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The Mountain Whispers-Chapter 1

Y’all ain’t gonna believe this…

 

Chapter One

 

Eli Fortner pulled into the driveway of her Florida home and was surprised to find her best friend Carol's car parked in the drive in the middle of a workday. She had completed her road trip early and had driven straight through to surprise her partner, Sara, when she came home from her shift from the hospital. Little did she know she was the one about to receive the surprise. Eli pulled her truck into the garage and walked into the house through the kitchen. She assumed she would find Carol and Sara sitting in the kitchen, or out by the pool on such a lovely day, but music from the bedroom caught her attention.

 

With each step closer to the master bedroom, the betrayal of her partner and best friend became as clear as day. She could hear loud moans of pleasure emanating from the room, and when she walked in, the two women were entwined, engaged in passionate lovemaking. She and Sara had been living together for three years, but Carol had been her best friend since high school and had been her college roommate.

 

“What the hell?”

 

Her voice startled the two women on the bed, and Carol gasped in surprise. She blinked twice and stammered, “I didn't think you were coming home until tomorrow?”

 

“I wasn't scheduled to return until then, so I thought I'd surprise Sara with an early homecoming, but I can see the surprise was on me.”

 

Sara pulled the sheet over her naked body, but would not meet Eli's eyes.

 

“This doesn't surprise me from her,” Eli glared at Sara, “but you, my best friend for almost thirty years. Seriously, Carol?”

 

“I never intended for this to happen. You’ve been spending so much time on the road, and Sara and I would get together when she was lonely. It just seemed to grow from visiting as friends to more.”

 

“I was working to support this family,” Eli growled. “How long has this been going on?” She watched as her best friend hung her head.

 

“About six months. I wanted to tell you Sara and I had fallen in love, but I haven’t found the right time or words to tell you.”

 

“Well, it seems you just did. I’m leaving now, before I do something I’d live to regret. I’ll be back in three hours, and I want you both gone.” Her glare fell on Sara. “You can come by Saturday afternoon, and I'll have your belongings packed and on the driveway. Leave your keys on the counter in the kitchen.” She turned to leave, then stopped and turned around. “Both of you.”

 

 

Eli stormed out of the house, and as tears welled in her eyes, she backed her truck out of the garage. The pain from the betrayal of a long-time friend hurt worse than the loss of the woman she thought she loved. Eli and Carol had been through so much over the years. She couldn’t believe what she had just discovered in her home. Rage burned deep inside her, and she needed to find a safe method of burning it out.

 

She drove to the beach and pulled into one of the public restrooms. Her suitcase was still in the backseat. She opened it to take out shorts, a T-shirt, and her favorite running shoes. Eli changed and dropped her dress clothes in the truck before walking to the beach.

 

Angry cries from a seagull made her look to the beach where several birds were fighting over scraps of food leftover from a visitor. “I guess I'm not the only one pissed today,” she spoke to the birds. The victor grabbed the last piece of bread and took off in flight, followed by the others in hot pursuit. I won't chase after Sara, or Carol for that matter. It’s time for me to move on.

 

 

After stretching, Eli started down the beach in a slow jog along the wave-packed shore, steering clear of the soft, thick sand that would slow her down and further ignite her fury. She needed speed and distance to burn out the storm of emotions running through her body. Her heart pounded in her chest as her feet thundered down the beach. When Eli realized she had been in full-out sprint for several minutes, she slowed her pace and turned to see the restroom on the roadside. It was four miles from the one where she parked. Damn, I’ve never covered that much ground so fast. Eli turned and began walking toward her truck as the sun began to sink to the horizon. The sea breeze felt cool as it caressed her sweat-drenched skin, leaving white salt stains on her dark shirt. Man, that felt good, but not a good time to be without something to rehydrate.

 

 

When she reached her truck, she kicked the sand from her shoes and climbed inside to go in search of something to quench her thirst. Eli pulled into the first convenience store she came to and stopped briefly at the beer cooler. Would taste good, but not what my body needs right now. A look to the left brought her to the sports drink section, and she pulled out two of her favorite flavors. She cracked one open and took a long drink before walking to the counter to pay. Damn, tastes good. She sat her drinks down on the counter and pulled out her wallet.

 

A young cashier with pink and purple streaks in her dark hair smiled at her. “Can I interest you in some lottery tickets? The first drawing of the week is tonight, and it's over a hundred million.”

 

“Why the hell not? Give me five quick picks and two of those scratch-off games, but I only want winners,” she joked.

 

“Winning tickets coming up. You'll have to come take me to dinner if you win the big one,” the young woman replied, flirting with Eli.

 

Eli chuckled. “If I win tonight, you can pick anywhere you want to eat.”

 

“I'll hold you to that,” the young woman said with a wink as she handed Eli her change. “Good luck.”

 

“Thanks, my luck has been shitty today, so maybe this will change it.” Eli left the store and walked to her truck. As she climbed inside, her stomach growled. Eli didn't feel like eating but knew her body well enough to understand it would be persistent with its complaints until consuming some calories. Passing fast food restaurants, she drove off the beach and stopped at a small Greek shop for a chicken pita, fresh-made hummus, and a Greek salad.

 

 

Eli let out a deep sigh of relief when she pulled into the drive and there were no other cars in sight. She opened the garage door and drove inside, closing it behind her. After removing her suitcase from the backseat, Eli walked around and grabbed the bags holding her dinner and the lottery tickets.  She placed the bags on the kitchen counter and took her suitcase into the master bedroom. Disgusted by the sight of the unmade bed, she stripped the linens and tossed them in a hamper. I wonder how many times I've slept on sheets they made love on? The thought threatened to bring her anger back, so she pushed it from her mind. No need to worry about it now. Taking clean sheets from the closet, she remade the large bed. All fresh now.

 

Her stomach growled loudly, reminding her of the dinner that awaited her in the kitchen. “Time to eat.”

 

After eating she glanced at the scratch-off tickets and decided they could wait until after she showered and got comfortable. Thirty minutes won't change the outcome.

 

The hot water pelting her skin relaxed her, and when she pulled on shorts and a T-shirt to sleep in, Eli decided to call it an early night. The tickets were forgotten for the moment. A quick email to her boss to confirm the next day off and she climbed between the crisp sheets. She worried the emptiness of the house and the emotional angst would make her toss and turn all night, but Eli felt a strange sense of ease and drifted into a deep sleep.

 

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