Chapter 3.9 On A Grey Sky Day

WARNING: This chapter is kind of long, so brace yourself. 

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We were at the tip of Autumn where thick clouds danced mightily in the grey skies, gathering up moisture to bestow rain all over Riverview’s green pastures. The trees hadn’t turned its color yet, but were on the brink of hibernation. Crops were thriving more than ever and the horses were healthy enough for breeding. It was a good time for the Riverview residents. I just wish I could say the same for us.

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Now that we were all settled comfortably into the house, it still felt surreal that we were even there. One minute, we were in Meadows Glenn in a luxurious, but cozy one-bedroom house and the next, we’re here in a massive four-bedroom farmhouse. I think I still get lost every time I looked for the laundry room. As I sorted out the laundry and placed them into the washing machine, I wandered how we would be able to maintain such a big house as this. I didn’t want to worry Cyler; he was already stressed out enough with the horses.

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Over the past few months, Bennie’s health had suddenly taken a turn for the worst. After being in the hospital for a couple of weeks, he was allowed to come home and rest in his own bed. The doctor stated that the cancer had spread even more than it had and we were to start making funeral arrangements soon.

Cyler didn’t want to believe that his father was getting worse, but deep down knew his time would soon expire. So to make him feel more comfortable, we prepped the room to his liking and waited on him hand-and-foot. He was so weak, he could barely do anything.

Every morning, I came downstairs to check on him. Most times he would still be sleeping, so I would take that opportunity to shower, get dressed and take care of Chance until he woke up. He never really had much of an appetite, but I tried to make him a small breakfast to keep his energy up. With Cyler’s help, we would then get him bathed and dressed and change his bedding.

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“You’re always so good to me,” he spoke, barely above a whisper when I saw that he wasn’t asleep as he normally would be.

“Well, you’ve been good to us too, Bennie. It’s the very least I can do.” Bennie formed a meek smile as his eyes met mine while I straightened his sheets and blankets. “Is there anything else I can do or get for you, Bennie?”

“Please…call me Dad. You are my daughter now after all.”

“Okay…dad,” I said with a chuckle. I hadn’t known him for very long, but it somehow felt like I had known him my whole life already. “Get some rest. You have another appointment tomorrow to see Dr. Alders first thing in the morning.” Bennie nodded slightly and closed his eyes. Assuming he was falling asleep, I left the room to attend to my other chores.

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After Breakfast, I cleaned up the kitchen while Chance sat on the floor and played with her toys. As I wiped down the counters, I couldn’t help but to stare at her adoringly. She sat there, disinterested in all the toys around her and stared up at me with eyes I couldn’t read. I knew she was probably lonely sometimes, being an only child. She was use to us playing with her every moment we got with her, but ever since we’ve moved here, it seemed like there wasn’t enough time. How would we manage a big house and multiple children if we can’t even manage this house with one child?

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Cyler soon joined us in the living room and happily greeted Chance, who glowed with excitement at the very sight of her father. “Would you mind watching her for a bit while I go shower?” I asked and gave him a kiss on the cheek.

“I would love to! Who else am I going to spend my morning with, hmm?” Cyler sat in front of Chance and began having a conversation with her as if she had been talking back in an adult-like manner. “Don’t force her to talk if she’s not ready, Cyler. Just enjoy the quiet while it lasts!” Cyler and I giggled before I headed upstairs to bathe.

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I wasn’t a pro at the whole gardening thing yet, but I was slowly getting better at keeping the plants alive every week. Since summer was gone, it was a lot easier to maintain them. Knowing how much water and sunlight was needed was the easy part. It was knowing the rare plant species that was a bit rough, but that was where the money was at so I was open to keep learning the ropes.

Besides that, I found gardening to be relaxing. I learned through my father that my grandmother Corrina use to garden as well. Even though I never knew her, I loved having that in common with her. It almost felt like she was there with me pulling weeds out of the ground.

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It was an overcast day in Riverview. The dark grey clouds threatened a storm soon, but that didn’t stop anyone from attending the Riverview Farmer’s Market, a popular location for farmers and civilians to buy and sell their crops and since I had just harvested some produce from our garden, it was the place to be. I often volunteered to tend the stands on the weekends whenever I could. It was a great experience and gave me a chance to meet some of the locals and gain their respect. Bennie told us that the people here didn’t take too kindly to outsiders, but it seemed as though I had fit in just fine.

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After being at the market for most of the day, I was ready to get home. My legs ached from standing for hours on end and my back was screaming for some relief. All the customers were lining up to make their final purchases while others got in their vehicles and left. I was about to pack up the stand when I saw someone walk up from the parking lot. A young woman with platinum blonde hair held her child close to her as they walked up the pathway. I wanted to shout out that we were closed, but the words wouldn’t escape my lips.

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There was something about the boy. Something familiar and yet sent chills down my spine. He looked at me with knowing eyes, as if he knew a secret only I knew. The woman didn’t seem to notice me as she continued upward on the dirt path surrounded by pink chrysanthemums. Instead, her eyes kept forward on a target destination. She was not new around here, that’s for sure. She knew where she was going. Then why hadn’t I seen them before?

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A flashback quickly filled my mind back to the nightmares I use to have of the strange boy that haunted my dreams. He shared the same skin complexion as I did, but had other features that resembled Renley. The boy before me had a more tanned complexion, but possessed the same eyes and hair color. This couldn’t have been him; the boy in my dreams.

I concluded years ago that the boy in my dreams must have represented the baby I had been pregnant with when I was a teenager. The guilt of my decision to end the pregnancy had haunted me for years and I regretted every minute of it…but I thought I was past it now.

The young woman and the boy swiftly walked past me and headed towards the wooden shed behind me. I felt like a stalker watching her every move. A sudden need to know who they were filled my being and I didn’t know why. The young woman took the boy into one of the restrooms and after several moments, eventually emerged back out and walked back to the parking lot where her car had been parked. Maybe she’s passing through. I assured myself that’s what she was doing and went back to packing up the produce stand.

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I talked myself out of thinking it was a conspiracy during the entire car ride home. The last thing I needed was more crazy thoughts to enter into my head and more nightmares to emerge after I’ve been free from them for years now. It was just a coincidence.

“Anyone home?” I called out once I came home. Cyler came out of Bennie’s bedroom and slowly approached me with solemn eyes. “Everything all right?”

Cyler slowly shook his head and swallowed air before he uttered the very words I never wanted to hear, but knew was coming eventually. “Bennie’s gone.” We both stood in silence. Cyler kept his eyes on me while I tried to process what just came out of his mouth. “I went to check on him to see if he needed anything…but he wasn’t responding. So I called the ambulance and they’re on their way.”

“Are you sure he’s–”

“Yeah,” he quickly added with a slight nod. “He’s dead.”

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The funeral was held a week later at Grace Memorial; a large graveyard dedicated to the ones who have made their presence known to the townspeople. Bennie was a legend in Riverview and was known for winning many horse competitions. His horses were always thoroughbreds and ranked the highest in all of the town and the surrounding areas. Now that he was gone, it was up to Cyler to keep his father’s legacy going. He was determined to do so, even if it killed him.

We had the wake at the house where many of Bennie’s friends came to pay their respects and reminisce about their times with him. It seemed like a good idea at the time to have it at home, but once it started, I wish I hadn’t volunteered. Cyler was trying to desperately hide his sorrow from the others that he often times had to keep excusing himself away from the company.

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However, when he would return, he would get bombarded again with condolences and questions.

“I’m so sorry about your father, Cyler. He was a very sweet man,” said Mags Collins, a widow with two children who attempts to hook her claws on any wealthy man she could find.

Cyler thanked her politely and tried to catch himself into another conversation elsewhere when Trey Erickson approached the both of them. “Hey man, I’m sorry about your dad. How are you holding up?” he asked.

“As well as anyone can be held up right about now, Trey.”

Trey nodded, as if he understood.

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As the night progressed, Riverview’s high society chatted and mingled mainly in the  living room as they sipped on their champagne.  The company that Bennie kept was of a wealthy class like himself, but they appeared to have been more snootier than I could have imagined. Bennie was the complete opposite and didn’t mind doing the dirty work himself whereas the rest would hire help to do the dirty work for them. They just owned businesses and that was it. Bennie was so much more than that.

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Only two children attended the funeral and had seemed bored out of their minds at this point. I didn’t blame them. I wondered what two teenagers could have gained from attending a wake of a gentleman they probably never even knew themselves.

I was beginning to feel how they looked and decided to do something about it. The night was almost over anyhow, so it was about time everyone left.

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I walked over to where Cyler was standing while with Mags and Trey were chatting his ears off and intercepted the conversation. “I’m so sorry to interrupt, but honey, I think it’s getting late, don’t you think?”

Cyler looked at me and to my pleasure, caught my hint. “Yes, yes it is. I’m very sorry you guys, but we have an early day tomorrow with the horses and all. I appreciate you all coming today and showing my father some love. I’m sure that would’ve meant a lot to him.” It took about fifteen minutes for everyone to replace their condolences and say their goodbyes to us. As the house filled with silence, Cyler and I exchanged a look that were to say ‘thank goodness they’re gone’.

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“Are you okay?” Cyler asked me while we were getting ready for bed.

I shrugged while I observed myself in the vanity mirror. “It’s just weird he’s gone.”

“I know.” Cyler pulled his tank-top on and yawned. “Let’s not talk about it anymore tonight. I need to think about other things.”

I looked away from the mirror and turned my attention onto him. “I encountered something weird at the farmer’s market today.”

“Like what?”

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I paused for a moment while I thought how to word what I was about to say without sounding too crazy. I then told him about the boy I saw and how he looked so much like the boy in my nightmares.

“Okay…but he’s not that boy, so…”

“I know, it’s just…weird. He had the same platinum blonde hair, eye color and shape.” I looked down for a moment as I thought about it, then placed my attention back to him. “He looked a lot like Renley.”

“Do you think it could be his?” he asked casually.

“Maybe.” I sighed. “I hope not. Last thing I need is for him to be where I am.”

“I doubt it. We’re pretty far away from Meadows Glenn.”

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“You’re right. I’m just being weird.”

“Eh, nothing really new there,” he teased. I swiped at his chest as he pulled me in for a kiss.

“I do have some news!” I chimed as I quickly pulled away from him, suddenly remembering what I needed to tell him.

“Good news, I hope. I can’t take anymore bad news today.”

“Definitely good news,” I assured.

Cyler nodded in satisfaction. “Okay, so what is this good news you have?”

“Cyler Alexander, you’re going to be a father again.”

Cyler smiled widely for the first time today and pulled me in again for another embrace. “That’s the best kind of news ever,” he said happily before gently giving me another kiss.

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Character Development: Adelia Willow-Alexander

Hey hey! While I am working on the next chapter, I wanted to do something a little different that I’ve never done with this story before. For each main character, I want to do a Character Development to give you readers more of a sense of who they are so you can connect with them while you read. 

For this Character Development, I will be doing Adelia since she’s the third generation heir and all. Below, you will find a lovely picture of her as well as some questions presented as if she is personally being interviewed by me. I hope you enjoy this and your feedback is more than welcomed and appreciated!


Adelia

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Well if you had asked me this a few years back, I wouldn’t have had an answer for you, but now I would definitely say that my greatest achievement is my daughter, Chance. She’s the best thing that has ever happened to me and honestly, I can’t believe I helped make her! *laughs* Is it weird to admire a two-year old? *laughs again*

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Ooh, great question! I would like to believe that my idea of perfect happiness would be to grow old with Cyler in this very house and raise healthy children. It doesn’t even matter whether we’re just getting by or filthy rich (although being rich would help further the happiness along *chuckles*), I would just like to be with my family and be happy and content.

What is your favorite occupation?

To be a writer, of course. I always dreamed of becoming a famous novelist. I have no clue if that’ll happen or not, but it’s fun to think about it. *smiles*

What is that you most dislike?

Another good question. *thinks* …I would have to say my mother. Everything about her, I dislike. Like I don’t even know where to start; the very thought of her makes my skin crawl. It amazes me there’s women out there that have these beautiful children and don’t appreciate that and use them to gain what they want or neglect them altogether. It’s disgusting.

What is the trait you most deplore about yourself?

Oh um *laughs* …I have a temper, if you haven’t noticed. *laughs* I hate that I do though and I don’t know where it comes from. Maybe my mother, I don’t know, but I hate it.

What is the quality you like most in a man?

Ooh, I like this one! *smiles wide* I like a family man, really. I like for-for men to be sincere in everything they do and have passion in what they do without it consuming their lives.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

*laughs* I don’t know…’honestly’, I guess. ‘Really’ might be another one I use a lot. I don’t know, that’s a really good question! See, I just used ‘really’ there! *laughs*

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

My hair! I hate my hair soooo bad! *laughs* I wish I was a blonde like my dad or any other color, but red. It’s her hair, you know? *grimaces* I think I might dye it someday.

Who is your hero or heroes in real life?

My dad, for sure. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today.

When and where were you the happiest?

*thinks* …I had just given birth to my daughter, Chance. So that moment. *smiles in thought*

What is your greatest fear?

Greatest fear? …Having the nightmares again. *draws a blank face and shrugs*


 

So there’s that! Let me know if you have any questions you would like to ask Adelia or any one of the other characters in this legacy and I will post them next time I do a Character Development.

The Willows – Where Are They Now?

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Glad to say that this is my first post in 2019! I thought I’d give you all a brief update as to what is going on with the other Willow children. I know there aren’t as much memories with Madeline and Shiloh as there were with Adelia and Landon, but you’ll get to see them later on in the story again.

I took an updated picture of Max and Annalise together, but it seems as though the screen-capture program didn’t want to work that day, so I lost it. However, there are several memories of them together from Generation 2 posted.

Landon Willow

LANDON WILLOW

Loner, Handy, Green Thumb, Childish, Frugal

Upon graduating high school, Landon got a job working as a waiter at a local pub until he became of age, then he started working as a bartender. He then decided to go to University to get a Business degree and graduated. After working in the same pub for a few years and saving up, he was able to move out on his own and eventually own his own bar where he is now bartending. His Lifetime Wish is to become a Master Mixologist, so he’s working hard towards that now.

Landon currently lives alone and doesn’t have a girlfriend at the moment. If you know somebody who would be perfect for him, let me know! 😀

 

Madeline Willow

MADELINE WILLOW

Genius, Brave, Good Sense of Humor, Family-Oriented, Light Sleeper

Madeline Willow, who is the oldest twin, is currently going to University to study Medicine. Her Lifetime Wish is to become an Animal Rescuer, so she wants to work towards becoming a Veterinarian while owning her own rescue pet shelter.

Madeline stayed in Meadow Glenn, but wishes to move to Appaloosa Plains soon. She is currently dating someone, but is keeping her options open at the moment. She eventually wants to settle down and have a family of her own someday and wants to ensure she chooses the right mate.

 

Shiloh Willow

SHILOH WILLOW

Absent-Minded, Hopeless Romantic, Heavy Sleeper, Friendly, Loves the Heat

Shiloh, the younger twin, is also currently attending University with his twin and is following in his big brother’s footsteps and studying Business as well. His Lifetime Wish is Resort Empire, so naturally, he will need that Business degree to know how to own and run all those resorts!

Shiloh is not very active in the dating scene. He actually has his eye on one particular lady, but it’s been hard for him to get her attention. If you all know of anyone who would be great for him too, please let me know! 😀

MAXWELL & ANNALISE WILLOW

Max and Annalise still reside in Meadow Glenn, but eventually moved into a five-bedroom home by the lake in the event their children (and possibly grandchildren) ever want to stay overnight when they come to visit them. Max still owns his bakery while Annalise still writes articles for the local newspaper.

They are both soon about to retire and are thinking of retiring in Sunlit Tides.

Chapter 3.8: My Second Chance

Aaaand we’re back in action! Thank you sooo much for sticking around and waiting for my hiatus to be over! I can’t believe it’s been a year since I’ve posted a chapter! Well I’ll be around a lot more often now that I’ve gotten everything transferred over to my new computer. Now enjoy the chapter; I hope you like it. 🙂
WARNING: This chapter is long and contains some mentioning of sensitive subjects that may not be suitable for children or may be too sensitive for some readers. Please read at your own discretion.


2 Years Later…

If someone would have told me that seven years after graduating high school that I would be where I am today, I would have never believed them. After I had the abortion, I feared that my life would never be the same. I was right, it wasn’t. It turned into something that I could never imagine it to be. Not that having the abortion was the answer because it wasn’t at all. Not for me anyways. I let the guilt eat at me for so long that I didn’t know how to live. It was Cyler who taught me how to live my life the way a twenty-something year old should live, no matter what. So here I am. Here we are.

Cyler and I got married and had a small ceremony. Since Cyler didn’t have any close family, it was only mine who attended. Shortly after, I left everything and everyone I knew behind; a choice I felt was best for me. It was only a constant reminder of the unbearable thing I did and the horrible person I had became afterwards. My family was sad to see me go, but they understood the pain it was causing to be there. So with heavy hearts, we said our goodbyes and departed ways.

Riverview was an immaculate place. Full of beautiful green land everywhere, fresh fruits and vegetables grew by the mile, and all sorts of farm animals roamed about. We traveled far from Meadow Glenn to be here, and now that we were here, I knew it was the right decision to make.

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“Are you sure you want to do this?” I asked Cyler once we arrived to the house.

Cyler let out a deep sigh and let his shoulders slump a little before nodding. “Yeah, let’s go.”

We walked down the extended stoned pathway up to the front door. A beautiful white farm house cascaded the luscious green land before us, giving off an inviting aura to its newcomers. By the way Cyler described the house, I was half expecting it to be in complete shambles beyond our control.

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Cyler hesitantly rang the doorbell as well as knocked heavily on the front door so he would be able to hear our arrival. I glanced over at Cyler who looked as though he was trying to keep his breathing at a steady pace. The door suddenly creaked and moaned as it slowly opened and a elderly gentleman appeared. A grin formed on his face when he saw Cyler and he moved his way onto the porch, standing in front of us and taking us all in. I definitely saw the resemblance while looking at those two.

“Hi son,” he said as he proudly looked over his estranged son.

Cyler gulped and said, “Hi, Dad.”

Cyler hadn’t seen his father in years. As he explained it, he had the type of father that liked his work better than his family. So after his parents were tired of arguing about it, his father left, leaving them to fend for themselves.

“I’m so happy you came,” he smiled. Given the circumstances, Cyler forced a small smile onto his pierced lips. He then focused his attention on me. “You must be Adelia! I’m so happy to meet you finally”

“Hi, Mr. Alexander,” I greeted warmly.

“Oh please, call me Bennie! Better yet, call me Dad since we’re all family now!” he beamed. I returned the beam and relished in his kindness. He had a southern charm about him that was refreshing to be around. Cyler stood in silence as he was mentally preparing himself for today.

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“And who is this lovely lil’ lady?”

Pointing towards me, his eyes gleamed with even more excitement as he looked upon the beautiful little girl in my arms. “This is your granddaughter, Chance,” I announced.

Bennie happily waved and greeted Chance. She was so sleepy from the trip that she barely acknowledged his presence.

Chance was the perfect mixture of both Cyler and myself with his beautiful deep green eyes and dark brown hair while she and I shared every other feature. Her name was Chance because her very existence gave me more meaning to my life and was my second chance at becoming someone I was destined to be. She was perfect in every way and I was so happy to be her mother.

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Bennie kindly invited us in so we could all cool off from the summer’s excessive sunlight. His home was very warm and inviting, but didn’t have a lot of pictures on the walls. The house looked old, but lively and had a lot of character and the same southern charm Bennie held, which was hard to find in Meadow Glenn.

We sat down on one of the couches while Bennie sat in one of the leather arm chairs. We awkwardly exchanged smiles for a moment before Bennie finally spoke again. “I’m so glad y’all came. I know it was a lot to ask of you, son.”

“Well you needed our help, so here we are,” he said indifferently.

“I hope you didn’t leave too much behind. I would hate for y’all to uproot your whole lives just for me,” he said with worrisome.

“It was a welcomed gesture, trust me, ” I told him reassuringly. “I like Meadow Glenn, but it was about time for a change.”

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Bennie nodded, as if he understood what I meant by that. “I’ve been back in Riverview for quite some time now. In fact, I grew up in this very house!” he said proudly. Cyler shifted uncomfortably in his seat. Bennie didn’t seem to notice as he continued on about his childhood and how he met Cyler’s mother and how they wound up in Meadow Glenn.

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“Dad, I don’t mean to interrupt, but…what’s going on?” he asked, sensing there were far more than what he was told on the phone before we came here.

“What do you mean?” Bennie asked.

“When you called, you said you needed my help on the ranch. I haven’t seen or heard from you in like…forever! How come all of a sudden, you’re asking for my help?”

Bennie looked down uncomfortably and twiddled his thumbs while trying to find the right words to say. “I know, and I’m sorry for that.” He looked up from his thumbs to look at his son and gave a slight smile. “I called you for help because I’m sick.”

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“Sick?” Cyler gazed at his father in disbelief. All anger he had towards him looked like it had dissipated at that point. “What do you mean you’re sick?”

Bennie gave him one of his slight smiles again before proceeding. “I have lung cancer. All those darn years of puffing on cigarettes has finally caught up to me,” he said through chuckles. I was glad to see he was taking his illness all in stride, but was saddened to hear about it. Cyler sat quietly as Bennie spoke about the many doctor visits and tests he’s done. “So that’s why I asked you to come here. I know I haven’t been the best father, so I wanted to leave you with something when my time has come.” Cyler frowned in confusion. Reading this, Bennie extended both hands out in the air and smiled. “The house. The ranch. It’s all yours. It’s my way of saying I’m sorry for being a dickhead all these years. Besides, I’m sure you’ll need the room to make more beautiful children like this one over here!” he exclaimed, gesturing towards Chance as she laid quietly on me.

Cyler reluctantly accepted his offer. It was hard for him to imagine his father gone, even though he had been gone out of his life for a long time already. He would finally be parent-less, as his mother had perished years ago when Cyler was a child. Apparent suicide, it had seemed. Cyler doesn’t like to talk about it, but every once in awhile, I’ll catch the pain dancing in his eyes.

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Bennie eventually showed us the room we will be staying in until our belongings arrived. We were only able to take several things along the trip while the rest would soon follow in a moving truck. All the furniture we had, we left at our old house while we rented it out to Madeline, who needed a place to live while attending college.

“I know it’s not much,” Bennie stated. “But it’s only until your things arrive. There’s three more rooms upstairs, one of which would be perfect for this lil’ one,” he said, pointing at Chance. “Once everything comes along, we’ll move y’all up to the master bedroom and I’ll take this room here.” We reassured him it would be fine and thanked him for his hospitality.

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As the weeks rolled along, we were quickly settling into farm life in Riverview. Cyler helped his father on the ranch daily, getting up with the sun to spread hay for the horses, washing and brushing the horses, and tilling the field for jumping practice. Cyler use to express his desire to work with horses, but never thought it would get to happen. Now that he was here, he re-examined those thoughts and came up with the idea to start his own business selling studs for money and giving horse lessons to children. With Bennie being sick, he would have to hold off on the training part as his attention would mainly be on his family first.

Bennie loved working beside his son on the ranch. By looking at those two working together, you would’ve never thought that Cyler once resented his father nor that his father was even ill.

We fixed up one of the upstairs bedroom for Chance so she could have her own space to play. The room was huge and could fit a few bunk beds, if we ever had anymore girls. In the meantime, it was fit for the only princess in our lives. The walls were once covered with old wallpaper, so we steamed it off and replaced it with fresh purple paint. We polished the metal frame of the bed and refurnished the dresser and desk. We bought the bookcase and toddler bed from home as well as all of her toys.

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The other bedroom was left alone for now until we could afford to fix it up. It was to our satisfaction that the master bedroom remained in great condition and we were able to move in as-is. The walls were a beautiful light olive green with cream-colored furnishings. The red chairs were a nice touch to the room, giving off a pop of color to the atmosphere.

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The air in Riverview was fresh and crisp, blowing life into your veins with every gust. It was perfect weather for gardening as fall was soon approaching and since Bennie couldn’t do very much squatting or bending over, I volunteered to keep the garden thriving since it kept money flowing in the household for half the year. The other half came from selling studs for breeding purposes.

I didn’t know anything about gardening before I came here, but that all changed when I went to a local bookstore in town and purchased some How-To gardening books. The Garden Channel was a great start to learning the ends and outs of the skill. It wasn’t easy, but it was peaceful. I would often bring Chance outside in her stroller while I did some practicing. She loved being outdoors and would only fuss if she needed a diaper change or was hungry. I could only imagine what it would be like to have this backyard full of children, laughing and playing about.

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We spent many of nights indoors playing chess, listening to music or just talking about our fondest memories. Bennie’s favorite thing to do was spending time with Chance, who grew accustomed to her grandfather pretty quickly. The bond they shared was unbreakable, but knowing he would be gone one day broke my heart because I knew Chance wouldn’t be able to understand. Her being so young would hopefully shield her from the pain of losing him.

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Cyler would often show signs of sadness or anger periodically when he thought no one was looking. A sudden outburst at the chess table would send the game pieces flying all around the living room or a quick kick to one of Chance’s scattered toys would break the silence in the middle of the night. I begin to worry about him and wondered how much of his father’s illness would take affect on him. I prepared myself for the worse.

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Dinnertime was always a toss up in our household. I never knew when I would burn something or actually make an edible meal. Luckily for Chase, all she needed was a bottle or some sort of mashed up food. It didn’t take much to impress Bennie or Cyler though, which was a big relief to me. As I started progressing with the gardening, I took up watching cooking shows on the television and even looked up a few recipes online. With the vegetables growing in as great as they were, whatever I cooked had seemed to improved some.

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Cyler’s relationship with his father had improved a lot over the past few weeks as well. Once Cyler found out he was going to lose his father, he decided he didn’t want to harbor such ill feelings towards him anymore. Knowing he was only trying to provide for his family back then, it was hard for him to stay mad at him about that. He still didn’t understand why he left though, and that was still eating away at him.

“Dad, can I ask you something?” he asked one night after dinner while they washed all the dirty dishes in the kitchen.

“Of course, son,” he replied.

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“Why did you leave? I mean I know you and Mom argued a lot, but was that why?”

Bennie went on to scrub the last dish in the stack of plates before providing an answer. “It wasn’t my choice, son. I wanted to stay, but your mother didn’t see the point. I was never really home, so I guess I don’t blame her.”

“We struggled, you know?” he said, not really meaning for it to be a question. “She was so prideful, she wouldn’t ask for help from anybody. It wasn’t unusual for us to bounce from home to home from relative to relative.”

Cyler shook his head slowly. His eyes widened with surprise as he looked over at his son. “I’m so sorry, I had no idea. She made it seem like everything was okay with you guys.” Cyler finished washing the plates he had in hand and turned towards his father.

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Bennie, seeing him turn to him, turned to him as well and waited to see what Cyler needed to say next. “I’m sorry I stayed mat at you all this time,” he expressed with sadness.

Bennie shook his head and waved his hands fervently to dismiss the thought. “Don’t be! I’m the one who should have looked for you! Your mother kept you away from me, but once you were an adult, I should’ve sought you out right away! I was so afraid you would reject me I guess.” When Cyler didn’t say anything, Cyler continued. “But that’s no excuse anyhow. I’m sorry I didn’t. I’m very sorry. I just wish we had more time now together.”

Cyler hung his head, disappointed that much time was lost between them. “Well, we’re here now together. Let’s just make the best of it.” Cyler nodded in agreement and reached out to give Cyler a hug. Cyler embraced his father for the first time in years and found it hard to let him go.

3.7 I’m Not Ready

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I loved fishing. 

My dad taught me when I was little. Every summer, we would find the perfect fishing hole to spend the day with each other. Just me and him. How time flies. Now here I was fishing by myself. Although my fishing pole was cast into the lake, I wasn’t fishing for anything. I just needed something to take my mind off of it. 

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Although it seemed like my childhood went by in a flash, I still remembered every bit of it; even the moments I wanted to forget. They were burned into my memory forever, becoming apart of me. Apart of who I am. Maybe this is why I’m like this. Because of her.

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I came out here because it was peaceful and secluded. I came out here because it was a beautiful place. I came out here because I needed to feel something else. Anything else than what I was feeling now. How could I do this? I know I had the support of my family, but I can’t rely on them forever. I’m not built to be what they want me to be. At least, I don’t think I am. I think I’m a lot more like her than I thought.

Selfish. Self-centered. Heartless.

How can I not be with all these kind of thoughts going through my head right now?

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Before I knew it, I was pulling my fishing pole out of the water and placed it on the ground before I started walking. With the directions in my pocket, I knew exactly what subway to take and what streets to cross. I didn’t hesitate at all. It was now or never. And I couldn’t afford never. Better yet, they couldn’t afford never. Not with me anyway.

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The wind was brisk, but mild as I walked through downtown of Meadow Hills. The streets were filled with cars and buses as they swept by to and fro. The rows of store held many shoppers and music danced in the air as I passed by the county fair. It was still morning; early enough to get this done and get to school before anyone even missed me. My dad, Annalise or my siblings would never know. Nobody will ever know.

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I picked up the pace as I saw my destination up ahead. I couldn’t wait any longer. If I hadn’t ran, I would’ve turned back around and went off to school. I would’ve chickened out. Then everyone would know and I would be stuck. A life would be destroyed even more than now. I didn’t want that. That was the whole purpose of doing this, wasn’t it? To save a life? I’m doing a good thing. 

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Nothing good can come from this if I turn around. I’m not the right one for this type of job! Look at what I came from? Nothing but destruction and hatred. Sure, I had it good later on, but the damage has already been done. Could I do the same? If I’m anything like her, I know I could.

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I’m only seventeen. I’m not ready for this.

I’m not ready at all.


 

Note: The reason for this chapter being so short is because this is a back story, explaining what Adelia had been keeping a secret for so long. In the next chapter, more will be explained. 

Thanks for reading and commenting!

3.6 Worth

WARNING: This chapter contains nudity…Also this chapter is very long, so you might want to take a restroom break and get some snacks before you read.


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The wind was mild and swift easily passed my face. It felt like winter, but not too cold. I didn’t know where I was nor could I recognize anything. The trees were wide and stood tall with majestic aura. The grass was a greenish-brown color as if it had died seasons ago and sat almost as great as me. Nothing was around, but an old white two-story house that appeared to have seen better days…or maybe not. As curiosity had gotten the best of me, I began to head towards the dilapidated structure before I was quickly interrupted by a sudden sound.

There was rustling in the grass a little ways ahead as I looked towards my left. “Is anyone there?” I called out, not sure as to whom I was speaking to. More rustles came about and soon I heard the dry leaves crunch underneath what sounded to be footsteps. I took a step back to prepare myself and looked in the general direction of where the sound emerged. It was then a small child emerged from the grass. The child was pale and looked at me emotionless, as if waiting for me to say something. “Who are you?” I asked him curiously, but he didn’t answer. Instead, he cautiously turned his back and walked ahead, disappearing through the brush.

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“Hey!” I called after him, my steps cantering his as I followed him through the field. The child was suspiciously fast and kept his flawless trot throughout the mysterious field. With every step he pranced, I picked up my pace more to keep up with him. The wind suddenly picked up, whipping itself through my hair and raising every tiny hair follicle on my body. My throat began to feel arid and my eyelids felt like ice, but I continued on anyway as I ran down the dirt path that the little boy followed and soon the boy had stopped.

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“Hello?” I called out to him again, but the little boy clearly did not pay any attention to me as he walked over to an old iron gate and peered through the bars while searching for something from left to right. I slowly took steps towards him, but kept my distance. When I got closer, he kept his eyes through the gate as if he was expecting someone.

I stood and watched him, wondering who he was and what he was doing here all by himself. I was also confused about where I was. I didn’t know this place, how I got here, nor had I been here before. It looked like it had been here for centuries without any upkeep. The deadliness of the foliage told me nobody bothered to restore the land back to its original beauty. It stood here for decades with no love or care; fully neglected from its groundskeeper or whomever owned the land before.

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I stepped cautiously closer to him from his side and observed his young face for the first time. His eyes were green like mine, but his hair was a golden blonde. His skin was pale and his lips were red from the cold. Black clothing covered him from head-to-toe except for the crimson red gloves he wore that almost matched the color of my hair. It was then he looked up at me for the first time too, but failed to utter a word. Sadness filled his eyes and he stared upon me as if he knew who I was and was grieved to see me.

“I know you,” I told him as I had a revelation of the little boy who stood before me. “But I don’t know your name.” The little boy continued to stare quietly. “Why are you out here all by yourself?”

“I’m not,” he finally spoke.

“Oh? Who are you with?” I asked curiously, looking around for someone nearby who may had been coming for him. The little boy said nothing and kept his eyes on me. I swallowed with uneasiness and continued to press on with more questions, but once again, I could not get any answers. “What’s your name?”

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“You know my name,” he suddenly responded.

Confused, I furrowed my brows at him and thought for a moment. I know I know him, but how could I have forgotten his name? Who was this little boy and why did he look so familiar? I thought. “I’m sorry,” I said quietly, barely above a whisper as I slowly shook my head. “But I’m afraid I don’t know.” The little boy was quiet again as he maintained his focus on me. “Can you tell me? Please?”

“You know my name,” he repeated indifferently.

“No,” I replied, now more confused as ever. “I don’t, I’m sorry. I’ve never–“

“Why did you make me leave?” he asked abruptly with a look of betrayal on his face.

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“Leave? I didn’t–“

“You made me go away and now look what happened…Now I’m leaving for good and never coming back.” Before I could say anything else, the little boy disappeared within a blink of an eye. I was left in the dust feeling baffled about what took place here and about the mysterious boy’s existence. What did he mean by I made him leave? I thought. What was his relation to me, if any at all? As I stood in place and wondered, I heard another rustling noise coming from a short distance; the same as I heard from before I saw the little boy. Guessing it was the little boy again, I sprinted towards the recognizable sound.

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I came to a spot where I thought the sound was coming from only to find myself in the midst of a graveyard that wasn’t there before. Several stones of all sizes surrounded themselves around me, each with their own names, dates and scriptures or sayings engraved on their tombs. As I searched each one, I could feel a mundane presence in the air, creeping its way towards me like a mist of poison trying to consume my internal organs. Thoughts of stories of these people filled my mind while I imagined how these poor people passed and the loved ones they left behind.

One tomb in particular caught the corner of my eye and I turned to head towards the isolated stone. As I looked down, I noticed there was no name, but a brief message that read, “DEATH BEFORE BIRTH BECAUSE OF HIS WORTH“. It was then I realized this grave belonged to an unborn baby as there wasn’t a date range at all. A lump began to form inside my throat and my eyes became hot and stung while the tears fell harshly to the ground. With each tear kissing the gravestone, I couldn’t help to feel responsible. My soul felt empty, my heart ached and guilt ravaged my head. At that very moment, I made a decision to make things right again.

~~*~~

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A therapist’s waiting room; an airlock between the chaos of the outside world and the susceptible exposure of one’s self worth. I had a love-hate relationship with this office; more so with the therapist. She was nice, Dr. Nelson. She sat and listened to my quarrels and woes for many hour-long sessions we’ve had for years; ever since I was a little girl and we moved to Meadows Glenn. My father thought that after what happened with me and Quinn that I could benefit from seeing a therapist once a week to talk about my feelings. I didn’t think anything of it at first. As a teenager, I thought it was stupid. Now, I was indifferent to it. Sometimes it helped and sometimes it didn’t.

The room was silent with an occasional cough and the few beeps from a cellular phone every once in awhile. The air was a little thick, but not enough to have any windows open. I sat patiently as I always did and waited for Dr. Nelson to come fetch me from my seat on the comfortable black sofa. A display of magazines surrounded me from the end table to the coffee table, but I took no interest in reading at that moment. The receptionist sat in front of her computer, staring at it and moved the mouse in a disorderly fashion as if she hadn’t a clue on how to work the damn thing. Another woman, sat on the black bench nearby. Her hair was placed neatly in a bun on the top of her head while she sported a crop tee that read: I LOVE BAD BOYS. Her attire was clearly a sign for help.

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“How are you doing, Adelia?” asked Dr. Nelson once we were inside of her office. Her office was pleasant and had a warm, friendly atmosphere. It favored the female species with its elegant black and cream wallpaper, pictures of serene scenes, and flowers on every table. The couch was just as comfortable as the one out in the waiting room, but I never felt relaxed in there enough to lie down on it. It was too vulnerable and trusting.

Dr. Nelson examined my face as she smiled heartily at me and I returned the gesture. I could tell she was genuinely concerned. “I’m alright, I guess,” I answered, not entirely sure myself.

“You guess?” she asked. I nodded. “You care to elaborate?”

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I pressed my lips together before speaking. “I had the nightmare again,” I told her. She sat silently, waiting for more, but when I didn’t say anything else, she then asked the same question she always asked me.

“What happened this time?” she asked.

“The same as the last few times. Nothing has changed recently, except for this time…” I stopped in mid-sentence to think about what the little boy had said right before disappearing. “This time…he said he was leaving for good.” Dr. Nelson thought for a moment as she sat still in her chair. “What do you think that means?” I asked her.

“It’s not what I think it means, it’s what you think it means,” she retorted with her therapy-like responses she always gifted.

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“Adelia,” she began again after I sat in silence with her for a few moments, pondering what it meant. Was he really leaving for good? Would the nightmares finally stop? I had hoped so, but didn’t believe they would. “You’ve been through a lot in your life and you’ve been through a lot within this past year. So it’s no surprise you’re getting nightmares, especially about this. In my professional opinion, maybe these nightmares you’re getting is your guilt talking. You were young back then and yes, you’ve made some undesirable decisions like most young adults do at that age, but time heals most things. The most important thing is that you have to learn how to forgive yourself and move on.”

Her words were comforting, but I didn’t know how much good it would do for me. How could I forgive myself? Renley was right. I am selfish.

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Coral Blvd was bustling with shoppers alike, strolling down the sidewalks of the popular outdoor mall with hands full of shopping bags and screaming toddlers in tow. I passed a series of stores on my way to the parking lot when I found myself in front of Hotel Babies, a department store dedicated to cute baby furniture. I stopped at the display window to admire all of the adorable furnishings that belonged in a nursery and imagined what it would be like to have it all in my home. Someday, I thought. Someday soon. It would all be worth it then. Cyler and I would be happy with little ones running around. That would be if he wanted children. That was something we never discussed. Surely, we had only been together for a few months and talk about having children may be a little too soon, but once I paint a picture of having the perfect family, how could he not resist?

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“Oh my God, Adelia?!” cried the voice of an obnoxious woman nearby. I turned around after hearing my name and saw three women walking side-by-side towards me like a pack of hyenas. Holly, Megan and Leticia: friends from my old party days. How I thought I left that part of my life behind me, but as they say…all is not lost. “Wow, it’s really you!” exclaimed the blonde in the middle. When they got a little closer, I realized who they were.

“Hey guys!” I greeted with a slight wave, faking my sincerity. Holly seemed to be the only enthused one in the group while Megan and Leticia seemed to share my sentiments.

“You completely disappeared on us. How’ve you been?” she asked. I couldn’t tell if she was sincere or was faking too, but I went along with it anyway.

“I’ve been pretty good,” I replied dryly, secretly wishing I had just turned the opposite direction and pretended as if I couldn’t hear her calling my name.

Holly was one of those people where you tell her you don’t want to do something and she completely disregards you and informs you that you do. She was clearly the leader of the pack and always had been, ever since high school. So I wasn’t surprise to still see Leticia hanging by her side, but Megan was a shock. She was high-maintenance like the rest, but hot-tempered like no other.

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“Oh I have a wonderful idea!” Holly cried happily, apparently not giving any heed to my response. “Tonight is ladies night where we get together at my place and have some drinks and talk. I would love it if you joined us tonight!” she invited while the others maintained their enthusiasm. Not really knowing how to respond to the sudden invitation, I hesitated for a moment. “It’s formal so we wear our best dresses and we have the finest Mixologist in town. It’ll be fun, I promise,” she informed. Going against my better judgement, I agreed to go. “Oh great! We meet at 8pm. You still remember where I live, right?”

Unfortunately, yes. “I remember,” I smiled politely.

“Great, see you then!” she smiled and waved goodbye before heading past me. Megan and Leticia followed suit like the little lap dogs that they were. If this was over a year ago, I would’ve been trotting proudly along with them with the low-cut blouses and the skimpy shorts and hooker shoes. But that was apart of my life that I wanted nothing to do with anymore. So why did I agree to go? I thought to myself. I chopped it up to peer pressure. Geez, even in your mid-twenties you’re still a pushover! Whatever it was, I regretted me agreeing to go, but it was too late now. If I backed out, I would never hear the end of it and after bumping into Renley, I had realized that Meadows Glenn wasn’t that big of a city after all.

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Sitting on the hard, dense modernize sofa, I shifted in my black lacy dress and continuously sipped down my overly-sweetened cherry-flavored alcoholic beverage. It wasn’t my first choice, but it was still delicious nonetheless and it did do the trick for my tense muscles as I sat listening to the others cackling like a bunch of hens. The house was modern as well and the lights were kept dim that gave off a relaxed ambiance. I could clearly tell Holly didn’t have any children, but managed to maintain a man of some sort by the looks of the male influence in the cold interior decor.

What are you doing here? I silently moaned as I took another sip. Another glass of this and you’ll be stuck here for the rest of the night. With that dreadful thought, I immediately placed the glass onto the coffee table and took a sip of the coffee that had been placed for me by the family’s butler.

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“So Adelia,” started Holly, once the conversation about how stunning the latest Jimmy Choo stilettos were had died down. Once my name was said, the others’ eyes gravitated to mine and all the attention was now focused on me. Great. “What have you been up to lately?”

“Not much, just been busy working on my new novel.” I kept my answers brief to not release any fuel to the gossip-hungry dragons.

“Oh yeah, I remember you were into the whole writing thing. Good for you,” she encouraged to what seemed to be sarcastically. I thanked her while letting her know at the same time that I caught the contempt in her feign tone. Holly’s eyes shifted to the floor before she opened her mouth again. “Are you still dating Ren? He was a nice guy,” she pointed out.

“No, we haven’t dated for almost two years now,” I retorted back. She already knew this. Was this why she invited me; to see if I was back with Renley?

“Wait. I thought you were dating him now?” asked Leticia, the airhead of the hyena pack. Holly shot Leticia a warning glare, causing the poor girl to ease back into her seat.

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Holly regained her composure before setting eyes on me once more and gave a light nervous chuckle. “We did date, but not anymore.” Her attempt to reassure me that they were no longer together quickly failed. I felt an ample amount of humiliation, but I wasn’t surprised to hear it. Holly was always after everyone’s leftovers.

“No worries, Holly. Ren and I are ancient history,” I assured. “No hard feelings.” There really wasn’t. If she wanted him, she could have him. They were a match made in hell anyways.

“Oh good,” she sighed and smiled, relieved that I didn’t punch her in her plastic face. I returned the smile, as fake as it was, and took another sip of my lukewarm coffee. The sooner I became more sober, the better.

I sat quietly for another hour and endured the torturous meeting of the mindless as they spoke about frivolous things, such as the latest fashion trends, the latest celebrity gossip and their inconsequential sex lives. None of it had meaning. They were all just living for themselves and in the moment. Maybe it was a normalcy for people our age. I had extended myself beyond that margin and wanted more for myself. With that being said, I couldn’t have high-tailed it out of there fast enough.

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It was reaching midnight when I got home. The moon was full and high up in the sky, illuminating proudly with each twinkling star. It reminded me of the days I would sit outside with my dad and watch the stars through our telescope on the balcony. We would go over all of the constellations until I memorized them all. It was memories such as those that made me wish I was a child again.

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I eagerly trotted up the stairs to my front door to go inside, noticing that all of the lights were off. I must have been so nervous before I left that I had forgotten to turn a light on for my safety when I would come back home. As I headed towards the stairs, I could hear footsteps from upstairs. I stopped abruptly to look up the stairwell to see if I noticed anything, but all was dark in the hallway. I quietly tiptoed up the stairs and onto the landing when I saw a dim light come from my bedroom. As I turned, I saw him standing by the windows, looking out onto the dark sea ahead. “Cyler!” I squealed as I energetically scrambled over to him. Cyler turned around with a mile-wide grin spread generously across his handsome face as he waited for me to reach him.

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I wrapped my arms around his neck while he wrapped his arms around my waist; both of us bringing each other in a little closer until our bodies were pressed together. “When did you get home?” I asked him, surprised at his early presence.

“About ten minutes ago, I suppose,” he replied softly. “I ended up being way ahead of schedule on my delivery, so I was able to come back earlier than expected.”

“Well I’m glad you’re back. I’ve missed you so much,” I told him. He brought me to his lips and kissed me fervidly. When our lips departed, I looked into his eyes and debated on whether I should speak about what’s been pressing on my mind or not. Before I realized it, I was already saying his name.

“Hmm?” he asked, keeping his gorgeous green eyes on me.

“Have you ever thought about having kids?” I asked him cautiously.

Cyler gradually released his grasp from me and took a step back. His face fixed with uneasiness as he looked away from me. “I’ve thought about it,” he sighed. “I think it’ll be nice to have a family to come home to someday.”

“It would?” I asked him happily. I was certain he was going to reject the thought after seeing his initial reaction to my question at first, but I was glad he didn’t.

Cyler smiled and nodded. “Especially with you.” Cyler gripped his hands onto my waist once more and pulled me back in for another kiss. This time it being more passionate than the first.

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We eventually landed onto the bed where our affection grew more intensely. His kisses were sensual and his touches were enticing. Cyler took hold of my black lacy dress and slowly rose it above my waist then over my head. He went on to removing my underwear while kissing every inch of my body the entire time. Cyler began undressing himself and I helped to ease the process along as well to make it go by quicker. We were soon in each other embraces again, wrapped around each other as if it were the last night we were ever going to see each other.

“Do you mean it?” I asked, breaking the contact between our lips.

“Mean what?” he asked while kissing my neck.

“That you wouldn’t mind having kids someday with me?”

Cyler, still kissing my neck then traveling back to my lips replied, “Yeah.” Then he continued on with me as I shivered with excitement at the thought.

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We made love as we always did on the nights he would come home from being on the road. I hated his job, but it was something he was accustomed to since his own father was also a trucker. It was a way of life and I had to respect it, even if it meant not seeing him for a couple of weeks at a time.

Laying next to him, I could feel him wrap himself around me from behind. I felt his breath on the back of my shoulder while his hands caressed the side of my torso. I felt alive for the first time; like I was suppose to be here. This is the one I’m suppose to be with, I thought. Soon enough, it will all be right again.

3.5 With Him, Everything’s Perfect

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Pure silence was the abrasive sound that startled me out of my sleep. It was still something I was not accustomed to. The quietness scared me. It was only a dim reminder that I was alone once again. Reaching out from the warmth of my covers, I felt the cool morning breeze coming in from the open sliding door that led out onto the balcony, and it swept all around my bare arms and legs. Meadow Glenn never got the memo that it was the middle of summer. Its mornings were always cool, calm, and collected during this time of year.

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I drowsily walked over to the open door and stepped out onto the balcony and looked onward at the peninsula. It wasn’t quite the ocean view I was looking for, but it served its purpose. The house on the other hand, I wasn’t entirely happy with, but it was decent enough. The white beach house I was expecting to move into fell through, causing me to scramble to find another house to my liking at the last minute. This was the next best thing in the area. I still had the sufficient beach view and the modern appeal, but it was a little smaller than I wanted. Cyler reassured me it would be perfect. I believe him. Every time he’s here, it’s perfect. Everything’s perfect.

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I turned to head into the hallway when I noticed the other half of my bed was also in disarray. I smiled to myself as I realized he hadn’t left yet and continued down the hall and stairs. There was a faint smell of coffee lingering from the kitchen to the stairwell and I could almost make out the delicate smell of his cologne. I entered the kitchen and over to the back patio door where I saw him lounging by the pool. He looked tranquil as he sipped coffee out of his mug and peered out onto the same peninsula I was adoring a few minutes ago.

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I stepped outside and softly shut the sliding glass door behind me. He turned around slightly when he heard the click of the door and saw me standing there modestly in my pajamas. “Good morning, sunshine,” he greeted warmly, gesturing for me to come to him. I greeted him back in the same manner while walking over to him. He pulled me onto his lap and I planted my lips softly onto his. Pulling me in closer, his lips immediately responded to mine and they held for a brief blissful moment before releasing me from his grasp. His eyes gazed into mine and I was swiftly brought back to last night again. It had been our first time together, which ended with me falling asleep in his arms and waking up feeling completely rejuvenated. “Have any plans today?” he asked.

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“Yes,” I simply replied. “Remember I have that meeting with my new publicist today,” I reminded him. “Only thing is that I don’t know how I’m going to get through it without you. I was counting on you being there with me.”

Cyler nodded and smiled affectionately, placing his hand on my leg. “I’m sure you’ll be fine,” he assured.

“Possibly, but…I’ll miss you…a lot,” I admitted.

He smiled again, more bashfully this time. “It’s only for two weeks,” he pointed out.

“I know, but still…It’ll feel like eternity.”

“It’ll go by fast,” he stated. Cyler pulled me back against him and embraced me more than ever. “How about when I get back, we do something fun? Maybe take a short vacation somewhere or something.”

“I would love to, but I would much rather just spend some alone time with you.” Cyler smiled and nodded in agreement. “Why don’t we spend some time at your house for once? I’ve known you for six months now, and I still have never seen where you live.”

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Cyler’s smiling face suddenly contorted to a troubled look and he carefully sat up within the lounge chair, shifting uncomfortably in his seat. His head bowed in shame and he refused to look up at me. I moved over to allow him some space to readjust himself and waited patiently for him to respond. “Addy, I…” he began to say, however, stumbled on his words. “I haven’t been completely honest with you.” Cyler pushed for the right words to say. “I’m kind of embarrassed to say this, but…I don’t live alone. I live with my mother.” When he saw my facial expression did not waiver, he hesitantly continued. “Since my job requires me to be on the road a lot, I never saw the reason to have a place of my own. It would be just a total waste of money. So I stay with my mother, and she’s not quite the easiest woman to live with. She hates for me to bring home people she doesn’t know; specifically women, so I don’t. In fact, I don’t necessarily like to be over there when I am in town, which is part of the reason why I’m always with you. Before I met you, I would just go to a friend’s house or stay in a motel room sometimes.” Cyler paused and looked over at me. “I’m sorry I never told you. It’s not exactly something I like to admit.”

I arose from the chair and grabbed his hands to pull him to his feet. Cyler stood before me, still looking embarrassed and I pulled him close to me. “You don’t have to feel embarrassed about that. It makes perfect logical sense. Who would want to stay with their mother anyway?” I asked rhetorically.

“Some people might,” he answered indifferently.

“Well, I wouldn’t,” I replied dryly.

Cyler frowned. “Why’s that?”

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This time it was me who had something to admit, but didn’t want to talk about it. Cyler did exactly what I did, and waited patiently for me to continue as he looked for the answer in my eyes. “That’s another story for another day,” I finally replied before letting go of my embrace. I started back towards the house when he grabbed a hold of my wrist and tugged lightly for me to turn back around. When I did, his frown was still present, but he remained silent. Knowing what he wanted, I sighed in defeat, and walked over towards the edge of the pool to sit down. Cyler followed and sat beside me.

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We sat for awhile and talked while I discussed the story of my mother. He listened attentively as he waited for me to finish. Once the story was told, I felt a little better than I had before. This was a piece of me that he now had. A piece of me that I just wanted to forget existed. There was still more that I needed to tell him, but I didn’t want to scare him away. One horror story at a time, I thought to myself as Cyler wrapped his arms around me and held me close. I looked up at his eyes and his then met mine.

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He leaned in closer and I closed my eyes, feeling his lips gently touch mine. We kissed for a moment before feeling warmth on my back, and suddenly realized that he had me lying all the way down on the concrete floor. The air had warmed up more by now and the sun was higher than it had been earlier that morning. The sun kissed every part of my body and soon Cyler trailed the sun as he made his way from my lips down to my waist. I shivered from underneath him, but not from the air, but from his sweet sensuality he paraded all over me.

After several moments of being in his embrace and kissing passionately by poolside, Cyler stated solemnly that it was time for him to go. We rose reluctantly to our feet, both giving each other sombering glances before entering back inside the house. “I’m going to go get dressed. I’ll be back in a bit,” he stated before planting another kiss on my forehead. I nodded slightly and managed to give him a smile, even though my heart was aching. It had only been one night, but for the past six months, we had grown very fond of each other, and I was beginning to see my life with him. It was only going to be for two weeks, I told myself. Then he’ll be back again.

~~***~~

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I sat in the office of Adam Pelham, the owner of Pelham & Co and waited for him to critique my work. After a few months of trying to figure out where I wanted to go with my writing, I had concluded that I would go in a different direction, and hoped that this path would work out for me in the long run. It wasn’t like I didn’t like writing romance novels, but since my own personal experience in the love department was seriously lacking, I found it hard to connect to my characters and with that, I knew I would not be able to connect to my readers.

“This is really good, Ms. Willow,” Mr. Pelham stated as he rummaged through the pages of ink once again. His eyes widen with interest and he repeatedly would nod his head up and down with every page that had gone turned.

“Thank you, Mr. Pelham! And please, call me Adelia or Addy,” I requested.

“And please, call me Adam,” he replied. “I am glad you decided to get away from the whole romance novel genre because this is clearly more up your alley,” he said.

“Me too,” I replied. “I didn’t find the romance genre to be fulfilling enough for me and within these past few months, my interest just seemed to have dried up completely. I’ve always been more of crime fiction novelist. The words just seem to flow more for me.”

Adam placed the transcript down onto his desk before him and leaned in closer towards me, locking his eyes onto mine. “If you can keep producing these type of novels, then you will definitely have a promising future with Pelham & Co.”

I smiled and nodded my head in confidence. “I’m sure that won’t be a problem,” I told him.

“Good. Now let’s get this edited and published.” I looked at him, raising both eyebrows. “Sounds good to you, Adelia?” he asked while stacking papers together in a neat and orderly fashion.

“Yes, of course!” I exclaimed.

“Okay, great. Let’s chat in a couple of weeks and see where you and your Editor are at then.” Adam then went on to explain how the entire publishing process went and to what to expect afterwards. I would be going on book tours to promote my book, traveling from state to state and signing autographs if my book was a hit by then. As Adam kept discussing the details, my mind was going a mile a minute. This was a dream come true for me, and I couldn’t wait to tell Cyler about it.

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When the meeting with Adam was over, I exited the building in a blissful trance, enraptured by the good news in what we had discussed in his office. I walked onto the bustling streets of downtown Meadows Glenn and took an eager step forward as I spotted my car parked on the side of the street, but as soon as I did, pain had taken me aback and traveled throughout my entire being within a matter of seconds as I landed hard onto the ground. Before I realized what was even happening, I saw a shadow looming over me, deflecting the sunlight away from my face. “Are you okay?” said the shadow, outstretching its arm towards me as if it wanted something.

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I blinked rapidly as I tried to regain my composure and took his hand. Without struggle, he swiftly lifted me back up onto my feet and bent down to retrieve my purse and papers that had splattered all over the place. “I’m sorry, I must’ve not been paying attention,” I stated, still in a daze of confusion.

The shadow rose back to its feet and handed me my things, and just as it did, I had gotten a glimpse of who my shadowy savior was. “You’re right, it was your fault,” it accused. “But you were always clumsy, so I’m not surprised.”

“Renley,” I announced, barely above a whisper. Renley shrugged his shoulders uncomfortably and looked all around, wondering if we had caused a scene. “What–what are you doing here?” I stuttered, bewildered that my ex-boyfriend was standing right in front of me after all this time.

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“I live here,” he commonly replied.

“I thought you left,” I replied. Fenley grimaced some, identifying the disappointment in my voice. After hearing it myself, I decided to clean it up some. “I mean I–”

“I know what you meant,” he asserted. “I did leave, but now I’m back. Is that going to be a problem for you?” he asked, not really concerned about how I was feeling.

“Why would it?” I asked, showing an indifference attitude in my demeanor. He looked at me as if he just witnessed something dastardly. If looks could kill, I would have definitely been dead right on the spot. Renley wasn’t exactly my best pick of the litter, and now that I looked back on our relationship, I wondered what I ever saw in him in the first place.

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“Yeah, why would it?” he asked sarcastically, not expecting an answer from me. “Look, I’ll get out of your hair. I’m sure you’ve got much better things to do than to think about someone other than yourself,” he spat bitterly.

“Meaning?”

“You know exactly what it means, Adelia.” Renley’s cold glare was to be expected.

“Ren, that’s not fair. I–”

“Look, it’s okay; I get it,” he said as he backed up from me. “You want to be on your own and do your own thing. I just hope you don’t involve another helpless person in your screwed up, selfish life of yours.” Before I could retaliate with an argument, Renley quickly walked away down the street without looking back.

3.4 Changes, Both Good & Bad

Greetings, Readers!

First off, I’d like to thank all of you who are still lurking and to all the newcomers who found my blog for sticking around and being patient. I am terribly sorry that I waited this long to post something. Ever since I started my new job, I have been completely exhausted. Yesterday marked my 4th month there and now that I have settled into my new routine, I have found time to work on my story again.

This chapter is short, and this is only because I wanted to get something posted to you all while I am working on the 5th chapter. Enjoy!


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“I can’t believe you’re leaving!” exclaimed Jennica while she jogged lightly on the treadmill. Beads of sweat rapidly dripped down my tomato-colored face as I made a poor attempt to stay on the treadmill for more than five minutes without passing out. I wasn’t one for exercise and I hated eating healthy, but as I got older, I started becoming more aware of how my body has changed since my teenage years. I couldn’t scarf down a bag of chips, a hot dog and a large soda without gaining a few pounds anymore.

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“I’m just moving five minutes away, Jenn,” I assured her. “Besides, it’s not like you’ll miss me anyhow. You’ll have Vince to entertain, I’m sure,” I teased.

Jennica rolled her eyes and smirked. “I’m sure you’ll be entertaining a certain someone yourself too,” she hinted, giving off a you-know-who-I’m-talking-about grin.

This time it was me who rolled my eyes. “My love life is none of your business,” I retorted smugly.

“So you admit you do have a love life?…With someone in particular?…Who shall remain nameless?”

“Again, my love life is none of your business,” I repeated, this time giving her a mischievous smile.

“Whatever. Look, I’m happy you’re moving on and all, but I have another problem.” It didn’t take long for the conversation to revert back to my cousin, and instead of trying to steer the conversation back onto myself, I let her have her moment as usual. “I don’t know if I want to be with Vince anymore. It’s just not working out the way I thought it would be. He works all the time and I barely ever see him.”

“Yeah Jenn, it’s called being an adult. And you just asked him to move in; why even ask him to do that if you weren’t sure about the relationship?” I asked.

“Because I thought it would work, but it’s not.” Jennica’s facial expression went from confusion to unreadable within sixty seconds flat. “I don’t know what I want anymore,” she added.

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“That’s about the most honest thing I’ve ever heard you say,” I teased. She looked over at me, as if she suddenly realized I was still present and chuckled softly before stepping off of the treadmill. It didn’t take long for me to follow suit. I was completely sweaty and my legs were throbbing. We grabbed our things from the floor and headed outside of the gym, which by that time, had filled up with locals fairly quickly. “You wanna get some frozen yogurt?” she asked.

I pulled my phone out that had been nestled safely inside of my sports bra to look at the clock. “I can’t,” I replied apologetically. “I told my dad I would pick up Madeline from dance practice today and she’ll be getting out in about fifteen minutes. How about we take a rain check?”

“Sure. I’m too sore anyway, and I should probably get back home and practice what I’m going to say to Vince.” Jennica stood and looked out onto the streets. Confusion found her face once more, and I felt myself feeling a little bad for her. Like she admitted, she didn’t know what she wanted. That was one of the many things that separated us from each other. I always know what I want, and whether I get it or not was completely up to me.

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It had been two weeks since I signed the papers for the house. All of my things were packed up and now I was practically living out of boxes. All that was left was for me to get the phone call that I had the house indeed. A couple of days after, I went out and traded my old broken down hatchback for a sports car. I figured while I was making some drastic changes in my life, I might as well go all the way. It felt good driving down the streets of Meadows Glenn and seeing everyone notice the redhead in the money green convertible. It was an attention I hadn’t felt in a long time. A type of attention I deserved after having such a horrible year.

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I pulled up to the side of Madeline’s high school near the entrance where the dance studio was located. Madeline came out immediately and waved when she saw me. “Thank you for picking me up!” she chimed. “Dad’s doing inventory at the bakery and Mom has a parent-teacher conference with Shiloh’s principal.”

“Again?” I asked in disbelief. Madeline nodded knowingly. “What’s his deal?”

“You know Shiloh. Never hesitant to finish a fight,” she stated. I shook my head solemnly as I continued on down the road. Shiloh was a great kid, but did not have his priorities in order, which wasn’t what we all expected from him with him being only fifteen years old and all. However, his short fuse was something that definitely needed to be looked into.

“So what have you been up to?” I asked Madeline.

“Not much, besides dance. I am working on a family tree project for my history class though,” she replied with a little hence of disturbance in her voice.

“Oh yeah? How’s that coming along?” I asked.

“Okay, I guess. But when I got my dad’s grandmother on the maternal side, it got a little weird.”

“What do you mean by weird?” I asked curiously, now a block away from her house.

“Well,” she began, than hesitated for a moment with a perplexed look on her face. “I think she might’ve…” Madeline stopped in mid-sentence. We pulled up in the driveway of our parents’ home and before Madeline had a chance to leave the car, I turned towards her to give her my undivided attention. Madeline’s face did not only looked perplexed, but a bit horror-stricken as well.

“Maddy?” I frowned, wondering if she was all right.

“I think she might’ve killed her husband.”

“What, on purpose?” I asked her. Maddy nodded. I stared at her for a brief moment, wondering if she was playing a trick, but her facial expression never changed and I could see the concern in her eyes. “Did you ask Dad about it?” Maddy shook her head. “I’m sure there’s some logical explanation for it, Maddy. I mean he could’ve been a horrible man or something. I wouldn’t read into it too much,” I assured her.

“Maybe you’re right,” she stated quietly. I nodded with a reassuring, yet weak smile, when in the back of my mind, I was wondering the same thing. “Well, I’ll see you later.” Maddy waved and left the car. I watched as she walked to the front door and went inside.

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As I drove back home, I couldn’t help to wonder about what Maddy said. Our great-grandmother, a murderer? It very well could have been out of self-defense. Or maybe it wasn’t. Either way, it would make for a good story.

I brushed it out of my head and focused on getting home. I had a date with Cyler tonight and I wanted to look my best. Since he’s been home, we’ve been hitting it off pretty well. Nothing still has happened between us yet, but I wasn’t worried. We were taking it slow, but I had a feeling that along with everything else in my life, that too would be changing soon too.

 

 

 

 

3.3 What A Girl Wants

So I took down my previous posts about our financial hardship and paypal donation due to the fact that I got the job I have been wanting! I start in March. I was also able to work things out with our car payments with the bank too. As far as everything else, it’ll work itself out.

Anyways, this is a long chapter, so get ready!

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Excitement wasn’t the word to describe how I was feeling. Butterflies in the stomach didn’t even compare to the sensation that danced inside of me. A blanket of warmth covered my entire body and beads of sweat began to form, slowly traveling its way down my temples. My palms were sticky with its own sweat and it felt as if someone smeared menthol all over my face. I had no idea what was going on with me. You would think I was about to sell my soul to the devil himself. It was just a house, not a blood-written contract. I could sell it at any time if I wanted to. I could rapidly change my mind and settle on an apartment or a rental home if I choose to. So why was I so nervous? Yes, it’s a huge decision to make, but I had been contemplating this moment for a long time. I should be use to the idea by now.

We met with Millie at her office to talk about what exactly I was looking for. Her office was huge; bigger than I thought it would be. Agents were spread all over the building, attempting to buildup their clientele with potential buyers. The teal blue walls created the warm atmosphere within the office and red plush couches greeted you as soon as you walked through the door. By observing the decor, you could clearly see that the company had been very successful in their endeavors, which made me feel more confident in my choice of realtors.

Millie was very nice, helpful and provided me with information that would be beneficial to my decision of buying a home. By this time I had calmed down a little and managed to not look as if I was about to vomit all over the place and explained to her I wanted a house that was either on the beach or overlooked it. It was just something I was use to. Even back in Hillcrest, we always lived seconds away from the beach. “I have to be honest with you,” Millie began. “Finding a house on the beach in Meadows Glenn will be difficult. They don’t normally go on the market often, and when they do, they get snatched up very quickly.” I admitted I was a little disappointed, but understood what she was saying. I didn’t know the real estate market at all, so I had no choice but to trust her judgement. “Right now, I don’t have a beach house on the market, but I do have a few houses that are near the beach to show you today if you are still interested?” she asked.

“Couldn’t hurt,” I replied.

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She showed us three homes that day, two of which were near the beach and one was in the hills and not so near the beach. All the homes were very nice and had lots of potential, but were all wrong for me. Forget the fact they weren’t beach homes, but each house didn’t possess certain features that I liked nor did the flow of the layout feel right to me. This house hunting was already proving to be stressful and it was only the first day. “It takes time,” Millie assured comfortingly. “We’ll find you the right home, don’t worry. In the meantime, I’ll keep looking and if you happen to see a house in the market that our company is selling, then feel free to give me a call and we’ll check it out, okay?” I agreed and Millie, Jennica and myself went our separate ways.

Once we got back in the car, Jennica acknowledged the dissatisfaction on my face that I wasn’t necessarily trying to hide. “This is only the first day, Addy. Don’t get discouraged yet,” she said, pulling away from the last home we saw and drove down the hillside to head back into town.

“I know, it’s just I think my chances of getting a house on the beach is very slim to none.”

“Well, then you might have to settle for something else,” she simply replied. Her lack of concern was a little disheartening, but then again, this was Jennica. If she couldn’t benefit from it, then she could care less how it went either way.

“I don’t want to and I shouldn’t have to. I work very hard and I don’t ask for much. All I want is my dream house or something close to it.” It wasn’t as if I was asking for a mansion; just a simple house on or very near the beach that met my expectations. Jennica was able to have hers so I don’t know why I shouldn’t be able to.

She always got whatever she wanted ever since we were little kids. She had both of her biological parents, she was more popular, and was never without a boyfriend. Now she had the better car, job, and a house. I tried not be jealous of her, but I couldn’t help it at times. She was living the perfect life and I wasn’t. The more I thought about it, the more determined I was about getting what I wanted, and the house was just a start.

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Once we were back in town, she suggested us going to a bar to unwind for a bit. Normally the bar wasn’t my scene, but I was so stressed out that I agreed to go. Unwinding is exactly what I needed to do. We ended up at Roadhouse Bar, an old western-themed establishment near our house. The bar was kept dim with green and red colored lighting throughout. The air was kept thick with cigarette smoke and stale musty cologne of lonely men looking for a good time. The music streamed uplifting country music causing the ambience to be more pleasant that what you would normally see in the movies. I had never been here before, but she was a regular. I silently pondered if this was where she met some of her late-night rendezvous prior to Vince. We sat at the bar and ordered some drinks and talked for a while about everything that had been going on with us. She spoke about her relationship with Vince and I discussed my newfound friendship with Cyler. Jennica’s eyes grew twice its size when I mentioned his name. “Is he cute?” she asked curiously with a wide grin.

“Yeah,” I smiled.

“So what are you waiting for?” she asked.

“I just met him, Jenn! I can’t just be all over the guy!” I exclaimed.

“Why not? Lots of women do it,” she replied matter-of-factually.

“I’m not lots of women. I want to take it slow and start off as friends first,” I told her. She rolled her eyes and turned back to her drink. Sex on the Beach was her choice of drink while I sipped on a more classier selection of a sour apple martini.

“If this was a year ago, you would’ve been all over him by now,” she pointed out.

“Exactly, and look where that got me.” Jennica’s smile faded and she nodded sympathetically.

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“How about we just have some fun tonight, hmm? I bet you can’t ride the bull without falling off,” she dared.

I looked over at the mechanical bull resting on display in the middle of the bar. “I can and I will,” I told her confidently before standing up from the uncomfortable stool I was sitting on and heading over to the bull. Jennica watched from her seat while I hopped on and started. It was a rough ride and it nearly threw me clear across the room, but I managed to hang on for dear life the entire time. “I told ya!” I called out to her when it was over.

“Well done,” she proclaimed. “Now let’s dance!”

There was a section of the corner of the bar where a couple of red spotlights dimly shone down onto a small stage. So we strode over there and began to dance like a couple of crazies. We were gaining some attention of mixed reactions, but we didn’t care. We were too caught up in our moment of having fun while I was gladly relieving some stress that I soon forgot all about the house hunting.

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It was in the wee hours of the morning when the bar finally closed and we stayed til the very end. Plastered out of my mind, Jennica had to assist me out of the bar to haul me to the car. It had been a long time since I had granted myself permission to let loose and have fun. It wasn’t like I was going home with a complete stranger or doing anything questionable. It was just a couple of girls having fun on a Friday night.

“We need to do this more often!” I blurted out, knowing it was the booze talking.

“Yeah, we’ll see,” she replied skeptically as we got into the car. She knew this was probably the only time she’ll ever be able to get me to go out to a bar and get plastered. I laughed at the thought while we went back home. Who knew.

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The following day involved me being glued to my desk, submerging myself in the last chapter of the set I was to give to my publisher the next day. I was pleased with how much I was able to get done and silently thanking the heavens I didn’t wake up with a hangover. Still a little worried about finding the right home for me, I tried to ignore it as much as I could. I had to get this done.

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The hours seemed to pass by quicker than quick sand. My eyelids felt heavy and my eyes stung from staring at the screen so much. I was almost finished, but thought it was best to take a break for awhile. My stomach rumbled a great deal and my joints ached when I arose from the desk. I could hear the creaking and crackling of my knees and elbows as I hobbled over to the bed and sat at the edge. I checked my phone for any messages and instantly noticed I had two new text messages; one from Cyler and one from my dad. I opened the one from my dad first and read that they were having a BBQ at the house and invited us over. I replied that Jennica was at work, but I would be there soon.

I then opened the one from Cyler:

Hey you…I just wanted to apologize for the other day if I seemed pushy or nosy. That wasn’t my intention. I just want us to be good friends and be able to talk to each other openly and honestly, but I know that kind of trust takes time. I hope you’ve had a good couple of days. Take care.

Promptly a smile emerged on my lips. I scooted backwards onto my bed to lay down and replied to his message:

Hey! My couple of days have been good, and I hope yours have been too. No need to apologize, I know you were just trying to get to know me. Right now, there are just some things about my past I’m not ready to talk about yet…but maybe in due time, that will change. I’m open to being friends and possibly more eventually…if it’s in the cards, but I won’t rush into anything. I can’t. I hope you understand.

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Cyler never responded back to my text message and I wondered whether I hurt his feelings or not. He wanted an open and honest friendship so I was giving it to him. It was the right thing to do instead of letting him believe that I wanted something more than that right now. He was a really sweet guy and I’m sure any woman would be lucky to have him, including myself, but I wanted to be smart about it and not raise his hopes prematurely just to make him happy. I had to think about myself and what is best for me for a change.

Since my car was on the fritz again, Jennica let me borrow hers in case I needed to run any errands. I pulled her car into my parents’ driveway and headed up the stairs to the front door that hid behind a concrete wall. I adored this house so much and missed living here at times. The house was nestled on top of a hill that overlooked the ocean from the backyard. It had an abundance of windows to allow the natural sunlight emerge into the home and the backyard was large enough for a pool and two seating areas that included a wet bar.

“Addy!” Squealed Annalise when she opened the door. I greeted her with a hug and she let me inside. Annalise acted as if she hadn’t seen me in ages, but that was what I loved about her the most. She always appreciated good company. We stood in the foyer and talked for a few moments before I asked where everyone else was. “Oh, they’re all in the back. Your dad is grilling the hot dogs, Maddy and Shy are in the pool and Landon is making some drinks at the wet bar as usual,” she joked. She led me to the backyard where the party was and I immediately spotted my dad in the midst of a cloud of smoke around him.

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“Hey, don’t burn the place down!” I taunted as I walked over to him. Dad looked over his shoulder towards me and smiled.

“Hey, you came!”

“Of course; where else would I be?” I asked rhetorically. He gave me a brief hug before swiftly turning back to the sizzling hot dogs. I spotted both Madison and Shy in the pool and Landon exactly where Annalise said he would be. I promptly greeted them and joined the two screaming teenagers in the pool.

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Spending time with my family didn’t occur very often. I wasn’t entirely close with Landon growing up, but that didn’t stop us from being friendly to one another. I believed a lot of that had to do with Dad doting on me a lot. I often would get what I wanted, but that all changed once Madeline and Shiloh were born. I couldn’t blame them though, it wasn’t their fault. He always did what he could for me, and I know a lot of that stemmed from what went on with Quinn.

“So what have you been up to, Landon?” I asked him at the dinner table once the hot dogs had been served. Landon, being the closest in age, had become quite the intellectual individual who knew exactly what he wanted in life. Unlike myself, he wore confidence like a king. I admired him for that, but at the same time, I secretly wished I was more like him. He always knew what he wanted and got it easily.

“Not much,” he replied through his obnoxious chewing. “Just working a lot at the bar.” Landon swallowed his food and took a sip of his soda. “I’m still waiting for you to come see me, sis.”

Landon worked at a sports bar across town in the inner part of the city. He wanted to own his own sports bar one day and I knew with time, he would eventually get it too. “I’m sorry, I know I’ve been kinda…”

“Preoccupied?” he asked, finishing my sentence for me with a smirk on his face. I smiled before looking down at my plate again. “No worries,” he assured nonchalantly. “How’s your book coming along?”

I let out a small sigh as I glanced back over to my brother and the rest of my family who suddenly took an interest in the conversation. I could feel defeat seeping through every pore of my being and knew if it had an odor, it would have been enough to kill us all. “It’s going,” I replied, short but to the point. I was done with the last few chapters, but still had so far to go to finish the book. The thought of what my publisher would say once he received a copy of it put me on edge. If I didn’t get this book published soon, I might as well kiss my career as a novelist goodbye. Maybe I was only as good as a magazine writer.

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“So I’ve decided to buy a house.” Without looking up from my food, I sensed the wide-eyed expressions upon everyone’s face as they looked towards me and waited for more. I didn’t mean to blurt it out the way I did, I just didn’t want to talk about my book anymore.

“Oh, where?” asked Dad, surprised at my sudden decision.

“Here. Well, not here here; in Meadows Glenn.” Dad pursed his lips together in an upside down grin motion and aptly nodded. “I went to see some houses yesterday with a real estate agent, but I didn’t see anything I liked. I got approved for enough to get a really nice house though,” I added, finding the silver lining to all my woes.

“What are you looking for?” asked Annalise as she took the last bite of her hotdog.

I thought for a moment. I had an idea of what I wanted, but didn’t know exactly what I wanted. “I want a beach house or a house overlooking the beach. Everything else I can work with really,” I stated. I told them what Millie told me about beach houses being scarce in that area and that it would be hard to find one right away. The familiar sensation of defeat rising arose within me once more. I wanted to go home, lay in my bed and give up trying to do anything. Why can’t things just go my way for once?

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Dad collected all of the dirty dishes from the table and placed them into the stainless steel kitchen sink. After ordering Shiloh to clean the dishes and Madeline to finish clearing off the table and to let the family dog out, he pulled out his cell phone and held it in his hand as he looked over at me. “You know,” he began. “I think I may have a solution to your problem, sweetheart.”

“What do you mean?” I asked curiously.

He motioned for me to follow him to the backyard porch and I immediately followed him, intrigued as to what he had planned to do. When we reached the porch, he turned to me with a smile and his phone still in hand. “We have a regular at the bakery who comes in weekly to order cupcakes for her granddaughter’s Llama Scouts meetings. She mentioned to me a couple of weeks ago that she’s selling her house to move in with her son and grandchildren.”

“Okay…?”

“I think she has a house over in Nautical Heights,” he hinted. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Nautical Heights was one of the most beautiful areas in Meadows Glenn; nestled on the hilltops overlooking the ocean. Being able to live there was always a dream of mine, but I never thought it would actually happen.

“Aren’t those homes super expensive?” I asked.

Dad hesitated, then nodded. “Yeah.” I sighed. There goes defeat again. “But I can help you out with that. We’ll go over everything and figure out the details later. First, let’s see if the house is still for sale.” He found the woman’s phone number in his call history on the day of her last order and began to call her. Lumps formed into my throat while I waited patiently for her to answer.

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Once she answered, I listened intensively as he spoke with her about her home. I desperately needed and wanted for her home to be the one I wanted. I hated being behind in everything when it came to Jennica, and now, I was going to be the one who had everything as well. Hopefully.

“Great, thank you so much, Mrs. Moore. I’ll have her come on over right away,” I heard him say before he hung up. I squealed with excitement before he could say anything and I threw my arms around him, making sure to give him plenty of kisses. “Don’t thank me yet,” he warned. “There are other offers, but she’s holding out to see who outbids the other. If you like the house, then we can swoop in with a bigger offer.” I nodded happily. He walked back into the house and I followed him and waited while he jotted down something on a piece of paper. “This is the address. She’s there now waiting for you, so hurry,” he gestured as he handed me the address.

“Thanks Dad.” I gave him another hug, said my goodbyes to everyone else, and headed out the door to Jennica’s car.

Jennica’s very nice car. Yes, that will change too.

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It was nice out with a touch of breeze and light clouds in the sky. Not a threat of rain in the air, which was the norm for the spring weather around here. The rain, however, never bothered me; it was always welcomed in my world. Most people associate the rain with depression and sadness. It was different for me. It uplifted my spirits and quenched my soul with prosperity, washing away whatever sadness that may lie dormant deep within me. When the rain stops, my soul dries right back up again like a shriveled sun-dried prune who had been kicked aside and neglected for days. At times, I felt empty. Dead maybe. I know I was alone, so why did I always feel alone?

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The roads were fairly clear for a Saturday afternoon, therefore, it made the travel go a lot smoother. I drove to the woodsier part of town that was occupied by tall luscious trees along the streetlamps, then pulled onto a long winding road that exclusively harbored those trees until reaching a more clearer presence in the path. At the end of the street stood a white two-story modern home full of glass block windows that surrounded almost the entire second level. Immediately in the backyard, you could spot the large pool and in the panoramic view beyond the lot, was the cerulean blue ocean with large cascading hills in the distance that stood as a ground for the array of skyscrapers in the heart of the city.

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Upon pulling into the driveway next to a white sedan that I only assumed was the owner’s, I cautiously walked up to the front door to ring the doorbell. An older woman, whom seemed to be well fixed in her seventies, poked her head around the corner and made way down the hall to greet me. “You must be Adelia?” she asked as she opened the door to let me inside.

“Mrs. Moore, it’s a pleasure to meet you,” I greeted politely with a gentle shake of her hand.

“Your father told me you were interested in buying a house by the beach,” she informed as she led me back down the long hall that eventually led to kitchen and family room. The house was immaculate with its light grey walls and hardwood floors. I was taken aback by its vastness right away, although it wasn’t too big for me either.

“I am,” I told her. “My family and I have always lived by the beach, so it’s all I’m use to.” Mrs. Weatherman smiled and nodded, noticeably understanding my desire to want a house such as this.

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The house was wide with somewhat of an open layout. The living room was a nice size as well as the open dining area that could fit a large dining table. We entered the back of the house where it was airy, bright and full of the natural sunlight that beamed through the large floor-to-ceiling windows that covered the entire wall. The view was breathtaking. All I could do was to stand in front of the windows and stare out onto the view in awe. This was it. This was my home. This is what I have worked hard for and now, it’s finally paying off.

“Isn’t it wonderful?” asked Mrs. Moore as she had stood silently behind me for a moment, allowing me to take in all the beauty before me.

“Oh yeah,” I chuckled as I turned my attention on her.

We spoke for a brief moment about the house before I called my dad to tell him about it. We discussed the price and we urgently made an offer above asking price and above all the other offers Mrs. Moore had received. She was very pleased with what we offered and gladly accepted it.

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After saying goodbye to Mrs. Moore, I headed back to the car. As I backed out of the driveway, made a U-turn to head back down the long winding road, I felt rejuvenated. In thirty days, I would finally have a house of my own. Even though my father helping to pay for it wasn’t necessarily ideal, I wasn’t too prideful to not let him help me. Jennica didn’t get her house on her own either, so there wasn’t anything I should feel embarrassed about. All I want is to have what’s rightfully mine. I deserve that much after what I’ve been through and nobody will stop me.

Nobody.

3.2 When You Least Expect It

Well, well, well…here I am once again. You thought I forgot, didn’t ya? Nope, this story is my baby. I just didn’t some time away from it to regroup and get some personal stuff done. I will be updating more often now, although I don’t know how often, but I’ll do my best. Thanks for sticking with me! :D

FYI…I didn’t feel like changing Cyler’s clothes, so he’ll be in the same clothes you saw him in in the last chapter. Sorry, I just wanted to get this chapter out to you guys. o_O Also, this chapter is short because I will be releasing another short chapter within the next few days due to my very long absence.

WARNING: This chapter contains a little nudity, sexual content, and profanity.


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I arrived at the Fork & Spoon a little earlier than I anticipated, which only allowed me to second guess my appearance and every erroneous thing about myself. One thing I hated about dating is always questioning how you look and sound. Not that I was dating again; I really didn’t know what this was. Maybe just two people getting to know each other as friends? I liked Cyler and yes, I was attracted to him, but I definitely didn’t want to rush into anything at the moment. I had an aggravating tendency of doing that in the past, and that had proved itself to be a dangerous thing.

I chose to sit in the outside eating area of the restaurant where we could enjoy the pier and the ocean. The Fork & Spoon had always been my favorite place ever since we moved here from Hillcrest Cove. Having the view of the ocean and hearing the crashing of the waves while you eat made the entire experience amazing to me, so I didn’t mind waiting for him, but I was beginning to get a sinking feeling in my stomach that he had forgotten about our meeting. Cyler was now an hour late and as I sat at one of the tables and sipped on a can of soda, I tried to be patient and wait a little while longer. Despite the beautiful clear cerulean blue skies, the breeze was getting colder by the minute, which made the wait a bit more difficult. “Where are you?” I pondered out loud.

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After waiting for a few more minutes, I reluctantly decided to leave. I grabbed my empty can of soda and headed over to the trash can when I unexpectedly heard a familiar voice call my name from a distance. I turned around and spotted Cyler approaching with an embarrassed grin plastered on his face. “There you are,” I teased, trying not to make him feel bad about being late.

“I’m so sorry,” he apologized. “Work ran a little later than I expected.”

“No worries,” I proclaimed reassuringly. “You came just in time; I was about to leave.”

“I’m so sorry,” he apologized again. I waved a hand in the air to dismiss it and smiled. Cyler took a sigh of relief. “Are you still hungry?” he asked, unsure.

I hesitated momentarily. I really wasn’t. All that waiting I did with my jumbled nerves were to blame for my depleting appetite. Not to mention I was completely bloated from the numerous cans of soda I consumed throughout the time. “Not really,” I replied abjectly.

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We settled on going for a stroll on the pier instead. Even though it was slightly breezy, the sun’s strong rays seem to beam down on us with a vengeance. Glad I had bought my parasol with me, I opened it up to protect my fair skin from the sunlight as we began walking towards the ocean. Sometimes I hated how fair my skin was and wished I was more tanned like my father. “So I know we talked last night at the party, but we didn’t really get to know each other,” he began politely. “What is it that you do again?”

“I’m a writer–well, author, I guess,” I replied diffidently. “I wrote a couple of articles for Sim Girl Magazine awhile back, and now I’m working on a romance novel.” Cyler nodded his head, appearing to be impressed by my accomplishments.

“That’s amazing,” he said. “So you’re very intelligent, I take it.”

“Well I’m certainly not an airhead,” I retorted with laughter.

“Obviously,” he chuckled. We walked for a moment in silence and I couldn’t help but to wonder what he was thinking about. Then my question was answered. “I like smart women,” he finally stated.

“I would hope so,” I replied and we exchanged chuckles once more. I was trying to avoid his flirting antics at all cost, but I knew this was going to be a challenge. Walking along in silence again, I scrambled for more words to say to him. “What about you? Are you from around here?” I asked him.

“Mhm,” he nodded proudly. “I was born and raised here. I love it here actually. It’s so peaceful and everyone is friendly. I honestly can’t see myself leaving this place.” Without him knowing, I observed the appreciation gleaming in his eyes for Meadows Glenn. It was a beautiful city and had a lot to offer. I could see why he loved living here so much. I’ve loved it myself ever since we moved here. “Now I’m pretty sure you’re not from around here because I know I would’ve seen your pretty face at least one time,” he stated confidently.

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“I am actually,” I stated, now showing my sense of pride. I moved over to the side of the pier and looked out onto the ocean at the waves crashing onto the rocks of the hillside. Cyler frowned in confusion, but before he could ask, I continued on in hopes to answer his wondering thoughts. “My family and I moved here when I was six years old. We lived on the other side of town up in Meadow Hills. In fact, my parents and younger siblings still live there.” Cyler then nodded in fathom.

“Where did you live before coming here?” he asked.

“Hillcrest,” I answered.

“Oh, that’s a really nice place!” he exclaimed, surprised I came from a place of such caliber. I didn’t blame him. The people in Hillcrest are usually a little more snootier than the rest. I came from a family of humble people. To my father, it was the only way to be if you want to succeed in life. “Why move here then?” he asked. Unlike most people, I didn’t mind sharing that piece of my life with him. It was apart of my life that I barely remember now nor did it have anything to do with the person I am today, so discussing it was never an issue for me. Besides, I can only go by what I was told anyway.

“Damn, that sounds like something you see in the movies,” he replied once I told him everything that had happened with my mother back in Hillcrest. “I bet that was rough on you for awhile afterwards, huh?” he speculated.

“Yeah,” I nodded. “It took a toll on me and definitely impacted my life some. But last year, I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t allow it to anymore. I’m done with being tied to it. I just want to be happy.”

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“You weren’t happy a year ago?”

Faltering on his questions was starting to become a custom for me. I didn’t want to seem like I was hiding anything, even though I was. I wasn’t trying to at least. I just wasn’t ready to talk about it yet. I didn’t even like talking about it with Jennica yet alone some guy I just met a day ago. I turned my attention back onto him. He genuinely looked interested in my life and if we were going to be friends, I guess I had to open up somewhat to him. However, today was not going to be the day to do that.

“Not really. I tried to cover my unhappiness with lots of partying, but it didn’t work. My family knew I wasn’t coping. I was careless and negligent and eventually got myself into some trouble with this guy I was dating.”

“Trouble?”

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“Yeah, it was just…I was too…Look I don’t wanna talk about it, okay? It’s too much right now and I don’t even know you and I–“

“Whoa whoa, relax,” Cyler urged calmly as he gently grabbed a hold of my hands. “First of all, you don’t have to tell me anything you’re not ready to tell me.” I nodded. “I know we just met yesterday, but I like you, Adelia. I really do and I don’t mind us being friends. Just know that I hope that someday you want more than that between us. If not or until then, I’m perfectly fine being your friend.”

I was completely lost in his gorgeous deep green eyes and all I could do was smile and nod at his sweet offer. Friends would be good. Something I never thought to have done a year ago. Who knows, maybe something would spark up between us some day. I was open to the idea just as long as it was done cautiously and wisely on my part. I wasn’t the carefree me anymore. It was about time I grew up.

Before I could say anything, Cyler leaned forward and planted a gentle kiss on my forehead. It was quite endearing and made me like him a little more. Darn this man! He’s definitely not going to make this easy for me. I politely thanked him before pulling away from him.

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It was nightfall already. An abundance of stars cascaded the night sky as the lights from the skyscrapers nearby illuminated everything around them. It was a beautiful night and the moment was perfect. Perfect for a kiss. I knew he wanted to and I indeed wanted to as well, but I couldn’t. That would be the complete opposite of taking it slow. “I should go,” I told him, barely above a whisper.

“Oh?”

“Yeah, I’m sorry. I have to work on those chapters so I can get them to my publisher by this weekend,” I told him, sensing his disappointment.

“No big deal,” he assured. “We’ll hang out again soon.”

“I’d like that,” I told him. We exchanged goodbyes and I walked away feeling better than I had before he arrived. I was glad I waited for him, otherwise I never would’ve gotten to know him better. As I walked back up the pier, I could feel him watching me, but I didn’t dare to look back to check. Instead, as I turned the corner, I subtly glanced over to where he was and my hunch was confirmed. I felt myself beaming from ear to ear and I couldn’t control myself, so I walked a little faster until I was out of sight. This whole friendship thing was going to be undoubtedly very hard.

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By the time I got home, the house was dark and I figured Jennica had either gone to sleep, which was an unlikely chance or she was out partying at someone’s house. When I walked through the front door, I noticed the glare from the television coming from the living room. I was surprised she was home. Curious to see why, I walked over to the glass-paned double doors that separated the rest of the house from the bedrooms and bathrooms and immediately saw movement through the illumination of the television through the darkness. I soon realized that my cousin was not alone, but yet entertaining Vince on the couch. I cringed at the sight and hurriedly walked away to my bedroom. I didn’t mind that they were having fun, but Vince was always here and they repeatedly kept christening every other room in the house. I loved Jennica, but I was fed up and made up my mind that it was time for me to find my own place to live.

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The next day, I was ready to call up some realtors to see what my options were in finding a house. I looked up some local real estate agents online and found one with the best ratings. Entering the phone number into my phone, I walked out of my bedroom to enter the dining room and sat down at the table while I waited for someone to answer the phone. I noticed Jennica had already been awake and was outside on the porch with Vince saying their goodbyes as if they weren’t going to see each other for months. When I finally heard a raspy female voice appear on the other end of the line, I swiftly introduced myself and informed her that I was interested in buying a new house and asked what she could do for me. The woman with the raspy voice introduced herself as Millie and that she would be more than happy to assist me in my search of finding the perfect home for me. She asked me a few questions and then told me that she would be available later today if I wanted to meet with her at her office to see what’s available in the area. I agreed, happy to be able to see something today and hung up from her. I felt good about what I was doing. Now all I had to do was break the news to Jennica.

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“Hey hey, good morning!” Jennica exclaimed when she came back inside and into the dining area. She looked extremely happy and content and I knew exactly why. I was glad she was happy with her life and found someone because she deserved it. She was a beautiful person so it wasn’t surprising. I just hoped she knew what she was getting herself into with Vince. I didn’t know him well enough to form any opinion about him, but from what I did know from our brief interactions is that he’s definitely into himself, which in my honest opinion, matches perfectly with my cousin.

“Morning,” I greeted back as I saved the realtor’s phone number into my phone.

“What are you up to?” she asked as she took a seat at the table.

I lowered my phone to look at Jennica who was looking at me for an answer. “Well,” I started. “You know I love you, right?”

“Shut up!” Jennica laughed and I joined her.

“Okay okay. On a serious note…I just got off the phone with a real estate agent. I’m thinking about buying a house,” I just flat out told her. Jennica stared at me in disbelief as if to wait for the punchline, but once she saw I wasn’t budging, her expression changed from disbelief to confusion. I decided to not to tell her about what I saw last night. It was her prerogative to entertain in her own home anyhow. “Before you say anything, let me explain,” I said. “I’m really happy you’re content in your life and you have Vince and everything, but with him being around practically daily, it’s been getting a bit cramped in here and to be honest, it’s not fair to neither one of us. You deserve to live your life the way you want and so do I. So I  think it’s best for me to just move out so we can both have our own space.”

“Yeah–no, that’s perfectly fine. I totally understand,” she replied, almost flabbergasted. “I’m just going to miss you!”

“I’ll only be like ten minutes away, if that,” I informed.

“I know,” she replied sadly.

“Hey, I’m meeting the real estate agent today to look at some houses. Do you want to come with me? I could use the moral support,” I suggested.

“Count me in,” she agreed. “Vince has to work today and it’s my day off so I could use some fresh air.”

I was happy I had Jennica’s support in my decision to move out. We had been living with each other since we left for college right out of high school, so I knew our time apart would not only be a bit difficult, but more so good for us too. A sense of anxiety fell over me at that moment. My life was changing for the first time since I was six years old and I had absolutely no idea how to deal with it.