Authors: Victoria Johns
The Soul Sisters Series
Copyright © 2014 Victoria Johns
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author or publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
This work is a work of fiction. Similarities to real people, places or events are entirely coincidental.
For John and Olly.
For putting up with the daily chaos I bring to our life. Love you x
For Mina, Suzie, Anna and Bina.
The help and support you’ve given me has been amazing. You’ve had my back on this crazy ride and I couldn’t ask for better soul sisters x
You know that moment, the one when you realize that people have been keeping things from you. Not the sort of things that could have life threatening, disastrous consequences, but the things that mean your world is about to be turned and put on its ass. It’s when your vision blurs and you try to concentrate so you can focus and carry on seeing through the mist that is descending. Once you start to think a bit more clearly, you realize that maybe these people knew you better than you thought, otherwise why would they withhold something that would make you feel like the ground had just shifted.
I’m stood in the Purple Lounge, or “Purps” to the locals, which was located on the edge of Hawkstown’s main drag. It was our one and only nightspot and not surprisingly the color scheme was... purple. There was a central dance floor surrounded by dark alcoves and comfy couches, the kind of alcoves that you can get lost in for a small amount of time. There were three bars in the place. The music was loud, the base was pumping and the lights were atmospheric and clubby all at the same time.
Hawkstown is the place where I grew up; I came here after being taken into temporary care and loved it the minute I arrived. The town itself is near the bottom of Chesters Mountain. On one side it has some beautifully scenic countryside and on the other far extreme edge are the many ranches that have been here for about a hundred years. The majority of the people travel out to surrounding bigger towns to work more traditional jobs, some work on the ranches themselves, but a few of us work in the heart of our community and we love it. It’s small and feels familiar the minute you hit it. It has a traditional main street with a coffee shop, bank, GPO, hair salon and beauty bar. There is also a family run Photography shop called Wallaces. Wally as he’s known is responsible for my love of all things cameras, pictures and photos. As a girl I spent Saturdays working in the photo development area getting closer to people in my community through the eye of a camera lens. Picking up Wally’s passion for photography inspired me to study it at college. Since then I’ve remained true to my camera vocation and visit the shop at least once a day to see him, give Wally a break and just generally soak up the experience when I’m feeling in need of inspiration. Directly across the street is Hart, Hart & Smythe, the town’s local but brilliant legal office. This is where my best friend Neely Prince works as a Paralegal. The main street is also home to our favorite coffee hangout, Mudjoes coffee shop. It’s been our go to place for years, it’s where we meet, plot, plan and generally remind ourselves that being part of this little town is important.
Tonight wasn’t supposed to be a full on planned girl assault, so I was dressed in semi-hot nightclub clothes, nonetheless I wasn’t wearing enough of my best clothes to deal with what was in front of me. I was wearing my best skinny black jeans and kick ass knee high boots, coupled with a shimmery navy blue halter neck top and teamed with lots of black leather wrist bands. My long blonde curly hair had the tousled beach look and my make up was minimal. At 32, I was in good shape, 5ft 11”, curvy with the right mixture of boobs, ass and sass. My blue eyes had been described as mesmerizing but still what I needed tonight was my A-game outfit, something that would make me look as fierce and angry as I was feeling.
“Dolly, what the hell? Drinks don’t order themselves,” said Neely, my girl and soul sister since the age of nine. Both of us being outsiders to Hawkstown meant we formed a bond which helped make it just that little bit less strange. Dalton Frobisher or Dolly for short and Neely Prince were a major force to be reckoned with. We should have come with a warning label that said ‘
causing chaos, breaking rules
“Please, someone tell me I am not seeing what my brain thinks I am,” I reply, completely ignoring her requirement of a drink.
“Oh, err, no....maybe, shit! Is that Jonas?” Yep. So Lottie didn’t know he was back. Why would she? If he hadn’t directly passed her plush condo, sat next to her for a manicure or personally held her shopping bags in a designer boutique, she’d be none the wiser. Lottie or Charlotte Groves, as was her Sunday name, was the third member of our little team and although not as close to me as Neely was, she was an important person in my life. Despite her obvious wealth and privileged upbringing, she could get down and dirty with us mere money shy mortals and not bat an eyelid, her odd and infrequent walks on the guy wild side were proof of that.
“Jonas? Where? Let my eyes have a glimpse at that bad, bad boy. I swear to God above, he is a fictional character made into real life man candy.” That was Flo or Florence Smith, our other group constant, not grasping the situation in play, but immediately retreating into some hazy world of nineteenth century romance. Sometimes she forgot she wasn’t teaching high school English and her ability to trip into what myself, Neely and Lottie referred to as ‘dumb teach’ mode meant it would take her a while to get out a comment that was actually helpful.
The only one yet to really make a specific comment was Neely. I knew she was wondering which way this was going to go. What was making her decision on how to handle this more problematic was that Jonas appeared to up close and personal with Letitia Brunel. Letitia or “Tits” as we called her seemed to have a few personal mottos.
Give and get it back harder, there’s only one port worth docking in this storm
and my own personal favorite
For as long as I can remember she’s worked hard at becoming a presence in Jonas’s life. The fact that I was constantly there but a few years younger than both her and Jonas, just made it easier to justify her attempts at what we called
. My best friends always had my back, but it seemed that as close as I was to Jonas he only saw me as one thing, his foster sister.
“It looks like Jonas is back and treading the same old boards again. Seriously Dolly, you’ve got to move on. He didn’t tell you he was back?”
She doesn’t really expect an answer, she knows me well enough to know that this will have hurt me deeply. In all the time Jonas has been away in the navy I’ve always been in the loop of his postings and leave. I make it a point to spend time with him when he’s back. The thing that hurts as much as not knowing he was visiting home was that I’d been texting him, regularly. Why the fuck had he not mentioned this? I couldn’t decide whether I was feeling mad or just plain stupid.
At this moment there are a number of choices available to me; go to him, be sisterly and talk to him, but that means also getting in the same space as Tits. Leave and pretend this wasn’t happening, but then go and see our foster Mom Barbara tomorrow to get the low down on his return. Or, my personal favorite and usual go to plan, get really drunk, dance wild and put on my brave face.
“Tequila shooters and a beer chaser coming up for Dolly then,” a great decision made by Neely. The only slight flaw in this plan was that once Jonas saw Neely out on the tiles for the night, he’d know I’d be somewhere close by.
“Girls, I am not ready to ask why he’s on shore leave and the first I know about it is seeing him dribble on gobble gobble’s tits. So our fool proof plan is drink, remain vigilant and avoid him at all costs. I doubt there will be any contact attempts but I’m expecting you to run the usual ‘guys get lost’ obstruction tactic if he chooses to acknowledge me. Agree?”
All girls nod in unison and then we slam our shooters in perfectly timed sync and carry on like the fun four chaos gang we’ve always been.
As the night progresses, I try and make several covert attempts to see what Jonas is up to. I know it’s like looking at a train wreck, but seeing him with that skank is better than seeing him and the skank missing. After about an hour and three more bottles of bud, I see some of our usual guys approach him. This seems strange to me, for one thing Jonas was always on the edge of the normal crew at school, he maintained a distance from them growing up and any interaction was due to my association because these guys, were my guys and not really his. They did however become widely known as the guys to get on your arm in school, Jonas was just pure guy and any girl with raging hormones wanted him, Chris Hales was the school football hero along with his best friends Sonny Marks and Oli Hart. Sonny was now the high school coach and Oli was the son of Hawkstown’s wealthy power family, the Harts.
I watch as Chris leads Sonny and Oli over to join Jonas and they do that annoying chin lift then head raise thing and then turn back to the bar so that Tits can give them a round of beer. I’ve danced for some time now and my feet feel sliced up, my knee boots are the best way to dress up jeans, but dancing in three and half inch heels is just agony. I have to keep dancing though because standing still leaves me open to approaches and I’m drunk enough and pissed off enough to make an ugly choice and when I say ugly; I mean man ugly.
Lottie has migrated to the men’s group; she has this on/off fake relationship thing going with Oli. Their parents think they make a good match, so I suspect she’s just letting him know she’s here so they have their stories straight next time they bump into each other at the country club. The problem with this is, Jonas will definitely know I am about now. There is no way Neely
Lottie would be out at Purps without me. Just to make things even more tricky, he’ll see she’s on the edge of drunk, assume and guess correctly that I am and very soon his brotherly duty will kick in. He’ll want to make sure I get home safe or even worse get home safe alone. Getting laid in this town was challenging, it eased up when he went into the navy. Losing my virginity had to happen at college, ticking off that item whilst he was still around would have proved fatal for some poor schmuck. Never mind that I had to hear about his antics with Tits Brunel all the time, the safest course of action was always to pretend I hadn’t heard anything, but being honest, walking in on them with her on her knees in front of him whilst he’d got his head thrown back in the throes of delight, makes it hard. I sound like Flo now, but the reality is much worse. I just remember slurping sounds and him having a firm grip on the back of her head. He was so involved, he didn’t even hear the door open and close.
Neely brings fresh drinks back to the dance floor. I take the shot and slam it back. WHOA. Wobbling much Dalton? Steady on girl. I take the beer from her and resume the dance floor assault, I notice Neely does the same. Flo has disappeared, a quick scan reveals she’s moved to the guy group too and is chatting with Sonny. Traitors! Having the high school as common ground has clearly made for easy conversation, although surely an English teacher and a Gym coach don’t have that much in common. Never mind, swaying the beer bottle round I continue to move to the beat, despite my feet now feeling like someone is trying to remove my toe nails with pliers. The music has changed to a more upbeat number; I up my tempo whilst Neely remains steadfast in her smooth swaying. No matter what that girl does, she always shines, she’s confident in herself enough to create dance moves with no correlation to the music and because of this she also just became more intriguing and HOT. The amount of guys circling her is testament to that. Being a paralegal gave her the brains, being of mixed ethnic origin gives her the beauty and simply being female with the other two qualities gives her sass. I, on the other hand continue to bump and jump. I’ve created a circle of sorts on the dance floor which is probably more to do with my erratic dancing and the free beer shower I was offering.