Friday, June 5, 2009

Part 36 - Chapter 1 - From this Day Forward

A woman anxiously tapped her foot as she waited in the lobby. She hoped she could get the tasks that she needed to handle while she was in town accomplished quickly and without any extra hassles. She hadn't been looking forward to doing them or to coming back to Bay Pointe at all, but certain things had to be done.

As she waited for someone to call her into the office, she spotted a newspaper on the seat next to her and idly picked it up, hoping a distraction would make the time spent waiting, go by more quickly.

She flipped past the front page headlines, business section, and sports section quickly and settled on the society pages where a wedding announcement caught her eye.

"Lawrence is getting married? Today? I might have to stay in town for this."

Lawrence walked slowly through the cemetery, arms crossed in front of him to shield himself from the chilled air. The forecast had called for snow and the first few flakes were just beginning to fall.

He stopped in front of a freshly dug grave and frowned at the simple, unadorned headstone. He wasn't here to mourn. The man laying in the grave before him didn't deserve his grief. If Lawrence hadn't stood in front of a different grave more than 10 years ago for the same man, he would have said he came to make sure that his uncle was really dead, but it didn't make any difference. This time he knew for certain that Silas was out of his life forever.

The last time he visited his uncle's grave, he was a young man who had lost the last traces of his old family and felt like he had nothing left in the world. Today he stood in front of the same man's grave, older and wiser with everything he could have hoped for. He had a successful career, a growing bank account, and a comfortable home that he had worked for and earned on his own. He had to learn the hard way that things in life weren't going to be handed to him and instead of a sense of entitlement, he had a sense of accomplishment for where he was today.

With his uncle dead and buried, he felt like the last trace of his old life was gone and his new life, with the woman of his dreams, who was about to become his wife, was just beginning. He turned and walked away from the grave site for the last time, feeling more relaxed than he had in several years. Life couldn't get much better than this and he was ready to live it.

Eileen sat in front of the bedroom mirror, carefully styling her hair and putting on her make up. She smiled at the results in the mirror before glancing down at the small book laying in front of her on the vanity. She'd found it, her mother's diary, in the attic along with her mother's wedding dress.

It had always bothered her that she never really knew her mother. Abigail Townsend had died when Eileen was still really young and her memories of her were faded and few. After reading a few entries of the diary, she realized just how little she had really known about her.

The thing that touched her most was the final entries written when Abigail knew that she was dying and the expression of guilt and regret she'd felt at not spending as much time with Eileen when she had the chance and at all that she would miss after she was gone. There had been so much she had taken for granted until it was too late.

After reading those entries, Eileen felt a sense of peace wash over her as if a missing piece had been snapped into place. She always felt like her mother had something left to tell her and now she wondered if the words written on those pages had been it. As a child, her mother's passing had left her feeling abandoned, but now that she was an adult it was time for her to realize that wasn't the truth. Still, she held in her heart the vow that if she and Lawrence ever had children, she would always be there for them as long as she was able.

She pushed the book aside and stood up from the vanity, happy and excited for the day ahead. She had awoken in her childhood bedroom for the last time and by tonight she would be Mrs. Lawrence Arrendale, officially and forever.

"Lucy, what are you doing?" Chloe asked as she walked into Lucy's house to find her very pregnant friend kneeling in front of a group of moving boxes.
As Lucy slowly pulled herself to standing and wiped her damp eyes, Chloe asked, "Are you alright?"

"Yes, I will be. I'm just packing a few things . . ." Lucy sighed. "It's so hard. I've lived in this house my whole life. My grandparents lived here before that. There's so many memories here, so much family history. I can't imagine this house not belonging to us anymore. It's been in my family for generations and I thought it would be for generations to come."

"I'm so sorry, Lucy. I can't believe they would make you sell it. How on earth could that judge have thought Craig was entitled to half of it?"

"I have no idea. It was that stupid lawyer. If Reese had been there or if I'd been allowed to postpone the hearing at least until I could talk with another lawyer ahead of time, I know I would have gotten a better deal."

"Isn't there anything you can do?"

"Not really. Craig did contact me afterwards and offered to set up a payment arrangement if I wanted to keep the house, but I wasn't going to do that. I'm not going to pay him to stay in my own home. Besides, the more I can separate myself from him, the better."


"The more I think about it, the more I think it might be for the best. Or at least I've been trying to convince myself that it might be for the best."

"How is that?"

"I'm now a single mom, soon to be of two, with no job, no savings, and I had to drop out of medical school. I can't afford this place and I can't afford to keep up appearances anymore. My kids have to come first. This place is too big anyway. I have to find something smaller, more manageable, for my kids' sake. I just hope my share of the money from selling the house is enough to keep us going until I can get back on my feet," Lucy said, a hint of doubt creeping into her voice.

"You can do it. I know you can, Lucy. It won't be easy, I'm sure, but if you need anything, anything at all, call me anytime. I'm always here for you."

"Thank you, Chloe. You don't know how much that means to me."

"I'd start by helping you pack, but we've got a wedding to go to. Eileen will be waiting for us."

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