Title: Forever Love
Author: Katie Gallagher
Pages: 134 pages/48k
Publisher: Rebel Ink Press, LLC
Release Date: April 8, 2015
Summary: Two lines. That’s what Cyn Clark saw when she took a pregnancy test after her period was two weeks late. At first, she chalked it up to the stress of midterms since the end of the semester was right around the corner. But when she started to feel tired and queasy, she decided to take the test and that’s when her life changed forever. Although, already engaged to her boyfriend, now fiancee, James Lucas, this new revelation has Cyn questioning her decision. Would she be able to handle motherhood alone after James deployed in May? Or had they rushed into their entire relationship? James surprises Cyn by proposing all over again when he hears the news about their coming surprise and things seem to be better between them, but for how long?
Will Cyn get her happily ever after or be disappointed in the end?
I struggled to make my way through the crowds of people, pushing each other to get out of the doorway, so that they could make their way down to baggage claim. I pulled my suitcase behind me, grateful that I didn’t have to deal with another crowd. Pushing my backpack further up on my shoulder, I lifted my hand up,
“Dad!” I exclaimed, running towards him. I dropped my bags in the middle of the walkway not really caring that people had to veer out of the way. .
“I’ve missed you!” I exclaimed, throwing my arms around him, hanging on as if he was my only lifeline. I didn’t know why, but the next thing I knew I was blubbering like a baby.
He took his face in his hand, “Sweetheart, what’s wrong? Look at me!” he held me “Look at me!” He argued. The gesture just made me cry harder. I wasn’t even sure what was wrong with me.
“I’m sorry,” I sniffled, “I don’t even know why I’m crying. I guess I’ve just missed being home.” My father took my suitcase out of my hands, “Let me take that.” He said. I smiled. It felt good to be home.
“How’s Mom doing?” I asked.
“She has her good days and bad days.” I waited for him to say something else, but he didn’t. She went back to the doctors last week for her yearly checkup and he said that she’s fine, but she won’t believe it. I can’t take it anymore.”
My cell phone beeped and I began fishing through my purse to find it. I was always losing things inside of it, I knew that I should buy something smaller, but every time I went shopping, I found myself gravitating toward the bigger bags. It beeped again.
“Found you!” I held it up triumphantly. My father laughed. I glanced at it, 1 text message… I just heard. Call me.-A. I closed the phone and threw it back in my purse disappointed
“Who was that?” My father asked, smiling.
“My roommate, Alison. We met the first day of classes and hit it off. You remember my other roommate, don’t you? Well, she turned out to be a real pain in the ass and kicked me out the second week of classes.”
“Oh.” I could tell by his tone of voice that he was a little sad. There was now a part of my life that my father wasn’t a part of. I was no longer his little girl
“Well, here’s the car.” He said. I threw my bag in the backseat and slipped into the front. I suddenly felt like I could sleep for a week, “Let’s go home.” I said closing my eyes. “Do you want to stop somewhere before we go home?” He asked.
“I am a little thirsty and wouldn’t mind a stop at Coffee Bean for a smoothie. I mean, if that’s alright with you.”
“That’s fine. It’s right down the road from the house, so we can bring something home for your mom and your sisters. Call them and see if they want anything.” He said.
I began dialing home when my phone beeped, I glanced down, one text message, How was your flight? -A.
I was hoping that it would be James, but we hadn’t talked since the week before. I missed him. I’d only been home for a few hours and I already wanted to be back at school with him. Knowing that he was mad at me made my stomach hurt. I tried to ignore the feeling and began dialing home. I waited as it rang.
“Mom, it’s me. Yes, my flight was fine and yes, I used the bathroom,” I blushed. My mother still remembered when I was younger and wouldn’t use a plane bathroom because I was afraid that the toilet would swallow me. I took a deep breath, “We were going to stop at Coffee Bean on the way home; do you or the girls want anything?” I waited. “Ok. I’ll tell him. Love you too.” I hung up the phone and shook my head.
“Why is it that moms always remember the stupid stuff I’ve done as a kid? I’m not five any more!” I said exasperated.
“That’s the last time she truly felt good.” He said softly. He was right. After my mom got sick, she spent most of her time lying in bed. She stopped being my mother and became a sick person. I remember going into her room when I was little and curling up in bed with her. She didn’t even know I was there.
“I know. I remember now.” I smiled sadly. I hated it; being around my dad made me feel like a little girl again. I didn’t feel like talking anymore, so I got out my phone hoping my Dad would get the clue.
“Ever since you came home that phone hasn’t been out of the hand for a minute. Aren’t you going to tell me how the semester went at all? How were your classes?” He asked.
“It was fine. Classes are tougher than high school, but I still managed to get mostly A’s, except for one ‘C’.” He frowned. “Dad! The professor hates me. She totally has it in for me.” I protested.
“You know you shouldn’t make excuses Cynthia Jane.” He said, using my full name.We spent the rest of the car ride in silence. By the time we pulled into Coffee Bean I was beginning to feel bad. He was right. I was blaming others for the reason that I wasn’t doing well in classes.
“Sorry Dad.” I said holding the door open.
“It’s ok. I shouldn’t have snapped at you. It’s just been rough since you left. Your mom has had her good days and bad as usual, but lately your sister Carrie has been impossible to deal with. I don’t know what happened, but she’s been staying at the house more. She and John aren’t speaking right now.” I glanced over at my Dad and saw for the first time that he looked sad. I got up to the counter and glanced over the choices. I decided to go with my normal choice, a strawberry smoothie.
“A strawberry smoothie, please.” I stood to the side while Dad paid for our drinks. I walked over to a corner table and sat down. It felt good… just my Dad and me.
My cell phone beeped, a text message from James, Call me we need to talk. Love J. Reading those words my heart went into my throat. “Here you go.” He handed me my drink. I took a sip hoping that it would take away the feeling in my stomach.
Is he breaking up with me? Don’t be stupid. It’s Jennifer. He wants to be with her, I thought to myself. It beeped again. I shoved it in my pocket without even looking at it. If he was mad at me, I didn’t want to talk to him either.
“So, are you going to tell me what’s wrong? You aren’t the kind of person who just cries for no reason. There has to be something that you are not telling me. I’m your father; don’t even think about lying to me.” He said concern in his voice.
I looked down. “It’s nothing. College just turned out to be tougher than I thought it would be.” I didn’t want my dad to know all the torrid details. If he knew some of the things I did, he’d ground me for life. I took another sip to calm my nerves.
“I know you can do it though. It’s in your blood.” He grinned. I glanced down at my watch,
“We better get back. Mom is probably wondering what taking so long with her drinks. Oh yeah, she wants you to get her a non-fat Grande caramel latte. Susan wants a chi latte” I frowned. “Why didn’t you tell me Susan was there?”
He shrugged. “I wanted it to be a surprise.” He got up and went over to the counter. I watched him try to flirt with the woman at the counter, I laughed. It felt good to be home.
“Okay, let’s go home to your mother.” He said heading over to the table. I got up and walked toward the door.
I glanced back at him, “It feels good to be home.”
As we pulled into our driveway, I grinned. Standing there waiting for us was my mom, Susan, and three of my sisters. I unbuckled my seat belt and tried to open the door before my father even had the car in park.
“Let me turn off the car and then you can get out,” he said. I waited impatiently. Just seeing everyone waiting there made me feel good.
“Welcome Home!” They all yelled as I opened the door.
I laughed, “If I knew I was going to get this kind of reception I would have gone to college years ago.”
“Yeah, that would have been funny seeing a ten-year-old college freshman.” My sister Jade piped up. We got along pretty well for being fifteen years apart. You could say that I was a surprise to my family. They thought that Carrie was going to be the last daughter and then my mother found out she was pregnant with me.
“Thanks, Jade, you just wouldn’t have wanted me in school with you.” I pushed my bag back on my shoulder. “Can we go inside now? I’m tired.”
“Yes, let’s listen to the princess,” piped up, Carrie. She was only two years older than me and a sophomore at the local community college. She had moved out of our parent’s house last year and now lived in her own apartment with her boyfriend, John.
I met John when I was twelve. Carrie had just started high school and he was senior, an older senior though. He was twenty years old. My parent’s didn’t know how old he was until four years later and by then they couldn’t tell Carrie who she could or couldn’t date because she was eighteen.
I could see what my father meant when he said that Carrie was hard to deal with. I turned to her, “What’s your problem Carrie? I just got home and you are already trying to start fights. You need to grow up. Every time you come home, you have the same attitude. I don’t like it. None of us does. So, if you’re not going to be respectful in our parent’s house, then just go home to John.”
“Fine, I’ll leave.” She leaned over and kissed my mom on the cheek. “I’ll call you guys later. Love you.” She went inside to get her coat and I sighed. After only being home a few hours, I just wanted to go back to school.
“Cyn, why did you have to do that? Carrie didn’t deserve you jumping down her throat like that,” said Anna. She was the quietest one of the six of us. She was the dutiful daughter who always listened to everything Dad told her to do. At thirty-five, she had just made partner at her law firm and Dad was very happy about that.
He had always said that he wanted a lawyer in the family. “So, when Carrie gets herself in a jam, she’ll have someone to bail her out,” he often teased. Carrie had been the one who played to her own drum. I always thought it was because Mom had gotten sick when we were so young she just rebelled.
Carrie came out of the house and walked straight to her car that she had parked across the street. She didn’t even say goodbye to anyone. How rude. I watched as she drove down the road, stopping at the stop sign at the end of the road. At least she was obeying the rules of the road.
“What’s wrong with her?” I turned to my sister Jade, a question in my eyes.
She shrugged, “I think her and John are fighting again. She sighed, “What else is new?” I chuckled,
“I know what you mean. Every time I call home, Carrie’s fighting with him. Sometimes I don’t even understand why she’s with him, he’s ten years older than her and in my opinion not the best looking either.”
“Well, she told me that they were beginning to have problems. She’s not sure if she wants to be with him anymore”
“Okay, I’ll call her later and apologize.” I pushed my bag up higher on my shoulder.
My father cleared his throat, “Can we go inside. I’m sure Cyn wants to put her stuff away. And I don’t think that Carrie wants us to announce her business to the world.”
“Dad’s right.” I said walking toward the front door. I couldn’t wait to get back into my own room, my own bed. I lugged my suitcase upstairs, the clang against the steps the only sound in the empty house.
My room was just the way I’d left it. It looked like they hadn’t touched a thing. I’d even left a glass of juice sitting on my dresser and it was still there. Now, it looked more as if something was growing in it. I went over and sniffed it,
“It smells like it too,” I said to no one in particular.
“Let me take that for you.” I heard my father’s voice behind me. I handed it to him. “Besides the juice, the room looks the same.” I smiled. I dropped my bags on the floor and flopped on the bed.
“I could use a nap right now.” I closed my eyes.
“Sorry princess, everyone is downstairs and they want to see you”
“ Fine, I sighed, tell them I’ll be right down.” I kissed my father’s cheek and slipped into the bathroom to freshen up. I had just spent three hours on a plane and could desperately use a shower, but since there was company downstairs, I just settled for brushing my hair and putting on some lip-gloss. ‘There that looks better’ I thought to myself. I came out of the bathroom to find the room empty. I closed the door behind me and ran downstairs. I found everyone sitting around the kitchen table munching on crackers, vegetables, and my favorite; shrimp.
“Hi Susan!” I ran over and gave her a big hug. I missed her!
“Hi sweetie, she smiled., ,” I went over, gave my mother a hug and kiss. I was glad to see that today was one of her good days.
“Let me have part of that shrimp,” I said sitting down at the table next to Jade. She patted my hand, “Nice to have you home, Cyn.” I smiled. It felt good to be home.
Meet the Author: Katie Gallagher is the author of Forever Love. Her second novel Stealing Hearts releases Dec 10th and she’s currently in the editing cave with her third novel, Catching You. She lives in Western PA with her husband and young daughter who graciously tolerate her inability to resist teenage drama on TV and lack of cooking skills. She loves coffee, flip flops and hates cold weather.