Mom gathered up the cups from the coffee table when she let it slip. “He’s coming back home, you know?”
“Who?” I played stupid. It had been ten years since he’d left, and I hadn’t seen him since. The truth was, I’d stalked him on social media, bought every one of his new releases, and even went to a concert when he was performing in New York City.
“Your Beau is coming home. It’s time for him, too.”
“He’s not my Beau, Mom.” With my arms crossed over my chest, I asked, “What are you up to?”
“Me?” Her voice swooped low and ended high. She was feigning innocence, but I knew Mom was up to something and if that were the case, Sarah Tinsel was an accomplice. “Did Sarah break her wrist, too?” Beau hadn’t come home once since he’d left town. The only thing that would bring him back would be an emergency. I looked heavenward, silently begging her to come clean.
“Oh, heavens no. She twisted her ankle.” Mom exited the room laughing.
Hot on her heels, I marched into the kitchen. “Your meddling isn’t going to get you anywhere.”
“Oh, Mandy, must you act so dramatic. Maybe you missed your calling.” She dumped the cups in the sink and proceeded to fill it with hot water and bubbles.
“Mom, you and I both know Beau isn’t coming home. He never comes back to Bell Mountain.”
“Neither did you, but I got you home.” She waved her wounded hand in the air. As usual, not really listening to me. She had already moved on to the next thing. “Tommy, let’s go pinecone hunting, and then, you’re off to bed, young man. Your mother volunteered to clean the kitchen while we search.”
They wrapped themselves in winter gear and disappeared out the back door, leaving me alone with unwelcome thoughts of Beau. If all it took was a twisted ankle to get him back, I should have faked an injury long ago. Sadly, too much time had passed, and our lives had irrevocably changed. He was a star, and I was a single mother. And whatever we might have had between us died a long time ago. I had moved on, moved away from Beau. Still, there were days when the loss weighed heavy on me.
I twisted a piece of tinsel around my finger until the tip turned purple and throbbed. I remembered that feeling well, although last time, I felt it in my heart. Losing Beau was like slowly being suffocated.
For a moment, I stood by the window and watched the house across the street. Where have you been, Beau Tinsel? Are you really coming home?
I turned away from the window and curled up in the overstuffed chair next to the over-decorated tree and sipped my orange, spiced tea. Too many days had been spent in this chair waiting for Beau to return. Too many days wishing for something that would never happen.
Today, I sat and hoped he’d stay away.
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