If someone offered you a solution to all your problems, would you take it? Alexa has been living a life of seclusion since she slammed to the ground in the middle of her championship track run. She was at the height of her high school career one moment and strapped to a hospital bed the next. Years later, her grandmother offers her a way out, a potion to remove what ails her. But to accept this offer would be to go against her dead mother's wishes. When an old friend returns to her life along with a mysterious new guy, Alexa struggles with the decision of what to do next. There is something about the new guy and his stormy grey eyes. There is a secret there that she is dying to know. How far will she go to find out what it is?
Jessica Cage is a USA Today Bestselling author who champions women of color and all BIPOC creators through her Characters of Color in Fantasy blog series and podcast More Than A Plot Point. In Revitalized, she asks the tempting question: if someone offered you a solution to all your problems, would you take it? Former high school track star Alexa must decide if she'll take a mysterious potion to solve her problems, confronting long-buried secrets as old friends and new flames enter her life. – Zelda Knight
My mother refused the doctor's diagnosis, quit her part-time position at the local daycare, and every day forced me to fight through it. I never hated her for it, even though I wanted to give up so many times. She pushed me, not for herself, but for me. She wanted me to be strong and prove to myself that I was worth fighting for. That was when the barrier was really put up between me and my grandmother. She called every day begging my mother to let her help and of course was refused. I often overheard my mother arguing with my father, who argued against her, though not nearly as forcefully as he could have.
"It couldn't hurt. Why not just try it? If it helps and takes away her pain, even a little, isn't that worth trying?" My father tried to talk some sense into my mother, but she simply would not hear it. He would look at me with such guilt in his eyes. As if he blamed himself for what was happening to me. I guess that is how any parent would feel, as though their own genetics had damned their child.
My mother felt my father would betray her and refused to let my grandmother be with me without 'proper supervision', which meant my mother hovering over us whenever she came to visit, even if my father was there. She couldn't allow my grandmother sneaking behind her back to taint me, as if she were going to poison my soul. She wouldn't even let me drink the store-bought tea she would bring for me, afraid she had slipped something past the sealed cap!
I thought of my grandmother again. She hadn't called today like she always did. Was something wrong? I picked up the phone clumsily, nearly dropping it, and dialed her number. The phone rang; each ring longer than the one before it. She wasn't home? She had no answering machine, so I couldn't leave her a message. The phone just kept ringing. I slammed the receiver down in the cradle and tried not to worry as I stuffed the remainder of the fruit down my throat and tossed the dishes in the sink.
Any other day I would wash them and put them back in their designated spot the way my mother would have, but I was too distracted to care. Why I was so upset over one missed call? What is the big deal? After living inside of what was basically a controlled environment for so long, where everything is predictable, I was like a common test animal in a lab. Change one factor of their ecosystem and their little minds go ape shit.
Something inside me told me I needed to go and make sure that she was alright. I threw my clothes on hastily, oversized jeans and an orange t-shirt (fashion icon over here) and moved as quickly as I could to get to my car in the garage. I tried to imagine that the phone had simply come unplugged, or she was out tending to her garden. I got in my car; the one my father had gotten me for my 16th birthday, a blue 2003 Chevy Malibu. Like the house and myself, it too had been poorly cared for. It was near the point where I would soon have to consider getting a new car, but it was hard to see the point in that since I rarely put it to use, and didn't know how much longer I would be able to drive at all.
I drove the 20-minute trip in ten and was shocked that I hadn't been pulled over; suburban police are usually on the lookout for early morning procrastinators speeding to get to work on time. I glanced around the front of my grandmother's overly accessorized front yard as I pulled to a stop; my heart ached when I didn't see her out there. I parked and once again forced my body to move as fast as it would toward her door. I told myself that I wouldn't regret it later, but knew that I would. Denial only gets you so far.