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Posts tagged ‘Kendall’

A-Z Challenge: T is for Trisha Gosslar

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Tissue Warning: I figure if I barely make it through writing without crying, I should warn the rest of you.

Trisha Gosslar leaned back against the pillows behind her. She had never liked being in bed much. Not to just lay there. She looked sideways at her husband. It had been a while since she’d done anything but that in this bed. “Jesse,” she said, bringing his attention from his hands back to her. She hated how weak her voice sounded, so she tried to put as much strength into it as she could. “Go to work. Kendall is coming. I will be fine alone for the short time.”

He glanced toward the doorway but shook his head. “Morgan and Bryce are at the garage. They can take care of things.” His voice was thick with tears he refused to shed. He’d told her more than once they didn’t have a lot of time left. He wouldn’t waste any of it grieving before she’d drawn her last breath. But, she wanted to tell him this was wasting time.

“Jesse, go,” she insisted. “Ken will be here soon, and I have things to say to her.” She had days according to the doctor, maybe a week. Of course that was the same doctor who’d said she had six months more than a year ago.  Still, there were things she needed to say before it was too late. “I’ve already spoken to the boys.”

Boys. Her sons were all grown up now. And yet it still felt too soon for her to leave them. Then, there was Kendall. She was only sixteen and still needed her mom. That may be what haunted her the most.

Finally Jesse leaned over and just barely brushed his lips over her cheek. “Okay, Trisha. I’ll go in for a little bit. I’ll check on you when I return.”

“I’ll still be here,” she promised him.

She closed her eyes when he left. Even talking took a lot of her strength these days. And she needed to get as much of that back as she could before her daughter got here.

“Mom?”

Trisha came awake at the sound of her daughter’s choked voice. Tears were already streaming down her face. “I’m not gone yet, Ken. Just sleeping.”

Kendall dropped into the chair her father had been in earlier. She took Trisha’s hand, and Trisha squeezed as hard as she could. “Did you have fun with Susan this morning?”

Kendall’s face colored, and she glanced away. Trisha had noticed that reaction happening more whenever someone brought up her daughter’s best friend. She’d considered mentioning it, but she’d always told herself she wouldn’t poke into her children’s relationships as long as she thought they were safe.

“Kendall, I want to tell you some things. I don’t have a lot more time.”

“Don’t, Mom,” Kendall cried. “Don’t say that. You can keep fighting. You can…you…” She broke down sobbing, and Trisha just clung to her hand until it had subsided.

“I don’t have a lot more time,” she said again. “I taught you everything about handling the office so you can help your dad once I’m gone. But, you don’t have to be tied to that. If something else makes you happy-”

“It does. That makes me happy. I like being at the garage, even if I don’t know how to work on the cars.”

“Good. Then, I hope you do it as long at it does. That’s all I want for you, Ken. What and who ever makes you happy. Promise you’ll always go after that.”

Kendall was silent for a moment then she looked right into Trisha’s eyes. “Even if it’s something, someone, everyone says I shouldn’t want?”

Trisha worked up as much of a smile as she could. She’d rarely had to work hard for answers from Kendall. “Especially then,” she said. She squeezed her daughter’s hand one more time. “I’m going to rest some more now. You don’t have to stay right at my side.”

“I love you, Mom.”

“I love you, too, sweetheart,” she said, her voice drifting off as she fell back to sleep.

Note: If you read Susan’s post yesterday, Susan mentioned Kendall’s mom dying. That’s this right here. I almost didn’t write this one because Trisha never shows up in the actual series, but I decided to anyway.

 

A-Z Challenge: S is for Susan Holland

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Susan Holland leaned back on the bleacher, her arms around one knee. Kendall was out on the field, pitching against the team from the hardware store. Her father’s team of mechanics was winning. Susan’s older brother was out there, too. She couldn’t believe he’d been in college for a year already. He’d brought a girl home this summer for a few days. Amy. She was nice, or seemed that way to Susan, at least.

Her gaze didn’t leave Kendall. She’d already struck out two of the hardware store’s players. And she was grinning at them while she did it.

Something about Kendall’s grin always had light bursting through her.

Susan shook off that thought. She seemed to be doing that a lot with thoughts lately. Particularly the ones that revolved around Kendall. It didn’t make any sense. Kendall was her best friend. Had been practically from the time they were born. Her mom had pictures of the two of them playing together when they couldn’t do more than crawl. Kendall had always been more like a sister than anything.

But, for the last several months, Susan hadn’t been thinking of her like a sister. And it was so wrong. Kendall’s mom had just died, and while she was still grieving, Susan had started having these thoughts. She didn’t mean to, but every time she gave Kendall a hug, held her while she cried, she couldn’t seem to help it. And Kendall was always touching her.

Kendall had always been like that. Even as kids, she was always holding Susan’s hand when they went somewhere, hugging, brushing their arms together. Just. Always. Touching. And then just before Kendall’s mom had died, Susan’s best friend had told her she wasn’t attracted to boys but to girls. Maybe it should have made Susan uncomfortable. But, it was Kendall. She’d never been uncomfortable around her.

Not until recently, but not because of her revelation. But, that was just silly. It was Kendall. And Susan was attracted to boys. So, it didn’t mean anything.

Kendall threw one last pitch and struck out the final batter. And Susan watched as Kendall’s dad ran from where he’d been playing as catcher and picked Kendall up in his arms. It might only be a community baseball game, but they celebrated a win as if it were more important than that.

Susan headed down the bleachers and waited by the edge of the fence. Kendall turned her head, saw her, and beamed. Then, she was jumping out of her dad’s arms and running over to Susan. “Did you see that?”

“I did,” Susan said. “You were great.”

Kendall leaned forward and pressed her lips to Susan’s cheek.

Warmth flooded through her at the touch, and she wanted to…No. This didn’t mean anything. She pulled back. “So…I thought I heard your dad say something about ice cream if you guys won.”

Kendall laughed and pulled her to where the rest of the team was gathered. It didn’t mean anything. Kendall was just her best friend. That was all.

Note: If you read any of the snippets I’ve posted from Love Who You Love, you’ve seen bits of Susan and Kendall’s story. But, here, they’re only ~16 and still figuring things out.

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