Cursed hadley, p.1
Cursed Hadley, p.1Jessica Sorensen
Table of Contents
(The Cursed Series, #1)
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Copyright © 2017 by Jessica Sorensen
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About the Author
Also by Jessica Sorensen
My family has moved a total of fifteen times in my almost eighteen years of existence. That’s almost one move per year. However, up until I was ten, we lived in the same two-story townhome in the middle of a quaint neighborhood, so technically, we’ve moved almost two times a year.
I hate moving. Let’s get that right out of the way. I hate packing up all my stuff into boxes, the taping, the labeling—all the work. And then, usually only days later, when we’ve arrived at our new home, the process happens again, only backward. It’s exhausting, especially since I’m the one who unpacks most of the boxes. I’m not even sure how I got stuck with the job. How my three younger sisters decided they would only unpack just their own shit, while I unpack my stuff, the kitchen, the living room, and … well, you get the picture.
But I guess, since I’m basically in charge of our household these days, it sort of makes sense.
After my mom died eight years ago, being the oldest and most responsible in the house, the job sort of fell on me. Even my dad relies on me to take care of everything. Like, for instance, now.
The trailer attached to his beat-up pickup is crammed with all our belongings, and boxes are also piled into the bed and back seat. The trunk of my 1969 Chevelle is filled with boxes and bags, as well.
The house we just moved out of—a single-wide with a field of dead grass surrounding it—is all cleaned out, thanks to me and Londyn, my sister who’s a year younger than me. We pulled an all-nighter last night, wanting to have everything ready to go so we could get an early start, since Honeyton, the small town we’re moving to, is about an eight-hour drive from here. I took a powernap at around five o’clock, and then woke everyone up at seven. It’s now eight thirty. We should be on the road by now, but my dad can’t find his damn car keys.
He is constantly losing or misplacing his stuff—it’s one of the few things he’s consistent with anymore. Well, that, getting fired, and getting drunk. I blame most of his scatterbrained tendencies on the booze.
Before he started drinking, he was more responsible, involved, a proud father who worked as an undercover detective. Now he can barely remember to take showers, sometimes going weeks on end, which can get really smelly. He’s unemployed more than he’s employed and works jobs that would make the old him cringe. Currently, he’s in-between jobs, hence the reason we’re moving. After getting fired from his position at a plumbing store for showing up drunk, he spent three months straight hanging out at the bar almost every single day and night. He blew all our rent money, including what my sisters and I saved up from our random jobs, on drinks.
A month ago, an eviction notice was stuck to the door. None of us were surprised. It’s become a routine. We get evicted, Dad gets a reality check for a couple weeks where he eases up on the drinking and finds us a new place to live, sometimes in the same town, sometimes not. Then we all pack up our shit, which isn’t a lot of stuff—moving so much has made us become minimalists, and we don’t have a lot of extra cash either—and hit the road. After we get moved into the new place, Dad finds a job, and a few weeks in, he starts drinking again.
And that is the Harlyton routine.
And yes, it’s about as sucky as it sounds, but we do what we must to make the best of the shitty situation. I have my own plans, too, though. Get good grades, stay out of trouble, and make sure my sisters stay out of trouble. Once I graduate, I’m heading to college. I don’t even care where. I just want to go someplace, stay put for a few years, and obtain some structure like I used to have before my mom passed away.
“Did you leave them at the bar last night?” I ask my dad as I circle his truck, searching for his car keys.
We’ve spent the last twenty minutes looking for his keys to no avail. He can’t even remember the last time he had or used them, since he walks to and from the bar.
He pats the pockets of his jacket with a crinkle forming between his brows. “I don’t think so.” He presses his lips together as he studies me. “You didn’t by chance touch them yesterday, did you?”
I shake my head, more than annoyed.
My dad is constantly blaming me for breaking things, losing things, the power going out during a rainstorm, the car breaking down—stupid shit I could no way be the cause. Sure, I tend to be around when bad stuff happens, and I’ll admit, I’m a bit jinxed. But most of the time I have nothing to do with it. I’m just coincidentally around. My mom used to tell me it was a precious gift. Not sure she really believed that, but I appreciated the effort.
My dad, however, refers to it as a curse.
“No,” I reply in a clipped tone.
My dad mutters, “Sorry, but I had to ask.” He digs his phone out of his pocket. “Let me call Larry and see if by chance they’re at the bar.”
Good old Larry, the owner of the corner bar where my dad likes to spend most of his time. The guy also drinks as much as Dad does, so there’s a fat chance in stupid drunkenville that Larry is going to have a clue where my dad’s keys are.
“All right, you do that.” I back toward the house. “Londyn, Bailey, Payton, and I will search the house again.”
I motion for my sisters to follow me inside, earning a scowl from Payton and a glare from Bailey, the two youngest of the Harlyton sisters, me being the oldest at almost eighteen. Londyn is next at turning seventeen next month, right after me. Bailey and Payton are twins, not identical, and will be celebrating their sixteenth birthday only a week after Londyn’s. My parents had us really close on purpose, or so they used to say whenever they’d reminiscence. They also wanted a son, but after having the twins, they decided four daughters was enough. Although, my dad would often joke that they should’ve tried for more.
He doesn’t joke about that anymore. Doesn’t joke about much of anything since our mom passed away.
“Why is he always losing shit?” Bailey gripes as the four of us d
It’s the end of summer, and with the windows closed, the air is stifling hot and muggy, like the air outside. I’m not a fan of the intense heat, but harsh winters suck balls, too. According to the online city page, Honeyton has mild summers and winters, so I guess that’s good. Although, the small town is out in the middle of nowhere with no close cities nearby, so that’s going to suck.
“Because he’s drunk all the time and doesn’t give a shit about anything,” Payton mutters as she leans against the wall and texts on her old-school, hand-me-down phone.
Sighing, I take the phone from her. “Help find the keys so we can get going. You can have this back when we do.” I pocket her phone. “The sun’s already going to be setting by the time we get there, and I hate moving in when it’s dark.”
“Dad probably didn’t even get the power turned on,” Bailey mumbles as she peers inside a drawer.
“No, he didn’t.” I start opening drawers, too. “I did.”
Londyn sighs as she opens a window. “Of course you did.”
I frown at her. “What’s that tone supposed to mean?”
She fans her hand in front of her face, trying to cool off. “It means you always do everything.”
I cross my arms. “You say that like it’s a bad thing.”
“It is, and it isn’t. I mean … Don’t you ever get tired of doing all this crap all the time?” She tucks a strand of her shoulder-length brown hair behind her ear. “He’s supposed to be the adult, yet we’re the ones turning on the power, paying the bills, and trying to figure out where the hell he put his car keys when he stumbles home drunk at three in the morning. And he didn’t even bother helping us finish packing, even when he saw that we were still up.”
“He may have not noticed,” I point out. “He was pretty trashed.”
“And he’s super hungover today,” Bailey adds as she opens the small pantry closet. “I caught him throwing up in the neighbors’ bushes earlier.”
I crinkle my nose. “Did you clean it up?”
“Fuck no.” She slams the cupboard door. “I know you think it’s your job to clean up his messes, but I don’t want any part of it.” She wanders toward the hallway, mumbling, “I’m the child, and he’s supposed to be the parent. Not the other way around.”
I sigh heavily. Out of the three of us, Bailey has the hardest time. She’s also been going through a serious emo phase lately, refusing to wear anything but black, and she is always moody. Her outlet is usually music. She spends hours blasting songs while singing and playing along on her guitar. She even writes her own music.
The problem is, about three months ago, our house got broken into—another thing my dad insinuated was my fault. I wasn’t really surprised—both about my dad accusing me and the house getting broken into—considering the type of neighborhood we live in. Bailey’s guitar, amp, and her stereo system were all taken, stuff she had before our mom passed away. It was the only stuff of value she owned, and the guitar held sentimental value. We spent days searching pawnshops, secondhand stores, and asking around, seeing if we could find them, to no avail. She’s been in a foul mood ever since.
“We should really find a way to come up with some extra cash so we can buy her a guitar,” Londyn says as she leans against the counter, raveling a strand of hair around her finger. “Maybe that’ll pull her out of her funk.”
I lie flat on the floor to look underneath the fridge for the keys. “I wish we had some extra cash, but I already had to sell some of mom’s old jewelry so we could pay the deposits and stuff on the new house.”
“You did what?” Payton reels toward me, slamming a cupboard door.
I push up from the floor and dust off my hands. “It’s not like I wanted to, but we needed the money, and it’s the only thing of real value I could find to pawn.”
“I don’t give a shit why you did it. Mom left that jewelry to all of us. Not just you.” Payton storms out of the room in the direction Bailey took off in. I’m sure she’s going to inform her of how badly she thinks I fucked up.
By the time we get in the car to hit the road, the two of them will be pissed off at me and giving me the silent treatment, which isn’t always a punishment, despite what they think. Still, it doesn’t make me feel any less guilty for pawning off some of our mom’s necklaces and bracelets, but I had no other choice. I wish they would try to understand that.
“Did you get rid of her wedding ring?” Londyn asks quietly, tracing the tip of her finger over her ring finger.
“No, I just got rid of a couple necklaces and bracelets that she rarely wore.” I take a deep breath as tears sting my eyes. “I’d never get rid of her wedding ring, no matter how hard up for cash we are.”
She nods, lifting her gaze from her finger. “I’m sorry.”
“That you have to make these decisions.” She smiles sadly as she gives me a hug.
I hug her back, letting myself have a moment to be needy.
Out of my three sisters, I’m closest with Londyn, since we’re barely a year apart. Bailey and Payton are twins, so they’ve always paired up with each other.
Londyn and I don’t share too much in common, except for the fact that we’re tough as shit—all the Harlyton sisters are. Where Londyn is more quiet and reserved, I tend to be a bit loud and complicated. Not always intentionally. Most of my complications are just piled on me. And like I said earlier, one day I’m going to live a simple, structured life.
Our personalities aren’t the only trait that’s different. Londyn likes to rock the simple jeans, T-shirts, and Converse sneakers look; her hair is always down and straight; and she almost never wears makeup. Me, I’ve got the whole alternative edgy thing going. My wavy brown hair is swept to the side with tiny braids woven on one side of my head. Right now, I have on a black T-shirt, cut-offs, and a plaid shirt tied around my waist. My clunky boots are unlaced, several rings cover my fingers, a series of leather bands decorate my wrists, and my ears are ornamented with stud and looped earrings. Kohl eyeliner is my trademark look, along with lip gloss. I don’t have any tattoos, but I plan on getting one as soon as Payton masters the art, which is a goal of hers.
“Thanks, I needed that,” I say as Londyn pulls back from the hug.
“I could tell.” She gives a quick glance around the living room. “You know, it’s strange, but I don’t even get sad about moving anymore. I don’t think I’m even going to miss this place.”
“Me either.” It’s the truth. We didn’t live here long enough to tie ourselves to anything. Plus, we’ve gotten into the habit of not getting attached, not getting too close to the friends we make, or to the homes we live in. After the fourth move, we realized doing so only made moving harder, so we put up walls around ourselves, only letting each other in. Because, when it all comes down to it, my sisters are the only constants in my life, no matter how much we fight or wear on each other’s nerves.
Taking one more final look around at the shaggy brown carpet, the bare walls, and the outdated kitchen, I sigh, ready to say goodbye to this place and get on the road.
“You know what? If Larry doesn’t know where his keys are, I say we just hotwire his truck,” I tell Londyn as I reach to close the window she opened earlier.
She nods. “I’m cool with that, but Dad might have a shit fit.”
“I really don’t care. It’s his own damn fault for getting shit-faced the night before we move, and then misplacing his keys—”
The window suddenly slams shut with so much force that the glass cracks and a chunk falls out.
I blink over at Londyn, whose eyes are wide. “I barely touched it.” I feel the need to make excuses since our dad is more than likely going to blame this on me, too.
“Yeah, I know.” Shaking her head, she picks up a couple pieces of glass from off the floor and tosses them into a trash bag. When she turns back around, she frowns. “Don’t worry about it. Dad already screwed us
I love that Londyn doesn’t blame me, despite my reputation of being cursed. “He did that again last night.”
“Really? Where was I?”
“In the bedroom, I think.” I start for the hallway to round up Bailey and Payton.
“It’s weird he got so trashed last night, isn’t it?” Londyn trails after me. “I mean, usually he tries to stay pretty sober the night before we move.”
“He used to do that, but the last couple of times, he hasn’t.” I stop as I reach the end of the hallway. “It’s like he’s starting to care less and less.”
“He already doesn’t care enough.”
Silence encases us, except for the soft chatter of Bailey and Payton floating from the other side of their shut bedroom door.
“I miss who he used to be,” Londyn whispers softly. “I wish he’d come back.”
So do I, Londyn, so do I.
I don’t say the words aloud. No, I learned a long time ago, the day our mom passed away to be exact, that wishing is just a waste of time. That was the last day I stopped believing in wishes.
That was the day I stopped believing in a lot of things.
Larry doesn’t have the car keys, so we end up hotwiring Dad’s truck while he’s distracted with vomiting in the neighbors’ bushes again. Or, well, I hotwire his car.
Cars are sort of my thing. Always have been. My first word was race. That was my mom’s doing. She chanted the word repeatedly until I said it.
She was really into cars and racing. She even went professional for a while before she got pregnant with me and married my dad. That still didn’t stop her from racing locally. One of my first memories was when I was about three or four, and I went to watch her race on the back streets of town. I was the only kid there, and that made me feel super special. But not as special as I felt when my mom won the race. My dad was so happy that he took her out to dinner to celebrate. He bought her a necklace beforehand to give her as a prize for winning. At the time, I couldn’t figure out how my dad knew she was going to win. Later on, I realized he didn’t really know. He just hoped. And if she hadn’t won, he still would’ve given her that necklace.
Cursed Hadley by Jessica Sorensen / Romance & Love / Fantasy have rating 3.6 out of 5 / Based on25 votes