I glance down at my black pointy-toed high heels and realize they’re the most uncomfortable shoes I’ve ever worn. Andy’s mom let me borrow a pair of Andy’s shoes since we wear the same size. It will take me a while to think of her in the past tense. Looking around the room all I see are strangers. None of these people knew her like I did. No one knew the way she loved soft furry blankets and in the summer she loved softy silky pajamas. They didn’t know that she spent more time praying for her friends and animals than she did for herself. No, they didn’t know those things, and they never will.
My best friend, Andy, died four days ago in a car accident with her boyfriend Doug. A car crossed over the center lane and hit them head on. The police say they died instantly. I talked to her exactly ten minutes before the crash, she told me she was going to stop by on her way home. We’ve always done that; stop by on our way home from shopping to show what we bought. Doug took her to Dallas to pick up a guitar and to go shopping. Andy’s parents have money. They spoiled her, but she never acted spoiled. She was kind and giving. For her birthday, her dad gave her a prepaid credit card. She had to keep her grades up, if she did, he’d load a thousand dollars on the card every month for a year. That’s more money than I make at my job. When I go shopping, I hit the thrift stores and yard sales. Just because I don’t spend tons of money on clothes, doesn’t mean I don’t look like I do. There’s a thrift shop not too far from here that I find the best deals. If the outfit doesn’t fit me, I do the alterations myself. My money is from my job at the vitamin store in the mall. Eight dollars an hour doesn’t go far when you’re the bread winner in your family.
Andy didn’t spend the money on things just for her, no, she would buy things for an after school program she worked for as a volunteer. She would give you every dime she had if you needed help. When she went shopping for herself, she would buy a matching outfit for me. She would always say that I was the sister she always wanted.
Linda, Andy’s mom, is making her way over to me, her grief is written all over her face. I stand up and wrap my arms around her thin body and in that moment the magnitude of what happened hits me like a brick wall. I start to tremble, but I force myself to keep it together until I get home. That’s when I’ll have the luxury of breaking down.
“Sugar, how are you holding up?” Linda asks. One of her friends leans over and hands her a fresh martini.
“I don’t know,” I shrug my shoulders. “It doesn’t seem real, does it?”
“She loved you so much,” I smell the alcohol on her breath as she kisses me on the cheek. “You’re welcome here any time, you’re part of our family. If that daddy of yours gives you any trouble, you come over and you can sleep in Andy’s room. She’d want you to be here with us, you know that.”
“I know. If you don’t mind, I need to go home and check on my dad. They changed his meds this week. As usual, he’s been in one of his moods. Never mind all that, if you need anything, I’m number five on your speed dial. I’ll drop off the shoes later this week.”
“Holland, keep the shoes, I don’t need them back. Go check on your dad, I’m going to try to get everyone out of here at a decent hour. My head hurts too much to deal with so many people. I love you, Holly, don’t you forget it either.” Andy’s the only person who ever called me by my childhood nickname. When I started high school, I went back to my given name, Holland. Linda pulls me in for another hug, this one is tighter and longer than the last one. In my head I can hear Andy complaining that her mom is getting mushy. I smile at the thought.
“I love you too. I’ll be by soon.” She’s hugging me as if she’s holding onto a piece of her daughter for dear life.
Most everyone here are family or friends of the family. A few people from high school came to the funeral, but everyone bailed before the graveside service. If it were anyone other than Andy, I would have done the same. My heart is heavy in my chest and tears threaten to come, but I suppress them so I can get home before I start the water works.
My street is ten streets away from Andy’s house, but the neighborhoods are polar opposites. Her street is lined with manicured lawns and matching brick mailboxes at the end of each driveway. Several people on our street have taken their mailbox down because some kids drove by with a baseball bat and dented in the metal mailboxes. A couple of the neighbors have cars parked in their yard and many of the houses have some type of car up on car ramps or a jack. Andy’s neighborhood is filled with houses with three bedrooms and two or more bathrooms. Ours isn’t.
I pull into the driveway that is cracked from neglect and hot Oklahoma summers. Our small two bedroom house is dark red brick with white trim that could use a new paint job.
The screen door bangs closed as I step into the living room. Dad is right where he was when I left this morning, asleep on the couch.
“Dad, it’s after two.” I say it loud enough for him to hear me.
He pushes himself up to a sitting position. “How was it? Is her mom holding up okay?”
“It was as nice as a funeral can be for an eighteen year old girl. Her mom’s okay, she’s a strong woman,” I say harsher than intended.
“When will you go to the store to buy groceries?”
The only question he cares about……food. He doesn’t give a crap about the funeral, he’s been sitting on the couch all day. He sits around and feels sorry for himself. “Dad, I told you I don’t get paid until Tuesday. Your Social Security check paid the bills. I have thirty dollars for gas. That’s all the money we have in the bank. There’s stuff to eat, just not what you want. Give me a few minutes to change for work and I’ll make you some supper.”
“You’re working on the day of your best friend’s funeral?” He asks, posing as the concerned father.
“Yes, I’m working on the day Andy was buried. I have to pay the bills, so working isn’t an option. Your prescriptions will be running out this week, I need money for your co-pays. Look, I don’t want to talk about this right now.” I set my stuff down as I head down the short hall to my bedroom.
“Holland, I’m getting better! Don’t you worry, before long, I’ll be able to go back to work!” He shouts out to me.
He’s told me a thousand times how he’s getting better. Per Dr. Paul, his regular doctor, he’s never going to be fit to work again if he doesn’t go to therapy on a regular basis. He’s two steps away from being placed in an institution. He was involuntarily committed last October, it lasted for five days. Being the selfish person I am, it was the most sleep I’ve had in years. He was safely behind locked doors, and I didn’t have to worry about which side of him I was going to come home to.
My little room is large enough for my full-size bed and a small desk I found at a garage sale. Most of my clothes are folded up inside big plastic bins. Andy teased me about my organization skills. She said I’m the only teenager who puts away their clothes on their own. I found it easier to strap a bin of dirty laundry to my skateboard and pull it the two blocks to the Laundromat than to carry it that far. I’ve been doing our laundry since my mom left when I was thirteen. That was the year my dad lost his job with the advertising firm and everything spiraled out of control.
I bend over to tie my shoes and pick up my keys that fell to the floor. I double check my reflection in the mirror before rushing out of my room to make a quick dinner for my dad. Crap! I think to myself as I realize I got more bleach splatters on the hems of my khakis. Thankfully, Gerrie won’t be working tonight to gripe at me about buying a new pair of pants. She find a way to complain about me at every opportunity she finds. She hates it when I wear my long hair down, she says I shed it all over the store. Last year she got upset with me for not being tan like all the other girls in the mall. She told me guys would come in to buy vitamins if I had a tan and wore make-up.
Andy and I would dream up crazy come-backs to Gerrie’s insults, but I never used them.
How can I face another day without her humor? How am I going to deal with my dad without her encouragement? How will I carry on?
Her father is bi-polar and the new medicine isn't working as well as originally thought. She's been taking care of him since she was thirteen, when her mom moved away. Keeping up with the bills and making good grades in her online college courses, is overwhelming at times. It is especially difficult once he finds out she's dating someone in the Air Force.
Tate has a way about him, he eases her troubled soul. Holland hasn't had anyone to talk to since her best friend, Andy, died. Tate takes away her loneliness and brings her back to life. They spend hours at the lake, singing songs and getting to know each other. At one of his gigs, Holland got up and sang a song with him. The audience loved them and so did the manager. Tate and Holland are offered a contract to perform at night clubs throughout the Midwest.
Her dad is distraught at the idea of her getting too close to Tate. He has a plan... it will change her life forever. Tragedy strikes and threatens to rip Holland away from Tate, and back to the dark place of mourning. Her despair is almost too much for her young heart to take.
This story is about heartache and love. Holland finds her heart beating again in the arms of Tate. This book is a CLEAN New Adult - No Hard Core Cussing - No Sexual Scenes.
Check it out on Goodreads!
I've thought of myself as a writer for as long as I can remember. I played grown-up with my family, until everyone grew up and left me to figure out what I really wanted to be. Jumping over the cliff, I took a leap of faith and wrote my first full length novel, The Legacy of Kilkenny. My love of young adult books, helped mold me into the writer I am today. The books I write, reflect the types of books I enjoy reading. Every story I write will have a huge twist at the end, one that often leaves the reader in shock (no pun intended, if you know me, you know why I say that, LOL). Thank you for considering to read my books. Happy reading!