How did I get here?

Over the course of the last year, Reed Johnson's life has made some interesting twists and turns, and sadly, very few of them were for the better. Now, to get her away from the scenes that provoked her post-traumatic stress, her father has chosen to move the family back home to Nazareth in Pennsylvania.
Both old and new friends quickly start to make an impact on her life, and pretty soon, Reed is caught up in a web of drama while dealing with a lot of stuff herself. With an already fragile mental health, who knows how she'll end up?

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5. Chapter 4

I breathed heavily, nervous over what I was about to do. 

I'd tried talking David into coming with me, but he'd mumbled an excuse and wandered off. It wasn't like I didn't know his reasons. My hands were sweaty, knees weak, and my fingers kept stretching and curling back together, seemingly out of my control. 

The woods were just as I remembered them, bright in their autumn colors, even in the darkness, and the creek running by with the familiar sounds of the water hitting the rocks. The little rowing boat still sat in its usual place on the little cleared lawn next to the vegetable garden and the lawn chairs, ready to be driven down the stream to the lake. I breathed the fresh air and marveled at the beauty of the wood's sounds, so different from Chicago, where there was always a siren wailing, or a group of drunks walking by outside your window.

With shaky steps, I walked up to the little house. There was light in the windows, and I could hear the TV blaring out a soccer game. I smiled. This was the prefect time to come.

The steps up to the porch creaked under my feet, and I thought of how the wooden cabin had always seemed old, just like its inhabitants. The floorboards of the porch were so worn, they were perfectly smooth. 

I took a deep breath in front of the door, raised my hand, felt like I was about to puke, and then knocked three times. The noise from the TV stopped, I heard rapid italian speaking, debating on who would show up here, at the secluded cabin in the middle of the forest after dark, and then the creaks of footsteps nearing the door. 

It opened, sending a warm light streaming out onto the porch, and spreading the wonderful smell of coffee and zeppole. Upon seeing her face, any trace of nervousness I'd felt vanished, and I simply breathed out,

"Nonni!"

She didn't waste any time as she clutched my face in both her hands and turned it from side to side, checking if it was really me.

"Regina, mia cara!" She exclaimed, throwing her arms around my neck. I sighed against her neck and breathed in her perfume, the one she had kept through all those years. She had always called me Regina, even before I was born. She thought Reed was a too american name, so she had rebelled against it. Her hair had now gone completely grey, but had lost none of its curl, the same curl that had been passed on to me, and she seemed to have grown smaller over the years. Her face was more wrinkled, but as soon as she smiled, her face lit up, and she was ages younger. 

"You are too skinny!" She complained, like the true italian grandmother she was. I laughed and followed her inside, relieved with how well she had taken to me showing up unannounced, and amused that the first thing she thought upon seeing me after almost ten years of separation, was my weight.

She pushed me down on a chair at the kitchen table and began bustling about at the stove. I heard footsteps behind me and turned around in the chair to face my nonno as he stood in the doorway in his knitted vest, with his mighty mustache and crown of white hair, sticking up everywhere. He looked so old, but when I stood up, and he took me in his arms, he was as strong as he had always been. 

"Mio tesoro" He whispered as he let me go. "You have grown so beautiful. Just like your Mamma." 

We sat down together, and with a cup of Nonni's coffee each, and a plate of the zeppole cakes she had made, they began to question me on everything. They thanked me for the photos that I had managed to send them over the years, mostly school photos of me and David, some of me dancing. I noticed how they were hanging above the fireplace in the living room. 

I was there until well after eleven before I started yawning, and I made my retreat. There were quite a few tears, and several promises to return within the week.

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