Authors: Nona j. Moss
A novel by
Nona j. Moss
Copyright © 2014 by Nona j. Moss
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be transmitted or reproduced in any form by any means without written permission from the publisher.
Book design by Julie L. Casey
This book is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, or incidents are the product of the author’s imagination and are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.
Print ISBN 978-0692314517
Printed in the United States of America.
For more information, visit
My beautiful daughters,
Asia and Heaven.
Thank you for encouraging
Me to write this one
And for believing I could.
“This is very interesting.” Dr. White says. She is sitting at her desk, my journal in her hands. “I appreciate you letting me read it.”
I nod. She doesn’t expect me to say anything, I hardly ever do.
She is running her finger over the gold letters on the cover. Mandi gave me the journal for my sixteenth birthday, and I wrote in it faithfully.
Until everything happened anyway.
“I have an assignment for you,” Dr. White is saying. She takes a deep breath. “I want
to read this journal.” I watch her lean over the desk, holding the book out to me. Unwillingly, I take it from her. My eyes fill with tears as she sits back down. I don’t want to read the journal.
I don’t want to remember.
“I want you to start it tonight,” she says. “And I want you to bring it with you next week, so we can discuss what you’ve read.”
I watch her stand up. It’s her way of letting me know our time is up.
“You can’t make me do this.” I’m crying hard now. My whole body is shaking.
She puts her arm around my shoulder. “I don’t
you do anything, Nikki. My job is to
you, and I believe this will help you. Listen, Nikki, just try it okay? And then, if you really
do it, we’ll try something else.”
She opens the door that leads to the waiting room. Mandi is there, and she jumps up as soon as she sees us. She rushes over, and gives me a hug.
“Can we speak for a moment?” Dr. White asks her.
Mandi nods. “Of course. Nikki, why don’t you wait for me here?”
They walk back into Dr. White’s office. As soon as the door closes, I go outside. I can’t sit in the waiting room; I can’t breath in there.
There is a bench close to the building, and I sit on it. I’m holding the journal against my chest, like I’m trying to draw warmth from it.
I don’t want to read it. I don’t want to remember. Mandi drops me off at my mom’s house. The house is quiet, and I’m glad. My mother isn’t home. I grab a soda from the refrigerator and go to my room. I sit on my window seat, with the journal in my lap.
I watch the little girl down the street ride her tricycle and her mother clap like she’s never seen anything so wonderful. I’m watching the bluebird on the branch outside of my window, and the bluebird is watching me.
I open the journal and begin to read. And I cry.
Today is my sixteenth birthday. I got this journal from my stepmother, Mandi. She even had my name engraved on the cover. It’s the coolest gift I got.
My dad gave me money as usual. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind getting money. The only thing is, it’s all he ever gives me. Fifty dollars every year, since him and Mom split up. Something different might be nice once in a while.
Mom said she was going to take me shopping last Saturday. She didn’t though, because her boyfriend Brad got tickets to a concert. Obviously, that sounded better than hanging out with me. She didn’t even bother making excuses. “Look!” She said Saturday morning, holding the tickets out to me. “Brad’s taking me to this concert tonight.”
“Tonight?” I asked.
“Well actually, this afternoon. We’re leaving around one, it’s in Kansas City.”
Of course it was, all of the good concerts are in Kansas City. I just stood there looking at her. She expected me to be happy for her, but I wasn’t. I was ticked that she forgot our date, if she forgot. I don’t think she forgot, I think she just found something better to do.
“I’ll be out late,” she told me, smiling like a teenager. “Don’t wait up.”
“I’ll be here.” I went to my room and slammed the door. I was so mad at her, and she just didn’t get it. She didn’t even care how disappointed I was.
My weekend wasn’t too bad, though. Mandi called Saturday afternoon to see if I wanted to work on my scrapbook with her. And Saturday night, I offered to babysit the twins, so Mandi and Dad could go out. Then on Sunday, Mandi took me to my favorite restaurant for lunch. I never even bothered to tell her or my dad that Mom stood me up.
It was almost midnight when Mom got home last night, and she was drunk. I couldn’t believe it when she stuck her head in my room.
“Nikki, you awake?” She was being loud!
“I am now,” I answered.
“Oh, good.” She staggered into my room, and plopped down on my bed. “I just wanted to tell you happy birthday.”
“Gee, thanks, Mom,” I said sarcastically.
She looked wounded. I would have felt sorry for her, too, if it wasn’t for the smell of alcohol running off of her. I felt like I could get drunk off of the fumes.
“I’ll talk to you tomorrow, Mom. I need to get some sleep for school,” I said.
“Well okay, I just wanted to wish you a happy birthday.” I watched her weave her way out of the room.
I fought back the urge to cry. I guess I should just be thankful she didn’t totally forget my birthday, right?
It is Friday night, and I am at my dad’s house. I decided to spend the weekend here, mainly because I am avoiding my mom. I have not said more than two words to her since my birthday. Also she had a date with Brad tonight, which means she will most likely get home late and be drunk.
I never have to worry about that at Dad and Mandi’s house because they don’t drink. Ever. Sometimes I think about moving in here. I know my mom would be furious, though; she’s not a big fan of Mandi or Dad. Not that she has any right to be bitter; she’s the one who wanted the divorce. It’s just that she thinks Dad should have stayed single and lonely and spent all of his money on me. Evidently she doesn’t think the four hundred a month she gets in child support is enough.
This morning Mandi said she had someone for me to meet.
“My best friend is coming for dinner,” she said as she poured blueberry muffin mix in the muffin cups. “And she’s bringing her son, Cody. I think you’ll like him; he’s really great. Of course, he’s pretty cute, too.”
“Seriously! He looks just like his dad, and I used to have a huge crush on him.”
I rinsed the bowl she handed me and put it in the dishwasher. I like working in the kitchen with Mandi; it always feels so normal.
Mandi’s best friend’s name is Trish. She showed up around six with a huge smile and her gorgeous son. Trish was cool, and I swear she never stopped smiling. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a beautiful thirty-six-year-old woman. She looked like she should be on the cover of a magazine. Cody though, wow! He has long blond hair, and grey eyes. ‘Pretty cute’ didn’t come close to describing him. He has a soft voice, and when he said my name, it sounded beautiful. I liked him instantly.
Before dinner, we sat in the living room with Jaren and Jena, the twins. I love spending time with the twins! They are two years old, and the world revolves around them when I am around.
“Do you want to go for a drive after dinner?” Cody asked, while we played with the kids.
“Sure,” I answered. “That sounds great.” After dinner I helped Mandi put the twins to bed. “Cody asked me to go for a drive. Is that alright?” I asked her. “Sure, just try to be home by eleven.” We drove around for a while and went out for ice cream. I could have listened to him talk for hours. I guess he lives with his mom in the richest part of town. His dad is in the Navy and is stationed overseas. He comes home every six or nine months to be with his family, and then he’s off again. I thought that was a sad relationship to have, but Cody seems alright with it. He said it was better than moving to different places all of the time. I guess I just can’t imagine not seeing my dad for such a long time.
He had me back at my dad’s house by ten thirty. On the front porch, he asked if I would go on a real date with him sometime. Naturally I said I would. He gave me a kiss on the cheek, took my phone number, and left.
When I walked in the house, Mandi was sitting on the couch reading.
“Hi,” I said.
She smiled up at me, and put the book down. “Hi, did you have a good time?”
“Oh yeah!” I knew I was beaming. “He asked me out again.”
“Too cool! I told you he was cute, didn’t I?”
We sat and talked for a few more minutes, and then Mandi yawned and stood up. “I guess I’ll head to bed since you’re home safe.”
“You waited up for me?”
“Of course.” I watched her walk out of the room, my mouth hanging open. I don’t think anyone has ever waited up for me to get in before. At my mom’s house, I don’t even have a curfew. I felt special, for a few minutes anyway. Mandi’s pretty cool.
I’m back at my mom’s house. I came home yesterday, even though I didn’t want to.
“You’re welcome to stay during the week, too, Nikki,” Mandi said as I was getting out of her van. “I would be happy to help you get to and from school.”
I tried to smile and say thank you. I didn’t know my unhappiness was so obvious. I wonder if my mom sees it, too. Maybe if she did, she would work a little harder at being a good mom. Probably not, though, she’s a pretty selfish person.
I tried to tell my mom about Cody. She wanted to know how I managed to meet a boy at my dad’s house. When I told her about Trish being Mandi’s best friend, she instantly clammed up. She has already decided she doesn’t like him!
I went for dinner with Cody tonight. He’s just so great to be around. I didn’t introduce him to my mom, though. Thankfully she was in the shower when he showed up. I wrote a quick note and slipped out the door. I was afraid she would come out of the bathroom wrapped in a towel or something. She’s actually done that in front of my friends before!
Cody brought me home around ten thirty and gave me another sweet kiss on the cheek. My happiness was short lived as usual, though.
The first thing I noticed when I walked through the door was my mom yelling. I was about to go in the kitchen and check on her, when I heard Brad’s voice. I wasn’t going in there if those two were arguing.
I came to my room and locked the door. I can still hear them yelling, though, and frankly it’s a little scary.
I don’t like Brad. He is so arrogant, and he walks around like he’s God’s gift to women. He’s not; believe me! Mom and Brad have been fighting a lot lately. It must be about time for her to trade him in.
Brad finally left, after a two-hour argument. He got mad enough to pick up a lamp and slam it on the floor. That was when Mom told him to get the hell out of her house. I’m guessing he won’t be back any time soon.
My mom has been just horrible! She’s so crabby, I was actually happy she went out tonight. She went to a club with her best friend, Lisa. Lisa is single, too; actually she and Mom got divorces around the same time. Coincidence?
I know my mom is bummed out because she broke up with Brad. I bet she’s looking for another boyfriend even as I write this. She usually doesn’t go long without one.
I just got home from another wonderful date with Cody. It doesn’t matter where we go or what we do, as long as we’re together. Whenever he drops me off, I stand there on the porch and watch as he pulls away. I stand there and wait to see if he will come back, but he doesn’t. I feel so empty when he is gone, so alone.
I’ve never felt this way about a guy before. I haven’t spent much time dating, though. Usually I just stay at home; I don’t even have any real girlfriends. I don’t like inviting boys to my house, because my mom likes to walk round the house in lace nighties when she is home. And to have a girl spend the night absolutely horrifies me. I mean, what if Mom came in all drunk and pissed off? My life would be over! I would die from embarrassment.
Cody is different, though. I wish I could invite him in, just so he wouldn’t leave! I wish he could just come in and hang out for a while. Instead, I just watch him drive away.
Cody and I had so much fun tonight! We took Jaren and Jena trick-or-treating in his neighborhood. The twins were dressed as Raggedy Ann and Andy; they were adorable. I’ve never seen so much candy! The people in Cody’s neighborhood handed it out by the handful! Jaren and Jena had a great time, too. Whenever someone answered the door, they would yell “Twick-o-tweet,” as loud as they could. And they totally loved all of the attention they got.
Mom has a new boyfriend; I knew it wouldn’t take long. His name is Chris, and he reminds me a lot of Brad. You know, the arrogant asshole type? I can’t believe the kind of guys she picks. So anyway, when I came home last night, he was sprawled out on the couch watching football. He looked up when I walked in.
“Well, well, who’re you?” he asked, taking a huge drink of his beer.
My mom appeared from the kitchen, holding a tray of food. “That’s my daughter.”
“Your daughter, huh? She sure looks like you.”
Chris was making me very uncomfortable, and I could tell by the way my mom was looking at me she wasn’t pleased. I didn’t say a word; I just walked past them to my room and locked the door.
I wish my mom wouldn’t bring her boyfriends home. It’s my house, too, but I have absolutely no say about it. Guys like Chris and Brad make me nervous, especially when they look at me like that. It’s gross, and it’s rude. I know that even though my mom has a lot of faults, she would never let them get near me, but still.
Oh God, I am so sick of my mom and the jerks she brings home! Chris hasn’t even gone home since Monday. And he is so rude. All he does is sit on the couch and drink beer—he’s so disgusting. Mom has been drinking a lot lately, too. If she keeps it up, she’ll be a regular lush!
Every second I spend in this house, I am depressed. Mom doesn’t notice, though, because she is too busy catering to the pig on the couch. She even cooks for him! She never cooks.
My only happiness is the time I spend with Cody. All day I wait until I can see his car parked in front of my school. All day I fear he won’t be there. I convince myself that he somehow found out how weird my mom is. Sometimes I convince myself that I’ve finally gone crazy, and he never really existed at all. He’s always there, though, standing by his car with a huge smile. He makes me feel like he’s really happy to see me.
Cody is the first boy I’ve actually dated. I guess because I spend all of my time locked away in my room. I’m sure I had couple of boyfriends in grade school, but I never had to go anywhere with them. Cody is special, though. I can’t wait to see him whenever we’re apart. Cody is beautiful and wonderful and perfect in every way.
Oh Cody, please don’t ever leave me.