What a load of bull. It’s been four years, and Kate’s voice still echoes in my mind.
Every. Damn. Day.
I numb her memory when it taunts me. In college, I drown her out with booze and easy lays.
I can’t do what she asked.
I can’t let her go.
Not even when Lia shows up, freaking ripping what’s left of me to shreds. Caring about someone isn’t worth the deadness that follows after they’re gone. I didn’t ask for this. Didn’t ask for her.
And I sure as hell didn’t plan to miss her when she walked out of my front door. Now, if I want to keep her, I have to straighten myself out and earn her. I can’t screw this up.
Because if I do, I’ll lose more than just Lia.
I’ll lose my life…
hour to get to the cemetery. After Mom and Liam died, I never stepped foot
here. Not until Kate convinced me to come. It had been one of her five wishes.
One through three I’d done because she was with me. Because I loved her. I
promised her number four, so I followed through. Number five, though?
now—day, night, whenever I need to be close to her. Even in death, Kate draws
me in. To this place where she’d only trodden once when she was alive.
bouquets of flowers from the passenger seat and swing the door open. When Kate
brought me here four years ago, I barely managed to get out of the car. Now
about coming anymore. It’s automatic. Routine, like my nightly shots of
like this. In three short years I lost the three people I loved most. Death
sucks, and I’ve had my fill.
closed and tread over the grass. The three identical stones jut up from the
ground, and even when I’m here after dark, I don’t have a problem seeing them.
They’re etched into my memory.
Kate buried here beside my mother and brother was entirely mine and entirely
selfish. The Browdys had asked me to help with her funeral arrangements, and
other than the time of the graveside service, this had been my only request. This
way she’d be close to me.
elder tree casts a shadow over them. I stand inside its cover from the sun,
facing the cold memorials. These pieces of granite have no real connection with
the people they were.
even pick them out. Didn’t see them, yet their names, dates of birth and death
are etched into them as if they’d been owned by those they claim to represent.
stones—aren’t for the dead.
over the Celtic symbols engraved at the center of each one. Identical to the
tattoos inked into my body. Faith. Brotherhood. Hope.
Kate’s as they usually do, and the memory of when I’d given her the trinity
heart necklace pours over me.
where to find it,”
I’d told her.
to her so she’d think of me whenever she needed me, but really, it was I who needed
breath to hold myself together. I lost everything the day Kate died.
through my hair and shut my eyes. Out here, away from everyone, I don’t have to
pretend that I have a fucking clue how to live without her.
gravestone, I lower myself to the ground, dropping the flowers at my side. My
chest is empty, yet somehow, it hurts. It’s the same damn thing year after
year—aching to see her smile at me just one more time. One more and I’d be
satisfied, I tell myself.
because one more smile from her would never be enough. I need to touch her, run
my fingers over her warm skin and protect the hell out of her.
I had the power within me, in my blood, to save her, and I failed.
the inches in front of me as I break down. Four years ago, my father sat here
with me and told me the pain would never go away, but it would lessen over
bullshit; the pain has only grown.
damn much, Katie,” I say even though she can’t hear me. And that thought kicks
me in the gut as much as anything. No matter what I say to her now, she’ll
never know any of it.
fingertips over her name: Kathryn “Katie” Browdy. Seventeen short years on this
earth and I only had her last months. They were the best months of my life.
until the sun begins to send streaks of gold over the horizon. Even though Kate
would be disappointed, I need to pick up more liquor before I head home. I have
to have something to get me through this pain.
rustles the dead flowers I left on their graves last week. I scoop them up and
replace them with the fresh ones I brought. Daisies for my mother, some generic
flowers he wouldn’t give a shit about for Liam, and red roses for Kate.
for my Katie.
murmur, fanning out the daisies in the vase beside her headstone.
Liam’s. “Take care of my girl, man,” I tell him, then I remember how I’d taken
care of his. “But if you touch her, I’ll fucking kill you.”
lay Kate’s roses at the base of her stone. There’s nothing I could say to her
that I haven’t already said a million times. So I settle for the words I
couldn’t say until just before she died. “I love you, baby. I’ll always love
I’ve always loved to read and write. I’ll read anything: Classics, fantasy, contemporary, mystery, horror. It doesn’t matter as long as it draws me in. As a kid, I was raised on authors such as Lurlene McDaniel, R.L. Stine, Danielle Steele, Mary Higgins Clark, Stephen King, and Shakespeare.
Writing-wise, my fondness lies in the YA/NA genre, though I do have a couple of women’s fiction stories swimming around in my head.
When not writing, I’m usually curled up with a book, scrapbooking, or doing yet another load of laundry.
Along with my incredible husband, I live in small-town Iowa with my four adorable (yet ornery) children and our dog, Peaches.