Charmed I'm Sure
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Publisher: Bluefoot Press
Date of Publication: November 18, 2014
Number of pages: 252
Cover Artist: Robin Forsythe
Laugh Out Loud Funny... With Just a Touch of Magic
One minute Maxine Henley is the happy bride-to-be and the next she’s the girl who gets dumped over the phone. Max has never believed in magic and fairy’s tales, but if wearing a love charm can warm her fiancé’s cold feet, she’s happy to stuff that little wooden heart next to her own and wait. The charm came with a promise that the right man will find her, guaranteed, but how can that happen when her teenage crush Sam O’Neal keeps getting in the way!
“Why the police?” Lucy asks, sitting up straighter, holding my hand tighter.
“Apparently my family had been chasing us for days. Once they realized we were gone, my dad was furious. Piled everyone into the car and headed out. My mom, my dad and my twin brother George, all hunting us down, determined to bring me home. They were passing through Lethbridge, no more than two hours behind us, when my dad fell asleep at the wheel. Police said he died instantly, and the rest of my family was in hospital. My mother told them we were runaways and the car was stolen. For some reason Susan’s dad confirmed the lie over the phone, and it didn’t take the local constabulary long to find us after that.
“No charges were laid, but Susan’s dad flew in to take her home and an officer was going to drive me to Lethbridge. Last time I saw her, I was sitting in the back of a cruiser watching her walk away and wondering how everything got so screwed up.”
“And your family?” Lucy asks.
“My mother was inconsolable. Not only had I put her in a full body cast, I had killed her love, her soulmate, the only man she would ever love. To make everything worse, I had left my brother with a gash from temple to chin on the left side of his beautiful face.” I look over at her. “To this day, my mother wears black and lies down each night with her hands folded on her chest, ready to go and be with my father. And my brother is an alcoholic who blames me for the scar that kept him from having a career in acting.”
All I can do is shrug because she might be right, but it doesn’t change a thing.
“And Susan? What happened to her?”
He set fire to her family’s shed, left garbage and worse in their mailbox and must have gone through ten dozen eggs in an effort to keep the windows streaked and dirty. I tried to stop him but he was like a crazy man and my mother was too bereft, too depressed to see that he was doing anything wrong. As far as she was concerned, that girl needed to pay for her part in the tragedy, and I never was sure if it was my mother or George who started sending death threats in the mail. But either way, the family packed up and moved away.
Lucy runs a thumb across the back of my hand. “And you?” she asks, gently pressing for more, as though she has nowhere else to be, and all the time in the world to spend with a tired old man.
“My mother talked to the foreman at the factory where my dad worked. Got him to hire me on, give me my dad’s old job.”
“What about school?”
“What about it? I had killed the breadwinner. It was up to me fill that role. There was no time for school. Just work during the day and a house to take care of at night and on weekends. Lawns to mow, snow to shovel, repairs to be done. For all intents and purposes, I became my father with all of the responsibilities and none of the power. I handed over my paycheques to my mother and that was that. My life, my future, was mapped out the moment my father crashed the car. There was nothing I could do to change it, not without hurting my family even more than I already had.”
“And if you had it to do over again? Would you make the same choices?”
I turn, find her watching me with the same intensity she had when she was standing on that milk crate, pretending to see the future. “If you’re asking whether or not I would take that road trip, the answer is yes. I have never regretted those days with Susan, and only wish there could have been more.”
“Yet you chose to let her go.”
“I chose to honour my obligations to my family.” I pull my hand away. “I couldn’t just walk away after taking everything from them.”
“I don’t know what kind of poison they’ve been feeding you all these years, but it’s clear to me that you did not kill your father. His obsession with finding you, with being obeyed is what killed him. Instead of helping you to see that, your mother played on the guilt, used you to fill the gaps in her own life. And your brother?” Lucy frowns and shakes her head. “Well he’s another thing altogether.”
“Perhaps, but it’s a bit late to change things now.”
I drag in my feet, prepare to stand up, but Lucy lays a hand on my arm, waits until I turn to look at her. “It’s never too late. You just have to decide what you want.”
A man drops a loonie in my lap on his way by. I’m not sure if it’s for a book or if he thinks I need it, but either way it makes me smile. I hold it up to Lucy. “I’ve decided to put this in the Pay What You Can jar, and then I’ll be on my way.”
She rises with me. “You’re going to let things go on as they are then. No dreams, no goals, no aspirations for yourself.”
“That doesn’t sound like the Jimmy I knew,” a woman behind me says.
The voice is familiar and I turn around, shade my eyes with my hands. The front door of the shop opens. The music is different now. Three Dog Night, and what might be a choir in there singing Joy to The World.
That must be the reason I think for even a moment that the woman in front of me is Susan.
I blink, give my head a shake and try again. Blond hair, brown eyes. Older yes, but the smile is the same. “Susan?”
She laughs. “It’s good to see you too, Jimmy.”
For the rest of the story, make sure to check out the other stops on the tour here.
Lynda Simmons is a writer by day, college instructor by night and a late sleeper on weekends. She grew up in Toronto reading Greek mythology, bringing home stray cats and making up stories about bodies in the basement. From an early age, her family knew she would either end up as a writer or the old lady with a hundred cats. As luck would have it, she married a man with allergies so writing it was.
With two daughters to raise, Lynda and her husband moved into a lovely two storey mortgage in Burlington, a small city on the water just outside Toronto. While the girls are grown and gone, Lynda and her husband are still there. And yes, there is a cat – a beautiful, if spoiled, Birman. If you’d like to read the legend of Birman cats click here. If you’d like a link to allergy relief, click here.
When she’s not writing or teaching, Lynda gives serious thought to using the treadmill in her basement. Fortunately, she’s found that if she waits long enough, something urgent will pop up and save her - like a phone call or an e-mail or a whistling kettle. Or even that cat just looking for a little more attention!
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