Saturday, July 23, 2016

Chapter 10, Unburdening My Soul

***WARNING!!! My stories often contain strong language, sensitive issues, and, at times, other content that could be construed as offensive. Beliefs and viewpoints of characters are not necessarily the beliefs and viewpoints the Author holds in true life.***

I was fidgeting like a bitch in heat as I waited for Terrill's arrival. All of a sudden, my house felt smaller than ever; cramped, even. I was never one to be claustrophobic or have panic attacks, but I found myself wanting to run and hide under the bed. "Courage, Evens," I snapped aloud at myself. "The only things to protect you under the bed are dust bunnies and they're not in fighting form."

I snickered at the image of a line of dust bunnies marching in battle formation. Good grief, I was losing it. Hell, I already lost it, hadn't I? I mean, the actions I'd taken as of late weren't those of a sane woman, after all.

I yipped, startled out of my twisted musings when the doorbell rang. Last call to jump ship with the dust bunnies and call it a day. Instead, I heaved a sigh and opened the door. Terrill looked handsome and suave standing on my porch while I felt dowdy and rumpled in my comfy Mom clothes and pony tail.

"Come on in," I said, trying to sound more poised than I felt. "Welcome to my home, be it ever so humble."

Terrill smiled easily as he entered, then set down a bottle of Merlot. "I thought this might help relax you while we talk, that is unless you're nursing your son."

"Nathaniel is past that," I said, feeling the tension ease as I was caught up in his smile. I'd almost forgotten how quickly he'd put me at ease when we had lunch together. Something about this man oozed quiet courage and capability, and I liked that. "It's a lovely gesture. Thank you."

"I aim to please," Terrill grinned and offered me a courtly bow.

I was about to take down some wine glasses when I heard a cry from the baby monitor. "Excuse me. Nathaniel's awake and needs a change. He's potty trained but sometimes he slips when he's sleeping." I scuttled off, quickly taking care of the diaper change. When he was all clean, he reached his arms out for me, grinning in that adorable way I loved so much. "Mama!" he said and giggled.

"Well, someone's in a good mood," I said, lifting him and snuggling him close. "Are you hungry?"

"Hungwy," he said, then belched.

"Excuse yourself, piggy," I laughed.

"Piggy, piggy, oink, oink," he chorused.

Giggling myself, I carried him into the living room where Terrill was waiting patiently. "Terrill, this is my son, Nathaniel."

Nathaniel gave Terrill a big grin. "Hi," he said, waving his little hands.

"Hi yourself, little man," Terrill said, grinning in return.

"Hold!" Nathaniel said, reaching his arms out.

I hesitated a moment, knowing my son normally took a little while to warm up to strangers. However, Nathaniel's arms remained outstretched and Terrill seemed willing to comply. His next words confirmed it. "May I?"

Nathaniel went to him, a look of curiosity on his little face. He started to play with Terrill's beard and mustache, then laughed when Terrill made silly faces at him. I shook my head in amazement and shrugged.

"He's a beautiful boy, Debbie," Terrill said before tossing him in the air. Nathaniel squealed with glee and demanded more.

"Yeah, he is," I said, smiling like the proud Mom I was. "If he gets too heavy or you want a break, you can just put him on the floor. I'm amazed at how well he's taken to you. Normally, it takes him a bit to warm up to someone new."

"Kids are funny that way," Terrill replied. "They have a sixth sense about who likes them and such. I've always been a kid magnet, believe it or not."

"Well, you're very good with him," I said. As I watched the two of them play together, a pang shot through my heart. Terrill had told me he'd wanted kids with his now deceased wife, and I had a strong hunch he'd be an excellent father. Then, there were men like Simon, who I'd been stupid enough to screw even though I knew better. Simon didn't want to be a dad, at least not to my son, but there were men like Terrill who should have had a parcel of kids to love. Life was a bitch sometimes.

I shook off the melancholia as Nathaniel wriggled to get down. When Terrill set him gently on the floor, Nathaniel toddled off to play with his xylophone. "Want me to open the wine?" he asked.

"Sure. I've a corkscrew in this drawer." I indicted the appropriate one and sat on the sofa. It was nice to have someone in my home who wasn't attacking me or cussing me out. Even before taking one sip of wine, I felt relaxed in Terrill's presence.

He handed me a glass and sat down beside me. We were silent as he listened to Nathaniel hammering away on his xylophone. "Kid's got a good ear," Terrill finally said.

"Yeah, he does, actually. He seems to enjoy music already, and I hope that never changes," I said. I took a sip of wine, then glanced over at Terrill. "It hasn't been easy."

"I would imagine being a parent never is. It's hard enough doing it as a couple, let alone going it alone. From what little I've seen, though, he's happy and healthy, and you're a great mother."

"Thanks," I said, feeling the melancholia resurfacing. "I've made a lot of mistakes and I'm afraid they'll affect my son negatively."

"I'm sure it can't be as bad as all that," Terrill said.

"Worse, I'm afraid." I bit my lip, thinking of my encounter with Ericka.

"Hey, it's okay, Debbie." He rubbed a soothing hand briefly over my arm, making me shiver as pleasant tingles accompanied his touch. "Remember what I said. I make a good listener. Want to tell me about it or about why you were so upset over the phone?"

I breathed out a resigned sigh. "I suppose that is why you came over. Fair warning, Terrill, it's not pretty and what happened doesn't paint me in a particularly good light."

"Life is seldom pretty and we've all done things we're not proud of. I won't judge you. You have my word on that," Terrill said.

"Okay, but remember, you asked for it." Taking a deep breath, I plunged in, telling him of my marriage and divorce from Shane, about moving to Aurora Skies, and about everything that had happened up to this point. I was astounded at how patiently he listened. I was even more so when there never came a look of disgust or condemnation from him. Terrill hadn't lied about being a good listener, and his kindness undid me. By the time I finished my recital, I was bawling like a kid who'd just found out that Santa didn't really exist.

I didn't object when Terrill pulled me into his arms and held me tight. "There now. Just let 'em flow. That's it."

They did flow, many of them, and soon, the front of his shirt was wet. The weeping finally died down and was replaced by aftershocks of little hiccups. "You must think me completely deranged," I murmured.

"Not at all, Debbie. You're simply a lady down on luck and who deserves some much needed happiness in her life." He rubbed my back and the nape of my neck with strong, sure strokes. "You got handed a wheelbarrow of lemons and that's a lot of lemonade to make." I grinned a watery grin at his analogy. "You're too hard on yourself and have taken much more than your share of abuse starting from that bastard Shane and going down the line to Ericka. That stops here and now, all right?"

"Easier said than done," I sighed. "Even so, I do feel better after unloading on you. It's like I sicked up something that's been buried for years, and I thank you."

"That's what friends are for," Terrill said, pulling away slightly to reach in his pocket for a hankie. "The way I see it, it takes two to tango and Simon could have stopped things before they got started. Then, there's the matter of Ericka, who should be ashamed of herself. It's one thing to take out her rage on you but dragging an innocent child into it is uncalled for. I never voted for her to be Mayor because I didn't like some of the issues she stood for. Now, knowing what I know, I'll never vote for her in any election she runs in. You should have given her the boot right up her ass."

I laughed despite the situation. "I thought about it but with my luck, I'd have landed up in the pokey. Thanks but no thanks."

"Well, what goes around comes around, and Karma is often a bitch. All you can do now is move forward and put all this behind you as best you can," Terrill said philosophically.

I shrugged. "It's hard, but I'm trying."

"I think you're doing more than trying." Terrill smiled at me and went to refill our glasses. "I know because we wouldn't be here like this otherwise. You're allowing me to be your friend, you let me come to your home to offer a listening ear and a shoulder, and you allowed me to interact with your son. These are big steps for you to have taken, Debbie, and that says a lot."

"I...I guess you're right," I said, letting his words sink in. "I must admit that I was rather scared though. I thought of you as another wrinkle in my life that I just didn't want to deal with." My cheeks colored at the admission.

"'And now?" he asked, reaching out a hand to lift my chin so I had to look at him.

"Now...well...I find myself wanting to kiss you."

"I won't object if you follow through," he replied.

"That's how I got into trouble before. Besides, maybe it's just the wine talking," I said lamely.

"First of all, there are big differences here. I'm not attached to anyone, so there would be no need to sneak around. I have nobody to answer to except myself, and it's no secret that I'm attracted to you. I'm also the kind of guy who takes a relationship seriously. I won't hurt you or your son. I desire to be more than a friend to you, but if you're not ready just yet, I can wait. I'm a very patient man." His gaze met mine and never wavered, and I knew he meant every word he said. "I know you've been hurt, Debbie, and you've taken a lot of chances that went horribly wrong. But, I'm asking you to do it again and take a chance on me. You won't regret it."

His impassioned words moved me, and my lips moved to his, seemingly of their own accord. His kiss was soft and full of a desire for new discovery. I tasted the wine on his lips and breathed in his masculine musky scent. My ears rang with the sound of harps and flutes, and fireworks blazed inside my soul. My body quivered with something I'd never felt before. I was attracted to this man in a way I'd never been attracted to anyone.

When we pulled apart, we just looked at each other for the longest time. "Will you have dinner with me tomorrow night, Debbie? I want to take you on a real date instead of just a quick lunch."

"That sounds nice, but it'll be hard to find a sitter for Nathaniel on a Sunday. My regulars aren't available on Sundays and I'm fussy about who I leave him with," I replied.

"I understand," he said. After a short silence, he smiled. "Listen, I know someone who would be willing to sit for Nathaniel on weekends, I'm sure. Two someones, in fact. They're teenagers but very trustworthy, I assure you."

"Oh?" I asked, raising an eyebrow in curiosity.

"Yes. They're the daughters of a friend of mine. You're familiar with Lenora Landgraab, I know. She and her husband have two daughters who are--"

"What?" I shrieked, clapping a hand to my chest. "Are you telling me that you...I mean, you can't be..." I trailed off, pounding my chest in an attempt to get my wildly racing heartbeat to slow down.

Terrill was laughing. "You weren't kidding when you said she's your favorite author."

"I never kid about such things," I said. "I know you were on her season of 'The One' but never thought about you staying in touch. I've always wanted to meet her. It's Number One on my bucket list, you know."

"I know," he grinned. "It's settled then. How about I call Lenora and ask her to bring Aurora and Andrea over to meet you tomorrow? I'm sure you'll like them and will find them very responsible. They do volunteer work at some orphanage run by someone known as White Wolf. How does that sound?"

" sounds like a dream," I said dazedly.

"Great. So then, you'll go out with me tomorrow night?" Terrill asked.

"If I feel comfortable with them sitting for Nathaniel, then yes, I'd love to go out with you."

Author's Note:  Lenora and her daughters are from my story "Forever in Time," which you can read here.  The events of where we're at in "As Tears Go By" happen while Aurora and Andrea Landgraab are still teenagers. From time to time, characters from "Forever in Time" will cross over into this story and vice versa. 


  1. Yay! Things are finally looking up for Debbie, not to mention Terrill is really a nice guy and wants Debbie to be happy. I hope he takes on Debbie's last name though lol xD

    1. It's high time things start looking up for Debbie. She truly needs a break and Terrill came into her life at the right time. :) Terrill is a nice guy and I think they'll be good for each other. LOL on the last name. Well, stranger things have happened.

  2. She doesn't have Terril running off yet and he seems sincere enough. I do hope Debbie and Nathaniel find some continuity

    1. Things are going quite well at the moment and hopefully, they'll stay that way. :) Debbie needs some stability and, like you said, continuity.

  3. I'm so glad Terril was supportive and let her get it all out. Debbie has been through so much. So it's great she has a supportive man well now boyfriend. I think he'd be a great father figure to Nate as well. Can't wait to see what's next. : ) I love the positive out look in this chapter.

    1. Terrill really is a nice guy and he came into her life when she really needs someone to be supportive, even though she balked at first. Things are looking up and it's nice to see that. I think Terrill will make a great father for Nathaniel, so hopefully, that'll be in the cards for them. :)

  4. Awwwww this was such a precious chapter, especially when Terril was holding Nathaniel. It was so, so sweet. <3

    1. So glad you enjoyed this chapter. :) Terrill has really taken to Nathaniel (and his Mom) and I think the feeling is mutual. I loved taking the shots for this chapter, as I like moments like this.

  5. Terrill is a real friend (and more ;)) to Debbie. I am glad she has someone she can confide in now and who will, hopefully, help her raise her baby.

    I like how you have your stories crossing over here, really neat idea!!

    1. I'm so glad you're reading my story! :) I always love it when new readers pop over. Terrill came into her life when she needed someone, even though she wouldn't have admitted that at first. It's nice to see Debbie's life going in a good direction for once. I think Terrill is going to be a solid fixture in both of their lives.

      So glad you like the crossover aspect. :) I like doing that from time to time and we get to see how other characters fit into another story. You're certainly welcome to read "Forever in Time" if you wish to get more acquainted with the characters mentioned here. You can find the link in the Author's Note of this chapter or on the right sidebar where I have my other blogs listed.

  6. I like the way the stories weave together. 7 degrees of separation. Terrill is sweet to take it slow.

    1. I'm a total sucker for crossovers. Terrill is a really nice guy who wants more with Debbie. He just has to be patient with her because she's been through so much,

  7. Awww what a sweet chapter this was. It's about time Debbie had some happiness. After Shane and Simon she deserves a good guy like Terrill. Oh he also stole the words I was going to put in the comment about babies having a sixth sense on people. If a child or a dog likes a person and warms up to them fast, they must be a good person. I do hope that Debbie and Terrill enjoy themselves on that date.