From a normal life to one of shame &
heartache, he always hid his
pain behind his smile. But how long can he hide it
from view as his already tarnished world crumbles
He has survived so many challenges and
tests throughout his short life
can he survive his
hardest one of all??
In Store Price: $34.00
Online Price: $33.00
Format: A5 Paperback
Number of pages:
J. M. Lucas
Publisher: Poseidon Books
Date Published: 2006
I would like to dedicate this book to
my children who were patient and understanding while I spent hours on the
computer writing it. For all their unconditional love and support
I thank them
with all my heart
I love you.
To all the people who supported me and
encouraged me to do this
I thank you all
you know who you all are.
Without all of your love, support and
my children, my family and my friends
I dont think I
wouldve had the courage to take this step
but you were all there
me and guiding me.
This book is as much a part of all of
you as it is of me.
weather outside had turned for the worse. The rain pelted down with the force of
the wind. It was definitely a good night to stay home and keep dry and warm.
Baxter stared longingly out of the front window, gazing out into the dark night.
She was concerned about her husband, Reece. Hed worked the late shift and was
already two hours overdue. Shed rung his work only to be told hed left
over an hour ago. With the wild wintry weather outside, Charlene feared the
a small voice called from a bedroom.
went to see if he was all right.
found her young son sitting up in his bed, rubbing his tired eyes.
Baxter was three years old, the only child of Charlene and Reece Baxter.
sleepyhead, she said softly, turning the young boy around and laying his head
back down on his pillow. Did you have a bad dream?
home? Kyle asked, yawning.
darling, she replied not wanting him to sense her worry. Hes working a
little late tonight.
Kyle turned over onto his side and closed his sea-blue eyes.
Charlene closed his bedroom door, she was startled by a knock at the front door.
stood still, trembling. Her legs felt heavy as she slowly walked to open it.
Charlene peeped out of the curtain first and saw a police car parked in her
gravel driveway. Two stocky policemen were standing on her front porch.
her heart pounding, she opened the door as wide as the safety chain would allow.
Charlene Baxter? the older of the two addressed her.
me, she answered, her voice shaky.
we come in for a moment please, maam, the same officer requested formally.
nodded. She closed the door, undid the latch chain and then opened the door
wider for them to enter.
scanned their faces and sensed an overwhelming dread. Their eyes couldnt hide
my God, she gasped, her hand covering her mouth.
sit, maam, the other officer suggested. We need to talk to you.
didnt need to be invited to sit. Her legs felt like jelly; they were giving
way under her.
Officer Drake and this is Officer York, the older policeman began. We need
to ask you something.
it my husband? Hes late coming home and with this terrible storm
Charlene rattled on, almost hyperventilating.
is your husbands name Reece Baxter? the officer interrupted, his
obvious displeasure with this task evident on his face.
she replied weakly. Has he had an accident? Is he in hospital
voice searched for hope, but her eyes found none.
was involved in a bad accident about two hours ago, maam, Officer Drake
explained. Im sorry to say, but your husband didnt survive. He died at
head spun; the officers words became incoherent.
loud blood-curdling scream poured out from Charlenes heart.
there someone we can call for you, maam? Officer York asked, bending down
in front of her, holding her hands.
no one round here, she said, stunned, her hands shaking.
face was deathly pale. Her hands wouldnt stop trembling as her mouth
Kyle called coming out of his room.
stopped short when he saw the policemen with his mother, as she sat crying.
little buddy, Officer York greeted, trying to smile.
here, baby, Charlene called, holding her arms out to the young boy. Give
Mummy a squeeze.
eyes never leaving the strangers in his house, Kyle ran into his mothers
she hugged him tight, her body started to shake uncontrollably as reality hit.
Her husband was dead. Kyles daddy was dead. They were alone.
Drake excused himself and went outside. He went to a neighbours house and
knocked on the door. He apologized for the lateness of his visit then explained
the situation to the man who answered and asked if someone could stay with the
distraught woman. The man called to his wife and told her the terrible news.
Instantly the woman grabbed her coat and ran to the aid of her neighbour.
following days went by in a jumbled blur for Charlene. She felt like her whole
world had come crashing down. Little Kyle was too young to understand it all.
All he knew was his daddy had gone to Heaven and wouldnt be coming home
again. Even this didnt mean much to a three-year-old.
and friends rallied around the pair, doing all they could to help. They made
sure the funeral went smoothly and that Charlene and Kyle were well cared for.
Reeces boss helped by paying all the funeral expenses and donating some money
to help Reeces family for a while.
all the good wishes and help didnt last forever. Too soon Charlene realized
shed have to sell the house, pay off the mortgage and move to a cheaper area.
She knew it was the best time to do it, as Kyle wouldnt be too affected by
paying off any debts, Charlene was left with a very small kitty. She put the
meager amount into the bank, and hoped she wouldnt need to dip into it. This
was to be her emergency fund.
applied for a widows pension and was granted it. It wasnt a lot, but it
helped pay for the small apartment shed found on the poorer side of town.
They were now only a few blocks from the well-known area named Hells Kitchen,
another poor and often dangerous suburb.
were difficult, as money was so tight. A pension didnt stretch very far.
earned some cash by delivering pamphlets in the local neighbourhood. She enjoyed
the job; it got her out of the house. Even better was that she could bring her
son along and get to meet her neighbours.
wasnt a rich life by any means, but they had each other, a roof over their
heads and food on the table. Charlene missed her husband deeply, but she knew
she had to get on with her life for Kyles sake.
passed, but still money didnt come any easier.
was now a cute and energetic five year old and starting school. The cost of
school supplies and proper shoes really hurt the budget, but Charlene refused to
take any money out of the emergency fund.
settled into school life easily, and the spare time allowed Charlene to get a
part-time job at the local dry cleaners. It was hard work, extremely hot in
summer, but Charlene knew it was the only way she could ensure their future and
me, Miss, a raspy male voice called.
was in the back of the dry cleaners shop, sorting out the latest arrivals for
cleaning. She turned and saw a scruffy, yet ruggedly handsome man standing at
the front counter. She fussed with her hair, straightened her dress, and went to
new here, aint ya? he asked with a broad smile.
returned the smile as she blushed.
been here about a month, she replied. How can I help you?
checking to see if my suede jackets come back yet, he explained. Its
a dark brown one. Heres my slip for it.
handed her the receipt. As Charlene took it from him, he held her hand for a few
a pretty name, he commented, reading her name badge.
you, she said with a slight giggle. Ill just look for your jacket.
disappeared out the rear of the shop and found the jacket. After checking to
make sure the slip numbers matched, Charlene retrieved it from the rack and
returned to its owner.
good as new, Charlene remarked, handing the heavy jacket to him.
, just in case you wanted to know, the man introduced himself.
to meet you, Charlene grinned.
flying solo or you got an old man?
pried as he swung the jacket over his shoulder.
sort of solo, Charlene answered. Im a widow with a young son.
apologized, feeling awkward.
it happened about two and half years ago now, she explained.
nodded his head.
wanna go grab a coffee one day? he offered. Maybe even some dinner?
definitely, Charlene accepted.
write me your number so I can give you a call sometime,
instructed. So, how olds your kid?
names Kyle and hes five now, almost six, just started school, she said
as she wrote down her telephone number on a piece of paper.
happily took the paper and tucked it inside his pants pocket.
winked. You have a great smile.
blushed again as he left.
he was out of sight, Charlene hugged herself, excited. This was the first guy
who had actually made her feel tingly since Reeces death. Maybe it was time
to start living her life more for herself again.
remainder of her workday passed quickly. Charlene hummed happily to herself.
evening after supper, Charlene told Kyle all about the nice man shed met that
it be okay if mummy saw him again? she asked Kyle as she helped him into his
guess so, Kyle shrugged, not really bothered.
she knew her son didnt really comprehend what she said all the time, Charlene
still thought it better to include him in her affairs.
tucking Kyle into bed, Charlene had just settled down to watch the evening movie
when the telephone rang.
its really you, the familiar voice on the other end of line said,
surprised. I wasnt sure if youd given me a dodgy number or not.
laughed. I wouldnt do that.
had it happen before by some other girls,
not like the other girls, Charlene pointed out.
friendly telephone conversation lasted almost an hour before Charlene realized
it was time she went to bed. She hated being tired for work. They said their
good byes and hung up, but not before
had made dinner arrangements with her.
felt good about
. He made her laugh again.
the following month, Charlene and Leon became an item, having regular dates.
They spent many free hours together. Then came the day when Charlene wanted
to meet her son. She decided to make it dinner at her place, so Kyle would feel
more relaxed in common territory.
is Leon, mummys new special friend, Charlene introduced him when
greeted, squatting down to the boys comfortable level.
looked at the stranger with his gentle sea-blue eyes. Hi.
rest of the night went well, although Kyle tended to shy away from
and clung to his mother. He wasnt used to new faces; his mum hadnt dated
since his fathers death.
a real cute kid,
commented that evening, as they sat chatting on the sofa. Hes gonna be a
heartbreaker when he grows up.
was relieved the first meeting had gone so well.
a bright one too,
added, watching the young blond boy playing quietly on the floor with some toy
was pleased with Kyles acceptance of
as they started spending more time together.
month passed by. Charlene and Leons relationship thrived.
happy birthday, big boy!
cheered as he walked in the door, carrying a huge, brightly wrapped parcel.
A big grown up six year old now.
, Kyle yelled.
ran over and gave
a welcoming hug, then eyed the large parcel closely.
that for me? he asked coyly.
if its your birthday
it must be for you,
said, handing the gift to him.
watched proudly as
helped Kyle unwrap the giant box.
A Playstation, Mum, Kyle screamed, excited.
thats very expensive, Charlene chastised.
worth every cent
just look at that smile,
shrugged as he placed his arm around Charlenes slender waist.
was a very attractive woman, with her flowing blonde tresses and big hazel eyes.
She still had a youthful figure and an angelic face. She could still make heads
evening, once Kyle had finally been pried away from his games machine and had
collapsed exhausted in his bed, Charlene and Leon sat on the sofa together,
took out a small vial of pills, took
one out and swallowed it.
was that? Charlene asked, concerned.
just a harmless upper,
admitted. I take them sometimes to perk me up.
dont know if I like that, Charlene wrinkled her nose.
completely harmless, I tell ya,
laughed. Like a sugar pill.
took another pill out and offered it
eyed it hesitantly.
took the pill, placed it in her mouth and swallowed it.
continued to chat, then Charlene started to feel light-headed and giggly.
they tripped the night away, laughing and drinking.
want you to move in with me and Kyle, Charlene slurred her words.
Are you sure about it?
adores you and Ive fallen in love with you, Charlene explained. I want
you around. Will you do it?
leaned forward and softly kissed
Charlenes lips. They kissed gently at first, then harder. Before too long
they were undressing each other and they made love on the lounge room floor.
This was their first time together intimately.
that night on,
slowly started to move his belongings into Charlene and Kyles apartment. The
pill popping became more regular, almost a favorite past time once Kyle went to
drugs are an expensive hobby, especially the stronger types. Soon Leon and
Charlene had a drug habit that was costing them hundreds of dollars a week.
needed more money. Charlene decided she would find a second job, a night job.
was better staying with Kyle at nights as Charlene felt better knowing her son
was in safe hands.
saw an ad in the local paper advertising for attractive women for exotic
dancing. She was interested, as she had been a dancer in her teens. This
wasnt sleazy like lap dancing or degrading like prostitution. There was no
nudity, but the dancers had to strip down to very skimpy outfits.
her looks and body, Charlene was given a position immediately. Even
accepted her new job. So it was agreed that Charlene worked at the dry cleaners
in the day, and the dance hall, Laceys, at night.
worked as a forklift operator during the day and cared for Kyle in the evening.
A perfect partnership was formed.