’This just in, our beloved bakery owner, Mrs. Marjorie Evans has been hospitalized after having a heart attack. It seems she’s been feeling a little under the weather for a few days now, but didn’t tell anyone in fear her family would find out and urge her to seek medical assistance. Now listeners, if anyone knows Mrs. Evans, you will know she is a stubborn southern woman who will do what she wants, when she wants and nobody will tell her otherwise…’
I sigh as I see that Jasper has already put the word out about my grandmother. Gram is going to ring his neck when she finds out and I can only hope I am there to witness it. Jasper Wilkes is a Nosy Nelly that thrives on gossip in our little town. He has a gossip column that he thinks is news-worthy, but he hasn’t done much good by posting his ridiculous finds.
There’s been a few times where my own life stories have been broadcasted on his website. I wasn’t happy, but my grandmother was absolutely irate when she found out through the grapevine that I wasn’t exactly being lady-like. Like the time I got drunk the night before the Homecoming Parade and fell off the float… Yeah, I was grounded for two weeks, lost my phone, car and had to do community service at the church. I had to take a bunch of tween girls on a hike, which was not fun at all, because I couldn’t even have Austin come with me.
“This is your Captain speaking. Please fold your trays and buckle your seat belt as we prepare to land.” The Captain voiced over the speakers, interrupting my thoughts.
I take a deep breath and buckle myself in, trying not to psych myself out about returning home after so long.
Once the plane finally lands and we are able to exit, I grab my purse and rush off, ready to leave the claustrophobic tin can behind. I turn the Airplane mode off on my phone so I can call Amy once I have my suitcase to let her know I made it, safely.
As I walk through the gate to baggage claim, I’m hit with the southern heat. I dressed for winter in New York, but down here it feels like summer!
“Excuse me, can you tell me where the restrooms are?” I ask the attendant at baggage claim, as I fan my face to cool myself… Or at least try to. I’m changing before calling anyone.
“Take a right and it’s the first door on the left.” The nice gentleman replies, not bothering to look up from shuffling the suitcases and bags.
“Thanks.” I shrug my shoulder and grab for my suitcase. I head to the bathroom and change into a pair of short shorts and a tank top. Thankfully, I was smart enough to shave my legs this morning while I showered.
I sigh in relief when I exit the bathroom, feeling so much cooler. I dial Amy’s number after getting my phone from my purse. “Hello, sweetie. You make it there?” She greets.
“Yes, I’m here.” I reply with a sigh. “Is Violet alright?” I ask. She was excited to know she would be taking an airplane ride to come see me, soon. Little kids are easy to please.
“She’s doing fine. Don’t worry your pretty little head.” She laughs. “Right now she’s eating dinner. I’ll have her call you before bed.” She promises.
“Thank you so much, Amy.” I say, gratefully. “I really appreciate all of your help.” Tears begin to blur my vision as I realize just how much Amy has helped me over the past few years. She is my rock. My best friend. My sister at heart. “I love you, guys. I’m going to head to the hospital to check on my gram before going to the house.” I wipe my eyes and look around for Spencer. He promised to pick me up so I didn’t need to take a cab.
“We love you too, Bri. Take care and we’ll see you soon.” Amy blows me a kiss through the phone before ending our call. She hardly ever says goodbye.
I take a deep breath and search for a familiar face, but don’t see it. Just as I’m about to give up, I spot a tall, muscular man with messy sandy blonde hair, walking towards me and I squeal in excitement at seeing my cousin after so long.
“Spencer!” I yell, waving my hands in front of me to get his attention. “Spencer!” I yell again, when he looks to his left. When he finally sees me, I start running, pulling my suitcase behind me. “I’m so freaking happy to see you.” I exclaim and drop my things so I can hug him.
“Damn, Bri.” He grins as I lunge at him, gripping him tight. “How long has it been, now?” He chuckles, hugging me back and lifting me off the ground.
I let go and he sets me back on my feet. “Three years.” I mutter, moving my hair from my face and beaming up at him with a bright smile.
He nods, claps his hands and rubs them together. “Shall we go?” He asks, a solemn look overtaking his previous happy one.
I nod and he reaches for my suitcase, pulling it along behind him. I follow, holding my purse and tucking my phone away so I don’t drop it. “Yeah. We’re heading to the hospital, right?” I ask, wanting to see my gram, badly.
“Of course.” He nodded, heading to the exit doors.
Once outside I smell the fresh Alabama air and inhale, deeply. I miss this so much. “Thank you, Spence.”
He doesn’t respond until we are situated inside his truck, buckled up and ready to go. “No problem.” He nods, starting the truck and driving away from the airport and towards the hospital.
Our trip is short and quiet. Spencer seems to be deep in thought and I too, have my own issues to think about. Now that I’m back home, I’m seeing my gram, my uncle, my cousin and possibly my ex. I haven’t seen him in three years. I moved away seven years ago, but I came back to visit when my grandpa passed away.
In all honesty, I shouldn’t have stayed away for so long, but I do have a reason as to why I chose to. And it’s about to unfold sooner rather than later…