Home > The Resurrection of Wildflowers (Wildflower #2)

The Resurrection of Wildflowers (Wildflower #2)
Author: Micalea Smeltzer


PROLOGUE

 

 

SALEM

 

 

It took me a while to learn that sometimes no matter how much, or how hard you love someone, or something, you have to let them go. You can’t save a sinking ship.

Sometimes, you have someone else you have to be strong for, who needs you more.

You make a choice.

A devastating one.

And you hope, maybe one day, they’ll come back to you.

 

 

CHAPTER 1

 

 

SALEM

 

 

Spring in Hawthorne Mills is my favorite. I haven’t spent any time here since I left six years ago. I came back a few times that summer, hoping the man I loved next door would snap out of it and see me, come back to me, but he never did.

Thayer Holmes was lost to me, so I tucked my tail and moved on.

Got a job waitressing at a diner close to Lauren’s apartment. I stored away every penny I could. Caleb and I started talking more, and then we started dating again, it was almost a year to the day of Georgia’s wedding that he asked me to marry him, and I said yes. We married two months later. He finished college and we moved to California. I loved it there, almost as much as here, but he got a job offer a year ago in Boston, so we returned.

And still I never set foot back here at my childhood home.

He knew why and it hurt him.

All I’ve ever done is hurt him.

So, I let him go.

Our divorce was easy, just like everything with us. I know he’ll always be in my life, but now he’s free to find the kind of love I knew once. Once you’ve had it, nothing else compares no matter how much you try and how much work you put into it.

It’s like trying to fit a puzzle piece in a space it doesn’t belong.

Opening the car door, I step onto the driveway.

As much as I swore I’d never come back here, to this place, to him, only one thing could bring me back. Letting myself into the house, I find my mom in the makeshift bed set up in the living room.

“Hi, Mom.” It takes everything I have in me to stave off the tears. I don’t want her to see me cry.

“There’s my girl,” she smiles, beckoning me forward with a swish of her pale thin hand.

My mom’s dying.

The cancer found its way back and nothing has worked this time. No matter how hard she fights, it’s stronger, and now she has two months, perhaps not even that, left to live.

My steps sound so loud to my ears as I make my way into the living room and bend down to hug her.

“You just missed Georgia,” she tells me, her hug weak. There’s not much muscle or fat on her body. She’s withering away right before our eyes. “I’m sure I’ll see her later.”

“The kids were asking about you guys.”

I smile, brushing my fingers over the papery skin on her cheek. “They’ll see us soon.” Georgia and Michael have two kids now and another on the way. To say they have their hands full is an understatement, but they’re happy. “Do you need anything?”

“I’m okay right now. Maybe we could watch a movie or something after you bring your stuff in?”

“That sounds good, Mom.”

Caleb and I have remained living together since the divorce. It just made sense while I figured out my next step, but with my mom’s condition deteriorating I knew it was time to return home. To take care of her in her final days, give Georgia a break, and when the inevitable happens clean out the house and figure out what comes next.

It’s hard, knowing my future is a big question mark at the moment. I’ll be twenty-six later this year and just like at eighteen, I still don’t have shit figured out. But maybe that’s the truth of adulthood no one wants to tell you—we’re all out here winging it.

Outside, I steadfastly ignore the house next door. I know he still lives there, my mom mentions him from time to time. Sometimes I wonder if she does it trying to gauge my reaction. I’ve never told her about what happened with Thayer. With my heart so broken, and accepting that him and I were truly over, I didn’t see the point.

I manage to get all of my stuff brought inside without stealing a peek next door.

That’s a lie.

I take a small one.

Just long enough to see the completed treehouse in the backyard and the hint of the roof of a greenhouse.

“Did you get everything?” My mom’s croaky voice sounds so small from the living room.

“I did. I’ll carry some of it up now.”

“All right. I think I’ll just … rest my … eyes … for a bit.”

She can’t see me in the kitchen, but tears spring to my eyes.

She’s slipping away. What could’ve been a long life is now measured in weeks, hours, minutes, seconds, and every single one is precious.

 

 

CHAPTER 2

 

 

SALEM

 

 

My room is a relic.

It’s literally exactly the same. For some reason, I expected my mom to have changed it in some way. It’s clean since both Georgia and I pitch in to pay a cleaning lady to come by weekly. There’s not a speck of dust anywhere. The bed is freshly made, the corners of the covers crisp.

Since my mom is sleeping and not going to be ready to watch a movie anytime soon, I unpack my clothes and toiletries, then call Caleb.

“Hey,” he says, his voice deep. “Did you make it in all right?”

“Yeah, thanks for asking.”

“How’s your mom?”

I sigh, rubbing my forehead. “Sleeping. She’s frailer than I expected.”

“I’m sorry.” I can hear the genuineness in his voice. Despite us falling apart, Caleb remains to be one of the kindest people I know.

“It is what it is,” I reply softly, sitting on the end of my bed facing the window I used to sit out on, often with Caleb himself.

“Someone’s trying to steal the phone from me,” he chuckles.

I laugh too. “Put her on.”

“Mommy!” My daughter’s voice is like a balm to a wound. With just one word she makes me feel better, more grounded.

“Hi, baby. How’s your day been?”

“Good. Daddy picked me up from school and we went to the grocery store. I got a lollipop.”

I hear Caleb laugh in the background. “That was supposed to be our secret.”

“Oops,” she giggles.

Seda was the unexpected surprise Thayer left me with. She’s been the gift I didn’t know I wanted or needed. Being her mom makes me feel like a superhero.

“I miss you already,” I tell her.

“I miss you, too, Mommy. Give grandma kisses—you always say kisses will make it better.”

Oh, fuck. I’m going to cry. I wish tears would make my mom better, but I don’t think magical kisses can fight cancer off.

“I will,” I say to my daughter. “I love you.”

“Love you, Mommy!” She hangs up the phone, the line going quiet.

When I make my way back downstairs, my mom is still asleep so I decide to go ahead and start on dinner. Georgia says Mom isn’t eating much these days, but I have to at least try.

Searching the cabinets I come across a bottle of wine, probably something Georgia stashed before she got pregnant again, and open it. Filling the glass, I drink as I cook. I’m not a huge drinker, but today calls for a little wine to soothe my nerves.

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