Rian owns an animal sanctuary in the outskirts of town. Starlee finds herself there to find comfort in spending her time with the adoptable animals. Rian tries to persuade her to face her fears of horses.
Jasper and Starlee were childhood friends. Their parents dropped them off at the same summer camp. As most do when they grow older, they drifted apart only to reconnect as adults. Together they opened up Firefly Lane.
Richard is a literal ghost from Starlee's past. His return from town shakes her to the core. She has to learn to deal with the fallout of having the one person she'd never wish to see again.
Zedd and Starlee grew up together up until the time she was sent off to Beacham. They reconnect one night when he is a patron at the bar she tries to tend.
Starlee grew up as the poster child of her family. She got straight As all through her school career and was always seen with a smile on her face. She could light up a room simply by walking through the door. It was smooth sailing for Star, there was nothing that could go wrong. She was living the dream, riding the high horse, with a silver spoon in her mouth. It wasn't until she entered into her teenage years that things slowly started to take a turn.
Her father just entered into his second term as deputy mayor or Fairhope. Starlee was used to the publicity and the fancy parties. Journalists loved to talk to Star and just add to the perception that she was this perfect little girl. As a child, she loved the attention. As she grew, she absolutely hated it. It didn't take long before she started to rebel. Her perfect reputation started to tarnish. She was pulled more and more into the darkness.
It was a party that some college kids were throwing the next town over that Star first laid eyes on Preston. He was maybe a little too old to be at a party full of college freshmen and sophomores, but no one seemed to mind. Starlee played coy, she didn't want to come off too eager. If only she knew what would happen when she left the party with him, maybe her life would have turned out differently. There was no real way of knowing. You can't undo the past.
For most people, love, at first, sight, wasn't a real thing. For Starlee, it was very much a reality. She became completely infatuated with Preston and he seemed to be just as into her. The only thing that stood in their was was her parents. Her father didn't want her spending time with Preston, everyone knew the connections his father had with the not so innocent crowd. Star didn't care though, she challenged every attempt her father made to try and keep her away from him.
It was late one night when Starlee came home from work. She walked to her front door and saw that the door was wide open. Confused she walked in hesitantly. The irony scent of blood quickly overtook her. She rounded the corner to see her parents, both slumped and covered in blood. Standing right in front of them was Preston. By the look in his eyes, she could tell he wasn't in the right frame of mind. He was high as a kite. A drug-filled rage.
There were no words to describe the absolute pain that Star felt when she looked at her parents' dead bodies on her living room couch. One moment Preston was standing in front of her, "We can be together now." and the next he was running back out the open door. Frozen, she couldn't move as the sirens in the background grew louder. When the police showed up, she was leaning over her parents' body, blood soaking her clothes. It was an easy puzzle for the police to put together. In minutes she was in the back of a squad car.
The shock wore off before she got to the police station. She started to plead her innocence. Trying to tell them what had really happened. She only met with a few shakes of heads. The way people looked at her, it was a mixture of disgust and sadness. Over and over she tried to tell them who really killed her parents. She didn't realize how deep Preston's father's connections went until everyone pretended that he didn't exist. Words were thrown around. Trialmentally unwell.
Starlee was eventually sentenced to fifteen years in the Alabama State Medical Hospital. She was given access to her phone for ten minutes and only noticed one thing; every trace of Preston she had on her phone was gone. His number was gone, his messages were gone, his pictures were gone. It was as if he never existed. Just a figure of her imagination. The more she tried to insist he was real, the more they tried to medicate her. She finally gave in and just lived her life doing the bare minimum. Eventually, she was granted an early release.
After ten long years, Star was finally free. It didn't take long for her to land herself a job. She became one of the bartenders at Bella Dea where she serves alcohol to people paying money to watch pretty girls dance. It was tough at first, but she quickly got into the hang of it, making some new friends along the way.
I love you for always
status: here to whom: here since when: here comments: here
Some days she long for peace, more of dark and more of stars. Some days she long for music, more of rhythm more of rhymes. Some days she long for undying love, more fo pain and more of secrets.
"When does anyone sleep well around here?" He joked, chuckling before sighing at how lame he was speaking. He tended to do that quite often. It always made Jasper chuckle and Rian feeling embarrassed. He put his hands on his hips, shaking his head and grinning. "They're not beasts. They're gentle. They're more afraid of you than you are of them Starlee." Although he could understand why she was afraid, they were big, but they weren't harmful animals. He shook his head, smiling still. "You can never disturb me Star. I'm just working around the sanctuary before I head back to Jasper's and await his arrival from work."
Bosco kept wagging his tail, nudging his nose against Star's leg to get attention and some pets. "Bosco. Leave her alone." He chuckled and snapped his fingers to get his dog's attention. That pit bull loved everyone he encountered, even if they were scared of him. He was one of the friendliest dogs Rian ever knew. "There's always the need of help around here. Not a lot of volunteers come by anymore to help out. It's usually just me. At least Jasper has Zedd to help him out at his place." He tilted his head. "I wonder if I can convince Zedd to help me out here as well...hmm.." He zoned out for a moment before shrugging his shoulders and zoning back in.
"What are you willing to do? There's cleaning, feeding, exercising." He grinned. "Could help me out with the horses." He half-joked. He knew she would say no, but he did need help everywhere. Having her help him would cut his time and give him more time to head back home. "Do you mind getting dirty? Or are you wanting to stay clean?" He raised his eyebrow, thinking and separating the tasks that were dirty and weren't.
The sun was just breaking through the darkness as the alarm blared through the silence, just as a hand reached out from under a blanket to hit the off button. This happens every day, yet he still groaned and grumbled about it. Stretching under the blanket, he sighed and sat up. He had work to do, and he had to start. He got out of bed and went to his dresser, grabbing a pair of jeans, clean boxers, and a shirt and put them on. Once dressed he went to the kitchen and grabbed a cup of coffee, thankful for having a coffee pot with a timer on it. His mother was still asleep as he sipped on his coffee, he would eat later. Right now he had to get a head start on things. He smiled as he heard a jingle, looking down to see his pit bull, Bosco ready to start the day. "Good morning boy." He leaned down to pat the dog on the head, chuckling as he saw the dog's tail wag.
Rian opened the door and Bosco ran out tail wagging. He squinted as the sun shone into his eyes. He headed to the feed room. It took him about an hour to fill up all the buckets he needed and began to spread the grain out for the animals. Once finished he began to open up the doors, letting the animals out into the pastures. As he did that, he checked for any illnesses or injuries. Thankfully there were none. Bosco's ears perked up and he looked over towards a way before heading to whatever he heard.
"Bosco!" Rian called out before following his dog, wondering what he heard that made his attention go there. "What is it?" He asked out loud as if his dog would respond back. Bosco was a friendly pitbull but he only acted like this when there was someone he recognized. He looked around, noticing that there was someone sitting on the fence. He grinned, realizing who it was, and walked over to the fence, stomping his feet to make noise so he wouldn't scare his best friend. "Well hello there." He spoke, his Irish accent thick. "What brings you here today Starlee?"
Coming into the new town Maxden wasnt sure why he had this uneasy feeling. These people didn't know him. He had nothing to worry about. Right? Then again he had no idea how far the Nixon Cartels range was. It was possible that he would meet the first person and they would be riding in Reuben's back pocket. It was possible. He just had to take that chance and hope that he was far enough away. He pulled his bag up higher on his shoulder. It held everything he owned. Including the books he had bought for school. He hoped that one day he would be able to return. He had to wait until he was in the clear though. Reuben would forget about him in a few years. Or thats what he hoped anyway. When the bus stopped he stepped off, his feet hitting the concrete of the cool breeze hit him.
He could not help but smile. He had a new sense of freedom. Like he could actually start his life. The doors of the bus closed behind him and pulled off. That didn't even bother him. He had a pocket full of cash that he had taken from Reuben when he ran and he was going to use that to make himself a new life. Find a cheap place to live, buy some food to make it through until he found a job, and actually finding a job. Still he had a new light in him that he hadnt had in years. An air in him that he was sure meant his new life would be a good one. He had fought his whole life. Now it was his turn to breath freely. Not worry if someone was going to jump him when he was walking home, or if he was going to be shot for failing to sell all of the product and give Reuben his money.
The first place that caught his attention was a diner. The low rumble in his stomach pushed him towards the door. When he entered the few people that were there eating and happily chatting got quiet and looked at him. He wondered if it was a new thing for drifters to wonder into town. Though they went back to their talking and happy banter as he walked to the bar and took a seat. The menu in front of him was jam packed with so many amazing looking things and he couldnt help but get a bit excited. He wanted to try everything but he knew his pocket wasn't that deep yet so he refrained. Instead he picked one thing and waited to be seen. He hoped coffee was still a major thing in this new place.
Zedd watched her, and as he watched he was planning the next thing that he was going to says, if she continued to try to nag him about not dealing with his grandfather's condition, he would continue to nag her about he illogical fear of horses. Neither of them wanted to talk about either of the subjects, but if she continued to try to push him he would push right back. He'd always been the stubborn one, Zedd just hoped that she remembered it. His shoulders visible relaxed as the subject was changed, even if it was still about his grandparents but it was a nicer subject then what it was before. He knew they had a reputation of taking the southern hospitality seriously. Growing up his friends had always wanted to be out on the ranch because they had always been approachable, Zedd knew that if Star ever made her way back out to the farm no one would ask questions. They would welcome her back like a lost child and that would be that. It made him wonder why he had always been hesitant to broach the subject of his half brother with them. He knew they would welcome him the same way that they had always welcomed all of his friends, but deep down he knew that he didn't want to share what he had with someone else. His friends were one thing but it seems that his brother was something else. He turned his attention from his inward thoughts and smiled slightly at his once lost friend. "Star, you know they aren't like that. Come up for a visit, say 'hi' and then we can grab some bikes and take off down the paddocks away from the 'beasts'" He'd resigned himself along time ago that he would never understand the fear she had of something that he had loved.
Zedd slowly shook his head at her reaction towards horses, while it was always a source of amusement to him to try and get one of the horses as close as he could to her before she started screaming bloody murder at him, it was also a source of confusion. He grew up around the gentle giants, he was placed on the back of the horse the day after he arrived at his grandparents when he was six months old and it was assumed he was on the back of a horse well before then considering his mother had always been obsessed with them. "You have them blown way out of proportion, they are more scared of you when you start to scream then you are of them." Hearing where the conversation was going, Zedd gave her a dark looking hoping that she was going to drop the subject, the last thing that he had wanted to do when he came out was talk about his grandparents and what was going on under the Mattherson roof. When she refilled the glass he stared at it a moment, trying to pull his thoughts away from the dark path that they had started down. "You could always go and check in on them, you know they will welcome you with open arms no questions asked."
Zedd slowly shook his head hearing the smart ass comment coming our of her mouth, it almost brought back some highschool memories, "Ill tell you what, how about you go side saddle or even sit in any saddle for five minutes on any horse, pony or bloody donkey then you can say anything that you want about my sport." Holding out his hand, he grabbed the drink and hearing the question he raised it to his lips and quickly drained the glass. His head spinning slightly from the quick rush he carefully lowered it onto the counter. "Don't know. I really don't want to know. They raised me you know; when I wasn't good enough for the DNA donors to do it themselves even if it was for the best." He nodded back to the glass, "again."
Zedd tilted his head slightly as he listened to her talk and slowly shook her head at her question, "under normal circumstances, I wouldn't be here this time of year because the circuit that I follow isn't in the area." Strapping some steel to his spine, he raised the glass to his lips and finished the drink. Placing the empty glass back on the counter, he nodded for a refill, "you need the practice, fill her up Minx." He watched as she filled it up and let out a bit of a sigh absently wondering what he was going to tell her and trying to weigh up the option of being refused a drink if he told her all of the truth. "After my last run, I came home and realised that my Pops was sick, took a bit but eventually they told me it was cancer. They need help running the ranch while he is getting treatment." He hated talking about his pop's being sick and so when he wrapped his hand around the cold glass, he waited for the sympathy that he knew was going to be coming. Star had grown up with him and she would have met his grandparents who believed in welcoming all of his friends when he was growing up. The Southern way was something that they had instilled in him.
Zedd quirked an eyebrow as she ignored his jab and her incompetence and questioned him about his date. "Not so much a date, just..." He stopped for a moment and then shrugged his shoulders, "some of the guys were going to stop by and check on me but turns out a party is happening that is slightly more entertaining and less of a drive than coming here and chewing me out for not answering their calls." He had no idea why he had never t old anyone when he had discovered that he had a half brother. At first, he told himself that he wanted to keep his two lives separate he didn't want to disappoint his grandparents when they found out the sort of antics that he got up to when he was away. But then it turned into a habit, especially when the rumours started to fly that questioned his characteristics and the southern gentleman that he had been raised to be. Queit a few time he had almost called it quits when he had to rebuild his reputation from scratch but ironically it had been the brother that had stood him up tonight that had believed in him and had been beside him the entire time. "Its the life of the cowboy." Taking the drink he picked it up and carefully tasted it, he was able to stop himself from pulling a face before putting it back on the counter so he could sip at it later. "What have you been doing since getting back to town?"
Connor said little, he merely smiled and said “Thank You” to the woman who introduced herself as ‘Starlee.’ It was an unusual name but he knew that people named their kids different things these days. He actually liked unusual names because they usually had stories behind them and reasons, they were chosen other than the parents looked up the top 50 names on the internet and picked one at random. Unusual names were also interesting to him because he could use them in his novel. It could, perhaps, even allow him to start looking at other names that were similar and help him come up with interesting names for his novel outside of just jumbling some letters together, which was a pitfall a lot of writers of fantasy found themselves in. Connor’s blue eyes shifted back down to the menu she’d just given him, but his attention was all around him. Every couple of seconds his eyes would dart up to the bar mirror so he could see anyone coming up behind him, his ears were attuned to everything going on everywhere in the bar, and his nose picked up dozens of smells. It was a bit stale in Firefly Lane, but he’d been in other bars and pubs that were MUCH worse. In fact, comparably Firefly Lane was immaculate. He was impressed by how clean it was, he was sure that the staleness he was smelling was probably either his own clothes or the fact that the bar was near closing and hadn’t been completely cleaned after the day of having patrons in and out. Connor finally found some food that looked good and looked up, setting the menu down. He took a sip of his beer and looked at himself in the bar mirror for a moment. He was only 37 but he looked so much older. His eyes were sunken in and full of loss and sorrow, his hair was turning grey faster and faster every day, his face looked slightly bonier than he remembered and the scars on his face were starting to become more noticeable as his skin aged. He constantly looked exhausted but that’s because he rarely slept these days. He simply sighed and averted his eyes. He hated looking at himself. Instead he looked at Starlee, “I think I figured it out.” He said in a happier tone than he felt. He had become quite the expert at that. He did it all the time at work, though admittedly it got much easier to pretend after exchanging a couple of words with the Art Teacher, Miss Davis. Just the thought of her sweet smile brought the slightest trace of one to his own lips.
“Into formation the hunt has begun, Death and damnation, the fleet is coming,
He was made to rule the waves across the Seven Seas To lead the war machine To rule the waves and lead the Kriegsmarine…”
The words to Sabaton’s “Bismarck” rang through the headphones covering Connor O’Rourke’s ears as he sat on his knees with a white scrub brush and polished the inside of the staff toilet on the second floor of Natchez High School. It wasn’t a glorious life, but it was better than the alternative of being homeless, and stuck on the streets. Another statistic for politicians to throw around to get votes. Connor didn’t care about any of that. He just sat on the tile floor until the brown mark was gone and then he flushed, and sprayed a little bit of cleaner into the water so that it looked fresh. Slowly he pushed himself off of the tile and stood only to look in the mirror and see the greying facial hair, and his cold, blue eyes that showed all the pain he’d been through in life. He turned quickly, hating to look at himself. He put the toilet cleaning stuff away and pulled out the glass cleaner. Thankfully this was the last bit of cleaning he had to do for the night. After that he could go back to the office and just relax for the final half an hour and perhaps start putting pieces of his book together. Connor rolled his cart along the halls, shutting lights off as he went until he came to the impeccably organized closet where he kept his cart. He emptied the mop bucket and rinsed it out before hanging the mop up to dry and then shutting the door and locking it so no children could get in before he started his shift the next day. He sighed. Connor was always tired, and always felt like he weighed a million pounds. He always chalked it up to the guilt he felt from overseas, or from the loss of his kid brother. He just knew that he was tired of that as well. After a half hour of clicking away on the computer and still getting next to nothing done on his book, Connor clocked out, threw on his wool beanie and headed down to Firefly Lane to grab a pint and maybe unwind from the day. He’d been there before, but always stayed to the edges and rarely made contact with many people. He didn’t figure they would want anything to do with him. He was one step away from the homeless, and he was sure that it’s how he came across to everyone in town, so why would they want to talk to him? Connor entered and saw that the only free seats were along the bar. Strange, but he figured there weren’t any sporting events being aired on television that night, so he walked up and sat down. He looked at the lovely young blonde tending the bar, “Coors Light, please.” He said gently as he folded his calloused hands in front of him in the bar and looked up at her with his blue eyes. He just wanted a quiet night, but at the same time the last thing he wanted was to be alone… he was always alone and as easy as that was, it was awful and lonely and he hated it. It gave him too much time to think, and that was always dangerous.