Under Western Skies
Chapter 1: You Should Be Here
An empty ring box is what started it all. Jeremy’s dad had given it to me the day after the funeral. The ring had never been found. I had an idea he was going to propose, but he’d never officially popped the question, and I’d never seen the ring. He was old-fashioned like that.
His unexpected death had stung me. Not knowing what to do with myself, I threw my energies into my studies. In the last year I’d gotten more accomplished than what most people got done in two.
My despondency after Jeremy’s death hadn’t been a big secret, it wasn’t like I was hiding how crappy I felt. I was here now because of an intervention my family had arranged. Visiting my cousin in California was part of my emotional hiatus. But, as sad as I was about leaving Wyoming, I had to admit it felt good to look forward to something.
I’d been to California a few times, but only to visit my aunt who lived in a forgotten mining town in the northern part of the state. Maybe it had to do with the ten hours we’d already spent in the car, or maybe it was because my parents had both seen the ocean, but for some reason we’d never made the extra effort to visit the coast.
Now it was going to happen, and despite my emotional state, I could hardly wait to see it. With each bend in the canyon road I expected it to appear, and with each bend I was disappointed.