Something To Dream On

Something To Dream On

If a painting in the home of your perfect man reflects your dreams of doom, do you run, or do you dare to embrace love?

While Lizetta lives a life of compassion, childhood bullying over a few extra pounds have caused this sparky woman to lose sight of the beauty of her soul. Jensen’s recent past is filled with substance abuse, shady morals, and loose women. A brutal wake up call forced him to find his way back to the gentle soul he once was; however, there are some whose futures depend on the return of the demon.

Souls can heal, but how long can they fight the forces that seek to destroy them? If one of those forces is the person who shattered your self-image, and she is determined to take down the one you love, could you still believe that everyone deserves a second chance?

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REVIEW

“The emotion that radiates throughout the pages of this book grabbed at my heart… I don’t believe I’ve ever, and I mean EVER read a book that made me look at myself as a person and realize that I too can be a better person.” – Bestselling Author, Jennifer Theriot

 

Read the prologue of

Something To Dream On

ONE YEAR BEFORE DESTINY

Tuesday, April 5

LIZETTA

If a psychic yanks you by the arm, forces you into a seat, and states that you “arrived just in time”—all without even looking at you—should you panic? That just happened to me, and I am a little weirded out.

Griffin made this appointment so he could get advice on his stinky love life. Since I am just tagging along, the experience is now all kinds of freaky. Plus, the psychic looks like Angela Lansbury on Murder, She Wrote and calls herself The Amazing Zolta. This can’t possibly go well.

Zolta clasps her hands together. The widening of her eyes complements the broadening of her smile. Does she always get this excited over roping people into readings? Just how much is this going to cost?

“Take five cards from anywhere in the deck. Place them before you on the table, any way you want.” Her fingers dance above a red tablecloth, encouraging me to scatter the cards. Her liveliness reminds me of a Bugs Bunny cartoon.

Griffin and I exchange smiles. Part of me has always felt psychics are full of malarkey. However, I do believe that there is more to the universe than what we see. That is why I am so weirded out over Zolta’s sense of urgency to get me in this chair and actually hope it is just a scam.

From the one-third mark, I cut the deck and grab a stack of cards off the top. I set three of them like the points of a triangle. That seems off, so I use the two left in my hand to turn it into an arrow. Griffin tilts his head. He’s right; it still feels wrong. I slide the two cards on the side down to form a diamond with one card in the center.

“Why did you make the change?” Zolta asks.

“I don’t know. Instinct, maybe?”

“Good, good, good.” She studies the spread with raised brows.

The card at the top of the diamond is called The Star. A cluster of little stars, along with a blinding, yellow one, hover above a woman pouring water. It’s a peaceful scene, and I know this interpretation is totally wrong, but I can’t help but feel sorry for the poor woman who is being hit in the head and is seeing sparks.

On the sides of my diamond are two other women. One of them is upside down and has a bird on her wrist while the other sits on a throne. Am I the one with the bird? That would make sense since I’m a vet tech and live in a farmhouse where I am Mom to a pen of chickens, two dogs, and a pig. The one on the throne has a rabbit at her feet though.

A hand holding a coin dominates the bottom card, but I am more drawn to the garden in its background. It reminds me of that recurring dream.

Oh, no way.

In the center of it all, lightning strikes a building, causing people to plummet to their deaths. Once I absorb the power the card depicts, my stomach drops with the victims.

“Fascinating …” Zolta utters. She reminds me of how concerned my mother sounded when my scrawny brother announced he wanted to join the football team. Where did all of Zolta’s excitement go? ”Something is going to happen that will shake up your world. This Star,” she taps on the top card, “it is a card of hope, but …” Her attention turns to The Tower. She raises a finger to her pursed lips and taps. “Sometimes glory can only come through loss. Some kind of battle is going to happen. These two women on the sides hold the key to the outcome. The reversed Nine of Pentacles shows someone who is lacking, while the Queen of Pentacles represents a person of true compassion.” Her eyes meet mine, and I am certain that I look like a cartoon ghost—sheet white with black voids for eyes. Zolta pats my arm. Why do I sense she is offering comfort? “Fear not, dear girl. This Ace of Pentacles at the bottom is the best card in the deck.”

The two women, the grass, and the star above—I know this picture all too well. “My dream,” I utter.

Her curiosity sparks. “Dream? You’ve had a dream about this? Tell me about it.”

“It ends with me flying into the stars.”

“Hmm …” Zolta muses. The tightening of her brow concerns me. “Grab another card and set it off to the side.”

With that Tower wildly freaking me out, I pray for a better card. My nerves make me sloppy, and the top few cards in the deck fall aside. I go to the ones that stayed behind.

Ice creeps down my neck and into my arms when I see the word Death. I drop the card like it’s about to bite. It lands next to The Tower, and my lungs forget how to work. I can’t die! I’m only twenty-four. What will happen to my babies at home? My brother can’t care for himself let alone a pen of chickens. What if they—

Zolta again pats my arm. The rapidness of her thunks shows she can’t hide how uncomfortable she is. “Don’t be scared. The Death card means change. While it can mean physical death, it rarely ever does.”

She can say what she wants, but those Death and Tower cards are freaking the sugar out of me. Maybe it’s a warning about my weight. The doctor did say that I should dump a ton. Unlike some people with true medical issues, this weight is all me. I need to stop making excuses.

Zolta sweeps up the cards in haste while avoiding eye contact. Does she not want me to ask questions, or is something turning her blood into a Slurpee, too? “Some type of … incident is going to happen. Something will shake your world, like lightning has struck you in the head. In the end, it will bring you the ultimate joy.”

The ultimate joy? Isn’t that what they call Heaven? Unless someone changed the rules, you only get there by dying. “When will this happen?”

She scoffs. “The cards do not know any more than the universe does. Time only matters to us because we limit our minds so that our days here are all that exist.”

That’s it. I hear the exit calling. “Thank you for your time.” I grab my purse and start to head out. My fluttering nerves turn both of my feet into left ones and my hip smacks into the table, causing a stack of cards to slide off and spill onto the ground. The card that falls dead into the middle of the heap has a giant wheel on it. It spins to the left so that it lands with the top numbers pointing down. My mind reels along with it.

Griffin rubs my shoulder. “It’s okay, Baby Cakes. Catch your breath. Remember, she’s saying you will get the prize.” I shudder as he says it, and then grab a swift inhale. No wonder why I am dizzy. My freak out has stolen my ability to breathe. “Whatever happens, it’s finally going to explain everything.”

Griffin is right. My dream is going to come true, whatever the bejesus it means.

 

JENSEN

This bitch has lost it. Seriously, who the fuck does she think she is?

“Jensen, what has happened to you? You used to be such a wonderful person and now …” She sobs while mumbling something to herself. I guess it’s to herself. Shit. I don’t know. Women are weird. They only seem to be good for one thing, so why am I bothering with this one?

I take another swig from my friend, Mr. Jack Daniels. The crazy woman drops her head into her hands and the waterworks come on stronger. It’s a hell of a show. Let’s see what happens when I chug.

They must be making this stuff weaker, because the three shots worth go down like water.

The bitch screams at me. Like she lets loose as if she wants fucking China to hear. Then she has the balls to try to steal my buddy. She pulls at the bottle, and I laugh at her feebleness. She yanks and fails to get it, so she yanks again, and again. I have to give her a little credit for effort.

Finally, I’ve had enough, so I let her have it; not the bottle, but a lesson in the form of a body check against the wall. “Baby, please stop,” she begs.

She’s right. I should back off and give the old broad a break. I step back and laugh before taking another swig. She actually has the nerve to go for the bottle again. Fine, if she wants it so badly, she can have it. I toss the thing at her. Actually, it’s more of a calculated throw that is intended to scare her. Instead, I graze her enough for it to give a little bounce off of her temple. The thing reminds me of rubber, like I am in a cartoon. It’s the funniest fucking thing in the world, and I can’t stop laughing as she pulls her hand away from the spot I hit, checking for blood. It’s too bad there isn’t any. It would make a great pattern on the floor with the way she’s shaking her head.

“Get out!” she yells, again like she wants to be heard on Mars. “Get out, and don’t come back!”

Yeah, right. We’ve been through this before.

“Get out!” I’m shoved, hard, towards the door once, then twice. On the third time I’m done and rid myself of the control freak. I’ve got better places to be. “I mean it, Jensen. Don’t come back!”

I wave her off and head to my car. Whatever. She’ll be sweet as punch in the morning.

 

 

Dawn is cracking open as I return home. With my guitar strapped onto my back, I lug an amp up the walk and step on something soft. A T-shirt? Then I almost trip over a shoe. “The hell?”

The walkway is littered with clothes—my clothes! “That whore!” My feet hit the ground like thunder as I make for the door and fumble for the right key. I try to jam the thing into the lock, but I’m so fuming I have to try slamming it in three times before finding it won’t turn.

“Son of a bitch!” I yank the key out and stare, then draw the thing closer to bring it into focus so I can be certain. Yeah, that’s the right one. This time I brace on the door with my free hand and get the key in on the first shot. I try to turn it with so much force that my fingers hurt from the pressure when the lock refuses to budge.

“Shit!” I rattle the fuck out of the door. There is no way she’d have the balls to lock me out, so I start pounding. That’s when I notice the note taped above the bell.

Jensen,

If you want your stuff, you can come for it on Thursday. Uncle Rob will be here to help you. Do not contact me again until you are clean for at least ninety days. I know you can do it. Until then, we are done.

Mom

The fuck!

The thing gets ripped down and then crumbled into a tight wad. How fucking dare she? My own mother! Moms are supposed to always have faith in you and thus put up with your shit. What kind of lame ass mom turns her back on her fucked-up kid? Doesn’t she know she’s the only real family that I have left?

The paper gets slammed down onto the porch. In a flash I’m driving off without looking back. Screw picking up my stuff on Thursday, and screw grabbing my stuff that she threw on the lawn like it’s crap. I don’t want to bother to even look at the mess she made because—

Because looking at it will be too much like looking at myself.

 

SIX MONTHS BEFORE DESTINY

Saturday, October 13

LIZETTA

Griffin and I sit in our usual corner booth at Daddy Bear’s Lair. I’m not a drinker, but I am a fan of the atmosphere—despite the fact that the music is always a little on the disco side. Then again, isn’t there a law that states gay bars must play dance music; else their license to be fabulous is revoked?

It’s still early, so even though I am tucked in the shadows, where I can see everyone who flashes in, the only things worth watching are the three male damsels on the dance floor. Griffin and I toast to the sparkling trio who are whooping it up and playing ride ‘em cowboy without a care. People should live every moment like that.

Across the room, a group of college bro-types sit at a table. The way they shift in their seats while watching the boys dance clues me in that they are likely looky loos with no desire to “make friends.” One of them catches my eye. His short, sandy hair and hazel eyes are attractive, but he’s a little … shall we say, military looking, for my taste. That’s cool though. All that matters is a guy’s heart, and I’ll never find what I am looking for if I’m not open to whatever package it may come in.

He smiles and raises his shot glass to me. I return the gesture with my Coke. Just because he’s not my type, is sitting in a gay bar, and for some reason that I can’t place, creeps me out a bit, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t give expanding my horizons a shot—again. If he won’t refuse this book by its cover, I owe him the same courtesy.

Shoot, I don’t care if he has three eyes; I only care about his soul. My man of compassion has to be out there.

He takes a swig, sets down his glass, and heads over. A friend follows him while snickering. Now I’m really uncertain. The closer they get, the more I notice the staggers in their walks. “Hi,” the flirty guy says. I return the greeting and smile. He is kind of cute, despite being wasted. Tipsy I can handle, but I really dislike being around anyone who is hardcore wasted.

He nods. “What’s your name?”

“Lizetta.”

“Hi, um, Liz. I’m Denny. This is Jerry.”

Jerry steps forward so that he is now by my side. Once I get the up/down full body glance from him, I accept what the game is. It’s proven when Jerry snickers. Even if I do stand a chance with Denny, Jerry’s judgment will likely convince his friend that I am not worth it.

Jerry motions to Denny not to bother and says he wants to go for another drink elsewhere. Denny steps up to shake my hand. He takes a good look at my body before saying it was nice to meet me and then makes his way back to his friends.

My eyes close off the scene. You’d think I’d be used to this by now. You’d think it would no longer rape my self-esteem, yet it does. This is so unfair. I have so much to offer. There is so much inside me that I long to share. My shell may not be perfect, but is it really all that bad? Doesn’t my heart matter? What about my soul?

The rap of Griffin’s fingers on the table creates a roll of thunder. He’s more tired of this happening to me than I am. Still, he sits in the shadows with the light barely catching the skin on top of his head and lets me handle it. He may not allow that for much longer though.

“Bye.” I give a friendly wave while trying to hide that my ego has been stomped on and smeared like a spider.

“What did you expect?” Jerry says. “Fatties turn into hags because they can’t get anything else.”

Griffin slams his hands onto the table, commanding their attention. When he steps out of the booth, Denny and Jerry turn to face a monolith. It’s like the scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey where the apes worship a wall of onyx; only instead of caressing it in wonder, these monkeys freeze in fear. Griffin’s voice sounds like God’s vibrato is rippling through Heaven and he is challenging them to a smack down. “I believe you meant to say, ‘It was a pleasure to have met you.’” Despite Griffin having muscles the size of machine-guns, that voice may be his scariest weapon.

I’m wished a nice day before the jerks grab their friends and flee the bar. Griffin sits, and his voice goes back to the way I am used to hearing it in casual situations—moderately flaming and laced with hospitality that makes you expect him to have a Southern accent. “You okay there, Honey Boo?”

I look Griffin in the eyes and tell him in no uncertain terms that I am fine. We both know I am full of it, but it is either that or do what I really want—give Denny a piece of my mind and then feel like an even bigger fool as I break down in front of him. I shouldn’t have to get used to childish people who have issues with my body, but that is what it comes down to. I can tell myself that their opinions don’t matter, but that doesn’t stop incidents like these from happening. I don’t know how many more times I can pick my shattered self-esteem off of the ground before I vow to never leave the house again.

I have got to do something about my appearance. Sadly, every diet in the book leads me down the same road—an instant loss of five pounds, then weeks and weeks of painfully adjusted eating that amounts to maybe another two pounds before I hit a wall and can’t seem to lose another ounce. Then the initial five pops back on. How can I be motivated to exercise when I come home exhausted each day? If I could see progress, I could find motivation. But to have my body reject my efforts, time and again, leaving me as embarrassed over myself as Denny just did, makes me question the point of trying. Why not just surrender to the other gifts God gave me and enjoy my life?

Sometimes I try to accept that I am really not all that big, but then moments like these happen and …

What is it going to take for someone to see that I am worth loving? It’s such a painful road that sometimes I am left to question my own value.

 

JENSEN

Larry chugs the last of his beer. The smacking down of his near-empty cup signals the end of the encore. The cold splatter that flies onto my face feels awesome. It’s like a victory shower after a hard-played game where you scored every goal you took a shot at.

Even though the pressure is off, it’ll take a long time for my adrenaline to dive. Nothing is better than playing, and nothing revs me up as much as being on stage—not even blow.

Laura’s smoldering body is all over me before I even get a chance to shake off the sweat and beer. She gets a polite smile before I make it into the dressing room, grab my friend for the evening—Mr. Johnny Walker—and toss my ass onto the sofa. Two chugs later, we already have company to let us grace them.

Of course we have company. That’s part of the deal. Free booze and the bar allows anything with tits and a lack of dignity backstage. I get paid, too. I should spend every weekend like this.

Oh, wait. I do.

Laura jumps on top of me and snags the bottle to quench her own thirst. I don’t let her have much. Every other guy in the band is happy to give her what she wants. I take back what is mine while flashing her green eyes a smile that makes her want to drop her panties—not that she’s wearing any under that microscopic skirt. In fact, it’s rather obvious that she’s not.

More of my friend refreshes me. When the bottle leaves my lips, our company catches my eyes again. Two really hot babes in corsets and mini-skirts have their business in front of me. Next to them is a girl that I’d rather not look at. She leaves a lot to be desired. She also looks sweet.

I don’t do sweet.

Sweet means trouble. I do easy girls, which is why Laura and I are almost a couple. When I do get attached, it’s going to be with someone who commands respect.

I don’t get attached, and I certainly don’t do girls who look sweet, like that girl does.

Laura catches me ogling the two babes and tries to get my attention by going for my zipper. I smack her hand. “Not now. I’m busy.” Yeah, I’m a prick, and it disgusts the hell out of me. I’m disgusted with myself for a lot of reasons, but I’m also another swig away from not caring about any of it—if that’s possible.

It’s not possible, but I’m a damn good liar.

My pseudo-girlfriend gets pissed and relinquishes her spot of honor on the sofa. The two hot girls slip in, one on each side. The gawky one just stands there, lightly swaying with nervous energy. I really do feel for her. It’s not her fault God didn’t bless her with the flawless skin and trim curves he gave these other women. I’m about to play the gentleman and ask her name when Larry starts chatting her up. He’s got that look in his eyes. I chug again before turning to the babes next to me so that I don’t have to witness whatever cruelty is about to happen. Larry’s a way bigger prick than I am, even though that doesn’t seem possible to me.

Guilt and stupidity can turn a person into a real bag of all that is unholy. Diversions help you hide from how much you can’t stand yourself. Not being able to stand yourself shelters you from what turned you into a scumbag. It’s a vicious spiral that keeps sucking me down. I should care about that.

If I let myself think, I find I care about a lot of things.

Thinking kills joy, so I down a little more of my friend.

My eyes are all over what is next to me, and my hands are about to go for gold when Laura catches my attention. It’s her standard game. She tries to divert me away from whatever competition she has so she can claim victory for the night. In her eyes, the fact that she usually wins the battle makes her my girl.

It’s convenient to let her think that way.

Laura stands behind the homely girl with the zitty face and braces. She’s already flipped her head upside down and scrubbed her hands through her long, sandy locks to make them appear frizzy. Now she starts making like she has buckteeth and chomping like a horse. I lie to myself that my cringe isn’t because she is rude. Laura is really pretty, but now she looks like a donkey that has been kicked in the jaw. She then balloons out her face and gut. It’s ridiculous, because the girl she mocks may be a little chubby, but she’s hardly the whale Laura makes her out to be. It makes me lose my shit to the point where laughing hurts.

The poor girl catches on and hurt blankets her face. Her friends stop giving me their attention and, rightfully, bail on all of us while tossing expletives and half-empty bottles of beer. One nearly misses my skull and smacks the wall, spraying beer all over my head. Still, I can’t stop laughing.

More girls come in, and as much as they look like a gourmet buffet of willing, I pretend not to notice. The second I walked off that stage, I had already gotten what I came for, so I let my girl, who is so not my girl, drag me back home.

 

THREE MONTHS BEFORE DESTINY

Saturday, January 2

LIZETTA

My purse strap wraps over my shoulder as I head off for lunch. I’m almost in the lobby when the receptionist says to Griffin, “I can’t believe the owners had the audacity to abandon that poor dog. Imagine hearing that your friend has a tumor and needs to be put down soon, then asking for the cremation bill and leaving. Now Rufus is spending his last moments alone in a cage.”

No. Not Rufus. We’ve all known he was getting up in years, but …

I head to the back where the scraggly angel sits in a cage with his chin to the ground. His sorrow brings water to my eyes. How could anyone abandon such a sweet creature?

Griffin steps up and puts his hand on my shoulder. “Poor Rufus. You are never going to believe—”

“I heard. How long?”

“Dr. Leopold returns in an hour and a half. Imagine having to sit there like that while—”

I can’t, and I won’t.

Without a word, I dash off for a leash and then hook the darling, black and white Shih Tzu up.

“Crazy Bloomers, what do you think you’re doing?”

How can Griffin be so clueless? We’ve known each other far too long for him not to figure this one out.

Finally, he tosses up his hands and shows me he gets it. “You just return before the good doctor does. I’ve no idea how I would cover for this antic.”

“Griffin, today is a special day for Rufus. Do you really think I care what anyone else thinks? I’ll be back in an hour.”

Not far away is a park with a man-made lake. Rufus’s tail wildly wags, and his eyes grow round in hope when we approach it. His spirit soars the moment he is free of his leash, and he flashes off with new vigor. A few yards in, he slows to a fast walk and then down to a normal pace. Though his breathing is a little labored, his smile screams, “This is the best!”

You are right Rufus; this is the best. This is how we are supposed to live every moment.

He returns with a stick, and we spend the next half-hour standing by the water’s edge and playing fetch. He’s so excited that I have to wonder how long it has been since anyone did this with him. Some people think that just because a dog’s glory days are over, that the thrill of being alive is gone. As Rufus finds enough energy to run across the park so he can play Frisbee with a couple of kids, he proves the naysayers wrong.

The time drifts away like a whispered prayer. Tears form as I put Rufus on his leash. Why must we die? Death frightens me, yet not a drop of depression is anywhere near Rufus. Being abandoned was his concern before, not what lies next. “You are so beautiful, Rufus. No matter where you go or what you do, always know that.”

His paw goes to my knee, as if saying, “Don’t cry. My last dream just came true.”

We head back, and he walks tall and proud while I bawl my eyes out. As soon as my hand hits the door, Griffin dashes up and takes the leash. “Doc came back early. She wants to see you in her office, immediately.”

My insides should be cringing, but if Rufus does not know fear, than neither will I. That hour with him will stay with me a lifetime.

I carefully shut the door to Dr. Leopold’s office behind me. She barely peers over her shoulder while pulling a file from her cabinet. “It is a huge violation of company policy to remove an animal from the premises without my permission.”

Company policy? Her priorities are wrong. Does business really matter over life? Pets are selfless creatures, and it is our duty as humans, to be selfless in return and support all creatures that need us. How can I make her see what she already should?

She turns, and the glow of a proud mama lights her tear-streaked face. “What you did was so selfless. When I first heard, I was angry. Then I realized what you did was exactly the reason why I became a vet. You gave Rufus dignity. If there is anything we all deserve, it’s dignity, especially in our final moments.” Her arms wrap around me, and I’m in tears all over again. “You want to be there when he leaves us?”

“Of course I do.”

As the doctor puts him to sleep, I cradle Rufus in my arms and sing lullabies. He drifts off, and I give him two kisses—one from me, the other from his owner—because Rufus is worthy, even if she isn’t. Everyone deserves dignity, and everyone deserves a second chance at life.

 

JENSEN

Ah crap, my head hurts!

Where am I, and why am I wadded up like crumpled paper? Every molecule is throbbing.

My eyes open, and the brightness coming through the door makes me slam them shut. Am I on the floor of a bathroom?

Oh. Yeah. The motel …

I peer through my lids again and look up at a showerhead. My foot slips, and my head slams back on to the rim of a bathtub when I try to stand. It wasn’t just a hangover that caused that fall. What did I slip on?

I look down at puddles of red. Shit!

There are streaks and globs of yellow mixed in. Ketchup and mustard? I’m naked and decorated like a giant hot dog. Where are my clothes?

On the third try, I’m able to stand without slipping like a dork in a comedy show and rinse off. Where are the towels? What kind of crappy motel has no towels?

My room is nowhere near the semi-clean way I left it. Red and yellow stained sheets cover a lump. Instead of finding Laura, three naked guys are in there—also coated up like hotdogs and looking like they had a raunchy time. My stomach twists and nearly spews. Holy shit in hell, what the fuck happened? Last I remember, I was drinking and …

My arm looks like someone attacked it. That’s no scratch mark, and this isn’t my room.

I grab the nearest set of clothes, which is some other guy’s shirt and boxers, and head out. The thought of wearing some guy’s dirty shorts is vile, but not nearly as bad as the reason why I may be naked. I fight down the contents of my stomach again. That life is fine for someone else, but I’ve got zero interest in any man’s swingy parts other than my own.

After I spend about five minutes pounding on the door of what I am pretty sure is my own room, Larry answers. He looks worse than I do, and I woke looking like I’d been run over by a gay condiment truck. Larry moans something unintelligible and crawls back into my bed with some girl. Instantly he’s out, snoring his way to dreamland.

My brain slows as I pan the room. All I notice is carnage, bodies, and my clothes. That means I went across the hall without them, and then got covered in goo, just like those guys in the bed. Oh God, did I …

I can’t do this any more.

With my guitar in hand, I make for the door but stop when I trip on Laura. She’s so pale that if I didn’t see her chest moving, I’d swear she was dead. I drop to my knees and try to wake her. Nothing happens. It’s cruel to leave her like this, especially since I’m the only one around here who actually gives a shit about her.

Eventually she groans. How much did she have? She started drinking long before I did. In fact, when she brought me the rig …

Fuck! I promised I’d never cross over so far as to let anyone jab a needle into me. Laura knew that! Last night she pulled out that rig, tied me off, tapped my vein, and then introduced me to the other side. I was already so far gone from the booze that I danced on in without a care.

Why am I living like this? Because it’s easy? Because I don’t want to be a lone wolf? I’ve always told myself I was here for the music, but I’m also here because I want a family. I had one. Nearly all of it died before I emotionally beat the last member standing and she threw me out. Everyone in this room has been a placeholder. Larry fills in for my brother. The band takes on the role of friends. The girl in my arms is only a pseudo girlfriend because I want someone to love me, and she does.

My heart breaks for her as I place her head back on the ground with a kiss. Goodbye, Laura. Please forgive me for being yet another person to hurt you, but we are both on our own now.

Screw my clothes. Putting them on would give me time to talk myself out of bailing. Without pondering any more of the hell that may have occurred, I drive to Larry’s house—my home since Mom kicked me out—grab my stuff, and leave behind a trail of destruction.

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