Avendale Legacy: A Story of Love, Loss, and Hope - Discontinued due to glitch
Rebecca Avendale was born unlucky. Lydia and Fletcher were both ambitious workaholics who cared little for anything other than their careers. Though they had been married since they were young adults, they cared little for each other as well. They both agreed that they made good partners and could help each other achieve their lifetime desires and figured staying together would be beneficial. This was true especially for Lydia. An aspiring politician, she could certainly see the advantage to being married to rich Fletcher Avendale. His inheritance along with the money from his company would go a long way towards backing her in campaigns.
Once Lydia had been named governor, she began polling her constituents and found that her majority was with single, business women who identified with her. Living in Sunset Valley, this was a good thing since many women were independent, but there was still an entire market of families to be tapped, especially if she wanted to become much more influential. It was at that time that Lydia decided she should have a child. By procreating, Lydia could make herself more marketable and receive more votes around the nation.
Shortly after, Rebecca was born. A beautiful baby girl brought into the family amid smiles and joyous pictures and professionally created baby announcements. However, behind closed doors her parents were indifferent to her existence. No, they weren’t cruel; she had everything she needed, except love. Rebecca was just another accessory in the lives of two ruthless and determined individuals.
When she was 12, Lydia, now Leader of the Free World, and Fletcher decided to take a trip to Al-Simhara to foster good relationships between countries. While there, they selected a site seeing tour of the Great Sphinx. It was supposed to be safe. Sure, there had been some accidents, but few casualties among the tombs of Egypt but they never planned on getting separated from their guide and having little idea of how to get out.
Lydia saw an opening, or so she thought, and attempted to cross it to make it to the door. Unfortunately, she quickly caught flame. Fletcher, seeing his wife on fire went into shock for a moment before attempting to rescue her. He too quickly caught flame and later, the guide found their bones among ashes.
Regrettably, the Avendale fortune was left to various scholarships and charities throughout Sunset Valley. Rebecca had nothing and was forced to live with her father’s Aunt Esther who despised children. Esther was a grumpy, penny pinching woman who had never wanted children and resented the fact that she would now be forced to raise some other person’s brat, family notwithstanding. She chopped all of Rebecca’s hair off to save money on shampoo and sold all of her books to “cover” her room and board. Rebecca spent most of her teen years either embroiled in arguments with her aunt or hiding in the great outdoors with a borrowed library book. She often dreamed of her prince charming coming to rescue her as she sat alone in the woods, reading of the fairy tales of beautiful women.
5 years after the tragic end to her parents, Aunt Esther died of old age, or some say bitterness. In her resentment, even from the grave, Esther left Rebecca nothing. Her entire fortune went to her cat so Rebecca was again left penniless. As a final parting, she went to the cemetery and danced on Esther’s grave.
She swore to herself that, this time, she would not allow herself to depend on anyone. She started camping out here and there, sometimes at the library, sometimes in the woods. She was left to dig for scraps in the dumpster behind the diner for her dinner and to bath at the gym.
She got a part time job at the bookstore where she could read and practice writing during slow times and also make enough money to support herself.
Rebecca now dreamed of becoming a professional author, to give hope to children and people around the world and give them friends, just like the only ones she had ever had. She finally saved enough money to leave Sunset Valley forever. Even though she still aspired to be rescued by her prince charming, she believed, never having truly been loved before, that love was not for her. Her dreams to prosper and write somewhere else were dreams enough. So she packed up and left for Twinbrook, a quiet community where no one would know her.
Upon arriving in Twinbrook, Rebecca discovered the most adorable plot of land for sale.
The price was quite high but it was in a good neighborhood and the view from the property was to die for. She bought it and built a small shack in the corner of the lot. She had no visitors arrive to welcome her so it was wholly clear that the neighbors were not pleased with her use of the property.
Unfortunately, the cost of building materials was MUCH more expensive than Rebecca had planned on. After erecting the walls of her 3x4 square shack, she had just enough money left over to buy a cheap bed which left §17 left to her name. She would have to get a job and just write on the side since she would need to feed herself.
She traipsed down to the local library to make use of the computers. The rooms were glorious, filled with rich wood bookshelves and tons and tons of books: hardback, paperback, biographies, encyclopedias, self-help books and novels. She couldn’t resist the temptation to read and sat down to enjoy a story.
When she got halfway through, she was suddenly struck with the urge to write so she began practicing her composition skills. Finally, when she noticed it was nearly noon, she gasped and quickly pulled up the wanted ads. A job in the science track seemed decent; after checking the map, she realized it was close to home and paid §44 an hour. “I’ll take it,” she thought to herself, clicking on ‘accept’.
She wandered over to the community gardens to view the lush display of plant life since it was on her way home. Once reaching the gardens, she discovered tomatoes and apples and lettuce and all other types of foods growing. Her stomach growled and she was reminded how hungry she was. Quickly glancing around, she started harvesting as many vegetables she could get her hands on.
Afterwards, she used the restroom to clean up a bit. Alas, washing her hands and brushing her teeth did little to get rid of the stench. She finally headed home around midnight, feeling rather defeated. She fell into bed and went right to sleep.
At 7 the next morning, she bolted awake, still exhausted but remembering it was her first day of work. As she dressed she realized just how awful she smelled. She darted to the local pool to shower, hoping no one would notice just how much she utilized the community buildings but still managed to end up being an hour late to work. Her work performance was horrific leaving her quite stressed but at least she made some money and was fed.
After work, she hurried home to, hopefully, get enough sleep to be well rested and on time for her next day of work. After a nap, she planted some of the vegetables to make her own little garden and even managed to gain a skill point. Even after she watered her plants in her delicates she still hadn't received a welcome to the neighborhood.
She then read the paper for a bit and went to sleep. Maybe once she got the hang of things, she would have time to work on her writing and make some friends.
The next day, she managed to get to work on time, even after a shower at the pool. She met with some of her colleagues and was even trusted with an assignment. Granted, it was only cleaning dishes so they would have a better probability of vanished, but it was a start. Unluckily, as she tends to be, she busted the sink.
Needless to say, she was frustrated and in serious need of some entertainment by the time she got done washing those dishes.
She headed home, tired and irritated until she realized she had enough money to buy some new things for her home! First order of business: a shower. She wanted a bookshelf so she could finally read at home but had to choose between the two. Rebecca, though a bookworm, realized the practicality of having a shower at home and settled on that, along with a notebook that she could start writing in. Finally, things were starting to look up!
The next few days continued monotonously, same thing every day. Wake up, water her plants, go to work, come home, take a nap, work on her writing, and go to sleep. One day, after she had saved a little bit of money, Rebecca decided to head down to the shops to get a gardening book. Going in the bookstore, she realized the shopkeeper was selling the first volume for §350. “Absolutely not! I don’t even own my own toilet,” she muttered to herself.
Empty handed, she decided to walk back home. She passed the town center and the bistro, the consignment shop, meandered past the art gallery, and towards the fire station. Because her parents were rumored to have died by fire, Rebecca decided to stop in and see if she could get any home fire safety tips. There she met Goodwin, a local aspiring firefighter. They chatted for hours about books and the outdoors and just getting to know each other. It would be nice to finally have a friend around town. Finally, at 11, she headed home.
The next day, things started turning around. She helped her boss, Charmaine, with a research project and was asked to read a book on mutation before her next shift. Finally some luck had given her the opportunity to improve her performance while doing something she liked. The book actually turned out to be quite interesting as well.
Goodwin also called to let her know that he had a contact in the publishing company and may be able to help her increase her royalties. Work was even better the next day and she felt that she was close to a promotion. What a great way to start the weekend!
Friday afternoon, she headed home to take a nap. She was in the mood to go out and have a good time. Maybe she would even invite Goodwin. When she finished getting ready, she rang him up but he already had a prior engagement. She decided that she was going to go anyway. She headed over to Carl’s and danced and even ordered some bar food. The place was nowhere near hopping but the view of the bayou reminded her of why she had chosen Twinbrook in the first place.
Saturday dawned bright and early. Rebecca watered her plants, which were growing rather nicely and then headed into town.
She ran into Goodwin at the art gallery. She invited him out but he had to get ready for his shift. She headed over to the fire station with him to keep him company. They played video games and talked some more.
Later that night, as she was getting ready to leave, she found herself in an awkward situation.
"Goodwin, you are an amazing guy. We have so much in common and I really think that we would be a great couple," she confessed, her heart beating so loudly in her chest that she was sure that he would be able to hear it.
"Rebecca, I'm sorry but I am with Jenni. I would love to keep seeing you though, as friends".
On Monday, Rebecca was promoted! She was able to extend her home to a 4x5 shack now and had even added a bookshelf, table and chair, and her very own toilet! She headed over to the fire station to tell Goodwin about it. When he touched her arm to congratulate her, she felt rapture and found herself gazing into his eyes.
He scolded her, reminding her of his relationship. If she wasn’t careful she might ruin this friendship.
The next day, she headed back to the fire station. It was like an addiction, one she knew was bad for her but could not resist anyway, like chocolate. Maybe it was the lab coat today or maybe Goodwin was finally willing to admit he had feelings for her.
"I'm glad you came today. I was hoping you would".
"Yeah," she asked, rather dumbfounded after yesterday.
"Yeah, you're a beautiful, smart woman and I don't think I would be happy if I couldn't see you," he replied, making her heart melt as he leaned in to her and embraced her.
There just never seemed to be enough time to get everything done in a day. Wednesday, after work, Rebecca headed home to shower before going to see Goodwin. Afterwards though, she felt exhausted and decided to take a nap. When she awoke, she realized that her plants her wilting and she needed to water and tend to her garden if she still wanted food to eat and produce to sell. She got halfway done and suddenly noticed how dark it was. It was midnight! And she still had a book to read for work!!! The carpool showed up the next morning and she still hadn’t read the book and half her plants were still dying.
Really in need of a good time, she called Goodwin and invited him to a movie.
"Hey, there, how are you doing," she asked.
"Fine," was his only response.
"I was thinking that it might be nice to go to a movie tonight."
"Sorry, I have a prior engagement. Call me in 18 hours," he responded and then hung up without saying goodbye.
“Another prior engagement,” she thought, “I wonder if he is feeling guilty about flirting with me Tuesday”. So, instead, Rebecca headed home to nap and work on a new novel. Maybe, if she became an acclaimed author, he would be proud of her and more willing to be with her instead of Jenni.
Finally, it was Friday again. Rebecca was able to read the book she was tasked to complete and maybe would be able to see Goodwin that weekend. After becoming friends with Charmaine, she decided to relax in the specimen closet and calm her nerves. After spending all day in the closet, Rebecca was awarded a promotion and, with her bonus, she had almost §3,000! Though she didn’t want to spend all of it, it was probably time to expand her house to make a small cottage with real rooms.
Ever the predictable one, she headed to the fire station to share her good news with Goodwin. He seemed happy to see her, giving her a sweet embrace.
"Sorry I couldn't make it to the movies, fire station stuff, you know."
"That's okay," she replied. "Crap, what I am thinking, tell him it's NOT okay," she screamed to herself, in her head only of course.
"I'm having a party at my house tonight. I really hope that you will come," he flashed his smile at her and she knew she would be there.
Just as they were about to share their first kiss, Jenni’s father walked around the corner! Maybe he would rush home and tell Jenni. Maybe he would kick Goodwin out of the house. Maybe, maybe, maybe. Rebecca hoped that this unfortunate event would actually end up in her favor.
She planned on asking Goodwin to leave Jenni that night. She hurried to shower and get ready before the party. She was going to have to look her best!
She showed up at the house and realized that it was massive. Who cares that it was Jenni’s house, not his? What did Rebecca have to offer Goodwin that could beat the luxury of this beautiful home?
She went upstairs to chat with some guests and found herself in a nursery. Goodwin had a child! He had a beautiful little girl with pigtails and his eyes. When it was just a partner, Rebecca could imagine that he was not happy at home and would rather be with her. Now, having grown up with basically no parents herself, there was no way she was going to pull this child’s father out of her life.
She slipped quietly downstairs, and left without introducing herself to anyone.
Instead of heading home, Rebecca wandered around town aimlessly, feeling ashamed of starting a relationship with someone who was clearly involved. As she wandered past some homes near the far side of town, she passed a man taking out the trash. He politely waved so she felt obligated to greet him.
“Hi, are you new to town? I don’t remember seeing you around before,” he greeted her with a smile.
“Yes, I haven’t been here long. My name is Rebecca. Rebecca Avendale.”
“Avendale…Avendale. Oh! You wrote that book. I actually found it to be quite amusing.”
“Wow, someone has actually read it,” she chuckled.
They continued their conversation for a while. She learned that his name was Justin, that he had grown up in Twinbrook and that he was a stylist but really had a passion for tinkering and hoped to invent the next big gadget someday.
She finally had a chance to expand on her house. She had a real bathroom now, with a door. Also a sink, fridge and a double bed helped add to the feeling that this was a real house now. She separated the ‘bedroom’ with a decorative divider. Maybe after more royalties or another promotion, she would be able to afford a stove and could start learning to cook.
She spent most of Saturday sleeping in and gardening. Later in the evening, after she had enjoyed a bowl of canned soup from her own kitchen, she decided to work on her science fiction novel. Around midnight, she was finally ready to call it a night. Much to her dismay, a few hours later, a burglar came! She was able to call the cops who arrived just in time to capture the degenerate.
Sunday afternoon, she and Justin decided to catch a matinee. First date? It seemed too early to tell and though Justin seemed single, she wasn’t so sure she was ready to trust him yet.
Afterwards, they got a late lunch/early dinner at the nearby bistro.
Then, they dressed up and headed over to the Old Ebbitt Lounge for some drinks and dancing. They had a fantastic time and even became good friends throughout the day.
Maybe, even though she wasn’t initially interested in romance, someone like Justin, who she had fun with and could actually do things in town with, would be a good choice for love.
After work on Monday, Rebecca finally developed enough courage to confront Goodwin and ask if they could just go back to being friends. He did not take it well.
After a few minutes though, he realized it was for the best and they discovered they were both hopeless romantics. It seems that after Jenni had the baby, she no longer was interested in Goodwin. Though no excuse, he at least discovered that looking for love elsewhere wouldn’t make him happy. So back to friends it was and Rebecca felt relieved to close that chapter of her life.
The next day, at the water cooler, Rebecca heard that Justin was involved with a woman named Kat. Although she had never told him how she was feeling, she was rather devastated. She decided to go to Carl’s that night to get her mind off things. After 1 drink and some writing, she called Justin to invite him out, just as friends. He told her that he was busy. “Not this again,” she groaned silently. She had a couple more drinks and then found herself wobbling over to Justin’s house.
Once she was there she chatted with him about, trying to build up some more courage, since the liquid kind didn’t seem to be enough. She asked him his sign and found out they were compatible and finally confessed her feelings. He seemed to feel the same way though he did admit to being with Kat. He invited her to stay over. In the middle of the night, somehow, they ended up cuddling.
When she awoke, she ran straight to work. “Oh, no! Not again, what am I going to do” she moaned to herself!
She resolved that she would not allow the situation to continue as it had with Goodwin. She invited Justin over that night and asked him to break up with Kat.
“It’s only fair,” she reasoned, “especially knowing you have feelings for me”.
He agreed, called Kat up and broke it off and immediately asked Rebecca to go steady. They shared their first kiss that night and he stayed over, although, once again, it was just cuddling.
Maybe this relationship would have a happier ending.
LadyAwesome - I know, right?!?!? Actually, he was single when they first were flirting but she didn't ask him to go steady so he started dating someone else the next day. He moved quick but she nipped it in the bud!
Kathleen_Anne - It's one that I am playing now. No idea what's more than a few chapters ahead.
On Thursday, after spending the previous evening with Justin, Rebecca was pleasantly surprised to be offered a promotion. Though she still dreamed of becoming an author, she was quite good at what she did and was enjoying working in the science lab. With her bonus, she was able to start adding to her kitchen and also reupholster and paint the furniture she already had. Her home was becoming more cozy with each simolean she made.
Friday rolled around again. She went to the promenade and stared out over the water, thinking of her decisions and how she had arrived at this place in her life. How had it been so long since she had moved to this town? Granted, she had made it to a decent level within her job field but her writing was really failing. Her relationship with Justin was still in the new stages and she had heard through the grapevine that Goodwin and Jenni were expecting another baby. Life was moving so fast and though she had some to show for it, things were harder than she had first expected.
After work, Rebecca went to the park to work on her story some more. She really needed to stay focused if she wanted to make it as an author.
Once Justin got off work, they went to a movie. As they were walking out, seeing couples holding hands with children in tow, she realized she wanted those things for herself as well and she didn’t want to wait any longer. She got down on one knee and proposed to Justin, right there in front of the theatre. And he said yes!
They planned their wedding for the next day. She wanted a beautiful venue so she chose the town center, with it’s lovely views and made sure to invite Charmaine. Maybe that would even improve her performance at work. The day was lovely, the view was beautiful and everyone seemed to have a great time.
They were pronounced husband and wife and shared their first kiss as the Avendale family. Rebecca was excited about starting her new life and having someone to love her and cherish her for the rest of her life. As the party ended, Justin and Rebecca headed off on their honeymoon to France.
When they arrived, they were astounded at the beautiful view of France. The countryside, the city in the background, the buildings, everything was so scenic and breathtaking.
They drove Vespas over to the nectary to taste some of the wares. Rebecca bought her first bottle though little did she know that she should soon not be drinking.
They spent the afternoon sequestered upstairs in one of the rooms. Who cared that it was the middle of the day? Or that it was at the nectary which was a public place? They were newlyweds and only had eyes and hands for each other.
Later, they went to a café and each tried some local food; Rebecca had an olive platter and Justin tried some bouillabaisse.
They spent much of the honeymoon doing what young married couples do…woohooing. They knew that when they went home, things would go back to normal.
After arriving back from their honeymoon, Rebecca realized that they had enough money left over to seriously expand to the house. She left the house basically the same as it had been, adding another 4x10 square on to the side. She had plans for this room to eventually become the garage, once they saved up enough money for a car. She also knew how much Justin wanted to become an inventor so when she finished her next book, she planned on surprising him with a workbench that would also be in the extra room. Once the house was done, Justin went off to get scraps and Rebecca settled in to write another novel.
“What should this one be called,” she wondered aloud. She finally decided on The 3 Fiancés as a story loosely based on her dating experience. She hoped this one might be the book that would get her noticed and start making enough money that she could stay at home and write full time.
Monday morning before work, Rebecca felt a little nauseous but attributed it to Justin’s awful cooking. Later that day she was still feeling down and out of sorts. “It can’t be,” she thought. However, after a quick confirmation, she discovered that she was indeed pregnant. She arrived home from work to find that her thoughtful husband was throwing her a birthday party. What bigger news to announce on her birthday than that she was expecting a bundle of joy? Hopefully, she wouldn't be relieved of her job forever.
After everyone left the party, Rebecca talked about the pregnancy with Justin.
“I really want a boy,” she told him.
“But, I was hoping for a girl. A beautiful girl with your eyes,” he said.
She sighed and realized that this would just have to be something they would have to disagree on. Since she had time off for maternity leave she figured she would run some errands, make an appointment with the doctor and sell some of the produce from the garden. Maybe while she was at the doctor’s office, she could see if there was any way to increase her chances of having a boy.
During her check-up, the doctor told her of an old wive’s tale: eating apples increased chances for a boy, while watermelon increased them for a girl. When she got home she checked the apple tree knowing it should have had fruit on it. Justin must have sold it while she was out in town! She would just have to find out the old fashioned way.
Life settled into another type of monotony again. Rebecca would write and garden while Justin cleaned and puttered around the house. He had upgraded two of the fixtures in the bathroom now but they still hadn’t managed to afford that workbench for him yet. If Rebecca could just finish her book before the baby was born. She still had things to buy and the small house was already feeling cramped.
She was ready to have this baby too. She found that she got cranky more easily and was often stressed and had a sore back. Even a massage from Justin didn’t help much. Too bad they couldn’t afford a day at the spa. Money troubles added to her crankiness and she wondered how they would be able to take care of a child while Justin was unemployed and they were running out of space. If her next book didn’t sell well, Justin was just going to have to take the next job that came along.
She awoke the next morning as cranky and irritable as ever. Justin tried making things better by waking up before he had gotten enough sleep to clean the house and make waffles but her mood didn’t seem to improve. Moments after she finished eating, Rebecca went into labor. She and Justin rushed to the hospital.
Would they have a bouncing baby boy or a beautiful baby girl?
After arriving at the hospital and spending most of the day in labor, Rebecca was shown her beautiful baby boy. He was perfect in every way and seemed to have his father’s eyes. He also inherited a little something from each of them: genius from his father and it seemed that he already loved being outdoors just like his mother. They named him Shane and headed home.
Over the next few days, Rebecca realized that Justin was a great father. He liked to always be near the crib and was content to snuggle and play with Shane all day. Unfortunately, Rebecca didn’t feel the same way.
“What’s wrong with me,” she wondered, especially late at night after both Justin and Shane were sleeping. She would rather garden or do things than be in the house with her baby all day. It wasn’t that she didn’t love him, just that she needed other things. Maybe the stress over not having enough money was getting to her. Maybe having an unplanned baby so early in her marriage when things weren’t settled yet was causing her to stress even more. Either way, she and Justin were going to have to work really hard to support this family. After all, they couldn’t stay living in a studio type home forever.
After Rebecca broke the sink and shower and clogged the toilet, all in a 24 hour period, Justin decided that he better start working to upgrade everything in the house that he could to unbreakable. Things were finally starting to get a rhythm. Rebecca and Justin even had a chance for some cuddling and chatting rather than each working separately to get things done. Rebecca also finished her 3rd book and it turned out to be a best seller!
Rebecca was rather relieved when she started receiving royalty checks. They could now afford Justin’s workbench and maybe that would prompt him to start working and making money. It was Shane’s birthday and he was soon going to need more things: like a tyke toilet for potty training and new clothes. Justin finished his first invention quickly; some kind of mechanical gnome which he hurried to show her.
“Justin, that is scary! Get rid of it. It will frighten Shane,” she exclaimed.
Rather dejected, he agreed with her. However, someone thought it was worth something as he sold it for §1,000! He went back to working at his bench and Rebecca went outside to harvest some vegetables. Shortly after, just before the party was scheduled to start, Rebecca heard some horrific screams coming from the house. She ran in and saw a pile of ash and a dark cloud forming on the horizon. Not certain what it was at first, she just stared.
The guests came into the house, ready to celebrate a new birthday. They arrived just in time to see the Grim Reaper appear and take Justin away.
He had been using his blow torch and had set himself on fire. Heart broken, Rebecca was unsure of how to go on. So many things seemed out of focus and time seemed to speed up and stand still all at the same time. She cried and mourned but still celebrated Shane’s birthday with him, blowing out the candles.
Maybe teaching him all the things he needed to know in life would help her move on. She just worried about how her young son, who had seen tragedy so young, would adjust.
Life once again settled into a routine. Though not an easy one by any means, having a routine made life a bit easier for both Rebecca and Shane. Since his birth, she had only been to work one day and found that it was rather hard being away from him. She couldn’t stop herself from worrying that something bad would happen while she was away. However, Krystal was great with Shane and would play with him and help him with his games.
Sometimes, out of the corner of her eye, she would swear that she saw Justin. She felt that he was watching over them, making sure things were working out and were going okay. Of course, she had no proof of this, had never seen him on her own but she liked to believe that she was right.
She started to go a bit stir crazy one night from staying in the house all the time. Justin died in that house which just went to show that tragedy can certainly strike at home. Before she could dwell too much on it, she decided that she and Shane would head over to the park. Once there, she discovered how much she missed being outside, with beautiful views. She was finally fully reminded that she had a life to live. Her broken heart eased a bit and she decided to relish this time with her son.
Rebecca wanted to make sure that Shane grew up to be a happy, well-adjusted adult so she set out teaching him all the things he needed to know. That day in the park, he took his first steps.
Shortly after, she taught him his first words.
They were still working on potty training but he was almost there. He seemed to have a proficiency for blocks and loved playing at home.
Just before his birthday, Shane was finally potty trained. He and Rebecca spent most of the day playing and reading, respectively.
They also went outside to garden. Well, Rebecca did the gardening while Shane enjoyed sitting outside, playing with his blocks. They even finally had enough money to split the left side of the house into two bedrooms. Shane finally had his own room, right before his next birthday too.
Rebecca decided to throw Shane a beach birthday party. Sure, he was just a toddler and wouldn’t remember the party but she would. Plus, it would be a good way to try to reconnect with people. It had been so long since she had actually done something with other adults. So she packed up Shane and a birthday cake and invited a few people. Her new boss showed up, fresh faced, barely out of high school and so did Goodwin. They had been keeping in touch as time passed. He and Jenni were doing well; they had 2 more children together and were quite happy.
Seeing Goodwin made Rebecca feel nostalgic for her early days in Twinbrook. If she had kept up the affair, would that be HER life? Would she be happy, with multiple children and a nice house? Or would Goodwin have come to his senses anyway, leaving her where she was now? Of everything though, she still missed Justin. If things hadn’t gone so wrong, he would still be here; maybe they would have another baby, a girl like he wanted, they would have had Shane’s birthday party at home with friends and family, everything would be better.
She closed her eyes and took a breath, mentally shaking all of her thoughts of self-pity from her head. She opened her eyes and smiled and blew out the candle with Shane. Today was what she had and tomorrow would be a new day.
Shane headed off to Stary Community for his first day of school. He wasn’t too sure about the bus driver’s ability to get him there safely but he arrived and climbed the steps nervously.
Things went rather well, he met a few new children there and also got an invite to a classmate’s house. He went over after school and they had a good time playing tag and talking. By the end of the play date, they had become fast friends.
Rebecca was also doing well, both at work and home. She was asked to hold a conference at city hall explaining the experiments currently in progress at the facility. If she did well, not only would the lab receive more funding but she would also receive a raise. She also finished her latest novel, receiving her highest royalties from it yet! She hoped to write at least 5 best sellers soon; only 2 more to go. Maybe she would accomplish her dream of becoming a professional author. If things kept up, she might even be able to quit her daytime job.
One late night, Rebecca awoke to some racket. Looking around, she noticed JUSTIN!
“Justin, that…that can’t be you, you’re dead,” she stammered.
“Yes, but not gone. You suspected I was around and you were right,” he replied with a smile.
Rebecca was overjoyed at seeing her true love, even if he glowed orange from the fire that had stolen his life. They spent the night talking and reminiscing and one thing led to another…
which led to another…
At 6am, she realized Shane would be waking soon and couldn’t wait to introduce him to the father he had never known. She ran in to wake him, turned around, and Justin was gone. Had it all been a dream?
She spent the morning harvesting the garden and then showered and got ready for her conference that afternoon. She emerged from the bathroom feeling rather nauseous. “Must have been those horrifying grape pancakes I made this morning,” she thought to herself.
Knowing that his mother would be giving her presentation that afternoon, Shane headed across the street after school to take advantage of the community pool. It gave him the opportunity to be outside and maybe he would make some more friends.
Meanwhile, at City Hall, Rebecca’s presentation was going excellently although she was still feeling exhausted. When she awoke the next morning, she was still feeling sick so she decided to go to the doctor. She wasn’t sick, she was pregnant!
All the way home she pondered and speculated and tried to figure out how this could possibly be. Sure, she had dreamt of Justin or had she? Maybe it really was real. But then, she was going to be a single mother to TWO children. Although she loved her son, it was hard parenting him on her own. What would she do when she had a new baby? She thought back to when Shane was small; the sleepless nights, constant crying, never having time to herself and that was when Justin was alive and they were trying to split the responsibilities.
“Oh well,” she muttered in the cab ride home. “We had always planned on having another child. I got my wish, just not necessarily the way I wanted it. I will be happy and excited for this child. I will have another piece of Justin with me”.
The months continued with no more signs of her cherished husband. She knew it had been real, she had the proof growing inside her, yet she couldn’t help wondering what people around town would think.
Also, there were the growing fears over how her child would turn out. Would her baby be normal? She had been so shocked when she visited the doctor that she hadn’t even thought to ask.
The worries continued but Rebecca pushed them aside so that she could focus on nesting and creating an environment that was healthy to bring a baby into. When Justin had died and Shane had grown into a big boy bed, she had gotten rid of all of his baby things so she had to buy a new crib and high chair, plus a stroller, which she hadn’t been able to afford when Shane was born.
As luck would have it, Rebecca managed to get all these things done just in time because in the wee hours that morning, the baby would make its first appearance in the world.
Tanner Avendale emerged from the womb at precisely 4:13am. Although there were a few complications during his birth he arrived bravely with one big, hearty cry to announce his birth and then nuzzled into his mother’s arms. Rebecca, though saddened that Justin was not with her to witness the birth of their second son, was both elated and speechless at the perfection of this tiny person. The doctor announced both baby and mother healthy and free to go home and even hinted that, due to Tanner’s development, he may grow up to be an athlete. With a weary yet heartfelt smile, she took her new baby home.
Later that morning, over breakfast, Shane told Rebecca that he wanted to be a surgeon when he grew up. Maybe having Tanner had prompted that desire or maybe it was just his intelligence taking control and making him want to be successful. Either way, she was sure he would succeed.
Shane had a birthday later that week. He was finally going to be a teenager. Rebecca could scarcely believe that her son would soon be so grown up. She gave him a huge hug, sure that her little boy would not want hugs much longer.
She threw him a party with quite a few friends and got him a telescope. She figured it would be a great gift for him since he loved the outdoors but could also be beneficial in the long run towards achieving his goals.
The party was a moderate success. The friends definitely enjoyed being there and Shane even took notice of one of his best friends, Carrie, in a new way.
They spent the rest of the party dancing together. Oh sweet irony. Carrie was Goodwin’s second daughter.
Although Rebecca had hoped the party would be a hit with all Shane’s friends, she was relieved when it was over, even if it was only a moderate success. She headed outside to tend the garden, which was in serious need of weeding and pruning while Shane stayed in to talk with friends. After he got off the phone, Shane heard Tanner crying. “C’mon, you can do this,” he thought to himself. “He’s your brother, how hard can a baby be”? He went in and picked Tanner up, playing with him and talking to him. Turns out, that was all the little tyke needed. Shane, though rather enjoying his little brother, was still dubious about having children of his own one day. His phone rang moments later.
“Hey Jeannie, what’s up,” he asked his long time best friend.
“Oooh, I just wanted to let you know that I found out from my sister that prom is coming up,” she replied excitedly.
“Prom? So soon? But I don’t know who to go with. Maybe I won’t go.”
“Miss prom??? You’ll regret it. Just go. You can always go alone.”
“Yeah, I’ll think about it,” he answered and then said his goodbyes.
Only, he knew who he wanted to go with.
But how could he tell one best friend that he liked another best friend? Or tell his best friend that he had a huge crush on a girl who probably only thought of him as a friend. “What a disaster,” he moaned in his head.
After some stargazing to clear his head, he decided to just go over to the Jones-Goode house and ask Carrie to prom. The worst she could do was say no, right?
Wrong, he discovered. She was nice enough, only he never got around to asking her out. Hands sweating, heart beating way too loud, Shane had been on the verge of asking, the question at the tip of his tongue. Then the police arrived. Apparently, he was out past his curfew. So, not only did he get rounded up and taken home in a police car, although he didn’t have to sit in the back, he was also rounded up right in front of Carrie.
“Whatever is she going to think of me now? I wonder if she would even be allowed to go with me”, he lamented, sure the world was ending.
The next day at school, Shane tried to act cool as he passed Carrie going into the main building to sign up for the debate club. She noticed him and gave him a small smile. Maybe there was hope after all!
Meanwhile, back at home, Rebecca was being reminded of the struggles of having a newborn. Tanner needed so much attention. She didn’t remember Shane being so needy all of the time. Maybe Tanner was just taking a toll on her because she was a single parent now. “What did I get myself into,” she fretted.
Shane decided that it was now or never when it came to asking Carrie to the prom. It was only two days away and, if she didn’t already have a date, she might soon. He couldn’t risk waiting any longer. He headed over to her house again, this time way before curfew so as not to make the same mistake again.
“Hey, Carrie, uh, how’re you,” he asked, nerves getting the better of him.
“Good! How was your day,” she asked with a smile and cheery wave.
“Umm, it was good. So, um, I don’t know if you’re uh, already going with someone to the um, the prom, or anything but I was wondering doyawannagowime” he stammered, nervously and way too fast. Quickly, he turned to flee, then turned back. He cleared his throat and tried one more time. “What I meant was, I would be honored if you would be my date to the prom”.
“Sure, that would be a ton of fun! Except, my friend was already dumped by her date. Promise me you won’t do that,” she said with another of those golden smiles.
He promised her he wouldn’t and then she apologized but had to go to work. Shane didn’t mind and walked home, feeling like he was walking on air. Could the day get any better?
The next day, Shane was still floating on air at school. Due to his excitement, he had not gotten much sleep and was tired in class but he still found himself smiling knowing that he was going to the prom with Carrie the next day! As he was getting ready to head back to the house, one of the teachers approached him.
“Mr. Avendale, I have noticed your proficiency in mechanical related studies and have a proposition for you.”
“What’s that,” he asked, slightly curious.
“The school has been having some issues down in the boiler room and, instead of hiring a technician, we were wondering if you would be willing to do it for some extra credit in your classes.”
“Sure, why not,” Shane replied.
The boiler was having more than issues and, when Shane got down there, he realized that the offer likely stemmed from budget cuts rather than an interest in him but he still was able to get the job done. He just hoped the extra credit would be worth it!
When he arrived home, he realized that it was Tanner’s birthday! Tanner grew to a toddler and headed straight for the blocks in the other room.
He too ended up with his mother’s eyes but also had her light skin. Shane went in to check on him and couldn’t resist tickling him a bit.
Tanner loved it! Now that he was a bit older, he seemed like he might be a bit more easy going.
Rebecca, although exhausted from having a baby and on the verge of a breakdown from being a single parent, was also weepy to see Tanner grow up. It had happened so fast. Her emotions were a wild rollercoaster and she was irritable as ever.
“Is this what menopause feels like,” she wondered, actually feeling hopeful because, if that were the case, she wouldn’t have to worry about any more accidental babies.
“Son of a…,” she cursed as she broke the sink, yet again. Finally, after a lot of wrenching and more cursing, she fixed it and headed to bed.
Maybe the future would look brighter with the new day.
Wednesday morning dawned bright and early. Shane awoke with butterflies in his stomach. How would he make it through the entire day? Then he remembered that the class had a field trip to the mausoleum that day so he wouldn’t have to focus too much on school work. The field trip was really interesting and way spooky and, though he knew that it housed dead people, like his father, he wasn’t too concerned about it. The trip ended with just enough time for him to get home and get ready.
Back at home, Rebecca was able to finally improve upon her gardening skill. She harvested all of her produce and decided to take Shane on a long walk to the market to sell the items. He fussed and cried and howled the whole way. She wasn’t sure what she was doing wrong! He should be enjoying the walk outside, not screaming about it.
Shane arrived a little early and stood about waiting for Carrie. He was so nervous and wondered if she would stand him up, or be there. Would she have a good time or a lousy one? Would this ruin their friendship or make it awkward or make it better or make it something more? Finally the doors opened up and he headed inside.
He soon realized he need not have worried; the night was amazing. Carrie was so laid back that she didn't even bother dressing up. She asked him to go steady and, during one of the slow songs, they shared their first kiss. And, when the titles were given, Shane was surprised to hear that he had been named Prom King. It was a truly a memorable night.
Thursday morning was Rebecca’s first day back at work since being pregnant with Tanner. She was certainly ready to go back but at the same time, she didn’t really want to leave him either. She called a babysitter to stay with him while she was at work. Could she really trust Esther with Tanner while she was gone?
After arriving at work, Rebecca discovered that all of the repairing and gardening she had been doing while at home had actually placed her in an extremely good position at the lab. When she was clocking out, her boss promoted her to Carnivorous Plant Tender. The job may be dangerous but would definitely be worth it in the long run. What a fantastic day!
Friday, after checking the mail, Rebecca discovered that she had won a free vacation. It had been so long ago that she had even entered the drawing that she had completely forgotten about it. Shane was a good kid and she knew that she could trust him to watch Tanner for the weekend so she decided to go. Unbeknownst to her, that night, Shane decided to host a slumber party, with just one other guest.
Carrie arrived, ready for the slumber party. She looked adorable in a pair of shorts and a pale yellow hoodie. Shane invited her in and, after putting Tanner to bed, they sat on the couch for awhile cuddling, which led to making out.
“Follow me,” she said, taking his hand.
They went outside and sat under the stars, pointing at the sky, trying to find the constellations.
“Look, that is T-rex,” Shane pointed out.
“There is no such thing as T-Rex,” she said laughing.
“Sure there is, look, no, a little more to the right, a little more,” he said and as she turned to look he snuck in a quick kiss.
“Smooth move Mr,” she laughed some more.
Her sweet, bubbly personality was one of his favorite things about her. Though she was also beautiful.
They headed inside and she went to set up her sleeping bag in front of the couch. Shane kissed her softly.
“You don’t have to sleep out here,” he told her.
“But where else,” she replied.
“My mom’s away. We could sleep in her bed.”
“Shane…” she started to say.
“It’s up to you, no pressure.”
“I was going to say that’s fine. We just have to be careful.”
And they were. They were careful a couple of times.
After Carrie went home the next morning, Shane decided to spend some quality time with his little brother. He read him some books and also made sure the house would be clean. He put Tanner to be and relaxed a bit, excited that his mom would be home the next day so he could be relieved of extended babysitter duty.
Sunday afternoon came and went with still no sign of Rebecca. Maybe her flight had been delayed. He was sure she would be home by the time they got up the next morning. When Monday morning rolled around though, she was still missing. Shane was doing his best not to freak out but he couldn’t help starting to worry a bit. However, he didn’t have time to come unglued since he had school that day. Hurriedly, he called Krystal to come sit for Tanner and rushed to the high school.
After school, he had his debate club and then he had an internship at the business center. It went really well and he now had contacts lined up should he need a job after he graduated. Well, if he chose to pursue a career in business though he still had his heart set on medicine. At last, he arrived home, expecting his mother. Wrong again. He paid Krystal, who had been kind enough to feed and bathe Tanner and put him to bed, and sat down to do his homework.
Tuesday arrived with news yet again. Shane was starting to really worry about where his mom could be. Resigned, he called Krystal yet again. Today after school was his debate for the club presidency. He packed a tux and was ready to prove his worth. His attention to detail and impressive intellect quickly won over the members. He headed home with the sweet taste of victory only to realize that it was Tanner’s birthday! How was he 5 already? He knew his mother would not miss her son’s birthday for just anything but he kept his thoughts to himself. It was now or never that he teach Tanner to walk.
With no birthday planned and such a huge task ahead of him, Shane didn’t even think to document the event for his mother’s return. It appeared that the by interpreting his mother’s vacation as abandonment, Tanner developed a bit of a rebellious streak.
Hopefully he would soon grow out of it because Shane didn’t want to have to worry about every shower he took!
Shane quickly realized they would need another bed. He was not comfortable sleeping in his mother’s bed like she wasn’t coming home, and still felt a bit guilty about his tryst with Carrie there last weekend, so he arranged for another bed. Once Tanner had been tucked in, Shane went outside to think and gaze at the stars. He discovered a small orange star that the Holmeberg-Weidler Astronomical Society gave him the chance to name. Without thinking, he chose Rebecca, in honor of his mother.
3 YEARS LATER
Life had settled into an uneasy routine. Both Shane and Tanner continually told themselves that Rebecca would be back as soon as she could. Each day though, that hope diminished a little. Shane missed his mother terribly and was trying the best he could. Tanner, on the other hand, resented being left. He looked up to his big brother but he needed a parent. He craved attention from her and, every day that went by without it, he became more sullen and rebellious. Shane had to believe that his mother would not have forsaken them and that something must have happened to her.
One day, Shane arrived home from his club meeting, to see Tanner entertaining a friend. He also noticed that there was a large amount of old papers just strewn in the yard.
He was shocked and embarrassed to have someone in town see their house in such a state and mortified that Tanner would not have thought about this ahead of time. He was lucky enough that child services hadn’t been notified of their mother’s disappearance already. He quickly pulled his brother to the side.
“Tanner, don’t you see those papers? Doesn’t it embarrass you to have someone see them,” Shane asked.
“Pfft, whatever. Nobody cares,” Tanner retorted with a nonchalant attitude.
“I care! Child services would care. We could get put in an orphanage. Clean them up,” Shane shouted.
“You’re not my dad,” Tanner screamed back, even louder.
Quickly, Shane realized that Tanner’s indifferent attitude was a cover for his pain. He pulled him into a hug and apologized.
“When is she coming home Shane,” Tanner asked with tears forming in his eyes.
“As soon as she can,” Shane replied, for the first time, not believing his words.
He knew that many families left heirs and people in charge to head up their estate for the future so the next day, he called city hall to find out if his mother had dictated a will. Not only was there no will, there was no savings accounts, no stocks, and no investments. At least she had left most of her royalties at home in the family account. That might have answered someone else’s questions regarding the disappearance since, by all records, she hadn’t prepared for her departure. Shane just figured that, whatever the cause, his mother had not planned to stay gone. Maybe something had happened to her. Maybe having two children and being widowed at such a young age had just been a burden too heavy for her to bear.
Whatever the case, it appeared that Shane, without intention or desire, had become the Avendale heir.