#52weeks52stories “Dream a Little Dream”

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#52weeks52stories: Week 26

Word Prompt: dream

Word count – 2007 words; Reading time – 7 mins

~~~

She was here.

His day went from good to great.

Everything else fell away from his viewpoint as he focused on her every movement.

After clearing the east entrance to the park, she loosened the harness on the huge malamute and looped the leash around her wrist.

Mark Evans had seen his mystery woman at the park enough to know the massive dog who could be mistaken for a small furry horse, was named Midas.

Though his size was intimidating, Mark had never seen the dog misbehave and was sure his mystery woman had no need for the leash.

Mark followed her with his eyes as she and Midas did a slow jog around the park’s perimeter.

She wore no knit cap or jacket today because of the warmer temps of late spring. Her dark brown curls pulled back into a messy ponytail, bounced as she ran.

She was beautiful.

His Dream-girl.

Only she wasn’t a girl.

Mark guessed her age was closer to forty than thirty, and her thick thighs could be proof her park laps with Midas were the most exercise she saw on a regular basis.

But it wasn’t a criticism.

He admired every shapely inch of her.

Mark had never spotted his Dream-girl with anyone else and he wondered if there was someone special in her life. Or a child.

Her unhurried park visits coincided with his own—in late morning—and were more than enough time for her to give her beloved pet some exercise while a spouse was at work or children in school.

Yet, somehow Mark didn’t think so. While the love and attention Dream-girl lavished on Midas was genuine and showed no signs of ennui in her life, Mark picked up on signs of loneliness. The restless way she rested her hands on her ample hips while waiting for Midas to retrieve his toy. Or the extended hugs she bestowed on him for behaving.

Or perhaps Mark was amplifying his own feelings onto her.

After the third lap, Dream-girl and Midas went to their favorite spot on the grassy knoll.

Dream-girl slipped a bright green tennis ball from her pocket and lobbed it across the park. It didn’t matter how far she threw it, Midas always returned it, moving with a speed that belied his large frame. After dropping the ball at her feet, Midas would sit and wait for his reward, mysteriously pulled from a different pocket.

Mark wanted to know her name, what she did for a living, and what she did when she left the park. He needed to know everything about her.

He also wanted to know if she’d ever noticed him.

His park visits began several months ago as the brisk breezes of autumn gave way to the freezing cold of winter.

Mark didn’t mind the cold. It cleared his head and allowed him time to think.

It also made him feel alive.

Like a man.

His future was at first dark and bleak. And while he still had no guarantees, Mark had hope, something that had been missing from his life for too long.

Dream-girl and Midas wrestled when the dog realized she had put the ball behind her back.

Mark could watch her for hours. She got so much joy from playing with her dog.

Not like Bonnie.

Shep would be lucky if she remembered to let him out into the backyard.

But when Bonnie left him, she’d insisted on taking Shep since she picked him out at the rescue shelter. Mark found out from a mutual friend Bonnie sold Shep to a dog breeder less than a week later.

Just something else to add to the list of things he’d lost.

Laughter drew his attention back to Dream-girl. Her laughter was deep. Throaty. Sexy. She could tell him everything would be okay and he’d believe her, soothed by her sultry tones. Minute tinglings of desire buzzed through Mark and he smiled.

Midas scampered to retrieve the ball again and kicked it with his paw, causing it to roll in Mark’s direction.

After a few hesitant steps, the dog stopped and sat. He could not approach strangers.

Dream-girl gave him a quick pat on the head as she jogged past him to grab the ball.

“Good boy, Midas!”

After grabbing the ball, she stood and gave Mark a warm smile that lit up her face.

“Hello.”

He returned her smile.

“Hello. You have a beautiful dog.”

Her smile broke into a wide grin.

“Thank you. I think so too, but I may be partial. I’ve had the big moose since I could lift him with one hand.”

They shared a laugh as she backed away. “Treats will only hold him so long. I’ve got to get Midas home for his lunch… before he eats a park bench.”

Dream-girl turned back to Midas and Mark was elated and sad at the same time.

She spoke to him! She took the time to speak to HIM!

And now she was walking away.

He took a deep breath trying to steady himself when she turned to him again.

“Where are my manners? I’m sorry. I’m June. I’ve noticed you here before.”

Mark couldn’t keep the grin from his face. “I’m Mark. Nice to meet you, June.”

“You too. Well, I’ll see you around. Enjoy the rest of your day.”

She threw the tennis ball toward the east entrance and Midas ran, grabbed it and met her before she’d covered half the distance.

Mark watched dog and owner leave the park, still mesmerized by the encounter.

He’d been right about her age. The soft wisps of gray hair forming at her temples and the adorable laugh lines in the corners of her eyes proved she was close to his own age. Her caramel-colored skin was flawless and his fingers itched to touch her face.

And that voice. So deep, rich, and smooth Mark was sure someone had dipped him in hot chocolate.

He wished he’d had more time to talk with her.

“Okay, Mr. Evans. I think you’ve had enough sun today.”

But it wasn’t meant to be.

Miriam, his day nurse, slipped her book into her bag as she walked over to his wheelchair. She returned his seat to its full upright position before releasing the chair breaks and heading for the west entrance.

“Such a beautiful today, isn’t it, Mr. Evans? Not too breezy, not too hot. A perfect day to get some fresh air… and make new friends.”

Mark was glad she was behind him and couldn’t see his face. The wily grandmother was invading his thoughts.

“I couldn’t agree more, Miriam. And why do you insist on calling me Mr. Evans?”

“Because it annoys you and I can’t have you getting too complacent, now can I?”

They both chuckled as Miriam pushed him across the street and continued on to his three-bedroom home a half block away.

June. As warm and inviting as the month she shared a name with.

Her dark brown eyes sparkled like the stars on a clear June night when she looked at Mark.

At his face.

In his eyes.

Not at the chair which served as his prison for most of his waking hours.

Not at the legs held together at the knees by a strap and hidden by jeans now two sizes too big.

June may not have seen Mark Evans, the man, but she saw him as a whole person… and there was no pity in her eyes.

Mark was lost in thought as Miriam pushed him up the driveway and stopped to open the garage door.

He wished June could see him as he was before the accident. Mark would never be mistaken for a male model but he had worn the lost forty-five pounds well.

The accident had also cost him in other ways.

For a short time, he’d lost his memory, but even as it returned, his independence and personal freedom did not.

Paralysis had also cost him his marriage though Mark lost no sleep on that loss. He knew his marriage to Bonnie was a mistake, still, he tried to make it work. But her multiple affairs with younger men and her endless excuses for not starting a family killed any interest Mark had left and just a few short weeks before the accident, he’d decided to end the year a single man.

Though devastating and life-changing, the job-related accident gifted him with the fastest… and cheapest divorce possible.

Saying she didn’t sign on to be a nursemaid and that she wasn’t emotionally strong enough to handle Mark’s injury, Bonnie packed, filed for divorce, and fled even before Mark had a full prognosis.

Had she not been so quick to leave, Bonnie would have found out Mark’s years of paying long-term disability insurance premiums resulted in very lucrative benefits for him. And accepting full responsibility for the faulty crane which dropped the steel beam on Mark, Sunburst Construction avoided a lawsuit… and bad press by paying him his full claim. All eight figures.

Now Bonnie was shacked up across town with some muscle-bound idiot eleven years her junior who supported her with a part-time job as a bartender and selling illegal steroids.

Good riddance.

Mark Evans didn’t care about the money though. Except for paying for his round-the-clock care, his bank account went untouched.

What he was glad Bonnie didn’t know was he wasn’t a true paraplegic.

Initial tests first showed the tissue around his spine much too inflamed for clear test readings.

Mark had no feeling or movement below the waist and only minimal movement of his arms. Doctors were convinced MRIs and CT scans would soon show a severed spine.

It never happened.

It baffled doctors how an eight-hundred-pound beam could fall on a man and he not only survive it but also have no broken bones.

Mark Evans was living proof it could happen.

He was also proof swelling in spinal tissue could subside but it didn’t mean sensation in his legs and the ability to walk would follow.

His doctors were cautious in their encouragement but assured Mark the day might come when he could walk again.

Mark’s frustration with his situation soon became depression, and it was Miriam who insisted on taking him out for daily walks, forcing him to concentrate on something other than himself.

And that’s when he saw her… his Dream-girl.

Temperatures were dropping below freezing, but Miriam still insisted on his daily outing. She didn’t stop to read her book on those frigid days but she would push Mark around the paved concourse twice.

The park would be abandoned except for Dream-girl and her dog.

He marveled at her steadfastness and dedication to her pet. He decided any woman so loyal and committed to a pet would also stand by her man.

She occupied his thoughts as he created scenarios on what her life was like.

She occupied his dreams as he dreamed about what life would be like with her.

Miriam said something about lunch and Mark agreed, not sure what he was agreeing to. She pushed him up the ramp to the back patio doors and set the breaks while she opened the doors.

Now his Dream-girl had a name.

June.

And she knew his name.

Mark would give anything to run and play in the park with June and Midas.

It could happen.

It was just four days ago Mark spilled his morning coffee in his lap… and he felt it. Not just the sensation of the weight of the heavy, damp fabric, but also the warmth of the coffee. This morning he’d wiggled the toes on one foot. He’d tell Miriam before Chuck arrived and she left for the day. Mark knew she’d give him hell for not telling her sooner, but she would also be thrilled for him.

It was happening. He would walk again one day. He knew it.

Mark also knew his infatuation with June may never get past greetings in the park and comments about Midas.

But he had hope.

And he had his dreams.

 

©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

“He was supposed to love us not treat us like we were nothing.”

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Synopsis

Lenore “Lennie” Porter’s life had not gone as she planned.

The marriage she put her heart and soul into failed.

The man she sacrificed so much for abandoned her.

But Lennie refused to be broken. She pushed on, running a successful business and raising her three sons alone.

Through health scares and severe family dysfunction and trauma which forever changed their lives, the Porter family clung to each other to keep from sinking into the darkness.

With her marriage over long ago and her adult sons living their own lives, Lenore Porter decides to sell the cold fortress she worked so hard to make a warm, loving home.

A short, final inspection of her former home turns into a confrontation with ghosts from the past, and decisions and events Lennie felt she’d dealt with and moved on from.

Free, a Novella is a short, clean read recounting one woman’s determination to not be broken by life or lose her identity.

~~~

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Synopsis

Lenore “Lennie” Porter’s life had not gone as she planned.

The marriage she put her heart and soul into failed.

The man she sacrificed so much for abandoned her.

But Lennie refused to be broken. She pushed on, running a successful business and raising her three sons alone.

Through health scares and severe family dysfunction and trauma which forever changed their lives, the Porter family clung to each other to keep from sinking into the darkness.

With her marriage over long ago and her adult sons living their own lives, Lenore Porter decides to sell the cold fortress she worked so hard to make a warm, loving home.

A short, final inspection of her former home turns into a confrontation with ghosts from the past, and decisions and events Lennie felt she’d dealt with and moved on from.

Free, a Novella is a short, clean read recounting one woman’s determination to not be broken by life or lose her identity.

~~~

Excerpt

Anyone who knew Burt and Linda Kelimore knew they were devoted to each other.  More than half a century had passed since the day they each ran into a mechanic’s shop in need of quick repairs. Though they were both on their way to meet other people, a thirty-minute conversation changed their plans for the evening and the rest of their lives.

With their time together dwindling away, the couple did what they had always done… shared each other’s company.

Linda set Burt’s plate aside, and Lennie gathered up the dishes and excused herself.

While putting the food away and loading the dishwasher, Lennie was surprised to see her mother enter the kitchen.

“Everything okay, mo-”

“Yes, yes, sweetie. Leave all this. I’ll get to it later. You can head on home now.”

“Mom, no way do I leave a mess for you to clean up.”

Lennie reached for another dish but Linda caught her hand and held on.

“It’s okay, Lenore. You can go now.”

“But…dad…-”

Linda pulled her daughter into a tight embrace, speaking into her ear barely above a whisper.

“I know. His hospice nurse was here earlier and is returning soon. I talked to your sisters before you got here… and they each spoke to your father.” She pulled back, a pleading look in her eyes.

“I’ve never asked you for anything, honey and I know this is no small thing I’m asking of you now. But… I need this time with him alone. Right now, I’m no one’s mother or grandmother. Lennie, right now, I’m just a wife who has to say goodbye to her husband. Please don’t be angry with me or hate me, but I need to do it alone.”

Hugging her mother close, Lenore allowed the weight of her words to sink in. She did not want to leave. Her father was dying, how could she walk away?

Seeing the pain in Linda’s eyes, Lenore knew she would deny her nothing.

With a simple nod, Lennie returned to the den to say goodbye to her father… just as she did every night.

After a quick kiss on the cheek and a squeeze of his hand, Lennie told Burt she’d see him tomorrow, and turned to leave before she broke down. But her father held on to her hand with a strength Lennie didn’t think he still possessed. Lennie looked from their joined hands to her father’s face when he spoke.

“Very proud… of you, Lenore. Always… have… been. You help everyone… always.”

The weakness of his voice and the shortness of his breath caused Lennie to cringe. She wanted her father to stop talking, to save his strength. But, her own voice was lost to her, blocked by a lump in her throat which refused to move.

“I love you… baby girl.” He kissed her hand and slumped back in his chair, his energy depleted.

“I love you too, daddy.”

Lennie squeezed his hand one last time and rested it across his lap. With one simple nod to her mother, Lennie left the room, her calm belying the anguish ripping her apart inside. She wanted to scream, cry… stop the clock… make him stay.

With her bags in hand, Lenore Porter stood at the front door. Dizziness and nausea rejoined the inner turmoil threatening to break her. She had to leave… knowing she would never see her father alive again.

Instead of reaching for the door knob, Lennie took several steps backward until she could see inside the den.

Linda Kelimore had reclined her husband’s chair and climbed in next to him, cuddled into his side with her hand resting on his chest.

This is what her parents wanted… what they had planned. To spend their remaining time together… together as the couple they had been for fifty years.

With more determination than she felt, Lennie left the house, closing the door quietly behind her.

~~~

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“Where is your joy, Lennie?”


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In this short excerpt, Lenore Porter is reading a letter from her beloved Aunt Diane who recently passed away.


In every area of your life, you always stood out. You never tried to be the center of attention or sought the limelight, but it found you! It always found you! Your beautiful inner light shone like a beacon drawing people to you. You were never a vain or prideful child, but your dignity and grace were evident long before you reached your adult years. Why are you allowing this man to dim your light?

And you are allowing it, Lennie. I don’t for one minute believe that Ranard controls or dominates you in any way. He’s more like an unruly child acting out and you’re the tolerant, long-suffering parent.

That’s not what marriage is about, Lennie.

I’ve watched you both when you weren’t looking. I’ve never seen him hold your hand, or kiss or caress your cheek. I’ve never heard him compliment you, or say anything positive about you. But I held out hope. You have a reason for everything you do, so I knew there was a reason you married that man. But was it love, Lennie?

As your third anniversary fast approaches, you’ve already been married longer than Conrad and me. But we had so much joy and laughter, Lennie. We were disappointed I didn’t get pregnant before he shipped out, but it didn’t dampen our happiness one bit.

Where is your joy, Lennie? What makes you happy? It has to be more than your children because they will grow up and leave for their own life journeys. I speak from experience even though I wasn’t blessed to be a mother. I shared my sister’s heartache and anxiety when you left.

I also shared my concerns about you with her after our vacation. I was both relieved and saddened to find out she understood and felt the same way. Relieved because I now had someone to talk to about it – I couldn’t talk to you, Lennie. I knew you’d be angry and I didn’t want to lose you – and I was also sad because if Linda saw the same problems, they were real and not the overactive imagination of a nosy old woman.

I’ve always known you would be my heir. I almost told you on a couple of occasions, but I knew you’d insist that I sell everything and donate the money to some organization saving whales, or hamsters, or gophers… or whatever is all the rage at the moment. But no, I want you to have what was mine. It gives me peace to know I can do this one last thing for you and the children.

However, I am not done. I’m sure you’re fit to be tied by now. Clutching this letter with both hands, beads of perspiration forming on your forehead as you think about digging up my body to tell me about my bossy self.

My sweet Lennie Penny.

I hope you are sitting down because if you are angry with me now, by the time you finish this letter, you WILL dig up my body!

 

©2017 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

Free_Kindle_CellSynopsis

Lenore Porter’s life had not gone as she planned.

The marriage she put her heart and soul into failed.

The man she sacrificed so much for abandoned her.

But Lennie refused to be broken. She pushed on, running a successful business and raising her three sons alone.

Through health scares and severe family dysfunction and trauma which forever changed their lives, the Porter family clung to each other to keep from sinking into the darkness.

With her marriage over long ago and her adult sons living their own lives, Lenore Porter decides to sell the cold fortress she worked so hard to make a warm, loving home.

A short, final inspection of her former home turns into a confrontation with ghosts from the past, and decisions and events Lennie felt she’d dealt with and moved on from.

Free, a Novella is a short, clean read recounting one woman’s determination to not be broken by life or lose her identity.

99¢!

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“A thirty-minute conversation changed their lives…”


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Excerpt

Lennie leaned down, kissed his forehead and placed the napkin across her father’s lap. Just as she got it in place, Burt looked up at her.

Lenore was gutted.

More pieces of her already broken heart fell away.

His ashen skin, mottling and in different shades of brown and gray unsettled her. His slack jaw and visible body tremors made Lennie shudder. His eyes were her undoing. The mischievous gleam responsible for so much laughter, which had helped to comfort, console, and encourage her… was gone.

Father and daughter were still eye-to-eye, the reality of the situation holding Lennie in place when she felt his frail hand cover hers.

“Thank… you, baby girl.”

Lennie smiled and kissed his cheek, comforted with the knowledge she made her father happy. “You’re welcome, Daddy… always.”

Before Lennie could retrieve his dinner plate, Linda Kelimore was already cutting the meat into tiny portions.

“I’ll help your father with this, Lenore. Take the other plate for yourself.”

“But that’s yours, mom.”

“It will be cold before I get to it. Go on, eat. I know you’ve been on your feet since the lunch rush.”

Just like that, Lennie was twelve years old again, doing as she was told.

Picking at her food, she tried not to stare at her parents. But Lennie couldn’t help but be mesmerized. Watching as her mother fussed and cooed in loving tones at Burt to take his time and chew each tiny bite of food. Linda caressed his cheek between bites. Burt rested his hand on her knee, never taking his eyes off Linda’s face.

Feeling like an intruder on a private moment, Lennie did force herself to look away.

Anyone who knew Burt and Linda Kelimore knew they were totally devoted to each other.  More than half a century had passed since the day they each ran into a mechanic’s shop in need of quick repairs. Though they were both on their way to meet other people, a thirty-minute conversation changed their plans for the evening and the rest of their lives.


“Free, a Novella” by Felicia Denise

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©2017 Felicia Denise

Giving Back #WritingChallenge


Medal of Honor

52-Week Writing Challenge: Week 43
An excerpt from Heartburn (formerly For Worse), last year’s NaNoWriMo project, releasing early in 2018.

For almost forty years, the Chase-Holland Veteran’s Outreach Center warmly welcomed military veterans from all over the country.

Named for Graham Chase and Lawrence Holland—two twenty-one-year-old Army privates killed in action during the Vietnam War, the center never charged veterans for any services received, and they never turned anyone away.

As a twenty-two-year-old Army clerk, Richard Chase, who was ten when his older brother was killed, found out Graham and another soldier, Lawrence Holland, had sacrificed their lives by drawing fire away from a small group of women and children fleeing an attack on their village.

An unpopular war with much of the U.S. in the sixties, countless acts of courage and bravery were never acknowledged.

After leaving the Army two years later, Richard Chase enrolled in college full-time. While studying to become a history teacher, he began a campaign tell the story of his brother, Holland, and so many others who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in Vietnam. A university professor who’d lost an older brother in the Korean War joined Richard’s campaign and steered his influential friends and university alumni to Richard. What started out as an idea for a book grew into a fund for a memorial.

When it was learned the growing homeless population included veterans, Richard knew what his ‘memorial’ would be… a center where vets could go anytime—day or night— and receive a meal, a place to rest, and assistance to end their homelessness.

Two wealthy brothers heard about the campaign and wanted to help. One made a sizable cash donation and the other donated a piece of property just outside of West Hollywood.

The Chase-Holland Veteran’s Outreach Center opened its doors in March of 1990 and served tens of thousands of veterans over the years by helping them find housing, apply for vet benefits, and get medical and psychological treatment.

Quinn Landon was relieved to find street parking in front of the center. More than a few car doors and fenders had received nicks, dents, and scratches in the tiny center parking lot located behind the building.

“Hey, Fred. Our girl is back.”

Grinning, Quinn didn’t have to turn around to know who was shouting from across the street–Noel Adams, Vietnam war vet, cancer survivor, dialysis patient and recently, diagnosed with diabetes.

A well-known figure at the center and in the community, seventy-year-old Noel sat in his wheelchair on the tiny porch of his bungalow across the street from Chase-Holland.

Fred Alizo waved to Quinn as she exited her car.

“Woman, if I could run I’d hightail it over there and kiss you.”

More reserved than his neighbor, Fred’s remark surprised both Quinn and Noel.

Shaking her head at her two favorite troublemakers, Quinn crossed the street to hug Fred. She crossed their short side street to hug Noel.

“We thought you’d forgotten about us, young’un.”

Fred spoke up before she could respond.

“What he said was you probably had a baby and mommy-duties.”

Noel flipped Fred off as Quinn looked back and forth between the two men.

The realization her pending divorce no doubt cost her a chance at being a mother flashed through Quinn’s mind. She pushed it aside and chuckled.

“Sorry, guys. Life got busy… Super busy. While I do love my job, I realized I missed doing other things I love too, like spending time with friends.”

The two men beamed.

Leaving Noel’s yard, she backed the few short steps to the corner, still talking to the vets.

“Let me get inside, get caught up and work for a few hours…” Quinn stopped at the corner. “And when I’m done,” she pointed at each man. “…and if you’ve managed to stay out of trouble, maybe I can catch up with you guys… over pastrami burgers.”

“Don’t worry, Quinn. I’ll keep Noel out of trouble.”

Giving Fred the ‘thumb’s up’ gesture, Quinn roared with laughter at the annoyed look on Noel’s face.

She was still laughing as she entered the center.

“The past had scarred them all…”


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Leaning forward and resting her elbows on her knees, Lennie stared across the empty living room. The day Duncan ran from her had been one of her most painful. He had always been a high-spirited child. More prone to wander, break a rule, or lead his younger brothers astray. However, he’d never done anything that warranted more than a time-out. Duncan had never been cruel to anyone or deliberately put anyone in harm’s way. Had someone told Lennie the argument in the high school parking lot with her son would take place, she would have thought them crazy.

But it did happen.

Insistent on not entering counseling, Duncan had run from Lennie. The anger building inside her at his disrespectful tone dissipated immediately at her last glimpse of his eyes.

Confusion.

Pain.

And fear.

The memory of it all in her son’s face made Lennie even more determined to get him to a therapist. She would not allow this to scar his life… not if she could help. Ranard had received no help for the verbally abusive childhood he had because of his father. Lennie knew his failure as a husband and father were directly related to his relationship with his father.

Duncan deserved a better life.

The memory played on rewind in Lennie’s mind.

*

Sitting in her Chevy Tahoe, still taking glances in the direction Duncan had gone. She wanted him to come back… but knew he wouldn’t. The despair Lennie knew he felt would now be enhanced by the shame of his behavior with her.

Consumed with the situation with her eldest son, Lenore Porter drove home. Pulling her vehicle into the garage, she exited and went through the garage’s rear entrance to her back door… and found Duncan sitting in the old swing near the Sugar Maple tree.

He shook his head slowly without meeting her gaze.

“I’m sorry, mom.”

“I’m glad you’re safe, sweetheart.”

“I shouldn’t have run away like that.”

“You were feeling overwhelmed. Looks like you still are.”

“I’m not crazy, mama… I’m not.”

Lennie’s chest tightened. He had not called her that since second grade. Sitting her bag at the bag door, Lennie walked over and took the swing next to Duncan.

They both silently rocked for a few minutes.

“Most people who go to counseling aren’t mentally ill, Dunc. Life just has a way of dumping too much on us at once,” she touched his hand, “the drowning feeling you mentioned? That’s where it comes from. It happens to us all at some point during our lives.”

“Have you ever felt like you were drowning, mom?”

“Not drowning so much as helpless.”

“What’s the difference?”

“Well, don’t take this as clinical or anything, but I knew the problem, and I knew the cause. I just couldn’t fix it.”

“Dad.” It was a statement, not a question.

Lennie’s smile was bittersweet. “Yes.”

“He hasn’t been very nice to you, mom.” Taking a deep breath, Duncan continued. “But you never gave up. You’ve always been… mom.”

“Darlin, the obstacle doesn’t exist that could separate me from my Porter Patrol. Good days or bad, you and your brothers always got the best of me, and you always will. I couldn’t give you the stereotyped version of a good family life, but I tried to make sure you have a good life. I don’t think we’ve done too badly. This is a bump in the road, and-”

“Can you make me another appointment with the shrink?”

Duncan laughed at the smirk on her face.

“Okay, okay. Counselor, therapist… whatever. I still don’t want to go, but I’ve let you down enough.” He stared at his feet.

“Duncan?”

Lennie didn’t speak again until he looked at her.

“You have never let me down. You’re sixteen years old and going through a bad time because of the actions of adults. You haven’t done anything wrong. But this is something you have to want. You cannot do it for me, baby. You don’t have to want to go to counseling… you have to want to get better and be your old self again.”

“So, you’ll make the appointment?”

“Well…”

“What, mom?”

“We haven’t missed today’s appointment yet.”

“Huh?”

“I was picking you up from school early… to give us time to talk before the appointment.”

Lennie looked at her watch.

“We’ll just make it. Run in and wash up and change your shirt. I’ll wait right here.”

Nodding, the teen stood and headed for the back door, but turned, walked back and kissed his mother’s forehead.  Still silent, Duncan entered the house.

The smile on Lenore’s face faded as Duncan walked away. Her son was angry… and afraid.

The past had scarred them all.


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Goodreads   http://bit.ly/FreeANovella


 

“A thirty-minute conversation changed their lives…”


Free, a Novella cover


“Free, a Novella” by Felicia Denise

#99cents #KindleUnlimited

Amazon US – bit.ly/LindenLane
Amazon UK – bit.ly/LindenLaneUK
Amazon CA – bit.ly/LindenLaneCA
Amazon AU – bit.ly/LindenLaneAU

Goodreads – bit.ly/FreeANovella

Snippet

Lennie leaned down, kissed his forehead and placed the napkin across her father’s lap. Just as she got it in place, Burt looked up at her.

Lenore was gutted.

More pieces of her already broken heart fell away.

His ashen skin, mottling and in different shades of brown and gray unsettled her. His slack jaw and visible body tremors made Lennie shudder. His eyes were her undoing. The mischievous gleam responsible for so much laughter, which had helped to comfort, console, and encourage her… was gone.

Father and daughter were still eye-to-eye, the reality of the situation holding Lennie in place when she felt his frail hand cover hers.

“Thank… you, baby girl.”

Lennie smiled and kissed his cheek, comforted with the knowledge she made her father happy. “You’re welcome, Daddy… always.”

Before Lennie could retrieve his dinner plate, Linda Kelimore was already cutting the meat into tiny portions.

“Lenore, take the other plate for yourself.”

“But that’s yours, mom.”

“It will be cold before I get to it. Go on, eat. I know you’ve been on your feet since the lunch rush.”

Just like that, Lennie was twelve years old again, doing as she was told.

Picking at her food, she tried not to stare at her parents. But Lennie couldn’t help but be mesmerized. Watching as her mother fussed and cooed in loving tones at Burt to take his time and chew each tiny bite of food. Linda caressed his cheek between bites. Burt rested his hand on her knee, never taking his eyes off Linda’s face.

Feeling like an intruder on a private moment, Lennie did force herself to look away.

Anyone who knew Burt and Linda Kelimore knew they were totally devoted to each other.  More than half a century had passed since the day they each ran into a mechanic’s shop in need of quick repairs. Though they were both on their way to meet other people, a thirty-minute conversation changed their plans for the evening and the rest of their lives.

 

©Felicia Denise 2017

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