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Authors: Alisa Mullen

Unsettled (Chosen #1)

BOOK: Unsettled (Chosen #1)
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              UNSETTLED             

Book One

The Chosen Series

 

 

BY ALI
SA MULLEN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This book is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or
dead, is entirely coincidental. 

Copyright © 2014 Ali
sa Mullen

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

DEDICATIONS

 

For
Mailliw, Shea-Shea, and Bubby

I love you from that part of the sky to that part of the sky to that part of the sky.

 

Jeanne and Kathy

For your lifelong support to write

 

A gigantic thank you to Vanessa, Kate and Monika

 

Kris at Final-Edits.com

I couldn’t have done it without you

 

One

2000

In early May, Boston nightlife was a mixture of rowdy college students savoring a nightly break from their upcoming finals and noises from the Green Line packed full of Red Sox fans who poured out of Fenway Park. The scraping of train rails made the honking cars unnoticeable. Fragrant smells from flowerbeds growing in tiny window boxes of the apartments along Commonwealth Avenue hardly negated the exhaust from the cars and trains.

I held out my hand from the window of Darcy’s new black Mercedes Benz. The hot waves of early summer gave Beantown a new surge of vibrancy. I took in a long inhale of the mixture of flowers, exhaust, and the lingering trash cans left out on the sidewalks. I felt my own surge of energy in anticipation for the summer to come.

My name is Lizzie O’Malley and I’d just returned home to start a fresh new life. Later that night, I’d find out that this night out would be the start of a life I’d never dreamed of. At age twenty-three, I was back from Portland, Oregon. After the sixty-third day of constant downpour, I decided to finally move back home. Four years of enduring depression from the weathered city was enough for me. It was all I could do to jump in my little shitbox of a 1991 Geo Prism and get the fuck out of dodge.

I followed my boyfriend, Chase, out west to find a fresh new life
when I was eighteen. Chase had a job already lined up and I wanted to travel the country with him. What people didn't know was I really wanted to run away. Running to a new place and meet new people who didn’t know anything about me or my past was enticing. I like strangers, and there are a lot of them in the world. I can be anyone I want to be with strangers. I can be fun and generous. I can be moody and negative. Strangers never saw all sides of me. Portland, Oregon was the right place to go as it was the furthest state from the east coast, where family and high school friends watched me go through ups and downs that didn't always shine a bright light on me. But five years later, that light dimmed on me once more when Chase and I broke up.

I tried to make him see that five years
of playing house was enough time for us to be a forever couple. He didn’t see it that way and so I broke all the commitment rules. I hung around for several months after the breakup to see if anything changed. When nothing did, I saw no reason to stay in Portland. It was my fault, of course. I didn't want any more from that city. I didn't want to meet new strangers anymore. I got bored. So, running back home was damn good plan and I was prepared to reinvent myself in my hometown and meet new strangers. Again.

I get bored pretty fast with just about every person, every place, and everything. When I was thirteen, I bought a
n impressive horoscope book and created astrology charts for all my friends. Of course, I did mine and was astonished to read that, as an Aquarian in sun position and a Leo in moon position, I would never settle down. I was a creative and carefree person, it said. I didn’t want to believe the predictions, but as life went on, I realized that I was the indifferent girl that the chart portrayed me to be. I always felt like a drifter. I went with my own flow. Most would say I belonged on Shakedown Street at a Phish concert because I’m a tree hugging, crunchy hippie. I didn’t bother with makeup or primping for guys. I was audacious and found normalcy mundane.

A friend once
described me as a resilient and incredible woman. I could see why she would say that. I appeared that way on the outside but it was still difficult to swallow that compliment because it simply wasn’t true. Low self esteem was engrained into the very core of my being, although outward appearances convinced everyone else otherwise. The heartwarming thank you I replied with was plastic. I attempted many times to become someone that I could love. Alas, being outspoken and defensive found me in predicaments that required mending. Mending the fuck ups in life took much more time than working towards life goals. Therefore, I stuck to what I knew made me
feel
better. Partying seemed to be the only way to escape the reality of my life.

The outward beauty of my
past boyfriends had never been important unless I felt a deep emotional connection to the guy. Once I saw their inner luster, that’s when they became hopelessly beautiful. My friends would probably say that is also a bunch of bullshit because I typically date tall bad boys. Regardless of who I was with, in the end, I always drove relationships away with my drinking. I liked to drink, and when I did, the alcohol convinced me that I was the most beautiful person in the room. I became the life of the party and people gravitated to my many stories of drifting uninhibited through life. Even in high school, I found smoking pot in the parking lot to be a better living experience than sitting through my history class. I lived in the moment, and when shit got tough, it was time to move on.

Chase was a solid, dependable guy with
a steady job, a great apartment and a lot of patience for my outlandish behavior. He didn’t really know who I was, but after all, I didn’t either. Despite our break up, we remained friends. I didn’t want to disrespect the five years between us even though it all went to hell.   Many of our mutual friends didn’t understand me. I soon realized that he and I were polar opposites, even if we had five years under our belts. After Chase and I broke up, I could tell that people wanted to say something but didn’t. They all exchanged glances when we spoke amicably at the bars. They were probably muttering that I was a big dumbass for letting a well-established, constant guy in my life go. I didn’t agree. I no longer felt anything passionate for him or our future. Chase understood the reason I needed to leave town. He didn’t want to go down the path I had insisted for so long and couldn’t deter me from my ultimatum. Besides, we were friends more than anything. Fortunately, Chase didn’t grovel. I think he was more desolate about being alone.

Chase insisted on helping me drive to Boulder, Colorado where an old friend, Eve, would help me continue my journey back to the east coast. Eve was three years older than me but we knew each other from
the soccer days in high school. She was one person I could talk to about
anything
because I looked up to her like a sister. She was my rock during the high school years. I called her at anytime, day or night, to vent about what was going on at home and in school. I took the T into the city many weekends when she was at Boston University. We had regular coffee dates and I helped her through a really painful break up during her sophomore year. We never had to ask for help from one another. It was a given that if one of us called, we were there for the other one. Sadly, we grew apart after she took a job in Colorado so this road trip with her was a really special reunion.

Chase
and I were amicable during the first leg of our trip. He laughed about old memories as I cringed about all that time lost. With a heartfelt goodbye and good luck at the Denver airport, I felt weightless as I walked through the automatic doors to the Geo Prism of my future. The sun was shining. There was no more rain. The depression was lifting, outside and in. Eve brightened the rest of the trip by bringing up old stories of soccer, parties and guys. We laughed all night like sisters in the hotels and ate local food across the nation. She didn’t have to ask a lot of questions to understand me. I admired her as a person and would always be there for her with arms wide open. Before we parted at Logan Airport, she reminded me that I could run to Colorado if Boston didn’t work out. I laughed and she raised her eyebrows at me before blowing a kiss and turning towards her gate.

Darcy
pulled me out of my reflective thoughts.

“Shit, this song again!
” said Darcy as she punched the buttons of the radio, ridding the full blare of Britney’s “Oops, I did it again” and settled on Third Eye Blind’s “How’s it going to be.” We instantly fell into song and I smiled at my brother’s girlfriend on the first weekend following her 21
st
birthday.

Darcy
was a force of nature. She was beautiful, blonde and a social butterfly. Even when she wasn’t drinking, she was everything I wasn’t. The moment I got home, I knew what Conner saw in her. She was a high powered magnet. Strong and steady with a sizzle that attracted all men. I was envious of her. She had a great job as an assistant to a fashion designer. She had the true inner confidence I had always desired.

“W
here’s it going to be?” I asked, pushing the thought of my sad self esteem out of my mind. I told myself that I was out with Darcy tonight and I needed to stay in the moment.

“What
? The Greatest Bar didn’t satisfy your blood thirst for Boston nightlife?” she asked wryly.

“Oh
, come on,” I groaned, giving her a sideways glance. “The Greatest Bar isn’t so appealing when you spend seven dollars on possibly one of the worst mango margarita in the history of the world. But watching a guy being hauled on a stretcher because he probably spent over three hundred dollars getting so stinking drunk, in fact, was very entertaining.”

“It
’s a classic place to expose you into the Boston nightlife,” she said, looking at the sides of her high pumps.


Yeah… classic,” I murmured. I desperately wanted a Portland dive bar with cheap drafts and darts.  I loved how I could show up in my pajamas at six pm, not feeling a bit self conscious of how I looked. Guys still hit on me even in my butterfly pajama pants. Tonight, Darcy had spent, and I kid you not, over two hours making my hair straight then curly then straight again. She used hair products that I knew cost more than the gas money it took to drive all the way back to Massachusetts. I felt like a sham in this outfit and makeup. She insisted I looked hot enough to get at least three phone numbers from college boys for a summer roll in the sack. When I laughed at her and told her she was ridiculous, she shot me a look like I shouldn’t mess with her opinion. Did she see something about me that I couldn’t? Maybe makeup and expensive clothes were the necessaries of my future. I pondered that for a moment before shaking the thought out of my head.
No way.

Two

Mary Ann’s

Bar hopping in Boston can be a daunting task if one wants to experience the city’s diversity.
It is the exact opposite of the Las Vegas Strip, where every person’s desire and comfort can be satisfied on one convenient block. In Boston, nightlife is much more spread out. There is the Cambridge art crowd, the Harvard lounges, and the Southie native bars. None of these are within walking distance, so once you make up your mind about which part of the expansive city you want to be in, you choose from whatever is around. After taking in three bars on Commonwealth Avenue, Darcy clearly looked weary. Because I was the designated driver, I resignedly took control of the evening decisions after she started slurring her words at The Greatest Bar. Men complimented her beauty incessantly and reminded her that she could be straight out of a modeling magazine. I rolled my eyes and told her to hand over the keys as I asked for a diet Coke from the bartender.

“No booze tonight
, baby?” he asked in the thickest Boston accent I had yet to hear since I got home. It still took me aback, hearing that sexy drawl. It was hot, even though this particular guy was not my type at all. Muscular gym guys in black shirts never really did it for me, but the Irish Celtic knot tattooed on his forearm did catch my attention and I smiled.

I took a deep breath and said the worst sentence known to man.
“Nope, I’m the designated driver,” I replied.

“Ah, DD! It takes a
n extraordinary woman to refrain from my alcoholic drinks,” he said, winking at me as he placed both of his palms on the mahogany bar.

He looked me over
, rather suggestively, and told me DD drinks were on the house. He stopped his examination of my body when he stopped on my BeBe crop top and the barely there cleavage. After a pause, he sighed and walked off when he was motioned by another patron. Darcy had insisted I show off her Tiffany necklace to accentuate the gaudy getup, making me look like a Boston rich girl, even though I only had two hundred dollars in my bank account.
Ugh
. I threw two dollars on the bar and walked away.

Darcy
downed two more drinks and that sent me over the edge. A thirty something man was trying to get her to sit on his lap. Suddenly, the plush brown couch with mahogany siding didn’t look so classy. The guy looked like he had just gotten out of his cramped cubicle job at some elite financial firm in the district. Disgusted with the live images in front of me and the ever growing sham of the evening, I pulled Darcy off the couch and told her it was time to go. She protested just as much as the white collared jackass. Jesus, he wasn’t even beer goggle worthy. As she continued to complain, I swear I heard murmurs from the guy behind her, saying that I was a rich prude.
That was the funniest line of the evening. Looks can be so deceiving.

S
ighing with impatience, I glared over her shoulder to get the guy to stop staring at Darcy’s ass. I firmly put my hands on her wobbling shoulders and appeased her with a warm reply.

“Okay
. One more bar but no inappropriate groping this time,” I laughed. “You are such a silly drunk, but you are a one hot lady.”

My brother would be pissed
the next morning and expecting a full report about the entire night’s events. Because he had been an uncharacteristically possessive boyfriend lately, Conner didn’t encourage our plans to celebrate Darcy’s 21
st
in girl style. There was a lot of clenched fists and eye rolling on his part. Darcy finally convinced him that the night out was actually for my benefit since I just returned to the one of the greatest city for nightlife. Conner was finishing up his last semester of his senior year at Boston College with high honors. He would be going on a small tour with his band “The O’Malley Band” this summer. He was the lead singer and guitarist and could drink them down with the best of them. He chose to celebrate Darcy’s birthday romantically alone after his college finals were over. Now that was typical Conner. His scholastic and musical goals always came first. Girls were a very distant second but there was something about Darcy that he was very protective of. He was a bit overbearing with Darcy but I hadn’t seen him with a girlfriend in years so what did I know? Since I had been in the northwest for the past five years, I didn’t understand this new side to Conner. Maybe Darcy was the one for him.

I sat behind the wheel of the Benz
and it felt so foreign to my tin box Prism. I pulled back the seat to accommodate my 5’6” height as opposed to Darcy’s 5’1” when she scared the living hell out of me and shrilled, “On to Mary Ann’s!!! It’s the ultimate rite of passage to Boston’s nightlife.”


Okay,” I sighed, as she pointed me to the one way streets that would get us back onto Commonwealth Avenue towards Chestnut Hill.

While looking for a free parking spot on
a side street, I ignored Darcy’s compliments of how beautiful I looked and what fun it would be to surround me with Boston College boys at Mary Ann’s. It was such bullshit. I knew without a doubt that she was having a great time so I simply smiled at her. I efficiently paralleled parked in a spot near the large, yellow neon sign that read, “Mary Ann’s.” It was part of a small older strip mall and it wasn’t what I expected from Darcy and all of her elegant, debonair places. The previous three bars were set in quiet and upscale locales. Mary Ann’s was their polar opposite. It sat on the corner of the Cleveland Circle hot spot, where the homeless ask for change and the Dunkin Donuts had a line spilling out on the sidewalk. I fidgeted with my clutch, pulling out my ID and money for the cover. The bouncer looked me straight in the eyes and back down at the ID then said in a gruff voice, “No covah, go on.” He looked over my head and checked out Darcy’s driver’s license
and
her breasts. Darcy breezed past me as I stopped in the middle of the door and took in the infamous Mary Ann’s. Holy shit, this place reeked of testosterone and beer. It was a cross of a Southie Pub and a college bar. I was stunned speechless.

The bar
had three levels with crowded tables and large open spaces, but was still packed with loud conversation and laughter. The main bar was a large, wooden, and fairly worn down square directly to my left. The chairs around it were surrounded by guys with Red Sox hats and Boston College tee shirts. Darcy had already noticed a few of Conner’s friends on the first level in the back and told me to get her a beer before heading toward the swarm of people in the dart area.
Ugh
. I already felt the stench of alcohol and sweat rising up the back of my neck. I continued to the bar, trying to inch my way in between two guys that were sitting and laughing at a boisterous blonde behind them as she was slurring her words. All of a sudden, I felt a panic attack coming on. A crowd of drunken strangers in an enclosed place was just not my idea of a great time. This was a far cry from The Greatest Bar, where leather seats were mostly vacant by design, and one person could sit and people-watch the night away. I felt like I was in the middle of a Beastie Boys mosh pit, although “Don’t Stop Believin” by Journey blared through the jukebox. As I was pushed backed from the bar, I stood dumbstruck at how to proceed to the bar without yelling some obscenities at the rowdy, cocky college boys. My BeBe shirt certainly didn’t do the trick at Mary Ann’s. I scanned the room for Darcy to assist me with getting her drink but all I saw were blonde girls with large breasts and legs that went forever. I felt twenty years older than everyone in the room even though I was probably only a year or two older.

Wh
y did I come here again? Darcy said it was a rite of passage. A passage to where? I stood, fingering the Tiffany necklace, and wondered who the hell I was trying to impress. How did I get to the place in my life? More specifically, how did I get to this shitty bar? Thoughts of Chase and the downpour rain made me long for the comforts of my pajama bottoms and the slot machines at the neighborhood bar back in Portland.

When I slowly lifted my eyes, I was startled to see a
guy towering over me with a large grin on his face. He was tall with dark brown hair that covered his ears but was mussed up from a recent shower. He wore a blue and white striped rugby shirt with an Irish emblem on the left side that displayed his perfectly chiseled arms. They were so tan and oh so yummy. This guy was most definitely my type, appearance wise obviously. He continued to smile at me as his eyes warmed over my face, like he was trying to memorize my features. He was the most attractive guy I had seen the entire night.

“Hello
,” he yelled over the music. He had a tinge of an accent that I couldn’t quite place.
English? Scottish?

“Hi
,” I replied, licking my lips in anticipation of an upcoming conversation.

He faced the bar and sighed. “
Not getting a pint in this bar anytime soon.” He rubbed his chin with his large hand as I downright stared at him.

Irish.
He was a sexy Irishman.

“I
’ve been waiting fifteen minutes,” I said as I looked around again for Darcy, hoping that someone already got her a drink. I hated being DD and her waitress to boot. This night was a total bad call on my part. The tall, yummy guy caught me looking around and could see my apprehension. He turned my chin back to him and gave me a sweet smile. All my worry about Darcy dissolved in that moment.


Hmmm,” he said. “Let me see if I can give it a go.” He stepped up between the two guys talking to the blonde, and with the sexiest Irish accent I had ever heard, he ordered six Guinness drafts.  Everyone turned to look at him and their mouths dropped open. Even the female bartender paused for a moment before heading to the beer taps. I smiled to myself and my cheeks reddened when he looked back to me and winked. Throwing down bills, he turned to me and said, “Cian. Cian Murphy.” After staring at him silent for what seemed like an hour, he stood up straight and turned back to the bar. He just introduced himself and I couldn’t find my tongue.
Nice, Lizzie.
Cian looked perplexed as he looked down at the six tall glasses of thick, black liquid before he sent me a pleading look. “Can you help me bring these to me lads over there?” He pointed to the right of the bar.


You’re joking, right?” He wanted me to be his waitress, too? I should just throw on an apron and start making money off this night.

He
quirked his lips into a smile and asked, “What? You don’t think I have lads waiting for their pints?”

“No,
no…” I stammered. “Your accent. Does it get you what you want all the time?”

He looked at me puzzled
for a moment and then leaned forward so we were nose to nose. “Is the accent working on you?” he asked with a sly smile.

“Yeah right
.” I rolled my eyes. “But… it is a hell of a good way to make people notice you and get you pints when needed,” I replied with air quotes around the word pints. My night was becoming more interesting because of this chance meeting. I was feeling flirty and listening to Cian talk softly into my ear all night would be exquisite. He laughed out loud at my banter and nudged me towards the glasses then cocked his head to the right.

I followed him on his heels
to avoid being separated and nearly stumbled around three guys sucking on the necks of busty college girls. I paused in awe. Those girls had somehow managed to pull their shirts up into the Maryanne crop style. Cian surprisingly didn’t look their way but only glanced back at me. He was probably trying to make sure I didn’t drop the two beers I carried all over the floor. I was not the type of girl that belonged in this bar but Cian didn’t seem to notice.

Cian and I
stepped up to the worn leather, circular booth where four guys were very boisterous. Cian nodded to them. “Lads, this is…shit, I didn’t ask your name,” he said with a grin. The other guys laughed at him and looked at me expectantly.


Yeah, sorry. I didn’t offer it either. Elizabeth. Lizzie… Lizzie O’Malley,” I said as my face started to redden.
Why was I suddenly embarrassed?

“Ah, an
Irish transplant,” one of the blond haired guys from the back of the booth said with a thick Irish accent of his own. I didn’t exactly know what that meant. Was it because of my last name? My freckles? My red hair? Yes, I was part Irish. I was also part Scottish, Canadian French, and surely something else. But really, after generations of mutt reproduction, I was just American. It was that simple.

Cian put all the drinks in front of the guys
, and I started to say something else but nothing came to mind. What was I going to say? These guys were a bunch of fucking hotties with their Irish accents, and amazingly, the booth was far, far away from the torturous mosh pit of grimy sweat. Cian turned and handed me the last Guinness.

“Oh
, no, thanks,” I said. “I’m the designated driver tonight. I’m not drinking.”

They all stared at me like I was
making a joke and waited for me to take back my declaration. One of them started laughing and asked, “DD?  For who?” while squinting his brown eyes up to me. He looked as hammered as Darcy did the last time I saw her. When was that? Like an hour ago?

“Uh-huh.
For a friend that I believe I’ve lost to this place.” I turned around, faking to really care if I saw her. I wanted to sit with these guys, but tried to act disinterested.

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