As it turns out, conversing with my father did help with my writing. That night, after driving around for two hours, I managed to write most of my first chapter. Over the next few days, I finished the first chapter. I still had a long way to go, but it felt good to accomplish something. My father called me three times each day after our confrontation, but I didn't answer, nor did I return his calls. I loved my father more than I could express, but I needed more time.
I decided to work on editing chapter one. I also needed a title for the new book. I still had two weeks before it was supposed to be submitted to the publishers, but I didn't want to waste any time. I had just printed the pages off to read through when my mom walked in. She had a weird look on her face. A look that was filled with pain.
"Mom, what's going on?" I asked her.
She handed me a letter. "This is from your father."
I took the letter from her hands, though I did not look at it. "Where did you get it?"
"I found it on the front porch." She was fighting tears.
"Who is it for?" I was fighting the anger rising inside of me.
"Both of us." She looked at the floor.
"Did you read it?" I asked her.
She shook her head. "No. I couldn't bring myself to."
"Then, how do you know it's from, Dad" I asked her.
She looked up once more. "He wrote our nicknames on the envelope."
We sat down and read the letter together. It was filled with various apologies for the two of us as well as him begging my mom to come home. However, it said nothing about April leaving any time soon. He ended it by asking my mom to meet him at the place where they first met.
"Wow." I spoke. "He seems sincere, but he said nothing about her leaving." I said with a tone of voice that was slightly too bitter.
My mom swallowed hard. "I wonder why he wants to meet."
"I don't know." I responded. "Are you going to go?"
"What choice do I have?" She replied. Then, she left the room.
A week before my chapter was do, I met with Annabeth. She may have been my manager, but she was my closest friend first. I owed her an apology. Plus, I wanted to talk to her about the book. I trusted her more than just about anyone else in my life. My mom was out meeting with my dad, so I invited Annabeth over to my place. When she arrived, I welcomed her with a substantially warm hug. We hadn't spoken since my last meeting with the publishers, and it was marvelous to see her again.
"Annabeth, I just wanted to start by apologizing. I've been having a hard time, and I took it out on you. You were just trying to help, and I pushed you away. I am so sorry." We had just sat down when I spoke.
"Don't even worry about it, Mitchy. I know you've had a long going on with your mom living here and the book. My intentions may have been to help you, but I knew you needed some space." She smiled as she spoke.
Annabeth had always been one of the most understanding people I had ever known, especially when we annoyed one another. Honestly, we were both so incredibly stubborn that we annoyed each other quite frequently, but she was always there for when I needed her the most.
I handed her the chapter I had composed, and edited about six times since. I wanted her to read it before I submitted it. Plus, I was still struggling to develop a title. I was having a difficult time deciphering the emotions playing out across her face. There were a plethora of them fighting for attention. As she finished the last page, I saw tears fill her eyes. She started at that page, crying, for what felt like an eternity. Then, she looked up at me, as she wiped the tears from her eyes.
"What?" I asked. "Is it that bad?"
She sniffled then said, "No, Mitchy. The opposite actually. It's the most beautiful and honest thing you have ever written. I had no idea you were feeling this way."
"No one did." I answered. "That was kind of the point. I didn't want them to."
"James and Stacy are going to be blown away by this." She smiled then hugged me. "I just feel so terrible for not noticing it."
"I hid everything, from everyone." I said. "I'm good at bottling things up. There is no possible way you could have known.
"I'm your best friend." She said. "I should have known, or at least had a feeling something was wrong."
We talked and cried and laughed for hours. It felt so good to share with her everything that had been going on. It felt even better to get all of those built up emotions out of me as well. We talked about all of the things going on in our lives since the book tour ended.
"I actually have some fairly big news myself." Annabeth said.
"What is it?" I asked her.
"Well, you know that I have loved being your manager. It's been great, but you also know that it's not exactly my dream."
"What?" I said in mock surprise. Of course I knew, she was my best friend.
"I know, I know, it's completely shocking." She laughed. "Seriously though, I got an offer to record with a Christian label."
"No way! Annabeth that's amazing!" That time, my surprise was genuine.
"Yeah. They heard the demo I made a few years ago, and made me an offer."
"I am so happy for you." I gave her an enormous hug.
"Thank you." She replied. "Of course, I've already interviewed and lined up my replacement. They won't be nearly as good as I was, but then again no one will be." She laughed.
"Of course not." I laughed as well. "I'm so proud of you, Annabeth. Seriously."
"Thank you." She smiled.
"Can you do one final thing before you're done?" I asked.
"Absolutely, Mitchy." she said in reply.
Then, I told Annabeth the plan I had, and we even managed to establish the perfect title for the book. After she departed, I thanked God for blessing me with Annabeth. I can still remember when we met. It was in a creative writing course I had decided to take over the summer for college. We were instant friends. I was taking the course for my career in publishing/ writing, and she was taking it to help with her song writing. She was a double major in music and business, which is the reason she insisted on managing me when my first book was published. Although I was so excited to see my friend's dreams coming true, I was sad to lose her as a manager. In spite of that, I went to sleep that night feeling positive for the first time in a while.
The meeting with my publishers, James and Stacy Martinez, went surprisingly well. As Annabeth predicted, they loved the book idea as well as the first chapter. They, like Annabeth, were upset they hadn't seen how much pain I was in. I assure them it wasn't their fault; it was my own. Once we got through all of the various emotions about the new book, and all of the tears, I told them about the idea I had been working on with Annabeth to launch the book. James and Stacy weren't sure we could get it done in time, but they were thrilled with it. The event was scheduled to take place in a few days, if all went according to plan. I was nervous, but I was also very excited.
The next few days. Annabeth did an amazing job getting things prepared. I was really going to miss having her as my manager, but I knew she was following God's plan for her life. She also had assured my multiple times that her replacement was more than adequate.
"Hey." She crept up behind me. "Are you ready? You're on any minute."
"Honestly, I'm kind of freaking out." I answered.
"Mitchy, relax. You'll be great." She reassured me. "Oh, don't forget to look at the camera occasionally. We're going to post this on various media outlets as a sneak peek of your new book."
"Right." I answered. "Here goes nothing."
"Break a leg," she said as I walked onto the stage.
I took the microphone as the room fell silent. "Good evening, and welcome." I looked around the room, then the camera as I spoke. "I invited you all here, my friends and family, to announce my new book. I also plan to read the first chapter of that book, entitled 'Learning to be Held.'"
Applause spread across the room. I looked around at everyone there to support me. Annabeth was to my right, giving me a thumbs up. I smiled at her. I saw James and Stacy smiling at me as they clapped next. They had been nothing but supportive of me since day one. Both of my parents were there, although not together. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for all those who were there for me that night. The applause and cheers slowly ceased, and I spoke once more.
"Thank you all for coming out tonight to show your support. Are you ready to get started?" I swallowed as they clapped once more. When it was once again silent, I began reading. "Have you ever felt lost? Have you ever felt like the world was closing in on you? Like no matter which way you turn there's no escape? You try so hard to break the cycle. You try so hard to be different, yet everything remains the same. Well, that's exactly how I've felt for months. My name is Mitchy Edwards, and this is my story."