"Life is not measured by the amount of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away." (Anonymous)
Central Park, New York City
The recent graduating class of Seven Seas high were all now at a turning point. It was the summer of indecision, not quite adults but not exactly kids anymore. They had reached a precipice in their lives. Afraid to move forward but too late to go back, they found themselves questioning their choices, teetering on a high wire afraid to move.
The events following graduation had been life changing ones to say the least. Colleges came into question, living arrangements, even relationships. Living in different cities meant different zip codes, long distance calls and a lot of emails back and forth. Zack, Cody and Bailey were living in Boston, Woody in Cleveland, Addison in Hershey, and Maya in New York. About a month into what they referred to as the rest of their lives, things finally seemed to be falling into place and they were able to breathe again.
Until the call came in, Cody and his brother were over at Bailey's new apartment watching some TV when her phone rang. Noticing the caller ID she immediately picked it up with a smile.
She knew something was wrong the moment her mother said those few words she'd always come to dread. The words that indicated something bad had happened. Bailey I think you should sit down. Sitting on the grass overlooking the park, she couldn't remember the entire conversation. She only heard those four little words that turned her world upside down. Bailey honey, papa died.She dropped the phone and felt two arms wrap around her as she leaned into them, crying into Cody's shoulder as her mother explained the events of the car accident to Zack.
The information was passed around and the entire group made their way to Kettlecorn Kansas the next morning. It was a solemn week and everyone was too busy to really deal with anything but the funeral arrangements. A tear slipped down Bailey's cheek even now as she remembered that morning. The two girls sitting beside her noticed the sudden change in her demeanor and knew what she was thinking about.
Maya had just moved into her new apartment near campus when she'd called her two friends for an all girls weekend. A way to get away from troubles and worries for a time. Unfortunately she didn't take into account that those troubles would follow them.
"Bailey its okay," Maya began not quite sure what to say. "Your father is at peace now."
When she didn't respond right away Maya looked over to Addison, "Yeah, I bet he's doing just fine."
"How can you be so sure?"
"We can't, we just have to believe he is," Maya stated wrapping an arm around her friends shoulder.
"Cody and I have been talking."
"About?" Addison inquired.
"Taking a deferment from Harvard for a year and moving to Kettlecorn to help mom out with things."
"Wow," Maya told her. "What did Cody say?"
"He says he'll go along with whatever I decide."
"What did your mom say?" Maya asked her.
"She doesn't want me to do it," Bailey replied. "She knows how important college is too me and doesn't want me to postpone it. Plus she says she'll be fine."
"And your not so sure?" Maya added. "What about your sisters?"
"Yeah, they seemed willing to help when we saw them at the funeral service," Addison stated.
"They have helped as much as they can but most of them are married with families and homes of their own. Taking care of mom and the farm cannot be done on a full time basis."
"Can they alternate and take turns," Maya suggested.
"Not living in different states and different cities," she replied. "No this is the only way. I have to go home for a year."
"What are you going to do with your apartment?" Addison asked.
"I hate to say this but I'm transferring the apartment into Zack's name."
"Bailey I love Zack with all my heart. But, are you sure that's such a good idea?"
"No," Bailey laughed. "But, If Cody is right this might teach him to be a little more responsible. Besides, Cody is going to keep tabs."
"I bet he is," Addison laughed.
"That's not very nice," Maya stated. "You're talking about my boyfriend."
"Speaking of you and your boyfriend, how is this separation thing going?" Bailey inquired of her friend.
"Well it is only a train ride between here and Boston. And between the internet and my cell phone…"
"You miss him don't you?"
"Desperately," she sighed. "I don't know how I'm going to handle the next four years without him."
"I'm sure it will get easier," Bailey said sympathetically.
"Could you go four years without Cody?"
"Good point," she smiled shyly.
"So what are you going to do?" Addison asked. "Do you even have a choice? I mean you have an apartment and are already signed on to your classes."
"Yes but that's not definite and classes don't start until mid September."
"So then what are you going to do?" Bailey asked.
"I'm thinking of asking for a transfer into Boston University."
"That could work," Bailey smiled. "Then I can sign the lease over to you."
"But what about Zack?" Addison asked.
"Zack can move in with me."
Addison's mouth dropped open in surprise, "Don't worry it's a two bedroom apartment. He'll have his own room."
"For now," Bailey grinned.
"Zack will be happy about that," Addison stated. "Have you told him yet?"
"No I haven't. I thought I would wait until I got a response from BU first."
"Well that makes sense. You don't want to get your hopes up as well as his if this falls through."
"I agree with Bailey," Addison told them. "Just look at me and Woody. He found out he has to pay his step father back for the tuition on the ship."
"When did that happen?"
"He found out a couple of weeks ago. He was supposed to come and visit me in Hershey and Steve wouldn't let him. Woody doesn't have the money and Steve doesn't feel like he has anymore obligations to him since he is officially now an adult. So he wouldn't give him enough for the price of a plane ticket."
"That's terrible," Maya sadly stated. "No wonder Woody doesn't like his step father."
"I wish we could do something." Bailey said.
"Why can't we?" Maya asked.
"What do you mean?"
"Well," Bailey interjected. "Why can't he live with his real father? Doesn't Mr. Fink live near Penn State where you're going to go to school?"
"Oh yeah," Addison grinned the realization just dawning on her.
Bailey and Maya exchanged a look and smiled at their friend. "Do you think he would let Woody work with him at his butcher's shop? Maybe in the backroom?" Bailey asked.
"I can ask," she replied. "But, I don't see why not. Mr. Fink loves his son."
"That was obvious at his graduation," Maya smiled. "The man couldn't stop beaming with pride."
"I know this is probably mean to say but, does anyone wonder, I mean Woody's dad is bald…"
"I was just thinking the same thing Maya," Bailey grinned.
"I guess it's possible," Addison added making them all laugh at the possibility of Woody losing his fro.
"I think that would be a great idea, because Woody can still pay Steve back, but at the same time Steve won't feel encroached upon," Bailey pondered.
"I wonder what they're doing right now," Addison said.
"The boys are probably sitting on the sofa eating cheese doo dahs and thinking about us," Maya said making the girls laugh out loud at the thought, not realizing that the boys were far from a living room couch.
An: Hi everyone I'm writing this little three shot as a collaboration project with LadyStrength and WoundedHearts. So we hope you enjoy it. Please read and review. :)