Page 20 of Dirty Promise

With a deep, unsure breath, I open envelope #4

Dear Fiona,

You couldn’t help yourself, could you? You just had to read ahead.

I look around as if waiting to see an apparition of her. My heart hammers in my chest. How the hell did she know I would read ahead? I look back down at the envelope and keep reading.

I’m sure you’re wondering how I knew you would read ahead …

Oh, my god. This is getting creepy.

It’s because you’re my best friend and I know you better than anyone. I knew you couldn’t just let it be, and go live your life like a wild and free person because you are too respectful of others and I love you for it. Go ahead and read the rest of the envelopes—except for the last one. DON’T read that one yet. I promise you it’s not another call to adventure.


Love Always,

Kia

Less creepy. My best friend knew me better than anyone else ever has. I pour myself a glass of wine. The first raindrops start to fall. I listen to the soothing tap of droplets hitting the awning above me. Then I move on to envelope five.

Envelope #5

Dear Fiona,

After you get your scare on in Georgia, you must go to Peru and see Machu Picchu. See the Inca Trail and the Lares Valley. Take in the glaciers of Mount Veronica and the bluest alpine lake you’ll ever see. Explore the ruins. I know you’re probably wondering how you’re going to pay for such a lavish trip, but I’m sure my mom told you that I had money saved up and I want you to have it. It’s enough to pay for everything I have on the list. If I know you like I think I know you, you probably told her you didn’t want the money and insisted that she keep it to help with funeral costs—I told my mom you would say that and she laughed because she knew it too. I also told her to set it aside until you came to your senses. So take the damn money. I worked hard for that shit and I want you to have it. Happy travels.

Love always,

Kia

I laugh. It happened just as she said. Her mom came up to me at the wake and told me about the money Kia had saved and wanted me to have. I told her mom to keep it to help with the funeral and that all I wanted were a few keepsakes to remember Kia. It struck me as odd when her mom chuckled and started to cry. I thought she was just grateful for the money—even though her family is well-off financially—but now I know it’s because it happened just as Kia said it would. Her mom then sent me home with a car full of boxes of Kia’s belongings. The ones that are stacked up in my closet.

My stomach hurts. I push my glass of wine away from me, head spinning from all this information—or maybe it’s the wine. I drank half the bottle without even realizing it. Still, it’s overwhelming. Kia wants me to go to Georgia, and then Peru? I’ve never even been out of the United States. There’s so much to think about: where to stay, when to travel. I’ll need to get a passport. This was not what I was expecting, and a far leap from sleeping with a stranger and reading Pride and Prejudice! I’m afraid to see what’s next.

Slowly, with drunken, clumsy fingers, I open the next envelope.

Envelope #6

Dear Fiona,

Next on your vacation destination is … are you ready for? Are you sure? You’re going to lose your shit, because it’s amazing. Drum roll, please … SCOTLAND! Remember how we always wanted to go the Lochs and see Nessie? Now is your chance! Also, there is something seriously sexy about kilts, bagpipes, and Scottish accents.

Love always,

Kia

Scotland? Jesus, what next? Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally excited to go to these places. It’s been a life-long dream of mine, but we’re talking at least a month’s worth of travel. I’ll have to put everything in my life on hold. There’s one more envelope to read before getting to the last one. I can’t imagine where else she could possibly want me to go. Savannah, Peru, and Scotland were the only destinations we ever talked about going together. And all of them were my ideas. I think back, trying to remember if she ever talked about anything else, things only she wanted to do that didn’t have my signature all over them. She was an adrenaline junky, loved to skydive, and wanted to swim with the sharks, but none of those things are in here.

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