Writing Challenge: Good Fortune: Breanna

Jay Dee over at I Read Encyclopedias for Fun has posted a writing challenge, and here’s my entry.

In any genre, just write a story about someone who very quickly (as in overnight) has gone from broke or poverty to being very rich. The source of good fortune can be anything… winning the lottery, a gift or an inheritance, a genie, … or ???  The only other element that needs to be included: they are required to share the new found bounty with another person or persons they don’t like or don’t trust.

Breanna

              Breanna didn’t think she should care that her father was dead, so she pretended she didn’t. “We see him maybe once a year. Not a lot to miss, is there?”

              Breanna’s mother said “But he was still your father. Anyone would care.”

              Breanna took her mother’s word for it. She hated it when her lack of understanding of how other people felt was mistaken for not caring how they felt, and even her mother sometimes made that accusation. “But I really had already lost him before this. We used to all live together, and don’t pretend I’m not the reason it changed. Dad hasn’t cared about me since…since I told him I was a girl.”

              “He just…had trouble getting used to the idea, Alex.”

              “You know I don’t like it when you call me that.”

              “It’s your name.”

              “I’ll change my legal name, along with everything else. No matter how hard it is, I’ll make it without everyone who’s turned against me.”

              “Alex…Breanna. Your father didn’t turn against you. Look at this. His share in the corporation…his controlling interest, and his fortune; he left everything to you.”

              Breanna snatched the piece of paper from her mother’s hand. “’I leave my fortune to my son, Alexander Prometheus.’ He didn’t leave it to me, he left it to the son he wished I was. This was updated the week after he refused to pay for hormone therapy for me. This is such a backhanded gift.” Breanna really wasn’t sure how normal her own feelings were now; how many people were jealous of themselves?

              “But even if he’s not who you’d rather be, Alexander is still you.”

              “Mom. the last time I tried to pretend I wasn’t a girl, I almost-” Breanna shuddered, and in the pause remembered that this was something she’d never told her mother about. She was never comfortable talking about sex, and didn’t think it really mattered as long as she didn’t intend to be having it any time soon. “No, you’re right. My ‘rival’ is only a fake me. I can use ‘his’ money for what I couldn’t afford before, and that includes fully becoming myself and overcoming ‘him’.”

              “You’d be foolish not to. But until you change your legal name and gender, you can’t avoid being ‘Alexander’ in all circumstances.”

              “Maybe that’s one more thing that I need to change.”

***

              Despite her protests, Breanna wore a men’s suit to the first meeting and allowed the young upstart trying to get named as CEO of ‘his’ father’s business to be publicly known as Alexander. But the pressure of ‘him’ being the one in charge made her question her sanity more than once, particularly when things were unusual to begin with.

              One day, Breanna just couldn’t believe what came across her desk. “Ms. Lucas, if I might ask…what is this?”

              Veronica looked at the proposal only briefly before answering. “Oh, that again. I suppose Leonard thinks he has another chance now that someone else is in charge. It’s a transforming mecha.”

              “It says ‘Prototype 70% complete; project on hold’. Did it work?”

              “No.”

              “Then I think Mr. Smith is another person underestimating me because of my youth. This is the kind of thing I want there to be less of than there was under my father, not more.” Breanna sighed. “A weapon that doesn’t even work gets physically built, while when it comes to things that would actually help people, like sustainable energy, we have trouble convincing anyone to even start designing them.”

              “Unfortunately, that’s all too true, Mr. Prometheus.”

              “I wish you wouldn’t call me ‘Mister’.”

              “I didn’t want you to think I’m not respecting you because you’re so young, Alex.”

              “Not what I meant.” On impulse, Breanna decided she could trust Veronica Lucas more than anyone else who worked at Prometheus Corporation. ”‘Alexander’ is who I was born as, but it’s not who I am. I’ve known it for years, even if I couldn’t really start to do anything about it until recently. My friends call me Breanna…or they would if I had any.”

              “You’ve got at least one friend, Breanna. Me.” She reached for Breanna’s hand, but Breanna recoiled.

              Breanna said “Sorry, but I don’t like to be touched.”

              Veronica shrugged. “I’ll remember. Does anyone else here know you’re a girl?”

              “No. I knew you’d understand, but I didn’t expect it to go this smoothly, Ms. Lucas.”

              “Because you don’t know about…well, I shouldn’t tell her story without her permission, but I have had need to understand something a little like this before. And please call me Veronica.”

              “Unfortunately, Veronica, the inheritor was publicly announced as ‘Alexander’, so I’ve been trying to ‘pass’ the wrong way. It’s probably because I’m young, but it’s already hard enough to get people around here to take me seriously enough, and I’m sure there are people with whom this knowledge would just make things even harder. But I have to try, and I’d appreciate your support.”

              “Well of course, Breanna. I’m one of the people that does like your ideas for the direction of the company..”

              “And one more thing. I do want the credit for my part in this to go to ‘Breanna’, not ‘Alex’. Do you think we can manage that?”

              “I’d like to say ‘yes’, but I think I’ll say ‘eventually’. There’s no avoiding the fact that it will take time, and you are young enough to have time. I’m sorry but…I think you’re going to have to put up with ‘Alex’ a while longer.”

              After Veronica left, Breanna sat down and cried. She had more wealth and influence than almost anyone else her age in the world, and she didn’t really understand why she was crying. But even in her confusion, she swore to never let ‘Alex’ regain control of her life.

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