by author 1975
Here's a sneak preview of my fourth book which is in the process of being written.
| Chapter 1|
Caitlyn threw herself on the couch and yawned. She had forgotten how tiring it was to move into a new place. Looking around she smiled. This apartment sure beat her very first abode fourteen years earlier. Her new apartment was ten times bigger than that first one. Gone were the tiny rooms and outdated appliances; in their place were big rooms and wonderful modern appliances. She especially loved the warm; open feeling that welcomed you coming through the door. The kitchen was one of her favorite areas, with the cozy little breakfast nook that really made the room for her. It was modern, yet very homey at the same time. Another favorite was her new bedroom. The violet walls drew her in, and she loved the big closest. Most especially she admired the bathroom that was attached to it with everything she needed included in it.
The past was still a part of her life, but she had learned how do deal with it over the years. Caitlyn remembered being so scared and alone after she cut herself off from her parents. That part of her past haunted Caitlyn the most. It still amazed her to think that meeting one boy changed her life so much.
Everything changed when she met Christian. One look into his dreamy blue eyes and she was a goner. The fact that he was two year older, made him all that more appealing. Falling in love with him seemed like the most natural thin in the world. For a while she believed they would eventually get married.
He kept talking about how much he loved me, so how could I not think we had a future. How was I supposed to know he was using it to get me into bed? Who knew I would get pregnant my first and only time?
Caitlyn remembered feeling like such a fool for ever believing that he actually loved her, but by the time she realized the truth it was too late. Christian was moving out of town to go to college, leaving her with an unplanned pregnancy.
I was so scared when the test was positive, she thought. Of course Christian didn’t want anything to do with it. He acted like it was my fault, and told me to get an abortion.
Caitlyn wasn’t religious, but it felt wrong to kill something so precious.
The night she told her parents about the baby would forever haunt Caitlyn. She waited till it was unavoidable. Everything changed after that night. Just thinking about it took her back.
Caitlyn could feel her rapid heartbeat as she stood before her parents, preparing to break her news to them. Never in her life had she thought this conversation would happen. How would they react when she told them about the pregnancy? She was about to find out.
“Mom, dad I have something to tell you. Have you noticed how preoccupied I have been lately? Well there is a reason for that other than Christian dumping me. I didn’t tell you the whole story. There’s one more thing you need to know. It wasn’t planned, but…I’m also pregnant with his child.”
Patrick could only stare at his daughter in shock. His shock soon turned to anger. How could she betray us this way? Haven’t we always taught her not to act rashly? Now she turns up pregnant and expects us to accept it.
“This is unacceptable Caitlyn. How could you make such a big mistake? I thought we taught you better. Just look at your mother; you made her cry. How can we ever trust you again?”
Caitlyn could only stare at her dad in horror. She had never seen him this angry, and it scared her a little bit. Surely he doesn’t think I did this on purpose, she thought. Christian was the one who used her, and left Caitlyn with a broken heart. They had to let her explain everything to them.
“But dad don’t you know I would never hurt you intentionally; it just happened. Please let me explain the situation to you. It’s not all my fault that this happened.”
Caitlyn’s words only increased his anger. Was she implying they were partly to blame for her actions?
“Are you blaming us now? We sure didn’t tell you to go out and sleep with your boyfriend. There is nothing to explain.”
“But dad I didn’t mean it that way…”
Her father’s angry voice interrupted her before she could go on.
“I don’t want to hear anything more from you young lady. This child will never be accepted into this family. You will either give it up for adoption, or get out of my house. Now go up to your room. I don’t want to see you again tonight.”
Caitlyn abruptly brought her thoughts back to the present. It hurt too much to remember that awful night. Nothing was ever the same again. Caitlyn found reasons to stay after school, or arranged to go home with a friend. The tension at home was stifling and it just got worse as her pregnancy progressed.
They saw my son as a mistake from the beginning, and he was they’re own flesh and blood, she thought sadly.
In the end adoption was the only choice to make. Even though she hated the thought of it the decision had been taken out of her hands and by the time something changed it was too late. Her child was officially adopted and nothing could bring him back.
Tears filled Caitlyn’s vivid, green eyes as she thought of her son. She remembered how bittersweet his birth was. Holding him for the very first time and knowing she would have to give him up. Saying goodbye was the hardest thing she had ever done; and then her little boy with his head full of blond hair and beautiful green eyes so like her own was gone. The only thing she had left to remember him by was a snapshot the nurse took of them.
Caitlyn’s parents let her down yet again that day. They stood at a distance watching her suffer and made no attempt to help. In their eyes she brought this upon herself. How many times had she heard that in the last six months? It took all her strength not to yell at them, but her sister Abby was in the room, and she had already suffered enough. It was the last straw. Caitlyn knew then she had to break away from them.
That last confrontation with them still haunted her. Caitlyn regretted losing her temper, but they had pushed her over the edge. How was she supposed to react when the two people she loved the most didn’t care that their child was hurting. After Abby left everything came bursting out before she could stop it.
“Do you know just how much you have hurt me? For so long I have loved and respected you, and the one time I make a mistake you turn your back on me like I am nothing to you. Do you think I wanted to get pregnant at seventeen? Didn’t you hear me talking about how much I was looking forward to college? You never once let me tell my side of the story, jut assumed the worst. Can you imagine what it was like to think that someone loved me and then find out he was just using me all along, that our child meant nothing to him”
Breaking down, Caitlyn fought to control her emotions.
“Christian wanted me to kill him. I thought you would at least be on my side, but imagine my surprise when you immediately thought of him as a mistake that needed to be written off. No, you didn’t want me to abort him, but boy did you want him out of our family. He wasn’t good enough to even rate that. All those months you pressured me to put my child up for adoption, until that was my only option. How could I raise him all by myself? What mother wants her child to grow up knowing that his father didn’t want him, let alone his own grandparents? Letting him go is the hardest thing I have ever had to do and you stand back and don’t lift a finger to help me.”
Burying her face in her hands, she sobbed. This was so much harder than she thought it would be. She tried to prepare herself, but nothing compared with the emptiness of her heart. Caitlyn gathered up her courage and resolve to finish.
“My heart is broken, and it hurts to know that I can’t even trust my own parents to be there for me. Abby shouldn’t have had to deal with comforting me. She’s only fourteen years old and that’s way too young to have to grow up. Don’t you see you’re not just hurting me?”
Grace felt her heartbeat quicken as she realized everything Caitlyn had been through. Tears filled her deep, blue eyes as she let it sink in. She remembered what it was to be in love for the first time and have your heart broken. Her mother was there for her and she had failed to be there when her own child went through the same thing. Why had they refused to listen to her side? How could they let their daughter down so badly; especially when she needed them the most? Gone was the overwhelming anger filling her heart, and in its place was a sadness that broke it instead. She was so ashamed of the way they handled everything, especially when it came to their grandson. They had thought about a grandchild; there was a time she used to dream about the day one of her girl’s would make her a grandmother. Now she finally was one and had thrown away any chance to know him. Nervously she glanced over at her daughter. She couldn’t blame Caitlyn for holding a grudge.
Squeezing his wife’s hand, Patrick ran a hand through his thick, brown hair. I sure missed up this time, he thought. How could I let my temper get in the way when Caitlyn needed me so much? Her heart is breaking and it’s all my fault. How can she ever look at us the same again?
There had to be a way to make things right between them.
“Oh sweetheart, can you ever forgive us? I never realized just how much we were hurting you ‘til now. I’ve been so angry since you broke the news that I blocked out any other response. I couldn’t believe any child of mine could ever say those words to me. If I could go back things would be so different. Please give us a chance to make this up to you.”
Caitlyn couldn’t believe her ears. They were actually apologizing, but sadly it was too late. It could take years to forgive them, if she ever did. There was too much water under the bridge for her to stay. She realized that it was possible for her heart to break even more.
“I’m sorry dad, but it’s too late. You can’t go back and fix things. My baby is gone and you made that happen. Even though I might be able to forgive you, I can’t trust you anymore, and I don’t know if I ever will. Don’t make the same mistake with Abby. She needs you to be there for her no matter what. As for me, I’ll have my stuff out of the house as soon as possible. Now I would like you both to leave. I cannot deal with much more today.”
True to her word, Caitlyn moved out a week later. She walked away with everything she owned, but left her heart behind. Even though they had hurt her it was impossible to hate them. Caitlyn still loved her parents, but she couldn’t be with them anymore. Leaving Abby behind was one of her biggest regrets. They had such a special bond and Caitlyn knew she could always count on Abby to be there for her. Thankfully over the next four years her parents let Caitlyn see her sister as much as she wanted.
Looking back she could see things differently. Even though she hated to admit it, Caitlyn knew the decision to give her child up was the right one. Her parents, even though they were acting in anger, were right to urge her to consider adoption. At eighteen she was too young to raise a child even with help. What kind of mother would she be if all she did was work to support them leaving her zero time with her child? He had the life she could not give him, along with two parents who loved him. Sometimes she found herself thinking about him at the oddest times, wondering where he was and how he was doing. It was comforting to know that a part of her would live on in her now teenage son. She still wanted to find him some day, but for now she was content with the way her life was going.
Caitlyn was definitely bringing more into this new apartment than she had the first one all those years ago. She had come a long way in the last fourteen years. Somehow she overcame all of the obstacles in her way, even finding a way to go to college. She had graduated with a business degree six years earlier.
A small advertising company gave her a good start at a career. Getting hired right after graduation was a thrill. Her work was rewarding, but the long hours got to her sometimes. There was also a lot of responsibility that came with it. As a traffic coordinator she was much in demand. There were ad productions to schedule, deadlines and revisions to track. But her most important job was to bring projects to a close as quickly as possible, using the talents and time of employees efficiently. There were lots of records to keep, including revisions. Within three years she was living in a better apartment and most of her college loan was paid off. By the time she got noticed by a bigger agency earlier this year Caitlyn was completely out of debt and started a good savings account. She wouldn’t have to worry about the future as much, and was even thinking of furthering her education. Caitlyn wanted to learn more about advertising.
One of the things she regretted was the fact that no relationship she had been in over the years succeeded. Even though she had long ago forgiven him, her relationship with Christian scarred Caitlyn’s heart. She always found herself holding back when things got more serious, ultimately destroying any chance of happily ever after. It wasn’t as if she didn’t want things to work out, Caitlyn was afraid to let herself fall in love again. Look what it cost her the first time around. She still wasn’t close to her parents even after fourteen years. Caitlyn had forgiven them, but was never able to forget what they had put her through.
On a positive note, Caitlyn’s life wasn’t so lonely anymore. She had close friends and now that she was older, Abby spent more time with her. Her sister had grown into a beautiful woman. Caitlyn loved the way her blue eyes sparkled when she got excited about something, and the glow her shiny brown hair got when she stood in the sun. At twenty-eight, Abby was married with a family of her own. She had been blessed to find Daniel. He was a wonderful husband and father.
Caitlyn always found time in her busy schedule to spend time with them and would still continue to do so even though she lived four hours apart from them now. She especially loved the time she spent with her nephew and nieces. Five-year-old Damon’s impish smile drew her in every time. She adored the way his hazel eyes glowed when he accomplished something new. He was starting Kindergarten in the fall. The twins Gracie and Catherine just celebrated their first birthday. They were identical, but it was easy to tell them apart. Gracie had a contagious smile that was irresistible, but Catherine’s smile was more mischievous. She could always tell when the little girl was about to get into trouble. Even at a year old they knew how to get their way. All they had to do was look up at her with their expressive blue eyes, and she was a goner.
Her life had recently changed in another positive way. Getting to know her brother-in-law, who just happened to be a preacher, gave her something she never expected. For so long she wondered what the Christian life was all about. Growing up her parents never took them to church, but most of her friends attended. Thanks to Daniel’s patience, she now knew firsthand what it was like to be a Christian. The moment she got saved everything changed. For the first time in her life, Caitlyn felt loved unconditionally. God loved her even with all the flaws, and failures. Gone was the empty void that once filled her with so much fear and doubt. God had swallowed it up and given her the peace Caitlyn so desperately needed. It was like being set free after so many years of bondage. She had been reading her Bible every night, and with Daniel’s help she was starting to learn more about her newfound faith. She would miss being able to talk to him face to face, but they agreed to still find time to meet.
Getting saved didn’t mean that she was doubt-free though. There were still fleeting moments of doubt, especially when it came to her past. Would she ever be able to have a serious relationship? Who would want damaged goods? Caitlyn’s son was proof of it, and even if she had stayed away from it ever since, that reputation would stay with her forever. She would always be known as the girl who gave into temptation and paid for it with the loss of her son. Caitlyn knew if she ever got into a serious relationship that it would have to come out. She could never knowingly lie to someone that way, especially if she loved them. There was still so much to work out, but she was slowly making her way past it. She knew it would take time and counseling before she could fully let it go. At least now she was admitting it was going to be a problem. Maybe that’s why all the other relationships failed. Look how Jeremy reacted when she told him. That was the one fatal relationship that wasn’t her fault, but then again it was the first one after Christian. Thankfully she walked away with only a bruised heart.
The phone ringing broke her train of thought. Caitlyn reached for her cell phone and smiled when her sister’s voice came over the line.
Smiling, she teasingly said, “It’s about time you called me. You were supposed to call yesterday. I’ve been wondering what could have distracted you.”
Abby laughed at her sister’s words. Caitlyn never fails to make me laugh, she thought. Even when we were kids she had way of doing it. I am sure going to miss having her nearby.
Pushing aside the thought, she concentrated on the conversation. They would still see each other often.
“Don’t use that line on me sister dear. You know what distracted me. It is the same thing that always does. Damon has been full of questions as usual and the twins are even more demanding since they started walking. Of course Daniel is always a distraction, but then again I am bias. Enough about me, I want to hear about you now. How is the moving going? I know you hate that part of a new place.”
Caitlyn smiled at the thought of her nephew and nieces. She indeed knew first hand how they kept Abby busy. It was rare to have a moment to themselves when the kids were home. Caitlyn would never have time alone with her sister if Daniel didn’t take them out sometimes, and yes his good looks could be a distraction.
“Just hearing you say that makes me miss the kids even more. Thankfully I am coming for the weekend. The move is tedious as usual but I love my new place. You have to come see it soon, Abby. It is so much bigger than the last one, and I even have my own bathroom.”
The excitement in her sister’s voice was contagious. It was wonderful to hear her sound so happy. There had been so many hard knocks over the years, but thankfully her sister overcame them.
“I am so happy for you, sis. It’s about time you got just the right place. Your apartment sounds wonderful. I just might have to convince Daniel to leave the kids with his mom some weekend, so we can come see you. You know she would love to have them all to herself for once. Are you nervous about starting work next week?”
“You can say that again. This agency is twice as big and promises to be way more complicated. They gave me a tour yesterday, and to say the least I am a little fish in a big pond now. It’s impossible not to have doubts.”
“You’re going to be just fine. Look at what you have already overcome. Besides, there is always doubt when it comes to a new job. You will get over them in no time. Before you know it, I will be hearing about how well this went, and how well that went.”
Caitlyn smiled at her sister’s words of encouragement. She always knew just what to say.
“Thanks for the pep talk. It always helps when I talk to you. Now, tell me what’s going on there, and don’t leave anything out. I want to hear about all of it.”
Caitlyn yawned as she poured a cup of coffee, and headed for the breakfast nook. Settling down on a stool she took a sip of the hot, steaming coffee. It filled her mouth with warmth and slid soothingly down her throat. She definitely needed the caffeine this morning. The long hours of unpacking were starting to catch up with her and she had several errands to run today, including a much-needed trip to the grocery store. Hopefully she could find her way around. She looked forward to exploring her new surroundings.
It would take a while to get used to living in the city. Caitlyn was a country girl at heart and this was a big change. She weighed the pros and cons before taking this new job, and ultimately decided it would be crazy to pass up such a good offer. Not only would she make more money it would give her a chance to let go of the past. Away from the constant reminders she was used to dealing with; just maybe Caitlyn could put it behind her once and for all.
The clock on the wall chimed, making her jump. Looking at her watch Caitlyn realized that the morning was getting away from her and she still had a lot to do. She set her now empty cup on the table and went about making breakfast. There wasn’t much to work with, but she made do with what she had. Caitlyn was used to compromising when it came to daily life.
All those years of struggling to survive taught me well, she thought. There were times I didn’t know how I was going to ever make it, but thankfully I made it through them. She was a much stronger person today, just for overcoming them.
Caitlyn poured another cup of coffee and turning off the pot headed for the door. With her car keys in hand she headed down the stairs that led to the parking lot. She would have to get used to them since her apartment was on the second floor of the complex. Caitlyn had neighbors all around her. This apartment was different than any other she had.
The drive to town sped by as she listened to the Christian music Caitlyn was quickly becoming accustomed to. As a new Christian she wasn’t used to some of the things it entailed. Music was one of the things she found hard to change at first. Caitlyn was used to much different music.
As she approached town her new choice of music was forgotten. Caitlyn took in her new surroundings in wonder. She had only a glimpse of things the day before, but now the full implications of living in a city hit her. Caitlyn was definitely out of her element here.
The first thing Caitlyn noticed was the bumper-to-bumper traffic that went for miles and miles. People were beeping their horns in frustration, and all around her were taxis and city buses mixed in with the overflowing traffic. It was a daunting scene to behold.
Wow, she thought. I heard how bad traffic could be but nothing prepared me for what I see before me. Just look at all the different kinds of vehicles. I have seen taxi’s before, but never this many in one place. This will take some getting used to.
Looking around she took in more sites. All around her were some of the biggest buildings she ever saw. Most of them had signs indicating they were businesses. At home she was lucky to find any store close together that would provide her with every need but here there seemed to be just about everything in arms reach here. The streets were packed with people hurrying here and there. Never in her life had she saw so many people in one place.
Noting the library, she memorized its location. Caitlyn loved to read and planned on checking out books regularly. They might even have the books I needed to learn more about advertising, she thought. It would be fun to explore every nook and cranny. Who knew what she could find in such a modern library.
It took a while but she finally located the grocery store. Caitlyn pulled into the parking lot, not knowing what to expect inside. She was surprised to find the store packed with people. It was a relief to come out of the store half an hour later. She would have to explore and find a grocery store closer to home. Caitlyn quickly went about her other errands, getting lost several times along the way. Everywhere she went there were large crowds, but thankfully Caitlyn found everything she needed. It was definitely embarrassing getting lost.
Getting into her car and starting it up Caitlyn yawned. Thankfully her errands were finally done. It would be nice to get away from the crowd. The day was quickly catching up with her. Her town adventure alone left her feeling tired.
Who knew it would take so long just to run a few errands, she thought wryly. I am so glad to be headed home. Next time I will be more prepared.
She was thankful to see that traffic had eased up. The lights of the city soon faded away. Switching on her music, Caitlyn settled back and took a sip of her much needed coffee. The music went a long way in relaxing her easing the tension in Caitlyn’s shoulders.
Caitlyn was almost home when something caught her eye. The brightly lit cross on the small white church with its stain glassed windows seemed to draw her in reminding Caitlyn of home. The church itself was small and she liked that it didn’t overwhelm her senses.
The church in town was almost daunting, she thought. The huge windows, and elegant doors; not to mention the fact that it is ten times bigger just didn’t appeal to me. This one is so much more appealing. I will have to make a point to go one Sunday.
She was just a few blocks from her apartment when Caitlyn noticed a small grocery store. It was another reminder of home, and she bet the prices were much cheaper.
Now this is what I’m used to, she thought. I would much prefer it to the gourmet food store. They charge an arm and a leg for everything. I spent more on groceries than I ever have today.
It was a relief when her apartment came into view. Now she had to carry everything up those stairs. Caitlyn was more than ready to sit down by the time she had everything in the apartment, and put away. It was definitely time for bed.