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Ray and Sara are two friends who have a special bond. This friendship will take them through good times and bad, will be stretched thin by the miles separating them sometimes, and by simple life circumstances at others. But in the end, it is this friendship that will stand the test of time, and so much more. Follow Ray’s struggle through a life filled with drug addiction, alcoholism, and the knack for spending more time in prison than out. Sara watches with her heart breaking as her friend spirals uncontrollably into the world of parties. She knows he has a talent with tattoos, and it is just what he needs to give him the confidence to succeed in life. But will Ray succeed? Will he grab his talent and use it to his advantage? Or will he be unable to turn away from the drugs and alcohol that seem to govern his every move?
Sara looked up at the clear November sky and breathed in deeply as the chill snapped her out of the comfort of her high. It was a feeling of deep disappointment she truly hated. “Why the hell are you makin’ me go to this damn party anyway?” she asked bitterly, trying to shake the feeling of disorientation that wrapped her in a blanket of fog.
There was silence for a moment, then he answered calmly, “’Cause I want to go, and I’m not about to leave you at Mark’s by yourself with three guys you barely know, and two blunts under your belt. You’re fuckin’ stoned, girl. Someone’s got to look out for you.”
“You know I just wanted to crash on the couch. I don’t want to know what’s goin’ on over there, you little shit,” she answered. “Little shit” was her pet name for him, since he was only five feet four inches tall, but he was built like steel. Not many could best Ray, despite his height. He made up for it in body building, but more importantly, in self-confidence. He’d built it up throughout his childhood as a defense. Now, at eighteen, he was still only five feet four inches tall, but not many would push their luck with him.
“Baby, you know there’s no way I’m gonna pass up a party, but I ain’t gonna leave you with that bunch o’ smacks either. So quit your whinin’ and just deal with it, all right?”
“Fuck you, Ray! You know what I’m gonna find there. Jimmy’s gonna have some slut on his lap with her tongue down his throat, and I’m just supposed to take it like I always do! Well, fuck him, too! I ain’t gonna take it this time. That son of a bitch is not gonna get away with it!” she shouted.
He just laughed as he smacked her hard across the backside. “Oh, control your temper, baby. I’ll take care o’ Poppy.” Poppy had been Jimmy’s nickname for years, a combination of his last name Pope, and a reference to the poppy flower being the base for opium, alluding to his thirst for any kind of drug he could get his hands on. “If he’s fuckin’ you over, he’ll have to answer to me. You know I ain’t gonna let him treat you that way,” Ray concluded, kicking at a stone in the road.
She did know he’d make her boyfriend pay for his romp. Even though she knew Ray only because of his friendship with Jimmy, he had taken to protecting her from the disrespect and cheating she’d had to deal with from the start. She looked over at him with the faint smile she’d reserved for just these moments. “Yeah, Ray, I know. But it don’t change the fact that he keeps fuckin’ me over and I’m still with him. What’s wrong with me?” she asked, shaking her head.
He stopped walking and turned toward her as she looked at him. “Baby, there’s nothin’ wrong with you. There’s everything right with you. You got a big heart and it’s wrapped around him. He just don’t know what he’s got right there in his hands. Love hurts sometimes ’cause people like him can’t give it back.” He stopped for a moment and shook his head as he looked at the ground, not quite sure what he was feeling. “I ain’t gonna tell you to leave him—’cause I know what you’re feelin’—but I will tell you this…I met you through my friendship with him, but that don’t mean I’ll let him get away with treating you bad. You’re just as much my friend as he is.” He lifted his blue eyes to look into her brown ones. “Don’t ever think I’ll let anything bad ever happen to you, if I can help it.”
Her heart clenched and she felt the tears stinging her eyes as she looked at him, his white blonde hair standing out starkly in the moonlight, not quite sure what she felt either. “I know you won’t, Ray,” she answered, as she accepted the blanket of friendship he offered, and perhaps a bit more. But she buried those feelings immediately, saving them instead for the disrespectful, cheating man she loved.
As they approached the trailer that belonged to Mr. Pope, Poppy’s dad, there were several people standing on the porch, one of whom was Poppy’s brother Josh.
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 236
Paper Weight (lb): 10.2
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