Chapter 2

"You have to come, please," Courtney pleaded into the phone, as she lay on the bed in her pajamas.

The voice on the other end of the phone sighed. "I donít know."

"Pretty please with sugar on top."

The voice remained silent so Courtney decided to use another tactic. "You work way too hard. When was the last time you had a day off, much less a vacation?"

The woman, thousands of miles away, put down her fingernail polish.

Courtney continued, "You know itís been forever."

"Youíre right. It has been a while. But Nene, be honest with me. Why have you spent the last hour trying to convince me to come see you? Whatís wrong?"

With that question, the floodgates opened. Courtney cried and cried.

"Talk to me. Tell whatís wrong. Youíre scaring me." When she finally calmed down, the smoothing voice spoke.

"It canít be that bad. Whatever it is Iíll help you any way I can."

Courtney wiped her face and blew her nose. "Itís everything. In less than three years, I go from being an only child with a mom, who has a job I was never quite sure of, to finding out my presumed dead father is alive, heís just a gambling addict that my con artist mother ran off. And if thatís not enough, I have an insanely jealous, paranoid, overprotective brother, who despites our dad and hates my mom. Then thereís his wife, whoís some sort of black magic woman. Everyone in this town either hates my brother completely or loves him blindly."

She took a breath and then continued. "My ex-husband, who I thought was the one, was a louse who used me and lied to me. And now Iím with this guy who is all I ever dreamed of, but Iím scared. What if Iím wrong again? My life has changed so much, so quickly. I just need to see someone and be with someone whoís known me longer than five minutes."

"What kind of weather should I be expecting?"

The woman walked to her closet and pulled out her suitcase.

Courtney squealed, "I love you! The town is by the water, so make sure you bring sweaters and jackets. The weather is pretty mild right now."

"Where am I flying into?" she asked as she pulled out clothes to take.

"Youíre flying into JFK. Weíll spend the day in the city, then weíll come back to my place."

"Ok, Iíll book my ticketó"

"Already done. You leave at 6 a.m.?" she said hesitantly.

The woman flipped through her organizer, filled with appointments, then she closed it. "6 a.m. is perfect. Whatís the name of this town?"

"Itís a surprise. Itís beautiful, picturesque town that I know youíll love."

"Iíve got packing to do, so Iíll see you tomorrow," the woman said.

"Thanks- -"

"No thanks necessary."

"I love you."

"Ditto."

The woman ended the call and began canceling appointments.