Authors: Dawn Nicole Stevens
Dawn Nicole Stevens
© 2013 by Dawn Nicole Stevens
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts in a review.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and products of the author’ imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or events is entirely coincidental.
Dawn Nicole Stevens
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Scarlett Williams sat in the passenger seat of her best friends purple cobalt staring out into the interstate ahead. She had dark circles around her green eyes due to the lack of sleep even though Ashlynn had been doing all the driving. Her brown hair stuck to her face in spots where tears had slid down. The sun was just beginning to come up and everything seemed to glow an eery orange. They had been driving for almost 18 hours now with very little breaks. "Ash, am I really that bad of a person?"
Ashlynn laughed at her and said, "You know I'd still love you no matter what you've done! After all, I still love you after you wrote my name and number in the men's bathroom stall at the truck stop back home!"
Scarlett chuckled a little, but then her brow furrowed again. "I feel like such and awful person. I mean, I cheated on him. I've been cheated on before and I know how it feels. I can't believe I did that to him."
Ashlynn let out an exasperated breath. "Come on Scarlett, your 21 years old! You are too young to be living like an old married lady! And it's not totally your fault, if he would have treated you better you would have been happy and would not have got sucked into Tyler's bs!"
"I don't know Ash I just feel so guilty! Really living up to my name huh? I should be wearing a scarlett letter!"
"Girl, Tyler is the one who should be branded for all to see! He should have 'scheming liar' tattooed onto his forehead!"
Scarlett laughed but her smile quickly turned back into a frown. "All this time I thought he was such a good friend to me and it turns out he was like a snake in the grass just waiting for his opportunity to strike."
"Well, somebody shoulda took a shovel to that snake! I'm surprised Aaron hasn't done it!"
"He's still upset with everything that happened but I have a feeling it's coming! You know Aaron really wasn't a bad guy, he just wanted more than I was ready to give. After living together since graduation it makes sense that the next step would be marriage and children but I just wasn't ready for that. If I could redo things though, I think I might consider it. I really do love him Ash. If only he could still love me after what I've done."
"Hopefully if you ever get the chance to do it all over, you'd know going in this time that Tyler is a piece of crap and tell him not to let the door hit him in the ass on the way out! Tell me again why you hired him."
Scarlett looked out the passenger side window, not looking at anything in particular. "He seemed like a nice enough guy. I thought he had a good sense of humor. But his references were all really good, that was the biggest reason."
"Well maybe you should have asked for a list of girls as references Scarlett!"
"I'll start making that a mandatory part of all our applications." Scarlett said with a snort.
"That's even if you go back to the ole grind, you could just stay in smalltown nowheresville with me!" Ashlynn said through a grin.
"I thought about it Ash, I really have. I could enroll in a couple classes at college with you. Maybe some business management courses.
"Now what would be the point in that Scarlett? You already run your Aunt's grocery store. You have all sorts of hottie stocker boys to manage."
Scarlett laughed. "Maybe I should just hire you as stock manager since you make all the guys in the town your business anyway."
"I would so take that job if it didn't mean I had to work nights. But you know that working third shift would cut into my fun time!"
Scarlett's gaze shifted down into her lap. "Do you think maybe things would have been better between Aaron and I if I hadn't worked so much?"
"I think that if you were home more he would've only pushed the marriage issue harder."
"You're probably right. Maybe I should've been more open to the idea. I did plan to marry him. I accepted the engagement ring after all. I just wanted to wait a couple more years. But really, why should I have been waiting? If I planned to do it anyway, I should have just married him."
"Scarlett I can't see you settled down baking cookies and making casseroles with a couple kids running around just yet! That is what he would have wanted next."
"Maybe so, but it sounds kind of nice now that I'm facing a future without him, knowing him and I will never share that experience. Kids are an adventure I can't imagine myself taking without him. I keep going back to that night, I see myself going back into the store instead of making up with him after our fight. Why didn't I just stay home? And why why why did I let Tyler talk me into going for a drink after work? If only I could have seen through him, realized his intentions!"
"At least you did the honorable thing and told Aaron what happened."
Scarlett sighed. "Not telling him wasn't an option. He's my best friend, present company excluded. I tell him everything. Why couldn't I see through Tyler's lies and know he was just feeding me crap talking about being young and I shouldn't live life only knowing one man? I feel a little better knowing I wouldn't have fallen for it had I been sober, but still."
"I know you don't want to hear it Scarlett, but he did kind of have a point. It's a big world and you shouldn't get married and settle down with kids before you've seen at least some of it."
"I know Ash but that is something I wanted to do with Aaron. I had plans for him and I to take vacations and travel, but I could never seem to get the chance, something was always going on with the store."
"At least now your Aunt Ellen is better and can take over at the store while you run away with me. I'm glad her cancer is gone."
"Yea me too. Her doctor said she's lucky, everything seems fine now. If only this all hadn't happened I would finally have the chance to spend more time with Aaron."
Ashlynn didn't reply and Scarlett didn't say anymore. They drove for another hour in silence as Scarlett wiggled and turned in the seat trying to get comfortable and get some sleep but sleep wouldn't come.
They passed a road sign telling them that the town of Black Forest was two miles up the interstate.
Ashlynn tapped Scarlett's thigh. "Hey, perk up Scarlett, we're coming up on our exit!"
They turned down the exit ramp, coming to a stop sign. Ashlynn looked around and spotted a Denny's down the street to the right.
"How about some breakfast? You really need to eat! I haven't seen you put anything in that belly except coffee and ice cream."
"I'm not hungry Ash, but I'll eat a little. I know you won't leave till I do."
They sat at the booth in Denny's after having used the restroom and ordering their food.
Ashlynn looked down at her phone. "It's 7:30, you think it's too early to call the landlord?"
"I don't know Ash, but I really don't want to spend the day here."
"You're right. Hopefully he's up cuz I'm really not wanting to wake him up and get on his bad side. I'd hate to call Pappy Joe every time we need manly work done around the house."
"Ash I still can't believe you decided to go to community college in this little speck of a town. I would've imagined you going to some huge college and living in the dorms, not staying in tinyville where you have family to tell your parents your every move."
"Well as shocked as I too am about my decision, I like that Pap and Grammy live here so I have someone near if anything were to happen. It's better than staying home and going to community college there."
"Hell I'm still surprised by you going to college!" Scarlett said, smiling sleepily.
"Well I discovered after all my adventures since high school that I wasn't going to meet me a doctor in a club and probably not on a cruise ship either. So what better way to meet one than to become a nurse?" Ashlynn asked with a wink."
"I'll be right back Scarlett, I'm going to walk outside and try to call the landlord."
"I'll be right here with my coffee."
As Ashlynn got up and walked out, Scarlett sat staring out the window. She could see snow covered mountains in the distance. Although they were in the mountains of Colorado, it wasn't as cold as she had expected. The temperature wasn't much different from back home in Illinois. The view wasn't the greatest, but she could see enough of the mountains to admire them.
She sat in a daze, imagining spending a few weeks in a cabin up in those mountains with Aaron. She could envision them cuddled up with one another in front of a stone fire place, kissing and laughing and feeding each other chocolates. Then, she imagined sitting on a beach, between his legs with his arms wrapped around her from behind, both watching the waves crash to the shore. She thought about how that would've made a memorable honeymoon. She pictured herself wearing a beautiful white dress standing in front of all their family and friends, stars dancing in their eyes. She thought of Aaron running around a little fenced yard chasing a small boy both laughing as she sat on a swing rocking a baby that had her nose and Aaron's blue eyes.
She was snapped back from her thoughts when Ashlynn plopped back down into the booth. "He was up. He said he'd be here in about half an hour."
"Good. After all those hours in the car, I'm ready to stretch into a bed. Even if I can't sleep I'll have room to toss and turn."
They finished their breakfast and headed out to the car. They climbed in and Ashlynn started the engine. "He said he'd be driving a tan F-150."
"Like that one pulling in?" Scarlett laughed.
Ashlynn gave him a wave and he turned around and pulled back out onto the road as she followed him.
The drive wasn't far. Only about ten minutes outside of town. They followed the truck into a driveway that curved into the trees to a little cottage.
They climbed out of the car and followed the man to the door. He pulled out a set of keys from his pocket and unlocked the door opening it and allowing the girls to enter first. He stepped in the door behind them and pulled it closed.
"Your name is Charlie, correct?" Ashlynn asked him with a smile.
"That is right. Charlie Walker. And you are Ashley?" He replied.
"Ash-lynn. And this my friend Scarlett."
"Well it's nice to meet you both. As you know I went to school with both your parents. They're good people."
"Yea, as much as they criticize me, it's done out of love. I could've ended up with worse." Ashlynn giggled as he raised an eyebrow at her.
"When I got your call a couple days ago I drove down here and turned on the breakers to get the furnace going. My wife came along and did some dusting although there is more to do since this place has been vacant a year or so. We were surprised when you called and ask about coming a month earlier than planned."
"Well Scarlett and I needed to get away and have a little girl time." Ashlynn answered.
"Do you girls need any help with your bags?"
"We can get them but thank you anyway Mr. Walker."
"Okay, well my wife has left both our cell numbers on the fridge. If you need anything just give us a ring."
Ashlynn thanked him one more time as he waved and closed the door behind him.
She turned to Scarlett. "Alright girl, you wanna try to nap or unload our stuff first?"
"I think I'd rather get it later. No need to hurry. Not like we have anywhere to be or anything to do." Scarlett said with a grin.
"Okay then lets check out our new crib!"
They toured the house room by room, examining every little detail. It was a lot bigger than it looked in the pictures Mrs. Walker had text her dad although it was by no means big in any way. It was only a two bedroom one bath with an eat in kitchen. They walked into the larger bedroom first then into the second. It was only about a 12 by 12 foot room. Ashlynn turned to Scarlett. "I was going to make this my closet but I guess I can make due with that little rod in the corner of my room." She laughed.