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Family Ties and Future Loves
The Journey - Forever and Always
Forever and Always by Begin Again
 Category:  General Fiction
  Posted: June 2, 2009      Views: 198
Chapters:
Prologue 1 2 3 4 5 

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 ABOUT
BEGIN AGAIN 
Begin Again is a resilient "senior citizen". Reinventing and restructuring her life has become almost common place for her.

I love music, books, and sitting by the water. Each of these activities brings a sense of life to me.
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She is an accomplished script writer and is currently at the #11 spot on the rankings.

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Background
How long is forever? Four young adults, bonded since childhood, learn the reality of life and passion. Their turbulent journey touches the lives of many as they face love, death, sorrow and regret. Promises made and promises broken.



Many of the homes built on Higgins Street dated back to the late 1800's about the time Whipton was beginning to prosper and expand its city limits. One of Whipton's founding fathers, Hank Higgins, chose a large parcel of land to the east of the city to build his family home; the home became the cornerstone of Higgins Park. Prior to that time, the area had been populated with stately maple trees and a babbling creek running through the land towards the heart of the town, the Rock River. The Higgins home was the first to be built; closely followed by a home he built for his in-laws so they could be close to their daughter. As the town began to prosper and more people came to the area, Higgins divided the land into large expansive lots, taking great care to preserve the towering maples that would soon line the cobble-stoned streets. The initial homes built were tall two story frame houses with park- like back yards filled with lilac bushes and climbing roses. Shaded by the trees, families picnicked in their own back yards, welcoming friends to share in the beauty of the land.


Unfortunately, as with other prospering towns, increased growth meant an expanding population that lead to the need for more and more homes. The Higgins family moved on, the once beautiful park was divided into smaller parcels of land, and soon the stately homes were surrounded by smaller, less impressive ones.


Though heavily populated in comparison to when the Higgins' family built their home, the families in the area still take great pride in their homes and the tailored bushes and green lush lawns speak volumes to any one passing by. Many of the homes are over one hundred years old, but still stand tall and proud as they brave the elements, offering protection and warmth to the families that live there.


Thirty years ago, Carla and her husband, Charles, returning from church services, decided to enjoy the beautiful spring weather and were driving through Higgins Park with no particular destination in mind. Carla loved the old stately homes and had dreamed of raising a family in one of them. She could easily picture the large rooms filled with laughing children and the aroma of freshly baked cookies enticing everyone to the kitchen. That spring morning, Carla was to find her dream home poised on the corner lot at the beginning of Higgins street with a for sale sign tacked to a tree. The two-story home was bordered by well-trimmed lilac bushes and tall maple trees. The windows were covered with white lacy curtains that allowed the sun rays to wash over the rooms inside. Without a doubt, Carla knew that this was the home for her and Charles to raise a family. She could easily envision her children and future grandchildren running and playing in the over sized back yard.


Carla's dream came true and over the years bundles of joy; John, Marie, Michael, Michelle and James, were introduced to the nursery on Higgins Street. Carla put many, many hours of backbreaking work into her home, but in her eyes the work was a labor of love. The home was the heart of the family, comfortable and inviting. She took great pride in her home, but she wanted it to feel lived in and welcoming for her children and friends. Between the smell of freshly baked cookies, James's library of video games and up-to-the-minute media center, and the big, comfy furniture that filled the rooms, the family home became a major hub of activities.

As time has a way of doing, it passed by so quickly that no one even saw it happen. Soon Carla's children were grown, she and Charles had survived a friendly divorce, and she had decided to move to a smaller, more intimate home. Carla's life was busy with running the caf©, a new man in her life and keeping up with life in general. Her love for the Higgins Street home had never faded though and she couldn't bear to sell the home that held so many wonderful memories; thus John and James became the primary residents.

Over the years, Carla had decorated every corner of the home with family pictures, warm comfy furniture, fine collectibles and even "garage sale" finds that stood for love, family, and God. James respected his mother's home and shared her love for it.

The downstairs living area had few changes since his mom had lived there, but the upstairs bedrooms' d©cor demonstrated that a new generation lived there. Even though the rooms were filled with the same furniture and were kept neat and clean, the wall's sported large posters of Hulk Hogan and other wrestling memorabilia. Both John and James loved to watch wrestling and occasionally attended the live events, returning home with posters of their favorite wrestlers. Imitating his fickle taste, John's walls were wallpapered in posters of every well-known wrestler; but James's loyalty and more refined tastes made him choose only the Hulk.

Close to the window in James's bedroom, tiny ceramic blue butterflies were hung as if they were fluttering around the room. The butterflies were one decoration that James felt a keen relationship to and would never remove them from the walls. Sometimes he would lie on his bed, staring at the butterflies and remember the story his mom would tell him when he was very young. In the beginning he thought the story was one his Mom made up to tell a child at bedtime, but as the years passed by, James began to understand the passion and love that was behind the story; a story that was about him and his older brother, Michael.

Michael had been born five years before the birth of James, a child who needed to do a lot of living in a short amount of time. His mother and dad weren't aware of Michael's timetable and often found it difficult to keep up with the bright, inquisitive mind of a toddler. He was constantly mixing bottles of shampoos, breaking eggs on the kitchen floor or standing at the top of the stairs pouring a box of cheerios watching them fall down the steps. With the face of an angel and the spirit of the devil, Michael was on the move every waking moment. Every person that encountered Michael was left with a lasting memory or two. From cowboy hats to his older sister's recital costumes, he danced across the kitchen floor making his mother laugh until she cried.
Despite his never-ending antics, Michael's winning smile and joyous laugh would always steal Carla's heart. A heart that would be shattered into a million pieces shortly after Michael turned four years old.

People would comment that Michael was far too pretty to be a boy; he had the face of an angel. No one could ever know that Michael would be an angel in heaven sooner than anyone would ever expect. no one except Michael, of course. If Carla or Charles had any possible way of knowing what was ahead, they never would have taken their four children on vacation to Lake Lodi in nearby Wisconsin. The week's vacation had been wonderful for all the family and none of them wanted it to end. While packing the car, Charles tried to explain to Michael that they had to go back to their own home, but Michael wasn't accepting that idea at all. He stubbornly confronted his father and told him how wrong he was about going home. Michael calmly explained with the righteousness of a four year old that his dad was confused; Michael was not going home, he was going to see Peter Pan, Mickey Mouse and Jesus. How could his dad have known or understood what the child was trying to tell him? How could his mother have known that only minutes later her precious child would be gone? The coroner labeled it an accident, the death certificate said asphyxiation, the thirty men who formed a human chain to walk the shallow waters called it baffling, and the family called it heart wrenching beyond words. After two complete searches of the water, Michael's tiny lifeless body was finally carried from the shallow depths of the river. The coroner said his lungs were free of water and there was no evidence of drowning, but Michael was dead, leaving his family to deal with grief and his last words to his dad. Had the little boy known more about living and dying than any one else that tragic day?

After returning home, Carla and Charles walked through the steps of preparing to bury their son like zombies from the dead. Each parent methodically doing what ever was necessary without being aware of it. Overwhelmed with grief, they both reached out to God for answers. Charles, a devote Catholic, attended church and prayed for the soul of his son. Carla lived by the word of God and carried her faith deep in her heart, but didn't find her peace within the walls of a church. Carla sat for hours at the gravesite of her son, alternating between quiet, loving words to Michael and gut wrenching tears of grief. As the story was often told to James several years later, Carla became overwhelmed by her sorrow and suddenly started berating God for having taken her baby boy from her. Shaking her fists at the sky, Carla demanded answers. She needed to be reassured that her son was okay. Carla screamed towards the sky that the least God could do was tell her that her precious son was okay. Suddenly, with a soft breeze blowing across the gravesite, two tiny blue butterflies landed on Carla's hand. One perched upon the stone in her mother's ring; the other fluttered its small wings and seemed to dance around the grave. Stunned into silence, Carla sat for several hours watching the tiny blue butterflies. God had surely answered her pleas by sending the butterflies, but why two? The answer to that question would be delivered to Carla by a doctor, when months later she discovered she was pregnant. Carla had been advised that any more pregnancies could be life threatening to her, besides she had taken prescribed narcotics to help her through the past few months. How could she be pregnant? Could she endure the possibility of another handicapped child? As Carla thought of Michael and that day at his gravesite, the meaning of two little blue butterflies became perfectly clear to her. God had seen fit not only to answer her heartbreaking pleas about Michael's well being, but blessed her with another child, a baby boy named James.

The warm inviting sunshine poured through the bedroom windows as if to invite the tiny blue butterflies to join the dancing rays. James might carry the title of bachelor, but he definitely appreciated some of the finer things in life. The soft, brown velour comforter on his bed with matching silk sheets and pillowcases spoke volumes about who he was; a man proud of his physical physic but filled with tenderness and love. On the corner of the bed, James had placed a Boston Red Sox blanket for the other love of his life, Misty. Misty, a mixed, reddish blonde cocker spaniel, had been by his side for the last fourteen years, and she held a very special place in James's heart. Several girls had passed through his world in the past few years, but there had always been a place in James's bed for Misty. He had often laid for hours with his faithful friend, stroking her head and sharing all his secrets, all his fears and now all his hopes for the future.

Alexis lay curled beneath the blanket, her long silky hair flowing across the pillow. Her cute little butt pressed lightly against James, unaware of the games her body was playing with James as she peacefully slept. Next to her, James has been laying, staring at beautiful Alexis as lustful thoughts danced around his mind. Alexis, the love of his life, had made him feel things that he had only envisioned in his poems.

There had been other girls; after all he was a viral male, but nothing that compared to Alexis. Without even trying, she made him feel like he held the entire world in his hands. He knew that things were changing between him and his best friend Max, but it couldn't be helped. Alexis made him whole and satisfied beyond words; Max would have to learn to live with that. He didn't intend to cut Max out of his life; he just needed to make room for Alexis. Besides, Max had loved Heidi the same way so he should be able to understand. He was sorry that Max had lost Heidi and Tori, but now was his chance for happiness.

Sensing James' slow breathing on her neck, Alexis stretched and rolled over to face him. Tossing her bare leg across his, she lovingly laid her arm over his chest; her soft lush lips dripping honey as she spoke, "Good morning, honey."

Still groggy with sleep, James smiled back at her, "Hi Woser."

Two simple words that spoke volumes. Alexis' smoky dark eyes connected with James' eyes and they were mesmerized by each other. Conversation was inconsequential when they could get lost in each other's unspoken thoughts.

Breaking the spell, James tossed back the blankets and swung his legs to the side of the bed. Refusing to release the moment, Alexis grabbed James' arm and playfully pulled him back down on the bed. "Don't go just yet. Just a few more minutes."

"Woser, look at the time."

Once again those eyes pleaded with him to stay, "No, don't go. Stay here with me...just a few more minutes won't hurt."

Giving in to her pleas, James snuggled up against her, pulling her body closer to him. His face awash with the love he feels for her and he knows he can't deny her anything. Besides he was struggling with his own desire to stay wrapped in her arms all day, to hell with the world. Alexis laid her head on his chest and he lovingly stroked her hair.

"For you....on your birthday...I'd do anything."

"You remembered!"

Kissing her gently on the tip of her nose, "Of course I remembered!"
Smiling from ear to ear, Alexis looked up at James, "I love this. I love being here with you."

"I love everything about this....everything about you. I can honestly say this is where I want to be in my life."

"Me too, James."

"Happy Birthday Woser"

"Thank you"

Their lips sought out each other, clenching in a passionate kiss. James rolls over, lying Alexis on her back and slides deep within her. The rest of the world will have to wait. For now, there is no other world except the love they share - "Forever and Always."
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