Welcome to this week’s Tuesday Tales. Summer’s still with us here in Eastern Ontario, and I for one hope we have at least another month of it. Autumn’s not far behind though since the maples have already started to turn red–not many of them, but enough to remind us that fall will be here sooner than we think.
Tuesday Tales are essentially a look at a work in progress. This weekly blog hop gives you insight into the heads of a few talented authors, and it always amazes me to find myself in such esteemed company. Thank you, Jean Joachim, for making this weekly event possible.
This week, I’m continuing with my new contemporary paranormal entitled Same Time Next Year and this week’s word is BUSINESS. I hope you enjoy today’s scene, which continues where last week’s ended.
“Do you want me to pull over so you can stretch?” Lana asked, breaking into her thoughts. “It looks like there’s a snack trailer over there. We’ve been in the car for more than two hours since the last stop.”
“Around here, they call them chip trucks. They sell French fries and probably poutine now, too.” Twyla laughed. “I can’t imagine my mother ever eating fries smothered in beef gravy and fresh cheese curds.” She shook her head. “Mother was always complaining about her weight. She would certainly have given Billie a run for her money in that department. If you don’t need to get out to stretch then neither do I. I’m anxious to get there and settle in. As strange as it sounds, the closer we get, the younger I feel, almost as if this place is rejuvenating me.”
Lana laughed. “I think it’s knowing you won’t be under Mom’s eagle eye for four whole weeks that’s doing that.”
Twyla chuckled. “You’re probably right. Thanks again for doing this. I realize our escape is mutually beneficial, but don’t worry about me. Once I start writing, I’ll be fine. Did you get hold of your friends?”
Lana signaled a left turn and slowed the vehicle. Once she was on the country lane, recently paved Twyla noticed, her granddaughter looked at her, an impish grin in place.
“I might’ve let Dillon know I would be in the area. He’s working at the American Embassy for the summer. He’s staying at his cousin’s—Max got him the job—and says I can crash there if I can make it to Ottawa. His sister, Rachel, is staying there, too. You do realize Mom will have a fit if she finds out what we’ve done.”
Twyla pursed her lips. She loved her daughter, really she did. She’d been her whole life for much of it, but at times Billie was even more overbearing than William could be. “Your mother has been having one fit after another for as long as I can remember. She means well, but she’s too much like your grandfather, needing to be in complete control of her environment at all times. She has to let go of both of us. Despite what she thinks, Billie can’t live the rest of my life for me and she can’t live yours. What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.”
Lana shook her head. “When you put it that way, I can almost feel sorry for her. She’s been hounding me about where I’m going to live in Cambridge. I want to get into one of the big sororities, but if she’s around, I won’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of doing so.” She snorted. “Dad’s promised to take her to Europe with him on his business trip at the beginning of September. The only thing she likes better than sticking her nose into my life is shopping. Now, tell me the real reason we’re going to this resort.”
Twyla smiled as the weight of years of broken promises seemed to slip from her shoulders.
“There’s no secret to that, sweetie. I promised someone I would come back.” She sighed. “Circumstances beyond my control have kept me away, but not any longer.” She let the memories engulf her.
“My mother was born in Kingston, Ontario and moved to New Jersey when she married my father. As a girl, she would come here for a month each summer, and once my brother Ethan and I were old enough to travel, she decided to continue the tradition. Father drove us up, stayed a couple of nights, and then drove back home. He rarely took any time away from work. He saw it as his sworn duty to make that Studebaker dealership the largest one in the state. Truth be told, he was such a quiet man that being alone without Mom to harp on him and Ethan and I underfoot was all the rest he needed. When our month was up, he would come back for us.”
“A Studebaker dealership? Wow. I saw one of those cars at that antique car show in Newark. Too bad they went belly-up. That must’ve been tough.”
Twyla closed her eyes. Tough wasn’t a strong enough word for it. Vacationing at The Colonel’s Inn had been an annual thing until that last year when fate had conspired to destroy her only chance at love and happiness.
“Gramma?” Lana asked, looking over quickly. “Are you okay? That sigh came from your toes.”
“I’m fine. I was lost in thought. When you get to be my age, you have a lot of memories, but not all of them are good ones. My last visit here ended just three days before my brother was killed in Viet Nam. Your Uncle Ethan was three years older than I was and against father’s wishes, he dropped out of business school and joined the army. Father was furious and said terrible things to him the night before he deployed. I’m sure he regretted them, but that was before the Internet and world-wide connectivity. He never got to apologize and took his only son’s death hard. While I didn’t know about his financial problems–apparently, he’d sunk everything into the dealership and Studebaker stocks–I knew something was wrong. A few weeks later, Studebaker announced it had gone into bankruptcy. Losing everything right after Ethan was just too much for him, and his heart gave out. My mother was bitter—I don’t think she ever forgave him for what she claimed was wishing himself to death. Left with nothing but a pile of debts, she turned to my Uncle Sherman who took control. Within the month, he’d sold everything we had and we moved to Newark. Aunt Agnes introduced me to your grandfather, and William and I were married six weeks later. Thanks to his generosity, Mother returned to the lifestyle she wanted, and I concentrated on being a good wife.”
“How romantic.” Lana sighed. “It must’ve been love at first sight.”
“Love at first sight?” The words were bitter on her tongue. “Sweetheart, while I came to care for your grandfather, our marriage was more of a business arrangement to settle the last of your grandfather’s debts than a love match. As heir to his father’s law firm, William required a wife to satisfy the other partners, and I needed stability. Uncle Sherman saw it as an advantageous match for both of us.”
Lana raised the corner of her upper lip. “You mean you were sold off to him to pay debts? That’s gross!”
“It wasn’t that bad. William and I got along famously and had twenty-five satisfying years together.”
But they’d been lonely years. William had been a kind and attentive man, but he’d never claimed her heart just as she’d never had his.
“Lana, don’t feel sorry for me. I’ve had a good life, and I certainly don’t regret it. Without your grandfather’s support, I would never have become an author. People don’t always marry for love and passion. William and I were content, and your mother brought us both great joy. Had he lived, he would’ve doted on you, too.”
Lana smiled, but her eyes were shadowed with sadness. “If you say so. Who did you make the promise to?”
That’s it for this week! Don’t forget to check out all the other posts on Tuesday Tales.