Two.

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"O-okay." My voice creeps out in barely a whisper because my throat has tightened at the sound of his name.  My body stiffens and my breath quickens as I wait in anticipation for what she has to say. Anything involving Harry sets me on edge and I knew I wouldn't be able to avoid him for as long as I had hoped.  I should have figured someone would bring him up sooner or later.  He was, after all, the reason I left New York and the reason for the worst year of my life.

Jessica's body has started shaking with sobs and as much as I want to comfort her I cannot.  I'm frozen and my thoughts are not turning into actions as if all my nerves are shot or dead.   She looks up at me finally, her eyes red and lined with black rings of smudged makeup.  Her appearance reminds me eerily of how I used to look everyday before I moved.

"Jess.." I prompt her, my voice thin and raspy.

I can't wait any longer or it's going to kill me.  I have the urge to grab her and shake her by the shoulders so she'll spit out the words that are stuck in her throat.  She's holding back something about Harry that is apparently so important that she feels the need to tell me upon my arrival back home. 

She sits in my arms, taking deep gulps of air to calm herself and I wait patiently.  I've learned over the years how to appear calm when really there is a storm inside of me, which is exactly what is happening now.

"Sky, please don't be angry," she croaks, her big eyes pleading.  I nod slowly, knowing that I should be prepared to hear something that will make me angry since she's asking me not to be.  She shuts her eyes and presses her lips together.  "Harry is coming tonight."

I'm surprised I don't faint.

Or cry.

Or throw up.

Instead I sit still, frozen in my position, my body stiff but my mind reeling.  I can't form a coherent thought, my mind is a whirlwind and I can't make sense of it.  My heart is pounding and my palms are starting to sweat.

Harry is coming tonight.

"Skylar?" Jess whispers, placing a small hand on my leg.

"What the hell did you just say?" I whisper, my throat is so tight I can't even express the anger that is starting to boil inside of me.  She told me not to be angry but of course she knew I would be.

It eludes me how they could think having Harry over for dinner would be a good idea on my first night back. Did they really think I would react calmly and be okay with it?  He's the reason I left in the first place so it's only safe to assume that I wouldn't want to see him upon my return.  On the plane ride back I was planning ways to avoid him, hoping I wouldn't encounter him or run into him anywhere.  When I heard he didn't live in Big Red anymore I felt slightly relieved, praying that the distance between us would keep him from me.  But of course all those plans and hopes were for nothing because my family invited him over.

"Please say something, Lala," she pleads, gripping my arm lightly with both her hands.

I don't think it is possible for me to speak or move right now.  I don't think I will be able to control the words I say or how I say them, so I stay quite and slowly shake my head.  She sighs, pushing some hair out of her face and repositioning herself on the bed so she is facing me fully.  She's wiped her eyes and managed to create black smears stretching from under her eyes to her temples.

"Look, mom and I knew this wasn't going to sit well with you but we agreed it would be worse if it was put off too long," she says calmly.  I can feel her eyes are on my face but I don't meet her gaze.  I focus on the rosy tip of her nose.

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