‘Don’t count on it’ appeared within the blue triangle and I let out a small sigh of disappointment.
So much for a peaceful evening.
Maybe relying on a Magic 8 ball to solve my problems wasn’t the best use of my time, but I had nowhere else to be. I’d become what my parents had feared most—an unemployed nobody, shacked up with her loser boyfriend.
I certainly never saw it working out like that.
“You either need to buy something or leave.” The store owner glared at me from the other side of the counter and I immediately felt guilty—as if I’d been doing something wrong.
“I was just browsing—” I said calmly before he interrupted.
“I know what you’re doing—you’re either casing the place or looking to shoplift. I don’t tolerate either; so get out.”
I opened my mouth to protest when he pointed to the sign hanging on the door.
‘We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.’
I tossed my purse over my shoulder and held my head high as I walked out. I guess novelty stores were cracking down on the types of customers they allowed.
The bell chimed over the door as it swung shut behind me and I turned around with a smirk, middle finger in the air. That smirk faded the minute I caught my reflection in the glass.
Is that what I looked like?
No wonder he threw me out.
My hair hung in unwashed clumps around my shoulders. My eyes were sunken in, cheeks concave. A fading yellow bruise was the only color on my ghost white skin.
I lowered my hand and turned away. I couldn’t bear to stare at myself any longer. It was like staring at a stranger. The shopping center was almost empty, save for a handful of cars. Everyone was off enjoying their fourth of July weekend. I bet the Res was packed.
The Boulder Reservoir was a popular hangout spot and this weekend would be no different. In another life, I would’ve been out there with friends.
A lone desk chair rolled aimlessly across the parking lot as the breeze caught it and I found myself mesmerized by the sight of it.
How had something like that ended up here?
It was a great metaphor for my life. That chair and I had a lot in common. I should’ve graduated a couple of months ago. Instead, I was here, watching my life roll past.
What goes up must come down though.
I’d convinced myself that because Clint had personal feelings for me, he’d never let me get addicted. I had this crazy idea that he somehow had my best interests at heart.
I was wrong.
Clint was no longer Clint.
In his place was a temperamental monster. The insidiousness was subtle and his skill at hiding it was better than the mob. Once I’d sobered up enough to see how bad things had gotten, it was too late. The man I loved had been taken over by addiction.
So, I made excuses for him—I said I’d never put up with abuse; then again, I also said I’d never do drugs. It was a bit like a lobster in a pot of water that was slowly getting hotter. By the time the lobster realized that something was wrong, it was too late—the damn thing had been boiled alive.
There weren’t any shades of gray when it came to my relationship with Clint either. I’d seen enough over the years to know that I was firmly ensconced in ‘accomplice territory.’
If the cops ever caught on to his illegal activities, I was going down as well.
I noticed the owner of the shop watching me suspiciously, so I moved over a few buildings before sinking down onto the sidewalk.
The breeze picked up again and the chair rolled a few feet to the left before coming to a stop. I’d never wanted to be an inanimate object more than I did in that exact moment.
A drop of crimson hit the sidewalk between my legs, quickly followed by another. I stared at it in confusion until I realized it was coming from my nose. Again. I wiped at it with the back of my hand. Instead of being concerned, it just made me crave another hit.
This had to be rock bottom. My life had become a vicious circle of white snow and blood red reminders that I needed a fix. I was headed nowhere—scratch that. I was headed toward my imminent death, yet I was too far gone to stop now.
My mind no longer raced with thoughts of ‘coulda, woulda, shoulda.’ It was wholly occupied only with thoughts of the next bump.
The most pathetic part was that I was friggin’ content to continue living like this. At some point over the last few weeks, I’d reached acceptance. I was just like that chair, letting outside circumstances move me any which way they pleased.
It’d been so long since I’d made up my own mind on anything—so long since I wasn’t under the influence of either cocaine or Clint.
I told myself I was smarter than the drug; convinced myself that I could handle it. Instead, I was completely powerless against it all.
I stood up and pinched my nostrils closed in a poor attempt to stop the bleeding. I inhaled through my mouth and immediately began coughing as the blood ran down the back of my throat.
The chair continued its path across the parking lot, not even stopping to say goodbye.
Hmmm...Snow White and Prince Charming with a twist! Perfect HEA reading with Bikers! What more could you ask for! 4 stars
In 2003, she moved to Denver and met the love of her life. After some relentless stalking and a few well-timed sarcastic remarks, the man eventually gave in to her charms and wifed her so hard. They welcomed a son in 2007 that they named after their favorite Marvel superhero, Spiderman.
Sick of seeing beautiful mountains through their window every day, the three escaped back to the desolate landscape of the west Texas desert in 2009. She welcomed her second son not long after and soon realized that being surrounded by three men was nothing at all like she'd imagined in her fantasies.
After an unplanned surgery in 2014 and a long pity party, she decided to pen a novel about the worst thing that could happen to a person in order to cheer herself up. She's twisted like that. Thus, From This Day Forward was born and the rest, as they say, is history.
Not only does Shannon enjoy stalking people, she also has a fondness for being stalked.