Authors: Jennifer Rose
Copyright © 2014 Jennifer Rose
All rights reserved.
This book is purely fictional. Names, characters and events are the mind creation of the author. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead or events is entirely coincidental. This book shall not be copied or reproduced in any way, shape or form without the written consent of the author Jennifer Rose.
Created and printed in the United States. July 2014
All songs, titles, and lyrics are the property of the songwriters.
Book covers design by Sarah Foster of Sprinkles On Top Studios. http://sprinklesontopstudios.com/
Editing by Melissa Burton
Formatting CL. Foster
Other Books by Jennifer Rose
Eden’s Pleasure (Book One of The Pulse Series)
Mikala’s Passion (Book Two of The Pulse Series)
Landon’s Desire (Book Three of The Pulse Series)
Facebook: Author Jennifer Rose
Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/jenniferrose
To you my readers and fans, if not for you, my dreams would never come true!
My name is Tandy Manning… and I should have never gotten out of bed.
I had no idea that my day was going to turn out so terribly wrong, or I would have never opened my eyes, would have never let the sun shine into my bedroom, and definitely…would have never left my bed.
If I had known that my life was going to come to a sudden halt, take an abrupt nose dive and throw me into a horrendous spiral…I would have never left my bed.
If someone had said ‘this isn’t going to be your day’…I would have never left my bed.
And if someone had said ‘your day is only going to get worse’…I would have never left my bed.
But I got up and left my bed!
“What now?” I asked, numb and dumb struck.
“Now you spend the next few months getting things in order,” he said.
“You make it sound so final.”
“Not final, just prepared.”
“Okay, see you in sixty days.”
I couldn’t believe that this was happening to me. I was always so sure to take care of myself, I ate right and exercised, got plenty of sleep, never smoked and kept alcohol to a minimum, and although a little chunky, healthy otherwise or so I thought. Yet here I sat in hunky Dr. Travis’s office weighing out what to do next, after being told,
‘You have a brain tumor’
All the tests and exams revealed the reason for my terrible headaches, bouts of numbness in my arms and weakening nausea, which came often forcing me to leave my job. Although I held on foolishly to the hope that it was something that could be remedied with a pill or a shot, I was now forced to confront the reality that I was going to have brain surgery in sixty days.
I stepped onto the street and to my total astonishment, the world was still revolving. It continued on even though mine was static, pulsating in a daunting limbo. Cars roared by and there was a cacophony of laughter and enthusiasm competing along the streets, as people scurried to get to hurried destinations, to meet with friends, get to work on time or get that perfect pair of Manolo Blahnik one-of-a-kinds before the end of that spectacular sale.
What did it all matter now? Didn’t they realize that I was having brain surgery in sixty days? That I was facing the possibility of paralysis; vision loss, hearing loss, speech loss and scariest of all, Death! I could die for fuck’s sake, didn’t they know?
Henry held the door of the Jaguar XJ while I slid into my seat, he bent into the doors frame looking at me with a concerned gaze. “You alright, Miss Manning?”
“Just wonderful, Henry,” I said with a smile, trying hard not to lose it. Henry was not at all convinced, I could see it in his suspicious eyes, he knew me well; he was like a second father.
“You sure?” he asked, making no attempt to move from the door until he was good and satisfied.
I put my hand up and stroked his cheek. “I’m fine Henry, nothing for you to worry about. Really, would I lie to you?” Henry watched my face for a few seconds and closed the door. He still suspected something as he slid behind the driver’s wheel, raking me with his distrusting eyes in the rearview mirror before pulling away from the curb into the busy traffic.
No. Normally I would never lie to him, except this was something that I needed desperately to keep to myself. No one could know. The last thing I wanted were looks of pity, those looks that people gave you when you revealed bad news, often accompanied by tears that spilled when they concluded the worst. No, that just wasn’t going to happen. I wasn’t going to sit around while people cried and planned my demise. I wasn’t about to start planning my funeral service or write out my will, leaving all my useless personal shit to people that would just chuck it out with the rest of the old trash.
“Peanut butter chocolate chunk?” Henry asked, eyes glued to the road. I smiled at his sweet, loving concern.
Henry wasn’t just my body guard he was the best friend when a girl was down, a real teddy bear, there to take care of any problem big or small. And although he could turn a man inside out and gut him in a matter of seconds, he appeared as a rough tough macho he-man to all that viewed him, but not to me. To me he was my best friend and hero. I could talk to him about anything, spill my guts and he never judged, never scolded and kept our conversations confidential. Even when my father probed him for information, he kept tight lipped. He just gave me his ear to listen and two loving arms to hold me tight. But I still couldn’t tell him.
“Not today Henry, just take me home?”
“Home it is honey...just remember I’m here if you need me, okay?”
I could tell immediately that my father wasn’t home from the calm atmosphere in the foyer as I entered the house. The lack of tension and the ticking of the large Grandfather Clock on the landing of the stairs, all tended itself to a peaceful stillness as I looked around.
A fresh assortment of white Lilies and greenery sat on the table before me and I stood staring at them, they always reminded me of a morbid funeral home. Since they were my mother’s favorite flower however, my father made sure a fresh arrangement arrived every Monday morning, a different color each week without fail since she died. I wondered if he would bother to do the same for me.
“Good evening, Miss. Manning.”
“Hello, Grayson.” Our butler Grayson always knew when someone came into the house, he was always there to greet you and get you settled in. He stood straight as a board, like he walked the halls with a stack of books perpetually on his head. Grayson spoke with a proper British accent, had neatly trimmed grey hair and always dressed in black slacks, a crisp white shirt and black and grey pinstriped vest.
“How was your day, Miss. Manning?” he asked curtly. But did he
want to know? Did he
give a rat’s ass? I didn’t think so but it was part of the job I supposed.
“It was fine, is my father home?” I knew the answer. I was just making small talk while he took my jacket and packages, ever so efficiently.
“No Miss, he will be late this evening. Shall I tell cook you will be dining alone?”
“No, thank you, I don’t feel like dinner tonight. I’ll grab something later.” Another dinner alone at that huge dining room table would surely make my day complete, just what I needed, Not!
“Goodnight, Grayson,” I said as I ascended the stairs making my way to my room, my sanctuary, just me and my thoughts. Me, myself and I. Good thing I like me or I might get lonely.
Lonely was one thing I never got, I never longed for companionship, for someone to spend my time with. I enjoyed peace and quiet, the tranquility that was mine and mine alone. It’s not that I was a hermit or anything like that, I had friends, plenty of friends. I dated the odd time and partied like every other twenty two year old did. It was just that I
how to be alone.
You see my father, well he’s a bit of a…how would I say it…controlling bastard!
Since my mother’s death when I was ten, he has been micro managing my life, monitoring my every move; my every action and if he could, my every thought. The only way I manage to have a regular life at all is thanks to Henry, who sneaks me to friends’ houses and forbidden parties etcetera. Henry watches out for me, he actually helped raise me; he’s my true father figure.
My old man, he can be a prick, nasty when he wants to be and sweet as pie when he wants to be. He still thinks that at twenty two I need permission to date, or go out with friends and he even gives me a curfew, seriously! He does background checks on anyone I bring home, anyone I date. I can’t even talk to someone on the street without fear that there will be an immediate background check, ridiculous right? Henry says that father is just overly protective and that I should give him a break, I guess he’s right in a way.
I opened the door and scanned my bedroom.
I thought to myself, shabby chic décor very much the little princess look. Fuck it’s time to grow up. I sauntered over to my bed and curled up into a ball on the surface of the cold pale pink satin spread and the floodgates opened. As much as I tried not to think of death and dying I couldn’t help myself. I kept deliberating in my head how I was far too young for this to be happening, but then again so was my mother when death chose to strike. Adding her memory to my already grieving heart only caused the uncontrollable sobbing to worsen. I never cried that much in my life, not even when my mother died. It felt like hours had passed.
A soft knock at my door roused me from my sleep. It was dark in my room, I shivered from the coolness of the air, sat up and stretched wishing that it had all been a bad dream and I was waking to a new morning.
“Come in,” I called out, hoping to God it wasn’t my old man.
The door opened and Camille’s smiling face looked over to me, a tea cup in her hand. “Well hello to you, sleepy head.”
“Hello, Camille,” I smiled back and took the cup from her outstretched hand. I could see the deep crimson color of the rooibos tea. She always knew what I liked. Camille was our housekeeper, my mother figure of sorts. A wonderful lady, tough as nails when it came to dealing with my father yet warm and kind with me. Don’t get me wrong though, she didn’t put up with any shit from me either, always putting me in my place when need be.
She too always wore the same appointed uniform; baby blue button down dress with a white collar and trimmed cuff, white stockings, shoes and a white eyelet trimmed apron, topping the entire thing off sat a little white scrap of lace that reminded me of a doily pinned atop her head.
“Grayson said you didn’t eat dinner, can I make you a little something, some toast to go with your tea?” Her Mrs. Doubtfire accent always made me smile and her need to care for me made me feel special, I loved that about her.
“No thanks, I had a big lunch, not really hungry,” I lied. I was beginning to hate the lying, but no one could know, not a soul.
“Are you feeling alright? Do you have another headache? You need to see the Doctor about those; he can prescribe something to help,” Camille advised me. However no pill could cure what I had. The pills the Doctor gave only brought the headaches down to a dull roar and made me sleep and the new pills would help with the nausea, but the tumor wasn’t going away anytime soon.
“I’m fine Camille. How was your day?” I asked, desperate to change the subject. Camille always had great stories to tell, she could make cleaning a toilet sound like a day spent at the fair, or polishing the silver sound like a day at the beach.