The countdown is on - only 2 months until ENCORE's release!

Hey Guys, it’s Mel, and it’s that time of week again!

I’ve talked a lot about my friends lately, and I guess that’s to be expected since they’re also my family. The older I seem to get, the more I cherish the friends I have and hold them close to my heart.

Wyatt and Anna are two of my best friends. They’re happily married and so full of love, not only for each other, but for everyone around them. A few years ago, I lost two people very near and dear to my heart. I was lost in a way I can’t even begin to describe. If you’ve read the Illusion Series, you watched it all unfold, and you know how hard it was. One thing you may not have seen was how Anna seamlessly stepped in and became one of my best friends while never stepping on the gaping hole in my heart. She didn’t have to, she was suffering a loss of her own, and so was Wyatt. In a way, I guess that’s what brought us even closer together. Keep reading, and you’ll understand.

I’d only recently dipped my toes back into the world of the living. After having spent weeks secluded in my room and mourning my losses, it felt strange to be enjoying a cup of coffee and gazing out at the ocean. Strange in the fact that I was still here and given this moment when other people I loved, no longer were. I felt guilty, but for the first time in weeks the beauty of the moment won out over my guilt. It was a flashing red light to my soul that it was the first step in moving on and that was the last thing I wanted to do. Even if it was necessary.

“Mind if I take a seat?” Anna’s softly spoken words were barely loud enough to carry over the sound of the waves crashing against the shore.

“Of course not,” I reply, wondering how it is she chose this moment to visit.

“It’s a beautiful day, I’m happy to see you outside enjoying it.”

“Well, I’m outside at least.” With a cautious glance her way I shade my eyes with my hand because I forgot my sunglasses in the house. “Why are you here? Sorry, that sounded rude, it’s just…early.”

“It’s a fair question. Wyatt didn’t sleep well last night. He doesn’t sleep well most nights but last night was especially bad. He took a sleeping pill around four in the morning and is finally resting. So I thought, well I figured, why not come over and check in on you guys?”

I sip my coffee and turn my attention back to the water wondering who sent her out here to check on me.

“They’re all still sleeping inside just in case you were wondering. I noticed your door was open and thought maybe you’d be here and…”

“And what Anna?” Immediately I feel bad for snapping at her, and when she rests her hand on my shoulder, I feel even worse. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to snap at you.”

“It’s okay, Wyatt has been doing it lately too. I can’t pretend to know how it feels to be you right now. Hell, my own husband can barely talk to me these days. My best friend is holding his entire family together while trying not to fall apart and you… I guess I thought maybe you might like a friend. I mean don’t get your hopes up or anything I’m not great when it comes to friendships of the female persuasion. I’ve had the same four male best friends since junior high school but you’re important to them, and that makes you important to me.”

As I dig my toes into the sand, I think about her words, or really, I’m trying to read between them. Does she want this or does she feel obligated? I mean, we’ve gotten along from day one, so this shouldn’t be a sympathy friendship. I don’t think…

“Are you sure you know what you’re asking? I’m sort of a mess these days, and if anything this friendship may seem a bit one-sided until I’m not anymore.”

Anna laughs softly, “Haven’t you noticed we’re all a mess these days? Adding one more to the bunch isn’t going to hurt. Besides, I think this will help Wyatt too. He’s wanted to come by and talk to you but ever since he watched his video he’s been struggling. I know he loves me, but I also get the feeling he thinks it might be inappropriate for him to come by and check in on you as often as he wants to.”

With a slight shake of my head, I wipe a stray tear from my eye. “The night I met Wyatt I was enamored with how much love he had for you. He was reading a book that you wanted him to read, begged a stranger to talk to his wife because he knew it would make her happy, and smiled like there was nothing in the world that could ever dim it when he talked about your wedding. That night Wyatt made me believe that rock stars could be faithful. You’re a lucky woman Anna.”

“Thank you for telling me that.” I nod and a few minutes of silence pass before she breaks it. “So, is that a no on the friendship?”

“I’ve considered you a friend all along Anna.”

She draws in the sand with a stick she found as she answers. “I know, but we’ve also had a strange mix of a working relationship as well. Now that the band is done touring and things are different I wanted to be sure it would be okay to talk still. Sometimes, especially lately, I feel sort of alone and I know it’s not your problem, but I feel like opening up to Sawyer about all of this would just be a burden on him you know?”

If anyone understands that it’s me, especially since he’s loaded down with my burdens already. “I’d like to be friends, real friends. I’m not sure if I’ll be a good one, but I’ll try. This seems to be the week for trying new things and accepting the things I can’t change. I’d like to be there for you though, maybe it can help me get my mind off myself so much.”

Her shoulder pushes against mine “Yeah Mel, stop being so selfish. I’ve got a whole list of things I can talk to you about to keep your focus all on me for a bit. And since Wyatt is going to sleep away the day, there’s no time like the present. First thing’s first, I’m starving. Come to breakfast with me? Please?”

Anna’s eyes are sparkling with happiness. Even if I’m not looking forward to the idea of going out, I know she needs someone now just as much as I do.

“Sure, I could eat something.”

That was the day I gave extra room in my heart to Anna, and I’ve been thankful to her ever since for helping this girl work her way back into the light. Sometimes the darkness around us can be all-consuming, but if you pause long enough and take a look around, you will find light somewhere - even if, at first, it’s dim.

That’s all for this week! Only eight more weeks until Encore releases and then Dee is going to share Jordan, Darren, and Eli’s stories with us and I can’t wait to read them.