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by Chelle Renee
Publisher Chelle Renee
Find this book online in any bookstore, department store, amazon, or on your e-reader!
Can Monica learn to live and love again with the help of her deceased Grandmother guiding her steps?
Monica put her pen down and closed her notebook. Her therapist had recommended keeping a journal. She had thought the idea absurd at first until she quit thinking of it as 'Dear Diary....' She now found it therapeutic and enjoyed creative writing as a means to give her thoughts and emotions an outlet.
She picked up the steaming cup of coffee sitting in front of her on the wooden picnic table and sipped it slowly as she watched two red squirrels chattering back and forth as they ran across the branches above her head. A goose didn’t seem concerned that she was sitting there as she passed within a few feet of Monica and led her young to the cool lakefront.
This was her favorite time of the day. A time when she could relax and focus on getting her life back in order. The sun had barely started peeking up over the horizon. Its bright rays hadn't even begun dancing on the clear water yet as she gazed off into the distance to the west. Monica took in a lungful of fresh air as she stood to stretch her legs and prepare for the day. Campers would be rising soon and needing her assistance with everything from how to hook up to the electric RV sites, to finding which spots on the lake were best for fishing.
Lake Michigan was far from her Louisiana hometown of Lacasine. She had gone as far north as she could before hitting water, to start over. Grand Haven had become her home away from home. She had been a resident of the small town for nearly six months now. Sure, she missed her friends and family back home, but she wasn’t ready to face the world again. She had carved out a comfortable rut here in her own little paradise. And, if anything, she was sure she deserved to bask in her little rut as long as her psyche needed to recover, so she could find herself again.
Life for her had changed more than she could have imagined in the course of a weekend in late March. Monica and Shelby had been high school sweethearts. Both highly intelligent, they had graduated the top of their class as he the Valedictorian, and her not too far below him in class rank. Both had gone on to college in Layfayette, commuting from the small apartment they shared in Lacasine. Monica was in the business program and had high hopes of opening her own restaurant one day. Shelby was pursuing his dreams of architecture. They were both following their dreams and living in bliss. Life was good for the couple.
Monica and Shelby were the envy of their peers, and the pride of their parents. With Shelby's father being the chief of police and Monica’s the wrestling coach at LSU, the couple was in the spotlight. Rumors were flying around campus and among the residents of Lacasine that the prodigal son of the police chief would soon be married to the town sweetheart and everyone's favorite 'girl-next-door'.
The couple relished in the excitement and exhilaration that being the perfect couple empowered them with. Life was easy and love seemed to be in full bloom. With everyone talking about the probable upcoming nuptials the couple felt it was the next step and began to plan the perfect country club wedding to be held the first weekend of June. Both sets of parents were hard at work planning and hashing out every detail to make the event a spectacular one. The couple would graduate on Friday night and marry the following afternoon. The arrangements were well mapped out and everything was going as planned.
On Valentine ’s Day the couple made it official. Although the wedding plans were already in motion no one had actually proposed or accepted. Monica came home after a long day of classes to find Shelby in a black tux sitting on her bed with a single red rose in one hand while the other was working overtime to keep two crystal champagne flutes right-side up. After handing her the rose and a glass of champagne he reached behind him and produced a beautiful one and a half carat diamond engagement ring. The night was magical. Shelby had rented a stretch limo to drive them to a secluded park where a coachman was waiting with a carriage pulled by two beautiful white horses. They rode hand in hand in the back of the carriage that led them to a candlelight dinner beside the Mermentau River.
"You will always be my one and only." Was Shelby’s soft-spoken promise just before he brushed a kiss across her waiting lips and then an even deeper one to follow.
"Well wasn't that a load of crap!" She said to herself as she swept the debris away from the walkway in front of the building where campers checked in and out. She couldn't hold the tears back as she kicked the pebbles out of her way and tossed the straw broom against the little brown building she would inhabit for most of the day.
Tears and memories clouded her vision as she recalled that cold March morning that changed the course of her life forever.
Shelby’s final exam was drawing up the blueprints for a government building that would be located in Baton Rouge. He and his team had to spend three weeks starting in late February, in Baton Rouge formulating their plans for the building. He and Monica hadn't been apart for so long since moving in together one year prior to that. Neither of them had looked forward to the time away from one another, but knew it was important to their future. They spoke on the phone most nights and even got to spend a couple of long weekends together when time allowed.
Monica awoke early the morning Shelby was to be back home. She had some wonderful news to share with him and wanted to make sure everything was perfect for his return.
A week after he left for his assignment she found out she was six weeks pregnant. As excited as she was, she didn't want anything to be on his mind while he was working so hard on his final, so she had kept the news to herself. She didn’t even tell any of her friends or family. That morning, however, she was busting at the seams. She could hardly keep her mind on anything else. They had talked about having children in a couple years, but she assumed he would be as excited as she was about the early arrival.
It had been a couple nights since Monica had talked to him, and she was missing him something fierce when she finally saw his blue Sedan pull into the parking lot in front of their apartment. She let the sheer lace curtain fall back into place at the window she had been peeking out of, as she rushed out to meet him.
As she neared the car she noticed he was not alone. She also thought she saw him quickly remove his hand from the exposed thigh of the blond-out-of-a bottle passenger he was escorting.
"Monica! It's so good to see you!" He almost shouted as he jumped out of the car. His hug felt cold and the smile that was plastered on his face looked forced,
"Who is that?" She asked motioning toward the car where the blond still sat, not showing any signs of getting out.
"Oh, that's just Sarah, she was on the team assigned in Baton Rouge. I'm giving her a ride home to her dorm." He said with a shrug.
"But first I had to see my girl, uh, didn't I?" He stammered.
Monica knew there was something not right quite about the situation. Shelby was fidgety and dancing around the parking lot like him pants were on fire.
"Well, take her home and hurry back; I have some important news to share with you." She said, trying to make the most of the uncomfortable situation. The lump in her throat kept the morning sickness at bay, but there was a whole new bout of nausea coming on that she feared had nothing to do with the tiny miracle in her womb.
Looking around the parking lot, Shelby plunged his hands deep in his trouser pockets and glanced back to the blond who was looking rather impatient for someone getting a free ride home.
"Look, Monica, we need to talk, and there is really no easy way to say this." He started and then stared at her for a few moments as if trying to gather the courage to go on.
"We need to cool it for a while, postpone the wedding or something. I am just not ready yet. I’m sure, you’ll agree, we just got caught up in everyone’s expectations and went along with it without really thinking it through." He explained.
Trying to soften the blow he pulled one hand free from his pocket and reached toward her.
Monica jumped back so fast that she lost her balance and landed hard on her butt on the uneven pavement. A pang of nausea overwhelmed her as a sharp pain shot through her abdomen.
"Oh, my, Mon, don't be like that." He said trying to help her up.
"I just talked to you a few days ago, and you just now called me your girl. Now where the hell is this all coming from?" She asked from her place on the pavement. The pain was still too severe to try and move. That along with the shock of Shelby’s new declaration kept her seated with her arms wrapped tightly around her stomach.
Sighing he stood back. "I'm sorry, I didn't want to make this harder than it had to be. I thought you would be at your folks this morning. That's where you usually are on Saturday mornings."
"So what, you were coming here to move out and not tell me a thing?" She accused while jumping to her feet. Anger gave her the energy to push through the pain.
"I, I....I, thought it would be better that..that....way...." He mumbled.
"Why do you look so sickly?' He asked
"Because I'm pregnant!" She blurted out as she turned to make her way up the stairs and back inside before he had the chance to see her lose what little breakfast she was able to get down that morning.
"Mon, wait!" He called after her.
"Honey, are we leaving?" she heard the syrupy sweet voice call from the passengers’ window of the car.
"In a minute!" He blurted.
Running up the steps he caught up to her just as she was entering their apartment.
"Mon, I'm sorry, I didn't know. How far along? Why didn't you tell me?" Shelby asked.
All the questions were thrown at her in a rush, but she wasn't able to hold back any longer.
"Just leave Shelby. I need to get to the bathroom!" She whispered as she slammed the door in his face and ran to the kitchen sink, which was closer.
Monica knew she had to get help right away when she saw the blood pooling in the floor at her feet and the blood filled basin at the kitchen sink.
As she thought back to that awful time the tears began flowing freely as she leaned back against the camp shack. Monica chided herself. She had made a lot of progress with her therapist. She was far from cured, but she had come a long way and just because this would have marked their three month wedding anniversary she shouldn’t be feeling this way.
She found out that the blond and Shelby had moved in together later that day.
“While I was sitting in the hospital clinging to life, he was throwing away the life we had!” She muttered as she sat cross legged on the small porch in front of the camp shack and let her mind wander back in time again.
Monica had spent the next six days in the hospital. She had a terrible infection that had caused her to lose the baby and need an immediate hysterectomy to save her life. Her parents, grandmother, brother and some of her friends from school all stayed by her side throughout the ordeal. She really had tried to be grateful, and to remain as positive as possible. Her life had been spared…… at the expense of ever having children. The doctors were dumbfounded that she had not noticed any signs of infection in her body. Her body, for some reason, was rejecting the pregnancy, and that is what had caused her to hemorrhage and had caused the severe infection. Her temperature was in the danger zone when she had arrived at the hospital.
Shelby and his parents stopped by for a few minutes the day she was released. Monica would not make eye contact with him, and he looked like it was his parents, rather than his idea, to be there. The truth about the whole situation was a mystery to all their friends and relatives and neither of them were talking. Monica didn't even tell anyone she had been pregnant except for her little brother, Jack. And, Shelby certainly wasn’t going to mention it. By law the medical personnel had to keep her secret safe from her family. As far as anyone knew they had just decided to go their separate ways and Monica had to have a hysterectomy due to an unfortunate infection.
Spring break was late that year, and for that Monica was thankful. She had already had a week away from her classes, but she was nowhere near ready to face everyone and all their questions yet. It was bad enough with her parents and grandmother constantly trying to cheer her up. She was trying, she really was, but nothing seemed to help. Monica felt like she was suffocating in her small town. When she did venture out of the confines of her childhood room in her parents’ house, she felt everyone was watching her. She couldn't stand the sympathetic smiles and knowing eyes that seemed to follow her everywhere she went. With just a few main streets and only a handful of businesses, there was not much room to breathe. Monica felt like she was drowning.
“I’ve got to get out of here!’ She said matter- o- factly while staring down at the crumbled cinnamon roll she hadn’t even bothered to taste.
“Did you hear me Grams? I have to get out of here right now. I can’t breathe.” She said a little louder as she looked into the deep blue eyes of her Grandmother sitting in the booth across from her.
“Oh, baby, we will leave. You didn’t even touch your food…..with your lips anyway; you sure have murdered it though. “Her grandmother smiled at her and reached for her shaking hand as she picked up the check and started to make her way to the register.
“No, Grams, you don’t understand, I have to get out of town for a while. I just feel like I need air and space, and I can’t get it here. I think I’m going to take a little road trip.” Monica announced as they paid their bill and left the bakery.
For the first time in almost two weeks she felt a little better. She had a plan.
Monica’s little road trip landed her in Grand Haven, Michigan. It had offered her the comfort she was longing. She hadn’t been able to explain it to her family. Heck, she barely understood it herself. But she was starting to feel alive again and come to terms with the changes life had thrown her way.
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Words have the power to inspire or create, belittle or berate....he who can move me with mere words is aces In my book! I only inspire to do the same for my readers. My stories have a hallmark-type feel to them....a little mystery, a little suspense, but a whole lot of heart! I hope you will enjoy reading my work as much as I have enjoyed creating it!