Home > Trouble

Author: Samantha Towle



“I’m so sorry, Mia. He didn’t make it.”

My lips feel numb as I say the words, “He’s dead?”

Dr. Solomon touches my arm, his expression grave. “Yes. I’m so very sorry.”

The muscles in my face are frozen – solid. Which is probably a good thing because I don’t want him to see what I’m truly feeling.

Elation. Relief. Complete and utter relief.

Oliver is dead.

I want to laugh.

“Mia, are you okay? Maybe you should sit down.”

I feel Dr. Solomon’s hand on my arm, guiding me to sit on one of the plastic chairs in the waiting room.

I can’t believe Oliver’s dead.

I can feel the relief bubbling up inside me.

“Could I have some water?” I ask Dr. Solomon.

“Of course.”

He leaves the room, and I’m grateful for the moment alone.

Oliver is dead.

I’m free.


I wrap my arms around myself, hugging tight.

In exhilaration? In comfort?

Maybe both.

I guess I should feel something in the form of grief that my father is dead.

But honestly I don’t. I really and truly don’t.

And I’m glad about that.


Then I feel something form on my lips.

Something that hasn’t happened to me in a really long time; not for real anyway. A smile.

I touch a finger to my lips.

There it is; an honest to god smile.

I hear movement by the door – Dr. Solomon.

I force the smile away and relax my features to neutral.

Dr. Solomon takes the seat beside me and hands me a plastic cup filled with ice water. The cold against my fingers makes me shiver.

He puts his hand on my shoulder and squeezes it in comfort. He probably thinks I’m shivering from shock.

I want to push his hand off. I hate people touching me. I hate men’s hands touching me.

“Is there anyone I can call?” he asks.

He’s asking this, but he knows there isn’t anyone. Oliver was my only family.

I shake my head.

“Are you going to be okay?” he asks, releasing his hand from my shoulder, resting it back in his lap.

I glance up at him and nod.

I can’t speak because if I do, I’ll quite possibly tell that I’m going to be more than okay.

Not really what I should be saying minutes after finding out that my father has just died, but it’s the truth. For the first time in my life, I can honestly say that I’m really and truly going to be okay.

Chapter One


Eight months later…

I push an errant strand of hair back with my hand. Setting down the roll of tape, I survey the boxes piled around me. For the last few days, I’ve been boxing Oliver’s things to give to Goodwill. It’s been eight months since he died of a heart attack, but trust me, I wasn’t hanging onto them out of any sentimentality. I was just putting off having myself near anything of his, but now the house has finally sold after being on the market for six months, so everything has to go.

I feel no sadness. Nothing. Just relief that he’s gone, and then a big black void of emptiness. I’ve felt this exact way from the moment I found out he’d died.

How ironic it is that he died of a heart attack? The great Oliver Monroe, respected and revered heart surgeon, dies from a heart attack.

I like to think of it as divine retribution.

The only one who could have saved him was himself. Maybe punishment does eventually come to those who deserve it. I need to believe that because it’s the only thing that’s keeping me hanging on.

You know the saying ‘from bad to worse’? Well, my situation is kind of like that, but more like ‘from worse, to a diluted version of worse, but still shit nonetheless’.

I moved out of my home—it’s a joke for me to call it that. A home is somewhere you feel safe, but I hadn’t felt safe in this house for even a moment.

I woke up one night, panicked and terrified from a nightmare. I thought Oliver was coming to get me, but then I suddenly realized that I was no longer trapped; that I could leave this place that closeted my nightmares.

So the next day, I put the house on the market and bought an apartment close to school and close to my boyfriend Forbes.

We started dating a month after Oliver died.

The instant I’d realized I was free of my father, I went a little wild. Well, wild for me. I went out to bars drinking, something I had never been allowed to do before.

I didn’t really know what I was looking for, or what I was hoping to find … but that was when I found Forbes.

Or maybe he found me.

We met in a bar. He approached me, offered to buy me a drink. He was charming. I was flattered. No one had ever paid me attention the way Forbes had that night. Like everything I said mattered.

I fell into him like he was a vat of melted chocolate, but I later found out that Forbes is more like quicksand.

Dating quickly morphed into Forbes becoming my boyfriend.

My first boyfriend.

My first everything.

I was happy. Exuberant.

That quickly changed.

Four months ago I discovered that I had gotten myself into a relationship with the exact same man as my father when Forbes backhanded me during a disagreement.

Really, I should have seen it coming. Forbes is the epitome of Oliver, except instead of being a doctor, Forbes is well on his way to becoming a successful lawyer.

Everyone loves him. He’s stupidly handsome. Smart. Charming. You know the type.

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