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Read the First 3 Chapters Below!!
He said all the right things... Then left her alone. Troianne Shelden is your everyday, intelligent student. With a love for history and stunning figure, she's a catch for any guy. But after a night of passion with a handsome stranger, introduced to her by their mutual friends, she finds herself pregnant with nowhere to turn for advice. Her parents passed away long ago and, soon after Troianne finds out she's pregnant, her grandmother passes, too. Left with a large inheritance, she looks forward to life with her new baby. Fate takes the wheel when she goes into labor.On her way to the hospital, she passes out from intense pain and wakes up in a very different place... The next thing she knows, she's hearing carriage wheels and voice shouting for help. Lightning illuminates the inside of what was, only moments before, the back of a taxi cab. When the door opens, she's greeted by a handsome man dressed like he stepped out of the past. In shock, she realizes that she's somehow traveled back in time-- ...and she has no idea how to return.
Lexington, Kentucky 2013
Bam! Bam! Bam!
“Troianne! Why have you locked this bathroom door? I need to go now! You know this old woman can’t hold it very long. Come on outta there ‘fore I pee my pants!”
“Just a minute, Meemaw, I’m busy.”
One minute more was all she needed in order to see if the test would tell her if she really was pregnant or not. She was two months late and terrified to think that one night of passion could alter her life forever. When she thought about it, being twenty-one and in her third year at the University of Kentucky, wasn’t the most terrible time to be pregnant, although it sure did damper her plans to major in World History and become a teacher. Troianne excelled at anything she put her heart into. Her dream would just take a bit longer.
Ellie and William were loving and very attentive parents to their only child. Their tragic end had rocked Troianne’s young eighteen years to its very core. Broken hearted and left alone with no siblings or any other family in Pleasure Ridge Park—a small community south west of Louisville, Kentucky—Troianne decided to pack up all of her belongings and her seven-toes-on-each-paw tiger-striped cat named Diesel, and move to Lexington, Kentucky, to live with her ailing grandmother, Louanne Waires. Her grandmother lived in an old farmhouse. Troianne used her inheritance money to go to the University of Kentucky to follow her dream of becoming a teacher. Now, however, she would have to rethink everything. Her life was changing quickly, too quickly.
Now looking down at the pregnancy test stick in her long slender fingers, a low groan escaped her full pink lips. Right there glaring at her big as a neon sign was a plus sign on the stick she had recently urinated on. indicating that yes she was definitely pregnant!
"Oh, Lord! Now what do I do?" she asked herself. Looking into the mirror above the sink, she saw her deep sea-green eyes filling with tears. Grabbing fistfuls of her long black hair, she screamed as the reality of it hit her.
"I am pregnant! Really pregnant, shit!"
Bam! Her Grandmother hit the door with her tiny fist one last time.
"Troianne Lee, you better open this door right this minute or I’m gonna whoop your hide! I’m serious, girl, I gotta go!"
“Meeeeeooooooowww!” Diesel the cat decided to put his two cents worth in too. He liked going into the bathroom so he could jump on the sink and have you turn the water on so he could get himself a drink.
"Okay, Meemaw, hang on to your panties," she yelled, as she walked to the door, quickly unlocking the knob and yanking it open. In slipped Diesel, and up on the counter he jumped.
"Girl, I almost peed right there on the floor. What the heck are you a doin’ in here anyway? Move," she spat out as she pushed her granddaughter out of her way, knocking the cat gently off the sink.
"I don't need your ole’ cat’s eyes watchin’ me neither. So git. I gotta get on that pot!"
Troianne moved out of the old lady's way and walked out, shutting the door. As she headed to her bedroom, she realized she left the pregnancy test lying on the bathroom sink. No! No! No! Oh, crap. She ran back down the hallway to the bathroom. Meemaw is gonna see it and...just in that precise moment the bathroom door opened and Meemaw stood there with her face white as a sheet blowing in the wind, the positive pregnancy test in her shaking, old gnarled hand.
"Is there something ya wanna tell me, girl?"
With a huge lump in her throat and tears threatening to spill out of her sparkling sea-green eyes, Troianne replied, "Um...yes, ma'am, I guess there is."
Two months earlier...
One Saturday night in mid-June before moving to Lexington, Troianne had been on her way to meet some college friends at ‘Mike Lennigs,’ a local restaurant nestled in a shady grove on the Ohio River. The restaurant had been serving since 1925, well known for the coldest beer in town and its large portions of freshly caught fish and seafood. On most hot and steamy, southern, summer nights on the south-west side of Louisville, you could sit outside at this historical gathering place on white concrete picnic tables, under strings of yellow and white naked light bulbs, listen to good music and let your kids run around like wildcats while you sat and had a meal and some beers with family and friends.
On one of those particularly hot nights, Troianne waited at a table outside in the courtyard of the restaurant for a couple of her friends from high school, Lena Miles and Joe Nelson. While she waited, she went up to the little beer pavilion and ordered a nice cold Miller High Life and watched as cars lined up to get into the parking lot across the street. The place was always packed on summer weekends.
Her friends would be arriving soon, so she sat and watched the activity until she spotted the 1975 shiny, candy apple red, Chevrolet Corvette belonging to her friend Joe. She watched as another white Corvette of the same year pulled in alongside Joe's. Intrigued, she watched as a tall blond man emerged from the white vehicle and met up with Lena and Joe walking across the road from the parking lot. Lena waved and smiled, not even paying attention to the traffic passing in front of her. Joe also waved and smiled to her, as all three strolled into the courtyard over to her table. Lena, a beautiful tall young woman with long blonde hair and big gray eyes, stepped up to her and grabbed her up in a big ole’ hug.
"Hey, Troi, nice to see ya again."
"Hey, Lena," she answered back, "good to see you!"
"Hey, Joe, looking delicious as usual," Troianne said.
Joe, a handsome young man with wavy short blond hair and deep blue eyes, responded with his shy smile, saying, "Hi ya, Troi. What's shakin’?"
"Oh, nothin’. Just decided I needed a break from all the estate closure business and packing up the house after the funerals. Besides, I wanted to see the two of you and enjoy a night out.”
"Joe and I are so sorry to hear about your parents, Troi," Lena said.
"Thanks, guys, it was tough, but I made it through and now I am going to move to Lexington to live with my meemaw. She is sick and needs me."
"Well, that sounds like a good idea," Joe replied, wrapping his arm around her.
"Hey, where have you guys been? I call all the time and you never answer or text me back. What’s with that?" Joe looked at Lena with a hint of anger in his eyes. Quickly recovering from the look, he was back to his old smiling self.
Lena replied, "Oh, Troi, you know we have so much travel involving this archaeological find in England that we don't even have time to catch up with our own families. However, on behalf of this handsome hunk,” she grabbed Joe by the arm, “we apologize and are here now. Sooooo, let’s get this parrrrrrrty started!" She laughed loudly and shook her shapely hips!
The man standing behind Joe waited for an introduction.
Troianne peaking sideways, asked, “Who is your friend, Joe?"
Embarrassed, Joe replied; "Oh, uh sorry, Troi, this is Becker Love. Becker, this is Troianne Shelden."
Slightly blushing, she replied, "Nice to meet you, Becker."
"Nice to meet you too, Troianne."
"Troi, please, all my friends call me Troi."
"Okay, Troi it is," he said with a broad smile, showing gorgeous white teeth.
Joe interrupted the stare-fest between the newly acquainted couple and asked Becker, "What’s your poison, man?"
Becker replied, "I will have what she's having," as he pointed to her beer.
“Me too!” Lena squealed. She had always been perky and fun to be around. Troianne pulled Lena aside and admonished her for not telling her over the phone that there would be a setup tonight.
"Oh, Troi, he is an old friend of Joe's who just popped into town, so we decided to bring him with us. No ulterior motives involved, promise!" she said as she crossed her heart.
"Well, Lena, there better not be. I am not up to a double date or being set up."
"No, we're cool," Lena replied, crossing her fingers behind her back, then added, "But isn't he yummy?"
"Yeah, I guess," Troi replied with a twinkle in her eyes and a bewitching smile. They all sat down and started chit chatting. They ordered their beer, food and enjoyed good conversation.
After they had finished eating, Troianne noticed Becker seemed a little bored and suggested they all take a stroll along the river. Lena and Joe walked ahead of Troianne and Becker, giving them a chance to get to know one another. The moonlight gleamed on the river, seeming to enhance Becker’s blond hair, blue-eyed, six feet two frame. Troianne noticed he walked with a slight arrogant air of superiority. She found him rather interesting and a lively conversationalist, if not a bit self-centered, bragging about his football days at school, his current travel adventures to Tasmania, Australia and the Azores near Portugal. His love of travel was evident, it was his life and there had been no room for anything but the necessity to travel and explore the world.
Troi found herself with a bit of a crush on Becker. After all, how often do you actually find yourself getting set up with such a nice guy? Gazing into each other’s eyes, Troianne became intrigued with the intensity of his baby blues and the pull of a lustful attraction.
After their stroll along the river, the couples decided to go to the Riverboat Casino just across the Ohio River in Indiana. They all enjoyed playing the slot machines, drinking, and laughing the hot steamy night away, through which the flirtation between Troianne and Becker took on a life of its own. It was all in good, fun but there was just that little niggle that things could become a bit more intimate. There was never talk about getting personal, deep thoughts, or even about a relationship. Which was just as Troianne liked it. It was a plain and simple desire.
Time flew by and it was getting on to two in the morning. Lena and Joe decided to get a room for the night, leaving Troi and Becker standing on the deck of the riverboat, talking and enjoying each other’s company under the full moon. Maybe it was the six beers she drank or the hot summer night, but Troianne’s mind started to wander. The scent of his cologne bewitched her senses; she had never come across that particular scent. It was very intoxicating on its own and it drew her closer to him. She could not explain the sexual attraction building up inside of her.
When Becker suggested getting a room as well, Troianne did not argue. As soon as the elevator doors had closed, Becker pulled Troianne close. He tenderly held her face in his hands, planting the most passionate kiss on her wanting lips. That was all it took for Troianne to melt into his arms. When the elevator doors opened, the gentleman waiting to get on had to cough to let them know they were no longer alone. A deep blush came across Troianne’s face and the thought of, “what am I doing?” came across her mind, but only for a second as she looked into Becker’s lusty eyes.
They could not get into their room fast enough. It was like a whirlwind of clothes flying to the floor, on the chair, and a piece of clothing even landed on the lamp. Their hands explored each other’s body, kissing, laughing, touching. The heat and the smell of sex permeated the room. He taught her things about her own body she had never dreamed of.
So it began that for one hot steamy summer night Troianne lost all her inhibitions and let her body overrule her mind. After all, he was incredibly handsome and she saw no reason why she couldn’t have one night of passion with no personal strings attached.
Troianne never really had a steady boyfriend, never really wanted one. She had dated all through high school. Different guys came and went, but she never developed an attachment and only had sex with one young, overly zealous nerd when she was seventeen. They dated for a year and then she realized there were more important things in life to do and had broken off their relationship. She had been a student and loved to study. She put her whole heart into her education, realizing that one day her dream of being a History teacher would pay off. Then—and only then—would she be able to concentrate on a man, love, and maybe start a family.
The Flannel Gown
"Oh, Meemaw, what am I gonna do? I had no idea this would happen!"
"Troianne Lee, you know how babies get born. What were you thinkin’, girl?"
"That's just it, Meemaw, I wasn't thinking. It was just a spur of the moment reaction to a very handsome man and a lot of beer."
"Ahh, girl, you know better than to do something foolish like that."
As tears welled in her eyes, yet again, Troianne dropped to the floor in the hallway, holding her head. Diesel decided to try and comfort her and head-butted her with his big old cat head. "Meeeeeeoooooowwww!" He gently put his seven-toed-paw on her hand. She reached out and petted him as he started to purr. He knew something was wrong and wanted to comfort his mistress.
"Thanks, pal," she replied as he quietly sat and waited for her to continue.
"I don't know. I just don't know how this could have happened. Why did it happen to me, Meemaw?”
"Sugar,” her grandmother said, "for every soul taken to heaven, there's another born into this world. I reckon since we lost your parents, God saw fit to bless us with a new life."
The flood gates opened and tears fell freely from her eyes as she started to whimper and cry. Being reminded of her parents and all that she had lost so recently made all of the emotion come crashing in on her. Oh, how her parents would have loved a grandchild. She continued her tirade of tears. Meemaw stood up from her squatting position in front of Troianne and said, "Well, girl, get up off that floor and let's get you to your bedroom and figure this out."
Troianne flopped on her bed, hysterically crying now as her grandmother patted her back.
Diesel jumped up on the bed with her and decided he wanted to lie on her pillow, so with a swish of his tail, he turned in a circle and lay down. He somehow knew this was going to be a long night, and making himself comfortable, he just lay there, waiting for his mistress to stop crying and notice he was on her pillow. She normally yelled at him to get off the pillow because his fur always made her nose itchy. He enjoyed the fact that she was too distraught to notice. The little shit-head.
Troianne started to shake with nerves strung too tight. Her grandmother knew it was going to be a tough time for her only grandchild.
"Honey, I am gonna go down and fix us some hot tea and I will be right back up. You try and settle down."
Patting her beautiful granddaughter on the arm, she left the bedroom with a sad look in her old blue eyes. Remembering a time when she first found out she was with child at the age of fourteen. No one was there for her and the least she could do was be there for her granddaughter, who was all she had left in the world.
Sometime later, Troianne sat up in the bed as she watched her meemaw come through the door with two cups of tea and something slung over her arm.
"Here, baby, take your tea and drink it down. It will help soothe your nerves so we can have us our talk."
"Meemaw, what's that on your arm?”
"Oh, baby, this is something I’ve had for many years. My momma wore it and I wore it when I was pregnant with your momma. It is soft and old and sturdy. It will make you comfortable during your pregnancy. Your poor momma wore it when she carried you and now you can have it to wear for comfort while you carry your little baby."
"But what is it?”
As Meemaw unfolded the garment, Troianne could see it was made of a pale pink flannel that had tiny little red roses all over it. There was a small white lace collar that looked so soft, she had to touch it. "Oh, Meemaw, it’s beautiful!"
“Here, girl, take off them pants and shirt, then slip this on. I guarantee it will make ya feel better.” Troianne did as she was told. As soon as the luxurious fabric touched her skin, her body began to relax. It smelled so good like lilacs and sweet pea. It was a flannel gown passed down through generations of the Waires and Shelden women, made by the hands of her great grandmother to comfort the women who wore it during the sweetest time of their lives, pregnancy.
Between the tea and this gown, she felt like the world was right again and she instantly relaxed. Beaming with pride and a knowing smile on her face, Meemaw had a feeling that all of this was meant to be and that this new life Troianne carried inside of her was a gift from God.
Meemaw never asked who the father of the baby was and felt it wasn't any of her business. She knew her granddaughter was strong, smart, and old enough to figure things out on her own. Meewmaw was there to help Troianne any way she needed her to be.
* * *
Troianne had more respect for her dear grandmother than anyone on this Earth. In the months that followed, the two were inseparable and bonded over the little life growing inside the young woman's womb.
The baby started to kick in late October of that year, and much to her delight, Meemaw would touch the growing tummy of her granddaughter and cackle out laughing, saying that “the baby had spirit and would be a handful.” Troianne didn't doubt that one bit. Meemaw loved to depart her motherly wisdom to Troianne and the young mother-to-be soaked up every speck of knowledge she could on what happened during pregnancy and what to expect when the baby was due. Diesel liked the growing baby bump, taking any chance he could to jump up into Troianne's lap and snuggle the bump, purring like a motorboat the whole time.
Cat and baby seemed to be bonding also. Every time the baby would kick, Diesel would touch her belly with his huge paw and follow the tiny kicks like it was a game. Many a long night Meemaw and Troianne would sit and laugh as the cat would play with a tiny foot, fist, or even the baby’s behind.
Troianne's days were filled with going to class each day and in the evenings making sure to read everything about raising children.
There were times that she would let herself drift off in thought about the baby's father, Becker Love, and whether or not to contact him. She had tried calling Lena and Joe to see if she could get Becker's phone number, but every time she called they were both out of the country on some anthropological dig or some other such thing. She left multiple messages, but never got an answer. She tried to find out Becker's number from the University of Kentucky, but confidentially clauses prevented that and the Internet yielded no information regarding a Becker Love in the state of Kentucky or any other state for that matter.
So she had to face the fact that she would be raising this baby by herself. Not that she thought she couldn’t do it; lots of single moms in this world worked and raised children. Still, it would have been nice to be able to tell Becker that he had a child and maybe to have him share in the wonderful event of the birth of their little boy or girl.
Let It Be
Meemaw took to her bed in early December. She said she was feeling weak and needed to rest. She had been diagnosed with bone cancer back in 2010. She had done really well with the bone marrow transplant performed in 2011 and had been in remission ever since.
Recently the doctors told her it had returned and her options for treatment with radiation and chemotherapy, were really not options at all since she was so frail and in a more weakened state. They didn't think her body could take another transplant and Louanne Waires had agreed that she couldn't go through all that again. She was in stage four now. The doctors broke the news to both Meemaw and Troianne, saying that the best thing they could do was make Louanne comfortable at home.
Troianne took over the care of her beloved grandmother, making her as comfortable as possible. At night they would put on their flannel gowns, sit, talk about the baby and gossip about the neighbors. Meemaw would tell her all about the old days living on the farm in Bullitt County. Troianne loved those moments with her grandmother and treasured all the knowledge she was gaining from this wonderful woman.
Christmas was just three days away. Troianne was busy baking cookies and decorating her grandmother’s house. She had always loved Christmas and was happy to be busy. Some of the neighbors would come by with casseroles or sweet holiday treats for Meemaw and Troianne to share. The brief visits were always welcome; they helped to keep Meemaw in good spirits and keep her mind off of the pain she was experiencing. Two times a week a nurse would come by and adjust Meemaw's medications, making sure she had what she needed. Troianne attended her classes at the university faithfully.
Diesel kept Meemaw warm. The cat would crawl up in bed with the old woman and lie his head down on her stomach, keeping her company and helping to ease the pain that came more and more frequently.
One afternoon Troianne stood in front of her grandmother’s beveled mirror and said, "Meemaw, look at my belly. This baby is growing like a weed!”
“Yes, baby, it sure nuff is! She is gonna be a big baby too, I am afraid!"
"She? What do you mean she? It could be a boy, you know?"
"Naw, this here is a girl. I can feel it." Meemaw smiled.
"Ohhhkkkkkay, Meemaw, whatever you say." She smirked playfully.
"Mark my word, baby, this one is a girl! Have ya thought of any names yet?"
"Well," she said, "I have got a few in mind for a boy, but haven't thought of any girl names yet. "Got any ideas?"
Meemaw thought as she held her finger to her lip. "I have always liked the name Diana after the Greek Goddess."
"Oh, Meemaw, everybody would think I named her after Princess Diana of England. "I don't think that one would work. How about Louanne?"
"Lord no, girl, don't you go naming that baby after me. I always hated that name," she said, swatting at the air. Rising out of her chair, she told Troianne, "Well, you got plenty of time to decide. Honey, have you tried contacting the daddy lately?"
"Yes, Meemaw, I have, but he must be out of the country or something. He has not returned my phone calls, e-mails or texts. I even tried to contact Lena and Joe, but they are unreachable also. I do think he should know, but in a way I would like to keep this all to myself."
"Baby girl, you know it is not right to keep a man from knowin’ he has a child in this world."
"Oh, I totally agree with you, Meemaw, and I would contact him if I only knew how. Until I can contact him or find out where he is at, I will raise this baby and give it all the love it needs."
"Honey, if anybody would be a good mamma, it is you. Your mamma loved you and instilled that nurturing power in you."
Smiling, she patted her granddaughter’s leg and adjusts her blankets. "I need to rest now. Go on and get yourself some supper."
Troianne kissed her grandmother on the forehead and said, "I Love you!" Louanne closed her eyes and quickly drifted off to sleep.
While downstairs, she warmed her supper of fried potatoes, collard greens, pinto beans and cornbread in the microwave. Her phone rang and it was Lena.
"Lena, hey, where have you been? I have called and called."
"Hey, Troi. Sorry, Joe and I have been on a dig and have been unreachable. I finally got to a tent with Internet connection and decided to touch base with ya. What’s up?"
"Lena, I need to find Becker."
"I have something I need to tell him and it is kind of urgent."
"What is it and I can relay it to one of his business associates."
"Well, it’s kind of personal, Lena."
"How personal, Troi? You can tell me."
"Look, Lena, I am pregnant and it is Becker's, from you know...that night at the casino."
"No shit! Holy cow, girl, didn't you use any protection?”
"No, Lena, I didn't think of that at the time. I was doing an incredibly gorgeous guy who smelled like heaven on earth. No!" Almost to tears, she started feeling sick at her stomach, getting angrier by the moment at the situation she was in and why Lena was being so...non-supporting.
"Listen, I am sorry, Troi. Uh, I will see what I can do as far as finding Becker. I won’t tell him, I will let you explain."
"Thanks for that, Lena, and please try and stay in contact with me yourself. It gets kinda lonely out on this farm."
"I will, Troi. Can't make any guarantees being that most of the time I am either in a truck, on a horse or a plane.” The phone line started crackling and Lena's voice was fading fast. She knew there was not much more time on the line.
"Yeah, I know, Lena. Hey, tell Joe hi for me and I hope you guys will be back in time for the baby's birth. I am due on April 3rd."
“That is so great. Hey, I gotta go, things are looking stormy here and I don't want to get stuck in the rain. Congratulations. Take care." The phone line went dead.
There was so much more she had wanted to talk to Lena about, now it would all have to wait. Hopefully Lena would call back soon, or better yet, be able to contact Becker to let him know that she needed him to call as soon as possible.
Sadly, on December 30th, Louanne Waires passed away in her sleep just before dawn. Troianne knew it was going to happen, but it was still a great shock and a very lonely moment. As the sun rose and the world came to life, Troianne realized she was truly alone. Well, except for Diesel, who went walking through the house, pitifully meowing for the whole day. Mourning for the old woman in his own feline way. Poor thing was going to miss her too.
What was she to do now? The sorrow crept in and a deep depression hit. She went through the preparations for the funeral in a numbed state, going through the motions with no feeling at all. Neighbors and friends paid their respect. Coming and going and trying to talk to Troianne. She made polite excuses to leave the wake and wander off into the back yard to sit by herself. She had never felt this unattached before in her life.
Not even when her parents died had she felt so overwhelmed and detached, even as her own child reminded her with kicks and rolls that it was still alive and needed her for its very life. She couldn't pay any attention to the baby inside her womb. She was drowning in her sorrow. The days passed by in a blur. Eventually people stopped coming around and she didn't go to class due to the winter break. She stayed in the house. She lay in bed or sat motionless in front of the television. Nothing seemed to interest her.
She knew eventually she would have to get up and do something. Eat maybe? When was the last time she'd eaten? She kept forgetting she had a responsibility to the child she carried and decided to head into the kitchen for some juice and to make a sandwich or at least eat some of the many casseroles that had been left over a week ago from the funeral. It was a start.