I’ll Be Coming Home Next Year

Part 19 in Thurmount Holiday (see the category  “Thurmount Holiday” for the other entries). This is the second to last entry. Thanks for sticking around!

Thanks to Blake Hunter, country superstar extraordinaire and man with a head so large it no longer fits into his Stetson (what self-respecting West Virginia country boy would be wearing a Stetson instead of a baseball cap, anyway?), the days preceding Christmas and for several days after were a disaster. Frankly, I don’t know how famous people put up with the daily intrusion of paparazzi. The consecutive days that I was introduced to it via Blake Hunter’s competitive ploy left me with a bitter taste. And, yeah, made me mope, more than a little.

Even if I hid in the house, my family couldn’t move freely without pictures being snapped and the inevitable question: what it’s like to be the grandparent of Blake Hunter’s child.


So that was why I was wearing a platinum blonde wig and eyeglasses without lenses when I entered Thirsty’s the night before New Year’s Eve. Jasper had driven Will there and I hoped that we would be able to spend some time together, to reconnect, or hell, just connect. We had texted, spoken once, but it felt diluted.

He was already sitting in a booth, his leg elevated on a chair, laughing at something Jasper said. He was in the moment, free from all of the trappings. He was wonderful to my eyes and I am not one to say anyone is wonderful to look at. He laughed and nodded his head and I could almost feel what he was thinking because I did know him just that well.

As I approached the table, Jasper was the first to see me. His “whoa” was unexpected.

“You make a hot blonde,” he said.

Will didn’t smile. He just looked at me with no expression, making me implode inside.

“Hey,” I said, smiling.

“Hey, yourself.” He stood awkwardly, leaning on his crutches. Parts of me melted just looking into his blue eyes. The kiss was soft, undemanding, except for the moment when he sucked my bottom lip between his.

“What the hell is this?” Ah, the glass shattering voice of Blake Hunter.

I turned toward Blake. I know I rolled my eyes. He ignored me, he was totally focused on Will, a belligerent expression controlling his features.

“You’re a lowlife, Will Garrett, moving in on my girl.”

Will frowned and looked over Blake’s head to me. I shrugged. How could I know what was going on in Blake’s mind.

“My girl. Lay off.” Blake feinted and jabbed his fists at Will, who merely stood there, almost stoic. I wanted to intervene and almost did.

Blake slapped Will’s face and darted his head back. Will shook his head, closed his eyes, and Blake slapped his faced again. When Will opened his eyes, there was something different in them and I gasped as for the third time Blake slapped Will’s face, Will’s fist made contact with Blake’s nose and Blake fell backward, both hands grabbing for his nose and none breaking his fall.

Blood oozed from Blake’s nose onto his praying hands as he gazed up at Will in astonishment. “What the hell, Will? I thought we were friends.”

Will’s expression didn’t show the consternation he must have felt. I grabbed his hand. He looked at mine clasping his and then at my face.

“Kayla, what are you doing?” Blake asked, his voice nasal from his fingers pressing against his nose.

“I love Will.”

“You can’t. You and me are going to be freaking famous.”

“Whoopee. I don’t know that I want to be famous. What I do know is that I want to spend some time with Will. Without you.”

“You’re making a mistake you’ll regret forever.”

I smirked, even though I hate smirking. “Naw. I don’t think so.”

I was lost in Will’s eyes. Their blue was a whirlpool that pulled me in. I moved close until I felt his body warmth invade my own.

“So, what are you doing New Year’s Eve?” he asked.

I laughed. “I hope I’m spending it with you.”

end 12/30/2016

S. Darlington



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