Authors: B. N. Toler
B N TOLER
Copyright 2014 Brandy Toler
All Rights Reserved
This book or parts thereof may not be reproduced in any form, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means without prior written permission of the authors, except as provided by United States of America copyright law.
Print ISBN-13: 978-1499113174
Cover Design: Cover to Cover Designs
The Author’s Mentor,
The following is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are fictitious or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, to factual events or to businesses is coincidental and unintentional.
PUBLISHED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
TO THOSE WHO FORGIVE
“The weak can never forgive.
Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
y head pounds as I open my eyes and the first rays of sunlight beam into them like a laser seeking to burn out my retinas. I quickly snap them shut attempting to block the bright light from worsening my headache. My mouth is dry with the sticky remnants of too much wine.
God, why did I drink so much last night?
Hangovers at thirty-two are not the same as they were in my twenties. I’ll be in recovery for days.
In spite of the head
ache and exhaustion
my life being in complete upheaval, I actually had a good time last night. My baby sister, Tia, just got back from Mexico—one of her many world travels—and she insisted we head out for a ladies night on the town. I hadn’t been out on one of those in ages.
“I won’t let you sit at home and fret over that ass of an ex-hu
sband of yours. We’re going out,”
she demanded when she phoned me yesterday.
“He’s not my ex-husband, Tia
. We’re still married,”
I pointed out
. “We’re just taking some time apart.”
, Phi, I’m sorry, but whatever is going on, he left you here alone. I’m not going to let you sit on your ass waiting for him to come back. You’re getting out and having some fun tonight.”
I didn’t bother to tell her I forced him to leave.
Deep down, I knew she was right. I needed to get out and stop feeling sorry for myself. The few days without Brandon and our two daughters have been awful. I can’t remember the last time the house was so quiet. Brandon took our daughters, Chloe and Ferrah, with him to his parent’s house in New York for the next month or two. He’s a professor and off for the summer so when we agreed to take some time apart, or rather I said I needed it, he left with the girls and I stayed here. I was reluctant to let him take our daughters all summer, but we agreed a summer on the beach would be more fun for a seven and nine year old than sitting at home with their mother.
Barely one day
passed before my wild and unruly little sister, Tia, swooped in and forced me out for drinks and some laughs. She didn’t attempt to discuss my current marital issues and instead talked about herself, knowing I was barely holding it together. Despite my woes, I tried to clear my mind and focus on her every word. What I didn’t focus on were the drinks she kept ordering, which inevitably led to this lovely makes-me-want-to-jump-out-of-my-second-story-window-to-end-my-misery hangover I now have. Tia has a liver made of steel and can hold her own. I don’t doubt that when she passes away, old and decrepit, they’ll study the organ for its mythical regulation of chemicals. But her older sister, who hasn’t partied hard in years, is another story and I’m paying for it today.
As I lay praying my head will stop throbbing
, unsure if I can muster up the energy to crawl out of bed and pee, which I need to do desperately, my bedroom door flies open.
-wakey, eggs and bakey,” Tia chimes as she hops on my bed, jolting me, causing my stomach to lurch.
, Tia?” I groan as I pull the covers over my head, partly to block her out and partly because when I got home last night, I stripped all of my clothes off and climbed in bed, too drunk to search for a night gown.
“Get your ass out of bed!”
she laughs as she nudges me with her shoulder. “I’ve got a full day planned for us.”
“I have plans tod
ay,” I moan from under the blankets.
, yeah? What plans are those, Phi?” she questions, her voice incredulous. “Lay in bed, wallowing in self-pity and despair?”
I cringe with her words. That was a low blow.
“Well, for starters, I plan on dying,” I grumble as a wave of nausea makes me gag.
She lets out a laugh and I wince
at how light and jovial it sounds. Tia is nine years younger than me, every bit a young woman with beautiful brown eyes, long blonde hair, and a rocking body to boot; a version of me at her age. I love her dearly, but in a way, her life feels so foreign to me. I’m married with children while she’s traveling the world, smoking pot, free of responsibility. While I’ve been kissing boo-boo’s, wiping snotty noses, and playing housewife to a husband that’s been working his way to tenure at a prestigious university, Tia has been making love on beaches and sunbathing. Our differences are vast, but she’s still my best friend, though I worry to death about her. I want to see her settle down, plant some roots. But every time I’ve ever said this to her she replies,
“I’m a leaf on the wind. Watch how I soar.”
Suddenly her laughter dissipates and she’s still.
“Hey, Phi.” Gone is the humor from her voice and I pull my sheet down to find her staring up at the ceiling as she lies beside me. “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” She turns her head towards me and her expression is soft. “Let’s get started.” With that she rolls off
the bed and bounces to my bathroom, starting the shower. “Get up and wash your stinky ass,” she orders me as she pulls her cell phone from her pocket and starts running her thumb over the screen.
e just let me sleep,” I whine and pull the covers over my head once again. As I close my eyes, the blankets are jerked away
and I’m left shocked and naked on the mattress.
As I sna
p up, I hear a beep and realize Tia has snapped a photo of me on her cell phone.
“I’m naked!” I spat at her.
“Gee, I don’t know what a naked person looks like, Phi,” she says dryly and rolls her eyes as she turns the phone and snaps another photo of me. “Could you smile?” She looks at her phone with a thoughtful expression. “You kind of look evil in this one.”
Give me the blankets back!” I growl as I lunge towards the end of the bed while trying to keep my lady bits covered with my hands and arms, but Tia backs away, laughter stitched across her face, rolling like thunder from her mouth.
Dalton, get your ass in that shower or so help me I’ll text these pictures to Brandon!” Her eyes go wide as if she’s daring me to doubt she’d do it.
s seen me naked before!” I hiss.
“Oh, I forgot to men
tion I’ll say your lover took them,” she squeals as I lunge at her once again and she bolts out of my bedroom door taking the blankets with her.
“You are such a bitch!” I yell as I plop down on my mattress in defeat.
“I love you, too,” she yells back from down the hall.
This is just like Tia—all games.
After a few minutes of lying naked and cold on my bed, I force myself up and move sluggishly to the shower. Once I’ve washed, I brush my long, wet hair and emerge from the bathroom to find Tia throwing clothes in my suit case.
“What are you doing?” I ask baffled
, staring at her blankly.
“I’m packing your suit case
,” she says with a
I can see that,” I answer annoyed. “For what?” I stand wrapped in a bath towel watching her as she digs through the top drawer of my dresser. She pulls out a pair of underwear and makes a weird face before cutting her eyes to me.
, Phi? What are you? A hundred or something?” she asks holding the underwear for me to see.
“What’s wrong with those?” I
panties.” She twists her mouth and shakes her head in disgust dropping them on the floor at her feet before continuing to dig through my drawer.
“They are not,” I argue.
“You could para drop a tank with those things.”
“That was not an exaggeration,” she laughs.
“Tia, what are you doing?”
“Aha! Now were talking.” She grins as she stretches a pair of my black lace thongs between her hands and waggles her eyebrows. “So sexy, Phi.”
I lunge for her and snap the pantie
s from her hands and she snorts at me before returning back to my drawer. “We’re going on a trip,” she states matter-of-factly.
I stare at her blankly waiting for her to clarify, but she doesn’t. Instead she continues to sort through my drawer, tossing all of my comfy underwear in a pile on the floor, and flinging the panties s
he finds acceptable in the suitcase on my bed.
“Tia.” I say her name and she turns to me
, an exhausted sigh escaping her when she sees my expression.
, you have an entire summer without Brandon or the girls. Let’s travel, go places, see people. You need to get out.”
“I can’t just leave.”
My eyes scan the room as I try to come up with a valid reason.
“I have to look out for the house and…”
Because I’m depressed and want to hide away from the world.
arches an eye brow. “And wait around for Brandon to decide whether he wants to be married to you anymore or not?” Her words are harsher than the tone she delivers them with and I wince. In truth, I’m the one that’s trying to decide if
want to be married to Brandon or not. I’m the one that made
I shake my head and
bend down, snatching up a pair of panties on the floor and walk into my closet, opting not to respond to her last statement. Tia knows how to get what she wants and that was just her way of trying to manipulate me.
, I’m sorry. But you know I’m right. He’s off living large in the Hamptons while you’re sitting here miserable.”
“He’s with our girls
,” I point out as I slip my bra on.
“Yeah. But we both know your in-laws have prob
ably hired a nanny and Brandon’s not staying home every night playing daddy.”
“Tia.” I poke my head out of my closet doorway as I bend to slide on a pair of jeans. “Brandon and I have our problems, but you can’t say anything about the kind of father he is. He’s an excellent
dad.” And it’s true. One of the things I find sexiest about Brandon is what an amazing father he is. The girls are crazy about him.
“I didn’t say he was a bad
dad. I said he’s not sitting at home every night playing daddy. Geez, Phi,” she groans as she tosses two bikinis in my suitcase.
“I can’t go
, Tia.” I exit my closet and cross my arms.
, you can,” she argues, giving me a pointed look as she returns to my dresser and pulls another drawer open.
“I have responsibilities
,” I argue.
he groans. “Do it for me. I’m dying to have some time away with you. Just us girls. Come on, Phi. Let’s live a little,” she begs.
“Do you even have any money left
, Tia? I would’ve thought your trust fund was long ago depleted.” Our grandparents left us both, their only granddaughters, a substantial amount of money ten years before. As soon as Tia graduated, she began her backpack trip across the world with the luxury of money to fund her. My inheritance has been sitting in a money market account accruing interest. Brandon and I had talked about buying a vacation house on the water somewhere, but life has been so busy and hectic, we never got around to it.
“Just because I travel doesn’t mean I live lavish, Phi. I’ve been smart with my money. And don’t change the sub
ject. You have no excuses. You’re kid and husband free. Why not travel with your sister for the summer?” She spins around and heads back to my suitcase. “I’m going to need you to put on something a little less…” Her last word trails off as she peeks at me over her shoulder, the disapproval of my outfit evident in her look.
What?” I question extending my arms and looking at my outfit.
” She shakes her head. “Go get some coffee. I’ll finish packing and meet you down there.”
She spins around and her expression is tight, like she’s losing patience with me. “Just this once, Phi, listen to me, okay? I know I’m the baby sister and you’re used to guiding me, but just this one time, please do it my way.” Her eyes tear up and she hugs me. “Let’s go have some fun together.”
Tia and I have always been close despite our age difference.
When I was younger, before Tia was born, my friends who had older sisters would always tell me how they couldn’t stand each other and always fought. When my parents announced they were expecting, I promised myself then and there I would be an awesome big sister. When Tia was born, and grew into her toddler years, we all realized she was a handful, hell-bent on doing everything her way. By the time she was five, she followed me everywhere. She was my mini confidant, always the holder of my secrets.
“You’re my best friend
, Phi,” she whispered to me one night when she snuck into my room after she’d had a bad dream.