The Best of Me
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"Everyone wanted to believe that endless love was possible. She'd believed in it once, too, back when she was eighteen."
In the spring of 1984, high school students Amanda Collier and Dawson Cole fell deeply, irrevocably in love. Though they were from opposite sides of the tracks, their love for one another seemed to defy the realities of life in the small town of Oriental, North Carolina. But as the summer of their senior year came to a close, unforeseen events would tear the young couple apart, setting them on radically divergent paths.
Now, twenty-five years later, Amanda and Dawson are summoned back to Oriental for the funeral of Tuck Hostetler, the mentor who once gave shelter to their high school romance. Neither has lived the life they imagined . . . and neither can forget the passionate first love that forever changed their lives. As Amanda and Dawson carry out the instructions Tuck left behind for them, they realize that everything they thought they knew -- about Tuck, about themselves, and about the dreams they held dear -- was not as it seemed. Forced to confront painful memories, the two former lovers will discover undeniable truths about the choices they have made. And in the course of a single, searing weekend, they will ask of the living, and the dead: Can love truly rewrite the past?
stars blurring through the kitchen window. The breeze picked up, moving through the leaves on the trees like rolling ocean waves. The wine bottle was empty and Amanda was feeling warm and relaxed. Dawson brought the dishes to the sink and they stood next to each other as Dawson washed while she dried. Every now and then, she’d catch him studying her as he passed her one of the dishes, and though in many ways a lifetime had elapsed in the years they had been apart, she had the uncanny feeling that
you read the unmarked one aloud first, sometime prior to the ceremony.” “Ceremony?” Amanda repeated. “The scattering of the ashes, I meant,” he said, handing over the directions and the envelopes. “And of course, feel free to add anything either of you might want to say.” “Thank you,” she said, taking them. The envelopes felt oddly heavy, weighted with mystery. “But what about the other two?” “I assume you’re to read those afterward.” “You assume?” “Tuck wasn’t specific about that, other
afternoon sun hung low over the pines, Dawson and Amanda finally left the garage, walking slowly back toward her car. Something had changed between them in the last few hours—a fragile rebirth of the past, perhaps—that both thrilled and terrified her. Dawson, for his part, ached to slip his arm around her as they walked side by side, but sensing her confusion he stopped himself. Amanda’s smile was tentative when they finally reached her door. She looked up at him, noticing his thick, full
alternately reminiscing about Tuck and sitting in companionable silence. Outside, the rain had begun to fall. It was steady but not hard, a delicate summer rain that felt like a blessing. When they grew hungry, they ventured out into the rain, taking the Stingray down the twisty drive onto the highway again. Though they could have returned to Oriental, they drove instead to New Bern. Near the historic downtown district, they found a restaurant called the Chelsea. It was nearly empty when they
truck was blurry now, but he made his way toward its outline. Dawson wasn’t going to get away. Not this time. Abee was standing at the window of his house while Ted staggered toward the truck. He knew exactly where Ted was going, even if he was taking the long way to reach the truck. Veering left and right, Ted seemed unable to walk a straight line. As miserable as he’d felt last night, Abee had woken up feeling better than he had in days. The veterinary drugs must have worked, because his