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TITLE: Lean on Me
By lauren finchum

This is more about Olivia. I try to take humor and mix it with real life. I hope it works.
It’s raining.
Of course.
After the horrific day at work, it would be raining. And I broke my umbrella yesterday when I crushed it under my car seat, so here I go, running through puddles with my purse over my head.
The cold rain is belting the bag like tiny bombs, and I wonder if the people at Lucky Brand would appreciate that I’ve soaked real leather with rain.

I get in my car and put my now drenched bag in the passenger seat. I start my car and put on my seatbelt.
I need something positive for this day, so I turn Third Day’s album “Conspiracy No. 5” on full blast.
I rock my way to my townhouse and muse that at least the trees are still pretty—wet, but pretty. All the colors of red, orange, and yellow meld together and I find a smile on my face as I park.

I get out of my SUV and head straight for the front door. As I enter the foyer, my high heels slip from the rain and I end up on my butt.
What can I say; I knew I should of put a through rug there.
I kick off my heels, “I need a bubble bath.” I say.
I get a sandwich and tea, then start up the bubbles. I finish eating while the tub fills, then I settle back and soak away the bad day.

Feeling a lot better, I get dressed in a lounge set, then smear face mask on my face, and put whitening strips on my teeth. I sit back with a book to let my garb do its work. In the middle on a chapter, my doorbell rings.

I open the door. It’s Lane.
“Hey, Lane!” I smile.
It’s then I realize—in utter horror—that my face is layered with green paste and my teeth covered with Saran Wrap-like plastic.
Lane is smile his cute little head off—and choking back a laugh, I think.
“Oh, my gosh!” I rush back to my room.
I scrub the green mask off my face like I’m trying to remove my skin and peel the whiting strips from my teeth. I rinse my mouth with mouthwash, then put on some power and blush so I won’t scared Lane to death.

I come back into the living room. Lane is sitting on my sofa—pressing his lips together so he won’t laugh. “Here she comes, Miss Mud Mask Queen.” He says, and I slap him as he finally laughs.
“Har, har.” I say.
“No, I’m kidding, you look pretty no matter what.”
Yeah, right.
He kisses me, “Mmm, minty.”
I laugh, “Why did you come here?”
“What, I can’t see my girlfriend?” he shrugs with a grin, “Don’t you remember, you wanted me to come by on Tuesday nights . . .we were going to study the book of Psalms together.”
“Oh, yeah, it’s Tuesday.” I slap my head.
I’m such a dork.
“Well, get my Bible for my, and I’ll get some tea for us.” I say.
“Will do.” my hunk heads to my bookshelf.

I go to my kitchen and get glasses. As I fix the tea, I think to myself how much Lane has done for me. He’s showed me that my step-dad isn’t the only man on this earth that loves me for who I am.
Lane’s been there for me when I’ve acted like a total screwball. He loves me no matter how much my hand-eye coordination sucks.
Sometimes, though I feel like this relationship is one sided. He does all the giving, and I do all the taking.
I really wish I could do for Lane what he’s done for me.

I hear Lane’s cell ring as I pour the tea, “Hey, Kara.” I hear him greet his sister.
As I come out of the kitchen, an eerie quite has fallen. I look at Lane, and he looks like a cat in car headlights.

He hangs up his phone and looks like he’s in a trance.
“Sweetie, what’s wrong?” I ask, having a gut feeling it’s a doozy.
“My grandmother died fifteen minutes ago.” Lane is trying to talk normal, but is failing big time.

I feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach as I put my fingers to my mouth, “Oh, Lane, I’m so sorry.” I say.
I rub his shoulder.
All the sudden, he cups his face in his hands and starts weeping mercilessly.

I feel pain shoot through my body as he cries.
“I—I don’t know what . . .” Lane looks up at me and his gorgeous blue eyes are darkened with grief and dancing with tears.
I hug him and he breaths deeply.
The look he had in his eyes made my bad day look like paradise.
I kiss his head as I rub his back, “She’s in heaven now.” I whisper, trying to ease his pain.

When I said I wanted to be there for Lane, his grandmother dying suddenly is NOT what I had in mind.

(c) 2007
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