Monday, October 31, 2011

The Avendales

I promise I have not abandoned them! Their bathroom is CC and, with the latest Pets EP/patch, that set has not been updated. I am waiting on it before I work on them. I may work on the Kidds sometime in the interim but I just wanted to let my readers know that there will be an update soon!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Vengeance: Chapter 1

I am hosting a contest on MTS right now. Each round consists of a chapter which, upon the last round, the summary of the contest's rounds should read as a short story. Even though I am just an EJ/host, I decided that I too wanted to write a story. Most of the time when I participate as a judge, I like to also "compete" on my own so I get a feel for the actual challenge rather than just judging on sight. So, as each round ends, I will be posting my own chapter. Enough of the it is!

I sat on my porch, staring out into the distance not really seeing the sunset on the horizon or the butterflies floating lazily on the breeze in front of me. Instead I was thinking of a time, many years ago, when my life had drastically changed. You see, I had once been carefree and happy. Not always, since life can lead you down paths with bumps and detours but the scenery was pretty and the journey well worth the strife. Until one night, it all came crashing down and the path in front of me became one washed out by the tears of despair and the debris of wreckage and ruin.

Some twenty years ago, I had been young and in love. Henry had been my world and I believed that I was his. We both strived to be better and do better for one another. He pushed himself at his job, hoping to make better money for the family we would one day have together. I endeavored to learn to cook, something that has always eluded me. We promised ourselves to each other and we both believed in the fairytale.

“Oh, darling, I’m so glad you could make it,” Deborah gushed as she saw me in the doorway. “I have so many things to teach you but figured we would start with Henry’s favorite meal first. It’s certainly something you should have learned before the wedding,” she tittered.

It was only a month after our wedding and my first day with Henry’s mother. She had promised to show me how to cook and iron and generally be the perfect housewife. My mother had left when I was three and my father wasn’t too in touch with his feminine side. It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived. To raise 3 young girls was certainly a chore and to do it without the help of a woman was a task that no man would envy.

I watched Deborah buzz around the kitchen, chopping vegetables and swiftly measuring ingredients. She rinsed utensils, loaded the dishwasher, and stirred all the while explaining the process. Her words were like another language to me. By watching her, I began to think there was some skill involved in being a girl

 It was a skill that I had no access to. I, who often wandered outside for hours, taking in the lovely smells and sights before heading home and, being too tired to cook, ordered pizza for us. I, who occasionally made an attempt at some meal but shortly after sticking it in the oven, would become in engrossed in a book, and burn the food. 

Deborah was the perfect housewife, something that I could only vaguely imagine myself as. But Henry loved me and it was me he had chosen to marry. Not some perfect woman, like Annalise Grover whose pies won ribbons at the fair and whose dresses were always starched. I, with my tangled hair and head in the clouds was his chosen bride.

I headed home after an exhausting lesson, one in which I had learned everything about stuffed turkey and retained nothing. I arrived home and saw two men leaning on the hood of a car, with my father standing nervously by. I could tell something was wrong immediately and wondered if I had somehow left a library book out in the rain again. If I wasn’t careful, the library may refuse service which would be unbearable. 

“Mrs. Ridgefield,” one of them started. At that moment, I caught the glint of a badge and also a mirrored glint, this time in the eyes of my father.
“What’s happened? Where is he,” my stomach lurched and I knew something was terribly wrong.
“I wa…I’m Henry’s partner,” the other man stated, eyes wavering between the first man and me. “I’m sorry, but there was an accident.”
Quickly the other man, clearly the superior, stepped in. “He was working undercover for us, on a difficult case and we think he got too close. I’m sorry ma’am but Henry was killed this morning.”

My head spun and my feet suddenly didn’t know what was up or down. Then, everything was black. I woke a few minutes later, inside on the couch. The kind gentleman, Henry’s partner he had said, was sitting across the room while the brusque man conversed with my father in low tones in the kitchen.

“There has to be some mistake. Henry was a teacher. He didn’t do undercover work, he taught English at the high school.” I tried to sit up but nausea quickly caused me to flop back against the cushions.

The other man and my father came in the room as well at that point. My father silently sat by while everything was explained to me. From the initial meeting that my father had helped orchestrate to the details, though I am sure they omitted key things, to the inside job that had eventually claimed my husband’s life. Married barely a month and I was already a widow. Somehow, my sweet, English teacher of a husband had been an undercover agent for almost a year now, trying to pin down a crime ring boss and had somehow been discovered. 

I barely heard a word that they were saying. I knew that I would remember it later. Indeed, it would haunt me many months and years to come but at that moment something inside me broke. I stood, unable to hear anymore. My brain wouldn’t stop picturing Henry on the ground, pale and cold while my heart willed it to stop. I screamed, barely recognizing myself anymore. All I knew was that all of them were responsible for his death, his blood on their hands. I ran from the room, disappearing into the woods I knew so well, not knowing that, one day, their blood would be on mine.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Chapter 2-7: Found Out About You

As Uvie aged, it was quite apparent that she had a bit of a fiery temperament. Maybe it was just due to the fact that she now had to share her time with a brother and sister but when she wanted something, boy did she let them know. If she was even left in her high chair too long, she became cross and starting kicking and screaming. Both Shane and Carrie hoped that as the twins grew, Uvie would leave what was hopefully a jealous phase. Only time would tell.

            It seemed having three young children in the house was more suited for some than others. Motherhood still agreed with Carrie. Though she was exhausted all the time, she cleaned the house and fed the children, changed dirty diapers and taught her children all they needed to know with gusto. She never complained about her children. In fact, they were the joys of her life.

            Shane on the other hand, also loved his children. He just didn’t want to be around them all the time. The crying and fussing, plus seeing them get bigger and outgrow clothes just stressed him out. When he was asked to be a guest lecturer for a logic class, he gladly agreed. When it was over, he decided to make time for some friends, something he hadn’t done in quite awhile.
            He had an old friend, Mrs. Bayless-Jones who had been a patient of his awhile back. In her extended time in the hospital they had chatted and developed a relationship closer to friendship than doctor-patient. He liked to check up on her now and then so he headed by her house to see her before his next shift.

“Can I help you,” a young, blond woman greeted him in a decidedly British accent.
“I’m Shane Avendale. I was just coming to visit Chase. Did she move,” he asked, rather confused.
“She’s my aunt. And she’s not home.”
“Oh, sorry to disturb you.”
“That’s quite alright. I’m…Gene,” she said with a slight hesitation.

            He stayed and chatted with Gene for a bit, not particularly wanting to go home to crying babies just before he had to go work the trauma unit. He discovered that she had just arrived from London after choosing to get away from it all, though what it all was she wouldn’t say. She had just gotten a job at the hospital as well.

“Maybe I can give you some help, put in a good word for you,” Shane offered.
“To be quite honest, cleaning bed pans is not really my idea of a good time. Your assistance would be most appreciated.”
“Okay, well, I’ll see what I can do. Speaking of which, I have to get to the hospital for my shift now. I’ll be in touch.”
She showed him out with a kiss on the cheek and a wave as he climbed down the stairs.

Tanner left work that night feeling wholly overlooked and forgotten in his life. He knew that babies were a lot of work. It wasn’t that long ago that Uvie herself was an infant. Vesper and Verne needed a lot of attention and Uvie was learning to talk and walk and all the things toddlers need to know. However, in his eyes, it was no excuse for Shane and Carrie to completely forget his birthday. He had waited all day for at least a phone call. He knew money was tight so he didn’t expect gifts but a card or something would have been nice.He tried to fake himself into being excited and enthused about being an adult, but he knew the truth.

            He celebrated his birthday alone in the graveyard. Even his girlfriend hadn’t bothered to remember. Honestly though, he and Kyle had been growing apart for a long time now. He just needed to focus on himself. He hadn’t bothered saying anything to anyone about it but at the last junior Olympics he had been noticed by a talent scout. He hadn’t said a word because he hadn’t been sure about what he would do with an offer but now it seemed like a perfect opportunity. Now that he was an adult, he could be on his own. He needed to move out of the house anyway before the kids got any bigger. He’d talk to Shane after graduation tomorrow.

            As Tanner celebrated his birthday alone and Shane made friends with new arrivals, his wife was home making dinners and soothing babies. She finally got all three children down to sleep. Even Uvie was ready for bed. She probably wasn’t sleeping well having two siblings wake her up every three to four hours for feeding or diaper changes. Luckily, everyone slept well through the night, though, for the adults at least, it didn’t seem like long enough.

            Morning dawned early enough; too early in Shane’s opinion. He and Carrie got the children dressed and, with kids in tow, they and Tanner squeezed into a cab and got a ride down to city hall for Tanner’s graduation. Shane was proud of his brother. Through all odds, including the biggest of being raised by a brother instead of a parent, he had graduated school with a decent grade. Everyone liked him and he had been nominated the most popular. Shane just hoped that his brother would continue to accomplish great things. He was certainly capable of it.

            After the ceremony, everyone celebrated with dinner together. Tanner found that he could not interrupt this moment with his news. He would just wait. There was one thing though that he couldn’t wait for.

“Hey Kyle, it’s me. Can you come over for a bit,” hanging up the phone when she agreed.
            “Hiya,” she smiled coyly.
            “Look, I wanted to do this in person. I think you’re great but, to be honest, our relationship is just not working. I’ve got a lot going on right now and don’t really have enough time to try to even get it back on track. Can we just be friends?”
                Surprisingly, she took it rather well. He was relieved and just hoped his brother would take things as well.

                Carrie had her first big makeover the next morning. A local business man had recently earned a raise and wanted to look the part.
                “I think I need a haircut,” George explained when he arrived at the salon.
                “I think that the style you have now is making you look older,” she responded. “With a shorter look you may be able to disguise your hairline more.”
                He gave her a look but the confidence and genuine interest in helping him disarmed what may have been an insulted reaction.

                “Now, I think these clothes are okay,” he said, after they discussed her ideas for a hairstyle.
                “George, don’t worry. Your clothes are okay but do you want okay? Let me get you in something a little more fashion forward, something to make the ladies look at you.”
                He smiled shyly and she wondered if he had ever even been on a date.

                He turned around while she checked his measurements.
                “Oh George. You’ve got a fantastic rear end!”
                “What I mean is, you’re hiding it with this draping shirt! You need some fitted jeans and nice shirt, something to show off that body. Let me take care of you. I have just the look.”

                When she finished, George was beyond pleased. He looked 10 years younger and she thought that he might have a real chance of being noticed around town as more than the dorky guy with the balding head. She snapped a picture of him for her portfolio, pleased that her first job had gone so well.

                At home, Tanner had finally screwed up the nerve to talk to Shane.
                “Look, I know how hard you have worked to make my life what it is.”
                “What are you talking about,” Shane asked, slightly preoccupied with Uvie, who was throwing her food instead of eating it.
                “You’ve sacrificed a lot; your childhood, your privacy, space. You’ve been a great brother.”
                “Well, thanks,” he glanced at Uvie who was now covered in mac and cheese. He started to head over to pluck her up for a bath.
                “Shane, what I am getting at is that I am grateful. But now that I am an adult, I have to take care of myself. I got a job over at the stadium. A sports recruiter thinks that with some training and practice, I might make it pro.”
                “Wow, that is fantastic! Congratulations.”
                “I’m moving out.”
                “Wait, why?”
                “You’ve already done so much. Like I said, I need to take care of myself and part of that is being on my own. Once I start with a team, I’ll probably be traveling a lot anyway.”
                “I can see where you are coming from. Just know that if you ever need us, you are always welcome.”

                When Carrie got back from work, Shane broke the news to her as they played with the twins.
                “Oh, that’s great,” she exclaimed.
                “He’s out on his own Carrie. He just graduated from high school.” He was upset by her lack of concern over his brother’s decision.
                “Shane, he is a big kid. What’s more is that he is a smart kid. Maybe not your genius smart but he is good with people and good at sports. He’ll do great.”
                Shane couldn’t help worrying about this but he decided to let it go. Maybe his wife was right.

                Even after Tanner moved out, things moved along normally and without a hitch. Carrie and Shane spent time swapping days to take care of the kids. Luckily, her job was one that didn’t require complete set hours and a need to be in the office every day. Still, if she hoped to get promoted and develop her fashion sense, she would need to start working more often. Shane, too, was not needed at the hospital as much. He was on call a lot but, with his promotions and rise up the medical ladder, there were people who were typically called in before him.

                Carrie was still the one staying at home the most and she worked with Uvie every day to try to help her mature into a responsible child. She taught her sharing, which was especially important since the twins would be toddlers soon. They worked on walking and talking too. 

            She was such an easy child, most of the time. But when she didn’t want to do something, she just sat there, refusing to budge until she was ready. Luckily, it didn’t take much to catch her attention and get her focused again.

                Finally, it was time for the twins to grow into toddlers, a stage that Carrie was looking forward to. She loved them as babies; the snuggles and sweet smells but teaching them things and watching them figure things out for themselves was just as precious to her and such a fun time. Shane made the arrangements for the party, inviting friends and family. He hoped that his oldest daughter would make fast friends with her siblings, especially since they were all close in age.

                When the party guests started to arrive, Carrie noticed a young woman who she did not recognize.
                “Shane, who’s that,” she asked her husband as they greeted the guests.
                “Chase’s niece. She just moved here from London,” he said, walking off to mingle.

                After all the guests had arrived, Carrie headed to check on the party guests of honor. Both children were awake and need of a diaper change. She noticed her sister already assisting with Verne.
                “I can’t believe my sweet babies will be toddlers today,” she commented, smiling down at the angelic faces. “They’re quite adorable, aren’t they Dot?”

                “Yeah, given the circumstances,” her sister replied, under her breath.
                “Okay, enough is enough! What is your problem? Why are you always so rude when you are here,” Carrie finally confronted Dorothy about her attitude and snide comments whenever she visited.
                “I can’t believe you married him.”
                “Shane,” Carrie exclaimed! “What is wrong with him? He is a loving husband and wonderful father.”

                “Yeah, and his mom and our dad had an affair. How could you marry the child of the woman who almost destroyed our family,” Dorothy roared.
                “WHAT? How could you say something like that?”
                “It’s true. Grandpa told me a long time ago. Well, not me but I overheard him. Ask Dad. It’s the truth.”

                Carrie couldn’t believe that her father would do something like that. He was perfect. He was her daddy and had always been there for her. “He wouldn’t have an affair, wouldn’t cheat on mom, would he,” she asked herself. She headed out to the living room to just ask her father. Dot had always been dramatic and was probably just jealous. She had been jealous of Carrie since she had been born; she didn’t get enough attention, she wasn’t blonde, she and her husband had problems, Simon had two other children before they got married. Everything was a competition to Dot and, in Dot’s eyes, she was losing. This was surely just some plot to create tension between Carrie and Shane. She didn’t think Carrie would ask, well she was going to.

                “Hey, daddy, sorry to ask this here but Dorothy just said that you had an affair with Shane’s mom,” she asked, innocence obvious in her eyes, her faith in her perfect father unshaken. Until…

                “Look, it was a long time ago. Shortly after Dot was born. It was never a full blown affair,” Goodwin tried explaining.

                “I can’t believe you! How could you? Did your wedding vows mean nothing to you? Did mom know? Never mind. I don’t care. Get out. I don’t ever want to see you again! GET OUT!”

                “Happy birthday to you…” Shane started the singing, trying to take the attention off of his wife and her father’s fallout. He had never known about his mother and Goodwin. He knew they were friends but that was it. That was all he had ever even seen anytime he saw them together. He hoped after everyone had gone home, he and Carrie could have a chance to talk and work things out. He hoped that she would not blame him for this as well.

                Luckily, everyone joined in the singing, making Goodwin and Carrie realize that they had a rather large audience. Carrie loved her children and refocused her attention to what was the most important at the moment. 

            After both candles had been blown out, the twins and Uvie both headed for the new play center that their parents had gotten them for their birthday. It seemed that they, at least for this night, would be getting along fine, which was more than all of the adults could say.

Chapter 2.6                                                                                                                                             Chapter 2.8