Home > Most Popular > Get a Life, Chloe Brown (The Brown Sisters #1)

Get a Life, Chloe Brown (The Brown Sisters #1)
Author:Talia Hibbert

Get a Life, Chloe Brown (The Brown Sisters #1)

Talia Hibbert

Author’s Note

This story touches on the process of healing after an abusive relationship. If this is a topic that you’re sensitive to, please be aware. I hope I have treated the issue, my characters, and you, the reader, gently.


Once upon a time, Chloe Brown died.


It happened on a Tuesday afternoon, of course. Disturbing things always seemed to happen on Tuesdays. Chloe suspected that day of the week was cursed, but thus far, she’d only shared her suspicions via certain internet forums—and with Dani, the weirdest of her two very weird little sisters. Dani had told Chloe that she was cracked, and that she should try positive affirmations to rid herself of her negative weekday energy.

So when Chloe heard shouts and the screech of tires, and looked to her right, and found a shiny, white Range Rover heading straight for her, her first ridiculous thought was: I’ll die on a Tuesday, and Dani will have to admit that I was right all along.

But in the end, Chloe didn’t actually die. She wasn’t even horribly injured—which was a relief, because she spent enough time in hospitals as it was. Instead, the Range Rover flew past her and slammed into the side of a coffee shop. The drunk driver’s head-on collision with a brick wall missed being a head-on collision with a flesh-and-blood Chloe by approximately three feet. Metal crunched like paper. The middle-aged lady in the driver’s seat slumped against an airbag, her crisp, blond bob swinging. Bystanders swarmed and there were shouts to call an ambulance.

Chloe stared, and stared, and stared.

People buzzed by her, and time ticked on, but she barely noticed. Her mind flooded with irrelevant data, as if her head were a trash folder. She wondered how much the repairs to the coffee shop would cost. She wondered if insurance would cover it, or if the driver would have to. She wondered who had cut the lady’s hair, because it was a beautiful job. It remained relatively sleek and stylish, even when she was hauled out of her car and onto a gurney.

Eventually, a man touched Chloe’s shoulder and asked, “Are you okay, my darling?”

She turned and saw a paramedic with a kind, lined face and a black turban. “I believe I’m in shock,” she said. “Could I have some chocolate? Green and Black’s. Sea salt is my favorite, but the eighty-five percent dark probably has greater medicinal properties.”

The paramedic chuckled, put a blanket around her shoulders, and said, “Would a cuppa do, Your Maj?”

“Oh, yes please.” Chloe followed him to the back of his ambulance. Somewhere along the way, she realized she was shaking so hard that it was a struggle to walk. With a skill borne of years of living in her highly temperamental body, she gritted her teeth and forced one foot in front of the other.

When they finally reached the ambulance, she sat down carefully because it wouldn’t do to collapse. If she did, the paramedic would start asking questions. Then he might want to check her over. Then she’d have to tell him about all her little irregularities, and why they were nothing to worry about, and they’d both be here all day. Adopting her firmest I-am-very-healthy-and-in-control tone, she asked briskly, “Will the lady be all right?”

“The driver? She’ll be fine, love. Don’t you worry about that.”

Muscles she hadn’t realized were tense suddenly relaxed.

In the end, after two cups of tea and some questions from the police, Chloe was permitted to finish her Tuesday-afternoon walk. No further near-death experiences occurred, which was excellent, because if they had, she’d probably have done something embarrassing, like cry.

She entered her family home via the north wing and skulked to the kitchen in search of fortifying snacks. Instead, she found her grandmother Gigi clearly waiting for her. Gigi whirled around with a swish of her floor-length, violet robe—the one Chloe had given her a few months ago on Gigi’s fourth (or was it fifth?) seventieth birthday.

“Darling,” she gasped, her sparkling, kitten-heeled mules clacking against the tiles. “You look so . . . peaky.” From Gigi, who was both a concerned grandparent and a painfully beautiful ragtime legend, this was a grave statement indeed. “Where were you? You’ve been ages, and you wouldn’t answer your phone. I was quite worried.”

“Oh, God, I’m so sorry.” Chloe had left hours ago for the latest of her irregularly scheduled walks—scheduled because her physiotherapist insisted she take them, irregular because her chronically ill body often vetoed things. She was usually back within thirty minutes, so it was no wonder Gigi had panicked. “You didn’t call my parents, did you?”

“Of course not. I presumed, if you’d had a wobble, that you’d collect yourself shortly and command a passing stranger to find you a taxi home.”

A wobble was the delicate phrase Gigi used for the times when Chloe’s body simply gave up on life. “I didn’t have a wobble. I’m feeling quite well, actually.” Now, anyway. “But there was . . . a car accident.”

Gigi managed to stiffen and gracefully take a seat at the marble kitchen island simultaneously. “You weren’t hurt?”

“No. A lady crashed her car right in front of me. It was all very dramatic. I’ve been drinking tea from Styrofoam cups.”

Gigi peered at Chloe with the feline eyes that lesser mortals tended to fall into. “Would you like some Xanax, darling?”

“Oh, I couldn’t. I don’t know how it would react with my medication.”

“Of course, of course. Ah! I know. I’ll call Jeremy and tell him it’s an emergency.” Jeremy was Gigi’s therapist. Gigi didn’t strictly need therapy, but she was fond of Jeremy and believed in preventive measures.

Chloe blinked. “I don’t think that’s necessary.”

“I quite disagree,” Gigi said. “Therapy is always necessary.” She pulled out her phone and made the call, sashaying to the other side of the kitchen. Her mules clicked against the tiles again as she purred, “Jeremy, darling! How are you? How is Cassandra?”

These were all perfectly ordinary noises. And yet, without warning, they triggered something catastrophic in Chloe’s head.

Gigi’s click, click, click merged with the tick, tick, tick of the vast clock on the kitchen wall. The sounds grew impossibly loud, oddly chaotic, until it seemed like a tumble of boulders had fallen inside Chloe’s head. She squeezed her eyes shut—wait, what did her eyes have to do with her hearing?—and, in the darkness she’d created, a memory arose: that crisp, blond bob swinging. The way it remained so smooth and glossy against the black leather of the gurney.