Thursday, June 2, 2011

Burntcore Week 54: Hearts So Deep Part 2


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Burntcore's Choice: Picture 2

Hearts So Deep - Part 2

Work that week was slow for Casey. All she could think about was her mother’s journal. She read when she could but it never seemed enough. After each page, just when Casey thought she was getting somewhere, she was left with more questions. Once Friday rolled around, Casey was looking forward to relaxing at home for a bit before heading out with some friends. Their weekly venture out for drinks and a few laughs was what made some weeks bearable. She loved her job, but everyone needed a break now and again.

Casey threw on some jeans and a thin sweater with some ballet flats and ran out the door, hoping to beat the night traffic. The only bad thing about living in a college town was when you wanted to go out during the school year. If alcohol was involved, then it was a good idea to get there early. Space became limited the later it got. Casey lucked out and was able to make it to the bar without too much trouble.

A few of her friends had already arrived and had a table reserved in the back of The Drunken Clam.* Kira and Morgan sat with drinks in front of them, as well as a couple of shots and a few more drinks on the other side of the table. Casey recognized her preferred drink: vodka and cranberry juice. The girls knew her well.

“Hey there,” she said as she slid into the chair in front of her drink and dropped her purse on the table.

“Love the sweater, Casey,” Kira said.
“Thank you. I bought it last week,” she replied, smoothing the fabric as she settled into her seat. “So what’s new with you, Morgan? I haven’t talked to you much this week.”

“Oh sweet Jesus, I’ve been balls to the wall busy,” Morgan said wearily. “My boss has been running me ragged. I swear, if it wasn’t for the money he paid me, I’d tell him to shove it.”

“And I’m sure the fact that he’s drop dead gorgeous doesn’t figure into the equation at all,” Kira teased.

Morgan blushed and took a sip of her beer. “I don’t know what you are talking about.”

“Suuure,” Casey joined in with a smirk. “Wasn’t it last week you were regaling us about how blue his eyes were, waxing poetic over how they reminded you robin egg shells or the sky or some other crap like that?”

“Shut up, you bitch,” Morgan retorted, laughing.

“Make me.”

The table burst out in laughter, drawing the attention of some of the surrounding tables. This is why Casey loved this group of girls. They could tease and pick on one another about everything and anything. She would need them in the coming months as she unraveled the mystery of her mother’s journal.

The giggles had just started to slow down when the forth and final member of their group waltzed in. Lea was the glamazon of the group and never failed to garner attention wherever she went. It also helped that she was nearly six feet tall.

“What’s up, broads?” she drawled, pulling up a chair and easily folding her long frame into the chair.

“We were just discussing the color of Morgan’s boss’s eyes,” Kira supplied with a grin.

“Again?” Lea asked with a snort.

“No, not again,” Morgan said. “Anyway, what are we drinking to tonight?”

“Men?” Lea offered.

“One night stands?” Kira said hopefully, as her eyes gazed across the target rich environment of the bar.

“Mysteries,” Casey said quietly.

The other three women all turned and looked at her, startled by her sudden seriousness. Casey stood up straight and held her glass up, waiting for her friends to join her.

“To mysteries,” Lea agreed.

The other two friends joined in, all brimming with curiosity on what prompted Casey to bring that up as the toast. They clinked their glasses together and chucked back their drinks, finishing by slamming their glasses on the table with a flourish.

“Soooo, Casey,” Kira began, “are you going to tell us why we just toasted to mysteries?”

Casey looked down at her glass and pushed the ice cubes around with her straw. “Erm, not yet. I will soon, I promise.”

“And this doesn’t involve a man?” Morgan asked.

“I’m not sure,” Casey replied honestly. “There’s a lot I don’t know about this yet.”

Kira shook her head slightly and moved on to another topic. The rest of the night passed easily for the group as they talked about their jobs, men, boys, and everything in between. Casey didn’t speak any more about her mystery and just enjoyed the company of friends, something she thought that her mother was lacking when she was young.

The next morning, Casey was sitting at her kitchen table with a cup of coffee and continued to read the entries that her mother wrote from her senior year of high school. Susan, heartbroken that she had no idea where her sister was, searched where the phone number she had was from. It didn’t take long. It was a Pittsburgh number. That alone posed a problem as Pittsburgh was a large city, quite unlike State College. Susan’s parents had taken her to Pittsburgh a few times over the years but still, the city was quite unknown to her.

Casey sat back and thought about how many times she had gone to Pittsburgh over the years: trips to the University of Pennsylvania to visit friends or to Heinz Field to watch the Steelers. Either way, the big city was much more familiar to her than it ever was to her mother. She wondered if that would help her in her search for information on her mother’s death or her missing aunt.

Flipping through the pages, she came across an entry about a trip that Susan made to Pittsburgh, on her own and completely scared. She was determined to search for Julianne, no matter what. Susan remembered how much Julianne liked football and decided that she’d hang out around the university to see if she could find her sister.

What Susan found at the University of Pittsburgh’s Pitt Stadium was not what she was expecting.

*The Drunken Clam is the bar featured in the fine animated program, Family Guy