Before Sam died, he passed on two pieces of advice. One good and the other just plain weird.
The good: if your heart aches every single time you look at someone—run and run fast—because it probably won’t end well. It sounded fair enough at the time, considering what he’d gone through with my mother. She left when I was three.
And the weird: lightning never strikes the same place twice. Sorry? Was that even true? I suspected a little Googling would shoot that one down fast, but I didn’t pull out my cell to check. That would be a waste of time. And Dad didn’t have much of that left.
Out of all the corny lines he could’ve chosen to pass on to his teenage daughter, those two were kind of lame. I longed for precious words I could hold close to my heart, pretty words that I could cling to over the years. So to be honest, I was disappointed.
“Remember those two things, Edie,” he’d said, his bony fingers pinching my arm.
I nodded obediently and kissed his gaunt cheek. Then in the rundown cottage on our ramshackle lavender farm, I slumped over the bed, watching the cancer chomp away at his body, and decided that the disease must have finally reached his brain.
Why else would he waste his precious breath spouting mad theories about lightning?
After he’d fallen asleep, I called his oncologist. And within the fortnight, Dad was dead.
Then a whole six years later, it only took one meeting with a boy called L for me to realize that my father had been dead right, no pun intended, about the heartache bit. One look at that guy and he got under my skin, tore my heart out.
And not long after making L’s acquaintance, I knew for sure that Dad had been wrong about the second thing—about lightning.
It could strike the same place twice. And the same person, too.
I was hard evidence, because that boy was Lightning with a capital L. And he blew me into pieces several times over.
And one horrible day, when I knew L a little better, I stared into his furious neon eyes that were way too close to mine, and all I could think was—why? Why the hell hadn’t I run and run fast?
Just like Sam had told me to.