Authors: JesseAnne Waters
A Familiar Star
Text copyright © 2013 JesseAnne Waters
All rights reserved
No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Cover Art by A.Krilick Designs
To those who wish upon the stars
Kylie eased the gear into fifth, stepped on the accelerator then raced past the moving van and headed north. The van would have to catch up to her, she couldn’t wait for it any longer, she was simply too excited.
A sweet smile formed on
her lips, as her sporty convertible sped down the highway, leaving a plastic bag dancing in the wind. She lifted her face up into the sunlight and felt the wind caress her skin; this is what she’d been waiting for.
The wide opened road always gave her such a thrill, although if she wasn’t careful it would also give her a huge speeding ticket. Stretching her l
ong legs, she relaxed into the seat and turned her attention to the passing countryside, watching as buildings turned into houses and houses turned into farms.
A couple of miles later while cruising at a comfortable speed, her mind began to wander and she slipped into a driver’s trance while humming along to the song on the radio. It was a song filled with love and hope.
Ah Love, why was love always the theme of every second song? It doesn’t last and it only complicates things, she thought to herself. Heartache songs, now they were much more convincing.
She switched the station and on came a song about freedom which suited her mood perfectly. “This is more like it.” She purred.
Independence was finally staring her in the face and it felt so good. No, better than good. She was finally free to live the way she’d always wanted to. She lifted her chin and breathed deeply. The air was changing now, she was almost there. Her car climbed steadily as the mountains of green and dusty violet grew closer.
The excitement of it all came in waves. One minute she felt calm, normal, the next, she was anxious, almost jittery. God, how she wanted to let loose! She remembered the last thing her mother told her before she’d left, "you’re a lady, and you'll remain a lady, as long as you keep your reputation.”
Oh Mother, she thought, the only reputation I ever had, was the reputation of a prude; a snobby, unapproachable prude. Only in her artwork did she feel the freedom to express herself and let go. But that was all going to change.
She needed to stop being afraid of what everyone else would think, and go out and enjoy herself. She’d paid her dues, working day and night over the past five years. It was time to de-stress, embrace her freedom and maybe even fall in love.
She shook her head and laughed at herself. There it was again. There was just no getting away from it, was there. Thinking about it for a moment she let out a sigh. Was she even capable of having a relationship without coming up with some excuse as to why it wouldn’t work?
She switched the song back and listened. Then looking into the rear view mirror she promised herself if, and that was a big if, she met someone who thrilled her, who was honest, kind and fun, that she would give it all she had to try and make it work. This time there would be no more excuses, no putting work first. Her new life was going to be about freedom and perhaps, finding love and making it last. And then…never looking back.
The turnoff to Forest Hills came an hour later. The winding country road was a more challenging drive than the highway but Kylie took to it like a pro. The views were spectacular. Mountains towered above sapphire lakes, and a crystal clear blue sky led the way.
She drove slowly through the center of the small country town, and in the quiet of the morning, solitude prevailed. Only a few locals dotted the landscape on the quaint main road.
Flowers were being displayed by a petite, young woman in front of the small florist shop. The local grocer was sitting on a bench with an older gentleman having coffee, and an old tractor was pulling up to the Tool and Feed store. They all stopped and stared.
The old man tipped his hat and gave Kylie a big false toothy grin. She smiled back as she past him then chuckled to herself. Where exactly was she going to find Mr. Right when she was moving into a house in the country? She pictured herself in overalls and un-brushed hair, getting way too comfortable with the solitary life.
But that was silly, she reflected, she wasn’t an introvert who was going to lock herself away. She just wanted a little time by herself to feel the freedom that she never had before.
At last, Kylie arrived at Forest Lake. The anticipation of seeing her new house made her speed down the last stretch of road, until she recognized her new neighbors and eased on the brake.
She pulled into the driveway that was covered by a stretch of majestic pines, turned off the engine and got out. Standing very still she took a deep breath. "Beautiful" she muttered to herself then walked off onto the grass.
The front of her new home was shaded by a gnarly old maple tree, some birch trees and a towering grove of jack pines. Only spots of sunshine lay on the thick green lawn. Kylie felt like throwing herself down on the grass and rolling around. On either side of the house there was forest; thick, lush forest, the leaves of the trees appearing golden in the early morning sun.
Listening for a moment to the birds, she nodded agreeably; there was no loud chatter, only the sounds of happy chirping. An overwhelming urge to cry, caught her by surprise. Tears of joy began to sting her eyes. It would be the happiest cry she had in years but she knew it would have to wait. Soon the movers would arrive, and her friends would be driving up from the city to help her, so her emotional outbreak would have to be put on hold, she laughed to herself.
She walked along the grass and faced the house straight on. It wasn’t a beautiful house she noted, but an extremely handsome one. It seemed more masculine in appearance than any she’d seen driving through the countryside. Perhaps it was the darker tones of taupe mixed with a deep slate porch and broad pillars. It also had wide eaves and a dramatically sloping roof. Yes, in the future she would definitely refer to it as he.
She took another breath of fresh air and went inside. The first thing that struck her was that the house appeared bigger then she remembered. It was a funny thing that. Buying a house and seeing it a second time. You almost had to take pictures of it the first time around to really adhere it to memory. Actually the cozy craftsman style cottage seemed huge, Kylie noted, as her eyes widened to adjust to the lighting.
Maybe it was merely the fact that she hadn’t been up here in months. She’d been too busy with her last exhibition. At twenty six, she’d become a well-established artist, allowing her to enjoy the good things in life, but never having any time for them, until now, she beamed.
It would be nice to take the summer off, enjoy this place and maybe even read a book or two before she got back to her rigorous schedule. Being an artist was difficult at times because no one was there to push you if you didn’t push yourself. However, Kylie was great at making her own deadlines and sticking to them. She was reminded of all the sacrifices she’d made over the last few years to be able to afford this place. But it was truly well worth it. At last she had a place of her own.
She wandered around the house, moving from room to room as if someone were sleeping upstairs, each footstep quieter than the previous one. “Hello,” she laughed, “any ghosts?”
A slight echo answered her.
Well, there’d be plenty of time to scare myself silly tonight when it got dark, she thought. Living alone sure was going to take some getting used to.
In the kitchen, she stumbled onto some unfamiliar boxes. It looked as though the previous owner still hadn't moved all of his stuff out. Well he knew she was moving in today, so maybe he'd be by later. She wasn't going to let anything spoil her good mood.
She ventured into the living room, and her heart skipped a beat. "Is this a view to die for or what," she whispered to herself.
The back of the house contained a great room, dominated by large, two-story windows and a cathedral ceiling. Kylie turned around in a complete circle, taking in the vastness of this fabulous room.
"The sunsets are going to be just terrific" she smiled then she did a little dance across the slippery oak floor and went outside.
Standing on the huge cedar deck that overlooked the lake, she thanked God for creating such beauty. It was the perfect day to start a new life. No more complications; just smooth sailing from here on in. The weather was hot and dry, summer was finally here, and in a couple of hours when the sun was high in the sky and the movers were gone, she was going to be swimming in that lake with her friends.
She walked back into the house and snooped around. The table would go here, her favorite stained glass lamp there, and sometime soon she would get a sofa and put it where Mr. Gibbons, the previous owner had left his. Yes, independence was going to suit her just fine, she thought.
The moving van pulled her from her trance and she ran to the front of the house to greet them. "How was the drive?” She smiled brightly, knowing very well that she should have waited for them.
It was just peachy Miss,” said the driver who looked like he could win the strongest man in the world contest.
“Oh, good.” Kylie watched, as he mounted the rail on the back of the truck. “Well, you can start unloading things. I've tagged everything to make it easier." She feigned a smile then figured she’d better go back inside and look busy before she pissed them off even further.
No more than five minutes later, Kylie’s sister Lucy arrived with her husband Frank. Lucy was shorter than Kylie and didn't have her thick auburn hair, but she did have the same sparkling blue eyes. She also had enough spunk to supply the whole town with power.
"I brought my bathing suit!" Lucy screamed, as she ran across the grass, hugging her sister and nearly knocking her over.
"I thought you were supposed to help me unpack mouse," Kylie teased.
Frank forced a smile and went to help the moving men. Smiling back unconsciously, Kylie wondered how her fun loving sister could have married such a serious man. “What’s wrong with Frank, the usual?”
“Well, he’s been working a lot. He’s also been cutting your grass for you.”
“Oh, I’ll have to thank him.” Kylie glanced around and took note that the grass was a nice length. Maybe she’d cut him some slack this time, she mused.
"I'm so glad your finally living close by!” Lucy squealed. “I actually have four customers who live around the lake, and let me tell you, you now have some pretty interesting neighbors, not to mention some very rich ones." Lucy’s eyes lit up, her preoccupation with wealth hard to conceal.
"I hope you didn't mention that I bought this place. I’m not so sure I want my neighbors knowing who I am.
"I only mentioned it to one or two people, but you'll really like them Ky and they have some
parties. Mrs. Averdeen who has the house with the white dock, has a son your age and he's worth millions. We can see the house from the deck in the back, come on."
"I don't want millions Lucy. I have my own money. I
my own money."
Kylie sighed, as she followed her sister around the side of the house.
"Exactly! You've made a name for yourself; you’ve worked hard, why not marry into money and get more of it." Lucy giggled unconsciously.
From the deck in the back, Kylie did note that there were some beautiful homes around the lake. Actually hers was one of the smallest.
"This is silly Lucy. I don't care how much money they have, I really don’t. I mean…, oh forget it! I just came out here to enjoy the country, live in a good area where I wouldn't have to worry about who my neighbors were. I don’t necessarily want to get to know who they are.”
“I’m sorry.” Lucy apologized. “I just want to see you settled down and taken care of.”
"I'll do just fine on my own."
"I know you will, you always have. But life is easier when you don’t have to fend for yourself. You’ll see."
Kylie smiled. She loved her sister very much and knew that Lucy was never going to give up. After all, she gave her, her drive all these years. If it wasn't for Lucy pushing her to meet someone wealthy, she might not have worked so hard to prove that she could do it on her own. And proved it she did. This was her time, and only if she chose to, would she get involved with anyone.
An hour later they were well into the move and the place looked like a tornado hit it. Kylie peered out the window and saw a moving van pulling into the driveway.
"It must be the previous owner Mr. Gibbons, he's just in time." She directed her voice at Lucy who was busy across the room.
"You could say that again!" Lucy rolled her eyes at the confusion that was taking place.
Kylie looked around and exhaled. She had invited too many friends and things were getting out of hand. On one side of the room, Nancy and Mark were fighting over what the tags on the boxes meant, and in the other corner her friend Sue was clearly unpacking the wrong stuff, in the wrong area.
"Just place the boxes anywhere, don’t unpack!” Kylie was beginning to wear thin. She sat back in the brown leather sofa that was not hers and relaxed her shoulders for a minute. She wished Mr. Gibbons would leave the sofa behind, but she also needed the space. Just as that thought hit her, she sat up straight. Something wasn't right. There were too many people walking in and out, and for some reason, there looked like there were more boxes instead of less!