Christmas at Apple Lake
I wanted to create a character that had lived too long under someone else’s control and finally comes to realize she’d lived in her husband’s shadow. Now she’s ready to break the mold, but finds her children are unwavering in their persistence to continue where their father left off before his death. They’d learned control too young and too well.
When Gage Landon meets Matt Street, her entire thought process takes a life changing turn for the better. She’s ready to live. Really live.
Does Gage come into her own or will she allow her girls to send Mom back into the plastic mold where they want her to remain?
Christmas Eve, Gage Landers stacked the girl’s Christmas presents and began to wrap. She envisioned the girl’s excitement the next morning, their sweet faces aglow with anticipation of secrets underneath the paper wrappings. Presents strewn under the lighted tree, the girls squealing and thrilled at the thoughts of waiting for Christmas morning surprises. Life was as good as it was going to get.
Gage and her husband, Ken had argued over money—again. In an outburst of rage, Ken had stormed out of the house without a word, slammed the door behind him, and roared off in his souped-up Chevy. He’d been drinking and his car had rammed a telephone pole. Ken had died in a freak accident along with the woman he’d cheated on Gage with.
That was the last time she’d seen her husband alive.
Twenty-nine had been way too young for her husband, Ken to die. If only she’d known, she’d have taken steps to improve their declining marriage. In addition, she’d have developed more independence.
Now, her girls blamed her for their father’s death. They’d thrown his death in her face, that if they hadn’t argued, he’d still be alive and at home where he belonged.
Gage knows that isn’t true.
She believes in a higher being. She believes we are on this earth for a reason and it’s the same in death. We leave this world when our time here has ended, not before.
Gage fights to help her girls understand death and how to deal with their grief, but as in real life, working through grief is a long process. Gage realizes it’s hard to absorb death, much less accepting why, especially when the girls oppose her on every level.
No one ever said happiness was forever. Gage knew all about forever. It wasn’t.
Her life was upside down now and righting it was up to her. No one could do it for her. But how was she going to go about it? Certainly her girls had their own idea of how she would get back on track. No, maybe that was an understatement. They wanted her to become a shadow of them, just as she’d been a shadow of their father. To live the way they wanted her to exist. Well…that wasn’t going to happen. She’d had enough control.
A shadow of what she’d known would keep her from being what she wanted to be. What she knew she could be. What she wanted was to overcome her situation without being under someone else’s thumb, even her girls. Maybe, especially her girls. As much as she loved them, and as much as they loved her, relying on them wasn’t fair to either of her girls, whether they realized it or not. And, they didn’t. At least now. Gage prayed both girls would come to appreciate she’d have to make her own way.
Ken hadn’t wanted her to work after they’d married, and since they both wanted children right away, Gage hadn’t argued, but felt blessed to have a husband take care of her and the children that blessed their home.
Now, being taken care of had blown up in her face. She wasn’t prepared, but life wouldn’t be put off.
Ken had been the decision maker for the biggest part of their marriage. She’d had enough of control during her marriage. Control she hadn’t wanted or needed, but she’d allowed her husband to feed on her insecurities, steal her identity and her free will.
Ken hadn’t been physically abusive he just liked things to go smoothly and his way. Gage’s decision to go along had been a terrible mistake. Still the marriage had been mostly good and she’d learned to adjust. Now adjustments from the past and into the future would be a test. A test she was ready to meet head-on once she realized control was a form of abuse.
Gage tossed in the king sized bed, finally flipped back the sheet and stared up at the ceiling. Her mind’s eye followed the swirls embedded in paint, paint she and Ken had applied together. For ten years she’d shared the bed with Ken and now that he was gone, she had a second chance at making things right for her girls.
Ken had had no knack for finances. But, it wasn’t entirely his fault the house was mortgaged to the hilt, and the credit cards maxed out. The medical bills had stacked up and now it was up to Gage to do something about them. But what? She had no job, nor any skills other than organizing the house as one would a business over the years.
Gage wanted more for her children. More for herself. More than to simply exist.
So, the time had come to get up off her duff and do something about being head over heels in debt, to find a way to do what she had to do. By herself.