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What would yo do if your first love walked back int your life?
What would you do if your first love suddenly walked back into your life? This is a question Alexa Moore finds herself asking the moment she comes face to face with her childhood sweetheart, nearly fifteen years after his mysterious disappearance.
In this coming of age novel, it is the summer of 1992. Carter Storm is a precocious thirteen-year-old child actor awaiting his big break in the entertainment industry. Alexa Moore is just a regular teenager, seeking acceptance from her peers. With heartbreak and humor, these two friends expose a world of secrets and learn to survive in the face of life's contradictions and tragedies.
When Carter's dark life suddenly unveils before Alexa's eyes, she witnesses her best friend beaten down mercilessly by his stage mother's antics, but Alexa's strong will and determination helps Carter pull through his darkest hours. The two are bonded by a love that only deepens as they grow. However, Carter's mother will do everything she can to keep them apart, so that her prodigy is not distracted. As a result, the two are forced to keep their childhood romance hidden from prying eyes. When Alex discovers Carter's family packed up and gone without so much as a chance for goodbyes, her world shatters.
Over a decade later, Carter Storm resurfaces as a Grammy award winner, with a new name, a new life, and an entourage of screaming girls and paparazzi following him everywhere he goes. When Alexa randomly comes face to face with Carter Storm, the encounter sets off a string of events that will have her torn between the man she loves and the man she once loved. How far will she go when the man from her past suddenly walks into her future?
Above all, this is a story about friendship--its risks, twists, turns and complications---and how it weathers the challenges of love, and most of all, growing up. The first book in a two book series.
Chapter 1: The Beginning
I've always believed that people come into our life for a reason. I know things like this can't always be explained, but it happened to me once. When I was a young girl, I met the most amazing boy. Believe it or not, I fell in love with him at twelve-years-old. Unfortunately before I got a chance to let reality set in, he disappeared. For years, his absence left me in a state of wonder and confusion. Only in the last couple of years did the truth about his disappearance unfold. His resurfacing sent me reeling to the point of a nervous breakdown.
Several of my acquaintances suggested seeking therapy before my feelings imploded like a swallowed hand grenade. I have few friends and virtually no family. My current boyfriend is the only one who understands my circumstances. For the sake of saving our relationship, he also urged me to see a shrink. I'll admit that I wasn't big on the idea of getting my head examined. Although, I feared that if I didn't take care of my problems once and for all, I'd be denying myself of any potential happiness.
I was recommended to a Swedish therapist in Los Angeles, California, one experienced in family counseling. I made an appointment for what would be a three-week session. If I felt I got something out of it, I would continue to see her.
The address I was given took me to a house instead of the expected office building. From my car, I gazed at a cozy one-story ivy covered cottage that looked like it was just rolled with a fresh coat of bone-white paint. The property was adorned with a rainbow of beautiful flowers: blue azaleas, lilies, and rose bushes. Red poppies lined the walkway and magnolia trees led from the pathway to the back yard. A breeze gusted through wind chimes, the twinkling melody easing my frayed nerves.
A cat slumbered in the sun on the flagstone doorstep, bounding off as I approached the front door. The house had a warm and inviting element to it. It was a welcome contrast to the sharp, cold grayness I was feeling for the past several days. This definitely was not the typical shrink's office, which made it seem a little easier to ring the doorbell.
A stout older woman with a round face and rosy cheeks greeted me at the door. She had short hair as blonde as Hawaiian sand and bird-like eyes the color of the blue sky in winter. Reading glasses were perched on the bridge of her nose. “You must be Alexa.” She clasped my hand, her fingers gently closing around mine. “I'm Dr. Merle Magnus.”
“Hello. It's good to finally meet you.” I took a second cursory glance at the woman standing before me. Her attire consisted of a modest navy-blue floor-length skirt that disguised her ample figure, a tight-fitting black tank top and a paisley shawl. She also wore an abundant amount of jewelry-big colorful dangly earrings and several wooden bracelets that pinched her fleshy wrists. Whenever she moved, she echoed like the wind chimes hanging outside.
“Please, come in,” she said, stepping back and gesturing me through the doorway.
The house smelled like fresh flowers and cinnamon. I followed her to the living room, discovering the whole place decorated in a country style with lots of wood and earthy colors.
Dr. Magnus sat down in her leather recliner. “Do you mind if I continue eating while we chat? I was just in the middle of lunch when you arrived.”
I eyed her monstrous meatball sandwich, saturated in marinara sauce. “Please feel free,” I responded, taking a seat on a floral couch.
“Do you feel comfortable enough to begin?” Dr. Magnus picked up a yellow legal pad and pen off the coffee table in front of her. “I want you to feel as relaxed as possible.”
I took a deep unwinding breath. “This is entirely new to me. I really don't know what to expect.”
“Well…” She took a bite of her sandwich and chewed thoroughly, holding up her finger to let me know she had more to say. “There's nothing to be afraid of dear. I'm here to listen.”
I looked down at my tightly clasped hands. “I'm just…just a little hesitant, I suppose.”
“That's understandable. Let's break the ice by talking about why you decided to come see me today.”
“I have some unresolved issues from my past. My boyfriend thought it would be a good idea to talk to someone about it,” I explained. “I'm afraid that if I don't seek help, I might lose him.”
“What kind of unresolved issues?”
“Well…with someone from my past.”
"Would this be the person you mentioned on the phone? An Aiden Storm?” She grabbed her tumbler off the coffee table and took a sip.
“Yes, Aiden. We were childhood sweethearts,” I explained. “Good or bad, I suppose we can all think of at least one person who has made a significant impact on our lives. And Aiden forever left a mark on mine.”
Dr. Magnus scribbled something on her notepad and said, “That's true. Almost everyone can reflect over the course of their lifetime and remember at least one person who made a lasting impression. Depending on the nature of the relationship, memory can be a powerful thing.”
“For the last fifteen years, he's been so deep down in my soul that just hearing his name triggers so many emotions. It's like a door that refuses to close.” Tears formed in my eyes. I desperately tried to hold them back. “I dream about him almost every night and I can't make it stop. I think it's because of…of his disappearance. So many things were left unsaid.”
“In other words, you have an unfulfilled longing from his absence, a longing that cannot seem to be satisfied by anything or anyone else?”
“Yes, and it has affected my friendships-all my relationships, in fact. Something in my heart just will not let go.”
“Maybe you should begin this session by telling me how your relationship with Aiden Storm came about.”
I found her suggestion a bit overwhelming. I had so much to say. “But I don't even know where to start.”
“How about from the beginning?”