|General Fiction posted March 2, 2011||Chapters:||-1- 2...|
Sequel to Twist of Fate
A chapter in the book Twist of Fate: A New Generation
Generation of Destiny
by Connie P
A new generation of the Connor/Smitherton/Winton families emerges destined to impact the future and bridge the gap to the past.
Nine-year-old Jamie Smitherton played in the recently constructed kiddy pool with his four-year-old nephew. The children’s parents and other adults at the casual cookout lounged around what they referred to as the big pool while steaks sizzled on the grill.
Several new additions, including an outdoor kitchen and a separate flagstone lanai with a fire pit, enhanced the already lavish, resort-like atmosphere. Glass tile shimmered from the sides of the pool and steps, weaving into a patterned inlay in the stamped concrete deck.
Jamie circled a remote control boat through the shallow pool and when the pre-timed sprinkler sprayed, he shouted, “Tidal wave.” Moments later, he yelled, “Hey,” stormed from the water, and plopped down beside his mother. He covered his left arm with his right hand as the flesh under his eyes reddened. Jamie considered crying for babies and willed himself not to do so.
Linda Smitherton looked down to see her son fighting tears. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothin’.” Jamie’s lips thinned as he stared away from his parents.
“Your momma asked you a question and I don’t reckon "nothin’" is a proper answer.” Jamie’s father, Tom, interjected.
Linda pried his fingers from his arm. A full imprint of teeth marks cut into her son’s skin. Blood just beneath the surface threatened to seep through. She turned Jamie’s chin and again asked what had happened. Jamie shot a look at the pool and whispered something to his mother, who in turn repeated what he’d said to his father.
“Come on, let’s go clean this up; we’ll put some ice on it.” She rested her hand on Jamie’s shoulder as they walked up the steps to the deck outside the kitchen.
Tom stood above the chaise where his daughter lay sunning. “Emmie, Michael bit Jamie and spit on him.”
Emmie pushed her sunglasses onto her head and sat up. “Is he okay?”
“Yeah, Jamie’s all right … he didn’t want to get Michael in trouble, but I reckon you need to have a talk with him.”
Emmie reached out to her father. He pulled her up and she shook out her long, blonde hair and tied a towel around her slender waist. She peered at her son and walked to the edge of the pool. Michael sat in the water, looking content, as he maneuvered the boat with the remote. Emmie squatted and flicked her finger for him to come to her. He cut his intense blue eyes her way and pushed a button to accelerate the boat.
“Michael Winton, come here this minute.”
The boat’s remote control hit the water with a forceful splash and Michael stomped through the pool to his mother.
“Did you bite Jamie?”
“It’s my boat. He wouldn’t give me the control.”
“Did you spit?”
He sulked and refused to answer.
Emmie stepped into the water and took Michael’s arm. “It’s naptime and you’re going to apologize.” He pulled away and when she picked him up he squirmed and flailed his lanky arms and legs.
As she wrestled him from the pool, he spouted, “I don’t want a nap … Jamie’s a tattler … I want to play.”
When the door to the kitchen closed and Emmie was out of earshot, a little chorus of giggles broke out among the sunbathers. Emmie’s stepfather, Brian, who’d been manning the grill, wiped beads of sweat from his brow, killed his thirst with a gulp of beer, and turned his attention to Tom. “What happened?”
“Aw, Michael bit Jamie and spit on him.”
Brian stifled a nervous chuckle. “I better give Kelly a head’s up. He’ll wake Cara. Can you take over for a few minutes?”
Tom moved toward the grill and as he walked past Brian, aggravated at their grandson’s behavior, he muttered, “I reckon that boy’s got a little of his daddy in him.”
“We’ve known that for some time.” Brian hustled inside to make sure his own daughter wasn’t awakened by one of Michael’s tantrums, although little chance existed, since he’d built separate wings to house the children’s rooms.
Emmie squatted on the kitchen floor and held Michael by the shoulders. “I want you to apologize to Jamie.”
Michael crossed his arms and poked his lips out in a defiant pout.
She took her little brother’s arm and examined the bite mark. “I’m sorry, Jamie. Are you okay?”
“Well, it looks like Michael will be spending the rest of the day in his room.”
Michael wailed, “Noooo!”
Emmie widened her eyes at him and put her hand on her hip. Michael peeked from under his furrowed brow and smirked a singsong, “Sor-ry.”
Jamie’s curly hair bounced with the movement of his shoulders. “It’s okay.”
As Emmie led Michael from the room, he turned back and sniped, “Tattler.”
Jamie looked up at his mother. “Hey ….”
Linda put her finger to her lips. Arguing with Michael would only make matters worse.
Toweled off and changed into a shorts outfit, Michael lay under the covers. His mother, still in her bikini and wrap, settled into a chair with her back to her fretting son. Taking attention from him calmed him quicker than trying to reason with him, a lesson she’d learned early on.
She reached to the top of the bureau for the book she’d been reading, “The Gift of a Gifted Child.” In the text, psychologists and parents of gifted children discussed the challenges and rewards of rearing a child with advanced intelligence. Michael exhibited brilliant learning abilities when he was barely two, something the family found to be a mixed blessing. The superior intellect, he’d inherited from his late father, came with an impatient intolerance for anything that didn’t go his way, another trait that seemed to have traveled through the Winton DNA.
When Michael’s thrashing and whining melted into silence, Emmie tucked the book under her arm and slipped from the room. After changing her own clothes, she stretched out on the white overstuffed sofa in her study.
Lean and tanned, Mary Elizabeth (Emmie) Winton possessed remarkable beauty. Her green eyes and full ruby lips required no makeup, which was something she rarely bothered with anyway. She laid the opened book across her midriff and lost herself in thought as she often did when she’d had a trying time with Michael.
A light tap on her door interrupted her thoughts. Emmie’s stepmother appeared in the doorway. “Is Michael sleeping?”
“Yes, is Jamie really all right?”
Linda answered with a soft nod. “It didn’t break the skin. He’s back outside in the big pool. The steaks are ready; do you want to come down and eat?”
Emmie wrinkled her nose. “I’m not in the mood for a heavy meal. Hey, you haven’t seen my kitchen.” She put her book aside and met Linda at the door. “It took forever, but it’s going to be worth it. Now Michael and I can have a little more privacy.” She started down the hall of the massive new addition to the Connor home.
Emmie’s world changed when she was fifteen and her mother met and married retired business tycoon, Brian Connor. Being catapulted into unimaginable wealth had done little to change her. Her mother’s diligent efforts had resulted in a sweet, unassuming progeny, who’d maintained an innocence, which had somehow survived the tragedy of her short marriage to Michael’s father.
Linda stopped at a picture gallery lining the walls of the hallway. “I haven’t seen these either.” She studied the dozens of framed photos that hung mingled with collages.
“The framer finished last week. Mom sketched the layout and we hand placed every one of them.”
“Your mother told me you’d finally gone through the things from Mike’s storage unit.”
Emmie blushed as she smiled. “I can’t believe I put it off almost four years. What do you think?”
Linda’s eyes moved over every picture. “Michael’s resemblance to his father is almost spooky.” She pointed to one picture. “Their eyes … those gorgeous eyes.” Focusing on another one of Mike as a boy, she said, “And look at that, your sandy-headed little stinker is just as long legged as his daddy ever thought of being. He’ll have to beat the girls off with a stick.”
“Like father, like son.” Emmie's smile widened with pride as she wiped a little smudge from the non-glare glass covering one of the photos. She then took her arm. “Come on, you have to see this.”
When they walked from the hardwood floor of the hall onto the cool travertine tile, Linda exclaimed, “Oh my goodness. I can’t believe my eyes.”
Emmie bounced onto her toes with excitement. “The cabinets and island are cherry. They built them in Pennsylvania and shipped them in. The cabinet guy said the wood will get darker over time.”
Linda stepped across the room and ran her hand over the granite counter top. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”
“I had to pick it from some little squares and pictures, then they let me look at the whole slab before they put it in. It’s awesome, isn’t it?”
“Awesome is a good word for it. Brian never does anything half-way.”
Emmie urged her on by the arm again. “Check this out.” Silhouette shades lined the breakfast area and with the push of a button they raised to a breathtaking view of the woodsy Georgia countryside. “We’re going to put some bird feeders outside so Michael can watch the birds while we eat.”
Tears filled Linda’s eyes and she wrapped her arm around Emmie. “I know I’ve told you this a hundred times, but I’m so proud of you, we all are.”
“It’s hard … you know, after all this time, I still miss Mike so much. He wanted to be a good father more than anything. Now, Michael has to grow up like he did.”
Linda's head shook in disagreement. “No, Michael will not grow up like he did. He’ll always have all the love and support he needs and with those two grandfathers of his, he’ll have the proper male influence Mike never had.” She patted Emmie again. “I need to run back outside. Are you going to let Michael come out when he wakes up?”
“That depends on Michael.” They laughed as Linda walked away.
Omniscient POV.Pays one point and 2 member cents.
Grammar errors in the dialect of the characters are intentional.
Grammar errors in the dialect of the characters are intentional.
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