Derek and I held hands as we strolled down the long boardwalk toward Silver Sands Beach in Milford, a town on Connecticut’s southern coast.
Just a mile or so behind us lurked the rat race of Interstate 95 and its ugly little sister, Route 1, with its endless strip malls and oversized SUVs. A few hundred feet ahead of us, beyond the beach, Long Island Sound beckoned, calm and blue. In between, sandals flip-flopped against wood; cattails rustled on either side of us in the salty breeze; and small children skipped with delight as their feet approached the warm sand.
The fine line between madness and serenity in this world is hard to fathom sometimes.
I’m from New Hampshire and I still believe it is one of the most beautiful places imaginable, but the fact remains that I got shot there. And though I had been told there are beautiful places in Connecticut, I had yet to see anything that resembled New Hampshire. It’s hard to find beauty on flat, crowded highways. So far, I didn’t like Connecticut or its maddening pace.
Thankfully, by showing me this place, Derek had given me my first glimmer of hope. And he needed to … because the only reason I moved to this state was to be close to him.
Our first date was at Chili’s on September 13, 2014. We were both just barely seniors in high school. A co-captain of the football team, he was so confident, handsome and funny that night. We toasted to our future and I felt on top of the world.
I got shot the very next night … because I was worried about another boy … about what he might do.
I had to find Adam Upton.
In most of my nightmares, I’m still looking for Adam. I’m searching his pickup truck on the side of the road. I’m looking into the windows of strange cars in dark, wooded parking lots. I’m seeing something run across my field of vision, baiting me to chase whatever it is.
And inevitably, a figure dressed in black steps out of nowhere to torment me. Thomas “Lee” Harvey.
There’s a totally catchy song they used to play on the radio all the time that summed me up perfectly at various times over the past four years. I have no idea the name of the band, but the chorus is “I’m not sick, but I’m not well.” There’s another line from that song that spoke to me as well: “Paranoia, paranoia, everybody’s coming to get me.”
From “Nikki Blue: Source of Trouble”
Pub date: 10-9-15
ARC date: Available now on NetGalley