CHAPTER FIVE- Heartache Tonight
Tara recalled the night her parents brought Rebecca home from the hospital like it was yesterday. She was the most beautiful baby in the whole world. She had a shock of white hair and bright, smiling eyes. Tara was eight and the proudest big sister ever. She’d wished on stars for Rebecca. It wasn’t long after she came home from the hospital that things went back to normal, and normal wasn’t good. Her dad came home from a poker game drunk and vicious because he’d lost a lot of money. Mother did her best to calm him down but he was loud and mean. Tara tiptoed into Rebecca’s room and carefully lifted her wiggly little body out of the crib. She crept back to her room and set the baby on her bed. She was bundled in a pink blanket and looking up at her sister with innocent eyes. It was February and the house was cold. Her mother had never quite mastered building a strong fire and Tara knew better than to venture downstairs. Tara pulled the covers over them and cuddled into her baby sister’s warm body. She promised to always take care of her no matter what. She sang her lullabies to drown out her fathers booming voice below. As she rocked her back to sleep she whispered that she would always keep her safe. Huddled together in the darkness eight year old Tara had no idea how much that promise would haunt her.
She made her way up the stairs to the spare room where Becca was staying. She knocked timidly on the door and poked her head inside.
Rebecca motioned for her to come inside. Tara sat down on the bed and drew a deep breath. “Becca I know this is all very confusing and overwhelming for you. I just wanted to let you know that I will respect whatever decision you make.”
“Here,” Tara passed her a stack of letters and stood up, “These might help you understand. I never gave up on you Becca.”
Rebecca looked up at her big sister and attempted a smile, “Thanks.”
Tara shook her head and closed the door behind her.
Rebecca read every last one of the letters that Tara had written to her over the years. Some she read more than once. Some she read through tears. Each was neatly dated and captured a period of history. She was saddened when she thought of the life her sister had lived. She spent the last six years working and paying bills when she should have been enjoying her youth. She struggled and she fought for everything she accomplished and instead of being proud of herself she was guilt ridden over a promise she’d made to her fifteen years ago. She thought back on the last six years since Tara left. It was Tara who taught her to stay out of her father’s way and she thought she did a pretty good job. In fact she had so faded into the woodwork that her parents barely knew she existed. Since she was nine years old she had been doing odd jobs to make money to buy clothes and supplies that she needed for school. During the summer months she raked blueberries and kept a paper route, she also did yard work for her elderly neighbors and shoveled snow in the winters. One could only marvel at her resiliency. She took out of life exactly what she put into it and expected no more. The one bright spot in her otherwise dismal world was Natalie. When she was with Natalie she felt free as a bird. They would talk for hours about nothing in particular and laugh as school girls should. Natalie gave her refuge from her bleak existence and loved her like a sister. When she was hurt or scared it was Natalie who would talk away her fears the way her own sister once had. Natalie was so much more than her friend; she was an angel that lifted her up when the weight on her shoulders was too much too bear. She encouraged her to love and let herself be loved. One day when they were ten years old they were at Natalie’s house kicking around the soccer ball with her brother Danny. Her and Natalie collided mid field and fell to the ground in hysterics rubbing their heads. Natalie looked at her and said as serious as can be ‘You shine when you smile Rebecca. You light up the world”
She always wanted to make Natalie happy so from that day on she made a conscience effort to smile in her presence. This turned out to be an easy feat because she always felt so free when they were together. Natalie made her world bearable; she couldn’t imagine her life without her in it. The thought of leaving her brought hot tears to her eyes. She longed to talk with Natalie and ask her what she should do but deep down she knew what she would say. She would tell her to grab a hold of every opportunity that was given to her and get as far away from that little house in Lincoln as possible.
She remembered fondly the day she went to say goodbye to Natalie before she left for her grandparent’s house. Natalie hugged her tight and said, “Goodbye is something you say to someone you are planning on never seeing again. I’ll say see you later my friend.” She knew now exactly what she was going to do and she needed to speak with Natalie.
Chapter Six Light The Fuse
The rain started just as the credits were rolling. Big fat drops of rain accompanied by a horrendous windstorm. It was a blessing that Grams house was close by because even the short drive was a challenge. Nora met them at the door with towels.
“Thank God you’re back. My hair was standing on end. Natalie call your Aunt.”
Natalie dried off and went in the other room to call Blanche.
“How was your movie?” Nora asked.
“I liked it. Cinematography sure has come a long way though.” Johnny exclaimed.
“Sure has.” Nora agreed.
Natalie came back in the kitchen, “Blanche says the roads are terrible and the power is off in Lincoln. Is it OK if we stay here?”
“No,” Norah began, “I insist that you stay here.
Norah scooped up a nightie, slippers and a long robe off the counter and gave them to Natalie, “Get out of those wet clothes before you catch a chill.”
“Thanks,” Natalie gratefully took the clothes to the washroom to change.
“Johnny you guys feel free to make a snack. I got groceries while you were out this afternoon. I made some beds up on the couches in the front room.
“Thanks Mom,” Johnny hugged her.
“Please keep the TV down. Your Gram may be hard of hearing but I’m not.
Natalie came out of the bathroom with her hair pulled back wearing his mothers blue terry robe.
“I’m cooking some mini pizzas but I thought cheese and crackers would tide us over.” Johnny passed her the tray.
“Sounds good,” Natalie answered.
“Go find something good on TV and pick a couch. I’ll be right in.”
Natalie went into the front room and turned on the TV. She flipped and flipped until she finally decided on the game show network. She watched the last fifteen minutes of a family feud rerun and Johnny came in just in time for price is right. He sat on her couch while they shared the last of the cheese and crackers and ate mini pizzas. They made mock bids on everything from jukeboxes to pool tables. Natalie came within a thousand dollars during the showcase showdown and she and Johnny planned what they were going to do with the adventure package; a camper trailer, a pair of sea-doos and a Chevy Avalanche.
Natalie woke late into the evening and found that Johnny was sound asleep curled up to the arm of the couch. Natalie covered him up, turned off the TV and crawled into bed on the other couch. Curled up in the darkness she fought off sleep inhibiting teenage fantasies.
Johnny awoke to the sizzle and smell of bacon frying. His heart leapt when he looked over at Natalie peacefully sleeping. He covered her up and closed the French door that led to the kitchen. Her mother and grandmother were on the veranda surveying the damage from the previous night’s storm.
“Did you sleep well?” his mother asked.
“Yeah, what time is it?” Johnny asked, rubbing sleep from his eyes.
“It’s almost ten,” Gram answered, “I can’t believe I slept through the whole storm.”
“Apparently I slept through the bulk of it too,” Johnny noted, looking around at the tree branches and mangled flowers.
“I hope you worked up an appetite because I’m cooking up a truckstop breakfast.” His mother exclaimed.
Gram spoke with delight, “Your Aunt Patsy thinks that bran is going to save my life. Thank goodness your mother is not such a stickler for rules.”
“Everything is fine in moderation Mom.”
Johnny woke Natalie and the four of them ate a breakfast of bacon, eggs, hashbrowns and toast at the round oak gathering table his grandpa built many years ago. The women cleaned up the dishes while he cleared the yard of branches and flowers damaged by the wind and rain.
Natalie had changed and was ready to go when he came back in the house. They said their goodbyes. Johnny was anxious for the drive home so he could spend some time alone with Natalie. He drove to Meredith where he took the 104 to the 93 highway. It was a scenic drive through the mountains. The sun appeared in the afternoon but a cool breeze was still present.
“Your Gram is sweet Johnny.” Natalie remarked.
“She a fascinating lady. They finally took her license away last year. She’s hard of hearing so she can longer hear people honking at her.” Johnny joked.
Natalie laughed. “Speaking of license; I can’t believe your mother doesn’t have hers.”
“I know,” Johnny answered. “I think it was something she always planned to do but the time got away from her.”
“You should teach her to drive,” Natalie exclaimed.
“Trust me, I’ve offered,” Johnny replied, “she keeps putting me off. How about you? I can teach you to drive.”
“I’ve got lots of time to worry about that but I will keep you in mind.”
Johnny was not one to discourage easily. He exited the highway and turned down a secluded dirt road, pulled over and got out. “It’s all yours. Push over.”
“Oh I can’t,” she argued, “Really I’m too nervous. Her hands shook when she touched the steering wheel.
Johnny got back in the truck and spread his legs wide. He lifted the steering wheel as high as it would go. “Come over here,” he said, taking her hand in his, “I’ll help you until you feel comfortable.
Natalie sat between Johnny’s legs and placed her hands on the steering wheel. Johnny placed his hands over hers. “Respect is good,” he began, “but fear will not serve you well. I’m going to help you steer, you put your right foot on the right pedal and give this old girl some gas.”
They drove the pickup down the endless dirt rd. Within minutes Natalie’s nervousness disappeared and was replaced by something she couldn’t explain. Her skin felt tingly, her pulse was quick, her heartbeat rapid. She was conscious of his muscular thighs against hers, his hot breath on her neck as he instructed her patiently. Her grip on the wheel lessened as her palms began to sweat.
“I need a break.” She said breathlessly.
Johnny took her hand in his, pulled over and put the truck in park. Awkwardly Natalie tried to disengage herself but fell back into Johnny’s lap. Their eyes met for a moment and though she tried to look away she couldn’t. He touched her arm ever so lightly, without looking away. Even the cool breeze through the open window couldn’t cool her down. Johnny pulled her close and their lips met, softly at first and then more urgent. Her lips were sweet and welcoming. He backed away; he didn’t want to push her but just as quickly she pulled him back to her open mouth. He kissed her with a passion he never felt before. She fell back on the bench seat and pulled her down with him. His lips found hers again and very quickly they were breathless and hot.
He pulled away with great difficulty, “Natalie we better go.”
Their lips met again just briefly. “I know,” she replied.
They sat side by side on the drive home, holding hands, sneaking kisses. The remainder of the trip was silent but charged. Something had definitely changed between them
Thanks for following Unbreakable, as I mentioned in the previous post I will only be uploading a couple of more chapters and the rest will be password protected. If you are invested let me know and I will happily give you access.
I have decided to share some fiction that I wrote years ago. Let me know what you think and I will post more.
She could remember most of it like it happened yesterday, even the stuff she would have preferred to forget…..
Natalie’s Dad came from a small fishing community in Chester, Nova Scotia.
Chester was a sleepy little town in the winter. During those cold winter month’s they sent her grandparents cards with the promise of a summer visit. Each card held a picture within to update her grandparents of her progress. They had a prized collection from her first steps to her fist day of school. Nanny always sent some silly pictures back. Some were of her and Grandpa making mustard pickles. She knew they would store these in the cold room in the basement along with relishes and the jams and jellies she adored. The best bedtime snack in the world was Nanny’s homemade brown bread with strawberry peach jelly. Nanny would also send the latest pictures of their golden lab Duchess who was Natalie’s most trusted four legged friend.
Natalie was a bright and articulate child and primary opened up a whole new world for her. Until she reached school age she had spent most of her young life travelling with her parents which made it impossible to form any lasting childhood friendships. Her parents were very proud of their only child and never missed an opportunity to show her. When Natalie became tied down with school and her Dad’s business kept him frequently out of town his showers of affection began to come in the form of substantial gifts. As a child Natalie wanted for nothing but despite her charmed life it was the lazy summers in Chester that she longed for the most. It was here that she learned about the most important things in life; family & friends.
The community of Chester may have been small but her Dad’s family was large and gregarious. She would always look back at the summers she spent there as little girl with the fondest of memories. She remembered Grammy Lewis’s baking most of all. They slept in an upstairs loft in an old sea captains cottage on the water and though Gram and gramps Lewis still occupied the main house she would rise early and walk through the gardens to the little cottage before they woke to start breakfast. Gram always said that breakfast was the most important part of the day. She remembered the whistle of the tea kettle and the smell of buttermilk biscuits wafting through the little cottage. Natalie and her Dad would get up as soon as they heard the kettle whistle so they could eat the biscuits while they were still warm and enjoy the morning sunshine as it entered Chester Basin. Natalie’s Mom preferred to sleep in for a bit so they always enjoyed their breakfast on the veranda and sometimes they would walk down by the water and skip rocks. Her Dad regaled Natalie with tale after tale of the pranks he and his siblings pulled as children. She loved those easy times that she spent with her dad in Nova Scotia. Back home in Boston he worked for a large firm as a stock trader and some weeks she didn’t see much of him at all. He was always sure to give her a kiss and hug no matter how late he came home. When Natalie started school it became apparent that she needed a more stable home base. They made a permanent move to their Lake house and Natalie attended a small school in Laconia, New Hampshire. Her mother was able to be closer to her family which seemed to make her less restless and lonely.
CHAPTER 1 “When I think of you”
Natalie sat on the edge of the riverbank, her long tan legs dangling in the tepid water. Johnny swam over and made a huge production of splashing water in her face.
The summer was flying by too quickly. She had gotten a postcard from Rebecca yesterday. She was staying with her grandparents but was anxious to come home.
Natalie had spent the bulk of her summer close to home helping out at the diner and helping out with the household chores. She looked forward to her lazy afternoons at the river with Johnny. They spent the morning’s playing card games with Danny but he had become accustomed to spending the hazy afternoons in his bedroom watching television or playing racing games but Johnny came by each day to make sure he got out in the sunshine. One rainy day he came by with an array of permanent markers and they tried to outdo each other drawing murals on Danny’s cast. His mom often packed them a picnic lunch to eat by the river. They filled those summer afternoons with swimming, sunning and they often stopped by the diner on the way home and Aunt Blanche made them chocolate milkshakes.
This particular sunny afternoon Natalie was reading from a collection of short stories while Johnny splashed around the river. She couldn’t help but appreciate his fine form. The sun had kissed him right to the tips of his toes and his sandy hair was streaked with blonde. He popped out of the water and smoothed his wet hair back out of his eyes. “Hey Bookworm why don’t you come for a dip?”
“I’m waiting until I’m so hot I can’t stand it” Natalie yelled back.
Johnny ducked under the water and swam towards her. He popped up and threw her book unto the rocks and pulled her into the water “you’re so hot I can’t stand it.”
Even in the cool water his body felt warm against hers. She looked up into his soulful blue eyes that always seemed to see right through her. This teenage boy who had so quickly become one of her best friends was about to kiss her. Her lips swelled and her pulse quickened at the very thought of it. He had been the star of many a late night fantasy.
He pulled her closer and touched her face ever so gently. His hand on the small of her back pushed her so close to him that she could feel the breath on his face. His body seemed to stiffen at once and he eased his hold on her, “Natalie stay right where you are,” he ordered.
Natalie, perplexed, did as she was told.
Johnny swam to the water’s edge and seemed to be fumbling frantically through his backpack. Obviously finding what he was looking for he swam back towards her.
“Close your eyes Natalie”
Natalie again did as she was told. She felt a quick, sudden pinch on her back.
“What the heck?” she yelled at him.
He was treading water with a jackknife in one hand, “You had a tick burrowing into your back. Don’t worry I got it. Those pesky things can be dangerous if you don’t get them right away.” He informed.
She recalled when she was a child her grandparents dog Duchess had gotten really ill from an infection resulting from a tick that had burrowed into her skin.
She wrapped her towel around her, “Well thanks.” She said sullenly. Obviously she was happy that there was no longer an awful tick burrowing into her skin but she felt like a child whose ice cream just fell off the cone.
Johnny dried off carefully and pulled his black t-shirt over his head, “you want to pop by the diner?’
“No I’m good,” Natalie said, forcing a smile for good measure, “I’m just going to go home and shower.” She turned to leave before he could see the disappointment in her eyes.
“Hold up a sec Nat,” he yelled after her, “let me give you a quick look over.”
He carefully lifted her hair rubbing his hands across her neck. He brushed her back off. He turned around and winked at her “you look good, TICK FREE!’
“Thanks, “she muttered and ran off before her feet refused to move.
Natalie had a restless sleep that evening. The soft moan of the ceiling fan irritated her and the air it circulated was little relief in the stifling room. She flitted around the double bed until the bed sheets sat in a hump on the bedroom floor.
She was embarrassed that she acted like a spoiled child yesterday. Johnny must be glad that he never kissed her. It would have been her first kiss. She’d played spin the bottle at Missy Gould’s end of school party but those slobbery, awkward pecks she endured by the dorks in her junior high class didn’t count. Now she could hardly look him in the eye and he was one of her best friends. The rest of the summer would be excruciating without his company. In her adolescent mind this felt like the end of the world. Sometime in the early hours of the morning Natalie drifted off into a dreamless sleep.
Natalie woke late to a loud knock on her bedroom door. She pulled her robe on and opened her door a crack. It was Johnny looking as devilishly handsome as always. “Are you sick or something?”
“No .Why?” she asked leaning against the door jamb.
“It’s almost noon. You’re usually up with the sun.” he teased.
“I had a terrible sleep last night,’ Natalie groaned, conscious of her bed head and fuzzy blue robe.
“I bet you dreamed of ticks crawling all over you.’ He said, reaching inside to tickle and poke at her.”
Laughing she backed away and closed the bedroom door, locking it behind her.
“I’ll be out in fifteen minutes.” She yelled.
Natalie had a super quick shower, pulled her dark hair into a sleek pony tail and slid into a simple summer dress. She brushed strawberry lip gloss on and winked at herself in the mirror. She was thankful that things were back to normal with Johnny; in fact he was his normally annoying self. She’d tortured herself unnecessarily. After one more quick survey of herself in the mirror she put on some sandals and headed outside. To her surprise Danny was sitting on a lounge chair enjoying the sunshine while Johnny barbecued burgers.
“Hey sis,” he yelled, “have some lemonade.”
Natalie filled a tall glass full of lemonade and sat down a t the picnic table. She smiled to herself when she realized that Johnny had Aunt Blanches ‘kiss the cook’ apron on. He turned around just in time to catch her smiling. He lifted his sunglasses up to wink at her. Her cheeks flamed at the thought that he realizes how badly she wanted to kiss the cook.
“Put cheese on mine.” Danny ordered.
“Me too please, “Natalie added.
“These burgers are delicious.” Natalie told Johnny as he sat down to join her at the picnic table.
“I’ll second that,” Danny added, “if you don’t mind I’ll have another.”
“I got it.” Natalie said as she jumped up to dress her brother burger the way he liked it.
“You’re in awfully good cheer today,” she noted, passing him his cheeseburger.
“I know I’ve spent a lot of the summer moping around feeling sorry for myself but I just broke my leg, it’s not the end of the world.”
They all tapped their lemonade glasses together in a mock cheer.
“I’ll drink to that,” Johnny toasted, “now care to tell us the real reason you are in such a good mood?’
Danny smiled sheepishly, “Amy’s back from her vacation and she’s coming to visit later. Feel free to make yourselves scarce.”
Amy was a cute blonde who worked at the diner part time. Danny had a crush on her for at least two years and the pair had been playing a game of cat and mouse for way too long. In traditional macho style Danny would never break down and just ask her out.
“Well I guess we know where we’re not wanted.” Natalie sighed jokingly as she gathered up the lunch plates and took them inside.
Johnny followed her inside to help her tidy up. “I’m driving Mom to Grams this afternoon in WeirsBeach why don’t you come up for the drive?”
“Thanks Johnny,” Natalie started, “but I think Aunt Blanche has some chores for me to do around the diner this afternoon.”
“I cleared it with Blanche already. She says you’ve been doing plenty around the house picking up after Danny. Amy is bringing over supper from the diner and your Aunt is going to the movies with a friend.” He stated matter of factly.
She looked up at him with her hands on her hips, in his baggy jean shorts and Led Zeppelin t-shirt, his hair lighted by the sun and his cool blue eyes masked by sunglasses, “You’ve certainly made it impossible for me to say no!”
To be continued……
I posted this last year on our tenth wedding Anniversary, I cannot believe another year has passed. 11 married years and it was a better year then the last. I think we learned a lot about ourselves that allows us to be better people and be better to each other. I wanted to share it again because it will always be relevant and a little video I made to celebrate 11 years. I made it to seem like it was a time capsule being looked at in the future.
Kirk is away till the end of the month so I hope he sees this and knows how much I miss him. Cheers to many more years.
I am feeling pretty nostalgic waiting for Kirk to come home and celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary so I thought I would share some things that I have learned…Marriage is hard, from way back in the Cave Man days when men clubbed you over the head and dragged you back to their cave it is unnatural to assume two people can live in peace and harmony all the time. Marriage requires work and upkeep, people will maintain their houses and vehicles but forget to maintain their marriage. To Error is human, to forgive divine. The minute you say “I would never”…you will! Fill your life with memories not things. Fun and laughter are fuel for a marriage. A marriage requires two people, you only become one in the eyes of the government, retain your individuality. If you truly love someone your heart will be broken a million times, but each time it gets stronger and great strength will get through this crazy world.
LIVE, LOVE, LAUGH, DARE, CRY….FEEL EVERYTHING!!