It was great to be home. To finally have privacy again, and sleep in her own bed was heaven on earth!
While getting ready for bed she noticed a moving van pulling away from the curb. Who moves in the middle of the night? Lucy wondered.
She craned to catch a glimpse of her new neighbor, but although the lights were on, she didn’t see anyone.
Lucy didn’t give her new neighbor another thought as she tucked herself in under her thick blankets, she fell asleep almost instantly.
Lucy woke up bright and early that following morning ready to take on the world!
First things first, gotta stop by and get my old job back…She thought mentally planning her day. Then, stop by and see Presley.
She just hoped that her time at University had given him the time he needed to get over his anger.
She stopped at work first. They were happy to have her back, and she also got a huge promotion since she was now more skilled in the medical field.
“Thank you so much!” Lucy said shaking her bosses hand enthusisastically. “You won’t regret this Sir.”
“I have heard great things about you Ms. Gallagher. Good things. I am confident you’ll fit in here. We look forward to seeing you on your first day back.” Her boss said.
Lucy beamed all the way home.
Butterflies swirled in her stomach as she pulled in front of Presley’s house. She wiped her sweaty palms on her jeans. Despite the chill in the air she was sweating.
Movement inside caught her eye before she could knock. Feeling ashamed she peaked in his window and was shocked at what she saw. Shocked, but not surprised. Had she really expected him to wait for her after how she treated him?
Lucy felt her heart drop to her toes. Her nose and eyes started to sting with the threat of tears. What broke her heart wasn’t the action of itself, him kissing another woman, it was that he looked so happy that she felt her bruised heart shatter.
She whirled around feeling sick to her stomach and left before the tears could fall.
Inside the safety of her own home Lucy let the tears fall. Mostly she cried for what could have been between them, but now she had lost her chance. What a fool she had been.
Still sniffling, she picked up her phone and dialed a number.
“Hey Skip.” Lucy chirped into the phone. She hoped she didn’t sound as fake as she felt.
“Gallagher!” Skip said “How goes it? You should have stayed the weekend after school let out, you missed one hell of a party.”
“I wish I would have, thats for sure. Listen Skip, I was wondering if you still wanted to go out sometime?” Her voice trailed off. She was slightly embarassed, she sounded desprate. But she didn’t really care. Her heart was hurting, and she just wanted anyone to help heal some of that hurt. Skip, even being the bumbling moron he was, was at the top of that list.
“Well hells yeah Gallagher. The next time you’re down this way look me up.” Skip said.
Lucy wasn’t listening, she was watching a lone figure walk down the street passed her house. She felt her stomach really hit rock bottom now.
“Listen, Skip, I gotta get going. I’ll call you back later ok?” Without listening to his reply she hung up the phone and ran outside.
“Lobelia Aster, is that you?” Lucy said, keeping her voice and mannerisms calm, like one would act while approaching a bear.
“Lucy Gallagher.” Lobelia looked her up and down. “Have you put on weight?” Lobelia said in her charming way. Lucy rolled her eyes.
“I see you got yourself a new pair of floating devices.” Lucy said glancing at Lobelia’s ample chest and rolling her eyes.
Lobelia scowled at Lucy.
“Jealous?” she asked. “I see you still have the same little bee stings on your chest that haven’t changed since we were kids.” She yawned. “If you want, i can get you in touch with my doctor.”
“I’ll pass. I prefer to get my medical attention from an actual hospital. Not out of some clinic out of an ally way.”
Lobelia looked Lucy up and down distainfully.
“No really.” Lucy began. “Why the hell are you here. Did they finally get sick of your crap and chase you out of Bridgeport with pitchforks.”
“I’m your new neighbor.” Lobelia leaned in real close narrowing her eyes to little slits. “Aren’t you just so excited?”
I guess that explains the moving van in the middle of the night…Lucy thought in dismay.
With another smile and a little wink Lobelia sauntered off across the street towards town dismissing Lucy.
“See you around…neighbor.” Lobelia called over her shoulder.
With the rest of her days plans completely blown, Lucy went home and stewed. She sat up all night in front of the window waiting for Lobelia to return home. Finally through the darkness she saw a blonde figure running down the street like she was running away from some illegial activity, which knowing Lobelia was a complete possibility.
Stomping across the small space between there two houses Lucy knocked once. Lobelia seemed to be expecting her.
“Hurry up and get in, You’re letting the heat out.” Was all she said. Lucy stepped in to the small living room. Her head began to pound from the smell of candles that were burning on the coffee table. Or maybe it was from the stress….
“I was just fixing something to eat, go ahead and sit if you want.” Lobelia gestered to a plate that seemed to be waiting for Lucy.
“You didn’t poison it did you?” Lucy asked sniffing the plate.
Lobelia just smiled. Lucy began to eat. Poison just wasn’t Lobelia’s style. Lobelia looked tough but she rarely resorted to violence although if she wanted she could kick your butt up and down the street with one hand tied behind her back. No Lobelia’s style was more subtle. She would ruin your life first, then stand back and laugh.
Finishing up. Lucy sat on the couch waiting for Lobelia to join her. They were going to have it out one way or another. It was long over due. With her back turned Lucy missed the complete and utter look of loathing that Lobelia aimed in her direction.
Lucy stood up as Lobelia walked into the room.
“Are you obessed with me or what?” Lucy began.
Lobelia laughed. “Obsessed with you? Don’t flatter yourself.” Laughter danced in her violet eyes. Lobelia was a pretty girl, there was no doubt. You just had to look past the crazy too see it.
“This isn’t a coincidence Lobelia. You obviously moved here on purpose. Next door no less. This is about Rob isn’t it? Damn Lobelia you are a complete psycho you know that!” Lucy threw her hands up in the air.
Lucy felt a little flash of victory as Lobelia turned around, as if she had gotten to her.
But Lucy should have known better. Lobelia whirled around her violet eyes flashing. She pointed one long black nail polished tip finger inches from Lucy’s face.
“You know damn right well it is. ” Lobelia breathed. Her voice was as cold as the arctic wind, it sent shivers down Lucy’s spine.
“Lobelia…” Lucy began. “He had a drinking problem. He shouldn’t have been driving that night. He hit that lady and didn’t stop. She almost died!”
“You took something from me, now I’m going to take something from you.” Lobelia said inches from Lucy’s face.
“What the hell is that susposed to mean?” Lucy demanded.
“You’ll see soon enough.” She pointed to the door. “Get the hell out of here before I throw you out on your ass. But if you think this is over you are wrong. This is only the beginning…” Lobelia said softly.
Feeling the guilt lay heavily on her shoulders like a heavy coat, Lucy stepped out into the cold air. Memories came hard and fast.
Lucy and Lobelia and Rob had been in and out of the same foster care system all through child hood. When they had turned 18 they moved in with each other. They had been so close, all three of them, the years in foster care bonding them together.
Eventually Lucy and Rob had fallen in love. It was great at first, the way all new relationships are in the beginning, full of promise of the future. It didn’t take long for Rob’s demons to surface. He began drinking to deal with his feelings, and one night had gotten behind the wheel despite Lucy trying to hide his keys from him. He took off leaving Lucy standing on the curb hoping and praying for his safety.
There was a hit and and run that night, and Lucy saw the dented hood in his car the next morning, and put two and two together. She had to call the cops, she wouldn’t have been able to live with herself if she hadn’t. However, Lobelia never forgave her. She turned all there friends against her, and made her life misrable until Lucy moved away.
Lucy started towards home, and then decided to head across the street instead. Her past expriences had turned her away from alcohol for the most part, but she needed a drink now. She just needed to forget. Just for a little while.
All of a sudden she was sailing through the air across the street, intense heat on her back. The loud boom hit seconds later. As she landed her ears were ringing so hard she couldn’t hear anything. With tears streaming down her face her face from the smoke she stood on shakey legs and turned around to see her house was nothing but a heap of stone and wood. Her house had exploded! Sirens blared in the distance, but it was too late to save her home. Everything was gone!
Lobelia, Lucy thought. She wasn’t sure how, but she knew the why. Lobelia was behind this, that much she was sure of…