Don't Stop Me Now// Queen

Sorry I'm a day late on this one; I had twelve hour band camp everyday last week and Friday was our pool party and I slept over at a friend's house. Anyway, let's get this show on the road!

- x -

I carefully lift my daughter Amelia, or Amy as I've nicknamed her, out of her crib. She squirms a little bit, probably since she has yet to go to sleep, and carry her into the living room where my sister Denise is anxious to hold her three week old niece. If leaving my daughter while I go out for the first time since she was born wasn't terrifying enough, I have my sister Denise babysitting her. If it was up to me alone, Denise would be the last person in Lewisburg I would ask to watch Amy, but my husband James has insisted on giving her a chance, in hopes that she has changed since I last saw her.

Denise giddily takes Amy from my arms when she sees me. Denise cuddles Amy close and Amy gets fussy. James wraps his arm around me before I can take Amy away from her. I quickly begin rambling off all the rules to Denise- i.e. no inappropriate TV shows, don't invite anyone over even if I know them, if Amy starts crying check her diaper first rather than trying to feed her, the usual stuff any parent would state. I can tell Denise isn't paying attention to me from her continuing to bob her head and how focused she is on Amy's tiny little baby hands.

"Also, if you would be a lamb, please don't delete any of my 'Doctor Who' recordings on DVR, I swear it's the only thing that keeps my sanity coming back to this town," I half- joke, massaging my forehead.

"You mean your nerdy, little British sci- fi show you were addicted to in high school? Don't worry I would /never/ want to delete those," Denise sarcastically replies.

I swear, if there wasn't a chance of her dropping my daughter on the ground, I would have punched Denise across the face right then and there. What I said about "Doctor Who" keeping my sanity coming back to Lewisburg is an understatement; "Doctor Who" keeps me sane when I'm about to fly off the handle, which is a majority of the time and especially in high school. In high school, the only things that kept me from slipping into a depression were band, my best friend Rachel, and "Doctor Who". Other than that, I was tormented by everyone on the sports team, including my own sister, as the awkward loser. And, the worst part is, Denise knows about that and makes fun of me to this day about it just because she can.

I clench my teeth together and James holds me tighter; he knows the amount of fury I have right now because Denise is giving me her I- can- do- whatever- I- want- because- I'm- a- princess look that always ticks me off. I honestly don't even know why I'm going to this party tonight; the person hosting it was one of my attackers in high school. I guess I'm just trying to put the past as far behind me as I can right now. My nails begin to dig into my palm more and more the longer Denise stares at me. James finally decides to break the awkward silence standing between everyone.

"Please take care of Amy as best you can tonight, Denise, and expect us home around midnight," James quickly proclaims.

I peck Amy on the head and James drags me out the door before I can say another word. I immediately begin to regret everything I just did. What have I done to my child?

- x -

James pulls our red pick- up truck into Valerie's long driveway. When I first decided that we were moving back to Lewisburg, I immediately knew we were getting a pick- up truck like the one I had in high school. Luckily James didn't mind me taking the wheel on this one. (Get it? Taking the wheel and we're taking about getting a car? Ugh, I've always been bad at jokes.) It seems not much has changed in Lewisburg; all the cars are pick- ups or Chevy's, all the girls have long and wild hair, everyone's accents are thick and drip slowly like maple syrup off their tongues, and everyone's swigging beer as if it's water after a long day of work on the farm.

I take a deep breath and walk out of the car to be greeted by the residents of Hicksville. After living in living in the UK for six years and only seeing farmers with thick English accents, every Southern accent sounds ten times thicker than they used to. I immediately recognize a smiling wide, heart shaped face bouncing towards me. Rachel is one of the few Hispanic residents in Lewisburg with silky black hair and massive brown eyes; her grandpa had a niche for growing corn. Sadly, Rachel almost never visited me while I lived in London due to financial troubles. I smile widely, although I talked to her on the phone, the last time I saw Rachel was at my wedding. Rachel squeals while we run into each other's arms.

"Wait, let me get this straight," Rachel begins to clarify. "You abandon me to move to London, get married, /have a kid/, then suddenly decide that you want to move back to the middle of nowhere?!"

I pretend to arrange the thoughts in my head. "Yup, that sounds about right."

Rachel grabs the sides of my face. "Holly Winston, you need to get your head checked," Rachel jokes. We both laugh. "On a serious note, I need to meet baby Amelia Faith at some point. I know I'm going to make an amazing godmother, by the way," Rachel hints nudging my arm.

My jaw tenses. "Rachel, don't you remember our deal for my wedding? You could either be my maid of honor or the godmother of my first child?" I remind her.

Rachel recalls back. "I really didn't think that decision through..." Rachel thinks out load. We both laugh.

The party turned out to be a lot of fun in the end. I caught up with Rachel, drank a little bit for the first time in almost a year, and actually got complimented some of the football players that voted me most likely to be a 40- year- old virgin. When James and I got home, Denise was frantically trying to calm down crying Amy, and Denise looked close to tears herself in frustration. As soon as I take Amy away from Denise, Amy begins to calm down. James goes into the kitchen to make Amy a bottle and Denise sighs when she looks over at me snuggling with Amy. Denise would never admit it, but I know she's jealous that I've done more than she has. Denise smiles politely at me like she used to do when she was in pageants.

"Night, Holls. I'll see you around," Denise salutes walking to the door.

"Good night, Denise," I reply. Denise moves onto the front porch. "Hey Denise, if you want to babysit Amy again you can," I inform her.

Denise half- laughs. "By the way tonight went, it's going to be awhile till I babysit that little monster again. Thanks for the offer though."

I smile to myself. Maybe Lewisburg won't be as bad as it used to.
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