Drawn to You: Volume 1

By: Vanessa Booke



“Tristan.”

She lifts her head just enough to look at me through glazed bloodshot eyes.

“Mom, what are you doing to yourself?”

“He hasn’t written me back. He hasn’t come to get me,” she mumbles.

The he she so lovingly mentions is the man who’s the reason for our current miserable existence. The same man who selfishly ruined our lives by kicking my mother and me out in the streets. It’s been four years since we moved out of the StoneHaven’s lavish house to the gritty dump we call home. Four years since I lost my best friend and the only family I’ve ever really known.

“He’s not going to come here, Mom.”

“He will,” she says as she shifts in my arms. “He loves me.”

“Mom, you have to let go. Whatever he told you was a lie. He wouldn’t have done this if he loved you.”

The broken look on my mother’s face nearly shatters me. She turns her cheek and sobs hysterically into my shoulder. Her vice-like grip doesn’t let up as I slowly run a damp sponge across her face. I turn the shower water to a warmer spray and kneel to wash the dried up vomit from her hair, carefully sponging away the evidence from her face. She shivers, whimpering like a small child. The woman who raised me, who used to be so strong, is now in pieces on our bathroom floor.

I leave my mother to soak in the tub while I rummage through the apartment for a pair of clean pajamas. To my dismay, I find a crumpled up news article sitting beneath the bed covers. The name in the headline immediately draws my attention. StoneHaven Publishing to Host Book Launch at Pearl Hotel. Great. This is the reason why my mother went on another drinking bender. Wait, isn’t this the same place Vivian was asking me to serve with her?

I flip open my phone and find Vivian’s previous text. To my surprise, the name of the hotel matches up. It only takes me a matter of seconds to realize that this is an opportunity to face Stefan that I probably won’t ever have again. I’m sure he’s never been to The Bronx and besides going to the Pleasure Chest, I’ve avoided coming to Manhattan at all costs.

Me: Viv, I’m free to cover the shift you needed.

In a matter of seconds, my phone vibrates with a new text from Vivian.

Vivian: See you then.





TWO


Tristan



Fucking rich bastards. A strange rush of anxiety filters through me as I spot Stefan smoking a cigar on the other side of The Pear Hotel’s ballroom. The sight of him standing there sends a wave of nausea through me. Despite the many years that have passed, only the crinkles around his eyes are evidence of stress. The same can’t be said for my mother. Her years of drinking have taken a toll on her physically and mentally. She’s not the same vibrant woman she used to be. Not even close.

I cringe as Stefan’s boisterous laughter fills the room. A crowd of guests gather near him, entranced by the sound of his voice. I swipe a glass of champagne from a nearby table watching as a cluster of suits surround the appetizers, nibbling at the assortment of overpriced cheese and organic fruit. My stomach rumbles at the thought of how much food is being wasted on Stefan’s guests, but I doubt it means anything to him. From the looks of this hotel, he’s accustomed to surrounding himself with the company of extravagant things. I guess nothing has changed. Money over love. Money over family.

I’ve never felt so out of place as I do at this very moment. Even the over the top décor of the room is a stark contrast to the worn out dress shoes and slacks given to me by my mother. I promised Vivian I would help serve drinks to guests tonight, but I haven’t mustered the strength to let Stefan out of my sight.

“Hey, are you okay?”

Vivian pops into view with a sterling tray—a tray of what I can only assume is some kind of over-priced sushi. Her curious eyes watch me as I shift on my heels. “You’ve been staring daggers at the corner over there for the past half hour,” she says, nodding toward Stefan. “What’s eating you?”

My past has never really been up for discussion when it comes to our friendship, but I feel compelled to tell her my sorted history anyway.

“That older man over there….”

Vivian’s eyes light up as she spots Stefan in his charcoal suit standing amongst a flurry of VIP guests.

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