Monday, May 16, 2016

Thicker Than Blood an excerpt from Charlotte's Chance

Charlotte started going into detail about doing Brenda’s house, which she had finished a week ago.  Badly.  It had been her worst work yet.  That had a lot more to do with her being a frazzled wreck than anything else.  It had all seemed like such a good idea taking care of Sandra’s things, looking in on her apartment, and seeing to Penelope at the kennel.  She had accessed her accounts, and opened online bill pay funneling the money directly from her account to her creditors.  She had needed to move several thousands from her savings to her checking.  But the woman had an almost trust fund balance in her savings from royalties from her grandfather’s shipping empire.   It hadn’t even put a dent in things.  Charlotte had gone by her apartment and watered her plants a week and a half ago, and that’s when things had started getting interesting.

Charlotte had left Brenda’s feeling pretty good about the way the room was going.  She had made a brief stop by Penelope’s kennel, which had been on the way, to pay the bill.  Sandra had given her an emergency ATM card years ago just in case.  Charlotte had locked it in the safe in the house. 

Sandra had the safe installed when she had first purchased the house eight years ago while she had been studying for her doctorate in Oklahoma.  According to Sandra Oklahoma City was dead on the weekends.  So she would travel to Dallas every Friday afternoon to stay for the weekend, and then head back to Oklahoma on Mondays.  Being tired of hotels she had spent her savings on a house in Richardson.  A few years after she had returned to Dallas by way of Scotland she had been ready to get rid of the house.

Only pure coincidence could explain just why Charlotte had been in the market for a house.  Her business had started going so well after she had met Brenda who would recommend her for all of the high money projects that she had worked on.  So it was time for Charlotte to get out of the one bedroom apartment in North Dallas, and put money into property.

Charlotte and Sandra had been casual friends from their initial meeting in the nightclub.  On weekends they would get together and talk about their pet project W.A.R.M. Soon Charlotte had brought in Brenda, and then Sandra had introduced them to Deborah and Rachel.  Suddenly Sandra had been selling her house, and their friendship had taken on a new dynamic.

It had been a funny scene because Sandra had put the house on the market. Charlotte had seen the ad, and called it up.  When she had met up with Charlotte, and not some stranger wanting to buy her house, Sandra had smiled and said she knew a sign when she saw one.  If Charlotte wanted the house it was hers.  Sandra had brokered the thing herself so that closing costs and realtor commissions wouldn’t make the house beyond Charlotte’s reach. 

This had led to she and Charlotte becoming even closer as Sandra helped Charlotte fulfill a dream she had since she had been small; having her own home.  They had been like sisters since.  Being an only child, Sandra had fancied the idea of having a younger sister, and always treated Charlotte like that.  She would tell Charlotte things first, secrets about herself, and what was happening in her life.  Asking her opinion on matters, something that the outwardly self-confident doctor didn’t like to admit needing help with.  At those times she could look at Sandra, and know that this woman would do anything for her without a second thought.

It was those kinds of things that had made Charlotte uncommonly loyal to Sandra.  As Charlotte knew first hand, sometimes your own family didn’t care about your happiness as much as they cared about their own personal gain. She loved all of her family dearly, but she could count on one hand the members of her family that would’ve moved heaven and earth to make her dreams come true; the ones who already had which were her mother, brother, and grandmother. The three of them together by begging, borrowing, and pleading had made sure that Charlotte had gotten through school at the Savannah School of Art and Design.

Her grandmother wasn’t a wealthy woman.  She and the late Dougal McConnell had come to America from Scotland with nothing but three shirts, two pairs of pants, a couple of dresses, and a few family heirlooms.  So the family had never had anything but a strong work ethic, and a desire to earn their keep.  Her mother and brother had individual trusts put in place by his father, her first husband Jonathan Clangston.  They weren’t plentiful, but they made it possible for her mother to retire two years ago, and for her brother to carry on his international affairs without much fuss.  Everyone had lived a little less than comfortable when they had decided together that Charlotte’s career goals were worthwhile; her mother even more so with the added burden of providing care for her elderly diabetic mother.

Her mother’s two sisters loved her, but they had children of their own.  Bernice and Carolyn were older than Anna Marie, and they balanced husbands, children, grandchildren, and helped Anna Marie care for their mother: children, and grandchildren that Charlotte only saw every few years at family reunions.  She always felt bad about the fact that she wouldn’t even recognize the whole lot of them if they met up somewhere, and she was quite sure that it was the same for them with her.

Her father’s family was a joke.  Just a clan of Irish and Welsh that found it nigh near impossible to conduct themselves within the confines of the law.  Even worse they would steal the shirt off of the back of a blood relative without batting an eyelash.  It seems that they had been in America for centuries robbing and cheating their way through life.  So bad that even the Irish mobs wouldn’t have them.  They had no honor at all. 

That aspect of Charlotte’s blood made her very aware of loyalty, and the importance of keeping your word no matter what.  It was one of her grandmother’s rules. Only on penalty of death should someone be forsworn, and Charlotte believed in that.  She had promised Sandra when she had helped her get her house that if there were ever a time that she should need help she would not need to look any further. 

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