Start of 2nd chapter.
The shows on TV at five thirty in the morning suck, but there’s no way I’m going back to bed. My legs cross tighter and I lean closer to the TV. On the screen is some old-fashioned war movie. A man crouches behind a rock, raising his gun to shoot.
War movies aren’t something I usually watch, but they’re better than the craptastic kids’ shows on in the morning.
I pause, close my eyes. The darkness is inviting. Calming.
Here we go.
Now or never – that sounds horrible.
My hands slip onto the phone. I squeeze hard against the ON button, willing with all my power. The phone buzzes. Beeps. A loud noise comes from the speakers and then the screen turns on. My desktop is a picture of the beach, palm trees swaying.
I scroll down to my contacts. Her name is at the bottom. The bottom is where the horrible people go. The ones you never want to contact, always want to avoid, erasing their phone numbers and street addresses and all their personal information from your mind. She certainly fits in that group. I find her name. It’s long.
She’d always complain about spelling it.
My finger pushes hard.
A new screen appears. She stares down at me in a self-portrait. James sent the photo to me in an email, enclosed the picture with lots of smiley faces and gigantic blue exclamation marks that were so bright they made me dizzy. In the picture, her hair is curled in fuzzy, her fingers are extended in a peace sign. I click the cell phone button.
Texting won’t work now.
I want to see what she thinks, how she responds when I ask. Because she sure as hell isn’t going to like the question.
The phone beeps.
I hate the waiting. Can’t the people just respond faster? My heart pounds. She might not answer. She might hang up in anger or sadness. She might make James come on the line and talk for her. She might not even be awake. So many maybes, too many whys.
The phone beeps again.
One, two, three, four times.
I’m about to give up. She doesn’t care, she just…
She answers on the sixth ring. The last ring my phone makes before it gives up.
“I’m busy,” she snaps.
“You can’t be busy, Noel, if you’re talking to me,” I snap back. She wants to be snappish? Fine. I’ll be snappish too.