I was close to Frankie’s family, this loss must be really hard on them. I asked Rider to take me to Frankie’s house, I was too nervous to drive. I left the girls at my apartment, but I was certain they weren't there anymore.
Unsurprisingly, Rider had one of my bras at his house. I swatted him with it, but was thankful I wasn't comfortable going around braless. I wore his shirt and last nights sweatpants.
He held my hand tightly all the way to Frankie’s house in GreyHill, the place where all the mansions and country clubs were found. My heart was pumping and I didn't speak, what to expect? Distort family? Yes, broken mother? Yes, why am I feeling so guilty?
GreyHill was a gated community, one with vibrant green grass and blooming flowers. I'd never seen a patch of dead grass or dried up plants here ever. People here cared that much about their imagine.
The rich golden gates of Frankie’s mansion were wide open, the guard’s house next to it was empty. We drove up to the main house, through arches of neatly trimmed grass and object shaped hedges. They had about four grounds men who made sure their healthy trees stayed that way and not a branch was found out of place.
“Are you sure you don't want me to come with you?” Rider asked me when he parked in front of a new white Toyota Corolla.
“I'll be fine. Thanks.” I lean in and kiss him before getting out.
There were a few cars parked outside the mansion including Cassidy’s Subaru, a black Range Rover and white Mercedes Benz. Frankie’s parents kept their cars in a private garage.
I made my way into the house where there was a small group of people in the lounge, sitting trying to have a conversation with some coffee and finger food. No one touched their food and the drinks were abandoned. The mood in the room was just depressing, Skylar was so young she had so much to look forward to. Skylar and I weren't close, but were friends. Not friends that went for sleepovers at each others homes or texted each other all the time. Knowing she was dead probably in my place hurt a lot.
Frankie’s mom sat next to her sister on the black leather couch, she was trying to comfort her. Frankie’s dad stood by the sliding glass staring out at the vibrant blue swimming pool.
“Avalon?” Lola smiled a bit when she saw me. Mrs Dean looked up at me, she and I had only met a few times I doubt she'd remember me.
“Hello Avalon.” She smiled wearily. “I'm so sorry for you loss Mrs Dean.” I said sincerely.
She nodded, “thank you so much.” Her eyes were bloodshot and tired. There were massive bags under her sea blue eyes. Her hair was tied at the back in a messy knot. She had a blue handkerchief in her hand.
I turned around to the voice of my mother. She looked relieved. Standing next to her was Andrea, Cassidy’s mother. Andrea who looked cold and intense as always.
“Mom.” I said. We hadn't spoken since I moved out. She took two big strides and wrapped her arms around me. She rubbed my back repeatedly and I sighed returning her huge.
“Hi Andrea,” I acknowledged her. She nodded and left us alone.
“I was so worried about you,” she tucked a strand of my hair behind my ear.
“You're always worrying mom,” I said. It was true she always did. It was so annoying in high school I couldn't go anywhere but school without her… things just got worse when my dad left.
I saw it in her eyes that she was truly worried about me, she had bags under her eyes too. I felt bad because I was the cause of this.
“I'm fine mom,” I said. She smiled. “I'm so sorry honey.” She said in a low tone. I didn't know what for, our massive fight or Skylar’s death.
Before I knew it a guy popped up behind my mom. “Sarai,” he said placing his large hand on her left shoulder. He was much taller than her. His sudden appearance shocked her I could tell by the way she cringed at his unexpected touch.
Who was he? He had dark hair that appeared so soft and eyes as cold as ice. They were a majestic shade of blue, a deep blue, they were beautiful. His face looked sculpted, his chiseled double chin. I wondered what his smiled looked like for a minute there.
There was a commanding air around him I could tell by the way he stood with his legs apart and the way his face was just so serious.
Who was he? A family member maybe? No, I didn't know if Skylar had any brothers.
“Nick,” Mom breathed. I scrutinized him, no he couldn't be a family member. He still had his hand on my mother's shoulder.
“I thought we should leave…” he said. Our eyes locked for a brief moment.
Before my mom could reply I said, “Mom who is this guy?” I regretted my tone instantly, it sounded too accusing.
“Avalon this is Nicholas, he's a friend. He accompanied me here.” She cleared her throat and turned to meet Nicholas’ eyes.
A friend huh? He didn't look that much older than me maybe twenty-five years old, or less. The point is he is way too young to be friends with my mom. No ways she needs another excuse.
“Nice to meet you.” He said. His eyes never left me, he didn't smile or offer a hand. I was skeptical of him.
“Yes, Nick we should probably leave.” Mom said. I couldn't let her leave with this guy, it didn't feel safe.
“Wait Mom can we just talk for a bit before you leave?” I asked. She didn't hesitate.
“Of course.” She said.
“I'll wait for you in the car.” He nodded at me and left. What was he a bodyguard? That would not make any sense, what would my mom need a bodyguard for?
“Is everything okay? Who is he? I don't buy that he's just your friend. If you ask me he's wayyyy too young to be friends with you.”
“Avalon please… everything is fine. I miss you a lot. Come home even if it's just for a visit.” She said, that sounded nice. Being home was nice when mom wasn't obsessive and controlling.
“Of course. Just be safe.” I said and she chuckled.
“Now look who's worrying. I love you Avalon.” She gave me a long huge then let me go. I watched as she walked out the front door and instantly missed her.
I walked around the mansion searching for Cassidy and Frankie, but so far I had no luck. Frankie wasn't in her room and Cass was no where to be found. I guess I'd better just head home if I didn't find them.
Home? Where mom was… Nicholas kept on popping up in my head. He'd left an impression on me and I didn't like it. He wasn't her friend I came to that conclusion already, bodyguard, don't think so mom never got into trouble she was always careful then there was only one thing left and it disgusted me to say it.
Nicholas was probably my mom's boyfriend. Eww that's gross! He could be my older brother.
“Come down Val, you could be jumping to conclusions.” I said to myself. I was outside the mansion in the backyard, still looking for my friends.
I didn't even know she was seeing anyone, or looking for anyone. I spotted Cassidy staring at the distance with a flask in her hand. Cass was always drinking.
“I'm glad I found you.” I said. She jumped, spilling her alcohol on her shirt.
“Don't do that!” She yelled. I laughed. “Where did you run off to last night?” I didn't want to explain to her about how drunk she was to listen to my and how fear and paranoia got the best of me and had me running off to my boyfriend's house.
“Rider.” I simply said. “Ah.” She took another swing from her flask.
“Where's Frankie I can't find her?”
“Scooter came by and whisked her away and of course little Frankie couldn't say no.”
I nodded. I didn't really want to discuss Frankie’s relationship. Cass didn't agree with it, but Frankie has been in it for three years, it's her life she'll decide once she's had enough.
“Who's the hottie with your Mom? You never told me you had a hot cousin.” Cass licked her lips.
I chuckled nervously. “Cousin? No he's not. I have no idea who he is.”
“Could be her new boyfriend.” Cass suggested. I really wanted to dispatch of that theory as soon as possible.
“No eww. Haven't you thought about how lonely she's been since you left? Anyways I'm happy for her, he's a real catch. I wonder what dating site she found him on I need it.”
I hadn't really thought about it that much, I was too busy enjoying my freedom and thinking about how life was great now that I was away from her clutches. It sounded awful. I was still feeling guilty by the time I hopped into bed at night. Not even my nightly talks with Rider helped me feel better.
I felt like I abandoned my mom the way my dad abandoned the both of us. When I thought about it she was all I had.