This is the beginning of the newest scene in my rewrite of EMBROL. I left it out of the original version for several reasons, but mainly because I was too chicken to write it. Now I can't see how that version ever worked without it. Crazy how that happens, huh?
Thanks for reading!
I sat in the loveseat farthest from the viewing area. The casket was shiny black will silver handles. Patty said it was elegant, like it mattered. It would be buried underground, never to be seen again after today, and that wasn’t my mother in there.
Patty settled down on the arm of the loveseat and laid her hand over mine. “It’s almost time. You sure you don’t want to see her? This is the last chance you’ll get.”
“I don’t want to remember her like that. She knows how I feel.” I bit my lip and stared at my hands. I will not cry here in front of everyone.
Patty had chosen one of the larger viewing rooms, knowing there would be a large turnout, but she couldn’t have expected this many people. The chapel would be overflowing with all the people my mother touched in her life. A great tribute to her, but I would’ve rather spent the day alone.
The loveseat shifted under the weight of someone sitting down beside me. Familiar fingers wrapped around mine.
“No worries, Patty,” Trevor said. “I got her.”
Patty ran her hand over my hair. “Think about it, dear. You still have a few minutes.”
I watched her feet walk away and laid my head on Trevor’s shoulder. “Thank you.”
“Aw, c’mon. Don’t cry, Strawberry. I’m here now.”
I couldn’t help but smile. He hadn’t called me that in years. That was the nickname he’d given me on the day we met—Strawberry Shortcake. That night I’d insisted my mom buy me strawberry-scented shampoo.
“See there,” he said. “I knew you needed me. Where’s Amber?”
“Her mom dragged her off to help set something up.”
“She should be in here with you.”
“It’s okay. She was getting all smothery like Patty. They just don’t get that I don’t want to talk about it. I’m glad you’re here. Are you alone? Where’s Brooke?”
“I broke up with her.”
“Broke up? Why? You guys were so cute together. You’ve got to stop sabotaging all your relationships.”
“You’re lecturing me about my relationships? Here?”
“And to think I was actually distracted for a second. Thanks for reminding me where I am.” I dabbed at the corners of my eyes. “You’d think the tears would run out, eventually.”
“I’m sorry, Liv. I never know when to keep my mouth shut. You don’t need to worry about me and my love life. I’ve got you. That’s all I need right now. Best girlfriend, remember?”
I snuggled closer. As aggravating as he could be, at least I could always count on him to stay the same. Even when everything else around me was falling apart.
“You want a distraction? I’ll see what I can do… Okay, you see that blonde over in the corner? The tall one? She was totally checking me out before I came over here.”
Leave it to Trevor to try to distract me by talking about girls. I stopped listening. My gaze was drawn back to the casket. A tall man stood next to it with his back to me. He had short, dark hair, and he wore a white dress shirt and black slacks like several of the men here. There was nothing distinct about him that I could see, but his stance was familiar. He glanced over his shoulder toward the door.
Add a streak of white hair over his ear and he could be… I shot to my feet and started toward him.
Trevor’s grip tightened on my hand, holding me back. “Livy? Where are you going? I thought you didn’t want to go over there.”
I mumbled something incoherent and wrenched my fingers from his grasp. He said something behind me, but my focus was on the dark man before me. I knew it was impossible. Daddy would’ve been at least twenty years older if he were still alive.
Before I’d taken three steps toward him, he kissed his fingertips and pressed them to my mother’s lips, then turned and hurried toward the door.