Sequel: Good Enough
Status: Finished: The sequel is up! Read this, then go read that! (That's how sequels work) <3

Strong Enough

Home Again

“Momma, I’m almost there. It’s more likely something will happen if I’m on the phone with you than if you’d just let me drive.” I’d been driving for four hours and I knew I’d be listening to her tell me what to do for the next week. I was really enjoying the time where I didn’t have to hear her hounding me. “I swear, like 15 minutes. 20 if there’s traffic.”

I heard a muffled laugh from the seat next to me where my best friend, Mia, was trying to stay quiet while my mother freaked out. To be honest it probably wasn’t a funny situation, but because my mother always took something and blew it ten times out of proportion, neither of us could keep from making fun of her.

“I promise, we’re being safe. I love you too.” I finally threw the phone away from me before sighing in frustration. This was going to possibly be the worst week I’d had in a while.

“You know, I’m sure it won’t be that bad. At least your mom makes some really good food.” Mia smiled at me and I tried to smile back. I knew she was trying and none of this was her fault. She was being the best friend and tagging along to help me stay sane after all.

“It’ll probably suck. Momma does make some of the best food, but it all comes with a delicious side of nagging and questions.” I rolled my eyes as we sailed down the highway passing the all-to-familiar “Welcome to Anaheim” sign. I tried to keep my heart from speeding up as I took the next exit, but it was no use. In 15 minutes I’d be once again in my childhood home getting ready for my brother’s wedding. I was seriously considering turning the car around and driving back to Vegas.

When I finally pulled up to the house, I felt Mia smack my arm.

“What the hell?” I looked at her like she’d grow another head.

“You didn’t tell me your family was rich? Bitch, why do we live in that crappy apartment?” I slapped her arm in retaliation.

“Excuse you? We have a 2-story condo with a view of the Vegas Strip and the hot guy next door. What about that situation is crappy?” I got out of the car, moving to grab my bag from the truck as she sauntered over to grab hers and we began the walk to the front door. “Plus, my family isn’t rich. And even if they are well off, none of that money is mine.”

Almost as if on cue, my mother threw the door open, letting out a delighted squeal as she threw her arms around me. “Oh my baby has finally come home!” Her southern drawl rearing its head as she squeezed the breath out of my body.

“Momma, I love you. But holy shit, this bag is heavy and I can’t breathe.”

“Watch your tongue. I didn’t raise a potty mouth.” She gave me a look like I was 10 and had just sworn for the first time before turning to Mia. “You must be the Amelia I’ve heard so much about. Let me get that for you. And get your behinds inside. Everyone’s so excited y’all are here.” She pulled Mia’s bag from her hand before turning and walking back into the house.

“Momma, what do you mean everyone?” I stalked after her over the threshold before finding myself in a mass of people I hadn’t seen in five years. My eyes grew three sizes as I plastered a fake smile on my face. My eyes fell on my dad as his strides came towards me.

“Oh there’s my little girl.” His arms wrapped around me in a tight hug. “Don’t be too mad at your momma. She’s means well; the excitement just got the best of her.” I tried to smile up at him as best I could.

“Like you couldn’t have stopped her?” He let out a burst of laughter slinging his arm over my shoulder and pulling me into the house.

After pulling Mia around with me to say hello to aunts and uncles and neighbors and more who’d congregated in my parent’s house, I finally made my way into the kitchen grabbing 2 beers from the fridge, handing one to her and popping the other open for myself.

“Ok, so your family is huge. I think it’s nice your mom’s so excited you’re here.” She nudged my shoulder with hers as we walked into the backyard. I plopped down on one of the chairs set on the porch, Mia quickly following my lead.

“Normal parents are excited and bake cookies or put up a sign. My mother invites the whole neighborhood for a party.” I took a sip from my beer before pausing as my eyes landed on three boys I couldn’t believe I was looking at—one in particular I hoped I’d never seen again. “And apparently, she has other plans as well.”

The confusion was more than evident on Mia’s face. She tried to question me, but eventually followed my eyes to the group who I’d been staring at. They looked so different, having grown up the last few years. And yet, they looked exactly the same.

“Ok, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say they’re not family?” She looked at me expectantly.

“No, though at one point they were just as close to me.” The group, luckily, still hadn’t noticed me. I popped out of the chair, stalking into the kitchen to find my mother.

“Momma!” My voice was anything but calm at that point as I stared at her across the kitchen Island.

“Look, I know at times you’re one crayon shy of a full box, but what in the name of all that is good in the world are they doing here?”

She turned from the plate of veggies she was arranging and smiled at me like I hadn’t just insulted her sanity.

“They’re your friends. Why wouldn’t I invite them?” She went back to cutting up broccoli. “You 4 were as close as anyone back in high school. I figured they’d want to see you. And obviously I was right since they’re all here.”

“Momma, I don’t believe you sometimes.” I rolled my eyes, knowing there was little I could do at this point. I put my beer to my lips taking a giant swig, trying to calm myself down a bit.

“Jacquelyn Walker, ladies do not drink beer.” My mom poked my stomach before carrying the tray of veggies out of the kitchen.

“Since when is little Jax a lady?” My heart just about stopped at the deep voice rumbling from behind me and I couldn’t help the smile that spread across my face.

“Fuck you, I’m a damn good lady!” I turned slowly my green eyes meeting Tommy’s soft blue ones. He moved swiftly to me scooping me into his arms as he twirled around.

“Excuse me. I didn’t realize ladies swore so much.” He put me back on my feet as his hand slapped my ass.

“That belongs to me. You keep your hands to yourself.” I poked his chest giving him my best fake glare. He may have been near 10 inches taller than me, but I knew I could take him.

“Can you blame him? It’s such a slap-able ass.” I peered around Tommy’s shoulder to glare at the shortest of the three, who still had 5 inches on me.

“And who asked you Annie?” I pushed past Tommy and folded my arms over my chest as I questioned him.

“Seriously? You’re still gonna use that one?” His eyebrows raised in annoyance, but his smile gave him away.

“I thought you liked it.” I pouted as Rylan pulled me into a hug. He ruffled my hair making me squeal.

“Hey, ass face! I took a lot of effort to make my hair look good.”

“Bitch, you look like you got in a fight with a lawn mower.” I heard a giggle from beside me, reminding me that I’d brought a new face to the party.

“At least I could win that fight, unlike you. And I’ve been in a car for 4 hours. Which reminds me,” I pulled Mia in front of me. “This is Mia my favorite little slut. Mia, this is Tommy Carter and Rylan Barrett. Tommy and Ry were my man whores here in California.”

After receiving some glares from the boys, I watched as they shook hands and started talking. Mia’s hand moved to play with her long red hair like she always did when she was nervous. It was obvious the boys were checking her out. And why wouldn’t they? She may be short, but she was toned and sexy with flowing red hair and soft hazel eyes.

My eyes drifted from my friends’ meeting to the last of the boys in the group. His piercing gaze was directed straight at mine and I felt like every thought I had was on display. He wasn’t glaring, but he wasn’t smiling either. It was just a penetrating stare that was starting to make me uncomfortable. Mostly because those dark blue eyes brought back a cascade of memories I’d tried to bury.

Those eyes haunted me for 5 years, sneaking into my dreams and my nightmares. Those eyes had existed in so many happy memories and yet they lived and died in my least favorite memory of all. Those eyes belonged to the boy I’d loved. And the boy I’d lost.
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First chapter to the first story I've written in a while.
Let me know what you think.