Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Month of Expectation - Day 2

Today is the second installment of A Month of Expectation Serial Story. If you missed Day 1, you can find it here.

by Debra E. Marvin


Thad wiped his palms across the double seam of his jeans. Crisp and indigo yes, but even at that Mother would not like him wearing them to the country club. A little act of rebellion. Who was he kidding? Father would look him up and down and say nothing, but the coldness would grow in his gray eyes--if Father made it home from his meeting in Atlanta. Sometimes he didn’t. Sometimes meetings went late into the evening.

Two perfect families discussing the last details of the upcoming wedding. Emma, her parents. The only one missing was her older sister. That made things just about perfect.


The noise that was her impatient voice grated his nerves more than usual. Frustration did that.

“Mother, I’ll be right there.” No, he couldn’t do it. He would not anger her tonight and after all, the club did have their rules. The dark jeans, no matter how he wore them, would never pass for dress pants. Some things were like that. Pretending did not change facts.

Thad swapped out the linen shirt and jeans for a white shirt and khaki suit. When he pulled the jacket off the hanger, two plane tickets fell off his dresser onto the shiny oak floorboards. Two tickets to paradise. Jamaica. Another of Emma’s dreams.

Emma wanted the ticket to read Mrs. Thaddeus Maxwell III, but with security now, it had to match her passport. She’d travel instead as Emma J Devereux of the Athens, Georgia Devereux. Sweet, beautiful, innocent Emma. She deserved the best he could give her. The house would have been impossible on his income. Thanks to Mr. Devereux, and the bank draft for $500,000, it was theirs. The old man had casually pushed it across the table, then put his hand up immediately to let him know he’d brook no argument.

Thad gave a half-hearted attempt.

“You’re a fine young man to refuse it Thaddeus. Just as you should. But this is my gift to you, for Emma. I won’t accept it back.”

Thad had been sick over it. Literally. After a polite exit, he’d made his way to the men’s room behind the clubhouse bar and lost his lunch of she-crab soup.


“Mother, I changed into a suit. And we won’t be late.”

“No, but I wanted to be early.”

Three weeks to go and already he felt trapped. He loved Emma. Heaven knows he loved her. But there was hell to be paid. It would come.

He picked up the two tickets and placed them on his dresser—on top of his bible. The irony made him laugh. Would he ever open that book again? Could he walk into church, that massive, cold, hear-a-pin-drop sanctuary and vow before God to love, honor, and cherish Emma? Look into her eyes while her sister stood alongside, knowing full well what he was hiding?

Come back tomorrow for part 3 of A Month of Expectation

So, Is Thad caught up in a situation of his own making or an innocent? I mean, look at that face...
When should secrets remain secrets? Is keeping a secret the same as telling a lie?

How do you feel about a man who would accept a financial gift like this from his future father-in-law?


  1. Deb, you wrote: When should secrets remain secrets? Is keeping a secret the same as telling a lie?
    Yowza! Those are heavy questions.

    I believe a secret should be kept if it will cause someone pain if it is told. Especially if the telling will serve no purpose whatsoever but instead will create harm and dischord. I have never considered the keeping of a secret in itself to be a lie.


  2. Anita Mae I Say, you're the best! YOU fixed my link to Day one for me, I can tell!

    When I went in last night and added questions these are what came up. I look forward to hearing what our readers have to say. I agree with you but sometimes secrets carry more pain the longer they've lived. Hmmmm.

  3. Sheesh, you're going all philosophical and making us think with those questions, Deb!

    And my answer is... it depends. I don't think it's a one answer fits all situations kind of deal. I mean there's a big difference between covering for a surprise party or hiding some sort of abuse. Will revelation bring healing or harm? Do you have to tell lies or omit the truth in order to keep the secret? I do know that the Bible reminds us that the truth will set us free.

    And Thad's a cutie, but while he may not have been the instigator of the trouble, I'm thinking he may have compounded it!

  4. The problem with a secret is if it will affect the person you're keeping it from. Secrets from your spouse in a marriage can be very dangerous. They hold you apart.

    On the other hand, my husband used to expect me to tell him everything. At some point I decided that if a friend confides in me about something that in no way concerns him, then I won't tell him that secret. Because of that, I've been able to develop very strong and deep female friends. I want people to be able to trust me, and they won't if they think I'll take their private information and share it with others.

  5. I neglected to tell you that you did a great job, Deb!

  6. Depends what the secret is--a friend's confidante session that doesn't involve the couple's relationship, no not necessarily. If it could alter the relationship, the truth needs to come out so a wise decision can be made.
    I think Thad's has made his own trouble.
    The 'wedding gift' looked more like a bribe/hush money.

  7. Lisa, you said, 'I do know that the Bible reminds us that the truth will set us free.'

    Dina, you said, 'The problem with a secret is if it will affect the person you're keeping it from. Secrets from your spouse in a marriage can be very dangerous. They hold you apart.'
    Double ouch.

    Yet I've seen the destruction a spilled secret can cause when it's spilled just for the reason of 'getting it out there'.


  8. Hmm, good point Anita. I don't know if this applies to all secrets, but my pastor always says that secret sins affect others around us on a spiritual and emotional level whether they know about them or not. So that's another consideration.

  9. I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens to Thad and Emma

    (cue the theatrical 'pregnant pause/bad news' music.....
    da da DA!!!!!!!)

    You know...like on a soap opera when someone says something shocking and everyone stands and stares silently for 30 seconds before the fade to commercial?

  10. Deb, great question! I think secrets within families, especially between sisters, are a recipe for disaster. The older sister can't avoid attending family functions forever, especially since she is from the 'perfect' family where appearances matter. Great twist in the story :-)

  11. Perhaps we need the definition of secret here. In this story's case--nice job, Debra, bTW--keeping these secrets, the money and the reason for it, will come back to bite him in his deriere. I'll say it has something to do with the sister, but I don' speculate on outcomes. Her drop into the story tells me something, though. Or else she's a smelly red herring.

    A secret is what one cultish group of people call a "withhold". That's what this is--withholding information. I think secrets, esp. in marriage, can poison a relationship. On the other hand, if it's not your spouse's secret, if it has nothing to do with him, it's not holding info he needs from him; hwoever, if your friend's secret effects you, he does at least need to know some pertinent points.

  12. Oooh, look. It's springtime in Inktropolis. how pretty!

    Laurie Alice, thanks for chiming in. I didnt' think as much about this when I wrote as when I tried to think of questions to ask.

    I like the subtle differences between keeping secrets and withholding truth. Lots to think about! Thanks for commenting. I've read all the parts and I'm still looking forward to seeing them posted. Three more days to go!

  13. Y'all are doing a marvelous job with this! Two of my crit partners have written a novel together--actually, they're working on their second now! Whaddya think???


  14. What about a series of novellas???

  15. You know, I kind of like that idea about the novellas. I thought this was fun. Of course, my post isn't up yet, so if everyone hates it I may change my mind! : )


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