The last time I was at the Friendship Cemetery, Eddie dared me to pee on the old chorus teacher’s grave. That was also the last time I was arrested, and my parents never let me live that down.
Now, as I sat between my mother and Clay, I kept my hand in my pocket, running my fingers over the guitar pick as I’d done so many times before.
I had no idea what the hell I was going to do now without my dad. My mom was still teaching, and Clay was in town, but as much as I thought my mother needed me, I needed her too. I had nowhere else to go.
That thought left my brain as soon as it entered when Noah Riley approached the casket, strumming some notes on an acoustic guitar. My breath caught in my throat as soon as I heard the melodious voice of a person I never thought I’d hear again in person.
“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,” Eddie bellowed.
My heart beat wildly in my chest, and I could hear my own shallow breathing. As soon as I saw the bottom of his brown boots hitting the grass below, my eyes followed up the line of his dark pants and the suit that molded to him. The Eddie I remembered was a tall, lanky guy with shaggy hair that hid his brown eyes. Now, Eddie, the country music superstar, had obviously spent a lot of time in the gym. He had the ass and arms to prove that one—not that I was checking him out at my father’s funeral. He’d also cut his hair, and a slight stubble adorned his cheeks. Time had been good to Eddie’s looks and his voice.
No one sitting around me had a dry eye as everyone stared up at Eddie, his voice carrying through the cemetery as he stood next to Noah.
Every single emotion ran through me, and I didn’t know which one to feel. I was supposed to be mourning my father, not thinking about how good my former best friend looked or how mad I was that he left me and never looked back.
As the funeral ended and I walked with my mom to the car, my heel caught in an armadillo hole, and I went tumbling face first toward the grass.
I thought I was going to die. Well, die or eat a ton of grass.
Instead, arms wrapped around my waist and stopped my face mere inches from the ground. I stumbled to a standing position with my cheap heel broken off in the grass.
“Are you okay?” a sweet Southern twang bellowed.
I turned slowly to Eddie, who still had his arm around my waist.
I didn’t know what he wanted me to say to him. Did he want me to hug him? To say how much I’d missed him, and that I hadn’t been able to fully commit to another guy because I’d been in love with him forever?
Nope, I didn’t do any of those. Instead, I pulled my heel out of the ground and scowled. “You ruined my shoe.”
Then before he could get another word in edgewise, I turned and hobbled on my uneven feet to my mom’s car.