Back To Me…Prologue


“Go get it,” Cooper Winslow said to his dog, Winston. The rescue mutt took off in the fenced-in yard to get the ball that was just tossed.

When Winston returned and dropped the wet mangled ball at his feet, Cooper picked it up and tossed it again, watching the dog race to the back to retrieve it.

He could stand out here all day playing fetch with his dog.

His best friend. 

If he could have more pets, he’d fill this house with anything he could save.

But at fifteen, he didn’t have much of a say other than the one dog that slept on his bed and kept him company. The only dog he’d ever been allowed to have.

“Good boy,” he said to Winston, squatting down and rubbing the dog behind the ears. When Winston flopped over, he did the same for the exposed belly.

At three now, Winston had joined the household over two years ago. Shortly after Cooper’s mother was gone from his life.

A horrible time back then for a teenager that was close to his mother. His father and he had grieved like a loving family did when someone was ripped from their lives so tragically. 

He wondered if he’d ever get closure from it all. A hurricane in south Florida where his mother had been staying overnight because of a delayed flight. Her job as a flight attendant always made him nervous, but she loved it. She got to travel all the time, though it’s not like she went sightseeing in most of those places. Just rode the plane there and back a few times a week.

The last time she didn’t come back. 

The hurricane hit. The hotel she and the crew were staying in destroyed, her body never found with plenty of others. 

Life had to move on though. It’s just he didn’t want it to. 

His father struggled the same as him but adjusted better in the past year. 

Cooper picked the ball up and tossed it again, Winston taking off running. His grief and what he went through were the only reasons he’d been able to get this dog. He knew that. He’d been asking for a pet for years and was always told no.

Or more like he’d been told he could get a cat. A bird. A fish. Frog. Anything that was easier than having to let a dog out all the time or handling one that barked. 

He’d never been one to shy away from something hard and was determined to go after a dog and give it a loving home.

He had all this love to give and was just waiting for the right time to hand it out. It seemed his father didn’t have to wait as long.

No, he was going to let it go. It wasn’t his life. They’d all been through enough.

Winston came running back with the ball in his mouth, dropped it at his feet, then took off for the edge of the yard, put his big paws on the fence and started to bark. Winston didn’t bark much, so Cooper looked and saw a stranger across the street watching him playing with his dog.

He couldn’t see the woman’s face, but she was definitely watching them.

“Quiet, Winston,” he said, tugging on his dog’s collar to get him to stop. “Sit and be good.”

Winston didn’t sit and he wasn’t being good. The woman started to walk closer. His jaw dropped, his eyes might have popped out of his head and he knew they were filled with tears.

“Mom?” he asked. It couldn’t be. It had to be a ghost.

But it wasn’t. His mother was standing in front of him with a baseball hat on her head, one eye seemed to be more closed than he remembered with a faint scar on the side of her face.

“Hi, Cooper.”

“How can it be?” he asked, wishing the gate was right where he was standing and he could hug her. His hand reached out and touched hers.

“It’s a long story,” she said.

“Cooper. Who are you talking to?”

He turned to see his stepmother, Hannah, standing in the doorway of the back porch and all he could think was, “Oh shit.”

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