Friday, May 12, 2017
Blog Tour: Country Roads Series by Andrea Johnston
Plain white walls.
Generic plaid comforter with a very low thread count.
How did I get here?
I know how I got here, logistically. My car. My car that was loaded full of my life, making it impossible to see out the back window. It’s the other kind of how I’m still confused about.
Perhaps it’s more of why am I here. Here. In his house. The one place on this earth I swore I’d never come back to. And yet, here I sit, on this hideous comforter, in a room that would give an asylum a run for its money.
Knock. Knock. Knock.
I haven’t answered the other seven knocks; why would these be any different?
I blame my parents. And my brother. And my best friend. And Mother Nature. She’s really to blame. That bitch had to come along with her weather and put me in a position that the only option other than here was a motel.
Knock. Knock. Knock.
I suppose it’s time to face my new reality.
You can do this, Ashton. It’s just the Manwhore. He’s doing Ben a favor. He’s trying. You can do this. Smile. Use the manners your mother instilled in you. For the love of all that is holy do not drop your panties. Again.
Yes, inner self, that’s the plan.
With as much enthusiasm as I have for my annual lady doctor visit, I stand from the bed and the itchy comforter. Looking in the full-length mirror attached to the back of the door, I assess my appearance.
When I’m at home, I like to be as comfortable as possible. For me that’s a loose shirt, like the plaid button-up I’m wearing, cut-off shorts, and a pair of my knee-high socks. Sure, not everyone is a member of the sock of the month club, but I’m not everyone. I have issues with my bare feet on hard surfaces but I hate slippers with a passion. Socks are a great compromise to that, and since my socks are designed with something sarcastic or slightly inappropriate on them, even better.
Pants and I have an understanding: I only wear them for work or if an outfit demands jeans. Much to my mother’s frustration, I’ve never been a pants girl and used to threaten to move to the tropics where nobody wears pants. Lies. I’d never leave Lexington, but I still used that threat to my advantage when I was younger.
Adjusting my intentionally messy bun, I step closer to wipe the smudges from under my eyes. Shit, those aren’t smudges. Good old-fashioned bags are what those are. It’s been a rough few days of dealing with an insurance company and deciding where I’d stay while my parents’ home is repaired. The fact that, at twenty-five, I’m living at home is traumatic enough, but add to that the gigantic tree laying across the top of our house and, like I said, it’s been rough. Thankfully nobody was home when the tree fell and there were no injuries, but it has left me homeless and, somehow, here.
I trudge toward the bedroom door, stopping with my hand on the doorknob, hesitating before turning it. Deep cleansing breaths are supposed to calm me. They don’t. I know I need to brace myself for what, or rather who, is on the other side of this door. This is something I’ve been doing for the last five years – a pep talk to not be swayed by a pair of deep blue eyes. Eyes that send my heart fluttering and my nerves standing end. The same eyes that distract a lot of women from making rational decisions and encourage those same women to drop their panties.
“Come on, Ash, are you going to hide in there all night?”
As I turn the handle, I know this roommate situation, as temporary as it may be, is a very bad idea. On the other side of this door stands the man who can single-handedly break me. He’s done it before. Ripped my heart out, served it on a platter, and devastated me. No acknowledgment and no apology for what happened. He simply got up, pulled his pants on like it was any other morning, and walked out of the room, taking my heart and a piece of my pride with him.