Authors: Stacy Borel
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Romance, #Contemporary
Copyright © 2013 by Stacy Borel
Cover Design by Sarah Hansen, Okay Creations
Editing by Ryn Hughes, Delphi Rose & Trish Kuper
Interior design by Angela McLaurin, Fictional Formats
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owner.
All rights reserved.
This book goes to any kid that has had to deal with an absent parent. We unfortunately are group of many, but I can only hope you all have persevered and have come out on top despite life’s circumstances.
My eyes open to the sound of yelling in the next room. Hiding my head under my covers, I put my hands over my ears trying to block it out. I sing ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ and ‘I’m A Little Teapot’ over and over. Mommy and Daddy are fighting again and I hate it. They’ve been fighting a lot more than they usually do and it’s been a lot louder too. Daddy has been gone a lot and I sometimes find Mommy sitting on the floor in their room crying while listening to Journey and Heart records.
I jump when I hear something hard hit the wall that connects my bedroom with theirs. Frozen in fear, I lie there motionless, listening. Another loud thump follows, and my Mommy yells at Daddy and tells him to get out. I’m shaking as I slowly crawl out of my bed and tiptoe to the door and listen with my ear against the cold wood. Daddy must have been gone again tonight and come home later than Mommy thought he would.
“Get out, Stan! Don’t you ever set foot in my house again! Your cheating ass is never going to see me or your daughter again. Do you understand me?” My mother shrieked.
I pull my bedroom door open a slit so I can peek out into the living room where their fight had moved. My mom pushes my dad out of the front door. Her arms are full of his clothes and she tosses them out after him. With my heart hammering in my chest, I open my door the whole way and walk to my mom’s side. Unable to comprehend the significance of what was happening, I call out to my dad who is on his hands and knees in the front yard begging my mom not to do this to him.
“Daddy, where are you going? Don’t leave me and Mommy,” I cry after him.
“Harper, baby, go back to your room,” my mom instructs, grabbing my shoulder and trying to maneuver me behind her.
My dad crawls towards my mom, his eyes bloodshot. He glances at me and then back to my mother. “You can’t keep her away from me. She’s my kid too, Rena.”
“The hell I can’t. Look at you, you’re high on lord knows what, and you smell like you’ve been with another one of your drug whores. You can’t even take care of yourself, let alone your kid. Get the hell off my lawn, Stan, before I call the cops.” My mom’s voice shakes through her tears.
“Please, Rena, just give me another chance?” My dad begs, crawling closer to where my mom stands in the doorway.
I stand there behind my Mom’s leg, watching my parents’ marriage fall apart. I cry and call out over and over again, “I’ll be a good girl, Daddy. Please don’t leave me, Daddy!” My mom pulls me even further into the living room and shuts the door on my dad.
“Mommy, nooo …!”
Sitting up abruptly and gasping for air, I looked around the dark space trying to remember where I was. Flicking on the bedside light, I instinctually knew I was in my room, but my head was still foggy from the nightmare. My heart fluttered in my chest, and sweat made my hair stick to my forehead. Glancing down I saw that the skin above my heaving chest was glistening. Flinging the covers off of myself I got up and made my way to the bathroom attached to the master bedroom. The cool water I splashed on my face helped to shake the dream. Peeking up at the mirror I could see my alarm clock in the reflection—only twenty minutes until I had to be up for work anyway.
“It was just a dream, Harper,” I said out loud, looking myself over. Except I knew better than to believe it was just a bad dream. It was a memory that had haunted me for the past twenty-seven years. The radio on my alarm clock started blaring in my room, and I realized I’d zoned out. Not wanting to dwell on the dream any longer, I went back in my room and shut off the alarm.
After getting showered and dressed I went into the kitchen and made myself a cup of coffee. Unplugging my iPhone from its charger, I sat down and went through my messages. Work never ended for me. I was the busiest real estate agent in Southeast Idaho. At any given point I had forty to fifty clients to give my full attention to. Between drawing up contracts, showing homes, and working with builders, I barely had time to breathe. I’d built my life this way for a reason. Working hard—and playing even harder—was something I lived by. I had a beautiful home that I worked my ass off for, a closet full of shoes, and a bank account that I could live off for the next five years if I didn’t lift another finger.
I was the sole owner of my own company. I’d started Harper Realty six years ago. I had over thirty people working under me, and I knew I needed to hire at least another two realtors to keep up with demand. My day started at five-thirty every single morning and didn’t end until almost midnight. Most people couldn’t survive on my schedule, but I’d conditioned myself to work every waking minute. If I stopped, I had too much time to think, and thinking could be bad. Thinking meant I remembered that I came home to an empty house. It meant that I had time to think about being alone. And just because I didn’t like to
alone, didn’t mean I wasn’t used to having it that way.. Why fix what wasn’t broken?
My cell went off just as I was about to take a sip of my coffee. “Jesus! It’s not even seven and they’re already calling,” I grumbled to myself.
“Harper Graham,” I said in greeting.
“Hi, Ms. Graham.” It was Suzy, my receptionist. “I was calling to remind you of your early showing this morning at eight-thirty. You having a meeting to close on the Oak Street house at nine-fifteen, and then you have another showing at ten-thirty.”
“Suzy, are you calling me from your house?”
“Yes, ma’am.” She sounded hesitant.
“You could wait until you’re in the office to call me, you know? I don’t want you overworking yourself.”
“I know, Ms. Graham, but I don’t mind. You have a very busy schedule, and I enjoy helping you keep on task.” I heard a child in the background.
“Suzy, please call me Harper. And I didn’t know you had kids. How many do you have?” I felt like an ass because she’d been working for me for five months and I didn’t know anything about her.
“I have just one child.”
“You should bring him by the office sometime so I can say hello. I keep a stash of suckers in my drawer for kids.”
I could almost hear her smile through the phone and what sounded like a sigh of relief.
Was I that intimidating?
“I definitely will. Thank you, Ms. Graham.”
“It’s Harper, Suzy. And you can relax, I don’t bite. I’ll see you in the office in a little bit. Thanks for the reminders.”
“You’re welcome, Harper.”
With that we hung up, and I spent another ten minutes sipping my coffee and scrolling through some unread emails. I paused when I saw an email from Kyler. I’d been getting emails and texts from him almost daily for the past three months. I stopped reading them shortly after he started sending them. He used to call too, but stopped when he realized I wouldn’t answer. Not that I was answering his texts or emails either. Ky and I had gotten together for a brief time while Emilyn and Finley were working their shit out. Prior to that we had hooked up every once in a while but kept it quiet, since we were unsure what we were even doing with each other. It hadn’t taken long to realize that Ky wanted more from me. I didn’t
relationships, but for him I had been willing to give it a shot. He’d told me the evening when we left the hospital after Em had lost her baby that he wanted to “define what we were doing.”