Rose first met Ethan during her sophomore year in Hudson high school. As she was walking to French class, an obnoxious, overtly tall guy veered too close to her, causing her to drop her books all over the floor. The jerk turned his rounded eyes on Rose, shrugged, and then proceeded to pass as if nothing out of the ordinary occurred. Rose scrambled to gather her belongings; she knew this would make her late to her first class.
As if on a rescue mission, a golden-haired, sunny faced young man approached her and stooped to help.
Rose looked down on the boy and felt a strange jerk in her stomach. He’s beautiful, she thought as she sucked in a huge breath, surprised at this thought. He gazed up at her with alluring brown eyes. He looked strong, like he worked out, but not body-builder muscular. Some softness, just right to round off the edges.
“Some people are so lame,” he said as he stacked her books in a neat pile, handing her the books before rising to stand next to her. He was tall and cute in a model sort of way.
Rose wanted to say something, but she was tongue-tied. Gathering courage, she murmured her thanks and offered him a hesitant smile. Rose wasn’t normally shy like this.
“I’m Ethan Hathaway. I just moved here from Coxsackie,” Ethan said, breaking into a dazzling grin. He looked down at her books and noticed she had a text on creative writing in the pile.
“Hey, you write fiction?”
“Yes, I do,” Rose replied, frowning. She was still trying to get her brain to work.
“I write poetry. A lot, actually. Hey, maybe we could get together sometime, write together or something.”
From that point on, she and Ethan had become good friends. Soon, they were sharing lunch together and hanging out after school. Then they met Trevor Dunn, Rose’s future husband, an outgoing, light brownish blonde, stocky athletic type who chased after Rose like she was the last girl on earth. She found herself having to choose between the two, and Trevor’s magnetic charisma won her over. Ethan took it in stride, glad that they could all still be friends. The trio soon became inseparable; they never did anything without each other. If they had plans, and one of them couldn’t go, no one would. It was never discussed; rather, it was just an unspoken agreement between them.
Now, a decade later, they had all grown up; Rose had married Trevor, and Ethan had married a girl who’d come into the picture during their senior year in high school: the fiery-tempered, red-head Sherri Tate, a girl who was either one’s best friend or one’s worst enemy- there was no middle ground.
Three years had gone by since Rose had spoken with Ethan, even though she occasionally ran into him in town. Three years did a lot to a person, changed them in ways not easily defined. Rose and Trevor’s marriage was failing. Whenever she thought of peace, her thoughts turned to Ethan. So when Rose heard of the accident last month, events began to snowball. After that time, Rose’s life as it had been would cease to exist.
During the first nasty storm of the fall, the buzz was that Ethan had crashed his truck and wrapped it around a tree. That was the story Rose was able to piece together, anyway. Rumors of his death began to circulate two days later, starting with Missy Stotski, who had called to tell her the bad news.
The phone thrilled in the background, its shriek a violent assault on Rose’s ears. Rose had been washing dishes, and resented the intrusion. She ran to pick it up.
“Rose, sit down. You’re not gonna believe this.”
Missy and Rose had known each other for years and become fast friends. They both worked at Point of View, a small fiction publishing company in Albany, New York. Their calls seemed to always start like this, with one of them dishing out juicy tidbits of gossip to the other. Only this time, Missy’s tone was one of sadness.
“What’s up, Missy?”
“Ethan Hathaway is dead, Rose.”
Trying to keep her voice steady, even though her belly was performing a series of gymnastic moves at that very moment, Rose bade Missy to continue.
“There was a bad accident the other night.”
Rose sat down on her couch with a thud. Dead? Ethan? NO. Darkness began to descend on her.
“Is this a joke? Cuz it’s not funny.”
“I’m not kidding. Rick just called from work and told me. Everyone’s talking about it. Isn’t it awful?” Missy whispered.
“Good Lord.” Rose fought the tears, although a few escaped. How could this be? She just saw him the other day, in the supermarket. He had been fine. Living, breathing, and alive. Broken, she told Missy she had to go. She fought off a wave of nausea.
“You okay? Do you want me to come over?” Missy asked, but Rose’s mind was elsewhere.
“What?” Rose shook her head to clear the cobwebs out. “Yeah, that’d be great.”
Rose pulled herself back from the slump she’d fallen into, thanked Missy and hung up the phone. Ethan couldn’t be dead. There was so much she had never told him.
Click here to purchase and read the rest of the story: http://www.amazon.com/Leaves-of-the-Fall-ebook/dp/B0052XQL7Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1310813197&sr=8-1