Dad was the one who called. “There’s been an accident.”
“Not Dean.” It was a command, plea, and prayer all in one.
“No, not Dean. But Tay Carlton is dead, and Bess Hope is in the ICU. No one’s sure what state she’ll be in come morning.” Dad’s voice was hollow, and it pained me to realize that I’d heard his grieving voice often enough to recognize it for exactly what it was. But it was better to focus on that then the fact that the boy from down the road, my brother’s best friend, only three and half years older than me, was dead.
“Oh,” I sank down on the couch, not sure my legs would support me anymore, “How’s Dean doing?”
“Not good, if we’re being honest here Sar. He’s going to stay at the hospital with Bess until her family can get there, and then he’s going to try to help Shauna as best he can.”
“Oh—Shauna.” Tay’s wife. They were practically still newlyweds. “That poor woman.”
“The poor woman,” my Dad echoed.
“If there is anything I can do, tell Dean to call me right away. I’m here for you guys no matter what.”
“I’ll pass on the message. I’m sure he’ll be grateful.”
“Thanks Dad. Try to hold it all together if you can.”
My dad’s laugh was empty. ‘Oh, we’ll all hold it together. O’Connells always do, don’t we? All my love.”
“All my love,” I repeated and the line went dead. It was time to dust of the funeral dress—not that it seemed to ever have much time to collect dust, did it?