Authors: Mellie George
By Mellie George
Copyright © 2013 Mellie George
All Rights Reserved
This book is a work of fiction.
Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the
products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any
resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely
To my husband and daughters for all
their support, encouragement, and love.
So, my name is
Lilly Harrington, and this is my story. I will warn you that it starts out like
most stories: with a woman reflecting back on her life and wondering, “What am
I supposed to do?” And that woman would be me. My story really is kind of
typical (or cliché, depending on how you look at it). Single girl living a
great independent life that goes back to her hometown for the first time in
eleven years for a wedding. And of course, as most stories go, things happened
there that made me question every decision I made since leaving. See? It sounds
like the plot for a cheesy made-for-TV movie, doesn’t it? But now, here I am, almost
a month later, wondering where to go from here. What do you do when your head
and your heart tell you two different things? Which path do you choose?
me go back a bit. As I mentioned before, this all started a few weeks ago when
I flew back to my hometown of Glenbrook, Georgia. Never heard of it? Yeah,
most people haven’t either. It’s a tiny town right near the southeastern most
part of the state, right outside of Kingsland (which is a small town in itself)
and there are only 4, 186 people in my hometown. I never had a problem having
roots to such a small town, but from an early age, I knew it was one that I
would eventually outgrow. Ever since I was four years old, I knew I wanted to
cook. I know what you are thinking. That’s kind of weird. Most children dream
of growing up to be doctors, lawyers, brave policemen, some even singers or
actors. But, I was different. We all dream of something, and mine was to be a
talented chef. I can remember playing make-believe that I owned my own
restaurant in my little play kitchen. I think I went through four Easy Bake
Ovens in my youth. I loved being in the kitchen, concocting something that
tasted amazing out of simple ingredients. I loved the look on people’s faces
when they tasted something I made and enjoyed it. I knew that cooking was what
made me happy, and what I wanted to do for the rest of my life so when I
graduated high school, I went out into the world, determined to make my dream
come true. And I did. After double majoring in Culinary Arts and Business
Management at UCLA, studying my ass off, and basically sacrificing every fun
part of the collegiate experience, I did it. I was Lilly Harrington, one of
the top and most in-demand chefs in California, and was personally head hunted
by Jean-Luc Pinchot to work as the head chef at his restaurant Mystique in San
Francisco. My name was out there professionally, and I was getting hundreds of
calls weekly for celebrity events. I was in control of my fate, and my life
was great. I lived in a beautiful studio apartment, I had amazing friends, I
had a career I loved, and I didn’t have the pressures of relationships to stand
in the way of that career. I was never one that wanted, needed, or depended on
a man to make me happy. In my quest to reach my goals, I felt that romance was
a necessary sacrifice. I have always been a driven and self sufficient woman,
and I never saw that changing.
last night I was in San Francisco, my two best friends and I decided on having
dinner and drinks together since it was the last time I would see them for
three weeks. I hadn’t had a vacation in five years, and I was very,
lucky to be getting one right before Christmas. Most importantly, the younger of
my two sisters was getting married and the wedding was planned at the right
time for me to finally get away from the city and visit with my family. Her
wedding was in two weeks, and I was staying for another week to spend Christmas
there. At that point I hadn’t been home since I left for college, and even
though things in Georgia are remarkably different than California, I admit I
was happy to be able to see my family again. There was no real reason why I had
never been back…I simply just hadn’t. We had always been a tight knit little
group, even if it was from a distance, and I know they were thrilled that we
would see each other again on home soil instead of coming to me, especially
over the Christmas holiday.
Anyway, I met
my friends Tara and Alejandro at our favorite restaurant 3-6-9. I remember when
I stepped out of the cab…
Lilly! Finally! Where have you been, girl? We are starving!” yelled Tara.
She flicked the cigarette she was smoking on the ground and stomped on it
impatiently. Tara and I were roommates all four years of college, and she
ended up working for a top California PR firm. She could be a little bossy and
brash, but she was one of my best friends and I loved her.
it took me twenty minutes to hail a cab. And, don’t whine. I’m only twelve
minutes late.” I looked past Tara and waved at Alejandro. He was UCLA alumni
too. Alejandro had been a double major in marketing and fashion design, and was
now making his living as a top wedding coordinator. We met on our first day of
classes our freshman year, and I instantly loved him. He was funny, fiercely
loyal, encouraging, and spontaneous. Too bad he was gay…otherwise he’d be my
“Oh, girl, you
know Tara. Twelve minutes is like a lifetime,” said Alejandro. “But, seriously,
thank God you are here. Maybe now she’ll stop bitching.” Tara very charmingly
flipped him off, and he just smiled back sarcastically. They really couldn’t
stand each other, but they kept the peace because I loved them both and wasn’t
about to give either of them the boot.
“Well, we are
all here now, so let’s eat. This is a celebration! This is my last night in
town for a few weeks and we won’t get to see each other for the holidays this
year,” I said. Tara stuck her bottom lip out in a pout and I and said, “Don’t
get all pouty on me, it’s not like I’m moving there. We’ve been together every
single Christmas since we all met. Eventually one of us was going to branch off
for the holidays. Besides, I think it will be nice to spend Christmas back
home. I so need this vacation.”
“I would hardly call a wedding in a podunk little town a vacation. It sounds
more like my idea of purgatory.”
“Hey, now, I
love my little podunk town, thank you very much. Granted, seeing my baby
sister getting married is a little strange, but I haven’t seen my family in,
like, forever, so I am excited for that,” I replied. And I was telling the
truth. I was glad to be able to spend some time with them, and catch up with old
friends in town. I wonder if
still lived there….
interrupted my wandering thoughts, saying “Well, enough of this blah blah
hometown boring conversation. I want to tear this town up with my BFF before
she leaves me for three weeks! You know, in Cali, three weeks is like a
lifetime! You are going forget me!” I looked at Alejandro and he rolled his
eyes and mouthed “oh my God”.
is no way in the world I could forget you in the span of three weeks,” I
replied. “You leave a lasting impression.”
the point I’m making is that we are all going to miss you like crazy while you
are down at the little country Christmas wedding on the plantation or whatever,”
she said, with a smile. “Just promise me one thing, Lil.”
meeting some hot country boy and abandoning us forever,” she said.
I laughed and
rolled my eyes. “Yeah, Tara, that’ll happen,” I said. There was no one back
home that I cared about like that. Well, except for… “Okay, let’s stop wasting
time, I’ve got a plane to catch in the morning, so let’s get our drink on,
bitches!” I shouted, and we headed into the restaurant together.
morning, I woke up nauseated and my head was splitting. It felt like a big
burly construction worker was jack hammering on my skull. Ugh, I knew I
shouldn’t have drank that much. I was trying to avoid flying hung over. I
blame Alejandro. He was the one that kept ordering pitcher after pitcher of
margaritas. Thankfully, I hadn’t packed my bottle of Excedrin, so I popped two
of them, and washed them down with water. I had decided to treat myself and
fly first class, so I was hoping for my appetite to come back because they
always serve a pretty decent breakfast. But, a growling roar coming from my
stomach pretty much dashed those hopes. I checked my carryon bag and made sure
that I had some Pepto Bismol in there. My cab arrived right on time, and I did
a double check to make sure I didn’t forget anything. After making sure
everything was ready, I grabbed my luggage and my plane ticket, locked my
apartment, took a deep breath, and began my trip home.
I made it
through airport security okay. No pat downs, thank goodness. While I was waiting
for the plane to board, my phone rang. I looked at the caller ID and half-smiled.
Of course my mom would be calling me at four o’clock on the morning of my
flight home. “Hey Mama,” I answer.
good, I was hoping I’d catch ya before your flight! I take it you haven’t
boarded yet if you are talkin’ to me,” she says warmly.
yet. Probably in about five minutes or so. What’s up? It’s gotta be like seven
in the morning there, why are you up so early?”
four o’clock there,” she said with a chuckle. “Anyway, I was callin’ you since
you are going to be here in time for dinner for the first time since you left
for college,” she pauses and sniffs, “I was just wondering if you still liked
barbecue turkey,” she asked, with a slight crack in her voice. I could feel the
guilt radiating from her over the phone.
don’t-wait, what?” She called me to ask about turkey?
“Well, I know
that people’s tastes can change over the course of eleven years or so, not that
I’m counting mind you,” she sniffs again, “And I just wondered if you lost your
taste for home cookin’ while you have been living in California cooking all of
that fancy food of yours.”
barbecue turkey sounds great.” My stomach rolled in protest.
makes me happy to hear that. So, is that okay for dinner then?” she asked me.
that sounds good, Mama.” In all honesty, southern comfort food wasn’t something
I ate now. Like, at all. I tried my best to eat healthy and I knew anything and
everything I would be eating the next three weeks would be loaded with butter
and deep fried. But, I didn’t want to start my visit off on a bad note. I would
just have to exercise more to make sure that all that food didn’t show. “So,
how’s everything else? How are you and Violet handling the wedding plans?”
I heard my
mother sigh. “Lil, you know your sister. She cares too much about what others
think. She stressing herself out over trying to make everything perfect that I
think she’s forgetting to enjoy herself. I am so glad that you will be here
these last few weeks. She always used to listen to you, and I think with your
knowledge and advice she might calm down a little bit.”
“Well, I’ll do
my best, but Vi is a force of nature. How has Daisy been with all of this? I
thought she was the maid of honor,” I said.
is Daisy. She’s helping as best she can, but this just isn’t her thing, you
know that. Bless her though, she’s trying,” said my mother, a hint of a smile
in her voice. Daisy is the middle sister of the three of us, three years
younger than I am. Independent like me, but just a tad more rebellious by
nature. I can imagine her picking out bridesmaid dresses, floral arrangements,
wedding favors…the thought makes me chuckle. At least I know the bachelorette
party will be awesome. Just then, a voice from overhead said, “Flight 432 to Saint
Mary’s, Georgia now boarding.”
are they callin’ your flight, darlin’?” asked Mama.
“Yes, I have
to go. I’ll see you in a little while,” I said, grabbing my carryon bag.
“Yes, in a
little while,” she said, her voice cracking slightly again. “Your Daddy and I
can’t wait to see you!”
“Me too, see
you soon. Love you,” I said.
“Love you too,
sugar, have a safe flight. Goodbye!”
“Bye, Mama,” I
said, and with that last goodbye, I turned my phone off and boarded my plane
hey!” he called, bounding up the front porch steps of my house. He walked over
to me quickly and sat down next to me on the porch swing. “I heard you are
leaving for college tomorrow. Why so soon? We just graduated a week ago.”
Luke, I have a chance to start UCLA early. Besides, I don’t want to sit around
all summer doing nothing,” I said.
at me, and cocked his head to the side. “I would hardly call me ‘nothing’,” he
I rolled my
eyes and laughed. “In your dreams, buddy.”
it’s your last night in town, come to the Summer Festival with me tonight. God
only knows when we’ll see each other again!”