“You going to be able to see out your back window?” asked Porter from behind me as I shoved a bag into the backseat and threw myself against the door before it could come flying back out.
“Um…Rearview windows,” I said sarcastically and turned around and grinned. My eyes were bleary from lack of sleep and my brain pounded into my temples from the night before, but I figured I was on my way to sunnier skies. Literally. Like a typical day in Rochester, it was cold and overcast with a 90 percent chance of ice.
“One last cigarette before you hit the road?” he asked, looking just slightly forlorn.
Porter was my buddy. In honor of my grand send off, the two of us had hit up all the dive bars near his apartment in a rural community outside of the city. I remembered lots of wine and screaming and grabbing his hand to dance when “Come on Eileen” started to beat out that 80’s hit us late 20-somethings just never got enough of. That was about all I remembered, I thought, clearly lying to myself, because as much as I wanted to pretend I didn’t remember, the disturbing memory of him trying to kiss me kept flashing in my head and making me cringe.
“Yeah, sure,” I answered, casting a longing look at my car.
We stood smoking silently, our breath making clouds in the air long after we had exhaled. I flicked my cigarette nervously, and racked my mind with something to talk about. “I hope it doesn’t rain,” I said lamely. He grunted his assent while taking another drag. I winced before he disrupted the silence and anxiously inhaled the toxic smoke that was doing nothing to calm my nerves.
“Look about last night –“ Holding up my hand I cut him off and shook my head quickly.
“It was a blast,” I finished and smiled crookedly. “The perfect send off.”
“Seriously, Nina,” he began again.
“Seriously, Porter. It was,” I say quietly and stamp out the ember of my cigarette; the butt I hold in my hand not liking to litter. “And that’s all I remember… is how great it was to spend my last night in the grand ROC with someone whose been such a great friend to me.” Stamping out his cigarette, he finally looked up at me and grinned back.
“Like I said, if you haven’t established yourself somewhere by May, I’m dragging your ass back here.”
I laughed, feeling a weight lift off of me as my universe slid back into place. “It’s a deal.”
K.M. Randall writes fantasy and paranormal for both a general and young adult audience. Her debut novel, an epic fantasy called Fractured Dream, launched in June 2014, and her second book, The Reaper's Daughter, launched May 2015. Randall also published Fairytale Lost, a prequel to Fractured Dream, as an exclusive on Wattpad. She blogs about dreams, female heroines, and activism and its relevancy to the literary and fictional world. And when in the season, sometimes she just likes to talk about Halloween. She is currently hard at work on the second book in the Dreamer Saga series, Shattered World.