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Authors: J.B. McGee

Broken

BOOK: Broken
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Broken

The first book in the
This
Trilogy

J.B. McGee

Copyright 2012 J.B. McGee

Dedication

To Chad, my love.

Chapter 1

June 2010, Present

Gabby was home for the weekend from college to attend her friend Cade’s wedding. Cade had actually been more of her older sister Sam’s friend. But the sisters were close and Gabby had always looked up to Cade as if he were an older brother. Cade and Sam had always been best friends. Cade had proposed to his high school sweetheart, Kristin, just a year before. The wedding was the prime event in Charleston that weekend. Cade’s family had old wealth and they had secured Charleston’s First Baptist Church for the ceremony and arranged for a slew of horse-drawn carriages to transport their guests from the church to the waterfront Harbor and Battery, which would be closed to the public for the reception. Hundreds were expected to attend. Gabby had been looking forward to the wedding, but more than the wedding getting to spend some time with Sam. Sam had moved back to Charleston in May because she was set to start medical school at the Medical College of South Carolina in August. Gabby had treasured the previous year when both she and her sister had both been college students in Columbia, South Carolina. Even though Gabby was at Columbia College, an all-girls liberal arts college, and Sam was at the University of South Carolina, the girls had shared a downtown apartment. Sam had helped Gabby get through a rough year and frankly, Gabby didn’t know what she would have done if she had not been close to Sam during those hard times.

“Gabby are you here,” Sam yelled as she opened the door to their small beach cottage. Gabby ran from her room to the door in excitement, “Sam! It’s so good to see you. I have missed you so much. How have things been around here?”

“Things are good. Everything is coming along. I’m glad you decided to stay here rather than at the hotel for out of town guests. You know this is your home, too. You’re not really an out of town guest. It was nice of Cade to offer it for you, though.”

“So, do you want to cook here or go out to eat? I’m starving?” Gabby sat on the old, brown suede love seat in the small cozy living room tucking one foot under her and twirling her curls through her fingers. This was one of the rooms Sam had yet to renovate and its furnishings were familiar and comforting to Gabby. Sam came and sat down next to her positioning her back up against the arm rest so she could face Gabby and tucked her legs in, “I thought we could watch one of our chick-flick movies and order in Chinese food. What do you think? I don’t really feel like going out tonight. Tomorrow is going to be a long day. So good to be back together here, Gabs.”

“Yep, sounds good to me. I’ll go grab the phone, you pick the movie.” Gabby hopped up and grabbed her cell phone and the menu. She confirmed with Sam, “Your usual, right?” as she dialed the number on the menu. “Yep, you know me well. I do not like change.” Sam giggled.

The girls watched their favorite movie, the movie their mother had loved,
Steel Magnolias
, while eating sesame chicken, fried rice, egg rolls and crab ragoon. They both fell asleep before the movie had ended, Sam on the matching love seat and Gabby on the old, brown couch with empty Chinese food boxes holding chop sticks and two empty wine glasses that had held their favorite cheap red wine on the coffee table.

The next morning, Sam rolled off the couch, ran her fingers through her short pixie hair and rubbed her big, brown eyes. She yawned as she stretched and stumbled into the kitchen to start a pot of coffee, showering while she waited for the coffee to brew. She grabbed a light pink linen sundress paired with a pair of white strappy wedge flip flop heels and a mint green cardigan. She quickly put on a little mascara, lip gloss, and brushed her hair into place with a touch of styling gel. Sam grabbed a travel mug for her coffee and then proceeded to jot Gabby a note so she would not be alarmed when she woke to find her gone.

“Gabs, gotta go run some errands and then I need to study this afternoon at the library. The wedding starts at 6 p.m., I figure we need to leave no later than 5 p.m. I’ll pick you up at 5 p.m. sharp. BE READY!

– Love you, Sam xoxo”

Sam grabbed her purse and keys as she poured herself a carafe of coffee to take with her and she quietly shut the door as she left so as not to wake her baby sister.

Gabby woke up and mimicked her sister’s behavior. She rolled off the couch, yawned and stretched at the same time, but unlike Sam, Gabby grabbed her longer dark locks and put them in a quick ponytail. She stumbled into the kitchen and began to make a fresh cup of coffee. She glanced down at Sam’s note and it made her heart warm. She loved her sister more than anyone on the planet. It always made her smile when she left xoxo’s by her name to symbolize hugs and kisses. It was something their mother had always done on the notes she would include in their lunchboxes every day. Looking at the clock, she smiled realizing for the first time in a long time she had been able to sleep past 7 a.m. It was almost noon and she definitely needed her caffeine. She spent the early afternoon studying on the couch sipping her coffee. She was taking summer classes hoping they would help her decide what she wanted to choose as her major. She wasn’t sure of what she wanted to do with her life yet, but she knew her true passion was in volunteer work. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t pay her bills so she was hoping to find something she liked and could be passionate about to help her afford to be able to do as much as she could for women and child shelters. It was a passion that was near and dear to her heart.

Gabby lost track of time and at 4:30, she realized she still needed to shower and get dressed before 5 p.m., rolling her eyes remembering Sam having said she best be ready. While she was getting ready, all she could think about was how she hoped there would be cute groomsmen. She had no desire to be in a relationship, but she certainly never complained about some eye candy.

What to wear
, she thought. She put her finger up on her lips and made a tapping motion as she stood twirling her hair with her other hand into her suitcase. She had packed a couple of different dresses so she could choose depending on her mood and weather. It was no secret, she always packed way more than she ever needed for a trip.

As a child, she had always been ridiculed about her weight, so she chose her favorite black dress, why she had packed anything else baffled her. She giggled at herself and slid it on over her black strapless bra and boyshort underwear. The dress contoured and accentuated all the right places, while also hiding the places she found herself most self-conscious. Living in the south her entire life, she knew there was no time for straightening her hair, and anyway, in the humidity that smothers Charleston it would have been a waste, anyway. The moment she would step outside there would be waves and frizz despite any efforts to tame it, so she applied a small amount of mousse and frizz serum. She let her wavy hair fall on both sides. The chestnut brown waves just barely brushed up against the cleavage the strapless dress showed.

Gabby was not a girly girl and was known for being able to get ready in a mere fifteen minutes, but that didn’t include shower time. So she kept her makeup natural and minimum. She had quickly applied some bronzer to hide that she had not been able to be in the sun much due to her summer school and busy schedule. She applied a light coat of mascara to her long eye lashes. Her hazel eyes were full and wide and they were speckled with hints of gold and rimmed in a dark olive. At 5:15 p.m. she was startled by a beeping horn. Yikes, when would Sam learn she would be late to her own funeral! She grabbed her lip gloss and compact and threw them into her black clutch. She looked down at the shoes she had packed and knew she should pick the high heels she would be most comfortable and least likely to fall in and hurried stumbling out the door, arms flailing and her hair being whooshed behind her shoulders as Sam blew the horn and rolled her eyes at her clumsy little sister’s usual tardiness. Sam knew that she was always late. That’s why she had learned to tell her to be ready fifteen minutes before they actually really needed to leave, but it was her little secret. Sam smiled at the thought of her secret tactic.

It was a typically hot southern June day in Charleston, South Carolina, and hundreds had gathered at the downtown landmark, First Baptist Church, to celebrate Cade and Kristin’s wedding. The church was a prime location for a summer wedding with such a convenient location and bathed in rich history. The girls had leisurely strolled by the church many times and admired its architecture and charm, but they had never gone inside. The large, colonial, stark white pillars made the building seem so grand. There were multiple oversized wooden doors and above each were half-moon windows. Gabby had always loved the Colonial period, and while she was a bit of a tom boy, she had always hoped she would be swept off her feet like Cinderella and dreamed of a fairytale ending. But, she knew that her luck wasn’t that good and she would usually try to snap herself out of the daydream before she got her hopes up for too long. Gabby knew her life was anything but a fairytale. As the smiling girls entered the church, they took in the simple but elegant beauty of the sanctuary. The gray walls only helped the elegance of the hundreds of ivory and lilac hydrangeas lining the pews. Each pew also had a large candle towering above it. There were luscious tulle and organza bows adorning each pew, as well. At the front and center of the church, there was a tall arch framing the baptismal. The centered ledge in front of it was adorned with a golden cross, curly twigs in tall vases and several arrangements of matching roses, calla lilies, and hydrangeas.

“Welcome ladies, may I have your invitations,” asked a tall woman. She had heavy makeup on, large brown eyes, with a platinum blonde bob haircut. She looked to be in her mid-thirties and it was quickly obvious she was the upscale wedding planner. She wore a black headset in her ear, a black blazer with three-quarter-length sleeves over a silk blouse and a black pencil skirt. Gabby glanced down and observed her four-inch heels. She frowned and thought there was no way she would have worn them for a short event, let alone to work hours coordinating such an important evening. Her thoughts were interrupted as she pulled the invitation from her clutch and handed it to the lady. She heard the wedding planner speak authoritatively into her headset, “Sebastian, please give me the seating location for Ms. Gabriella Gerhart and Ms. Samantha Gerhart.”

She looked up with a warm and patient smile as she waited. Gabby tried to avoid fidgeting. It was a bad habit she always had and anyone who knew her well knew it meant she was nervous. She was glad she and Sam had been able to ride together. If she had been alone, there would have been a lot more fidgeting, as Gabby became uncomfortably shy when alone in public, and especially at upscale parties and events such as these. The lady placed her arm out gesturing for the sisters and said, “Follow me, the family has requested that you be seated in the reserved family section,” and her smile broadened.

BOOK: Broken
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