Arizona Skies
Author: Isabella Darcy

Chapter 19
The Explosion

I get up with a yawn. Sunday morning. My eyes flicker to the watch lying on my table, right where I left it yesterday. 8:03. Wow, I've actually managed to sleep in for once. I shake off my covers and swing my legs over the bed, my loose hair falling over my shoulders as my feet brush the floor.

"Holy shit!"

A second later I clap my hand over my mouth, remembering Lindsey. Aubrey, from where he's reclining against the wall directly opposite me, smirks. I glance towards the open window. I can guess how he got in.

"Nice to see you too." He grins.

"Aubrey!" I gasp, pulling the pillow over to cover myself. "What the hell?"

He shakes his head, suppressing laughter. "Don't worry, I've seen it all before."

I blush, and take my mind off my scantily clad appearance. I can't help smiling; he is a nice, if startling, wake-up call. "What are you doing here?" I ask, trying to compose myself.

Aubrey cocks his head. "Do I need a reason? Seeing you, of course." His eyes scroll down me, from exposed shoulders to pillow to bare leg, biting his lip to stop the smile. "I like seeing you. Especially in the morning."

I try to throw the pillow at him, but then remember what its for and clutch it to myself more tightly. "Yeah, well." I say, "I'm forewarned. I'm sleeping in pajamas and an old t-shirt from now on."

"Aw, come on." The smile breaks free. "Don't ruin all my fun. Plus, I came for my lighter."

"Oh." I glance towards the pile near the desk that houses my shorts from yesterday, and his lighter. The pile that's seven feet away.

"I'll get it." Aubrey says, reaching for it before I can stop him. He rifles through my pile of clothes, and finally pulls out the shorts, digging through my pockets. He takes out the lighter. "Aha."

I search my bed with my eyes, looking for some piece of clothing within reach. Maybe, while he's distracted with his new-found lighter, I can grab something and slip it on?

"Who's this?"

I snap my head back to him, and my heart sinks. Oh great.

Aubrey's holding up the photo of me and mom at the beach. I'd taken it a couple days ago, stuffing it in my pocket to look at while I sketched in the desert dawn. And apparently forgotten all about it.

"Um," I say, running a hand through my hair, "My mom." Am I really going to have to explain this to him?

"Oh." He says, and looks back at it. Then he sets it down. Isn't he even going to ask?

"What do you mean, 'oh'?" I ask suspiciously.

"Lindsey told me." He says, his brows knotted together. "I'm sorry."

Even though there's no earthly reason to be mad, and I know that, I'm suddenly pissed. Why is Lindsey, a woman who openly admitted to disliking- maybe even hating?- my mom, handing out information about her and her death like it's common knowledge, small talk?

"She told you?" I gasp.

Aubrey nods slowly, carefully. "Yeah...but I mean, it was when you first came, weeks ago..."

"I don't care when it was." I say. "What right does she have to just tell people?"

Aubrey's shaking his head now, trying to extinguish the fire, but every thought feeds the flames. "Aurora, I don't think she meant to be inconsiderate, she was just-"

"She was just what, Aubrey? Don't take her side. How does she possibly expect to be allowed to tell people about my mother, pretend like she actually gave a damn about her, after the way she treated her?"

He's really concerned now, getting alarmed, trying to calm me down. He inches towards me, arms outstretched, attempting to soothe me. "I'm not siding with her, I'm just saying-"

My door flies open with a bang, and Lindsey's standing in the doorway, her eyes like fire, speechless with astonishment. I can see her eyes take in me, angry on the bed, seemingly wearing nothing but a pillow, and Aubrey, pleading with me. In an instant I can see the thought running through her head. But it's too late to stop her from thinking it.

"What in God's name is going on here?" She shrieks.

Aubrey stares up at her, shocked, and I hold out my hands, futilely trying to explain. "It's not what you think it is," I say, "Really, I can ex-"

She towers over us, steam literally flying out of her ears. "Aubrey Hunter, you just explain to me what the hell you think you're doing here!"

We're screwed.



Ten minutes later, and I'm sitting, (now clothed), across from Lindsey at the kitchen table. Aubrey's just been banished from the property, with a warning to not come within fifty feet of me or the house ever again or be faced with a restraining order and worse, after about seven full minutes of her bellowing her head off. I guess I should appreciate it; if her suspicions were true, and Aubrey had been trying to coerce me into anything, she would've stepped in and saved the day, but the only thing I can think of as I sit in this little chair with the blood pounding through my head, and the hate burning through my heart is how much I hate her right now.

"...can't believe this!" She's yelling, slamming her hand on the table, "What will your father say? I take you into my house, no complaints, and this is what you do! I've known that boy all his life, and suddenly, once you appear, he's- he's-" She splutters, speechless, literally apoplectic with rage. "Say something!" She screams.

I bite my lip and glower at her, the words bubbling out of my tongue and onto my lips before I can stop them, not that I want to. "Aubrey didn't do anything, and neither did I." I say, my voice low, quivering with suppressed emotion. "And don't try to insinuate anything about what you think was happening. You've known him all his life, you say, and he's always been good boy, until I come along. What are you trying to say, assuming what you think you saw is what really happened? That I led him on? That I somehow provoked him?"

Lindsey gets up, pacing across the floor, her whispy red hair escaping from her bun and fanning out around her scarlet face. "Don't speak to me like that!" She yells. "As insolent as your mother, you never could respect-"

"My mother?" I say, slowly rising up. "My mother?  Don't even start on my mother! Where do you think you possibly fucking get off talking about how my fucking mother died?!"

Her eyes are wide, taking in all I say, and all of a sudden she seems to be deflating, the fight floating right out of her. Her lips are mouthing soundlessly, but nothing's coming out. I can't feel any pity for this woman, I'm going on, advancing towards her, spitting the words at her. "You hated her! You hate me, because I remind you of her and you can't bare to be reminded of the woman who stole your son from you- this wretched life-" I laugh, though humor is the last emotion going through my mind right now.

But Lindsey's finally found her voice. "That's not true," she says, "That's not true at all. I don't hate you, Aurora, I love you, and your mother has nothing to do with what just happened-"

"My mother has everything to do with what just happened!" I scream, the tears spilling out of my eyes. "She has everything to do with the way you treat me and think of me and even now, the way you regard me as the perpetrator in the ugly thing you think Aubrey was trying to do to me! You don't respect me at all, just like you didn't respect her-"

I'm only a couple feet from her now, but suddenly her arm swings out and she slaps me across the face, hard, staggering me. I gasp, the heat rising to my face, burning. I'm speechless, and just shrink against the wall, watching her, the tears streaming down my face, itching salt.

"Get a grip on yourself," she says, and her voice is soft and dangerous, like a snake, "You're out of control. Do you want me to call your father?"

I shake my head slowly, turning my eyes away from her and to the floor. "No." I say stubbornly.

"Then calm down!" Lindsey sighs, blowing the frizzy hair crowning her head in exasperation. "I know that we- we haven't ever been particularly close, but I want that to change. You want to keep living here, right?"

A sullen nod.

"Then I'm going to trust you, and you're going to sit back down and tell me exactly what just happened up there. The truth. And if it's credible enough, maybe I'll just reconsider."

I slink back to my chair and sit, crossing my arms on the table, fixing my eyes right in front of me.

"Okay, so first off, what was Aubrey doing in your room first thing in the morning?"

Oh God. I'm really going to have to explain everything to her. I raise my eyes to her and take a deep breath, wiping away the tear streaks. "We were talking."

"And where were your clothes?"

"It was first thing in the morning!" I say, then remind myself to calm down. "I was asleep, and when I woke up, he was already there. He does that sometimes."

From the look on her face I have a feeling she's not liking this explanation, but I continue. "Aubrey and I- are dating, but when you walked in we were just talking- only talking."

"Really? It was pretty loud talking to me. Loud enough to wake me up."

I run a hand through my hair and sigh. "Okay, fine, arguing. But not about ourselves- about..." My voice falters, and I drop my gaze, "about my mom." She doesn't say anything, so I'm guessing today is not the day to argue about her relationship with my mom. "Aubrey would never do anything like what you suspect- never. And that's all I can really tell you."

I raise my eyes to hers and she's frowning. "You expect me to believe that you and Aubrey were just talking- arguing- this morning, and nothing else?"

Another nod.

"Well, I hope you're telling the truth. I've known that boy for a long time and I find it hard to believe he would ever attempt something like that, so I'm going to take you at your word and trust you."

I take this is as a dismissal, and rise, eager to get out of here. Lindsey coughs.

"And Aurora, I want you to know that I do love you. Whatever kind of relationship your mother and I had is over and done with, and we're not going to repeat the same mistakes."

I nod. "I'm sorry know, saying all that-"

She shakes her head. "It's forgotten. Let's get off on the right foot this time."

I turn to go and she calls me back once more. "If you can find that boyfriend of yours, send him here and we'll talk. Maybe we can work something out."

With that, I escape to my room.



Notify me when...

"This extract remains the exclusive property of the author who retains all copyright and other intellectual property rights in the work. It may not be stored, displayed, published, reproduced or used by any person or entity for any purpose without the author's express permission and authority."

Please rate and comment on this work
The writer appreciates your feedback.

Book overall rating (No. of ratings: 
Would you consider buying this book?
Yes | No
Your rating:
Post a comment Share with a friend
Your first name:
Your email:
Recipient's first name:
Recipient's email:

Worthy of Publishing is against spam. All information submitted here will remain secure, and will not be sold to spammers.

No advertising or promotional content permitted.