all her fault. I am so dead. Fuck! I want to live here with you, then he can't kill me"
I got up to put the coffee on and motioned to Marta to sit down.
"Who is angry at you. and who are Ashley and Taylor? Are they new in town"
"Dad is mad at me. Ashley and Taylor are Ella and Yrsa. They changed their names, so they can have cool ones. They came back from NewYork with all this cool stuff, and now they are ignoring me because I don't dress like them and have the right accessories. They just pick, pick, pick, pick!! So, I got tired of it and I gave in. I went to the web, Pandora made me do it"
"Still lost here, Marta. Why is Erik mad at you, and who is Pandora." I asked wondering if she got tangled up with some stranger online.
She pulled out her mobile, handed it to me and sighed resting her head on her arms.
"So, you bought a little charm bracelet?"
"Erik is mad because you shopped on line, but you work, you have a debit card."
She lifted her head slowly, "I put it on his credit card. They declined my debit card. The bill came in and it was for 72000 krona. He was screaming at me, he wants to send me away if I don't pay him back. I don't have enough money to pay him back all at once."
"That's a lot of money, he's probably very hurt and disappointed. Didn't you realize he would see the amount on the bill?"
"No, because I screwed up doing the dollar conversion, then the shipping and insurance. I thought it was 60 USD. Not 600. What am I going to do? He took the bracelet away, I can't even wear it. Can I live here? I can't stand the glaring anymore. He says he can have me arrested if he wants."
"Sorry, sweetie. You have to face the facts. You are officially a criminal." I said seriously, "Here have a brownie."
"I can't eat a brownie, Soley, I can't go to jail. I'm his daughter." she wailed.
"Marta, you are in some serious trouble and you don't even realize it. You committed fraud. You used someone else's card to buy things over the internet. Computer crimes are felony, plus it was out side the country, so now it's international. You could go to prison, like those banksters. Your picture would be everywhere, tv news, internet, the papers. Your life will be ruined. Where was the company located?"
"New York" she sobbed as she banged her head on the table. "It's their fault for picking on me, it's Pandora's fault, I was lured in."
"I don't think the judges in NYC will accept that as a plea. Damn, that's where Attica and Sing Sing and Rikers are. You'd be thrown in with murderers. Sure you don't want a brownie?"
"I just want to fucking die, why can't I just borrow the money from you and live here. Then I don't have to go to prison, he won't be glaring at me, I could still have my bracelet and my friends won't pick on me."
"Stop banging your head, you are denting the table. You cannot live here, you would be a fugitive. I don't have any spare cash, I haven't been working with the broken arm. It's time to make a deal with your dad. Ask him if he gets a refund by returning the bracelet and you refund him shipping and insurance if he will hold off on sending you to the orphanage or jail. Now check the website for a return policy." I said quietly.
"It's returnable," she sighed, "But what will I tell my friends when I don't have the bracelet"
"Oh god, Marta, I've told you before it's bad luck to buy your own charm bracelet! Look at the mess you are in!"
'Yow, you are right. I have to convince dad not to send me off!" she said jumping up.
"Call me if you need me."
"Love you, Soley, thanks" Marta said with a hug.
"Love you back, good luck."
The bracelet was returned and credited. Marta repaid the shipping and insurances costs. Erik banned her from unsupervised internet shopping until her 18th birthday.
Thelma and Louise have backed off as the fashion police. I haven't seen either wear their bracelets. As soon as the cast comes off the girls will learn to sew and create their own designs. According to Marta, they are going to put Prada out of business.
I took the small pale blue bag out of the trunk in the far back of the closet and brought it to the kitchen for Rain to do the finishing touches.
"I found a puffin," I said, handing her the bag.
"From the puffin rescues! It's perfect! I found an ice cream cone, because she is the best ice cream scooper in the entire world!" Laughed Rain.
"I can't believe it's been ten years since Gerta...." I started to choke up.
"We kept our promise, we've all looked out for her and helped Erik." said Rain clipping the two latest charms onto the silver chain. "There, it's all ready. That is the perfect 17th birthday present. Hopefully 17 will be a little calmer year for her."
Rain placed the bracelet on a polishing cloth, we sat and looked at the charms, starting with the silver heart with Marta's name and birthdate. The bicycle, the horse, ice skates, whale. All the charms Gerta had collected for her daughter before her too soon passing. Then the later charms, Erik, Rain, and myself had gathered through the years locked away in my "Pandora's Box" as Gerta used to call it.
We had asked Gerta when she wanted us to give Marta the charm bracelet. She said to use our hearts, our hearts would know when it was time to take that little bit of hope out of Pandora's Box.