Second Chance is a popular theme–but may be a bit overdone as a title! Still, @VikkiHolstein has crafted an appealing opening…
Kelsey stared through the bug splatter smearing the windscreen of her little Hyundai. Eyes unfocussed, she slowly shook her head. ‘I have no choice.’
Frowning, she shifted her gaze, took in the familiar street of the little town she’d called home for sixteen years.
Nothing had changed. Nothing on the outside, anyway.
Is that how everyone would see her? Unchanged? The same old Kelsey Davidson?
Looking in the rear view mirror, she studied her reflection. Hair dark brown thanks to the latest colour wash, eyes a little harder, face a little thinner, the last five years hadn’t altered her outward appearance that much. Not so far as those that knew her could see anyway.
Inside, in her heart, though, was a different matter. If people could see that part, even a glimpse, they would turn away from her, shocked, horrified.
So she would keep that part hidden.
Things would come out. Things bad enough to make the people who had known her before, cringe. Other things nobody would ever know. Could never know what she’d done since that night.
Chest tight, she blinked. Maybe this wasn’t the best plan after all. She’d survived those years on her own. Learnt to stretch money, or do without. Learnt that having someone else depend on her put a whole new perspective on things.
Ignoring the burn of her cheeks, she put the little car in reverse; let it idle while she took a deep breath.
Closing her eyes a moment, she reached for the key, turned the car off, and pulled the handbrake on.
Who was she kidding?
This was it. There were no more choices, was nowhere left to run.
For better or worse, she’d come home.
Glancing in the rear-view mirror at the little girl, still asleep in her My Little Pony car seat, she knew, facing her demons meant nothing compared to keeping her promise to Jaiyden, and securing Pipa’s future.
Everything she’d done the past four years had been for Pipa. Now though, time worked against her. Pipa couldn’t grow up happy while they moved home every few months. Couldn’t go to school, make friends.
Have a normal life.
They needed to settle; she needed a job to support them. One that afforded more than just fuel and food money. More than just an existence. Not that she expected to find that here. No, once people knew, or thought they knew, she wouldn’t be able to walk down the street without whispers following. That would make it even harder for Pipa to fit in, to be happy.
Being here for as long as sorting out Pipa’s future took would be long enough, too long probably.
Even if she could turn her back on reality, pretend that this wasn’t the day she’d been dreading, she couldn’t. The twenty dollars in her purse would either give her half a tank of fuel, or feed them for the day.
First Page Feedback from Susan Litman
This is quite engaging! A bit repetitive in places, but overall very good tension. The author provides just enough mystery about the heroine’s obviously fraught homecoming and clear desperation to make the reader wonder what comes next, which is very important. I’d love to know what comes next, what’s gotten her into such dire straits with her child—and how she plans to get out of the situation! There are solid hints that she has a more than checkered past in her hometown—that her appearing without a penny and with a fatherless child wouldn’t shock anyone, and yet her desire to change herself, and the fact that she’d left town to try and do so, comes through clearly. A great, strong opening.