Although you're seeing this today, I wrote this yesterday and yesterday was a beautiful Texas morning. It rained a little the night before, so the air was fresh with the smell of wet grass and earth. The sky had that golden glow that happens before the sun rises over the horizon. It was still cool I watched the geese truck up from the pond to get their morning ration of corn and thought about how beautiful life was and how grateful I am to be alive.
This last week of August was quite a week. The other day, one of the neighbors recently acquired two horses and a colt. Well, he thought the pond would keep them in - guess what. They found they liked swimming and ended up on another neighbors property that is unfenced. Afraid they'd wonder into the street, Ray and I managed to get a rope on them and lead them over here where there is fenced pasture. It was nice seeing horses here again.
If you haven't already heard, my latest book, The Doctor and Her Rancher came out on Saturday, and I was busy updating my blog layouts and such. PK was sweet enough to give me a shout out on her New Beginnings blog yesterday, and Ronnie of Heart and Soul has a picture of my book up on her blog. Thank you so much, ladies. Promo is the bane of writing, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate the help. For any of you who read the book, or any book for that matter, if you would write a review on the LSF site or Amazon, you would be doing me or us a tremendous favor.
Now for this week's story. I started writing it after breakfast yesterday morning. It started getting a little lengthy, so I've decided to split it into two parts.
Betty Jo Wyndham watched the scenery as it passed by. This was her very first time in the area. She had taken a cab from the airport and had no idea her destination was so far away. As she watched the cab meter rise, she hoped she had enough money to pay the fare.
She was surprised when the cab turned onto a road that hugged the shoreline. ‘Is this guy taking me on a wild ride to run up the fare’ was her thought.
The cab slowed to a stop. “Here we are Miss.” Betty Jo couldn’t believe it. He stopped in front of a beachfront house.
“Are you sure?”
“Quite sure, Miss.”
She noticed a sleek sports car in the driveway and once again asked the cab driver if he was sure of the address. Assured that he was, she checked the slip of paper she holding the address she had been given. It was the right address.
She stepped out of the cab and was about to pay the driver when a tall, good looking man moved in beside her. He paid the fare leaving Betty Jo floundering for words. The cab drove off leaving Betty Jo standing there not sure what was happening.
He extended his hand to her. “I’m Blake Parker, Ms. Wyndham. I am the attorney representing your grandmother’s estate.”
Still trying to wrap her mind about the whole situation, she stood there speechless.
Two weeks earlier she had been contacted by the law firm that she was a named beneficiary in the estate of Gloria Houston Wyndham. She had no idea who Gloria Houston Wyndham was, just that the last name was the same. She contacted the lawyer to tell them they made a mistake. They hadn’t. They sent her paperwork to complete and an address and a plane ticket and said to call and give them the date she planned to arrive.
Betty Jo had been raised by her single mother. Her father was not part of her life. Her mother told her she was the result of a summer fling that ended in tragedy. Apparently, her parents were in love and wanted to marry but family pressure made them decide to elope. Unfortunately, her father was killed in an automobile crash before the marriage could take place. Her mother told her she had his name and that they loved each other, and that was all Betty Jo needed to know.
There were times it bothered her and she wished she had a daddy like all the other girls in school. However, her mother’s brother, Uncle Larry, was always around to step in when needed. Between him and her mother’s parents, she grew, up a happy girl not wanting for much.Neither Uncle Larry or her mother ever married, so by the time she had graduated from college there was only her and her uncle.
From time to time, she tried to get more information about her father and when her mother passed she hoped to find some hidden secrets locked away somewhere. It wasn’t to be, so being contacted by an attorney that she was mentioned in the will of Gloria Houston Wyndham was a complete shock.
So here she was, in front of 32 Shady Pines Lane with Blake Parker. He guided her inside and handed her a thick white envelope.
“The answers to many of your questions are in this envelope. I assume you would like some time to digest its contents. There’s food and such stocked in the fridge, feel free to partake if you wish. I’ll leave you alone. When you’re ready to talk, call me, and I’ll return.” He handed her his card and left.
A bundle of nervous energy, she ripped open the envelope and dumped the contents on the table in front of her. Out slipped various papers, photographs and a copy of her birth certificate.
It took her a while to wade through the documents. She learned that Gloria Houston Wyndham was a woman of considerable wealth and her grandmother. Joseph H. Wyndham, Betty Jo’s father, was her only son. There was a letter from her grandmother explaining everything.
Betty Jo learned that her mother didn’t find out she was pregnant with her until after Joey was killed. Knowing he was an only child, she went to his family to tell them, thinking it might assuage their grief to think a part of him was still here. They didn’t see it that way and accused her of being a charlatan and only out for his money. Somewhere along the way, her grandmother found that she really had a granddaughter. She contacted my mother to try and make amends, but my mother refused. Betty Jo understood why her mother never wanted to talk about her father’s family.
Her grandmother’s letter apologized and said she regretted her behavior every single day of her life. Betty Jo put down the letter and began looking at the pictures. There were some of her father as a baby and in his youth, but there were also photos of her father and mother taken during the summer of their love. Many of the pictures showed the house she was sitting in, in the background. By the time she finished, there were tears coursing down her cheeks for the missed opportunities for everyone.
She didn’t realize how much time had passed until her phone rang, and she looked at the time. It was Blake Parker.
“I’m calling to make sure everything is okay?”
“Yes, everything is fine.” She told him she’d read her grandmother’s letter, and looked through the pictures and was feeling a little wistful.
“I understand that. It’s getting late, do you want to tackle the rest in the morning. I can come to pick you up and take you to a hotel?”
“I think I’d rather stay here. Is that allowed?”
“Ms. Wyndham, it’s your house, you can do anything you want.”
Until that moment, she hadn’t realized that was the reason for meeting at this address. She was silent as she contemplated the fact that this beautiful beachfront property was actually hers.
“Ms. Wyndham, are you still there?”
“Yes, Mr. Parker. I am.”
“Please call me Blake. Well if you have any questions, you have my number.”
“I do have a question, Blake. Would you consider ordering a pizza and sharing it with me? I would like to sit out on the back deck of my house and watch the sunset over the water, and I would just as soon not do it alone?”
“It would be my pleasure, Ms. Wyndham. What kind of pizza do you prefer?”
“If we’re going to have dinner together, I think you should call me Betty Jo. As for the pizza as long as it has lots of cheese and no pineapple or ham or any of the things that don’t belong on pizza, get what you like.”
“You’re limiting my choices, Betty Jo.”
“Then get two pizzas, one for you, and one for me. I’m buying.” He laughed.
She didn’t want to look at any more papers. She decided to stroll around her new house. New to her anyway. She deduced that this was probably the house where she was conceived based on the pictures. It had been maintained but she doubted anything had changed since her parents were last here. Her father’s room still held his high school trophies and his college banner on the wall. The father she never knew lived in this room.She could almost picture him and them lying on the bed, planning their lives not knowing it wasn’t to be. Her body shuddered at the thought. Her mother’s high school graduation picture rested on the dresser with a scarf draped around it and a picture of the two of them, laughing and holding hands. She could almost sense the fun they had while here – two young people, off of school for the summer, enjoying the beach and each other.
She opened the closet to find a few items of clothing still hanging in the closet. It was a little creepy. She knew she would have to go through the things and decide what to and what not to keep, but not now. For now, she closed the door behind her and walked downstairs to wait for Blake.
So come back next week for the second part. I'm mean aren't I? See you later for more Aimless Ramblings.