the fifth floor of a swank New York City apartment, Shay Collins
felt as if she were waking up from a dream and walking into a
nightmare. She stared at her luggage by the door and worried
over what fresh hell she would stumble into this weekend.
you sure about this?” Caroline asked from behind her.
don't want to miss my brother's wedding.”
left California for a reason, to get away from your mother.
You’re asking for trouble.”
only going to be there a few days.”
looked at Shay with concerned eyes. They had been friends since
they were kids. Caroline knew her better than anyone and knew a
trip back home, even for a weekend, would not end well for her.
“Okay.” Caroline sighed. “Call me when you get there.”
be back Monday.” She looped the strap of her black leather
purse over her shoulder. “Oh, and please make sure Chloe gets
to bed by 8:00 tonight.”
be fine, but aren’t you pissed that Sherry wants an adult-only
least Chloe doesn’t have to miss pre-school.”
picked up her suitcase and duffle and lugged them downstairs to
a waiting cab. Once seated, she wondered if she had made the
right decision. Caroline was right about her; she’d left an
overbearing and manipulative mother who’d always managed to
make her feel like a massive failure. No reason to think Janine
had changed. Her most recent bone to pick was the fact that Shay
was a 29-year-old divorcee, another failure. She also dreaded
seeing her ex-husband again. Matt Blanco lived one town over
from her parents’ house in Renwick. She had divorced that
alcoholic prick a year ago, before moving to New York with Chloe
and Caroline. Like Shay, Caroline was also going through a bad
breakup and needed a fresh start.
women were nervous to start over in such a big, complex city,
but after a few months, they had figured it out, for the most
part. Caroline found a job at a local clothing store where she
became the assistant manager, and Shay landed a great job as a
copy editor for a major publisher. She loved her job for many
reasons, but among them was the fact that she got to work from
home two days a week.
she was thinking about her past and all the ways this trip could
go wrong, the cab stopped in front of JFK airport. She decided
to enjoy the journey and push her worries aside until she
she settled in on the plane, she received a text from Caroline: Have
a safe flight and call me if you need me to come out there and
straighten out your mom.
smiled. Though she knew Caroline was joking, it was nice to know
she had a friend she could always count on.
Shay sat there waiting for the plane to take off, she thought
about the day she and Caroline met.
was her first day of kindergarten. Shay's father had just walked
her into Mrs. Peterman's class, and like any child reaching a
new milestone, Shay was nervous. All she wanted to do was follow
her father out the door and never leave his side, but instead,
she found a quiet corner in the back of the room and
watched her classmates play with one another.
Shay sat there, feeling the urge to cry and run home, a chubby
little girl with curly brown hair and red-framed glasses walked
up to her. She was carrying a coloring book and a box of
crayons. “Hi, I'm Caroline. Do you want to color with me?”
She pointed to the Disney princess on the cover.
Cinderella was Shay’s favorite princess.
simple exchange was the beginning of a long-lasting friendship
between Shay Collins and Caroline Fisher.
pleasant flashback was interrupted by a flight attendant’s
voice on the intercom. “Folks, please stow your belongings
in the overhead or under the seat in front of you.”
everyone was seated, the cabin door closed, and the jet was
pushed back from the gate. While taxiing to the runway, the
flight attendant demonstrated the safety equipment and pointed
out the emergency exits. “Enjoy your flight to California.”
took a deep breath. Here goes nothing.