“Rebecca? Where are you?”
Rebecca Danielsons (Hailor to others who did not know she married a rockstar) looked over her shoulder as she stood at the kitchen sink of her mother’s house. The kitchen table was scattered with pictures and memories that couldn’t speak a word to a life that was now gone.
“I’m in here,” she said.
A second later, her sister Rachael came into the kitchen and rushed to Rebecca’s. She looked at the cup of tea that Rebecca held, still with a tea bag in it.
“What?” Rebecca asked.
“Let me see this,” Rachael said.
She grabbed the mug and smelled it; her nose crunched and her eyes watered.
“Want some tea with this booze?” she asked Rebecca.
“Haha. So funny.”
“Are you really going to do this tonight?” Rachael asked.
“Do what?” Rebecca snapped.
“This. Sit here and look at pictures all night. Pour brandy into your tea and get drunk?”
“How do you know it’s brandy?”
“Because that’s all Mom drank when she did the same thing to her tea.”
Rebecca smiled and a tear left her eye.
“Look, sis, I’m sorry,” Rachael said. She took the mug from Rebecca’s hand and dumped it down the drain. The tea bag clung to the sink like a small bag of mud. The smell of the brandy stung both sisters’ nostrils. “I hated seeing her suffer too. But come on, we can do this together. We can sit and look at pictures. We can laugh. We can cry. We don’t have to get drunk and get silly.”
“Do I get silly when I’m drunk?” Rebecca asked.
“I don’t know. The last time I saw you drunk you said you met the hottest guy of your life but that was all you said. You told me it was all a big secret.”
Rebecca closed her eyes and fought the urge to smile. Thinking of him, of that wild time, sure, it made her smile. But what didn’t make Rebecca smile was the fact that he now ignored her. They had an agreement, one that Rebecca had been fulfilling for years now. One that could really get to him, if she wanted. She sent copies of divorce papers twice now to no response. The last thing Rebecca wanted to do was make it into some kind of spectacle. She didn’t want to be that woman. She’d be plastered on the pages of magazines and paparazzi web sites.
“You okay?” Rachael asked.
“I don’t know,” Rebecca said.
“Well, let’s sit down for a second and just talk.”
Rachael guided Rebecca to the table. They sat and looked at the mess of pictures.
“She kept the house in order,” Rachael said. “She did her taxes in January. She kept coupons in order of the aisle of the grocery store.”
“But she couldn’t organize her pictures,” Rebecca said.
The two sisters looked at each other and started to laugh. The laugh lasted all of a minute before they both started to cry. Rebecca meant no harm by her thoughts, but she was so happy to see Rachael crying. Rachael had always been the tough one, able to brave any storm, but it was good to see her mourn the death of their mother. Having Rachael cry on her shoulder as she cried on Rachael’s brought a much needed sense of comfort to Rebecca.
They cried for a little while. Minutes of their life that were quickly counting down. And that’s how Rebecca had been looking at life since her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago. She used to look at life as though she were on the bottom of a hill. Her job was to climb that hill and enjoy the adventure up it. Now she thought of life as being born on the top of a hill and starting from birth, you just walked down it. Down to the end, to death. Some people would fall and reach it sooner than others, but it was always going down.
There was no up and that meant there was no more time to waste.
It made her think of the last time she had a real date. It was six months ago before she and her boyfriend of two years – Kyle – broke off their relationship when he hinted at marrying Rebecca but instead settled into his bed with his ex-girlfriend. However, even if it worked out, Rebecca would have had to share her biggest secret… a secret not even Rachael knew about.
She was married already.
It seemed more serious than it actually was, or so Rebecca thought. She figured by sending the papers out the first time, they would have been signed and sent back right away. That was the deal. That’s what they talked about all those years ago, right? She had wanted to be free before her mother lost her battle to breast cancer. But that was long gone now. Her mother was now at peace, gone somewhere Rebecca feared to think about but knew would be her inevitable stop too.
Because no matter how good something was, how painful it was, how tragic, or how beautiful, it all came to an end.
Everything came to an end.
“You know, I battled this everyday,” Rebecca said.
“Battled what?” Rachael replied.
“This whole thing with Mom. I can’t be sure I ever really thought she’d get better.” Rebecca looked at Rachael. “Is that wrong?”
Rachael touched Rebecca. “No. It’s not wrong. You feel how you feel. Especially right now. Don’t hide anything. Don’t feel guilty. Just… I don’t know, Rebecca, just be here.”
“Don’t hide anything,” Rebecca whispered.
She touched a picture of her mother. It was a picture of her mother with Rebecca and Rachael and Santa Claus at the mall. Rebecca had to be four or five putting Rachael around eight years old. Their mother stood behind the large chair with Santa Claus, smiling as big as she could. Rebecca faintly remembered that day. It was when Rachael started to believe that Santa Claus wasn’t real. Because of that she wanted to know why she had to see Santa Claus at the mall and why she had to have her picture taken with him. Wasn’t he a stranger? Wasn’t she supposed to stay away from strangers? If Santa Claus took pictures all day, every single day, how did he get ready to deliver all those toys? Why did Santa Claus at the mall have weird breath? Why did his beard look so different than the Santa Claus at the other mall? And, wait a second, how can there be two Santa Claus’s at the same time?
Rebecca rubbed her thumb at the top of the picture. She treasured the happiness in her mother’s eyes. Doing anything to keep her children’s innocence alive, knowing that once the innocence was gone, reality would step in. And sometimes, whether anyone liked it or not, reality was a cold hearted bitch.
“Did you hear from Dad yet?” Rachael asked.
Just the mention of Dad made Rebecca’s lip curl.
She looked at Rachael. “He called me before. Standard voicemail. He was very sorry. He’s going to try to fly in, depending on work. Wished he could have done something to help.”
“Okay,” Rachael said. “At least he called.”
“At least? He’s a doctor, Rachael. He could have done something.”
“No, he couldn’t,” Rachael said. “We’ve been over this. He’s not an oncologist. He’s a respiratory specialist. And even at that, he did look at everything in Mom’s file. And he spoke with her doctors…”
“He didn’t have to leave,” Rebecca said. She sounded bitter. Screw it, she was bitter. “He left Mom to raise us alone and put all that stress on her for all those years. Struggling with money, worrying about us. Boys. Cars. Life. Dating. She deserved better. I wonder… you know… if that caused…”
“I don’t believe that,” Rachael said. “Mom didn’t get breast cancer because Dad left.”
“Dad,” Rebecca scoffed. “Hardly that.”
“You’re getting mad now, Rebecca. Why don’t we do this tomorrow?”
“No,” Rebecca said. “I want to find the picture right now. I need this.”
“Then let’s change the subject, okay?”
Rebecca looked at her sister.
Change the subject.
Rebecca could easily change the subject.
“Rachael, do you have any secrets?”
“Secrets… like, what do you mean?”
“You know what I mean. Secrets.”
“Like did I cheat on Paul? No.”
Rachael smiled and Rebecca squinted her eyes.
“I mean like things you’ve hidden for so long… but they’re real. Something you have to face.”
“Rebecca, are you in trouble?”
Rebecca thought about it and she felt the emotions rushing to her again. She let out a shaky breath and started to nod.
“Yes, Rachael, I think I’m in trouble.”
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Romance
Rating – PG13