Paperback Giveaway

Day 4 of 5:

Hi everyone and happy holidays! I am giving away a paperback copy of The Highly Capable today.

All you have to do to qualify is sign up for my newsletter and comment below that you did so.

The giveaway will be open until midnight PST. The winnner will be chosen at random.

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Author Interview: Jayme Beddingfield

I was interviewed on The Writing Life. Check it out!

The Writing Life Blog

The Writing Life is pleased to welcome Jayme Beddingfield, author of the urban fantasy novel, ‘The Highly Capable’. Jayme’s fun interview is our last interview of 2015.

I’ve kept a blog since 2007 and started The Writing Life, my author blog, on February 3, 2014. I’ve had the great pleasure of interviewing and getting to know 39 authors and enjoyed two guest posts by fabulous author friends this year. I hope you’ve enjoyed sharing my 2015 writing journey.

My thanks to you for your lovely comments and visits; you are always welcome. I look forward to meeting more authors in 2016 and I hope one of those authors will be YOU. Happy writing!

Happy Holidays to you and your family, and many blessings for the New Year!

Jayme picJayme Beddingfield has been crafting stories since her third-grade assignment to write her own fairy tale. She prefers to work from the sofa…

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The First Time I Saw Her

It was that morning I first saw her standing next to my bed. I opened my eyes to a mostly dark room. The only light was a soft glow from the oversized alarm clock that sat on my nightstand. Daylight wasn’t yet peeking through the blinds. I was dreaming of her. We were sitting in our usual coffee shop—not because it was especially good. It was just the better of two in our neighborhood. We would meet there regularly chatting about everything from purses to our greatest fears. (Her’s came true.) The last time we had coffee together, it was my birthday. She told me so much that day.

There she was only inches away from me; her hair hung long around shoulders. Casey’s kind eyes sparkled alongside her subtle smile. Many different emotions scatted through my body, bumping into one another. Extreme elation ( a relief I never thought I’d feel again), and sadness because I knew seeing her was either temporary or an illusion.

“You promised me,” she said. Her voice wasn’t mad or disappointed. Casey was reminding me, even though I never forgot.
I could never forget.
I took a deep breath, preparing myself to explain why I hadn’t done what I’d say I would.
“I tried,” I managed the squeak out.
I wanted to hug her, to wrap my arms around her slight body and tell her everything I didn’t get to before time ran out. But, I didn’t move.
“Did you?” Her voice traveled off this time. “Could you try again?” She tilted her head and smiled. That’s how she got me willing to do just about anything.
“I miss you,” I said selfishly. “It hurts,” I added. Tears pulled at my eyes.
“And, I miss you,” she whispered.
Then, she was gone.
I ran my fingers through my hair. Was it a dream, or was she here? I asked myself this only seeing her that first time.

something between them

My eyes were still heavy as I came out of my room fully dressed and ready for school. My hair was down and covering my shoulders. I was wearing my lucky jeans and favorite blue and black bird sweater. Finding brown hair stuck to whites and yellows made me crazy, so I only would wear darker colors. I saw my dad sitting at the table, eating cereal and reading a magazine. I walked by him and saw pictures of train sets.
“Plotting out a new collection?” I asked as I grabbed the box of cranberry, almond granola.
“I’m researching buying an entire collection of model train sets. Historically accurate setups, pretty impressive, but I’m unsure of the value.”
“We don’t have room for that here,” I said as I poured chocolate milk overtop the cereal.
My dad saw this and shook his head, “I honestly can’t stand watching you eat certain things,” he said.
“It goes awesome together.” I sat down across from him as I said this.
“I see you found me online,” he said with an embarrassed smile.
“Yeah, well Stevie told me of course.” I took a bite of my favorite breakfast. The days started with a little bit of chocolate are always better.
“Yeah, well I wasn’t exactly hiding it,” he explained, “I’ve been finding out about a lot of cool toy shows I wouldn’t have known about otherwise. I’m hoping to find that last robot soon. It’s always fun to close out a collection.
Ignoring this and changing the subject I said, “I didn’t know you liked cats so much.” I had accepted that my dad and I wouldn’t have long talks about the future. I wished that I could talk to him about what I was experiencing, but I knew he wasn’t taking it well. He didn’t want to talk or think about it, so I left the subject alone. But, I had to dig into the cat thing.
“Oh, yeah you know I do. I had two awesome cats growing up.”
“Why don’t we have a cat?”
“Oh, well your mother is highly allergic to cats.”
“She’s not here, now. You should get a cat.” I was thinking especially since I would be leaving soon.
“Well, she’s gonna be back eventually,” dad said this not seeming certain at all.
“Is she? Do even want her to?” I didn’t talk to my dad like that regularly. Anytime I said anything negative about mom; he would jump on it and put an immediate stop to it. I always wished that he would have done that when I was young, and my mom would get on me during her off moments. He never did anything, and I never knew how I felt about that. I think I chose to ignore it because that was easiest.
My eye’s looked far away. For a moment, he didn’t speak. Just as I was about to say something to break the silence he said simply, “I suppose I’d honestly answer probably not to both of those.”

***

I crossed the street as I made my way to the bus stop. Benny was standing there wearing a smile and holding a paper coffee cup. As I approached him, I realized the coffee was for me. The sky was bright, even though the air was chilly, I could tell it was going to be a beautiful day—proof it would be May soon.
“One caramel latter as promised,” Benny said as he handed me the green and white paper cup. “Sorry it took awhile, I honestly forgot about it.”
“Thank you,” I said, feeling awkward.
“Sure thing,” Benny said looking over my shoulder. I followed his gaze, to find Stevie and Pike walking toward us.
“Pike, a rare treat,” I joked.
“My parents are at one of my mom’s conferences for a few days,” Stevie said partially blushing.
“Oh yeah, that’s right,” I said remembering Stevie saying something about that.
“Hey man,” Benny said to Pike, they bumped fists, “What do you have in store for the students of Roosevelt High this weekend?” He asked.
“That’s what I needed to talk to these ladies about it. It’s only Tuesday, my Monday felt like most of the week, so it’s for sure time to distract myself with planning. My parents want me to be a doctor, but I’m like guys just let me take pictures.” He shook his head.
“Me too,” I added. “Let’s do some list item craziness. Something, major,” I said taking a sip from my latte. It was a really good one, but probably party because Benny got it for me.
“Seriously Sam, you couldn’t have gotten me one?” Stevie scowled.
I just smiled at her.
“But, yes, I agree let’s rock the list,” she said pulling it out of her pocket.
“I’ve heard mention of a list many times but I’m not quite sure I understand the magnitude of it. The rollerblading in the dark was on the alleged list, right?” Benny smoothly crossed his arms in front his chest. He was was wearing a brown sweatshirt that said, I AM ASLEEP, in large, white capital letters.
“And the tattoos,” I added.
“Sam and I have a list of things we need to do before we head to New York. In part because it’s a fun distraction and in part because it matters to us in this strange, unexplainable way.” I smiled, “It’s one of those snowball effect type things, I guess.”
“Sounds like my bag,” he smiled. Benny seemed to always be smiling in some compactly or another.
“What is next on the list?” I asked Stevie who was studying it like it was in a client treasure map. She was wearing a trucker her hat today; it had a big hot dog on the front. Her hair was loose under it.
“Well, the next thing is our ten-mile low tide hike, but we need extreme low tides to go that far. That needs to be one the last thing we do before me leave,” Stevie said all this as her eyes stayed stuck to the crumpled notebook paper. “But, we have a three-day weekend coming up. We should do the Leavenworth weekend. I bet we could totally find a place near there for parachuting!”
“Maybe we can even pull off staying up forty-eight hours during,” I added starting to get really excited.
“Yes, we can leave on Friday,” Pike chimed in, “That is plenty of time to get all the needed ducks in a row.”
“Can I tag along?” Benny asked, looking directly at me.
Without a hint of hesitation, I said, “For sure.”
He smiled at me as the bus finally hissed toward us.
Steve clapped her hands together, “This is gonna rock!”
“It will, but we have lots to do first,” Pike said starting to get serious.
And, we were off planning for the ultimate weekend as we piled onto the bus. At that moment, everything else washed away, and my world felt tiny and safe and almost perfect.

Two Years Earlier

 

Some moments are quicker than others. Five seconds can be the difference between carrying on down the same path and taking a sharp left turn blindfolded.

It was a Tuesday. Rain had been pouring down for the third straight day. It also happened to be my sixteenth birthday. It felt more like the day was making how long I’ve been on the street than actually celebrating my life. It was exactly two years since my mom took off. As a little girl, my ability to move objects with my mind was only a secret, my dad took to his grave. But, I’m certain I wouldn’t have been able to survive on the streets by myself without my telekinesis. I can take what I need without putting myself in real harm. Up close I’m not a fighter. I don’t care for violence, but I take some and I help when I see something I can do. I was always able to get collect enough from other people’s pockets to eat pretty well and keep myself in some clothes. Unfortunately, I hadn’t been able to hold a place for very long.

Living in the shadows means I exist somewhere slightly different than most. It’s difficult to find others when traveling in the dark. Loneliness, was part of the curse, part of my story. I had taken the last bite of chocolate cupcake I bought for myself, then tossed the wax paper wrapper in the trash can next to a sculpture of a large pig covered in pictures of tiny wings.

As I made my way down the low-lit market stairs, heading to the waterfront, I heard hurried and muffled voices coming from the bottom of the stairwell. I continued, but I had slowed down considerably.

The shadows of three figures cast themselves on the stairs as I got closer to the bottom.

I saw the girl first. She was a little older than me and had straight dark, black hair and pale skin. Her large, red lips curled into a scowl. Her face was inches from a guys face in seconds. He took a step back. His blond covered his eyes.

“I won’t let it happen again, but we all know the power is shifting. There was too many of us under Blake.” He said this continuing to step away.

Another male took a step closer to the two. His muscles were massive and unnatural looking. “We’re being watched closely,” was all he said. Then he looked at his heigh-high boot wearing co-pilot and said, “We should roll, now,” the body builder growled.

She nodded with unmoving hair.

I stayed tucked against the wall. As they walked away, leaving the blond by himself. He dusted off his pants, then quickly and nervously ran his hands through his hair. He seemed to be waiting for something. I pressed my back firmly against the wall, doing my best intimidation of being part of the darkness. The guy pulled his gray hood up as he gave a quick glance around him. Just like that, he started to fade like a failing television set. I squinted my eyes trying my hardest to understand what I was seeing, but he did intact continue to fade away until he had completely disappeared. Suddenly, a wave washed over me. The possibly of others’ like me hadn’t occurred to me. I had to fight out more.

Existing Everywhere

It’s been four days since we found out Stevie got accepted. Since that moment, time began to creep by in a tortuously slow drawl. Every minute felt more like an hour. I was going crazy waiting while Stevie started planning, started relaxing. The school bus ride home on Fridays was the worst of the week. Everyone was tired and nasty. Being a senior without a car was most depressing on Fridays, although not at all uncommon for people living in this part of the city. It is pretty easily to go just about anywhere I need. Leaving this neck of the woods without a car is nearly impossible, but, I knew enough friends with cars that it never affected my weekends too bad. I pulled my purple permeant marker from my hoodie pocket, opened the cap and scribbled down three evergreen trees inspired by stick figures.
Stevie swatted my arm, “You have got to stop scribbling on everything, that’s vandalism—a foolish thing to get arrested for,” she gave me the exact stern look her mom has been known to give out from time to time. Stevie the future law school student—and me, a future struggling novelist trying to figure out her childhood or maybe, even next street artist if I couldn’t convince people to pay for the stories I make up.
“It’s harmless scribbling,” I said rolling my eyes.
“Criminal acts are never harmless,” she smiled, ”our stop is coming finally! The bus took forever today,” Stevie sat up straight in the seat.
“Seriously. I can smell the fish sticks they had in the cafeteria,” I scrunched up my nose.
“Ew, I know. So gross.” Stevie looked out the window. I took the marker back to the purple trees. As the bus slowed toward our stop, I quickly drew a thought bubble coming from behind the trees, “I can’t see past.”
“Sam, stop!” Stevie took my marker,” You get this back when we get to your place.”
“You’re no fun,” I grumbled.
“Now, we both know that’s not true,” Stevie giggled. The bus jerked to a stop, and the door hissed open. Everyone stood up a fast as they could. Freedom was seconds away. The weekend was finally here. Stevie was right. For all her law-abiding, nose in a book, writes too many list ways, the girl was a whole lot of fun. It was organized at the heart, fun, but it was fun none-the-less.
The second my feet hit the sidewalk the smell of donuts passed by being carried by the wind.
“I need a donut and coffee!” I pulled on Stevie’s arm,” Let’s take the long way back to my apartment.”
“Stevie’s expression warmed. She handed me back my purple marker, “You’re gonna get in, you know that, right?”
“I don’t know.” I bent down to tie my shoe. The downside of being obsessed with funky shoelaces was that I never remembered to check the length of them. I was continuously stepping on the laces, untying them as walked. “I just know I need a Bavarian creme donut and a caramel latte.” I stood up.
“Okay, let’s go,” Stevie nodded, fully accepting our Crazy O’s Doughnut future. The last bunch got off the bus. Fred, the driver—my bus driver of four years—looked like he was going to explode in frustration. His face reddened with each of the student’s slow step. I couldn’t figure who hadn’t gotten off.
“Are you going to be a regular?” Fred growled at someone tall on the bus.
“What’s Benny Cooper doing riding our bus?” Stevie curiously whispered in my ear.
Benny stepped off the bus. He had shaggy, dirty blond hair that always looked like he just got out of bed, or it was flattened by a beanie. He was tall and unfairly gorgeous. Neither of us knew him very well, but we seemed to wind up at the same party spots most of the time. Stevie and I couldn’t help but keep at least part of an eye on him. He played guitar and was followed around by the reputation of a ruthless, heartbreaker.
“I’m not sure,” I shrugged.
“Maybe he’s had enough of watching us from a distance,” Stevie said this with her words wrapped in a laugh.
“I think you have that flipped around,” I laughed.
“Whatever, let’s get donuts, I’m cold.”
“No, you are not. You just are anxious to start getting ready.”
“Perhaps. We do work super hard. We’ve earned the right to party. Especially now that we got in.”
“Stevie, I haven’t gotten in yet.”
“You will.”
“I think so too,” I crossed my arms, “Honestly it’s the scholarship I’m anxious about.”
“Well, you could always do student loans.”
I groaned at this, “I don’t want to. I’ll be making pennies for awhile.”
“What are you talking about? You are going to be a famous writer in no time. Your stories are too good.”
I shrugged, “I have a lot to learn.”
“You could take a compliment once in awhile; ya know,” Stevie said.
“Thank you.”
“Don’t thank me, just take me to your fancy book parties.”
“Deal,” I smiled. We turned the corner onto the Ave. The blinking lime green donut sign was three stories up. My stomach growled in anticipation.

***

“Yum, this is amazing,” I said swallowing my first bite of Bavarian creme donut.
“You couldn’t wait three more seconds. Your door is right there,” Stevie said pointing at the door to my apartment with the hand that wasn’t holding a carefully folded donut bag.
“I told you I needed a donut,” I said. I was starting to feel like I was ready to lean into the weekend. My freak out had whirled down. Everything seemed a little less dire. Then again, that can change readily.
“I told you that you don’t have to worry.”
“I’m gonna worry until I have hard evidence not to.”
Stevie nodded at this. “Yeah, I would do the same thing.”
I carefully place my latte down in the middle of the hallway and slid the keys out from my back pocket, my back hung off my left shoulder threatening my donut.
“Do you want me to hold something?” Stevie asked smiling my and my disorganization.
“No, I think I got it,” I said. Just as I leaned over to unlock my door. The apartment door behind us swung open. I turned around just in time to see a large dog knocking over my coffee. “Aww man!” I groaned.
“Sorry, he’s been cooped up all day.” Benny is standing in the doorway of the apartment across from mine.
“Are you my new neighbor?” I asked. It seemed too surreal to being standing in front of him.
Stevie bent down, “Hello there,” she said in a sweet voice. The dog wagged his butt back and forth.
“Looks that way,” Benny flashed a dimple-framed smile. “I owe you a cup of coffee.”
“Yeah, you do.” I looked down at my sad, knocked over Hilltop Coffee cup. “A caramel latte.”
Stevie stood back up and wiped her hands down the front of her jeans.
“Fancy. I’ll hit you up at a later time. This guy’s got to go.” Benny looked down at his black and tan dog. Who was now licking my overpriced caramel latte off the rug. “Holden, leave it.”
“Your dog’s name is Holden?” I say as I tilted my head to the side. This entire encounter felt like something out of Tuesday’s night dream.
“Yep, as in Holden Caulfield, who’s a….”
I cut in, “The Catcher in the Rye.”
“Yep,” he nodded. Benny then looked down at his dog, “Leave it, let’s go,” he said as he patted his thigh and started to walk down the hallway. Holden’s big head snapped to attention, and he started walking with his owner.
Benny looked at me, “I guess, I’ll see you around.”
“I suppose.”
“C-ya,” Benny said. I stood there as he slowly disappeared down the hallway with is dog and Stevie’s fingers dug into my arm.
The second we got inside the apartment, Stevie squealed, “You are lucky.”
“What? Because Benny Cooper is now my neighbor?”
“Yes, that is something many girls would be envious of. I think I even am a little bit.”
“I don’t need that headache,” I said letting my backpack drop to the ground.
“I think you might,” Stevie said picking up my back and hanging on the hooks over a small wooden bench. Then, she hung hers right next to mine. “What are you an animal?”
“Sorry.”
“Benny Cooper lives across the hall. Now, I know for a fact and have a freshmen notebook of yours to prove it that there was a point in time where you would of gone crazy over this development.” Her words instantly reminded me of when we first saw Benny. It was the third week of school, and he showed up with a black eye and a guitar. Benny always seemed to be around a crowd of people but kept to himself.
I couldn’t help but smile a little. “No, you are right.”
“Well, then that proves that a tiny part of you is excited about the present day,” a broad, toothy smile spread across Stevie’s freckled face.
“I’m not going to give it to you.”
“Oh come on, Samantha, I’m so ready for you to have a new boyfriend,” she whined.
“You are terrible.”
“Maybe, but I look fantastic in your long green sweater,” Stevie said. The far-off look in her head let me know her mind was somewhere else already.
“Knock yourself out,” I said. “I’m bummed that my five dollar coffee is soaking into the hallway rug.”
“What?” My dad asked, walking into the room.
“Nothing, dad.” I gave him a look. His graying black hair was a messy nest on his head, and the bags under his eyes were deeper than I’ve seen the in a while. “How’s it going, dad?”
“It’s crappy,” he signed, “I think I’m anti-Friday.”
“Oh, that’s controversial Mr. Waters,” Stevie joked.
“I know, but I swear everyone in the world is over-tired on Fridays,” he pointed his finger at the large window that main room. I saw a visitor sticker still stuck to his shirt.
“I think you may be onto something dad.” I walked into the kitchen and swung open the refrigerator door. I grabbed the chocolate milk.
“Get a glass, this time, Samantha,” my dad said.
“I will,” I opened the cabinet where we keep the mugs. My dad, as he did with many things, he collected novelty mugs. I grabbed a dark brown mug, which read, I am Sasquatch, off of the bottom shelf.
“So, what’s this about over-priced coffee soaking someone else’s property?” My dad asked Stevie and not me.
“Ah, your new neighbor’s dog accidentally knocked it over,” Stevie answered winking at me. I pour the chocolate milk into the mug happily.
“Seriously? They moved in this morning, and I’m not happy, not at all. I don’t know about them,” my dad grumbled. His crazy eyebrows always looked, even more, insane when he was getting worked about something.
“What happened?”
“Not one specific thing. Clues have been tossed left and right, though, make no mistake. The three of them and their dog are trouble.”
“What makes you say they’re a problem Mr. W?”
“They are all look drug dealers and their dog has a giant head. Something just doesn’t sit right,” he folded his arms infant of his chest. “I’m gonna order pizza tonight.”
“Bacon and onions please,” I said.
“And mushrooms!” Stevie added.
“I’ll get two pizzas. Are either of those boys coming over?” My dad’s eyes darkened when he said the word boys.
“No, but we are headed out later. Pike’s having a party,” I said as I dipped my donut into the chocolate milk. “Yum,” I whispered out loud to it.
“Your daughter’s eating habits are abysmal,” Stevie told my dad.
He laughed, “Don’t’ I know it.” He walked over to a stack of papers on the long table by the bathroom door. “Speaking of stress, some mail come for you.” As my dad spoke, his words caused my stomach grow feet and hands, both with suction cups and began to climb my throat.
I swallow my chocolate milk soaked donut quickly, “From who dad?”
He picked up a large white envelope off the top and walked back over to Stevie and me. She squealed and clapped her hands together. “I told you!”
My dad handed me the envelope and my stomach dropped to my feet. It was from my third choice. “It’s not from the University of New York,” I mumbled and handed it over to Stevie.
“Nope. It’s from the University of Virginia though. Their writing program is awesome.”
“And it’s far from New York and not part of the plan.” I slumped down in one of the kitchen chairs.
An instant fog of a feeling sorry for myself swirled around in the room. I wanted so bad for New York to tell me yes, my hard work paid off. I wanted it a certain way. I never expected to have to wait this long to find out about New York. I was starting to wonder if I would ever hear anything at all. Stevie carefully opened the envelope using a butter knife. My father groaned when Stevie pulled it out of the drawer. I looked out the window. The sky was starting to get darker.
Rain fell at a steady clip, which caused all the lights from the cars and buildings to blur among the droplets of water. When Stevie read the very first acceptance letter, the first time my hard work had been acknowledged in such a successful way, and it wasn’t good enough, in fact, I was devastated. Then, when she read that I didn’t get the full financial support I started to crumble in places. Stevie and my dad didn’t know how to handle my reaction. My dad got into cataloging his action figures that are based off tv sitcoms, and Stevie and I went into my room to get ready for the party. I was ready to cut loose, to distract myself from going crazy. I was scared that I wasn’t going to get this the way I imagined it. I wasn’t ready to accept that as a possibility.
My head felt like it was slowly floating closer to my glowing the dark ceiling as the evening grew later. I went through the motion. I did my hair, put on a fresh and purposeful outfit. I helped Stevie. She kept checking in with me, and I wasn’t quite sure to say. I was surprised and put off by my own reaction, so I didn’t know to start in explaining what was going on with me.
“I’m gonna pop in the bathroom, and then we’ll head to Pikes?” Stevie asked she watched me carefully.
“Sounds like a plan,” I said keeping my voice flat.
“Okay…” Stevie left my room. I stared down at the acceptance letter from Virginia University that was now laid on top of my notebooks. I pulled my phone out of my pocket and tapped on Jared’s name. I typed, What are you up to?
I put my phone and next the letter and stared at it. I waited to feel something positive. My phone buzzed.
Jared: Just watching some tv. You?
Me: I got accepted to the University of Virginia.
Jared: You didn’t want to go there. You picked it because you had to put a minimum of three.
Me: I know. Stevie and I are going to a party at Pikes. Can you come tonight?
Jared: I dunno. You know that’s not my scene.
Me: Please
After I had written the please, I stared at it for a moment. Then a wave of vulnerability rushed past me and then I was finding myself mad at Jared for making me say please for not ever jumping at the chance to spend time with me. I impulsively typed back, Never mind there’s gonna be a lot of people there, and tossed my phone next to the letter and walked out of my room to catch Stevie in the hallway. I couldn’t be in my room any longer.

 

goodbyes and beginnings

I shoved two rolled up sweatshirts into my large black duffle bag. Tears lingered stubbornly in my eyes as I packed. My graduation gown hung on the back of bedroom door. Graduation came and went in a blur. It’s hard to believe that something I waited so long for was just an awkward moment. I’ve been making a habit of keeping Stevie’s smiles and warmth in my pocket because I still was in need of them. I scooped up two paperbacks and my hair brush, dropping them into my bag.
“So tomorrow, huh?” My dad stood in the doorway of my room with his hands in his pockets.
“I hope you understand,” I said as put the final t-shirts in the bag, then zipped it up.
“I’m proud of you. I think spend the summer traveling will be good for you,” he said. “Olive, Huck, and I will sure miss you,” he smiled.
“You are coming for Thanksgiving, we are going to watch the Macy’s Parade,” I beamed.
My dad shook his head in disgust, “Yuck, I’ll be there, but I know exactly how crazy that parade gets, I’ve been to it many times. I also know, you can’t stand crowds.”
“It’s important to make yourself uncomfortable,” I said this, thinking of Stevie’s and my list. That’s what we were doing even though that wasn’t a focus, it was a side effect. Jumping off cliffs into the water was important, I’m glad we did that.
“That’s a troubling thing for your father to hear as you pack your bags.”
“Sorry.” I sat down on my bed, and looked at my dad, feeling like a child. “Will you be okay?” I asked honestly just wanting an answer.
“I think so,” he said.
“Will you?”
“I think so,” I replied. Then I asked, “Do you think I’m making a mistake?”
“No, kid I don’t,” he said simply, then handed me my coat, “Bring this, but I’ll be sure to send you everything the moment you get settled.”’
“Thanks, dad,” I said meaning for everything.

The next morning, the sun was a big, undisturbed blinding orb in the sky. I tossed my back in the back of the car and closed the trunk. My eyelids were heavy from waking up so early, but dad insisted on taking us for 4 am pancakes. After piles of breakfast cakes and bacon, we started packing the car. My toes were tingling with anticipation a lot like I would imagine a dog feels like about before going on walks. Freedom and endless possibles and a mountain of the unknown were almost in the palm of my hands. Butterflies were in every bit of space inside of my body. It was here. I was on my way.
I slid into the tiny driver seat and eased my keys into the ignition. I was being very careful to enjoy every moment. I wouldn’t let stress rule my life. No one knows how low they’ll get; we shouldn’t waste it. I jabbed at the radio buttons until, I heard Hozier come on. I closed my eyes and pictured Stevie smiling and moving back and forth to the music with her hair stuffed into a baseball hat.
“I thought I was getting the first shift,” Benny said as he and Holden piled into the car.
I smiled, “Well I got carried away with the moment. I’ll go first,” I said, fastening my seat built.
“Alright then,” he laughed, doing the same.
“Are you ready? I asked.
“Yep, let’s go,” Benny said grabbing hold of my free hand.