WHAT’S THE BOOK ABOUT
A year ago tragedy shattered Mazey’s life into pieces. Since then she’s been scrambling to try to fit those pieces back together, but keeps feeling like she’s missing something… until she moves back home and sees Phoenix again for the first time in a long time. With him she feels like everything is okay, like she might be able to start healing. But how can she start healing when the past won’t stop haunting her?
HERE’S AN EXCERPT FOR YOU TO READ
*Please be aware that this is before proofreading has happened, so there may be some grammatical errors*
Sparkling in the light, colors dancing over the walls… that’s what I want to remember when I see it. Not any of the million things that actually come to mind, just this. Where I can close my eyes and be back there again. I can almost smell the air, and the way her perfume made me feel like I was home, or hear the TV on in the background, a movie still playing that we’re no longer paying attention to as our fingers get lost in each other’s hair. Feel the flutter of my heart when she entered a room, the pull of my stomach when I was struck again with just how beautiful she was, or taste the meals she put so much effort into, which always ended up burnt. When I close my eyes I can almost see her smile or the way she used to look at me… I can almost picture the first time we met instead of what I see now.
Just as with every time I hold the ring between my fingers all that falls over me is silence and sadness. The dim lighting of my room doesn’t do the ring’s beauty justice. Neither do my thoughts, but those are harder to fix. If I could wish away my mind I would have a long time ago. I definitely wouldn’t be sitting on my couch with a bottle of vodka on the table, a blanket pulled around my shoulders, and my wife’s wedding ring in my hand.
I squeeze the ring in my fist for a second before letting it drop so it hangs on the chain around my neck, falling under my shirt. I tried to keep it on my finger, next to my own ring, but my fingers are several sizes too big, and the thought of trusting someone else with it to change the size… well, if they lost it I think I’d be sick. Plus this way it’s out of sight, hidden, so those rare times I go out into the world I don’t feel like people are staring.
When I got out of that house and left my old neighborhood, I finally didn’t have to be the girl from that house on the corner. With my house being on the news for that long, people tended to remember me. Which is great, because they all got to remember me as the girl shown in the background of the reporter’s video, or at the very least I’d be noticed as the girl who didn’t get murdered. How sucky would it be to be remembered as the chick who did get murdered? Well, not that I would know, but I’d be dead, so…
I reach around the blanket pulled tight to my shoulders for my drink sitting on the side table. Raspberry lemonade and vodka. The only thing that solves any of my problems. Not that it’ll solve any of them. For that to happen there’d have to actually be a god, and if I remember anything from that night it’s that there can’t possibly be a god. If there is, he can go fuck himself for all I care.
I down the rest of my drink, reaching to grab the bottle. As I fill the cup halfway and start to grab the lemonade, my doorbell rings. I’m almost surprised. The room feels so dark, the streets seem so quiet, if I didn’t know better I would have said it was the middle of the night. The clock on the shelf proves that to be wrong — it’s mid-afternoon.
Setting my cup down on the table, I go over to the door, opening it quickly. As the door swings past my face, I have a brief moment where I feel like scolding myself for not checking who it was first. I quickly calm down as I push the door open and see who’s standing in front of me, a wiry grin on his lips. “Lincoln?”
“Hey, Maz.” He leans forward, peering behind me, trying to see into the apartment. “How’s it going?”
I open my mouth to talk, but then pause for a second. That’s his first question? “How’s it going? I haven’t seen you in…”
“A long time, I know.” He takes another step in, looking around the room. “Can I come in? It’s kinda cold out here.”
I sigh under my breath, backing up and opening the door for Lincoln to come in. “Why are you here?”
He looks back at me, running his hands through his light ginger hair, already starting to work his way around the room. “What, I can’t come and say hello to my little sister?”
“Not really, no. Did you fly here… to talk to me, really?”
Lincoln waves my question off, “Oh, no. I’m at a convention about the school building trip I was a part of for a while. I just thought I’d drop by.”
Drop by? “I, well,” I go to the coffee table, picking up some of the trash lying around. “I haven’t had a guest in a long time.” I crack a half-hearted smile.
His nose scrunches as he pokes a pile of dirty laundry with his shoe. “Hmm, yeah, I see that. You okay?”
My eyes dart away from him, and I busy myself with dropping everything in the kitchen trash. “I kinda got fired, so I’ve been in a bit of a shitty mood.”
Lincoln’s face pulls in worry. He looks like he’s going to offer me advice but quickly puts on a smile instead. “Well, maybe that job wasn’t good enough anyway. What are you doing now?”
“Uh… nothing. I couldn’t get myself to go to my last job. No reason to think I’d do any better at a new one.” I lean my stomach forward against the back of my couch, watching Lincoln wander around the living room.
He picks up a bottle of vodka, the last bit of liquid sloshing around as he swirls it. “So you don’t have a job right now?”
“No, I don’t.”
He sets the bottle down and turns his million-watt smile at me. “That’s perfect then!”
He comes to the front of the couch, kneeling on it in front of me. “Come back to Florida with me.”
I lean closer — I clearly didn’t hear him correctly. “Like, for Thanksgiving?”
“No. Well, yes, but then also to stay.” He pulls an envelope out of his pocket and holds it in his hands, tapping the edge of it against his fingertips. “All of the other fosters miss you a ton. I just talked to Olivia about how she wishes she had you to talk to about girl stuff.”
The corner of my lip tugs up into a half-smile. “I miss everyone too.”
“And,” he hands me the envelope. “You already have a ticket ready.”
I open the envelope and sure enough, pull out a ticket for two days from now. “You bought me a plane ticket?”
He clams up slightly, not seeming like he wants to answer. “Not me, exactly…”
“Phoenix bought it. But it’s just… he’s worried about you, Mazey. I mean, the two of you used to be connected at the hip, inseparable. Now… you haven’t talked to him in almost a year.” Lincoln taps the ticket, “He wants you to be happy, to be with other people. Not cramped in your apartment without any social contact for months. You don’t have anything or anyone here for you anymore. Besides, he could really use some adult company as well…”
Phoenix would be there. I can’t figure out if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. On the one hand, I can’t imagine coming face to face with him again – having to actually talk to him again. On the other hand… if I could just hug him I think everything would be alright. It’s not exactly like I’m doing anything here, this may actually be a good idea. “I… where would I live?”
“I already talked to Mom and she has a spare bed in Vincent’s room.”
I shake my head, looking down at the ticket in my hands. Suzan. Am I ready to face her after all this time? Am I ready to say everything that’s been left unsaid? Can I show up at her house and expect her to welcome me with open arms? “She said yes?”
“Yeah… why wouldn’t she?”
She didn’t tell him? “Nothing. I just feel so disconnected from everyone.”
“I promise you’ll feel at home as soon as you walk in the door. You used to come over a million times every year. Summers, birthdays, holidays… what’s another extended vacation? Plus, the weather is much better than it is here in Seattle. At least at this time of the year.” He nudges me with his finger. “So? Whaddaya say?”
I feel myself reaching up to my neck, where my necklace rests beneath my shirt. Pressing my hand against it, I know my answer. “Yeah. Yes, I think I’d like to get the hell out of Seattle.”
Genre: Romance || Published on February 9th, 2021