Here is the new section of my story....I reposted the whole thing for new readers. Those who want to just read the addittion it's noted in bold (NEW SECTION). Let me know your thoughts!
Men are pigs! thought Rachel as she stared out the gray streaked window, watching millions of rain drops dancing on the surface of the lake. It was a lesson her Mother had been trying to teach her since she was a young child. Why hadn’t she learned that by now was beyond her? Some things never change she supposed. It was time to finally find out the truth and face it, just to get this ache in her heart to stop. She grabbed the keys off the coffee table and headed out the door.
Seth Parker had been a fixture in her life and heart since she was a teenager, which Rachel supposed could be construed as super romantic or pathetically sad considering she was reaching her mid-thirties. The last four years they had been “dating,” but not serious…..i.e. habitually sleeping together with no real commitment. No commitment was Seth’s deal not hers. Rachel was more than willing to give Seth a commitment of not just her mind & body, but her soul as well.
However if you had asked her friends and family they would have told you Rachel was crazy to put her heart in the hands of Seth Parker, original bad boy and player extraordinaire. He had the looks with his 6-foot frame, dark sandy blond hair, broad shoulders, and piercing blue eyes. When you add the charm, sexual charisma, and intelligence Seth Parker was one hard man to say no too. The problem is history had shown the masses that Seth was just about incapable of being faithful to any woman, not even his ex-wife. Of course, Rachel was the only one who knew that last tidbit.
These thoughts swirled in her head as she locked the door to her house and climbed into her red Sonoma. Shaking off the raindrops, Rachel looked in the rear view mirror and for the millionth time lectured herself, Why did you go down that road with him again? Are you a complete idiot? Did you forget what happened ten years ago? Just because now he says you are one of the most important people in his life? If he lost you he’d lose everything? That doesn’t mean he LOVES you, moron! “No it just sounds like he does,” she sighed.
Rachel gunned the engine to her beloved red truck before backing it out the driveway onto Brighton Lake Rd. heading towards Grand River. One thing about Seth was he is a creature of habit, a fact Rachel thanked God for at the moment. It was lunchtime at his law office and she knew right where to find him and it was time they had a talk. Face to face this time. She deserved that much from the person who claimed to be her best friend. The one who said he’d always be there for her.
Yet somehow over the last few months, Seth seemed to have forgotten she existed. Right around the time Rachel started having medical problems where doctors were using the words cancer or infertility. She had slipped into a deep, dark, depression where she had lain in bed for days not wanting to get up. And the few times she had talked to Seth telling him about her fears, he blew off her concerns and left her alone to deal with it. When she had tried to confront him on that his excuse was he thought she wanted to be left alone. Right! Your best friend talks about wanting to throw herself off the roof of a building and you think she needs to be left alone!
Something wasn’t adding up because Seth had never been a cold hearted person, at least not where she was concerned. Rachel figured now that she managed to finally get out of her depression, thanks to some real friends, it was time to find out the truth about what is going on with Seth. Thus today’s lunch surprise at Quiznos.
Turning right onto Grand River Rachel followed the lunch time traffic down to the mini-mall containing Seth’s favorite lunch spot. Pulling into the parking lot and finding an obscure spot in the back, she took a deep breath to prepare herself for what was going to come next. Staring out the windshield watching the sprinkles of rain, Rachel tried to think of how she was going to do this.
Once she mustered up enough courage she stepped out into the rain. Walking towards the glass doors of the restaurant, she noticed Seth’s yellow mustang a few spots over and felt her heart beat speed up. The butterflies in her stomach were going warp speed and not in the good way. Something felt off about the whole thing and she couldn’t pin point why. Before opening the door, Rachel stopped and peered through the window.
Several tables back she saw him, but he wasn’t alone. Sitting in the booth next to him was a woman with long bleach blond hair and big boobs. But it wasn’t any blonde; Rachel would recognize that face anywhere. It was Dianna the crazy bitch that broke Seth’s heart about a year ago. The one Rachel spent many nights listening to her then drunken friend, now lover, cry over. The one Seth claimed Rachel helped him get over and one he’d never be stupid enough to go back too. Rachel’s stomach dropped when she realized they were holding hands! Then as if right on cue Seth leaned over and started kissing her!
Rachel could feel the tiny tear in her heart begin as the rage inside built to a screaming roar in her ears. Robotically she turned around and started walking back towards her truck. Half way there she stopped staring at the yellow mustang. Pulling a slip of paper & pen out of her purse, Rachel scribbled a simple message: Hope it was worth losing everything. She folded the message in fourths and slapped it under the wiper of the car.
Back in her truck, Rachel could feel the rage shaking her body. She could not believe that what happened 10 years ago was replaying itself again only worse! This time Seth hadn’t stopped talking to her all together he had kept sleeping with her and filling her head with nonsensical garbage that he really cared about her! She really was only his In Between Girl…..no even better she was the Back Up Plan Girl. The one if he couldn’t find someone better he’d settle for or use up until a better option came along!
The sad fact is everyone tried to warn her he really was that kind of person, but Rachel refused to listen. She had believed in the good in Seth and loved him unconditionally. He had crept into her heart, always knowing how to make her smile or laugh and constantly saying things that made her think she was special to him. She had wanted nothing more than to give him everything she had in her heart and share a life with him someday. The worst part, the most hurtful part, was when she really needed him as a friend he was too busy chasing a piece of ass to be bothered! And the real pathetic thing is she had devalued herself enough to become his whore in the process!
NEVER AGAIN were the words that screamed in her head as she gunned her truck out into traffic. Rachel was on auto pilot speeding through traffic with no concrete direction in mind. All she knew is she needed to get FAR away and FAST! A tornado of thoughts whirled in her head; “I just wanted to make this the most romantic day ever for you”…..”If I lost you I’d lose everything,”…..”you know if I kiss a girl, I must really like her,” Close to twenty years of friendship, romantic memories, everything that meant anything felt like a lie….meaningless. Empty.
As the reality of those thoughts sunk in, Rachel could literally feel the splintering of her heart while it disintegrated. The pain ripping a hole straight through her causing her to start hyperventilating. Why not just stop breathing? Does anything even matter anymore? As If in an unconscious attempt to out run the process, she pushed her vehicle faster.
Rachel had somehow ended up on Argentine road going towards Linden. Argentine road is a typical paved country road with twisty and winding curves that those who loved to drive fast could never resist, and Rachel was taking those curves at easily twice the legal limit. Trees and farms whipped passed in a blur. The Sonoma rounded an extreme curve and Rachel lost control of her vehicle. She heard a loud crunch and then the world turned on it’s head.
“Are you sure she hasn’t tried calling and you just missed the call?”
“Yeah, the phone has been silent all morning. Why?”
“I just want to make sure she is okay that’s all.”
“And exactly why wouldn’t Rachel be okay?”
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t know? Seth, what the hell is going on?”
“Chill Lucy. Nothing is going on. Just let me know if you hear from her okay?”
“Seth Parker if you have done something to hurt her again, I swear I will personally kick your ass! I am so tired of you messing with my best friend!”
“I didn’t do anything,” was the mumbled response.
Angry and frustrated Lucy slammed the phone back on the charger. She could not believe the gall of this man. Seth always did think he was God’s gift to women, when really he is just a dangerous predator. The kind of man who knows exactly how to make women fall in love with him, not because he loved them back, but just so he could use them to fulfill his own needs
Lucy Levano was the kind of woman who easily saw through other people’s bullshit and didn’t have a problem calling them on it. Needless to say it did not take long for Seth’s penchant for exactly that to come to the surface. Less than impressed Lucy was able to dodge that bullet, only to watch it smash right into her childhood best friend Rachel Hart.
Over the last 10 years or more Lucy had done her best to try to convince Rachel of the fact Seth could not be trusted. But no matter how hard Lucy tried it just seemed to push Rachel closer to him. So Lucy had finally given up trying and let her friend go the path her heart led her.
Lucy felt slightly uneasy about the phone call, but knew if something was truly wrong Rachel would call. However she could always check in just to make sure everything was alright. Just as the thought entered her head the phone began to ring. Looking at the caller ID, Lucy picked it up.
“Hello there. I was just about to call you. Start talking chickie”
“My Sophie has been hurt,” a deep male voice answered.
A chill crept over Lucy’s skin raising goose bumps.
“What? Do you mean Rachel and how the hell did you get her phone?”
“She needs help. She is on Argentine rd. The ambulance is coming.”
Thoughts raced through Lucy’s head as she quickly redialed Rachel’s number. No answer. Damn it! What if this was just some idea of a sick joke? Rachel could have lost her phone and this was some pervert’s idea of a good time. He did use the wrong name……wait Sofie was what Rachel’s Aunt Maddie always called her. Something about her middle name. The sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach told Lucy this was no joke.
Trying to make sense of the tornado in her head, Lucy was busy throwing on her Red Wings hoodie and sneakers. She grabbed her keys off the kitchen table and booked out the door. Argentine road was just one turn off the road Lucy lived on. So it was definitely possible Rachel had been on that road today. If she had a fight with Seth the first place she would have gone was Lucy’s house.
Even when the world was upside down automatic bodily functions like breathing should still manage to continue. Should it not? At least that was the thought currently in Rachel’s head. However for some reason she was struggling with that basic task. It was then she realized something was covering her face. The need for self-preservation kicking in, Rachel grabbed at the material covering her face and pushed it away.
Rachel realized the truck’s airbag must have been deployed during the crash. The crash, omigod! Did I hit someone? Is anyone hurt? These thoughts turned to raw panic as Rachel attempted to reach her arm towards the door handle. Unfortunately a wave of pain and dizziness hit when she tried to move. The last thing Rachel saw was a pair of worn brown leather work boots outside the driver side window before the wings of darkness enfolded her.
Slowly the darkness began to form images and sounds one after another.
Children’s laughter and bright sunlight bursting through colored trees. A young blond girl with amazing violet eyes smiling and spinning……sky turns overcast blending dark……a woman’s back kneeling at the bottom of a staircase holding a blond child in her arms and sobbing…..a dark silo reaching out of the darkness moving closer……a voice screaming “RUN SOPHIE RUN!!”
Rachel sat on the bed under the brash lighting listening to a mix of random beeps and her best friend Lucy Levano’s voice rambling on. Rachel tried to tune into what Lucy was saying, but most of it passed through her like muted raindrops. She caught words here and there, such as ‘worried,’ ‘lucky,’ and ‘reckless.’ But for the most part Lucy’s words were lost in the vastness of the hospital, an entertaining diatribe for bored family & friends of other patients to focus on.
“Did you hear a Word I just sad?” Lucy raged, “Hello, McFly!” Lucy bore into her with those chocolate brown eyes and stopped short of smacking the back of Rachel’s head.
“Sorry….um….what?” Rachel flinched
“Exactly! You NEVER listen to a word I say! What could have possessed you to be driving so recklessly down Argentine in the rain? You are so lucky the only casualties where your truck and Mr. Seymore’s precious rose bushes! Do you want to tell me what the HELL is going on?”
“Not really no.” Rachel couldn’t quite get the fuzzy images from her brief glimpse of unconsciousness-before the ambulance had arrived, out of her head let alone answer Lucy’s questions. Not to mention the overwhelming pain in her whole body right now.
“Yeah I figured! Well eventually you will talk! Now do as the good doctor ordered and get dressed so we can blow this pop stand,” and with that she flounced out of the hospital room as only Lucy Levano could.
Rachel stared after her dreading the inevitable inquisition that would follow on the way home. But the last place she wanted to be right now was in the ER room feeling like the world’s biggest idiot. What she had done was stupid and reckless. She knew that. The problem was she wasn’t sure how much she cared right now.
Thankfully her only injuries were several broken ribs and a mild concussion, with a few minor scratches thrown in for good measure. What Rachel was most relieved about though was that nobody else had been involved in the accident. It was much easier swallowing one’s own stupidity when the only people they hurt are themselves.
As Rachel slipped off the bed to get dressed, she made the classic concussion mistake and rose too quickly. The world started to sway and she found her rear end quickly reconnecting with mattress below her. She giggled at herself more out of nervous embarrassment than humor and tried again…..slowly this time…….Success!
Now she just had to manage getting her jeans, pinks sweater, and Nike shoes on without killing herself. Rachel thought the odds might be in her favor on that one. She figured if she focused hard enough on the task she could keep her mind off the situation with Seth…….. Seth. The word hurt just to hear it even just in her head…..Just breathe she reminds herself. She could not, however, keep the image of him kissing Dianna out of her head. STOP! She commanded herself.
Breathing slowly in and out, Rachel pushed all thoughts out of her head. Then she began getting dressed and found the pain involved required her to focus solely on the task. She was just finishing up the shoes when the nurse arrived with the discharge papers followed by the hospital aid with the wheelchair.
“Ready Ms. Hart? I bet you can’t wait to get into your own bed,” a friendly blonde, twenty -something aid smiled at Rachel. Rachel could only imagine what twenty-something in her pink hello kitty scrubs was thinking of the crazy old lady who rolled her truck. She was sure she didn’t want to know. Twenty-something smiled down at Rachel with her big blue doe eyes. One more thing Rachel could envy about her. She was sure those eyes & dimples broke more than a few hearts.
Admiring the radiating youth of twenty-something and the bounce in her step, Rachel ached for her own lost innocence. Where had all the years gone? Wasted on loving someone who never even cared about her all that much, let alone loved her? Yeah that would be the answer. Memories washed over her wonderful heart wrenching memories. Nights under the stars talking for hours finishing each other’s sentences, the first kiss, whispered sweet nothings.
She could feel the pain start to beat at her chest making it difficult to breath. Refusing to let Seth Parker humiliate her further by falling apart among strangers, Rachel pushed her feelings deep inside & did not let the tears welling in her eyes fall.
“Ms. Hart are you okay?”
“Yeah, sorry. I’m ready.” Rachel focused her energies on getting into the black wheelchair.
“Yes, broken ribs are awfully painful. But don’t worry the doctor prescribed some good pain killers for you”
Rachel wondered if those big white pills would kill the pain of a broken heart, somehow she didn’t think so. She reminded herself that she would have plenty of time to fall apart in the arms of her best friend later. Until then she would focus on the business she would need to take care of due to her carelessness.
Like calling Principal Eggert in the morning to tell him about the accident and that she would probably have to take off these last few weeks before summer break. Rachel could have tried to work through the pain, but she had some vacation time becoming. Besides she didn’t think that working while on strong pain killers was appropriate, not to mention being on her feet for long periods is not recommended for someone with a concussion.
Although there were several students that Rachel would miss, she was glad for the break. Lately she was less than satisfied with her chosen career as English teacher. Somehow she had never thought about what would happen if she ended up with a class full of spoiled junior high children. Students who could care less about reading anything that didn’t have Beyonce or Justin Beiber on the cover and God forbid you actually wanted them to write something!
The cool breeze washing over her face from the hospital door opening brought Rachel out of her head. She noticed the sun was already setting, turning the horizon above the trees a purplish pink. Sky blue pink Aunt Maddie always calls it.
“Here we are Ms Hart. Is that your ride’s car there?” Twenty-something asked pointing to a silver Kia pulling up to the door.
“Yes, that is Lucy’s car.”
“Let me help you get inside,” Twenty-something came around the wheel chair grabbing Rachel’s arm like she was an elderly woman crossing the street. Rachel could not help but chuckle, until she stood up and the world started to tilt again.
“Oops, here we go. I gotcha.” Twenty something firmed her grip & put her other hand behind Rachel’s back, helping her climb into the little car.
“Thank you” was Rachel’s grumbled response.
“No problem. Have a good evening Ms. Hart.” Twenty-something shut the car door.
Closing her eyes against the flicker of pain, Rachel tried to mentally prepare herself for the onslaught she knew was about to happen.
“So how ya feeling trooper? Wanna get something to eat?” Lucy’s sardonic smile & arched brow did not mix with tone of her voice as she pulled out of the hospital parking lot.
“Like I got run over by a Mack truck. Listen I know you’re mad-“
“I’m not Mad. Nope not at all,” Lucy cut in, “My best friend decides to drive like she is in the Indy 500, during one of the first rains of the season, on a dangerously curved road! But what could I possibly be mad about?”
“That your best friend is a complete and utter moron.”
“Well that is one thing we agree on today. Oh and would you mind telling me what I was supposed to tell your mother who is in Alaska, had you not survived? Let alone your Aunt Maddie up north? Hmm?”
“I’m really sorry Luc! It was absolutely reckless and stupid thing for me to do. I get that, really I do! But please tell me you did NOT call my mother. That really is the last thing I need right now.”
“NEED? What you NEED is to tell me what the hell is going on.” Lucy’s chocolate brown eyes pinned Rachel to the seat. Shifting uncomfortably, Rachel scrambled for something to prolong the inevitable I told you so conversation about Seth. “Quit stalling and SPILL IT! I already know it has something to do with Seth.”
“How do you know that?” Rachel sighed
“When is it not about Seth? Besides that he called me right before your creepy good Samaritan.”
“Good Samaritan? I have a creepy good Samaritan?”
“Uh yeah. Apparently he called 911 right before me, according to the EMS I spoke too. Plus he knew your middle name…..called you his Sophie. Any clue who he is?”
“No. That IS creepy! How the hell does he know my middle name?”
“I was hoping you would know.” Lucy turned on Grand River heading towards their favorite eating spot, Max’s Sweet Shop. An old fashioned burger & soda fountain joint.
“Maybe he read my license?” Rachel shrugged, trying to think of who this man could be. The problem was she was drawing a complete blank.
“Then why would he call you HIS Sophie?”
“Right, very creepy. I have no idea.” Rachel looked out at the beautiful sunset, rubbing against the goose bumps forming on her arms. Lucy swung into a parking spot next to the giant 50s neon sign and turned towards Rachel.
“Yea that’s kinda scary. Ok now that we have creepy good Samaritan guy out of the way, what the hell is up with you & Seth?”
Seth…Seth….Seth. The word repeating in her mind like a living creature she couldn’t control brought with it the pain. The pain beat against her chest and stealing her breath. God how she hated herself forever believing in him or the words he had said.
Unable to hold it together any longer the words burst through. Under the safe scrutiny of her best friend Rachel let it all go, the whole story, every emotion. It wasn’t until she was through that she realized she had her arms around her middle like she was trying to hold herself together and tears were streaming down her face.
Lucy grabbed Lucy’s hand, pulled her face up so she could look her in the eyes and said, “Oh honey, what you need right now is some chocolate & tequila.”
The night progressed with greasy burgers, mountains of fries, and old fashioned chocolate sodas along with a healthy dose of girl talk. Rachel spent most of the evening caught between laughing until she cried, crying until she laughed, and the random urge to smash things.
However Lucy did her due diligence as best friend with the real talk. Reminding Rachel that while yes she had trusted someone with her heart that she knew might break it, it does not wash Seth of the responsibility of his actions. He purposely led her on and filled her head with words he didn’t mean to keep her waiting for something that would never happen.
Lucy further reminded Rachel that even though her heart was in a million pieces right now, her mind & soul still belonged to herself. What Seth did does not give Rachel the ok to bury herself in it. Finishing up with the obvious it will get better with time.
Eventually they ended up at Rachel’s with a half pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream & a bottle of tequila. The ice cream they shared and Lucy indulged in the tequila while Rachel popped another pain pill. Together they decided what Rachel needed most right now was to get away to the place she loved most and her beloved Aunt Maddie. So together they packed.
Rachel sits on the bank of the river wrapped in sunlight, amidst the ageless beauty of the pine & fir trees scattered about. The cool September breeze caresses her face as she frees her fiery red hair from its ponytail, allowing the wind to carry it.
She closes her eyes tapping into the vibrating energy of the living things surrounding her. She can feel it humming inside her and grasps onto the connection, which so many times soothed hurts of the past.
This time it's healing power only seems to mute the pain inside. She can feel the tears welling up in her eyes and fights with all her being to push them away. How could things have gone so wrong so quickly?
A series of beeps like a signal from the real world draws her attention to the cell phone in her hand. She had almost forgotten she was holding it.....almost. Damn it! Several missed calls and a voice mail. I bet! Screw youl! She tosses it into the bushes all the frustration from the last few months behind it.
He ponders her from afar, bathed in sunlight, her red hair blowing in the wind. She is a solitary figure with an aura of sadness about her, like someone haunted by ghosts of the past. He wonders if he should approach or leave her be when he sees an object hurtling through the air landing only a few feet from him. He's never been one to ignore a sign so he ambles towards the landing spot. Bending down he sees a rectangular object flashing at him. He picks up the sleek black phone and chuckles when he realizes what it is. Well she definitely has spunk, even if she isn't very cautious......or smart. One of the two.
Smiling to himself he approaches the young girl sitting on the steps leading to the river, noticing she is dressed appropriately for summer in a pair of black shorts and red t-shirt. Although it is obvious she hasn't spent much time outdoors by the creamy paleness of her skin. He tries to make his approach obvious and clears his throat to get her attention so not to scare the bejesus out of her. Her head whips around in an auburn whirlwind and he finds himself looking into a pair of the most exotic eyes he has ever seen. Big, dark green, almond shaped pools, surrounded by thick black lashes and filled with surprise. Her unexpected beauty gives him pause and takes him a moment to get his bearings back.
"Sorry miss. I didn't mean to scare you, but I think you might have lost something," hand out stretched he tries to hand her the rapidly flashing phone.
"Oh...uh...it's ok," she looks at the phone like one afraid of a snake that might strike at any moment, so he sets it down on the step next her. "Thank you"
"No problem. My name is Sam," he ambles towards the opposite side of the step and sits. It is obvious to Sam by the faint pink stain on the young woman's cheeks she is embarrassed at being caught during such a private moment. So he decides the best strategy is to ignore the fact he saw it. Women can be quite sensitive that way if he remembers anything from his youth.
"Rachel. It's nice to meet you." Rachel can't seem to stop staring at this tall stranger that caught her by surprise. His height, angular shape, black wavy hair, and deep blue eyes were mild in comparison to the smoky voice attached to it. Something about it was like…..coming home.
"I-I'm sorry. I'm not usually so....um...rude. You just surprised me." Rachel stammered, befuddled by her own thoughts. Sultry images of moonlit water with mist skimming the surface danced in her head.
"Sorry about that. It is a very beautiful afternoon we have here isn't it?"
"Yea it’s quite breathtaking actually," Rachel returned her gaze out towards the river, admiring the beautiful horizon. A brilliant blue sky with tall pines reaching up to meet it, their shadow mirrored in the lazy river idling by the two strangers.
"The old Manistee is known for its charm with the ladies," Sam teased trying to break the obvious tension of their meeting. He was relieved when he heard the soft chuckle accompanying Rachel's response.
"Yes the ageless beauty and steadfast strength is a combination hard to resist. And the best part is he doesn't talk back."
The hearty outburst of Sam's laughter had Rachel turning and bestowing him with a radiant smile. He found himself catching his breath again as the two grinned at each other.
"I know a few men who would be more than eager to agree with that point Rachel."
"Yeah I'm sure their wives or girlfriends are more than happy to let them have their fun with Mistress Manistee if it will get them out of their hair for awhile," Rachel winked as she stretched out her legs feeling relaxed for the first time since she arrived.
"Ha, Ha...true, so very true. So may I ask how you know these parts? I don't believe I've seen you around before."
"Well I've had a long standing love affair with this place. Going on almost 25 years now."
"That's a mighty long time for one to be in the whirlwinds of an affair. Seems like it may be a bit more serious than that."
"Longest relationship I've ever had." Sam saw the brief flicker of sadness return to Rachel's eyes. He couldn't help but wonder what could cause such pain to this beautiful and charismatic young woman.
If it was a man, as so often the case, he was a damn fool whoever he is.
The humor that was there only seconds before seemed to be replaced by a somber quietness as Rachel turned her gaze back over the water. Sam was busily trying to figure out a way to bring that light back into her eyes, when a series of beeps interrupted his thoughts.
Rachel jolted and turned towards the phone sitting next to her. She snatched it up again feeling the urge to hurtle it, only into the watery abyss that would cause it to stop forever. Realizing that was not an option at this point & eventually she was going to have to face her life, she stood instead.
"It was a pleasure meeting you Sam, but I really must go."
"So soon? Well I'd love to continue our conversation another time."
"Umm.....maybe. I'll see you around." With that she was half way down the path towards the entrance of the campground before Sam could respond.
Rachel stalked down the sandy path leading towards the entrance of Camp Grayling. She tried desperately to find solace in the familiarity of its heat beneath her toes, the whispering trees, and the spicy smell of the river, old friends who always seemed to soothe. However it did nothing to abate the whirlwind of thoughts in her head or the throbbing pain creeping in now that her pain meds are wearing off. Swearing softly, Rachel slowed her pace and stopped to relax. How could she have been so stupid to believe things were really going to change? That’s okay the fake blond with the dark roots and bipolar disposition can have the bastard because I’m done. So done!
Rachel was positive the voice mail on her phone was from Seth inquiring about her. Lucy told her about the phone call she had received from him yesterday. She made Lucy promise not to call him back. If Seth was worried he could take those concerns to his precious Dianna.
Rachel knew the only reason he even gave a damn is because he might lose something out of the deal, not because of any genuine feelings for her. All she had ever been for Seth was another woman he could use to distract himself until the next pretty toy came along. The worst part is he usually already had another toy lined up before the current one realized she was broken. Now Rachel had become another one added to the Island of Misfit Toys.
But Rachel had come to another realization last night with the help of her best friend and a little man named José Quervo. She was not going to shed another tear for some useless person who didn’t deserve it! She knew it was going to hurt for a long time, but refused to let it take over her life.
It was this revelation that had led Rachel to pack her bags and retreat to the one place that always made life better, Aunt Maddie’s place. And it was Aunt Maddie along with Lucy that was going to kick her ass if they found out how far she had wondered off unsupervised on narcotics, not to mention the endless lecture of how she shouldn’t be over extending herself.
They thought she had just taken a walk down to the other dock, past the bunkhouse to sit and watch the water. In reality, Rachel had decided to go the other way into the campground. But Rachel couldn’t help it. She had needed to get away from all the well intentioned smothering and clear her head a bit.
It wasn’t just the situation with Seth that was on her mind, but the creepy note she had found in her mailbox. She pulled it out of the pocked she had stuffed it into that morning before Lucy could see it and read it again.
My Little Sophie,
I am glad you are ok !
Ever since she found it this morning, Rachel could not shake this uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach. Who was this person? Is he or she following me? How does they know my middle name?
A slight breeze whispered through the trees and once again Rachel was overcome with that feeling of being watched. This is inane! Maybe I really am losing my mind!! She could feel her nerves start to jump so she stopped and took a deep breath to steady herself. Instead a wave of dizziness hit with such force that the trees surrounding her began to swirl and a gust of wind slammed into her. The sky seemed to turn dark quickly. Just like her….. nightmare?
Sam sat on the steps leading to the water pondering the unusual meeting with his new acquaintance. Rachel was definitely an interesting twist to his day. Sam had come to the campground for leisurely walk after his shift ended at the radio station, expecting the usual solitude that greeted him. He was pleasantly surprised when he glimpsed a figure in the distance and definitely intrigued when her phone landed only a few feet from him.
Sam couldn’t help but wonder how old she was because when he first glimpsed her Sam thought she was quite young. But after approaching her he realized his initial impression was wrong. Sam had not expected the response he had to the woman though. She was definitely attractive. But not in astoundingly beautiful way like most of the women he was attracted too. But those eyes! He couldn’t recall ever seeing someone with that brilliant shade of green before framed with such dark lashes….it would cause anyone to lose their breath for a moment.
Rachel was also taller and had a larger frame than most women he preferred. He generally went for the petite type with tiny waists and almost fragile looking. Rachel had a bit larger frame, curvier. Fragile was the last thing that came to mind when Sam thought of Rachel. Sam supposed that wasn’t a bad thing.
Rachel did seem blessed in the womanly asset department and watching her walk away was definitely easy on the eyes. Sam grinned at the thought. Damn those curves! And in all the right places! What the hell! It wasn’t like him to get so fixated on a woman, especially after just meeting her.
Sam tried to distract himself picking up a few pebbles tossing them into the water and focusing his thoughts in another direction. He could not believe that it had been almost a year since he had moved back to his hometown of Grayling. Sam is pretty sure that most of his old friends thinks he is having some kind of breakdown. Giving up a successful career, as a big city attorney to move back up here and working his old high school job as a DJ, was something most people didn’t understand. Maybe they were right and he is going a little crazy.
He had returned to Grayling for the funeral of his Grandfather almost a year ago and never left. Sam had realized during the time he took to grieve Maxwell Lyons’s death that being a big city lawyer was not only exhausting, but also not where he truly belonged. Sam, much like his grandfather, loved the northern land and the life that came with it. He never seemed to gain peace anywhere else.
Maxwell Lyons had been a champion of the land, an avid hunter, and protector of nature. He taught his beliefs and philosophies to his only son’s child, Samuel Lyons. Out of those teachings Sam had formed an everlasting bond with his grandfather that even his passing couldn’t break.
Maxwell had also been a descendent of local timber baron Rasmus Hanson who was famous for amassing a great fortune on timber in Grayling, but also for helping to create The Grayling Fish Hatchery and initiating the grant for Camp Grayling. The inheritance that had been left to Maxwell by his maternal grandfather he shrewdly invested back into the community he loved and amassed himself a small fortune.
It was this fortune that was passed on to Sam, as he was the only living relative of Maxwell’s, and is now allowing him the luxury to work as a DJ while dealing with the loss of the only parent he ever had.
Unable to stop, Sam’s thoughts wandered to the abrupt ending of his meeting with Rachel. He couldn’t help but wonder what had been troubling her so much? She seemed so melancholy too, like someone who had gone through the impossible and survived to find they had lost something important inside. Sam knew all to well what that was like. Maybe that’s what is intriguing him the most about Rachel, the aura of mystery. He supposed it didn’t matter much because the chances of seeing her again were unlikely. Odd…. that thought caused a pang of regret.
Sam stood up wiping the dust off his hands left from the pebbles. Scanning the tree line he noticed the sun was working its way towards the horizon. About time to head home I suppose. Instead of heading back to the main entrance where he began, Sam decided to take the scenic route. Following the same path as Rachel, he made his way to the outlet at the back of the grounds lost in his own thoughts.
For the most part the path was clear through this parcel of the grounds, even with the curves snaking through it, the DNR had kept the brush to a minimum allowing one to see far distances ahead. It wasn’t until one got closer to the outlet that vision became limited. Sam was almost through the last bend in the path before he noticed an odd shape heaped smack in the middle of the path. He slowed his pace automatically knowing from experience it could be an animal hurt or foraging for food. But his gut told him that didn’t seem to fit. Whatever it was it wasn’t moving.
What the hell? That’s not an animal…. holy shit! It’s a person! Sam’s reaction was instant. He was pulling out his cell while running towards the person calling out and getting no response. Frustrations overwrought him at the realization he once again had no signal and slammed the phone back in his pocket. He almost tripped over the person…woman….before stopping. Immediately Sam bent down to check for signs of breathing. It wasn’t until he turned her face he realized he was staring at his latest acquaintance.