A moving van slowly drove into the strait. Its trunk was covered with an awning, creaking on its way. It drove for another hundred yards before coming to a stop at number 17 on Main Street.
“Look at this, Pamela, the new tenants are here. They’re clearly poor; they barely have anything to move,” noted the ubiquitous Miranda Roberts, who had long been considered one of the first gossips in the area.
In response, the elderly woman shook her head in bewilderment and pretended not to hear her friend’s words. In the meantime, the van driver took off the awning with a sharp move and pressed the horn several times to let the residents of the house know he’d arrived.
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At that moment, the door opened, and a middle-aged couple stepped out into the street along with a teenage boy and a girl about 10 years old. The new tenants were obviously gathering the entire family to unload the van, which surprised their neighbor even more. “They couldn’t even hire movers. They definitely don’t have a lot of money. I bet that they had to take a loan out to buy this house,” Miranda remarked in an undertone and looked meaningfully at her friend. But Pamela Green ignored her remarks once again because she was busily watching the Johnson family carry their things into the house. They acted so harmoniously that deep in her soul, the old woman immediately felt sympathy for the new neighbors.
It took David Johnson and his family just over two hours to unload the van, and that was despite the fact that the new tenants took virtually no breaks and worked very hard to unload the van before dark. That was mainly due to the fact that their son Kevin needed to rest and get ready for his first day at his new school.
David Johnson moved to Boston from a small town in Pennsylvania after getting a lucrative offer from his employer. The head of the family actually did have to take out a loan to pay for the house, in addition to using all his savings on it. Thus, the family’s financial situation was rather tough at the time. That is why, as Miranda Roberts rightly pointed out, David couldn’t hire professionals to help with the move.
Finally, the family was done unloading the van, and having paid for the services of the van driver, David and his family went into the house. Everyone went off and settled into their new rooms. Since the house was relatively small, fifteen-year-old Kevin got the smallest room, which was more like a pantry than an actual bedroom. Sighing sadly, the teenager began to unpack his things, trying to find everything he needed for school.
Of course, the teenager was very upset that at the behest of his father’s employers, they had to move to another state. Not knowing what he would have to face at the new school, Kevin deliberately went to bed later than he usually did. But, to the chagrin of the teenager, sleep didn’t come immediately, and he had to toss and turn in bed for a long time.
The next morning, Kevin went to school dressed in an old sweater, frayed jeans, and some battered sneakers. Of course, the new kid couldn’t go unnoticed by the students. Moreover, since most of the kids had wealthy families, they immediately drew attention to Kevin’s modest clothes.
“Who does this new kid think he is? He shows up at school in clothes bought at a sale and behaves as if he’s the star of the show,” Melissa Bronson, the main fashionista and the star of her class, said indignantly, drawing everyone’s attention to herself.
“Come on, Melissa, he seems like a nice guy. If he were to dress up better, he’d even look good,” Gloria answered. Since the friends were talking in raised voices, their conversation was heard by the entire class. At least two dozen pairs of curious eyes immediately turned to the newcomer and checked him out from head to toe, waiting for some sort of reaction. But Kevin wasn’t about to ruin his first day at the new school, so he quietly sat in the last row and started getting his notebooks and textbooks out of his backpack.
Of course, the teenager understood perfectly well that he was unlikely to be met with open arms on his first day and therefore tried not to pay any attention to Melissa’s comments. Unfortunately, Kevin wasn’t the only one to hear Melissa and her friends; their snide comments were also heard by a couple of bullies who immediately chose Kevin as their victim.
Dylan and Floyd were on the school basketball team and therefore felt they were head and shoulders above their peers. Using their advantage, they enjoyed bullying weaker kids, taking their lunch money, and their lunches lovingly prepared by their parents. Therefore, as soon as the bell rang and the break started, Floyd and Dylan approached Kevin, clenching their fists.
“Hey, new kid, what’s your face? Where did you get those sneakers? Did you fish them out of a trash can?” Floyd asked at the top of his voice, wanting to express his support. Dylan laughed mockingly at his friend’s comment, which immediately attracted the attention of all the other kids.
Having surrounded Kevin from both sides, the incorrigible bullies hoped to frighten him with their stern looks, but the puny teenager’s response simply shocked them. Instead of giving the bullies what they wanted, Kevin punched Dylan in the nose with all his might. Having received an unexpected rebuff, the bully grabbed his face with his hand and knelt down. The next victim of the new kid was Floyd, who immediately received a strong slap in the face from Kevin.
“Hey, what the hell! We just wanted to joke around,” Floyd began to make excuses, taking a step back. Of course, no one expected the most notorious school bullies to be put down like that. Meanwhile, Kevin was enjoying the admiring glances of the other students as he returned to the classroom to get ready for English class, as if nothing had happened.
The incident with the bullies immediately gave Kevin the reputation of a strong and determined person who wasn’t afraid of anything. But it wasn’t just strength that the new student from Pennsylvania boasted. To the surprise of his teachers, Kevin turned out to be a very diligent and smart teenager who gravitated towards the exact sciences and could count very well in his head. He was most successful in computer science, physics, and algebra, where Kevin quickly proved himself as very smart and talented. Over time, he became the best student in the class and took part in city-wide school competitions, invariably winning various awards.
And only the beautiful Melissa continued to taunt Kevin, hinting at his old hand-me-down clothes. Of course, the teenager was very upset that he couldn’t dress as well as his peers. The fact was that almost all the money of the Johnson family went to pay off the loan that they had to take out to buy the house.
Looking at his worn-out sneakers, Kevin was well aware that his parents wouldn’t be able to buy him a new pair anytime soon. It was for this reason that shortly before graduating from high school, the teenager made a decision that didn’t come easy for him.
“Mom, I’m not going to the prom. It’s just a formality for some kids, but for us, it’s an opportunity to save money on buying a suit for me,” Kevin said in a tone that brooked no objections.
In response to this, Mrs. Johnson smiled and quietly replied, “You’ve grown into a beautiful young man, son. Thank you for your understanding and trying to help. But if you change your mind and do decide to attend, please let me know at any time.”
But Kevin had already made up his mind a long time ago and didn’t want to go to the event where he would yet again look like a black sheep against the backdrop of his rich classmates. Kevin’s absence at the prom upset the teachers and incredibly pleased Melissa Bronson.
Finally, everything fell into place. “That dirty poor kid doesn’t belong here. I hope we’ll never see each other again,” Melissa thought with a smile. Melissa was looking forward to having a great time at the prom and to her secure future, which her parents were supposed to provide for her. Everything seemed so predictable that the young woman almost felt sad that there were so few options in her life.
Several years flew by, during which several events happened that influenced the fate of each of Kevin’s former classmates and himself as well. First of all, it turned out that Melissa’s father had made several bad decisions in his business and had to file for bankruptcy by the time his daughter graduated from college. Unfortunately, the man couldn’t recover from such a hard blow and began to seek solace at the bottom of the bottle.
Meanwhile, Melissa had to get a job as a regular manager in a company run by an old friend of her father. Since Albert Sanchez had already been divorced by that time, an office romance quickly spun between him and Melissa, which quite naturally ended in a big wedding for the two of them. Of course, this marriage had nothing to do with love. Having been accustomed to living in luxury and wealth, Melissa simply played her cards right to get herself a rich husband who was 25 years older than her.
“Well, at least now I don’t have to deny myself anything anymore and can finally live the life I was born for,” Melissa thought with a smug smile. The woman knew that while Albert was in charge of the company, her financial well-being wasn’t under any threat. But to the great chagrin of Melissa, problems came from where they were least expected.
One day, having returned home from an important meeting with the board of directors, Albert shared some disturbing news with his wife. “So, it seems that my career has come to an end, dear. A new candidate has been approved for the position of the head of the company. Some young upstart, the know-it-all kind, who feels that he owns the world. I’m sorry, but now I won’t be able to cover for you, pretending that I don’t see you spending your days shopping instead of working,” Albert muttered, taking off his tie.
“The new head? And what’s the name of this lucky guy?” Melissa asked with a playful smile. But when she heard the name of the man who took her husband’s position, the woman turned pale and warily sank into a chair. The fact was, by the decision of the board of directors, it was her former classmate Kevin Johnson who’d become the new head of the company.
“Wow, what a turn! But he used to be some poor kid who came to school in an old sweatshirt and some battered sneakers,” Melissa whispered. At the same moment, the woman came up with a desperate plan, based on the fact that they’ve known each other for a long time. Melissa was hoping that Kevin would help her.
“I’ll get Kevin to fall in love with me, and then we’ll live happily ever after. I remember the way he looked at me back at school,” Melissa thought, biting her lip. The next morning, the young woman was standing at the office of the new director, anxiously waiting for a meeting with him.
Finally, the assistant nodded her head approvingly and gestured for Melissa to come in. To Melissa’s great amazement, Kevin didn’t rush to hug her and behaved rather coldly toward his former classmate. Moreover, the newly-made director suggested that the woman should resign unless she wanted to get fired.
“Kevin, I’m sorry, Mr. Johnson. We went to the same school together,” Melissa said, stammering at every word.
“Yes, I remember that well, Mrs. Bronson, but I am firing you for the simple reason that over the past month, you’ve missed 15 days of work. I also checked your performance, and it turns out that during the last quarter, your level was at least half as low as that of any other employee of the company,” Kevin noticed with palpable coldness.
It was only then that it dawned on Melissa that instead of building her career and working hard, she wasted her time looking for rich husbands and spending their money. Taking a fountain pen from the table, the woman wrote a letter of resignation. Melissa felt as if she was dreaming and left the director’s office on stiff legs.
Of course, Melissa couldn’t have even suspected what Kevin was feeling at that moment. He’d been working extremely hard ever since his school years to make sure that he’d be successful in life. Fortunately, perseverance and faith in his hard work paid off, and Kevin got the opportunity to become successful thanks to his incredible efforts and hard work. Looking at Melissa leaving the office, the new director didn’t feel any anger or thirst for revenge. Kevin was relieved that the meeting with the ghost from the past went quietly and painlessly, giving him hope for a happy future.