CHAPTER 1- Beckham
This story is no longer available here and it’s now published and available as eBook through Amazon, or as paperback through Amazon and/or my website.
Only six chapters are available here as a preview.
—Three Years Ago—
“Oh, honey… How are you and little Lyra holding up?”
I look up at Mrs. Wilson to see the same sadness the whole town feels.
“Lee is with Mom now and I’m… I’m just here, Mrs. Wilson.” The last of my sentence rises with a choked sob and Mrs. Wilson wraps her arms around me trying to console me as everyone has all been doing.
Today we are burying my best friend, the mother of my child. My beautiful Lyra Lee will never have a memory of herself in her mother’s arms. My little one-year-old daughter and I will have to find a way to live without our rock.
Charlie and I had known each other for ages. We were best friends that did almost everything together including getting too drunk and hooking up, which resulted in regret the very next day since neither of us had that kind of feelings for each other. About six weeks later, we found out she was pregnant, and I didn’t hesitate to move her in with me and propose that we get engaged to fool her conservative parents.
Ever since then, everyone has been under the impression that we were a real couple which is why while I mourn the loss of my best friend everyone here thinks I’m mourning the loss of my future bride.
“Oh, you sweet boy,” Mrs. Wilson says. “Did you eat? Have you been sleeping well? You know I can watch over the baby if you need some time to gather some energy.”
Mrs. Wilson is our neighbor and possibly the sweetest lady I’ve ever met. She is like the grandma I never had, and she worries about my Lyra Lee as if she was her great-granddaughter. She calls me and Charlie the grandkids she never had. Lies. The woman has three granddaughters.
“It’s ok, Mrs. Wilson,” I tell her. “I have to stay, for Charlie’s parents.”
Mrs. Wilson grimaces at the mention of my in-laws. Though she doesn’t know Charlie and I weren’t real, she does know that we always tried to keep the Nicholas family—or at least Charlie’s parents—far, far away from our relationship.
We talk for a few more minutes and as more people keep coming over to ask how I’m holding up, Mrs. Wilson says it’s time for her to go.
Just as I am walking her to the door, someone opens it from the outside. I see it’s Jason Nicholas—Charlie’s brother—entering the place. There is something so endearing about him. It makes him so likable. Seriously, no one can hate him no matter how annoying he can be.
He walks over to me asking, “Beck, sweetie, how are you and my beautiful niece doing?”
“Jason, hi. We’re doing ok... I think. How are you holding up?”
“I—” he pauses taking a deep breath, “I’m not quite sure just yet, Beck. I just lost my best friend and my baby sister all in one you know. Charlie was… I don’t know if I can describe how I feel right now.”
Charlotte Nicholas. Everybody loved that girl. Losing someone like her sure left a Grand Canyon size hole in our lives. One day she was laughing with us and complaining about back pain. The next she woke up and it was as if she never woke up at all.
In a matter of hours, Charlie was delusional and by the time we took her to the hospital, it had been too late. Her kidneys had already shut down, and her overall condition deteriorated to the point she couldn’t speak. It was 6:44 a.m. the next day when we lost her to septic shock.
“Lyra, honey. We need to go to Mrs. Wilson’s so Daddy can work.”
“I want Mama!” she shouts, begging for me to play all the videos I keep of Charlie and me together.
“Yes, baby. Mrs. Wilson knows, and she will play them for you while I work. See?” I hold her backpack open as I show it to her, “I have them all in your backpack.” She jumps up and down while holding her favorite teddy bear.
I finally get Lyra ready with everything we will need for the day. Mrs. Wilson has a key to my place to get anything she needs, but I still like getting all of Lyra’s meals ready, so the woman doesn’t have to do too much. She had a fall about two months ago and ended up needing physical therapy, so I do not ask her to do much.
“Sis Wilson! It’s me!” Lyra calls when I knock on Mrs. Wilson’s door, and I chuckle. My little girl can’t say Mrs., so she has been calling for ‘Sis Wilson’ since she learned to say the name.
“Oh, Beckham sweetie, please come in. I was getting worried,” she says, and I realize I didn’t tell her I was running late.
“I’m sorry, Mrs. Wilson. Lyra wanted to change into her dinosaur clothes, and we got a little behind.” I roll my eyes and she laughs when she looks down and sees my daughter wearing everything green and all in different shades.
Her laugh is replaced with a frown and now I’m the worried one.
“What happened? Are you ok?”
“Yes, yes. I’m ok. I just remembered I have to talk to you.”
“Did you fall again?” I rush to get closer to her and grab her arm gently as if that would somehow be enough support.
“No, sweetheart, nothing like that,” she says, “We can talk after you come home from work. I don’t want you to be late. Not any more than you already are.”
“No, don’t worry about that. I work later today but wanted to leave with enough time to get some coloring books for Lyra. I can pick them up after work if you are willing to keep Lyra for a little longer.”
She waved her hand for me to follow her into the living room. “Of course, dear,” she says as I follow her. “Come on. Let’s talk.”
“Mrs. Wilson, are you sure everything is ok?”
She tries to hide it, but I catch the grimace just in time, and before I get to question her again, she speaks.
“You remember my granddaughter, Nora? Right?” I nod and send a silent prayer that she isn’t trying to set me up again.
Oh, how I wished that had been what she wanted to say. Instead, what she does say, throws me sideways.
“Well, Nora has been insisting that I move in with her and I accepted. I wanted to stay, dear. I wanted to be here for you and little Lyra. But after that fall, I’m just a bag of old bones.”
I am as shocked as I am worried. I’m worried for her, because she’s done so much for us, and worried for my baby girl that won’t have Mrs. Wilson with her anymore. Then there’s the last part, the one I dread the most. How am I supposed to find a babysitter that I trust?