Authors: Savannah Page
Tags: #Fiction, #relationships, #love, #contemporary women, #girlfriends, #single mother, #contemporary women's fiction, #chick lit, #baby, #chicklit, #friendship, #women
a novel by
Also by Savannah Page
When Girlfriends Chase Dreams
When Girlfriends Make Choices
When Girlfriends Break Hearts
Bumped to Berlin
When Girlfriends Step Up
Copyright © 2012, Savannah Page
Print ISBN: 978-1479310142
Digital Release: September 2012
Trade Paperback Release: October 2012
Publisher: Pearls and Pages
Cover Art and Book Design: Pearls and Pages
All rights reserved.
This is a work of fiction. The characters, names, events, and places portrayed in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
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Information about the author and her upcoming books can be found online at
For Heather, a sister who has always believed in me, always encouraged me, and always let me keep on telling stories in the late hours, even when Mom and Dad told us we better keep quiet and get to sleep. I love you. And thank you for being more than a sister.
I would like to thank my dear family and friends for being the rockstars they are!
Many thanks to my super-awesome beta team and girlfriends, Ginger, Anne, Erin, and Jade, for the care and attention they paid to helping make this sequel the best possible. And to my childhood and forever-friend, Crystal, for helping me with all-things-baby.
Special thanks to my editor, Liam Carnahan.
And endless thanks to my husband, my teammate, and my fabulous book cover artist, for never second-guessing my aspirations and abilities.
Ich liebe dich, Christian.
An Unexpected Life.
I set down my aqua-stained brush and stare long and hard at my nearly finished watercolor project. What am I supposed to name this piece of art that I’ve spent the last month trying to perfect? What suitable name can I give a painting that tells the story of the most traumatic, yet exciting moments in my life?
Usually I don’t decide on a title for my paintings or sketches until they’re complete, and even then I may not arrive at a title. So many projects have gone unnamed—shelved into one of my many hobby portfolios.
But this particular painting demands a title. It’s being created during a pivotal time in my life, and it means a great deal to me. Its bursts of yellow and orange represent merriment and hope, while the trickles of blue represent the opposing sentiments: gloom and doubt. The sharp brush strokes tell the moments of fear and panic, while the soft and lengthy strokes are reminders of patience, love, and comfort. The spots of remaining white suggest the unknown or even the moments yet to be lived, and every fraction of paint smattering tells some piece of the story—my story.
The sound of my ringing cell phone snaps me out of my daze and I notice it’s my good friend and roommate, Lara Kearns.
“Hey, girl,” I answer.
“Hi, Robin,” Lara says. “I’m at the store and I can’t decide between strawberry cheesecake or cherry cheesecake ice cream.”
“Well you got chocolate, right?” A girl cannot live on bread alone, but she can certainly make a go at it with chocolate.
“Of course,” she says. “But I wanted to get something fruitier, too. Which one do you think the girls would like better?”
The girls. My close group of girlfriends who’ve been with me since college—going on eight years—are getting together tonight for a birthday party of sorts. And whenever the six of us get together, regardless of the reason, there are most likely plentiful amounts of sweets, cocktails, and food over which our mouths water (and quite possibly our thighs fear). Tonight isn’t going to be any different from any other celebratory night. Well, maybe a tiny bit different. All right, maybe very different since our group of six became seven…or I guess you could say six-and-a-half.
“All right, Robin, I’ll probably be home in an hour,” Lara says, after we decide that both strawberry cheesecake and cherry cheesecake flavors will suffice. “Traffic’s murder. New Years traffic should be over with by now.” She huffs loudly into the receiver. “It’s the third and a Thursday, for goodness sake! God, sometimes I hate Seattle.”
“Oh, you love this city,” I tell her. “Drive safe and I’ll see you when you get here. And don’t forget the pink candles!”
I click off the phone and stare a while longer at my painting. It seems nearly finished; it certainly evokes the complex little details of my life this past year… Complex details…
Life can be a strange thing. A
and strange thing, for sure. See, it all started last March, when I did the most stupid, most thoughtless, most repulsive thing one girlfriend could do to another. I slept with one of my best mate’s boyfriends. It was only one night. One very foolish mistake. One very forgettable evening filled with too much alcohol and too little common sense and self-respect. But all it takes is one time. One mistake. One betrayal.
Sophie Wharton is one of my best friends. We met our freshman year at the University of Washington and over the years practically became sisters. Why I decided to do the unforgivable one drunken night and sleep with Brandon, her boyfriend of three years, I’ll never know. But by the grace of God Sophie found it in her heart to forgive me; to pick up the pieces of our broken friendship and form a stronger bond. We’re better friends now than we’ve ever been. What tore us apart for two months, once the cat was let out of the bag, ended up bringing us together in ways we never could have imagined.
Forgiveness didn’t come easy, of course. There was quite an icy wall between Sophie and myself last spring. I can’t blame Sophie for having shut me out, though. I probably would have done the exact same thing if I had found out one of my best friends had broken a golden rule.
While Sophie and I were facing the worst possible situation in our friendship, I counted every one of my lucky stars that I still had a solid friend in Lara. She encouraged both Sophie and me to make amends—because friendship between women isn’t the type of relationship that you can turn your back on, or pretend never existed. Years upon years of trust, love, care, and compassion for one another amount to
, and should be just the ingredients necessary to leap over gigantic hurdles.
As it turns out, my friendship with Sophie
special and very important, and it wasn’t something that either of us wanted to lose. And thank God! Those two months without Sophie around were painful. And not just because I missed having her as part of my life, but because our problem had grown into a monster, tearing down each and every friendship that the six of us girls had with each other.
Claire Linley, whom I had also met my freshman year at U Dub, alongside Sophie during our orientation camp, felt like she had to literally choose sides, despite her close friendship with both me and Sophie. However, she’s always been closest to Sophie, especially since they became roommates once Sophie moved out of Brandon’s apartment. Claire hated the entire ordeal; the situation, unfortunately, sort of dictated the wobbly ride and the choosing of sides, so to speak.
Emily Saunders, my out-and-about girlfriend, has always been the one with a strong sense of self, always has some wise or helpful input, and is simply there for you in some capacity when you need her, regardless of the situation. Emily was off in Ghana during the disaster—she’s always traveling somewhere—but she remained a good friend, offering sage advice via email, throughout. Of course, the natural strain the affair had on all us girls couldn’t be avoided, no matter how physically far Emily was.
The character of all characters in my group of girls, my friend Jackie Anderson, didn’t know what side of the fence to jump on during the Sophie versus Robin saga last spring. But she’s usually too busy jumping some guy to know up from down. I love Jackie—we all do—but she’s definitely our “fly by the seat of your pants” girlfriend. Often she has enough chaos ensuing in her own life that anything earth-shattering within our group of girls is tepid news to her. However, she was also irked by the whole chaotic mess I had created.
Which brings me back to Lara. Dear Lara was the only girlfriend I actually confided in initially about the mistake with Brandon. So naturally she had a huge secret to keep for me, and while I hated putting her in that position, I needed a BFF to whom I could tell such a story. She hated riding the fence, but she kept the secret that I had slept with Brandon…she kept it simply because I had asked.
That put her in quite the predicament, as one can imagine, since she also had a duty to Sophie to be a good friend. To tell or not to tell… It was a really rough time in all of our lives to say the least. Having Lara as my closest confidant, however, was probably the only thing that kept my head above water.
Perhaps you could say that of all the girls, I share the closest bond with Lara. I’ve felt a strong bond with her ever since I met her at my freshman orientation camp. She was a camp counselor for Claire, Sophie, and I, and she has a natural maternal sense about her that I’ve always appreciated and found comforting.
Lara and I just “got” each other from the get-go. Maybe the fact that we were both from fragmented homes was the foundation for developing a close friendship. Two college girls breaking out on their own in need of support and comfort from someone… Neither of us had a picture perfect home life growing up.
Lara grew up with a single mom after her dad had passed away when she was a young child; and my parents divorced when I was in middle school, leaving me with a single mom who became increasingly forlorn as the years of her “unmarried with kids” status added up. Maybe Lara and I “got” each other because we could relate to one another’s upbringing as single-parent children and the challenges that can pose. Like the lack of self-esteem or self-worth that can develop when a young girl doesn’t have a strong—or any—male role model in her life to love her and encourage her. Or the fear of not being wanted because Dad left and never looked back. The fear of uncertainty because Mom has made her social life a priority, and you’re just in the way most of the time. The constant questioning of the meaning of “love” and whether two people can really find it and keep it, because you know your parents couldn’t. Whether by choice or universal forces, your parents have been split apart and you’re the innocent bystander left wondering what life is all about. Left asking yourself why things happen the way they do and if you’ll have the same bout of bad fortune.
I’ll be the first to admit that my confidence isn’t exactly up to snuff. It’s better now. After this ride of a year I think it’s a lot better, but sometimes I still feel like that shy girl in the corner who’s laughed at by the other kids, ignored by the boys, and whose parents shake their heads in disappointment. I don’t know if my self-esteem walked out when my dad did, or if that’s just a cheap excuse for my lack of confidence. I can’t necessarily blame my parents for my deficiencies, because I do think that at some point we must take responsibility for ourselves and our choices. Do I think my parents’ split plays a role in who I am as a twenty-five-year-old woman today? To some degree, absolutely. But there comes a time when you need to step it up, become a woman, and write (or paint) your own history. I’m doing that now, and it’s an interesting story to craft, let me tell you.