Welcome to Spring Haven

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“Established with the first settlers, Spring Haven is a small town nestled in rolling hills. The town was named for the gentle spring that runs off the highest peak in the area, which contributes to the fertility of the of the land, making it the perfect area for farmers wanting to settle and start a new life. Every spring, daisies blossom in the fields, brightening the dusty roads between farmhouses, contributing to the quaintness the long term residents appreciate.

Some of the families that founded Spring Haven still reside in the small town, the proud legacy of the first families encourages pride in the other residents. Determined to ensure the growth and stability of the town, they do their part in bringing more to the beloved and beautiful town of Spring Haven.”

I chose Spring Haven as the town name in “What the Heart Wants” because, between it and “Daisy Hollow” the other finalist, something about it just called to me. While I knew weighing a few days of the last poll which two would come out on top, I had no idea how the winning name would be chosen. And since I hadn’t voted in any of the polls I decided I had to make the finally decision.

Thank you to everyone who voted, or participated in any way. It is appreciated and I’m grateful that you were able to bear with me for so long!

My promise to you all now is to have the next chapter up by Monday night. EVERY Monday night! From here in out, unless there’s an issue, my goal is to have a new chapter every week!

As always, thanks for reading!

-c

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“What the Heart Wants” 6

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Back to Chapter 5

Chapter Six

When the sun rose the next morning, Eliza didn’t get right out of bed to start her day. She laid under the covers and wished the sun away. Having gone to bed let, she hadn’t slept well. Her mind had raced back and forth between the events of the dinner at The Perry’s and then later with Thomas. And after what had, or hadn’t, happened with Thomas, she wasn’t sure she could to face him.

She’d thrown the covers over her head and was contemplating never coming out when Joanna skipped into the room and climbed onto her bed. “Good morning, Eliza,” she whispered to the blankets. She giggled happily when Eliza grabbed her and tickled her. Soon after, with a smile on her face, Eliza climbed out of bed to get dressed, and went downstairs.

After breakfast, Joanna went outside to feed the chickens, her favorite activity, and Eliza took her time cleaning up after the meal. As she washed dishes, she looked outside and saw Thomas working on the daily chores. She felt a mix of emotions about what happened between them. Confusion and frustration were among them.

But she also wasn’t sure what she felt about dinner with Randall Perry, either. She was unsure how to take his interest in her, much less what his mother, Lilith, had said to her. What had she meant that she’d be “just like the others”? What others, how many others? She’d heard rumors about Randall Perry, mostly while in school and mostly in passing. He’d made a reputation for himself, but she didn’t know too many details.

Eliza had known Thomas for many years, he’d spent most of his time on her family’s farm, helping with anything her father had asked of him. They’d basically grown up together. He was a hard worker, kind, and she considered him a friend. His family hadn’t had a great deal as he was growing, which was part of the reason he’d worked for Arthur Alcott. And yet he still worked for Eliza, even as she was unsure she would be able to pay him.

She stood gazing out the window, contemplating the differences between Thomas and Randall Perry, staring at nothing really, when she noticed that Thomas saw her at the window. He’d stopped what he was doing to look back at her. But when their eyes locked, she quickly looked away. In the second it’d taken her to glance back he’d looked away with his head down, eyes on his work. Eliza sighed and went about putting the clean dishes away.

After she had finished, she took a deep breath and stepped outside, knowing she’d have to face Thomas sooner or later. She walked with purposeful steps toward the barn, wondering what tasks needed her attention. When she entered the barn, Thomas was there, tossing hay into the stalls. He looked up at her and quickly looked away without a word.

“Good morning, Thomas.” She greeted.

“Good morning, Miss Eliza.” He responded without looking away from his work.

“Fine,” she thought. She didn’t know whether to be disappointed or offended.
She left the barn, to check on Joanna and the chickens. When she arrived, Joanna was collecting eggs from the nesting boxes.

“Look how many eggs they’ve laid this morning, Eliza!” She exclaimed.

“Wow, they’ve really outdone themselves!” Eliza began helping her sister collect the many eggs, placing them in the pockets of their aprons. Once they were done, she asked,

“Have you fed and watered them already? They deserve a good meal after all this!”

“Yes! I did it first thing, they were very glad to see me!”
Eliza chuckled. “I’m sure they were!”

After collecting the eggs, they closed and latched the gate behind them and began walking back to the house. They were walking gingerly and giggling at the egg predicament, when they crossed paths with Thomas once more. “Good morning, Thomas!” Joanna greeted cheerily.

“Good morning, Miss Joanna.” He responded with a smile. He looked up at Eliza and nodded wordlessly.

“Joanna, go on ahead and take the eggs inside, I’ll be right behind you!” Eliza told her sister, who smiled and walked on. Once she was out of earshot Eliza turned her attention to Thomas. “Is there something wrong, Thomas?” She asked.

“No, ma’am,” he said. He was holding an empty bucket and turned to walk away.

“Is there a reason you’re not speaking to me, today?” She asked, following him.

He bent down to fill the bucket with water. “Just trying to do the job I’ve be hired to do.”

“Right,” She said. “Well, I suppose we didn’t hire you to talk, did we?” She said and turned away. She felt a little harsh for what she’d said but turned back to the house instead of admitting it, continued on toward the door. She wasn’t sure anything she’d don’t warranted his rather cool behavior, so she decided she wouldn’t apologize. She turned back, and he was walking away without a word. “I suppose,” she began “I should tell you that I’ve decided to take Mr. Perry up on his offer and accompany him to the city.” She watched as he stopped walking. He didn’t turn around, but his shoulders slumped, slightly.

Eliza turned around and rushed into the house before she said anything else she might regret.

 

It quickly became obvious to Eliza that she hadn’t given her decision much thought beyond wanting a reaction from Thomas. A wall seemed to have gone up between them overnight, seemingly because of what had almost happened. Just thinking about his eyes staring into hers, his hand brushing her cheek, ever so gently. She got a dizzy feeling in her stomach and pushed the thought away.

She hadn’t quite figured anything out, in fact. Life had seemed so perfectly content and slow until recently, then everything seemed to be happening so fast. And now she’d made a rash decision without thinking about it first. She was sure her parents would be disappointed.

Instead of continuing to linger on the thought, Eliza went about the house looking for things to do. Joanna was in her room playing, keeping herself company, so Eliza decided to once again venture to her parents’ room to her mother’s chest. This time she wasn’t looking for anything, just something to remind her of her mother, and to clear her mind.

The chest was filled with more dresses and mementos from Rose Alcott’s youth, and a few things from when her daughters were small. Sentimental was one thing Eliza’s mother was that her father was not. Arthur had many enduring qualities, but keepsakes hadn’t been his cup of tea. Rose was the keeper of the two.

Toward the bottom of the chest were some worn leather-bound books Eliza hadn’t seen before. She opened the cover of the most worn edition, and inside was her mother’s name: Rose Fitz. Fitz had been Eliza’s mother’s surname before she’d married Arthur Alcott. Eliza had stumbled upon her mother’s childhood journals.

“What the Heart Wants” 5

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Back to Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Once inside Eliza and Joanna both marveled at the interior, quite a bit different than their own home. Ornately decorated, the Perry’s home was indeed much fancier. Joanna openly admired the home, and stared wide eyed at the chandelier, “Oh!” She said. “That’s beautiful.”

“It is quite nice, isn’t it?” Mr. Perry asked. He smiled down at Joanna, who nodded in agreement.

“You do have a lovely home,” Eliza agreed.

“Thank you,” he responded, smiling at her.

She smiled back at him, and allowed herself to be led into the parlor.

In the parlor she saw a man and woman, and a girl about Joanna’s age. “Joanna,” Mr. Perry addressed her sister.

“This is my sister, Penelope.” He gestured to the dark haired girl.

Joanna looked at Eliza for direction. “Go on, say hello,” she suggested. She walked shyly over and sat down next to her.

“Eliza, these are my parents, Robert and Lilith.”

Robert Perry stood and offered his hand to shake. “It’s nice to finally meet you, though I feel like I know you already.

Your father spoke of you both a great deal.”

Eliza couldn’t recall a time when he’d spoke of Mr. Perry at all, so she wondered about the opportunity for him to speak to Mr. Perry. She was still shocked the two men ever had a relationship. The younger Perry cleared his throat next to her.

“It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Perry.” She turned to Mrs. Perry, “and lovely to meet you as well.”

“The same,” Mrs. Perry replied with a small nod. She seemed disinterested in Eliza.

“Yes, well, we’re just waiting on one last guest.” Randall said.

Almost on cue, there was a knock at the door, and moments later Aunt Clara and her husband Harris were being

announced at the doorway. Eliza watched as her aunt’s face fell at the sight of her and Joanna.

Eliza started to speak to her aunt, but was interrupted. It was as if Lilith Perry had been risen from the dead. “Oh my dear, Clara!” She exclaimed. “How lovely to see you!” She seemed to leap up from her seat to great Aunt Clara with open arms. Clara smiled smugly in Eliza’s direction, as if she were teasing her, trying to make her jealous.

Once the women were done embracing, Aunt Clara openly acknowledged her niece. “Eliza, dear,” she said, “I didn’t know you were invited.”

“Oh, did Mr. Perry not inform you when yesterday afternoon?” Eliza asked. “He invited me right after I spoke to you.” She smiled kindly at Mr. Perry for effect.

“He did not,” Clara replied. She glanced at him herself. “But this will make for a lovely dinner, wont it, dear?”

Just then, the butler entered and announced that dinner was ready.

They all filed into the lovely bright dinning room. Eliza noticed that the dinner table wouldn’t even fit through her front door, much less the dinning room in the house. The table itself was beautifully set with expensive china, crystal glasses, and lovely flowers. They were each seated at specific locations, of course Eliza was placed across from her Aunt, but, she felt rather awkward to be seated elbow to elbow with Mr. Perry, the elder. Her uncle, Harris, who rarely spoke, was on her other side.

When everyone was seated, dinner was served, brought out on silver serving dishes by kitchen staff. It smelled lovely and was the best looking meal Eliza had seen in a while. She kept a eye on her sister, to watch her manners. Joanna was the perfect lady, waiting patiently and thanking servers. Aunt Clara said not a word to servers, if you were basing it off her, the didn’t exist.

Once everyone was served, she spoke up. “This looks lovely, Mr and Mrs Perry.” She looked from one end of the table, where Mr. Perry sat, to the opposite end where Lilith sat, and neither had paid her compliment any mind.

After a moment of silence, other than the sound of silverware on china, Randall spoke up. “It does look, lovely, Eliza.

Our cook makes a wonderful roast.”

“My cook in the city makes an amazing roast as well,” Aunt Clara said, smiling at Randall.

“Oh the city,” Lilith cooed longingly. I do miss it so.”

“Are you quite fond of it, Mrs. Perry?” Clara asked.

“Quite. I was born there,” she said. “I only left when I was married.” She stared pointedly at her husband.

“And you’ve never forgiven me for it.” He took a bite without looking from the plate.

Next to Eliza, her usually quite uncle Harris cleared his throat. From Eliza’s point of view, he was stifling a laugh.

“Excuse you, dear.” Aunt Clara said, angrily.

“We’ve never been to the city, Joanna and I.” Eliza smiled at her sister. “I quite like it here.”

“It’s a shame your father never brought you to visit,” Clara said. “You’d quite like it, if you’d had the opportunity.”

“It’s a shame you never came to visit us.” Eliza replied. “Until he passed. I wonder if there’s a connection.”

Everyone was looking at the two of them, and Eliza didn’t mind. After an eternal moment of silence, Randall volunteered to ease tension.

“Father and I have business in the city soon,” He said. “You’d be welcome to join us, I’m sure.”

“I’m sure she’d not enjoy our boring business.” Robert said, seemingly annoyed at his son’s offer.

“Perhaps you can take care of our business and I could introduce her to the city.” Randall suggested. He turned back to Eliza, “I could be your personal tour guide.” He smiled that smile at her.

“Oh, well,” she stuttered. “I don’t know.” She looked around the room at everyone waiting for her answer. Robert’s eyes were squeezed into slits, waiting. Clara’s eyebrow was raised in annoyance. Lilith poked at her food, trying to pretend she didn’t care. Harris just at his food in silence. Joanna, though, looked excited, eyes darting between her sister and Randall.

“It’s a lovely offer, Mr. Perry.”

“Randall, please.”

“Randall. But I would have to think about it. There would be things I’d have to make sure were taken care of, of course.”

“Do think about it, please.” He said. The look in his eyes said he’d really enjoy her company. But she wasn’t sure what that meant for her.

After another awkward silence, Penelope said her first words of dinner. “Is it time for dessert?”

Once dinner and dessert was concluded, Penelope took Joanna to her room to show her around, and the adults retired to the sitting room. The men stood in the corner in discussion, the women sat on cushioned chairs in the opposite of the room enjoying tea. Eliza sat in silence as her aunt and Lilith chatted about the city. She watched the men, their heads to father about some mysterious thing, and wondered what it could be.

Did her father often stand this way, with the Perry men, quietly discussing some secret business? He had never been the quiet whispering type. He was more suited to laughing boisterously, making others laugh with him. And again she wondered what he had to do with the Perrys.

When it was time to go, a sleepy Joanna joined her in the foyer. Penelope hugged her goodbye and invited her back to play. Eliza already liked her better than her mother. Next Lilith stepped up to bid her adieu, taking her hand. “It was lovely to meet you both.” Eliza wasn’t surprised that her goodbye was warmer than her greeting. But when she leaned in to kiss her cheek she whispered in Eliza’s ear. “You’re just another woman to him. He will get bored with you like he does the others.”

The look of shock must have been evident on her face when a few moments later, Randall himself stepped up to escort her to the carriage. “Are you alright?”

She smiled at hm. “Yes thank you.” She said.

“Good,” he smiled at her then gestured to the door, offering his arm once more. He waited until they were down the steps and at the carriage standing in front of Thomas. “Please consider my offer.” He said. “It would be a pleasure.”

She could feel Thomas tense beside her. “I will think about it.”

As seemed to be his way, he took her hand from his arm, and kissed it. He helped Joanna, and then Eliza into the carriage, but did not step away. Eliza watched out the window as he and Thomas stared silently at each other. Finally she cleared her throat. “Good evening, Mr. Perry.” She said. He bowed his head slightly and turned toward the door.

“Thank you, Thomas.” She smiled at him. He returned the smile and climbed in the seat.

By the time they arrived home, Joanna was fast asleep with her head resting on Eliza, who’d barely noticed the ride had ended. Thomas opened the carriage door and saw the sleeping girl, and offered to carry her to her room. “Oh that’s not necessary, Thomas.”

“I know, but she looks so content.” He chuckled and climbed in to retrieve her. Eliza followed close behind, smiling at Joanna’s sleeping face, mouth open wide. A damp spot was forming on Thomas’ shirt. Upstairs Thomas gently laid Joanna on the bed, once Eliza turned down the covers. He tucked her in then stood.

“Sleeping Beauty,” he said. He pushed a blonde curl from Joanna’s eyes.

Eliza walked him back to the door. “I’m sure you have a carriage to return.” She smiled at him.

“Can I ask about Randall Perry’s offer?” He asked bluntly.

“Oh,” she was surprised by his bluntness. “Nothing important,” she said, trying to make it sound light. “He wants to show me the city. I don’t know whether I’ll accept.”

He sighed, seeming relieved. “Right. Good.”

“Good?”

“I just thought,” he paused. “You know how I feel about the Perrys.”

“I do. I don’t know why you feel that way.”

“I have my reasons,” a shadow seemed to pass over his face. Eliza glimpsed it for a moment, then it faded. “I wont presume a right to tell you what decisions to make, but I do hope you trust my opinions.”

“I do, very much Thomas.” She told him, sincerely. “My father trusted you, and I know he never misplaced his trust.”

Thomas looked as if he were about to say something, then thought better of it. “Your father was a good man and I will admire him until my last day.” He told her. You have some of his traits, but it wouldn’t be a terrible thing if you had more than just your mother’s beauty.”

They both quickly realized what he had said, and grew equal amounts embarrassed. She looked down at her hands to distract herself, twisting her gloves into wrinkles. When she looked up he was still looking at her.

She blushed once more. Without a word, he reached up, and brushed away a lock of hair that had fallen in her face.

He let his hand linger on her cheek for a moment. “Eliza,” he whispered, stepping closer.

She looked in his eyes, waiting for what seemed forever, for what she wasn’t sure she wanted to ponder.

“I should go.” He said, removing his hand and stepping away.

“Oh,” she whispered.

“Goodnight, Miss Alcott.” He said. Without looking back up at her, he turned away. He was out the door and to the carriage before she realized.

“Goodnight, Thomas.” She whispered.

She walked upstairs in a daze. Unsure what had just happened, or what had almost happened. Unsure how she felt about any of it. A mix of emotions, shock, excitement, disappointment rushed through her.

So much was happening since her parent’s had died. It felt as if the world had suddenly started spinning faster. So many more questions had suddenly made her once simple life difficult.

Perhaps a trip to the city would do her well. Get away for a time, if only for a day. But with Randall Perry? Someone she was told not to trust?

Exhausted, she crawled into bed and curled up under the covers. He’d be expecting an answer soon, and fell asleep wondering what it would be.

 

Chapter Six

“What the Heart Wants” 4

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Back to Chapter Three

Chapter 4

As badly as she hated to admit, Eliza was getting excited to be attending dinner at the Perrys’. She only decided they would be going when Joanna looked to her excitedly on the way home from town and asked, “Can we go to dinner?”“Well, do you want to go?” She asked her sister.

“Kind of.” She responded shyly, smiling. “It’d be fun!”

Eliza considered the fact that they’d not done anything fun or enjoyable really since before her parents died. “It’ll be good for Joanna.” She told herself.

But as the evening continued, and night came, she grew more excited for the both of them. While their mother and father had taken them to their neighbors’ homes on many occasions, it had been quite some time since they’d gone out. And she couldn’t deny it would be nice to get away from the farm for an evening.

The next day was a Saturday and Joanna had no school. So they both got up early and got started on chores so they’d be done in time to get ready for dinner.

Thomas arrived right on time and was surprised to see them out and about so early. “You two are up and at it quite early! Am I no working hard enough for you two?” He asked kindly.

“Hello, Thomas!” Joanna hugged the farmhand. We wanted to get done early so we could get ready for dinner!”

“Dinner?” He asked, “Going somewhere special?”

“We were invited yesterday evening,” she paused, wondering what he’d think about who invited them. “To dinner by Randall Perry.”

“Oh.” He said. “The Perrys? What prompted such an invitation?”

“Mr Perry invited me while I was in town to fetch Joanna.” She said, he didn’t seem pleased. “I thought it’d be nice to get out for a bit, after all that’s happened.”

“I’m sure it would.” He said. “Like I said, though. Be wary of the Perrys.”

“Oh, I am.” She told him, confidently. “And of my Aunt Clara as well.”

“I presume she’ll be at dinner as well?”

“She will. She was invited first, it was as if she were bragging when she mentioned it.” She told him. She already discussed with him her distrust of her father’s sister.

“Well, I suppose if the three of us work together we’ll get done quicker!”

“Yay!” Joanna shouted, running off into the barn. Thomas and Eliza laughed and followed her inside.

Just a few hours later they’d gotten everything done. Eliza and Joanna said their goodbyes to Thomas, and rushed inside. They had to clean off the day’s work and pick out what they’d wear. While Joanna was freshening up, Eliza went to her room to look at her dresses. While all of her clothes were well cared for and in good condition, nothing, it seemed, was up to par with something one would wear to dinner with a family the likes of the Perry’s.

She went into her parents’ bedroom and looked in her mother’s closet. While she’d been a farmer’s housewife for many years before her death, she’d entered into society like a proper lady at about Eliza’s age. Her mother’s family hadn’t had much, one of the reasons why her father’s family hadn’t been happy with his choice in a wife. But her mother’s family had been sure to provide the best possible for their only child to debut. She’d kept the dresses, though they’d been hidden away long before Eliza was born.

Far in the back of the closet, Eliza found the old wood trunk that her mother had kept pushed away. She dragged the monstrosity out into the center of the room, just as Joanna entered. “What’s that, Eliza?”

“It’s momma’s chest.” She told her sister. “I’m hoping there might be a dress I can where in it.”

“Oh, momma’s dresses! I want to see!”

Eliza undid the buckle keeping it closed, and lifted the lid. The smell of lavender wafted up at her as if it were fresh picked. The muslin satchel that held it sat daintily on top. She lifted it out and breathed it in, thinking of her mother. She handed it to her sister who smelled it then held it close, as Eliza lifted the cover off the trunk’s contents.

The first thing she came to was her mother’s wedding dress. She’d seen it in their wedding picture, which still hung in the hall, many times before. It was simple lace, elegant just like she’d always thought her mother. As a child, she’d hoped that he day she’d get to wear it to her own wedding. Now she wasn’t sure she’d ever have a wedding.

She carefully lifted it out of the trunk and laid it on the bed. The next bundle was her mother’s wedding shoes wrapped in cloth, which she set aside as well. Beyond that, Eliza saw ruffles and pleats of fabric in colors that she’d never seen her mother wear during her lifetime. While she’d shown her daughter the dresses before, she’d explained that the life of a farmer’s wife called for more practical, comfortable clothes. “Oh, I loved my dresses,” she’d told Eliza, “but my mother and father worked hard to make sure I had them. It’d be a shame to wear holes and tears in them!”

“You think I could wear them someday?” Eliza had asked shyly.

“Perhaps, my love.” She’d told her, smiling.

Eliza lifted the first one out, a pale lavender color, she’d loved dearly as a girl. Unfolding it gently, she held it up to her body and showed Joanna. “What do you think?”

“You’ll look just like momma,” she replied softly and a little sadly.

Eliza hugged her sister. “Let’s go find you something lovely too, shall we?”

A few minutes later they’d picked a pretty pink frock for Joanna, her favorite color, and helped each other dress. Eliza pulled up Joanna’s hair just as their mother always had, and Joanna helped tie the bow in Eliza’s dress. They were ready in no time, just in time for a knock to come at the door. “Who could that be?” Eliza said, looking at her sister.

“Maybe Mr. Perry sent a coach!” She said excitedly.

“Oh I don’t that!” Eliza responded, though the gesture seemed exciting to her. She went downstairs trying not to expect anything fancy.

She opened the door to Thomas cleaned up and wearing the nicest clothes she’d ever seen him in, considering all she’d ever seen him wear was work clothes. He stood staring at her, moth agape.

“Oh Thomas!” She said, surprised to see him. “What are you doing here?” She glanced behind him. “Is that a coach?” When he didn’t respond, she asked, “Are you alright?”

“Oh, um, yes,” he said. “Yes, it’s a coach.” He swallowed. “You look lovely.”

“Thank you.” She blushed. He seemed flabbergasted. “Why is there a coach?”

After a moment he seemed to regain his composure. “I thought you should arrive in style. “Wouldn’t want road dust to ruin your beautiful dress.”

“Thomas!” Joanna shouted. “You’ve brought us a coach!” She hugged his waist. “Now I feel even more fancy! You look fancy too!” She said excitedly. “Are you coming to dinner, too?”

“Sadly no, but I’ll make sure you get there!” He smiled at her. “You look absolutely stunning, Miss Joanna.”

“Thank you!” She said, curtsying.

He escorted the ladies to the coach, and helped them in, Joanna first. When he took Eliza’s hand, and helped her climb into the carriage, he held onto it a little longer that necessary, she looked back at him, and saw a look in his eyes she hadn’t seen there before, a look that made her blush.

He released her hand and closed the carriage door, without a word climbed in the driver’s seat, and off they went.

The Perry’s home was on the other side of town, but it only took a few minutes to get there, on the way, Joanna jabbered on about how excited she was and how fancy their house must be. All Eliza could do was wonder what to expect. Before she’d realized it, they were pulling up to the front of the largest home in town. Thomas pulled right up to the front steps and jumped down quickly, opening the door for the sisters. Joanna jumped out first, eager to step foot inside, though she waited for her sister. Eliza took Thomas’ offered hand once again, and she stepped down.

Again he held it, but this time spoke. “I will be waiting, right outside, if you need me.”

“Thank you, though I’m sure I’ll be fine.” She smiled at him.

“I hope so,” he told her, seriousness in his eyes this time. “But I’ll be here, just in case.”

His words brought out her nerves, and she was working to calm them, when she heard a voice. She turned toward the front door or the house, to see standing at the top of the steps, Randall Perry. “Good evening, Miss Alcott.” He descended the steps to greet Eliza and her sister. “I wonder if you’d come.” He said when he’d reached them. He looked at Thomas, and the air suddenly grew thick.

“Thomas Fox,” Mr. Perry offered his hand. Thomas stared at it, making little effort to hide his distaste. After a moment he took Mr. perry’s hand and shook it.

“Randall Perry.”

Eliza broke the silence, and spoke. “Do you two know each other?”

“We’ve been aquatinted.” They both spoke at once.

“Miss Alcott,” Mr. Perry said, then addressed Joanna, “and Miss Alcott, shall we go inside? We’re just waiting on one more guest besides yourselves.”

“Of course,” Eliza responded curtly, suddenly uncomfortable with the tension.

“Remember,” Thomas said, “I’ll be here when you need me.” He looked from Eliza to Mr. Perry, and glared.

“Thank you, Thomas.” With that, Randall Perry escorted them inside.

Chapter Five

“What the Heart Wants” 3

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Chapter two is here

Chapter Three

Eliza was up with the sun, determined to be out and working on the chores when Thomas arrived. She wasn’t sure what her aunt was up too by bringing Mr. Perry into her affairs, and she wasn’t sure she wanted to know. But she wasn’t about to allow either Aunt Clara or Mr. Randal Perry the opportunity to “help” her.  She was in the barn when Thomas arrived, and this time he didn’t surprise her. “Good morning, Thomas.” She greeted him.

“Good Morning, Miss Eliza.” He replied with a smile. “Getting started early, I see?”

“Yes.” She said, spreading hay for the horses. “We’ve only got two hands a piece, and plenty for the both of them.” She said. She stopped raking hay and thought. “I got an offer for free helping hands yesterday,” she told him.

“Oh?”

“Yes, Mr. Perry thought I’d need extra help, and offered to provide it. Not his own two hands, of course.”

“And?”

“I plan to decline.” She looked at him, wondering if he’d be disappointed in her, for expecting him to work more.

“Good,” he said, and grabbed a pitchfork full of hay.

“Good? Why good?” she asked. “You wouldn’t want help?”

“No,” he paused, spreading his own pile of hay. “No, it’d be nice. I wouldn’t take anything for free from anyone by the name Perry, at least not in this town.” He didn’t even look up from his work when he said it, he was so sure.

“Why’s that?” she asked, curious. “I knew Randal Perry from school, he’s older than I, so I don’t know him well. Except what I’ve heard in whispers around town.” She turned away from the slight blush. To call him “a bit of a flirt” was putting it lightly. Very lightly.

“The Perry’s of this town are not to be trusted.” He said, turning to her, looking her square in the eyes this time. “If they offer you anything for free, they will get what they’re owed, any means necessary.” He paused, glanced down for a moment, then looked back up. “Your father may have had some business with the senior Perry. I don’t know the extent of it, but I had suggested he not do business with him.” Another pause. “Your father was a kind, hopeful man who saw the best in everyone.”

“Oh,” she whispered. She was unnerved by both his demeanor, and his mention of her father. “What sort of business, do you think? Should I be worried?”

Thomas sighed heavily. “I do not know. But I would be cautious of both Perry’s.”

“I will, Thomas. Thank you.” She put a hand on his arm. “And thank you for being frank with me. I know I can trust you, as my father did.”

He smiled at her and stared into her eyes for a moment. He reached up toward her face and she wasn’t sure how to react. He reached up to her hair. She didn’t realize she was holding her breath until he spoke. “You have hay.” He held up the piece he’d retrieved. “All in your hair.”

They both chuckled, and she silently chided herself for whatever she might have been thinking.

A few hours later, it was time to go into town and retrieve Joanna. She left Thomas to the chores and went to get cleaned up. Upstairs she passed the open door to her parents’ room. She’d been thinking about what mystery business her father might have had with the elder Perry, and passing the room made her think about the will her parents had written.

Their room had never been a forbidden place, their parents had welcomed them into it. Eliza herself had often had her own treasure hunting expeditions in that room, looking in bottom drawers to see what trinkets her mother might have hidden away. But there was always one place they’d never allowed them to explore. “Parents have their own little secrets they have to keep from children! We must always have a little bit of mystery!” her mother would whisper to her.

A door in the ceiling of their room that opened into a small attic space. Eliza stared up at it, remembering the day she’d asked her mother about it. She’d been sitting on the bed next to her mother who was nursing her then baby sister Joanna. She’d pointed up to the “hole in the ceiling” and asked what it was. “It’s a secret hiding place! We keep important things protected there.” She told her daughter. “Your father will make up some silly story about a fairy or something, but don’t tell him I told you that!” They’d both laughed.

As she contemplated it, she remembered that he’d tried to tell her that it was “How the sandman got into the house to make sure they all had sweet dreams.” She smiled at the thought, then left the room.

Thomas had the horse and carriage ready to go when she’d stepped out of the house, and he waved her goodbye as she climbed in and headed to town. Once she made it into town and parked the carriage, she tied the horse to the post and walked across the street to fetch her sister. Children began to file out almost immediately and she saw her sister bounding down the steps. She was happy to see Joanna smiling, when something made her turn her head.

Standing on the porch of the only motel in town was Aunt Clara. It seemed like she’d been waiting on her niece to show up, and Eliza couldn’t help but wish she’d already left town.

Aunt Clara was determined to speak to Eliza as she crossed the street in a hurry. Eliza sighed and steeled herself for whatever nonsense her aunt might have in store for her today.

Joanna had reached the carriage a moment before Clara had. She too had seen her aunt coming, and her cheerful demeanor from moments before had faded. She’d yet to warm up to her aunt, and Clara’s hawk-like determination didn’t help matters. Joanna clung to her sister’s skirts, hiding from her aunt.

“Are we still shy, dear?” Aunt Clara asked her. “What a shame. Boarding school would help that.” She narrowed her eyes at Eliza.

“Hello, Aunt Clara.” Eliza said curtly. “We’ve discussed that already, we will not discuss it further, thank you.” She held her sister’s hand. “Can I help you?”

“So formal, dear. I’m your aunt. There’s no need for that.” She paused, once again pretending hurt. “I was just curious as to your decision about our discussion yesterday.”

“I’ve made my decision, and should Mr. Perry ask for it, I shall tell him then.”

“Oh well, dear. I’m sure I can relay the message, if you like. Your uncle and I are having dinner with the Perry’s tomorrow evening.”

“Are you? I’d thought you’d be ready to return home by now.”

“I did as well, but who knew the people of this tiny town would be so friendly! And the Perry’s are lovely, people, with class.”

“Are they now?” Eliza asked. “So, its not so bad as you thought, with the Perry’s here. Despite your bother having lived her for many years?” From what she’d been told, the town hadn’t been good enough for her father’s family before. “I guess you didn’t know how rich it was then?”

“Excuse me, dear?” Aunt Clara asked, glaring.

“You can inform Mr. Perry that I’ll not be taking him up on his offer. Thank you.” Despite needing to visit the general store, she urged Joanna into the carriage and climbed in after her. “And despite all efforts, none of my decisions will be changed. Good evening, Aunt Clara.”

She watched Aunt Clara storm off, nose in the air, holding the reigns. She wanted to make sure her aunt didn’t see her when she stepped back out of the carriage to until the horse from the post. In her haste she’d forgotten. Groaning to herself, she was about to step back down, when she heard a voice.

“Going somewhere?” Randal Perry stood leaning on said post, tapping his fingers on the ropes.

Audibly sighing she replied, “Clearly, I am not, yet. You have interesting timing, sir.” She paused. “How long have you been standing there?”

“Long enough.” He replied. “You are quite like your father.”

“How well did you know my father,” she thought but didn’t say. “You know this in only two meetings, Mr. Perry?” She said instead.

“Randal,” he said. “And yes. It’s not hard to see that you are determined to succeed, to proud to ask for help, and too stubborn to admit you might need it.” His response sounded harsh, but he was smiling. “and we may have only formally met yesterday. But I do know of you.”

“If what you know comes from my aunt, she doesn’t know me either, Mr. Perry.”

“Your family may have spent most of its time out on that farm, but people get to know people through other means than gatherings. There was quite the turn out paying their respects, wasn’t there?”

“You’re implying that what you know you’ve learned about me you’ve learned second hand. The same can be said for what I’ve heard about you.” She paused. “I’m not sure what might be said about me, but I’m positive you know what might have been said for you.” The most recent added fuel to the flame that he couldn’t be trusted.

“I’m sure I do,” he said. He stared at her intently, a whisper of a smile still lingering on his lips and in his eyes. He was making her uncomfortable with that staring and the smile. She wasn’t quite sure in what way.

Finally, he broke eye contact and straightened up. “I was just coming into town to remind Mrs. Clara of dinner tomorrow evening.” He paused, hands still on the ropes tying the horse to the post. “Consider this a formal invitation for you and your sister.” He smiled at Joanna. “I’m sure she knows I have a sister about her age.” He untied the ropes and walked around to Eliza’s side of the carriage. He held out his hand to shake, and knowing what he’d do with hers, she took it. He kissed her knuckles and said, “I do hope you’ll come.”

With that, he smiled again, released her hand, and walked toward the hotel.

Eliza turned the carriage back toward home, Joanna sitting close to her side. She thought of the dinner and wondered if she should go. On the one hand she’d have to endure an evening with not only her aunt but Randal Perry as well. But she might also be able to get some insight into what Aunt Clara might have up her sleeve with Randal Perry.

Chapter Four is Here

“What the Heart Wants” 2

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Chapter One.

Chapter Two

Bright and early the next morning Eliza and her sister were up and getting the day started. She’d woke with the determination to stay. She wouldn’t leave behind what her parents had worked so hard for, or the home she’d grown up in.

After breakfast was cleaned up, Joanna got ready for school. They’d both agreed it was time, and since Joanna enjoyed school, she was ready to go back. Once she’d walked her sister to school, Eliza changed into her work dress, and proceeded to carry a bucket of water to the barn. She stared down at her feet as she walked, one too many times as a child had she not paid attention, and tripped over her own skirts, spilling whatever she’d been hauling. She successfully got to the barn door and slid it open, only to be startled by someone on the other side.

Despite her efforts she still managed to dump the bucket, her skirt catching much of the water. “Miss Eliza! Did I startle you?” Thomas Fox, who’d been their farm hand since his childhood—and hers—was standing on the other side, looking apologetic.

She cleared her throat and tried to settle her nerves. “Yes,” She said, taking a deep breath. “Yes you did, Thomas.” She bent down to pick up the bucket. “I guess I don’t think you’d be here today.”

“Well, why not?” He took the bucket from her.

“I just,” She paused, unsure of how to say it. “I don’t know if we’ll be able to pay you, is all.”

“Oh.” He looked at his feet, then back up at Eliza. “I guess I should have spoken to you yesterday.”

“Were you at the house yesterday?”

“I was. Animals still needed fed, things needed taken care of.” He said. “I came inside but you’d seemed busy with all your guests. Thought I’d pay my respects another time.” He paused. “I am so very sorry, Eliza.” He so rarely left off the “miss” it surprised her. “I loved your parents as if they’d been my own.”

“Thank you, very much.” She sighed. “But you don’t have to do all this,” She said. He’d taken the bucket and they were walking back to the outdoor spigot. “I don’t know that we’ll be able to pay you.”

“It’s alright.” He put the bucket down and tuned on the water. As the water ran he looked at her, and smiled. “I’ll be here to help as long as you need me.”

She smiled gratefully and was about to express her gratitude when she heard a carriage coming quickly up the driveway.

“More company today?” Thomas asked.

“Regrettably.”

She knew exactly who it was, and rushed into the house, consciously disregarding her disheveled damp dress. Her Aunt Clara was knocking frantically on the door when she’d reached the knob.

“Good morning Aunt Clara.” Eliza said dully.

“Good morning, dear.” She responded, pushing her way into the house, like she’d owned it. She looked Eliza up and down, barely hiding the disgusted look that flashed across her face.

Eliza was about to close the door behind her when Clara stopped her. “Don’t be rude dear, you have a guest.”

She looked out the door, and there, stepping out of the carriage was the last person she expected. “Eliza,” Aunt Clara said, an uncomfortable sweetness in her voice, “I’m sure you’ve met Randal Perry?”

“We’ve never been formally introduced,” he said, stepped inside, removed his hat and offered his hand. Eliza reached out to shake it and he turned it to kiss her knuckles. She did not reveal they were covered in dirt.

“It’s nice you meet you, Mr. Perry.” She said, taking her hand back. She had, in fact, heard a lot about Randal Perry. As she was sure her aunt had.

“I wanted to come by and offer my condolences, Miss Alcott.” He said. “I was quite busy the last few days and was unable to attend services for your mother and father. Your father was well aquatinted with my family.”

“Thank you, Mr. Perry. My father was aquatinted with many people, he was a friendly man.”

“Eliza, dear,” Clara emphasized the dear, knowing it frustrated her niece. “We should prepare some tea.”

Knowing that by “we” her aunt meant that she should prepare it, she showed them into the small front room and walked to the kitchen, thinking about how many chores she’d be pushing back.

What does her aunt have up her sleeve, bringing someone who she’d clearly just met to her niece’s home? She prepared tray—a tea set her mother had inherited—and carried it to the front room, where her aunt and Mr. Perry we’re talking quietly. Their conversation stopped when she entered the room.

She served them tea, two strangers she believed she might never have met had her parents still been alive. She sat down, despite knowing she had much more work to do, she was exhausted just thinking about it.

“Have you made your decision, dear?” Aunt Clara got right to the point.

“Yes, aunt Clara I have.” She sipped her tea and sat the cup in the saucer. “We’re staying. My sister and I will both be happy here.”

“But all the work it’ll take? Not to mention you’ll be raising your sister, with no help!” Aunt Clara feigned worry, as if she were concerned for their wellbeing. Eliza sensed an act.

“I’ve done this work all my life, mother and father taught us well, and this is what we know.” She said, pausing. “They left us with what their hard work got them. And I intend to keep it.”

“Miss Alcott, if I may?” Randal Perry who, Eliza felt, had nary a horse in this race, spoke up. “It’s hard work, caring for a farm, even a small one.” What was he implying, Eliza thought. “I would hate for you to be overwhelmed.”

“Mr. Perry, you hardly know me, much less what I may overwhelm me.”

“I understand, but I was raised to offer help should someone be in the need of it.” He said. “Let me help you, I can send a few spare hands to help you with the farm work.”

“Mr. Perry,” she paused, not sure she should reveal too much. “While I appreciate the offer, I may not be able to pay extra hands.”

“It would be free if charge, of course.”

“Dear, it might be prudent to take him up in this offer. I may not know Mr. Perry well, but he seems a very kind man.” Aunt Clara looked at Mr. Perry and batted her lashes.

“Thanks kind of you, Mrs. Wilkes,” Mr. Perry responded. He sat his cup of tea down and stood. “Please, Miss Alcott, consider my offer.” He looked at Clara. “Unfortunately, I do have other appointments today, so I must be going.”

Eliza herself stood, as did Clara. The three of them walked to the door and Eliza opened it to see them out.

“Do let me know what you decide.” Mr. Perry requested then stepped out to the waiting carriage.

“My dear niece–”

“How, might I ask, do you know Mr. Randal Perry, Aunt Clara?” Eliza asked, suspicious. She knew her aunt hadn’t spent a great deal of time in her small town before her parents passed.

“Oh, well,” her aunt hesitated, seeming to grow nervous. “We met in the hotel parlor, dear.” She waved her hand daintily, waving off Eliza’s inquiries. “What’s important is that if you stay on this,” she scrunched her nose, “farm, you will be doing it all on your own. Alone.” She emphasized. “I’d accept Mr. Perry’s offer of help.” With that her aunt’s demeanor changed back to sweet and and innocent and she stepped out the door without a goodbye.

Eliza happily closed the front door behind her unwelcome guests and returned to retrieve hardly used tea tray. Her aunt and Mr. Perry were, sadly, right. Running a farm was hard enough for her parents, a young unmarried woman raising her young sister would have a lot on her hands. But she did have Thomas, who’d been a huge help to her family for many years.

Should she accept extra help from Randal Perry, whom she’d just met but had known her father, and liked him? Or ask Thomas to do it all on his own?

Chapter Three is Here

“What the Heart Wants” 1

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Chapter One

The crack of lightning in the distance signaled a storm rolling in. Looking in the distance, over the rolling hills, you could see the dark gray clouds rolling in the sky.

Eliza stood on the back porch, watching. She could see the rain pour from the clouds in the distance, as it slowly made its way toward the house. And yet she stood and waited. She could not go back inside, not yet. Because inside were mourners. The house was filled with people, some she knew well, some she did not, all there out of respect for her mother and father, in support of she and her sister, Joanna.

She knew they were there because they cared, most of them anyway, but she could not go back in, yet. Because a house that was once filled with love and laughter now so full of sadness was one she was not willing to be in.

She stood there a moment more, eyes closed, smelling the dirt in the air. She loved that smell, the scent carried on the wind when rain was near. It reminded her of renewal. Washing away the old. Her quiet was interrupted when the door screeched open. “There you are, Eliza!” Her father’s sister said. “We’ve been looking all over for you!”

Her father’s sister, her aunt she had to remind herself, had come as soon as she’d heard about her brother’s death. The first visit to the Alcott home Aunt Clara had ever made. When her father had decided to marry her mother, his family had abandoned him, they thought he’d come home when he realized he wasn’t happy raising farm and family in such a place. They were wrong, he had been quite happy.

“Come inside, dear, before you catch a cold!” Eliza was constantly baffled by her Aunt now that she was there. It was, in fact late spring. Too warm to catch a cold and the rain hadn’t even reached the property yet.

“Yes, aunt Clara,” she said.

“Your sister has been hiding as well. We cannot seem to convince her to come downstairs and greet her guests. Can you see if you can rouse her out, dear?”

Wordlessly, Eliza climbed the stairs went to exactly where she knew her sister “hid”. Their parents’ room. She sat down on the bed, and waited for Joanna to come out on her own. The little girl climbed up on bed and hugged her sister close. She was crying.

“Oh now. Its alright.” She held Joanna. “They wouldn’t want us to cry, would they?” Joanna shook her head no against her sister’s chest. “That’s right. They wouldn’t want us to hide either.” She looked down at her sister, who looked up to her. “Let’s go downstairs, say hello. I promise they won’t be here long, alright?”

Begrudgingly Joanna agreed to go downstairs, if Eliza held her hand. They quietly greeted neighbors who’d come to give their condolences. They avoided Aunt Clara and her husband Harris. Eliza knew there was something they wanted to discuss with her, she could see it on her aunt’s face. She had an idea of what it was.

A few hours later, Joanna had tired herself out, and Eliza escorted her to bed. She knew when she returned downstairs, her aunt and uncle would be waiting. She steeled herself before stepping into the kitchen, where they sat at the table. She made note that Clara sat in her father’s usual seat. “Have a seat, dear.”

Reluctantly, Eliza sat at the opposite end of the table.

“Now that we’ve laid your dear parents to rest,” Clara began, “There’s something we must discuss.”

And here it was, Eliza thought.

“It’s time to think of your future, Eliza.” Clara said, getting a stern look on her face. A look Eliza knew was hiding, waiting to come out. “You are still young and its time someone do right by you. Your parents seem to have made no attempt to introduce you to society, properly.”

“What do you mean, Aunt Clara?” Eliza asked, though she already knew.

“You are still within proper age for courtship. We need to introduce you as eligible in society.” She paused. “We can do that properly if you come back to the city and live with us! You’ll be a proper part of society and be invited to parties, to find a husband.”

“But, what about my home?” Eliza asked.

“Dear, we’ll have to sell the house and property. It’ll just go to waste sitting here! The profits will be used to take care of you and finance school for your sister.”

“Finance school?” Eliza asked. “She goes to school for free here! She has friends at school as well.”

“She’ll be sent to a proper school, dear. One where she will stay year-round and learn properly.”

“You mean boarding school? You’d separate us, then?”

“You’re too old to go to boarding school, dear. But she’s still young enough to start. She’ll have to catch up, of course.”

Eliza stood, upset. “I—no. No, I will not send her away. And I will not sell this house.”

“Dear, it’s not up to you. Your father—”

“My name is Eliza May Alcott. My father, Arthur Alcott would not have wanted us separated. He also anticipated something similar. He left a will.”

“And where is this supposed will?” Clara asked, angrily.

“It’s safe.” Eliza said. “In it, he left everything to my sister and I. And I know quite well about proper education, as he and my mother gave it to me. I may still be young enough for a “proper introduction”, but I am also old enough to know that I have the right to choose my future, especially now.”

Finally, Clara stood, glaring at her niece. “I came here with every intention to do right by you and your sister, since your father chose to deprive you of what you were entitled to. But I can see now that you inherited not only this shabby property, but his attitude as well!” She paused, taking a breath. “You decide. You can come live with us, have everything you need, or want, and never have to work again, and get the chance at a proper life. Or you can stay here. And trust me dear you won’t have anything handed over to you!”

With the final word, Aunt Clara grabbed her husband’s arm and stormed out of the house, where she’d apparently had a carriage waiting. She’d expected Eliza to happily go along with her plan.

But Eliza did have a decision to make. Despite what she thought was best, she had to admit the benefits of her aunt’s ideas. If she agreed to go live with her aunt, in the city, she and Joanna would have whatever they wanted or needed. They’d live comfortably and wouldn’t have to work the land or feed the animals. While her parents had never put emphasis on the need for her to find a husband, she would need one, eventually. Joanna would have to go off to school, where she might not see her sister. But she would learn, which she loved, and she would make friends. She could be happy.

If they stayed, Eliza would not only be keeping house and farm, but raising a child, her own sister. She would become her parents. She’d be doing both her father’s job and her mother’s. But they wouldn’t have to pick up and leave, they’d get to stay in their home, and be together. And it wasn’t as if either of them had never helped around the farm. They’d done so gladly, especially when it meant helping their parents.

Eliza crawled into bed, tucked the covers around her head, and closed her eyes. Mother and father wouldn’t want them to be sad, but she didn’t think they’d want their daughters to be burdened if they should be gone. Regardless, she’d have to find that will.

Chapter Two

The Last Words She Said to Me

My mom died on April 19, 2018.

My heart is broken but I know she’s in a better place. I’d rather her be here, with me, my brothers and sister, my dad, her grandchildren. But she was very sick, and wouldn’t have lasted much longer. We’d taken her off life support, and she did not suffer.

The last words she said to me were as I was leaving her, that Monday, I think. I told her, “Mom, I have to go now, but I’ll be back.”

She said, “I know, you’ve been my rock today.”

I told her I loved her and she said it back.

Really all I did that day was help her drink some water, she was so thirsty and would have preferred Pepsi. But she drank more when I was giving her water than she had in days. And I think it helped her me just being there and trying to help her, even if I couldn’t understand her most of the time.

The next time I saw her she was hardly responding. She was on a mask to help her breathe, and she’d gone downhill from there.

I miss her so much it breaks my heart. I wish I could talk to her, tell her I love her, and kiss her forehead. I wish every time I thought about kissing her forehead I didn’t remember the last time I kissed her forehead, as I was saying goodbye for the last time.

But I know she wouldn’t want me to cry. I know she wouldn’t want me to dwell on her being gone. She’d want me to move on and be happy she’s not suffering and enjoy my life, my daughter, and my family.

But she’s not here and she can’t make me!

She would have laughed at that.

I love you mom, I miss you so much. And I hope you’re doing well where you are.

-c

Concerns

Five plus years ago when I wrote Black Friday: A Zombie Story, I worked mostly evenings as a people greeter. I slept late, went to work, got off at ten, came home, stayed up all night. I wrote at night when I could have been sleeping. I stayed up because I knew I didn’t have to get up until I wanted.

Now, I have the same schedule, with some mornings thrown in randomly. But I also have a kid now. A wild, rambunctious, hilarious, wonderful little girl who has my heart and my sleep pattern wrapped around her pinkie. If I don’t go to bed when she does I don’t get any sleep. I have to fight with her every night to go to bed. And while the cuddles are to die for, it makes it hard to do anything but picture myself snuggled in my bed.

I used to write at work. I used to carry a little Five Star Notebook, and a pen, and wrote on breaks or when no one was looking (sorry management).

I don’t do that anymore. I don’t write anymore. I’ve tried. I really have. I get ideas when I’m falling asleep or driving or in the middle of something that requires my attention. And I forget them.

Sleepless nights when my baby was a baby and wouldn’t sleep unless held, or those nights I slept in a chair in her nursery (when it had more furniture than toys) I’d hold her and hen peck on my iPod. I wrote “Twisted Tales: Handy Manny” that way. I wrote some “Fiction Me This” stories that way.

I can’t anymore. I want to write so badly. I want to put a pen to paper, hen peck on my iPod with my thumbs, type on my computer. I can’t get ideas. And if I do I can’t write them down or I forget them. Or I’m just so tired.

I’m exhausted. All the time. I left work at 2. I was scheduled to leave at two. I could have been nice and volunteered to stay at least until coverage came in. I didn’t. The prospect of going home to nap uninterrupted for even a few minutes was the most excitement I’ve had in months. And I slept. But I woke up with my hip and weirdly my big toe hurting.

I get off work with every joint below my waist hurting, including my back and the bottoms of my feet. Even when I get off work during the afternoon and I’d have time to write, I tell myself, “there’s other things I could do”. Dishes needing washed. Toys need picked up. I have a million and one projects started that will never get finished.

I started crocheting my daughter a baby blanket almost the moment I knew she was going to be a girl. She’s three. It’s a third of the way complete. It’ll never be done. And I’m ashamed. Luckily she hates blankets (unless she’s playing peek-a-boo).

I’ve started story ideas. Not short stories those I’ve done numerous times. Stories that could be epically long, and never finished them. And the one I fear won’t get finished. The the one that everyone wants me to write.

“The Black Friday Curse” the sequel (?) to BF:AZS has had everyone excited. By everyone I mean the four people who were interested in it in the last six months. But I’m stuck because I don’t honestly see a plausible reason for a sequel involving zombies. Yes. It’s zombies and they’re not necessarily plausible anyway (depending on who you talk to). But with this story (I’m going for no spoilers) and the way it ended I’m not sure how to bring them back. I have an idea but I think it’s lame. But it’s all I got.

I don’t know when it’ll be worked on, much less finished. I don’t know when I’ll get the gumption to work on it. Maybe some day.

I don’t know. As soon as I know, so will you.

-c

The Problem

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It’s a gun control problem.

It’s a hate problem.

It’s a mental health problem.

But more importantly, it’s a human problem.

As long as there are humans there will be a gun violence problem. “Guns don’t kill people, people do.” That gun doesn’t get up and walk up to someone and shoot them. But access to guns makes it easier to do so. It’s a person carrying that gun that makes the decision to pull that trigger.

But why does someone outside of the military and law enforcement need an assault rifle? You can protect your home with an aluminum baseball bat.

My mom once told me a story about my grandmother being home alone with her six small children. Two men broke into (or tried to) their home. My grandmother pulled out the shotgun and “filled their butts full of buckshot”. She didn’t need an AK-47 to protect her children.

My husband and I are not gun people but we have SEVERAL hidden in our home (not assault rifles, thank bob). At least one is easy access in case of emergency. These were inherited when his father and brother passed. They’ve not been fired in years.

I haven’t shot a gun in over a decade. I have shot a .22 at summer camp once. Was an ok shot. I preferred the bow.

I have no issue with people owning guns. That’s your right. While I’ll never understand the need to own a gun that can rapid fire for “recreational use”, I don’t judge people. I do however think that all firearms should be registered, and upon registration you should have had background checks, safety training and a mental health check. Because an individual with anger issues/PTSD/history of violence/etc maybe shouldn’t have access. And those guns should be kept under lock and key and out of the reach of children.

I’m sure everything I have said here has been said a million times over by a million people. I’m sure none of this is new ideas no one has ever thought of. I’m usually slow to the game. But I feel I needed to say it, regardless.

Every other post in my Facebook newsfeed is related to the gun control debate, politics, #metoo, and recipe videos (my husband is bad for those ;). I did not want to add my opinion to the list. When I visit Facebook it’s to see how my friends are. If I wanted to head about all the other things I’d watch the news. I HATE THE NEWS. But I don’t judge, I don’t tell people how what to post, and try really hard to make people laugh.

So there’s my opinion. And that’s all I’m gonna say on the matter!

Thanks for reading!

-c