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Dream Lover

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Chapter 1

10 Years Later ~

Molly had packed up her truck, a beat-up thing that had seen better days. Heading back to the dreaded hometown of her youth made her sick. It had been ten years since she set foot in that wretched place and she never would have gone back if not for her father.

Her younger sister called the night before to break the news. The cancer had finally won, the old bastard passed away in his sleep a few days before. She wondered why her sister didn’t call as soon as it happened, but then slapped herself mentally. It was a surprise to hear anything at all.

Taking a deep breath, the five-hour trip not nearly long enough to prepare her for what fate had planned, she trudged on. A childhood home, a small farming town with a few shops, and a close-knit community. Her heartache and misery. Her innocence had been cut up like meat before being thrown into a den of rabid hyenas.

As she drove she thought back to why she left in the first place. Those shit high school years were boring and filled with low self-esteem, something she laughed at now. She had dated a boy for three years, but then found out he was cheating on her. After catching him in the act she was too cowardly to face him, her heart shattered, so she ran away.

She left town on the first bus. Ended up a state over before she called her parents to let them know what she was doing. They were horrified, calling her dramatic and stupid, but she refused to listen to them. What else could she do? They would’ve never supported her. If they called the police to get her back the town would never stop talking about it. They didn’t want such a scandal, not with their religious background. So they spoke of their eldest daughter going on a soul-finding mission with God.

In truth she was working her ass off, at sixteen years old, holding two separate jobs to pay for food and the rental apartment she had. The owner of a flower shop, after talking with her parents for an hour, agreed to let her rent the apartment above her shop for really cheap. She got her GED, attended community college, and set her life on the right track.

Over the years she went through hell and then some, learning more about her family than she ever would’ve at home. Leaving had changed her life for the better. It was a dramatic decision made out of hormonal insanity, but it shaped who she became.

After five years she had written her own book and sold a few original paintings. She did an art show every now and then. Her parents hadn’t spoken to her in years, and after she told them the truth of her life she knew that would happen. Her father was diagnosed with lung cancer two years back and it was too late to treat it. He spent the remainder of his days on their farm, refusing treatment and relying on prayers.

Over time it spread to all his organs, claiming his life almost a week before. Truthfully he got more time than most did with his kind of diagnosis, but it killed her inside to know he didn’t even try to fight it. He had been her father, and even after all the shit he put her through she still loved him. Hell, she even prayed that he would speak to her one last time, try to mend their broken relationship. Prayers left unheard. He was gone.

Her mother and younger sister planned the funeral and the service, calling her to fill her in on everything as if it were a simple occasion or family holiday. They didn’t want to have anything to do with her, but if she didn’t show up at the funeral it would only bring them more worries and rumors. Despite all of the hate and pain, she couldn’t put them through an inkling of what she went through.

Her mother had practically disowned her, refusing to speak with her beside a brief conversation at the time of her father’s diagnosis. Part of Molly’s heart broke that day, the part that wished for the love of parents that fully accepted her. Flaws, how cruel they could be as they cracked the mirror of family and understanding.

She loved her dad, at least the small bit of memories in which he was nice. Now, knowing he wouldn’t be there to greet her, the veins connected to her heart clenched slightly. It would take every ounce of courage she could muster up to face that godforsaken town again, but she had no choice at this point. She would bury her father and then head back to the city. She had nothing to stick around for.

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