Holding My Heart

Jo's life is insanely UN-complicated. It doesn't have to be, but she makes it that way. It's just a lot easier to deal with. But everyone knows that sometimes life has to make EVERYTHING complicated.
When an unexpected scare almost costs Jo her life one night at a party, she soon figures out she can't get through this life alone. But how difficult will it be to find the right person, someone who will truly understand her, and do more than just hold her hand?


2. Life At Home

Rain was pouring down by the time I took the first steps onto my porch after school. Fall weather could be so unpredictable. My family's old white house with the nearly rotted porch swing in the front was a perfect size for the three of us-my mom, dad, and me. What I wasn't expecting on that pouring rain afternoon was to see my dad sitting on the porch swing, reading the paper.

"Dad?" He looked up at me, startled. 

"Oh, um, hi Jo," he said. He must have read my eyes because then he said "I just got someone to cover some surgeries for me this evening." He was a doctor, and was often gone all day, everyday. Weird. 

I slung my backpack off of my shoulder and held it with my wrist. "Is anything wrong?" I asked slowly. 

"Nope." He said without picking his eyes up from his paper. 

"Alrighty then," I said under my breath as I walked inside. This was strange...usually my parents were all up in my business. 

Hoping my mother wasn't acting the same way my father was, I dashed up the stairs, hoping not to be spotted. I was lucky today-my mother never caught sight of me. Something was up.

I could hear my parents' embarrassing conversation from the stairs. It usually consisted off my father saying something professional and medical sounding followed by my mother pretending to know what he was talking about. Which then led my mother to state one of the few thousand random facts she had picked up over the years. Tonight's was: Did you know that readers of a good newspaper are more intelligent, alert, and better informed than scholars?

Good to know mom.

I was trying to do my homework (I really was for once- a girl has to get into the college of her dreams somehow) when I heard some music playing across the street. Could it be-a party? On a Monday night? Mia had never mentioned anything about a strange Monday night party...had she? Well she must have because at that moment I saw her walking out of a car with a few other people and heading towards the house. I guess I knew where I would be tonight, as much as I hated social interaction. Throw a couple drinks in and sometimes I actually have a good time. 

My thoughts were interrupted by my mother's call for dinner. I have always sat in the same place basically since I was born. It was strange tonight though, because usually my dad was never present for dinner. There was also no food on the table yet. And soon I knew why.

"Jo, your mother has something to tell you," said my father. I knew it.

"Honey, you're not going to be able to go away during winter break with Mia." I was confused. Mia and I had been planning our senior getaway trip since freshman year. Why now?

My dad answered that question immediately. "It's just that, with the economy being so down right now, money's getting a bit tighter, and we would rather be paying for your college than for some vacation that isn't really necessary." I saw my mom tense up at that part, which meant it was more of my father's decision than hers. She was almost just as excited for me to go as I was. 

This was bullshit. My dad was a doctor; we never had to deal with any of this "money is tight" crap. 

"M-mom?" I stuttered, clearly too angry and shocked for words. I intentionally didn't address my father. "Does Mia know? Do her parents?"

"Honey, we wanted to run it by you first," she answered. 

I wasn't allowed to leave the table. That was the unspoken rule in our house. But at the moment, I wasn't really down for listening to my parents. 

"I'm not really hungry anyway," I said before getting up and pushing my chair in. My dad didn't stop me.

I just continued to march right up those twenty-nine wooden steps to my room and shut the door quietly. Just so they knew I was too upset. I put my ear up to the door and heard my parents walk out onto the front porch, which meant I would make my escape through the back. Then, I would have to wait for them to go back inside so I could run across the street to the party.

It worked. 

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