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Posts tagged ‘Maura’

A-Z Challenge: F is for Finn Reddick


“Mom?” Finn’s voice trembled when he finally found his mother. They’d been home from school for nearly ten minutes, but she still hadn’t come downstairs. His older sister, Tonya, had acted like it wasn’t a big deal. But, she acted like that about everything lately. Dalila must have been napping in her room because he hadn’t been able to find her, either.

Usually his mother was waiting downstairs when they got home. And she usually had a snack ready for them, too. But, there’d been nothing today. She had been acting strange for the last two days. Ever since she’d talked to Uncle Mark Easter morning.

He might be not quite seven, but he knew when his mom wasn’t acting like she usually did. And it was worrying him.

She turned from her bed, and he saw the open suitcase laying on top of it. He’d seen one of them on that bed so many times before, it shouldn’t faze him anymore. He shouldn’t feel this heavy weight in his stomach. But, it didn’t make any sense. Dad was already away on yet another of his trips. He didn’t seem to stay home more than a couple days at a time anymore. He wasn’t always nice to Finn, but Finn still missed him when he was gone.

“What’s going on, Mom? Are you going somewhere, too? Who’s going to stay here with us?” Was he so bad that everyone had to leave? He tried to be good, really he did. He tried not to cry, ’cause that always made Dad upset. He tried not to fight with his sisters, but sometimes Tonya was mean. And Dalila could get on his nerves by always wanting to hang on him. But, he tried.

His mom’s eyes darted toward the doorway then came back to him. “I’m not leaving you, Finn. Not any of you. But, we’re going to stay at Amanda’s for a little while. You like Amanda, remember?”

He nodded. “But, why, Mom? What’s wrong with our house?”

“Your father and I…we just can’t live together anymore.” Then, lower she said, “I can’t live with him anymore.” He didn’t understand the difference between the two statements.

“So, we’re going to live with Amanda? But, her house is smaller than ours. And there’ll be more people in it. How are we going to do that?”

“It’s only for a couple months,” she assured him. “When school’s out, we’re going to move up closer to Uncle Mark. Won’t that be nice? You’ll get to see more of him.”

“What about Grandma and Grandpa? And Uncle Patrick.”

“They can come up and visit us there if they’d like. This is going to be the best thing for us, Finn. I’m trying to make all our lives better. I promise.”

“Can I take my books?”

He saw her smile then, and it melted some of the weight from him. “You can take some of them now. We’ll try to get the rest before we move up to Crystal Glen.”

Well, he supposed he could live with that. At least he didn’t have to leave his books behind. “Can we have a snack now?”

His mom let out a soft laugh. “Sure, Finn. I’ll be down in a minute.”

Because he could still sense some sadness from her, he gave her a quick hug before leaving the bedroom and hurrying down the stairs. He didn’t know what this would mean for all of them, but he could worry about that later. Right now, his biggest worry was what he’d have for a snack.

Note: We see Maura and Finn for the first time in Flames of Recompense, which is the one right before her and Nolan’s story. But, they’re mentioned in Flames of Retribution(‘Uncle Mark’s’ story).

Flames A-Z: Nolan Hunter

I did a post on Nolan back in April for the A-Z challenge. At the time, I was in the middle of writing his story. He’s another of those characters who was supposed to just have a walk-on part in the first book. That first book was supposed to be a standalone. HaHa. I seem incapable of writing those. He only has a small appearance in the second book, but he’s in a good bit of book 3. And we learn something new about him at the same time Mark does. In fact, I learned it only shortly before that and may have resisted just a bit.

Nolan is the third son of Carrick and Ariana Hunter(that kind of makes him sound like royalty, huh?) and grew up in Crystal Glen, Pa. His father works in construction and his mother was an art teacher. Nolan and his brothers grew up around hammers and power tools. Only his oldest brother, Tate, followed in the family business. Although, his other older brother, Kelan, at one time planned to be an architect. He also has two younger siblings, Jessica and Jace, who are about 10 years younger than Nolan. Jessica also followed in their father’s footsteps.

When Nolan graduated high school, he went to college, majoring in psychology. During his second year at college, he left and joined the Marine Corps.* While there, he met Mark Young, who became one of his best friends. He served four years, a lot of that time spent in the Middle East. He was wounded just before his enlistment term was up, and he was also growing disillusioned, so he didn’t re-enlist.*

After that, he ended up joining the Crystal Lake Fire Department. He spent a few of his teen years as an Explorer for the town’s volunteer department. And his father, two of his brothers, and his sister are all volunteers as well. He’d been there for a couple years when Mark returned home badly wounded. After he’d recovered, Nolan convinced him to move up north(same state, but they come from different parts of it) and join the department as well.

Since him and Mark were friends, Nolan had gone home with Mark a few times when they were on leave. And he met Mark’s sister, Maura. Unfortunately, the first time he met her, she was already engaged to someone else. So, he became her friend. And he waited. He stood by her even when her husband treated her poorly. And when she finally left him, he was still there to support her and waiting for her to be ready to move on.

Writing Nolan’s story did push me a bit out of my comfort zone(and no, still not revealing Nolan’s secret. haha. I’m evil like that). But, I do really like it. I’m hoping others will, too.

*these lead to stories I wrote for this year’s Story a Day challenge.

Flames A-Z: Mark & Maura

When I started writing Mark Young’s back story, I knew he had an older sister. But, that was pretty much it. In fact, at first, he didn’t have many nice things to say about her. Then, I started to dig a bit deeper.

Mark had always seen his sister as cold, withdrawn, and a bit of a bitch. A lot like their mother. But, as I started to dig deeper into his memories, he realized that she’d always been the one to take care of him. The one who made snacks for him when he was younger, that helped bandage any scrapes when he fell down. She was the only one who was there to meet him when he got back from basic training after he joined the Marines. He also realizes her seemingly cold attitude was her defense against their dysfunctional family. Anger tended to be his.

Maura loved her younger brother. She tried to take care of both of her brothers, but the youngest was treated like the golden child, so it was Mark she worried about more. Him and their father constantly butted heads. She tried to step between them, but that often made things worse. So, she started withdrawing, still trying to defuse situations without actually stepping in the middle.

Maura married Evan Reddick, thinking he actually loved her. She thought they’d have a better marriage than her parents did, something more than a business arrangement. Instead it was the same, maybe even worse. He cheated on her, lied to her, and ended up isolating her from friends and family. When it started affecting their children, she knew she needed to leave him.

Mark had been in the Marines during most of Maura’s engagement and the early years of her marriage. So, he didn’t see how bad it was. Didn’t realize she wasn’t really happy with what had been arranged. But, after he’s wounded, she’s the only one in the family who shows up when he needs the support.

After Mark moves north, at his best friend’s urging, to join the fire department in Crystal Glen, Maura’s the only one in his family he still talks to. His father essentially disowned him, and his mother always went along with her husband. But, even with her, he doesn’t keep good contact with. It’s actually from his best friend, Nolan, he learns how bad things have gotten in her marriage. Between the two of them, they convince her to move up to Crystal Glen with the kids.

So, Mark and Maura haven’t always had the best relationship. But, when it really matters, they’re there for each other.

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