Authors: Rosemarie Naramore
All the characters in this book are fictitious, and any
resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Abound in Love
© Copyright 2012 by Rosemarie Naramore
All rights reserved.
Table of Contents
it’s been awhile since I’ve e-mailed. It’s been longer since we’ve spoken.
I’m sorry about that. I really am.
I know things
weren’t always so great between us, but I want you to know that I do think of
you often. I can’t tell you how many times lately I’ve recalled us as little
girls—long before we reached high school age and things got strained between
us—and remember how close we’d been.
remember the time the neighbor boy decided he was ‘in love’ with you? You must
have been about six. Remember how you declared you were going to ‘vomit’ if he
didn’t vacate the ‘premises’? (Your vocabulary was always far more advanced
than mine.) Anyway, he was forever chasing you around the yard. You came to
me—I was eight—and begged me to handle him. And I did. I charged him and
knocked him to the ground. I sat on him, pinned his arms above his head, and
told him in no uncertain terms to steer clear of you. If memory serves, he
didn’t bother you again.
don’t know when you stopped seeing me as your protector, and I don’t recall
when I relinquished the role. You could have gone to Thomas for help, but you
came to me. You always did. What happened?
I know what happened. I changed. I became your tormentor, rather than your
protector, and the memory of my unkindness makes me want to cry. I understand
why you left home and never looked back. I would have run away too.
I could change the past. I would do things so differently. So many things…
please come home for the Thanksgiving holiday. I know I don’t have the right
to ask, but I would love to see you. And the truth is, although I don’t
deserve you, I could really use a sister right now…
Landers pulled the e-mail out of her purse for the third time today. She
re-read it, wondering what had prompted her sister Candace to send it. What
caused her to send it? And what’s more, she had to wonder if
it was a sincere extending of the olive branch. Had Candace changed?
gave a withering sigh. She hoped Candace
had some sort of
epiphany—and that the sentiment was genuine. But if she was simply luring her
home for some as yet undetermined, but likely selfish reason, as was typical
Candace fashion, she wasn’t sure if there would ever be hope for their
slipped the key in the ignition of the rental car, intending to drive away from
the Portland International Airport, but she paused and glanced out at the grey
Northwest sky. Dark clouds hovered, threatening rain. To think, she’d left a
sunny Georgia sky for this.
abruptly glanced heavenward. “Sorry, Lord. Thank you for this day,” she
prayed, making a quick decision to look on the bright side of things. She had
much to be thankful for. Life was good. She was young, healthy, and blessed
with a fulfilling career. She was about to spend the first Thanksgiving
holiday in years with members of her family, and her sister had reached out to
her. Surely that portended even more positive things to come.
started the car and followed I-205 north until it merged with I-5. She soon pulled
off of Interstate 5 and onto the exit to Battle Ground. As she neared the
quaint town—named for an anticipated battle that hadn’t actually come to pass—she
gave a wry smile. Although that 1855 battle between area Native Americans and
Army captain William Strong had never happened, Laura had certainly fought a
battle or two of her own while living here.
glanced at the clock on the dash. It was nearly four in the afternoon and unfortunately,
already getting dark. It was par for the course during the fall season in the
Pacific Northwest. Night fell quickly—typically following relentlessly grey,
going to miss Georgia while she was here.
through town, she was surprised at how much the small town had grown during her
years away. Fast food restaurants dotted the commercial landscape, as well as
a couple large grocery stores. Several small boutique-type stores still lent
small town charm to Main Street, as did the feed store that had been around for
spied the high school on her left and frowned. She often felt as if high
school was light years behind her, but seeing it again, she was abruptly
transported back to her school days. Teenage insecurities popped to the forefront
of her mind, not nearly as easy to suppress as she might have imagined if she
was still at home in her adopted state of Georgia.
her sister Candace, who had relished her school experience, Laura hadn’t been
able to graduate fast enough. In fact, she’d spent both her junior and senior
years attending the local community college, as part of a program that allowed
high school students who tested well enough to get a jump start on their
had been her saving grace—getting out of school and into the community college,
where she hadn’t had to reside squarely within her sister’s formidable shadow.
Candace had been the school’s version of a superstar. She was tall, thin,
blonde, and gorgeous. By comparison, Laura was short, brunette, curvy,
passably pretty, but too studious to be embraced by the popular in-crowd her
sister had ruled with an iron fist—albeit a fist comprised of slender, fingers,
boasting perfectly manicured nails. She typically wore a promise ring from one
boy or another, depending on who happened to have won her heart during a given
attempted to force thoughts of Candace from her mind. It was too painful to
remember how her own sister had cast her aside in favor of her friends—and had
laughed along with them at her lack of a fashion sense and awkwardness around
the opposite sex. While Candace had practically resided at the mall in nearby
Vancouver, Laura had preferred riding horses at her neighbor’s home. Candace
was a fashion
, Laura a fashion
there was only two years between her and her older sister, at the time Laura
had felt as if the age difference was a chasm, vast and unbridgeable. She
often told herself she was okay with that, that Candace was a vapid girl who
could easily step into their high school’s mean girl role, and as such, she
wanted nothing to do with her. But then there were other times when Candace
could behave like a caring older sister, and when those moments ended, that’s
when her heart broke…
things wouldn’t have been so strained between them if Laura hadn’t skipped a
grade, putting her only a year behind her sister in school. Likely
contributing to their difficulties was the fact that Laura sometimes found
herself in classes along with her sister, and it wasn’t unusual for teachers to
compare the two. Candace wasn’t much of a student; Laura, on the other hand,
had been every teacher’s dream—an eager learner and active class
shook her head, to clear away the memories for now. Many of them still had the
power to hurt, which surprised her. She was twenty-eight, a professional woman
who had long since overcome her self-consciousness and awkwardness. Even her
closet was a testament to the fact that she’d grown up and into a confident
woman. It held an assortment of crisp, tailored pants and skirts, that when
paired with any of her selection of blouses, emphasized her slim, toned
figure. She had her fair share of admirers, but had forgone serious romantic
entanglements in order to achieve her professional goals.
paused at a stop light. If she was being honest with herself, she knew her
resistance to male attention was more than a means to advance her career
without distraction. The truth was,
remained a distraction—a constant,
shadowy figure in her thoughts and memories.
gave a brittle laugh. It was time to put away childish musings. He hadn’t
really known she existed back then—to him, she was simply the younger sibling
of his friends—and he probably wouldn’t even recognize her now. Lord, she was
as pathetic now as she had been when she lived here. Buck up, she told
smoothed a hand across her hair, and despite her attempts at reasoning with her
own tired mind, she glanced around, warily, as if fearful she might see
him—afraid he might suddenly materialize on the street, or in a truck in the
lane beside her, or even driving his patrol car. She sighed, and gave a
self-deprecating laugh. Maybe she wouldn’t even have occasion to run into Dalton
Jance, and if she did, maybe she would discover that he no longer had the power
to set her heartbeat into over-drive and cause her to go weak in the knees.
gave a withering sigh, almost embarrassed. If her friends in Georgia could see
her now… Surely they would have a good laugh at her expense.
continued through town, finally taking a left onto a roadway that led both to
her family home, as well as onward to Battle Ground Lake State Park. The
familiar road boasted the same twists and turns she remembered, and she found
herself driving on autopilot, as her mind wandered.
been over seven years since she’d visited her hometown. After graduating from
college, she’d returned home briefly, only to leave again when she’d secured a
job in Georgia as a news writer for a large Atlanta television station. She
felt some guilt that she’d been gone for so long, but then, her folks had left
Battle Ground soon after her, settling in Phoenix. Only Candace and their
brother Thomas lived here now—her brother having bought the family home from
wondered if he and his fiancée Macy had set a date for their wedding yet. Or
had their sister’s marital woes prompted the couple to slow the pace a bit.
Laura still couldn’t believe Candace had left her husband Dan. More difficult
to believe was that Candace had sent that e-mail, asking her to come home for
Thanksgiving. She had gone so far as to tell her that she needed a sister
still couldn’t fathom that her sister had turned to her for anything, let alone
comfort. They rarely spoke to one another, sent only the occasional e-mail,
and certainly didn’t have what anyone could call a close relationship. As her
sister had pointed out in her e-mail, they hadn’t been close since they were
having differences with her sister, Laura had reached out to her children,
assuring she remembered every special occasion with a gift. She e-mailed them
often, offering love and encouragement. Although she had only met them
in-person one time, and they’d been tiny at the time, she still felt close to
them. Sometimes she wondered if her sister even knew how often she talked to
her son and daughter.
country road that led to her brother’s place came into view, Laura took a
shoring breath. Her heart began beating rapidly, and she couldn’t fathom why.
She’d grown up here, yet something felt off to her. She didn’t feel a sense of
coming home. On some level, it pained her. Shouldn’t she be eagerly anticipating
a reunion with loved ones?