Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Chapter 1-13: Heir Apparent

                After Carrie went home the next morning, Shane decided to spend some quality time with his little brother. He read him some books and also made sure the house would be clean. He put Tanner to be and relaxed a bit, excited that his mom would be home the next day so he could be relieved of extended babysitter duty.

                Sunday afternoon came and went with still no sign of Rebecca. Maybe her flight had been delayed. He was sure she would be home by the time they got up the next morning. When Monday morning rolled around though, she was still missing. Shane was doing his best not to freak out but he couldn’t help starting to worry a bit. However, he didn’t have time to come unglued since he had school that day. Hurriedly, he called Krystal to come sit for Tanner and rushed to the high school.

                After school, he had his debate club and then he had an internship at the business center. It went really well and he now had contacts lined up should he need a job after he graduated. Well, if he chose to pursue a career in business though he still had his heart set on medicine. At last, he arrived home, expecting his mother. Wrong again. He paid Krystal, who had been kind enough to feed and bathe Tanner and put him to bed, and sat down to do his homework.

                Tuesday arrived with no news yet again. Shane was starting to really worry about where his mom could be. Resigned, he called Krystal yet again. Today after school was his debate for the club presidency. He packed a tux and was ready to prove his worth. His attention to detail and impressive intellect quickly won over the members. He headed home with the sweet taste of victory only to realize that it was Tanner’s birthday! How was he 5 already? He knew his mother would not miss her son’s birthday for just anything but he kept his thoughts to himself. It was now or never that he teach Tanner to walk.

With no birthday planned and such a huge task ahead of him, Shane didn’t even think to document the event for his mother’s return. It appeared that the by interpreting his mother’s vacation as abandonment, Tanner developed a bit of a rebellious streak.  

 Hopefully he would soon grow out of it because Shane didn’t want to have to worry about every shower he took!

                Shane quickly realized they would need another bed. He was not comfortable sleeping in his mother’s bed like she wasn’t coming home, and still felt a bit guilty about his tryst with Carrie there last weekend, so he arranged for another bed. Once Tanner had been tucked in, Shane went outside to think and gaze at the stars. He discovered a small orange star that the Holmeberg-Weidler Astronomical Society gave him the chance to name. Without thinking, he chose Rebecca, in honor of his mother.


                Life had settled into an uneasy routine. Both Shane and Tanner continually told themselves that Rebecca would be back as soon as she could. Each day though, that hope diminished a little. Shane missed his mother terribly and was trying the best he could. Tanner, on the other hand, resented being left. He looked up to his big brother but he needed a parent. He craved attention from her and, every day that went by without it, he became more sullen and rebellious. Shane had to believe that his mother would not have forsaken them and that something must have happened to her.

                One day, Shane arrived home from his club meeting, to see Tanner entertaining a friend. He also noticed that there was a large amount of old papers just strewn in the yard.

He was shocked and embarrassed to have someone in town see their house in such a state and mortified that Tanner would not have thought about this ahead of time. He was lucky enough that child services hadn’t been notified of their mother’s disappearance already. He quickly pulled his brother to the side.
                “Tanner, don’t you see those papers? Doesn’t it embarrass you to have someone see them,” Shane asked.

                “Pfft, whatever. Nobody cares,” Tanner retorted with a nonchalant attitude.
                “I care! Child services would care. We could get put in an orphanage. Clean them up,” Shane shouted.
                “You’re not my dad,” Tanner screamed back, even louder.

                Quickly, Shane realized that Tanner’s indifferent attitude was a cover for his pain. He pulled him into a hug and apologized.
                “When is she coming home Shane,” Tanner asked with tears forming in his eyes.
                “As soon as she can,” Shane replied, for the first time, not believing his words.

                He knew that many families left heirs and people in charge to head up their estate for the future so the next day, he called city hall to find out if his mother had dictated a will. Not only was there no will, there was no savings accounts, no stocks, and no investments. At least she had left most of her royalties at home in the family account. That might have answered someone else’s questions regarding the disappearance since, by all records, she hadn’t prepared for her departure. Shane just figured that, whatever the cause, his mother had not planned to stay gone. Maybe something had happened to her. Maybe having two children and being widowed at such a young age had just been a burden too heavy for her to bear.

                Whatever the case, it appeared that Shane, without intention or desire, had become the Avendale heir.

Chapter 1.12                                                                                                                                            Chapter 2.1

Monday, August 29, 2011

Chapter 1-12: Opportunities Abound

                Wednesday morning dawned bright and early. Shane awoke with butterflies in his stomach. How would he make it through the entire day? Then he remembered that the class had a field trip to the mausoleum that day so he wouldn’t have to focus too much on school work. The field trip was really interesting and way spooky and, though he knew that it housed dead people, like his father, he wasn’t too concerned about it. The trip ended with just enough time for him to get home and get ready.

                Back at home, Rebecca was able to finally improve upon her gardening skill. She harvested all of her produce and decided to take Shane on a long walk to the market to sell the items. He fussed and cried and howled the whole way. She wasn’t sure what she was doing wrong! He should be enjoying the walk outside, not screaming about it.

                Shane arrived a little early and stood about waiting for Carrie. He was so nervous and wondered if she would stand him up, or be there. Would she have a good time or a lousy one? Would this ruin their friendship or make it awkward or make it better or make it something more? Finally the doors opened up and he headed inside.

He soon realized he need not have worried; the night was amazing. Carrie was so laid back that she didn't even bother dressing up. She asked him to go steady and, during one of the slow songs, they shared their first kiss. And, when the titles were given, Shane was surprised to hear that he had been named Prom King. It was a truly a memorable night.

                Thursday morning was Rebecca’s first day back at work since being pregnant with Tanner. She was certainly ready to go back but at the same time, she didn’t really want to leave him either. She called a babysitter to stay with him while she was at work. Could she really trust Esther with Tanner while she was gone?

                After arriving at work, Rebecca discovered that all of the repairing and gardening she had been doing while at home had actually placed her in an extremely good position at the lab. When she was clocking out, her boss promoted her to Carnivorous Plant Tender. The job may be dangerous but would definitely be worth it in the long run. What a fantastic day!

                Friday, after checking the mail, Rebecca discovered that she had won a free vacation. It had been so long ago that she had even entered the drawing that she had completely forgotten about it. Shane was a good kid and she knew that she could trust him to watch Tanner for the weekend so she decided to go. Unbeknownst to her, that night, Shane decided to host a slumber party, with just one other guest.

                Carrie arrived, ready for the slumber party. She looked adorable in a pair of shorts and a pale yellow hoodie. Shane invited her in and, after putting Tanner to bed, they sat on the couch for awhile cuddling, which led to making out.

                “Follow me,” she said, taking his hand.
                They went outside and sat under the stars, pointing at the sky, trying to find the constellations.
                “Look, that is T-rex,” Shane pointed out.
                “There is no such thing as T-Rex,” she said laughing.
                “Sure there is, look, no, a little more to the right, a little more,” he said and as she turned to look he snuck in a quick kiss.
                “Smooth move Mr,” she laughed some more.
                Her sweet, bubbly personality was one of his favorite things about her. Though she was also beautiful.

                They headed inside and she went to set up her sleeping bag in front of the couch. Shane kissed her softly.
                “You don’t have to sleep out here,” he told her.
                “But where else,” she replied.
                “My mom’s away. We could sleep in her bed.”
                “Shane…” she started to say.
                “It’s up to you, no pressure.”
                “I was going to say that’s fine. We just have to be careful.”

                And they were. They were careful a couple of times.

Chapter 1-11                                                                                                                                        Chapter 1-13

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Chapter 1-11: Family Ties and Frustrations

                The next day at school, Shane tried to act cool as he passed Carrie going into the main building to sign up for the debate club. She noticed him and gave him a small smile. Maybe there was hope after all!

Meanwhile, back at home, Rebecca was being reminded of the struggles of having a newborn. Tanner needed so much attention. She didn’t remember Shane being so needy all of the time. Maybe Tanner was just taking a toll on her because she was a single parent now. “What did I get myself into,”  she fretted.

                Shane decided that it was now or never when it came to asking Carrie to the prom. It was only two days away and, if she didn’t already have a date, she might soon. He couldn’t risk waiting any longer. He headed over to her house again, this time way before curfew so as not to make the same mistake again.

                “Hey, Carrie, uh, how’re you,” he asked, nerves getting the better of him.
                “Good! How was your day,” she asked with a smile and cheery wave.
                “Umm, it was good. So, um, I don’t know if you’re uh, already going with someone to the um, the prom, or anything but I was wondering doyawannagowime” he stammered, nervously and way too fast. Quickly, he turned to flee, then turned back. He cleared his throat and tried one more time. “What I meant was, I would be honored if you would be my date to the prom”.
                “Sure, that would be a ton of fun! Except, my friend was already dumped by her date. Promise me you won’t do that,” she said with another of those golden smiles.
                He promised her he wouldn’t and then she apologized but had to go to work. Shane didn’t mind and walked home, feeling like he was walking on air. Could the day get any better?

                The next day, Shane was still floating on air at school. Due to his excitement, he had not gotten much sleep and was tired in class but he still found himself smiling knowing that he was going to the prom with Carrie the next day! As he was getting ready to head back to the house, one of the teachers approached him.
                “Mr. Avendale, I have noticed your proficiency in mechanical related studies and have a proposition for you.”
                “What’s that,” he asked, slightly curious.
                “The school has been having some issues down in the boiler room and, instead of hiring a technician, we were wondering if you would be willing to do it for some extra credit in your classes.”
                “Sure, why not,” Shane replied.
                The boiler was having more than issues and, when Shane got down there, he realized that the offer likely stemmed from budget cuts rather than an interest in him but he still was able to get the job done. He just hoped the extra credit would be worth it!

                 When he arrived home, he realized that it was Tanner’s birthday! Tanner grew to a toddler and headed straight for the blocks in the other room. 

He too ended up with his mother’s eyes but also had her light skin. Shane went in to check on him and couldn’t resist tickling him a bit. 

Tanner loved it! Now that he was a bit older, he seemed like he might be a bit more easy going.

                Rebecca, although exhausted from having a baby and on the verge of a breakdown from being a single parent, was also weepy to see Tanner grow up. It had happened so fast. Her emotions were a wild rollercoaster and she was irritable as ever.

Is this what menopause feels like,” she wondered, actually feeling hopeful because, if that were the case, she wouldn’t have to worry about any more accidental babies. 

“Son of a…,” she cursed as she broke the sink, yet again. Finally, after a lot of wrenching and more cursing, she fixed it and headed to bed.

Maybe the future would look brighter with the new day.

Chapter 1-10                                                                                                                                        Chapter 1-12

Friday, August 26, 2011

Chapter 1-10: First Love and Love at First Sight

                Tanner Avendale emerged from the womb at precisely 4:13am. Although there were a few complications during his birth he arrived bravely with one big, hearty cry to announce his birth and then nuzzled into his mother’s arms. Rebecca, though saddened that Justin was not with her to witness the birth of their second son, was both elated and speechless at the perfection of this tiny person. The doctor announced both baby and mother healthy and free to go home and even hinted that, due to Tanner’s development, he may grow up to be an athlete. With a weary yet heartfelt smile, she took her new baby home.

                Later that morning, over breakfast, Shane told Rebecca that he wanted to be a surgeon when he grew up. Maybe having Tanner had prompted that desire or maybe it was just his intelligence taking control and making him want to be successful. Either way, she was sure he would succeed.

                Shane had a birthday later that week. He was finally going to be a teenager. Rebecca could scarcely believe that her son would soon be so grown up. She gave him a huge hug, sure that her little boy would not want hugs much longer.

She threw him a party with quite a few friends and got him a telescope. She figured it would be a great gift for him since he loved the outdoors but could also be beneficial in the long run towards achieving his goals.

                The party was a moderate success. The friends definitely enjoyed being there and Shane even took notice of one of his best friends, Carrie, in a new way.

They spent the rest of the party dancing together. Oh sweet irony. Carrie was Goodwin’s second daughter.

                Although Rebecca had hoped the party would be a hit with all Shane’s friends, she was relieved when it was over, even if it was only a moderate success. She headed outside to tend the garden, which was in serious need of weeding and pruning while Shane stayed in to talk with friends. After he got off the phone, Shane heard Tanner crying. “C’mon, you can do this,” he thought to himself. “He’s your brother, how hard can a baby be”? He went in and picked Tanner up, playing with him and talking to him. Turns out, that was all the little tyke needed. Shane, though rather enjoying his little brother, was still dubious about having children of his own one day. His phone rang moments later.

                “Hey Jeannie, what’s up,” he asked his long time best friend.
                “Oooh, I just wanted to let you know that I found out from my sister that prom is coming up,” she replied excitedly.
                “Prom? So soon? But I don’t know who to go with. Maybe I won’t go.”
                “Miss prom??? You’ll regret it. Just go. You can always go alone.”
                “Yeah, I’ll think about it,” he answered and then said his goodbyes.

                Only, he knew who he wanted to go with.

But how could he tell one best friend that he liked another best friend? Or tell his best friend that he had a huge crush on a girl who probably only thought of him as a friend. “What a disaster,” he moaned in his head.

After some stargazing to clear his head, he decided to just go over to the Jones-Goode house and ask Carrie to prom. The worst she could do was say no, right?

                Wrong, he discovered. She was nice enough, only he never got around to asking her out. Hands sweating, heart beating way too loud, Shane had been on the verge of asking, the question at the tip of his tongue. Then the police arrived. Apparently, he was out past his curfew. So, not only did he get rounded up and taken home in a police car, although he didn’t have to sit in the back, he was also rounded up right in front of Carrie.

Whatever is she going to think of me now? I wonder if she would even be allowed to go with me”, he lamented, sure the world was ending.

Chapter 1-9                                                                                                                                         Chapter 1-11

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Chapter 1-9: Soul's Bestowal

                Shane headed off to Stary Community for his first day of school. He wasn’t too sure about the bus driver’s ability to get him there safely but he arrived and climbed the steps nervously.

Things went rather well, he met a few new children there and also got an invite to a classmate’s house. He went over after school and they had a good time playing tag and talking. By the end of the play date, they had become fast friends.

                Rebecca was also doing well, both at work and home. She was asked to hold a conference at city hall explaining the experiments currently in progress at the facility. If she did well, not only would the lab receive more funding but she would also receive a raise. She also finished her latest novel, receiving her highest royalties from it yet! She hoped to write at least 5 best sellers soon; only 2 more to go. Maybe she would accomplish her dream of becoming a professional author. If things kept up, she might even be able to quit her daytime job.

                One late night, Rebecca awoke to some racket. Looking around, she noticed JUSTIN!
                “Justin, that…that can’t be you, you’re dead,” she stammered.
                “Yes, but not gone. You suspected I was around and you were right,” he replied with a smile.
                Rebecca was overjoyed at seeing her true love, even if he glowed orange from the fire that had stolen his life. They spent the night talking and reminiscing and one thing led to another…

which led to another…

and another. 

At 6am, she realized Shane would be waking soon and couldn’t wait to introduce him to the father he had never known. She ran in to wake him, turned around, and Justin was gone. Had it all been a dream?

                She spent the morning harvesting the garden and then showered and got ready for her conference that afternoon. She emerged from the bathroom feeling rather nauseous. “Must have been those horrifying grape pancakes I made this morning,” she thought to herself.

                Knowing that his mother would be giving her presentation that afternoon, Shane headed across the street after school to take advantage of the community pool. It gave him the opportunity to be outside and maybe he would make some more friends.

               Meanwhile, at City Hall, Rebecca’s presentation was going excellently although she was still feeling exhausted. When she awoke the next morning, she was still feeling sick so she decided to go to the doctor. She wasn’t sick, she was pregnant!

                All the way home she pondered and speculated and tried to figure out how this could possibly be. Sure, she had dreamt of Justin or had she? Maybe it really was real. But then, she was going to be a single mother to TWO children. Although she loved her son, it was hard parenting him on her own. What would she do when she had a new baby? She thought back to when Shane was small; the sleepless nights, constant crying, never having time to herself and that was when Justin was alive and they were trying to split the responsibilities.

                “Oh well,” she muttered in the cab ride home. “We had always planned on having another child. I got my wish, just not necessarily the way I wanted it. I will be happy and excited for this child. I will have another piece of Justin with me”.
The months continued with no more signs of her cherished husband. She knew it had been real, she had the proof growing inside her, yet she couldn’t help wondering what people around town would think.

Also, there were the growing fears over how her child would turn out. Would her baby be normal? She had been so shocked when she visited the doctor that she hadn’t even thought to ask.

                The worries continued but Rebecca pushed them aside so that she could focus on nesting and creating an environment that was healthy to bring a baby into. When Justin had died and Shane had grown into a big boy bed, she had gotten rid of all of his baby things so she had to buy a new crib and high chair, plus a stroller, which she hadn’t been able to afford when Shane was born.

As luck would have it, Rebecca managed to get all these things done just in time because in the wee hours that morning, the baby would make its first appearance in the world.

Chapter 1-8                                                                                                                                         Chapter 1-10

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Chapter 1-8: Midnight Shadows

                Life once again settled into a routine. Though not an easy one by any means, having a routine made life a bit easier for both Rebecca and Shane. Since his birth, she had only been to work one day and found that it was rather hard being away from him. She couldn’t stop herself from worrying that something bad would happen while she was away. However, Krystal was great with Shane and would play with him and help him with his games.

                Sometimes, out of the corner of her eye, she would swear that she saw Justin. She felt that he was watching over them, making sure things were working out and were going okay. Of course, she had no proof of this, had never seen him on her own but she liked to believe that she was right.

                She started to go a bit stir crazy one night from staying in the house all the time. Justin died in that house which just went to show that tragedy can certainly strike at home. Before she could dwell too much on it, she decided that she and Shane would head over to the park. Once there, she discovered how much she missed being outside, with beautiful views. She was finally fully reminded that she had a life to live. Her broken heart eased a bit and she decided to relish this time with her son.

                Rebecca wanted to make sure that Shane grew up to be a happy, well-adjusted adult so she set out teaching him all the things he needed to know. That day in the park, he took his first steps.

Shortly after, she taught him his first words.

They were still working on potty training but he was almost there. He seemed to have a proficiency for blocks and loved playing at home.

                Just before his birthday, Shane was finally potty trained. He and Rebecca spent most of the day playing and reading, respectively.

They also went outside to garden. Well, Rebecca did the gardening while Shane enjoyed sitting outside, playing with his blocks. They even finally had enough money to split the left side of the house into two bedrooms. Shane finally had his own room, right before his next birthday too.

                Rebecca decided to throw Shane a beach birthday party. Sure, he was just a toddler and wouldn’t remember the party but she would. Plus, it would be a good way to try to reconnect with people. It had been so long since she had actually done something with other adults. So she packed up Shane and a birthday cake and invited a few people. Her new boss showed up, fresh faced, barely out of high school and so did Goodwin. They had been keeping in touch as time passed. He and Jenni were doing well; they had 2 more children together and were quite happy.

                Seeing Goodwin made Rebecca feel nostalgic for her early days in Twinbrook. If she had kept up the affair, would that be HER life? Would she be happy, with multiple children and a nice house? Or would Goodwin have come to his senses anyway, leaving her where she was now? Of everything though, she still missed Justin. If things hadn’t gone so wrong, he would still be here; maybe they would have another baby, a girl like he wanted, they would have had Shane’s birthday party at home with friends and family, everything would be better.

                She closed her eyes and took a breath, mentally shaking all of her thoughts of self-pity from her head. She opened her eyes and smiled and blew out the candle with Shane. Today was what she had and tomorrow would be a new day.

Chapter 1-7                                                                                                                                             Chapter 1-9