That afternoon, armed with fresh cookies, the girls barricaded themselves in Lora’s room.
“Listen, you can’t repeat what I’m going to tell you. My mom likes to keep family stuff private.”
“I promise I won’t say a word.”
Over the next hour, Celeste revealed the reason they’d left Kentucky. Her dad had been having an affair with a woman at work. Since they lived in a small town, it didn’t take long before they were seen out together. Mrs. Brighton had been furious and threatened to take the kids and leave. Celeste’s father begged her to stay, promising that the woman meant nothing and that he would tell her it was over. Mrs. Brighton agreed to stay with him, but insisted that they had to move. She would not be the talk of the town or risk the embarrassment of seeing her husband’s lover at a social gathering. They had moved to Middlebrook to start over. It seemed that Mr. Brighton had indeed started over—he had already found another woman at his new job. This time, though, he had revealed the affair himself after coming home one afternoon and packing a suitcase.
“So he’s divorcing your mom?”
“Looks that way,” Celeste said, wiping tears from her cheeks. “What he doesn’t realize, though, is that he’s divorcing me, too. I’m through with him. First I have to leave my entire life behind in Kentucky to move to this stupid town and then he leaves us. He’s a selfish bastard.”
“I’m so sorry, Celeste. I wish I knew what to do. This has to be hard on your mom.”Celeste’s tears streamed down her face.
“It is. I’m all she has here. That’s why I wanted to come to your house today. I mean, I want to be there for her, but she’s wearing me out. I thinks he forgets that I’m hurting, too.””Sucks being the grown up.”
“Look, Cee, I know that you didn’t want to move here, but at least we met. And I’m always here if you need to talk or yell or eat cookies or whatever. You aren’t alone.”Celeste smiled.
“Lora, I’m so sorry. I guess that seemed kind of mean. But I am glad I met you.”
She reached out for Lora’s hand.”You’re the best friend I’ve ever had.”