"Homecoming"

Chapter One

The rolling grasslands of New York State sped by the windows of the bus, bringing the woman miles closer to her destiny. Her worn face was pressed against the glass as the bus passed a road sign. 30 miles to go. Why was she doing this? It certainly wasn't because she wanted to. At least, her head didn't want to. Her head told her she was crazy to come back. She had established a new life, with a new name, and new friends. The midwestern town she had called her home for five years was friendly enough, but her heart ached to be back home where she belonged. She had never really wanted to leave. The break-up had been ugly; the pain never truly left her. While she tried to let go of the old love, it continuously followed her as close as her own shadow. His leaving was her fault, though, and she knew it. The whole town had turned its back on her.

So she, in rebellion, turned her back on the town. She had left everything behind her, although it never truly left her.Now she was coming back. Her time had run out with a new life. Eventually,people start asking questions. And coming up with answers. And sometimes,the truth hurts more than the lies.She knew that now. Waynesville, Michigan, had become her home. She couldn't stay there any more, hiding behind a phony past. But could she truly come home again? The demons followed her, and she didn't know if she could shake them. Things would never be the same. She only hoped she could pick up some of the pieces and rebuild what was once her life. She reached into her bag and pulled out a pair of sunglasses. It was a bright day- too bright, considering how grey she felt. Her shoulder length hair, now dark red thanks to a professional dye job, was pulled back into a conservative pony tail below her black beret. She was, at least, dressed for the mood. A black tank top and stone wash jeans were not what she usually wore in either of her lives, but she wanted to blend in. She had never been an observant person, but she was going to become one. She had to see how life had gone on without her, to see if she could slip back in to where she once fit. The past was all she had left. Her suitcase carried everything she owned... everything she dared to take with her. She had regretfully parted with most of her wardrobe, but that could be replaced. Her credit cards and a large sum of cash were carefully tucked away in her purse. She was financially okay. Emotionally, though, she felt like crying.

She glanced out the window just as the bus approached the next town- her final destination. She sucked in her breath as they passed the city limits sign that plainly read, "Welcome to Port Charles".

***

She kept her head ducked as she walked through the bus station, praying no one would recognize her. She didn't want to be discovered, not just yet. She needed to see for herself what Port Charles was like now... and decide whether or not she was going to come back, or make another new life and start again from scratch.

She didn't know exactly where she was going to go. The idea of a hotel sounded painful after spending so many countless nights in a motel when she first moved. It was her only choice, though, excluding sleeping on the street.

As the fates would have it, there was a hotel on the same street as the bus station with vacancy. Such luck, she knew, would probably not strike twice.

It was just after two o'clock in the afternoon when she entered the plush lobby of the Port Charles Inn. An elderly woman was working the desk, and smiled as the potential customer came in.

"Hello," the woman's nametag read 'Meg'. "Can I help you?"

"Yes," the woman pulled her credit card and driver's license out of her purse and laid them on the desk. "I need a room for..." she made a quick decision. "5 nights, please."

The clerk pulled out a form and quickly filled it out, using the information from the credit card and driver's license. "Just sign here." The woman took the pen and signed her name with flourish across the form... Lucy Coe.

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