Read Finding Hope in Texas Online

Authors: Ryan T. Petty

Tags: #tragedy, #hope, #introverted, #new york, #culture shock, #school bully, #move, #handsome man, #solace, #haunting memories, #eccentric teacher, #estranged aunt, #find the strength to live again, #finding hope in texas, #horrible tragedy, #ryan t petty, #special someone

Finding Hope in Texas




Finding Hope in
Ryan T. Petty





Published by

Fire and Ice

A Young Adult Imprint of Melange
Books, LLC

White Bear Lake, MN 55110


Finding Hope in Texas, Copyright
2014 Ryan T. Petty




Names, characters, and incidents
depicted in this book are products of the author’s imagination or
are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales,
organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental
and beyond the intent of the author or the publisher. No part of
this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any
means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording,
or by any information storage and retrieval system, without
permission in writing from the publisher.


Published in the United States of


Cover Design by Lynsee





by Ryan T.


How do you move on in your life after a
horrible tragedy?

That's what Hope Kilpatrick must ask after
losing her family in a horrible car accident right before
Christmas. Unable to deal with the pain, she leaves the haunting
memories of her New York home behind and escapes to Texas with an
estranged aunt that is her only family.

Still reeling from her loss and the culture
shock of her new home, she must also deal with a school bully that
has set her sights upon her. Hope's only solace is the quiet girl
at the vacant lunch table, an eccentric history teacher, and the
introverted handsome young man she meets at a Texas parade. Finding
Hope in Texas deals with the tragedy of loss, the sardonic
struggles of teenage life, and the sanguinity in finding a special
someone that will help her discover the strength to live again.



To my students, past and



Table of Contents

"Finding Hope in Texas"



Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen


About the Author






A winter chill had encroached upon New York.
I watched the morning news as car accidents were reported
throughout the city. Luckily, I lived close enough to school to
walk. When I got out into the storm, I noticed that Christmas cheer
had evolved into anger and frustrations from people I passed.
Everyone was running late and tempers flared, thus giving into the
theory of how New Yorkers really are. The holiday joy had been
blown away by the bitter winds. I was running late too, being tardy
for the first time all year and then late again getting home from
orchestra practice. My teacher kept us longer to make sure we were
prepared for the Christmas pageant coming up on Saturday. As I
walked home I got a text from Mom explaining that they had left to
see Tyler's game and would be back late that evening. I didn't
mind. I knew they were coming to my recital the next day, and
besides, I would have the house to myself for once. Mom called me
one more time as they drove to the game.

“Are you sure you're going to be okay
tonight, honey?” Mom asked me.

“Yes, Mom. Jeez. I’m not a little kid
anymore.” I answered back coolly. “You just have a good time at the
game with Dad. Tell Tyler he'd better get a double-double for

“I will, sweetie. There are leftovers in the
fridge when you get hungry. And hey, it’s Friday night. Call
someone up or have a friend over. We trust you.”

“Okay, Mom. Thanks.”

“Bye, sweetie. I love you.”

“Yeah, me, too. Bye, Mom.”
Why didn’t I
just say I love you?
Teenagers could be so stupid

I made use of my night by reading a book and
watching another Christmas special. This time it was
Miracle on
, a homegrown, New
York movie. I also sent a text to my friend about plans on
Saturday: shopping at the mall to get gifts for the family. I lost
track of time, though, and realized that they were running

“Tyler's game should have been over by now,”
I said. “It must be this storm holding them up.” At first their
tardiness didn't bother me. The storm, overtime, going out to
eat—there was a number of possibilities. But as the TV shows passed
the night away, I still had no word from them. I finally grabbed my
cell and began to text.

Where R U?
I sent it out to all of my
family in a group text. There was no reply. I quickly took to
actually calling Mom, something I rarely did. The phone rang and
rang before finally being sent to voice mail.

“Hey, Mom. It's Hope. I can't get any of you.
Call me as soon as you get this message. Thanks. Bye.” I hoped that
it didn't show through, but there was worry in my voice in that
phone call. My heart just wouldn't stop pounding.

I called again and again. All three of their
phones. Nothing.

Two hours later there was a deep, penetrating
knock on my front door. It startled me so much I jumped from the
sofa and scrambled to the door, first checking through the glass to
see who it was. Two uniformed police officers stood on my front
porch. I immediately flung the door open.

“Are you Hope Kilpatrick?” asked one of the
officers, a younger man, probably early thirties, tall with just a
hint of gray in his sideburns. The older one stood just behind him,
his eyes dark.

“What happened? Where is my family?” I asked
loudly, already knowing this had to do with them.

“Miss Kilpatrick–”

“Where is my family?” I repeated, practically
yelling at the officers this time.

“There was an accident,” the other officer
finally said, a hint of grief in his words. I nodded my head to
show that I understood, but for a moment I couldn't find the

Focus. Remain calm.

“Okay. Okay, then they must be at the
hospital. Can you tell me which one so that I can get going?” My
mind was whirling. I thought about stepping inside and grabbing the
keys to Mom's car—or maybe they were here to take me? But the first
cop stared deep into my eyes and ducked his head.

“I'm sorry, Miss, but–”

“No! You tell me where they are right

The officer stepped forward and tried to
place a hand on my shoulder to comfort me, but I pushed it away. I
wasn’t going to accept it. I wasn’t going to accept their story.
There had to be some mistake. This didn’t happen to people like my
family. Not to them, not to me.

I swung around and went inside. I could hear
them calling my name, but I wasn’t about to answer. I found my
mom’s keys in the kitchen where she always put them. The police
were in the entranceway when I made my way out again. The younger
one threw his hands up in front of him, like he was trying to
corral me.

“Miss Kilpatrick, stop,” he ordered, but in
the slightest way. I wasn’t going to listen. I just wanted to get
to them, to be by their side like they had been for me for so many

“Please, just tell me where they are!” I
demanded back at him, but my voice trailed off and I could feel my
eyes being engulfed by tears. He shook his head again.
Why did
he have to keep doing that?
But for some reason, I knew the

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” his voice was about
to break. “They’re not coming home, sweetie.”

You ring my doorbell and
give this awful news and have the audacity to call me

I went from frustrated sadness to anger in a
heartbeat. I threw myself at him as hard as I could, pounding on
his uniform, screaming the worst profanities I could before he
restrained me up in his arms so that I couldn’t move. I just wanted
to hurt him and I couldn’t even do that.

He didn't have to use the words “killed” or
“no survivors.” I had figured it out on my own as I sobbed loudly
against the officer. The man I tried to attack now held me like a
child in his arms, as I could do nothing but weep. The drunk driver
just couldn't stop on the icy roads and had slammed into my
family’s car with such force that they were all killed instantly.
There would be no criminal court to see the drunk punished. No
trial or witnesses to make sure he lived the rest of his life in
prison for killing three innocent people. He got off free by dying
in the carnage he caused.

I just couldn’t stop crying as I held their
picture. That wretched picture would always let me know what I once
had, what was gone forever. It was such a big crossroads to
encounter at sixteen years old and basically, alone.

Fate had looked me square in the face and
punched me as hard as it could.





On December 28
, three days after
Christmas and five days after the funeral, my Aunt Margaret arrived
from Texas. The lawyers from dad's firm had thought it best that I
have some sort of family and contacted her when they found her name
in my parent's will. My parents asked her to take care of Tyler and
me if anything should happen to them. She was also my only next of
kin as my mom was an only child. I barely knew my aunt, though.
Aunt Mags was what she liked to be called when she was in town. She
had left the family estate years before I was even born and only
visited a half-dozen times since. Dad was always kind when talking
about his sister, saying she liked to be independent or how she
enjoyed seeing the nation and not be tied down. Mom was more
honest, blunt even, saying she was following one sorry man after
the next, always looking for and believing she had found a good guy
until he turned out to be a drunk, a cheat, or something worse. All
I really knew was that Mags moved around the country, trying out
different things, meeting new people. She had sent us many
different items over the years, a small cactus from Arizona when
she was with the banker, a chunk of cheese from Wisconsin when she
was dating the farmer, some funky tie-dye shirt when she was on the
beaches of California with the surfer. She couldn't seem to settle
in life like her brother had done. Currently she lived just outside
of Dallas and was coming off her fourth divorce.

That is where I found myself now, stuck in a
small two-bedroom house that was no bigger than my living room back
in New York. I figured maybe distance would work better than time.
Maybe if I left everything behind I could try to find some normalcy
in my life again. I’d hoped to find solace in Texas. Mags was my
way out, that angel I needed, at least I hoped so. Texas would have
to be my sanctuary. Mags had come up with the great idea to take me
away from New York because it held so many memories of my family.
It was true; everything I was surrounded by, from the house to the
neighborhood to the entire New York area was consumed with the
memories of my family. I had no chance to move forward with life
with so much of my past wrapped up in my surroundings. That is why
I agreed to go, away from the busy streets, for a new beginning in
the Lone Star State. It may have not have been my best decision,
but I had to go. It was the only way that I might survive. All of
this would be waiting for me if I decided to return. Dad's partners
at the firm set up a trust for the entire estate for me, and
Richard accepted the responsibility to provide any funds that I
needed to live.

“Don’t hesitate to ask for anything,” he told
me. “I worked with your father a long time, so long in fact, I feel
I’ve helped bring you up in life and watch you become the fine
young lady you are today. Whatever you need, you can count on

This was not just talk from Richard; his
words were worth gold to me. He would secure everything for me and
when I turned eighteen, less than two years from now, it all would
be placed in my name. I, of course, would have been happy to give
it all away, if just to see my family one more time.

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