Authors: Jessica Gibson
Copyright © 2014 by Jessica Gibson
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a book review
Cover designed by Lacey Weatherford
Edits done by Sarah Daltry
Inkstain Interior Book Designing
To my wonderful friend Belinda Boring,
my sister from another mister—
I adore you! Your silliness and love
mean the world to me.
RANNIE, WAIT UP!”
and ran after the small girl in front of me. She never listened, always wanting to make her own way, to see everything.
“Hurry, Becca; we’re almost there.” Her smile was infectious.
Just ahead, I could hear the water boiling; the sound of the waterfall was deafening. “Hey, be careful,” I told her. “It’s steep on this side of the river.”
She didn’t listen, just kept running. “This is amazing; the water is making rainbows.” She turned back to wave me forward. I saw her slip and heard her shriek of terror as she tumbled off the side of the rocks into the rushing water.
“Frannie!” I sprinted to where she had fallen. There was nothing left of her, no trace. The water had taken her away.
I jolted awake, my nightgown clinging to my sweaty skin. The dreams were all different, but also the same. Frannie was gone before I could save her. Just like in real life. I couldn’t save her, and I was doomed never to get over it.
College would be different.
would be different. No one knew the person I was at home; I could be anyone I wanted.
I crept into my brother, Chad’s room. It was early, but I figured it would be easier to leave now than to deal with my mom. “Chad, wake up,” I whispered.
“Becca?” He rubbed at his eyes and sat up.
“I’m leaving now. It’s easier this way.”
He nodded. “When will you be back again?”
Not for the first time, I considered staying. The guilt of leaving him was going to kill me. “I’ll come home for Christmas. Then you and I can go somewhere fun, just the two of us.” I clutched him to my chest tightly.
“I’m going to miss you.” He smiled sadly at me.
“Back at you, kid. I don’t know how I’m going to get along without you.” I wiped at the tears streaming down my cheeks.
“You’ll be too busy to miss me.” He tried to sound nonchalant. It didn’t work; I could hear the tremor in his voice.
“I’ll never be too busy for you. Call me anytime, and I’ll be there. Just remember, it’s only a few more years, and then you can come with me.”
He helped me load my bags into the beater car I’d bought a few weeks earlier.
“See you when I see you.” He hugged me.
“Love you more than anything, Chad.” I kissed his cheeks and got into the car before I lost my nerve. I watched him in the rearview mirror until he disappeared behind the trees. This was the beginning of my new life. Anything was possible.
HEY SAY THAT TIME HEALS
all wounds. I’m not sure I believe that. I think some wounds go too deep, and they fester. No matter what you do, they mark you, scar you. Some things just won’t go away, no matter how far you run.
Here it was, the first day of the rest of my life. I had never traveled outside of my small town, now here I was in Rhode Island going to Brown University. I was scared out of my mind that this was going to be a train wreck. I’ve never been what you would call good with people. I stood on the outside of my dorm room, staring at the drab red color. Was I supposed to knock? Should I just go in? I wasn’t sure of the protocol. Finally, I put on my brave face and turned the knob; thank goodness it opened.
A pretty girl with jet black hair and green eyes stared back at me as I crossed into the room. “Hiya, you must be my roomie. I’m Sadie; nice to meet ya.” She hugged me, which took me by surprise. I don’t generally like to be touched, but hey this was the new me, right?
“Yeah, I guess that’s me. I’m Becca.” I took a step back and dropped my bags on the carpeted floor. My hands came up to twirl my long auburn hair around my finger; it was one of those nervous habits you never know you're doing.
“Which bed do you want?” She gestured to the beds in the adjoining room.
“I’m not picky; you take what you want and I’ll be fine.” I picked up my bags again and wandered into the bedroom. It was decently sized for a dorm room, with a desk and bed for both of us and a closet and two dressers. Everything was done in various shades of beige, very bland.
“So, Becca, where are you from? I’m from California. This is so crazy for me. I’ve never been on the East Coast.” She talked a mile a minute.
“I’m from Washington,” I replied, and I prayed that she would leave it at that.
“Ooooh, so it rains a lot there, huh?” She stretched out on the bed closest to the window.
“Yeah, we got a lot of rain,” I murmured and set about unpacking my bags.
Sadie sat on her bed and watched me unpack; I swear I could hear her brain working. “So, what classes are you taking?” She was clearly trying to break the ice, and I knew I should let her.
“I’m taking general ed, I think, with a journalism class added in.” I took out my pointe shoes and leotards and set them on top of my dresser. I felt better; just holding them in my hands soothed my nerves.
“Cool, is that what you want to major in then?”
“Not sure yet. I think so. What about you?” I sat on the bed opposite her and fiddled with my auburn hair, trying not to be nervous. This is what normal people did; they talked with other people about their lives. I was normal now.
“I’m not sure what I want to major in. I mean it’s silly to expect someone our age to know what they want to do for the rest of their lives, isn't it? I’m going to take general ed, and a biology class. I’m leaning towards medicine, but I really don't know.” Her green eyes were animated as she spoke.