**Author’s Note: This novelette contains dark elements that some readers may be sensitive to. This is a story of a seventeen year old girl who wasn’t handed the easiest of cards, and is an important piece in understanding her thoughts and actions in the Playmaker Duet, however readers should be able to read the duet without reading this piece prior. Due to content, this book is recommended for readers 18+**
I had no end goal.
No end destination.
There was nowhere for me to go, nobody waiting to greet me with open arms.
For the first time in my life, I was truly and completely alone—and I was one-hundred percent okay with it.
Alone, you couldn’t hurt—not in the physical sense.
Alone, you didn’t have to worry about watching your back and sleeping with your eyes open.
Alone, and the only person you had to please—to impress—was yourself. So far though, I couldn’t exactly say ‘impressed’ was the word for what I thought of myself. I glanced at the cup holder, the tiny red inhaler mocking me.
It wasn’t like I could just…drop off the end of earth.
Hell, I was driving a car that didn’t belong to me! My friend Carter—the only friend I had in my life, and I only met her two months ago—had one of her brothers hook me up with a means of transportation. Eventually I was going to have to get into contact with her—or her brother at the very least—and return the car.
So maybe alone wasn’t the full truth. I had one person, maybe two, in my corner. Carter and her brother, who were two of seven, swore I was one of them. Could it be possible I actually had seven people in that dark, dusty corner?
I scoffed at the idea. That would mean Carter and I would remain friends when the month was up and she rejoined the world, but she was going on to bigger and better—more exciting—things, while me?
Well, I was driving to Who-the-fuck-cares, and was staying for who-the-hell-knew-how-long.
All I knew was that I was no longer Genevieve Asher Spencer.
I still had a little over a month before I turned eighteen, but I was emancipated from the state of Tennessee and with help, I legally changed my name to Asher Spence.
Genevieve was a foster kid who failed, and who was failed.
Asher was strong as steel, and there wasn’t a damn thing in the world that was going to stop her—at least, that was my goal.
I literally only had myself to answer to. I didn’t have any long lost siblings to find. I had no desire to find my birth parents.
There was just me, driving along the spider web of freeways until I found a place that simply “felt” right. Then maybe I’d find something worth living for. I refused to believe I was put on this earth for nothing more than being a foster care kid who the system failed.
I continued driving up I-94, passing through Chicago and going north into Wisconsin. Each time I saw an exit sign, I made a split decision: keep going, or turn. This journey was completely random and it felt good.
Good to be driving, to be moving. I needed to be moving.
The standstill traffic of Chicago nearly sent me into a panic attack. Too much downtime was not so great for the memories. Those visions, the reliving my nightmares? They needed to stay the fuck in the past. I didn’t need them in my future.
Nor in my present.
I tapped my thumbs on the steering wheel as the radio DJ faded into one of the newer radio hits. I hadn’t been too privy with music the last two months; didn’t have radio or television where I just left. Most of the music that continued to play, I’d never heard before, but after fourteen hours of the stuff I found myself humming along to the notes and melodies.
Fighting off a yawn, I popped the top of a new can of Monster sitting in the cup holder next to me. With my eyes on the road, I chugged down the large can, taking deep breaths through my nose as I did.
When it was empty, I squeezed the aluminum with my hand and let it join the litter of other cans at the floor of the passenger seat.
I was going to have to find a place to stop soon. It wasn’t like I could just drive and drive and drive until I found a place to call home for however long I decided. I’d left the east coast, South Carolina to be precise, at six last night and drove through the night hours, over and through the mountains. It didn’t prove to be my brightest idea but hey, I did it, I made it, and now I was somewhere north of Chicago.
I wasn’t sure when I started heading north rather than west, but like I said—I didn’t have an end goal.
The last week had been a whirlwind but shit, my entire life had been one catastrophe after another.
I left one hell only to be kicked out of another. I pinched my mouth together, pissed at myself for the reminder of my fuck ups.
I looked down to my right arm, at the still healing mass of colors swirling there. That was one good thing about being on my own—I could do whatever the fuck I wanted, and if those prestigious assholes, who could do nothing other than yell at you, didn’t want me? Well then, dammit, I was doing something for me.
Not even four hours after being kicked out, I found myself in a tattoo parlor that was recommended by some of the tattooed men in the area—there were a number of them where I just left—and was handing over a sketch I’d been working on during the night hours when everyone else was writing letters home. I had a day or two to kill, so I spent my hours in a tattoo chair. Now, aside from the red healing, my arm was a mass of watercolor swashes and blots. When I was told there may be discomfort and that I should consider a multi-day session, I simply shrugged it off.
Nothing could come close to what I’d already been through in my seventeen years.
Near my wrist, the colors were more earthy, blues and greens—a reminder to keep my feet on the ground. Toward my shoulder, the colors were darker, navy and dark purple—a reminder that it was still ok to dream. In that rich, deep purple, cutting through the color and giving way to my flesh, was a beautiful mandala with intricate bead work falling from the lower petals.
Being left-handed, the thought was the right side of the brain worked differently; therefore, I put the mandala on my right shoulder. Mandalas were said to help ease the chatter going on in one’s mind and, beyond the fact the final design was fucking gorgeous, I liked the idea behind it.
Maybe it would work, maybe it wouldn’t.
The underside of my arm, from wrist to elbow, was a seemingly simple arrow done in black. It was feminine and dainty, yet strong. The arrow head itself was simple, and the feathers at the end were beautifully realistic, but the shaft flowed into and through the word ‘hero,’ after another tattoo I’d seen once before.
I’m the hero of my story.
Off-center of the word, around the ‘e’ and extending just past the ‘o,’ was a perfectly dotted circle, with a smaller, solid lined circle coming off of it.
An arrow can only go forward after being pulled back.
With my right hand on the wheel now, I took my left hand and ran my fingers over the word.
I was my own hero. I didn’t need anyone.
After all, no one needed me.
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2kxkVxB
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About the Author:
Mignon Mykel is the author of the Prescott Family series, as well as the short-novella erotic romance series, O’Gallagher Nights. When not sitting at Starbucks writing whatever her characters tell her to, you can find her hiking in the mountains of her new home in Arizona.
Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/mnonmkl
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