Excerpt from The Way Back To Me
It’s so peaceful here. The birds chirping. The sun shining. The squirrels running around looking for chestnuts that have fallen off the old tree on the property line. If I lift my eyes, I can just see the edges of the leaves blowing in the wind. Lifting my head takes too much work. I don’t even raise myself up when I drink from the bottle in my hand—and because I don’t, the tequila runs down the side of my face and wets the neckline of my dress. My black dress. The dress I wore when they put them all in the ground—when they put my Danny in the ground.
I’d waited. I went home and waited. After an hour, I came back. I don’t want to be anywhere else. Here, I feel close to him. The sun’s been shining all day reminding me how easily the world around me moves along. But I don’t. I can’t. So I lay here unsure as to how long I’ve been out here. Minutes? Hours? I don’t care and the alcohol is making it even easier not to.
I turn and stare at the etched words on the smooth marble surface. The pain in my heart is unbearable. I reach out to trace the letters, my breath coming faster with each one. Panic sets in as I admit to myself what I’ve been unable to: I am alone. I’m still feeling. This is unacceptable.
I take another gulp of tequila, noting it’s over half gone and I’m still not numb enough, so I take another, the burn warming my belly.
I wake to the feel of cool raindrops falling from the sky, soaking my clothes and hair.
I’m still drunk and I can barely keep my eyes open despite the fact that I’m shivering.
Strong arms lift me from the ground. I clumsily resist, swatting at whoever it is disturbing my serenity.
“Shh. You’re safe, Kitten. I’ve got you,” a masculine voice says. It’s familiar but I can’t place the owner. It’s the same voice that carried me home from the dock two days ago, and the beach two days before that where I lay alone in my grief—before my friends were laid to rest here. Today I had them.
“Don’t wanna go home,” I complain.
“You can’t keep doing this to yourself, Livvy,” he whispers.
A traitorous tear slips from my eye, blending in with the raindrops cascading down my face. I wrap my arms around his neck when he starts walking.
“I have nothing left,” I whisper.
He sighs. “You have a whole hell of a lot left. You need to look past your pain and try to live.”
I shake my head.
“This isn’t doing you any good. You’re not only making yourself sick, but your mom too. She and your dad are so worried they’ve got the whole town looking for you,” the voice tells me softly.
“Great.” I’ll continue to be the topic of everyone’s gossip. Can’t they mind their own damn business and just leave me to grieve?
“You need to stop this,” he tells me again.
“They’re all gone,” I admit, showing this faceless man who’s been my unidentified savior what hurts the most.
“They are,” he admits with a nod, the stubble on his jawline rubbing against myforehead. “But you’re here. You’re alive.”
“I don’t want to be.”
He nods again and his arms tighten around me as he continues to walk steadily toward what I assume is my home. “I get that. But do you want to put your mother through the kind of pain you’re feeling right now?”
His soft question belies the harshness it carries with it. That’s not what I want. I don’t want to hurt my mom. I just want this pain to go away.
He walks up the steps and the front door to my house opens. I can smell homemade apple pie and the lemon soap my mom likes to use to clean.
“Where did you find her?” my dad asks as my mom touches my forehead. I keep myeyes closed. I don’t want to see the pity or anguish on her face. I’ve seen it enough.
“The cemetery,” my savior confesses. “Tequila was her drink of choice today.”
COMING FEBRUARY 23rd
The Way Back To Me- preorder links