Authors: M.S. Brannon
By: M.S. Brannon
Copyright © 2014 M.S. Brannon. All rights reserved.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any written, electronic, recording, or photocopying without written permission from the author. The exception would be in case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews or pages where permission is specifically granted by the author.
This book is a work of fiction and the events surrounding this book are fictitious. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any similarity to actual events, locations, organizations, or persons live or dead, is entirely coincidental and not intended by the author.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Cover Design: Robin Ludwig Designs Inc
Editing and Formatting: C&D Editing
I don’t wanna feel no more
It’s easier to keep falling
Imitations are pale
Emptiness all tomorrow’s
Haunted by your ghost
Lay down, black gives way to blue
Lay down, I’ll remember you
Fading out by design
Consciously avoiding changes
Curtains drawn, now it’s done
Silencing all tomorrows
Forcing a goodbye
Lay down, black gives way to blue
Lay down, I’ll remember you
~Black Gives Way to Blue,
Alice In Chains
My legs are moving; I’m stepping with one foot in front of the other. The weight of my baby girl in my arms is keeping me in the present as I walk from the funeral home toward the Chevelle. My body is weak—my heart has been broken into so many pieces I’m finding it impossible to stand after the agonizing loss of Presley. There is nothing left inside to bust because every vital thing that keeps me alive has shattered.
The cool spring breeze connects with Mia’s face as she sucks in a breath then smiles, her grin stretching across her cheeks. I look into her eyes—Presley’s eyes—and get the small, rejuvenating bit of energy I need to keep going for just one more day.
The night Presley died, I saw Carter’s gun lying on the concrete. It took an act of God not to pick up the pistol and end all of my suffering. If I didn’t have Mia, I can honestly say I’d be dead. Nothing in that moment felt worth living for until Mia’s precious face flashed into my mind; the thought of abandoning my daughter snapped me back from the darkest thoughts of my existence. I know I can’t give up on life right now.
My mind is disconnected and my heart is an empty shell, yet this little angel needs her father. I won’t be like my parents. I won’t abandon my child because of my own selfishness. I have one more life to live for and she’s the only piece of Presley I have left. For Mia, I will go on. The road will be the hardest I’ll ever travel, but I’ve got to believe in the hope of my little Mia, and the hope my family will help carry me to a future.
I lean down and strap Mia in her car seat. I press my lips to her forehead and whisper, “I won’t give up on you, my sweet girl. Just be patient with Daddy, okay?”
I kiss her again on the top of her head and her small, soft hand touches my cheek. The water fills my eyes as this simple gesture from my one-year-old daughter tells me she understands. She may be a baby, however this little girl knows her daddy is barely hanging onto life.
I walk to the other side of the car and then drive home, wiping the falling tears from my face. As I pull into the driveway, I’m reminded of the night Presley died—that night four days ago that has stripped my soul raw and left me a hollow, empty nothing.
Mia has quickly fallen asleep on the short drive home, something she commonly does when she rides in the car. As gently as possible, I take her from her car seat and trudge up the stairs. This is the second time I’ve climbed the back stairs since Presley has died.
Will I always do this—connect every moment I have back to the night she was killed? Will this be how I’m supposed to measure time? The thought disgusts me and slices me open all at once. Will I ever escape the pain?
I kiss Mia before laying her down in her crib and then walk back to my room. I’ve spent the last four days holed up in this prison.
I stare at our bed. The night before she died, we spent hours making love in this bed. I held her as we connected ourselves inside and out. Now, it’s just an empty reminder of something I will never have again. I stand there, staring intently at a symbol of the happiness I once felt. It’s
now the agony I will never escape.
I’m nineteen-years-old, and I’m almost completely dead on the inside. The smallest sliver of my heart that’s still alive is reserved for Mia. I will never love anyone as much as I loved Presley. And now, I have a lifetime of solitude to suffer through.
However, when I close my eyes, she’s still here. Everywhere I turn, Presley is there. I can smell her soft, delicate skin and taste her sweet cherry lips. If I close my eyes hard enough I can see her lying underneath me in our bed. I can feel her warm, tiny body attached to mine as I express every ounce of love I have for her through my kiss. She is my heart and the other half of my life, and now, that life no longer exists.
Tears break free once again and I allow them to fall down through the stubble grown across my face. The room is suffocating me. I’m choking on my own pain and need to leave. Just for a moment, I want to be numb of everything I’ve been through the last few days.
I storm from my room and numb the only way my family knows how. Booze. I need to get drunk, just like I needed it four days ago. The house is quiet and my thoughts are raging, I need peace. Solace and peace.
“God, just for a moment, can I please have that?” I beg into the open air.
I yank open the door and pull the half empty bottle of whiskey left in the cupboard. Unscrewing the cap, I tip the glass to my lips and allow a few more tears to fall down my face.
“Here’s to the rest of a useless life,” I toast to no one and chug down the whiskey. It instantly burns and calms my insides. The raging ocean of emotions I can’t seem to shake is finally subduing, and it’s welcome. Jack Daniels is always welcome to ease my agony. Always.
I rip my tucked-in shirt from the waistband of my pants and move down the back stairs. The last time I wore this fucking shirt was when I saw Presley in rehab. I will never wear this piece of shit again. Still grasping the bottle, I rip open my shirt, popping buttons as my chest is exposed to the cold, damp air.
I walk to the driveway and see the spot where I last held Presley alive. My boots scuff the pavement when I walk toward the dreaded spot. I hold the bottle to my lips again and chug. Then again and again. It’s burning my gut and suffocating my throat, but I keep gulping it down. My legs give out, collapsing to the concrete. The pain stings when my knees connect with the ground. I relish in it. It’s more welcome than the pain in my heart.
“This is the only way I can get you out of my mind,” I whisper out loud to no one, or maybe to her, but I don’t fucking know. “I need you out of my mind. I need peace for just a day. I love you, Presley, but I just need peace.” I expel a deep breath and choke back another drink. “Don’t hate me, baby, but please…give me some peace.”
I lay down on the cold concrete just as the rain begins to pick up again. I don’t care. I want to be in this spot. I want to be with her. And I want to be numb. I choke back a few more drinks until the bottle is empty then close my eyes, envisioning only her honey-brown irises and the world I will no longer possess.
My head is throbbing and my gut is churning. I roll my neck to the side and feel the ache all the way down my shoulders. Where the hell am I? I crack my eyes open, causing a searing pain
just to touch them. It’s too bright. Everything hurts.
When I finally open my eyes fully, I can see I’m in the garage, sitting up on the couch with Jeremy asleep next to me. The Challenger is missing, which I find strange since Jeremy is passed out on the couch. The last thing I remember is falling onto the driveway with a bottle of Jack in my hands. I was begging to be numb and it looks like I got my wish.
I sit forward and roll my shoulders around, loosening them slightly, then expel a deep breath. Drinking is one way to kill the pain inside my heart, but now I feel worse inside and out. Fuck! I can’t get a break.
Standing from the couch, I see my shirt is torn and my pants feel stiff. Jeremy awakens on the couch and looks just as bad as I feel. I can tell he hasn’t slept in days and it appears he may have lost a little weight. I immediately sympathize for him. If he feels half as bad as I do, I can’t imagine how I look.
“Hey,” Jeremy whispers as he stands beside me. He rolls his shoulder around, just as I did, and stretches his arms above his head.
“How did I get in here?”
“You were passed out in the middle of the driveway. I almost hit you with the car. The three of us drug you in here and I stayed to keep an eye on you.” Jeremy moves to the mini fridge and pulls out two cans of Mountain Dew. He motions with his eyes, asking if I want a drink, and I extend my arm out, taking it from him.
My mouth is dry and I welcome the moisture from the soda as I chug most of it in one huge swallow. “Sorry I took up the couch. I know how you like sleeping in here. Where’s your car?”
Jeremy looks me in the eyes then quickly looks down at his feet. “Jake busted in needing the car. God only knows where he’s going, but it’s no problem…staying in here. Reggie wouldn’t let you be left alone. You were in pretty bad shape. The drunkest I’ve ever seen.”
“Yeah, well, a bottle of whiskey will do that to you,” I snap back, not realizing how cruel I sound. “Look, Jeremy, I’m sorry. I just...just…” I can’t form a sentence. I’m afraid that, if I talk about her, I will break down again. I don’t want to break down any more, however as her face passes through my memory, the tears once again surface.
Before I can stop myself, I collapse onto the couch and begin to sob all over again. The hurt living inside my chest is too much and I can’t hold it in. I fold forward, cupping my face in my hands. The moisture of my tears is soaking my palms as the hurt keeps falling from my eyes. I want to stop this pain more than I want to breathe, yet it just keeps festering inside of me, refusing to let go.
The couch concaves next to me and Jeremy’s warm hand comes to my shoulder. He doesn’t say a word. His hand merely squeezes and releases with every onslaught of emotion bleeding from my wounded insides.
This is exactly what I need. My family will stand behind me no matter what. They will take my pain as their own just to relieve me of it; if only for a brief time. Jeremy and I never really had conversations beyond cars and girls, but once Presley got back from rehab, he’s made it a point to talk to me more, and now, his comforting hand is speaking to me. It tells me he will always be there for me. I know I will be able to overcome this eventually, and it’s moments like
this that will keep a small sliver of hope alive inside of me.
Several minutes go by before I can calm myself down enough to speak. I wipe the tears away with the back of my hand and look over to Jeremy, feeling slightly embarrassed at my actions. Jeremy just claps me on the back, giving me a comforting smile in return.
“Sorry, man,” I whisper.
“Look, Drake, there’s something we need to talk about. Something you need to know and I want to tell you, but I don’t know how.” As Jeremy leans back against the couch, I can tell he’s torn up with his thoughts. Actually, I’ve never seen him so upset. Something’s obviously bothering him, however to be honest, I can’t hear anything right now. My emotions are on overload and stripped raw. If one more thing gets added to my shoulders, it will break me for good.