COMEBACK GIRL: A NEW Daily Serial

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Home is where the hurt is.

Hello.  I’m Jane Hunnicut, aged twenty-eight.
I grew up in Accident, Alabama but I’ve lived the past few years in London, England with the man I followed there from college.  To say I’ve distanced myself from my upbringing would be a bit of an understatement.  I love being a city girl and I’ve had my share of good fortune, but lately I’ve found myself in a bit of a slump.

I’m a novelist whose first book sold gangbusters, but the second book—notsomuch.
My relationship with my fiancé was flying high… until it wasn’t.
And to top it all off, my best friend disappeared... like before.
When I was at my lowest, the phone rang and in an instant, my life changed—
my family needed me.

After escaping the suffocating situation of my childhood, I am reluctant to return, especially since I’m already late on a big deadline.  In the small town where I grew up, I never quite fit in, but now after years away, I’m really going to stick out. And I’m not ready to face the ghosts of my past.

Meanwhile, my family and friends in Alabama think my life is perfect.

I’m in dire need of a comeback.  But my plan didn’t include coming back home.

Something tells me my life is going to get worse before it gets better.

 


 

 The COMEBACK GIRL daily serial will run July 1 - December 31, 2018.  The current day's episode will display for 24 hours (approximately 4am eastern to 4am eastern).  Set a reminder on your phone, fridge, or calendar so you don't miss a single day of COMEBACK GIRL!  And please share with all your reading friends! 

(As with the previous serials, 6 monthly e-novellas will be available for readers who want to catch up, read ahead, or binge read!)

 

 


 

December 15, Saturday

I WAS STANDING AT THE kitchen window when Tyler came up the driveway in his delivery truck.  I grabbed two cups of coffee and met him by the pigpen.

He opened the door and swung down, his expression tight.  “Hi, Sis.”

“Hi, Tyler.  Thanks for coming.”

“Happy to put the pigs back in the pen,” he said, already moving toward the shed.  He glanced around at all the displaced dirt, now tamped back down and covered with grass seed and straw.  “Wow, they really dug up the place, didn’t they?”

“Yeah,” I said, handing him a mug.  He set it on a fence post.  “I’ll have to take it with me, I’m already late.”

I jogged to keep up with him.  “Tyler, can I talk to you?”

He stopped at the shed door and lifted the plank that served as a makeshift lock.  “I thought that’s what we were doing.”

I exhaled for patience.  “Tyler can you stop for just a minute and let me apologize?”

He stopped and turned back with a sigh.  “For what?”

“For… thinking the worst of you.”  Tears pressed at the back of my eyes.  “I accused you of doing something bad to Deidre, and I was wrong.  And I’m so sorry.”

He pressed his lips together.  “It’s okay, Sis.  Apparently, you aren’t the only person who thought so.”  Then he winced.  “And I did kind of have a thing for Deidre.”

“You did?”

“Yeah, but she always shot me down.  And I was pretty immature about it.”

I squinted.  “Did you gouge out her initials in the treehouse table?”

“Yeah, a long time ago.  Sorry—it was dumb.”  He sighed.  “I’ve done some shitty things, worse than defacing a table.  I can’t change the past, but I’m trying to do better.”  He averted his gaze, then looked back.  “I’m getting help.”

“What kind of help?”

“Counseling,” he said.  “Anger management, for starters, and Stacey and I are seeing a marriage counselor.”

I blinked.  “That’s… great.”

“It’s why I’ve been so scarce around here—it’s been hard to squeeze it all in.  But I’m hoping Stacey and I’ll be in a good place soon so we can step in to help Mom.  Then you can go back home to England.”

My mouth opened and closed.  “That’s… great.”

Then he looked pained.  “Are you really doing okay?  I swear, if Eddie Hopper wasn’t already dead, I’d kill him with my bare hands.”  Then he looked sheepish.  “Just don’t tell my anger management therapist I said that.”

I smiled.  “I’m really okay.  But the therapy is helping?”

“Yeah.  I’ve been working though some things, like how I feel about Dad.  He wasn’t all bad, you know.”

I nodded, then reached for my pocket.  “That reminds me.  I found some pictures of you and Dad I thought you might like.”  I handed him the handful of photos and he smiled.

“Yeah, I remember this one… and this one.”  He stopped and held up a photo of him and my father holding a fish.  Tyler looked to be in his late teens.  “And this is the tournament I told you about.”

“What tournament?”

“The fishing tournament Dad and I were at the week Deidre disappeared.”

“Oh, right.”

“There’s Hank and John and George behind us.”  Then he frowned.  “And there’s Eddie, the sonofabitch.”

I craned for a look.  “Eddie Hopper?”

“Yeah.”

“Eddie was at the tournament the whole week?”

“No.  He got there as we were leaving, I think.  It was his dad’s cabin we were using, so he came and went.”

I frowned.  “The cabin Eddie took me to—the Sheriff said it belonged to someone out of state.  Was it the one Eddie’s dad used to own?”

“Nah.  His dad’s cabin was on the part of the lake that flooded and was cut off.  It’s probably not there anymore.  And if it was, you could only get there by canoe.”  He held up the photos and grinned.  “Thanks, Sis.”

Tyler opened his arms and I stepped inside for a rare hug.  I expected him to pull away after a few seconds, but he kept hanging on.  And so did I.  ~



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