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SeaPaints

The Lucky 13 written by Jess Sea (Book 3)

The Lucky 13 written by Jess Sea (Book 3)

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These will ship out the week of the 13th sometime

Building your wildest dreams can be exhausting.

Throw in motherhood, frenemies, mental illness, a dangerous stalker that’s following you along with a number that is stalking you too, and then add in a champagne problem on the side- it can be a recipe for disaster.

That is, if you’re unlucky at least.

But what happens when you just keep getting incredibly  lucky over and over again?

Well, it goes a lot like this.

The Lucky 13
Written by Jess Sea
In paperback, January 13th- preorder now

get the ebook

Get the first 2 books in this series to catch up 

 

Chapter 1

 

 

 

The one with the secret

 

   The sun beams optimistically through my window. I glare at it in disgust.

It’s far too early for this.

 Picking up my phone, I quickly scan the screen for the time.

 Ugh. It’s almost 9.

 Any second now Nicole will be walking through my door, highly motivated and ready to start the day. 

 I suppose that’s what any entrepreneur would want in an employee, but Nicole isn’t just an employee. She’s a lifelong friend.

 She’s walked through my front door a thousand times before, but she never used to ask me to do the tasky things. It was so much easier when we were kids. 

 Eat. Sleep. Play. Repeat. Drink vodka. Repeat that too.

 Shaking away the nostalgia, I know I need to get moving. After all, I’m supposedly the boss of all of this.

 Alright, alright. I’m up, I’m up. Kind of.

 First things first, I tell myself. 

 Just put your feet on the floor. 

 Taking a deep breath, I reluctantly place my feet on the floor. The days that I don’t want to get out of bed are nothing short of dramatic. You may as well call in the camera crew for the theatrics.

  As I slip in to a pair of leggings, I scan my nightstand for a hair tie. Knocking the dust off of the closest one, I pull my hair in to a messy bun.

The I get shit done bun, if you will.

  Reluctantly, I slide on a pair of shoes and step in to the living room. One might think the work load is where my reluctance lies, but that isn’t the case. 

The reluctance, is that I still have to wear shoes inside my own living room. The accident is well behind me, but I can still feel the pain it left me with, with each step that I take. Shoes take the edge off a bit.

  As I catch a glance of my reflection in the mirror, I can’t help but notice that it looks like I’m going for a run. Anyone that knows me well, knows that is certainly not the case. I wouldn’t do such a thing.

  Taking a look around, I realize the work load isn’t as bad as I thought it was. I swear I had a dream last night that hundreds of shipments covered the ground. 

  Wouldn’t that be a nice problem to have? 

  Slowly, the memory of my dream comes back to me.

  I can’t help but smile at just the thought of it. It was a nice change of pace from the dreams that I usually have. Although, I wouldn’t exactly call nightmares a dream, but to each their own.

  Curiously, I pick up the stack of packing slips that Nicole had left on the desk. Sifting through the orders, I can’t help but notice that they are mostly SeaPaint orders. 

  When did THAT happen?

  Normally our orders our mostly craft supply items, which if I’m being honest, leave very little room for profit. To my dismay, my eyes begin to water and a small sense of pride washes over me.

  They like SeaPaint? They like SeaPaint.

  The realization simultaneously surprises me and excites me. Delicious relief floods my body.

  This could be fun.

  Over the rustling of paper, I can hear Jose stirring in the bedroom. For a moment I consider climbing back in bed for snuggles, but instead, I settle on to the sofa and pull my laptop close to me. 

  I’m a terrible wife.

  Opening my browser I go straight to Facebook. When I log in, there are over a hundred friend requests waiting on me, stopping me in my tracks.

What?

  Momentarily, I think that perhaps it is a glitch or a fresh flock of scammers trying to weasel their way in to steal my existence and maybe even my whole life. As I lean in to scan the profiles, to my surprise, it’s neither. 

 Wait, these people are real humans? Why would they want to be friends with me? I’m annoying as fuck. This can’t be right. I mean sure, my parents loved me. But didn’t they have to? Isn’t that the rule?

  One by one, I scan their profiles looking for signs of it being a hoax or perhaps even a glitch.

  Maybe they are all serial killers and I look like easy prey.

After all, I’ve always thought I’d be murdered someday. Maybe the someday is someday soon.

  As I scan their faces individually, no one in particular gives off any murder vibes. 

Less true crime, more laundry.

I realize that there is really only one way to find out anyway. With a small shrug of my shoulders, one by one, I begin going down the line to accept the friend requests. 

 Halfway through the process, Jose stumbles sleepily into the living room. 

 Taking in my confused expression, he’s quick to assume the worst. 

   “What’s going on?” he asks. His own expression is one of alarm.

   “No, no,” I say shaking my head, quickly reassuring him.

   “I think it’s the opposite.”

   “What do you mean?” The confusion can be heard in his voice. The impatience on my end, can be heard aggressively dancing around inside my head. 

  “I think my secret’s out,” I elaborate.

  “What secret?” he asks bewildered.

  “THE secret!” I say exasperatedly. 

   What did he mean what secret?

   I can see the genuine confusion washing over his face and for a second I feel a twinge of guilt for getting frustrated with him.

  “THE SECRET!” I say with dramatic emphasis. My hands are moving frantically in the air with each syllable as if that could possibly help explain it. 

  “Ohhh,” he says as it sinks in. “Isn’t that what you wanted to happen?”

   The doorbell rings and his question lingers in the air as we both look towards the door. To anybody else, it’s just a doorbell, but to me, it’s something else. The sound is startling and my anxiety instantly skyrockets. 

  Nicole would just walk right in, like she always has since we were kids. It has to be somebody else.

  Catching my expression, Jose calmly says, “She did not hop on a plane to kill you.”

  “Ok, first of all, we don’t know that. We don’t know anything,” I say as I make my way to the door.

When I open the door, to my delight Nicole is staring back at me. A sigh of relief escapes me.

“Well, good morning to you too,” she says to me a little cheekily.

“No, it’s not that,” I explain. “It’s just that I thought you were here to kill me.”

When I hear it out loud, in my own voice, I can’t help but hear how ridiculous it sounds. 

 “WHAT?” She asks perplexed. 

 “Well, not YOU, but somebody.” Immediately,  I find myself wishing that I wasn’t this embarrassing. 

 Over sharing is going to be the bane of my existence. I just know it. 

 “Too much true crime TV for you young lady,” she says wagging her finger at me.

 “That’s not a thing,” I object.

   As soon as it leaves my lips, I know it’s not accurate. 

  “Ok, it probably is a thing, but I just um…had a bad dream,” I explain simply. 

  No part of me wants to explain to her that I think the crafty criminal is going to uproot her entire life to kill me. So I don’t.

  “Well,” she says pointing to the door, “it was still locked,” she explains. 

Most mornings, I leave it unlocked just like my parents did when I was a kid, but lately that doesn’t feel as safe to me. Not that it probably ever was.

  I nod silently, but don’t bother explaining it any further. 

There is something about the crazy crafter that makes me very uneasy. So uneasy, that it’s disturbing my sleep and perhaps even impacting my voice of reason. 

  Don’t be ridiculous. Maybe her record didn’t exactly say murder, but I’ve seen one too many true crime episodes with crimes of passion to not be concerned. 

  An unnecessary panic washes over my entire body and floods my existence. Nicole settles calmly on to the sofa. I pause momentarily to watch her like a total creep. Her energy is soft and quiet. I can tell she’s at ease. Silently, I wonder what that must be like. To live in a state of calm. To be the calm. 

 Shaking the thought from my mind, I subconsciously follow her lead and plop down on the seat next to her. 

  Pulling my laptop back in to my lap, I return my attention back to Facebook once again. Oddly enough, as I focus my gaze, it’s a post from the crazy crafter staring back at me. The post simply reads, “SeaCult. SeaCunt.” I nod at the words slowly, letting them sink in a bit so I can savor them.

  Lovely. Just lovely. I need caffeine. 

  Closing my laptop, I head to the kitchen. As I make my way to the fridge, I can’t 

help but think, both of those would make great paint names. Toying with the idea briefly, I dismiss it nearly as quickly as it comes. 

  You are not naming a paint Seacunt.

  When I return from the kitchen with a diet coke in hand, I can see Nicole’s eyes are scanning the room. I can tell by her expression that she doesn’t like what she sees. Before she even says a word, I begin to quickly apologize. The mess is embarrassing. 

  “Sorry,”I say sheepishly as I follow her gaze around the room. “It’s a total fucking zoo and I don’t know what to do.” 

   There are admittedly boxes in every possible corner of the room.

  “You need to move,” she says matter of factly. “The business I mean.” 

  “Ugh, exactly,” I say agreeing even though I had been fighting her on it previously.

  You’re a fickle bitch.

  I quickly realize, that that is not exactly it. I just love not paying rent. I love the lack of commitment. The wishy-washiness of it. Looking around the room again, I know we need to move. She knows we need to. We all do. Glancing at my cat, she blinks slowly back at me.

  I bet she even knows it.

  As much as I know it, I can’t ignore the what ifs dancing around inside my head.

  “What if this all blows over in 6 months or so and I’m stuck in contracts that I can’t get out of?” I argue reasonably.

  She smiles at me slowly. “That’s not going to happen,” she reassures me. As I study her face, she seems relatively certain, but the fear still creeps in. It feels cold and uncertain to me.

How can she be so sure?

  Out loud I simply say, “Sure, sales are growing daily but who knows how long that will last? This could all disappear pretty fast. Fads come and go ya know.”

  Everything I’m saying is reasonable, but for some reason, she doesn’t believe it. Financially, I’m not so sure that we can swing it, not consistently at least. The money that we earned previously went to the cruise and in to rebuilding the Florida room. 

  Glancing at the Florida room now, it seems like we made a bad move. Enclosing the space had only bought us a small amount of time. It’s now filled to the brim, leaving barely an inch of visible floor space. It’s starting to feel like every extra inch of my home, is being used for supply storage.

 That’s because it is.

  Jars. Lids. Mailers. Labels. It never ends. All it takes is one quick look around to see that my home based business, has outgrown my home. Blinded by fear, I had previously chosen not to see it, but looking around now, I can’t unsee it. What had once been a home with plenty of space for us, is now overcrowded and stuffed. 

  “It’s time,” Nicole says interrupting my thoughts. 

  “I don’t disagree,” I say nodding. 

  “How many orders do we need to get out?” I ask changing the subject.

  “100.”

  “What? Did you say 100?”

  “Yeah, but we can’t get to them all this week.”

  “What? Why?”

  “We are out of jars,” she says shrugging.

  “How? We just ordered them.”

  “Um, because the amount of orders we get in a week has doubled since last month.”

  “Oh. Wow,” I say slowly, letting it sink in a bit. I had been so busy engaging with customers that I hadn’t noticed our order volumes rising that much. 

  “Ok, you’re right. It’s time.” Turning to Jose I say, "We’re moving. Start looking for our new work home when you get a minute. We’re going to need to store a lot more than a few boxes of jars.”

He nods at me. “No problem.”

Trusting that he will get the task done, I mark it off of my mental to do list.

A few days later though, we realize that it isn’t quite that simple. With almost zero business credit, we find our options are actually pretty limited. 

The only place we can find that will take us in without credit, is nothing short of a glorified storage unit. I don’t let this phase me though. I have this grandiose belief that I can make almost anything pretty with a little SeaPaint.

As we pull up to the storage facility a few days later, it dawns on me that Jose isn’t leaving. 

We’re coworkers now. 

I find the thought unsettling. 

Someone shoot me. 

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