Moving to a new place can be a nightmare. Picking up and meeting different people is intimidating, as Brandon and Tate soon realize when they leave the City of Brotherly Love for a sleepy backwater town in upstate New York.
Brandon finds work as a software engineer, but Tate discovers change is daunting as a kindergarten teacher in unknown surroundings. Since leaving the only place he has ever known, Tate struggles with the death and memories of his mother, who he lost to cancer a few years ago. His father left when his mom got sick and never returned.
Starting life over with the man he loves brings Tate joy, safety, comfort, and a fresh start. Beginning this chapter proves challenging, but Tate soon discovers these times can also be memorable and satisfying. But then he begins receiving mysterious letters at home and work. Where did the letters come from, and what do they mean?
I looked around the nearly deserted school parking lot. I was alone. Most of the staff had already left for the day.
My chest heaved, and my heart pounded hard behind my ribcage as I reached for the envelope. I probably looked foolish to anyone watching, as I stood next to my car and glared at the plain white paper as if lost, daydreaming.
The envelope was blank, with no handwriting or message scrawled on the front or back. I trembled as I slipped my finger beneath the closed seal.
Voices behind me shook me from my unsettled thoughts. I noticed two first-grade teachers, Mrs. Nickerson and Ms. Ball, walking side by side, laughing and cajoling, chatting about their day. They strolled past me to their respected vehicles.
I tore the envelope open as two monstrous gas-guzzlers roared out of the lot at the far end, my gaze glued to a white paper poking out of the envelope beneath my finger.
I held my breath for a milli-second as I pulled the paper out from inside the eviscerated envelope. A cold fist clutched my heart. Panicking, I stared at the two letters, different colors, typed on separate pieces of white construction paper.
Two Es: one orange, one bright fuchsia.
I sounded scared. Should I be worried?
I looked around the school parking lot, hoping to spot other envelopes beneath the other staff’s windshields. Alas, there were none. As I made my way back to my car, my heartbeat and pulse racing, I stopped and turned, eyeing the other parked vehicles behind me. Maybe whoever left it beneath my windshield mistook my car for somebody else’s.
Digging into the inner sleeve of my coat pocket, I pulled out my cell phone and punched in my boyfriend’s number. I paced the small space between my car and the secretary’s white Buick. I listened to Brandon’s voicemail kick in: “You know what to do after the beep.”
I left a brief, composed message (could he hear the fear in my voice?) and ended the call. I folded and stuffed the envelope with the two Es into my pants pocket and got behind the wheel of my car.
I told Brandon that I’d pick up dinner at the store after leaving school, the tone of my voice cracking when I mentioned the mysterious envelope I had found.
As I pulled out of the parking lot and crept toward Hanville’s main artery entrance, I slammed on the breaks. I glimpsed a blurred figure running toward me, arms waving, her eight-inch heels clapping across the asphalt.