Posted in My Crazy Life

My Crazy Life: Episode II-From Home Schooled to High School Installment I

Chapter I

When It All Started

It’s hard to say when it all started. Anyone could easily argue that my story starts when I was shot, the bouquet delivery, the start of the war, Mom and Laz’s wedding, or even as late as my move to space. But one could also argue that it all started the moment I was conceived.

So I guess I better start at the beginning.

My name is Charlly Grace King and I was born on September 17th in Denver, Colorado. My parents are Lou King and Jenny Gray. Lou comes from a well off family, but if there was anything he taught me in the pre-jail days was that all the money in the world can’t make you happy. My mom came from a middle class home, but after just one taste of party life with Lou, my mom distanced herself from her family until they became estranged.

Then I was born. My parents were barely adults when I was born and they had no interest in raising a child. Lou and Mom loved me even back then, but they sure didn’t care too much. Lou was drunk half the time and Mom was too busy with her life and fit me in when it was convenient for her. Since I had little to none paternal supervision, I got into all sorts of trouble. Thankfully, the worst kind of trouble a four year old can get into is eating as much candy she can stuff down her pants and underwear.

Then everything changed. Mom found out that she was pregnant with my little sister Becca and Lou was arrested for drunk driving.

It was an interesting time in my life. Lou wasn’t a great father in his pre-jail days, but he was always there for me even when he was drunk. He was the kind of you hated but also couldn’t dislike. Lou MADE you like him. I don’t know how he did it, but nobody who has ever met him–even the officer that arrested him and the judge that put him in jail–liked him.

Mom had Becca just days after Lou started to fulfill his year and a half jail sentence. Mom wasn’t really in her right mind after she had Becca because she packed everything we owned into a car and drove away from Denver like a mad woman.

We lived in San Jose, California for three months. Mom got a job as a bartender and started dating a regular customer. I don’t remember his name. I saw him like three times. I do know that I didn’t have a good feeling about him. I tried to tell my mom my feelings about this guy, but I was seven years old at the time. Mom didn’t even take my words with a grain of salt. But after he was arrested for attempted assault, Mom believed every word I said.

Mom thought that his arrest was grounds for moving again so we moved again. This time to Las Vegas, Nevada. We stayed there for almost nine months. Mom dated a heavy smoker, drinker, and gambler. He reminded me of Lou in a way so I kept my mouth shut about my feelings about him. When he finally won something at the casino, he broke up with Mom and started dating a supermodel.

That was basically the story of our life for the next few years. We would move, Mom would start dating a loser, the loser would either break up with her or Mom would brake up with him when she realized he was a loser, or the loser would go to jail. It didn’t matter how the break-up occurred. If Mom got her heart broken, we moved. No questions asked. 

Then we moved to Chicago. I was ten. Becca was three. Mom was wiser. She saw what all the moving around was doing to us. She saw what it was doing to her. We were dirt poor. My mom got tired of all that paperwork she had to fill out when she enrolled me in school, so she started homeschooling. Bad. Idea. Mom’s idea of teaching was visiting historical sites and counting cars. My math was horrendous, my spelling was just horrible, and if you asked me what the heart does I would have said “it makes blood”.  

My mom assures me she tried her best NOT to find a boyfriend. She turned down several dates. She was determined on staying in Chicago so Becca and I could have the stable life every child deserves.

But then she met Lou’s twin.

Jason Lindsey has no biological connection to Lou, but he’s a Lou clone if I’ve ever seen one. He had  the same amber eyes and brown hair and the ability to make you like him even if you didn’t want to. He came from a wealthy family.  He was even born in the month of February! He was also a drinker.

Mom fell into his arms quicker than he could finish a drink. Mom actually thought she could have a future with Jason. I think she even kept a stash of wedding magazines just in case Jason popped the question. I knew from the start that that was never going to happen. He was Lou’s twin, but they differed in one way. Lou tried to commit, which is hard to do when you’re not in your right mind half the time. Jason didn’t even try to commit himself to my mother.

Then on the night of June 27th, Jason surprised everybody.

First he asked my mom to marry him. He was drunk of course, but my mom didn’t care. She was already calling his mother to tell her the ‘good’ news. I knew that if I didn’t say something now, our lives would be forever ruined.

I took the wrong approach though. I talked to Jason about it. I told him he was making a mistake and that he was wrong.

There is one thing you never say to Lou or his twin. And that is that he is wrong.

Jason went berserk. He took the gun he kept in his dresser and aimed at it at me. I ran for my life. Jason took one shot and got be right at lumbar T12. I fell down instantly. From that moment on, I was a complete paraplegic.  

My accident was all over the news. I received a bouquet of flowers from a church who heard about my story. The card simply said “Praying for you”. My mom clung to that card with all she had, and I have to admit that that card gave me great hope.

Jason was arrested and was put in jail for twenty years for attempted murder. Funny, I never really thought of it as an attempt on my life until the judge read, “We the jury find the defendant guilty of attempted murder.”

I was in rehab for six long months. Who knew learning how to do stuff you’ve known how to do your entire life could take so long?

On my release date, it was raining cats and dogs, but my mother was determined to go to the church and thank the people for the deed that felt like it had been done over a thousand years ago. My mother forced Bec and I to get out into the rain. She carried me, wheelchair and all, up the steps of the church and walked in without knocking or asking God for permission or whatever you’re supposed to do before you enter a church.

The church was small, a little bit more like a chapel. There was a bunch of old people and some little kids were sitting on the floor watching the choir sing with intense attention.

The song they were singing freaked me out a little. I heard the worlds “feeling pretty blue”, “I’d be mopping too if I was going to be digested’. They lost me at the last part. Digested? Did God digest the bad, undeserving people of the world? If He did I was about to become his dinner.

The song went on to say, “You ran from God this morning and you’re whale chow tonight!” That was the last straw. Whale chow? Did these people worship and trust their lives to a whale?! Everyone always said that Christians were weird, but I didn’t know they thought a whale created them and ran the universe.

Mom was pretty freaked out by the song. She turned to leave, but just as we turned our back the choir sang, “But! Hold on! Hang on! Not so fast you’re life ain’t over yet. See we’re hear to tell you all about a forgiveness that, You. Can. Get.”

I’m listening.

“See God’s a God of mercy. God’s a God of love Right now He’s gonna lend a helping hand from up above!” was the next line.

All of a sudden the little kids started to dance like crazy as they sang the chorus. “Praise the Lord! He’s the God of second chances!”

What happened next happened all too fast.

A man ran into the church. He was wearing camouflage and was dripping wet. A young looking man was standing next to him. My mom and his eye’s met and soon the both of them were dancing with the little children.

The boy looked at the guy with confusion. I have to say that I was just as confused at this whole thing too. Second Chances? It was nice that God gave people second chances, but I was pretty sure I was on like my tenth chance or something.

When the song was finished, the pastor explained how this song was from a movie about talking veggies and how to movie was based on the prophet Jonah. Jonah didn’t want to go to the city of Nineveh because it was so wicked. Even though he was a prophet and should have known better, he ran away from God. Long story short, he was thrown into the ocean, swallowed by a whale who was NOT God, was in there for three days praying and preventing, after three days he was vomited up by the whale, then he did as he was told and saved a bunch of people’s lives. Now one would think that Jonah would be happy that thousands of lives were saved, but no. He didn’t even believe that the people had really repented and went to see what would happen to the city. God gave him a plant even though Jonah had basically just willfully and happily bought a ticket to see murder by plopping his bottom down under the shade. But in the morning, God had a worm ate the plant and had the sun scorch Jonah to faintness. Then Jonah asked God to take his life, and God gave him the best scolding ever.

“Do you do well to be angry for the plant?” God asked.

“Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die,” Jonah said.

 ”You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?” God asked.

That verse really hit me. God cared about the people of Nineveh! God even cared about the cattle! Surely, the people of Nineveh had to have been on their millionth chance for Jonah to want to run away from his God given duty. If God pitied Nineveh surely he pitted me.

The pastor then went into another story about how God sent his only Son, Jesus Christ, to the earth to die for US! And all I had to do was believe and trust in Him.  I didn’t have to do a bunch of stuff before He decided to love me. He knew before I was even born. He loves me the way I am, zits and all. On that very spot, I asked Jesus to come into my heart. My mother broke down weeping and accepted Christ. Bec not wanting to be left behind screamed that she believed everything the preacher man had said and wanted Christ. And then the strange man also accepted Christ. The boy with him just stood by the door waiting to leave.

We all pilled out of the church at the same time. The man walked us to our chair and just before taking off Mom asked the man a question.

“Do you really believe in second chances?” Mom asked.

“All I know is that I’ve gotten more second chances than a man deserves,” The man said in with a thick drawl, “and I just received another one in that church.”

The man turned to go but he stopped halfway through and turned back around.

“By the way my name is Larry Stewart, but everyone calls me Laz,” The man said. “And this young man is my son, Matt.”

“I’m Jennifer,” Mom said holding her hand out. “And the two girls are my daughters, Charlly and Becca.”

“I hope to see you again,” Laz said as he got into the truck.

They saw each other again on Sunday and Laz asked my mom out a week later.

I could tell that Laz was different than any of the other men my mom had ever dated. Laz didn’t leave a really bad taste in my mouth. He was honest, kind, and didn’t drink. He wasn’t a criminal waiting to be arrested. He is a man that loves God and loves my mother…and Becca…and me.

Two years after Mom and Laz’s meeting, they decided to get married. I admit. I wasn’t happy about the idea. I still was a little wary of Laz. What if he turned out to be like all the other men in my mother’s past? I knew in my heart that it wasn’t going to happen, but try telling that to my memories.

Mom and Laz got married in that chapel that changed the courses of our lives. Mom and Laz wanted Matt, Becca, and I to be incorporated in their wedding vows. We promised to be a family on that. We promised before God and men to be a family through the good times and the bad. I knew from the second those words left my mouth that being a family was NOT going to be an easy task.

First off there was a WAR going on! Second Laz was from space which was why NOBODY from his family came to the wedding. Laz promised to bring his new family up there when summer came along, but little did we know that we would do a whole lot more than just ‘visit’.

Laz got a call from his Aunt Lori. Mrs. Stewart demanded that her nephew come back home and was even giving him her old house. Mom and Laz decided that moving would be best for our family. Funny, they never actually asked the kids what they thought of this crazy idea.

We moved to space. Things started off pretty bad. We almost flew into another space shuttle, the house turned out to NOT be wheelchair assessable, and I had to move in with some people I didn’t even KNOW! Then I met Leo.

Leopold Logan the Second. Its still too early to decide if he’s good for me or if he’s a ‘keeper’, but so far he’s in the negative.

Why is Leo in the negative? Maybe because he started liking me while he was still DATING somebody!

So, they weren’t ‘official’, but Carolina, the girl he was dating, hates me now. She won’t even talk to me! If there was ever an ‘oh snap!’ moment in my life it was when she said she’d never speak to me. Too bad. Carolina seems like a nice girl if you minus the fact she’s a grudger holder to the end!

Oh and did I mention….LOU CAME BACK INTO MY LIFE! He just flew up one day and placed himself in my life. It turns out Mom and Laz have been helping Lou get his life back together. Oh and he brought a little brother with him.

Boy, am I glad Becca is a girl because if I had to live all those years in a cramped car with a baby brother. Ugh, I don’t think I would have survived!

And then my life got worse–and better! I was enrolled into public school!

“Hurry up, Charlly!”

   

 

Posted in My Crazy Life

COMING SOON: My Crazy Life: Episode II- From Home Schooled to High School

Coming Soon: My Crazy Life: Episode II-From Home Schooled to High School

And then my life got worse–and better! I was enrolled into public school.

Charlly doesn’t think her life could get any crazier. With Lou–and Mini-Lou now in her life, Virginia not speaking to her, getting used to public school again, and trying to make new friends, Charlly’s not prepared for having to avoid going to the Homecoming Dance with Leo, being on the school newspaper, and her diary being published for all to see. As much as Charlly tries to plan and be prepared for what’s up ahead, nothing could ever prepare her for the tragedy just down the road.

Posted in My Crazy Life

My Crazy Life: Episode I-The Summer Everything Changed Installment VIII

Chapter VIII

Sleepovers & School Switches 

I lay outstretched on the B&B lawn. The sun shone on my face and kept my body warm. Cars passed by and almost all of the them honked. Becca Lou, who was supposed to be watching Mini-Lou, ran around the yard making bubbles with Rachel and Bella. Meanwhile, Mini-Lou threw mud on unsuspecting people.

“Penny for your thoughts,” Leo said laying down next to me.

“I wish summer could last forever,” I whispered.

“I just wasted a penny,” Leo mumbled as he threw a penny on my stomach.

“Jokes on you! I didn’t even feel it!” I shouted.

“Well do you feel THIS?” Leo shouted. He turned over and started tickling me.

“Stop it!” I shouted as we started to roll down the driveway.

“Never!” Leo shouted as he continued to find a feeling spot.

“Aren’t you supposed to say ‘as you wish?’,” I joked.

“Huh?” Leo asked as we landed at the end of the driveway.

“Leo? CHARLLY!” Virginia screamed from down the street.

“Oh no,” Leo mumbled. For the first time ever, Leo actually looked scared of Virginia.

Leo quietly picked me up and carried me back up the driveway to my wheelchair.

“Well aren’t you going to say anything?” Virginia asked sending daggers with her eyes at us.

“What do you want me to say? You’re controlling, bossy, and loud?” Leo asked.

“Excuse me?” Virginia asked outraged.

“Or would you me to say I made a big mistake when I sent you that mushy Valentine?” Leo asked.

Virginia tried to speak, but no words came out of her mouth.

“It’s been fun. No actually, that’s a lie,” Leo said.

“I’m breaking up with you Leopold Logan the Second!” Virginia screamed.

I tried not to laugh at this very tense and serious moment. Leopold?

“I never asked you to be my girlfriend in the first place!” Leo shouted as he walked down the driveway.

Virginia looked at me and then at Leo who was almost out of sight.

“That did not just happen,” Virginia spit. “He did not just break up with me.”

“Virginia, I’m sorry,” I started.

“No, you’re not!” Virginia screamed. “You planed this whole thing! You just stole my boyfriend!”

“What!” I shouted. “I’ve only been here for three weeks!”

“So your plan worked faster than you expected!” Virginia shouted.

“What plan?” I asked.

“Mi Scusi! Excuse me!”

Virginia and I turned. Neither of us had noticed a yellow taxi drive up the driveway or a young man get out of it.

“Can we help you?” Virginia asked.

“Maybe you can,” The young man said with an Italian accent. “I’m looking for an O’Donnell residence.”

“Ms. Shelby O’Donnell?” Virginia asked.

“Yes! She’s my sorella sister,” The man said.

“You’re Giovanni!” Virginia shouted in full drawl. “The Italian half-brother.”

“And you must be Virginia,” Giovanni said. “The girl with the terrible drawl.”

Virginia blushed.

“Ms. O’Donnell doesn’t live in Florida. She lives in North Adams. You’re about twenty minutes away from your destination. Her orchid is the first house on the outskirts of North Adams. If you see a brown barn, you’ve gone too far. That’s the Woods property.”

“Grazie,” Giovanni smiled. He got back into his taxi and it took off.

“Who was that?” Regina asked sneaking up behind us.

“Giovanni Moore,” Virginia said all dreamy.

“Does Leo have competition,” Regina joked.

Virginia stared at Regina. The fire was back in her eyes.

“UGH!” Virginia screamed. “Rachel! We’re going home!”

“No, I’m not!” Rachel shouted back. “I’m staying over for the sleepover.”

“Sleepover? What sleepover?” Virginia asked.

“Becca Lou’s having a Before School Sleepover here tonight,” I said.

“Well, then I’m having a sleepover tonight!” Virginia screamed. She ran into the B&B.

“Virginia’s heartbroken,” Rachel said. “Virginia does crazy things when her heart breaks.”

“Why would a sleepover be crazy?” I asked.

“Charlly!” Mom shouted. “We need to talk to you!”

What had Virginia done?

**

Actually, Virginia had not uttered a word about my ‘evil’ plan to steal Leo away from her. When I rolled into the B&B, I found Virginia on the phone trying to convince her aunt to let her have a sleepover and Laz, Mom, and Lou sitting on the couch.

“I should go,” Cece Elizabeth said getting up.

Lou almost looked disappointed.

“Charlly, we need to talk about school,” Mom said.

“Ok,” I said. “Are we going to start late or something? I hear that this new CO/OP center for homeschoolers.”

“Charlly, honey, you won’t be homeschooled this year,” Mom said. “Neither will Becca Lou.”

“What! Why?” I asked.

“Charlly, we aren’t going anywhere,” Mom said. Lou and Laz nodded in agreement. “Laz and I have decided to stay in the Berkshires for at least until after Becca Lou’s graduated. We love it here. We love that you guys have made friends so fast. Laz has his family here. I’ve finally found a place I can call home.”

I just stared at them. I thought about the words Natalie had said when she finally realized that Florida was the perfect place for her. Was Florida the perfect place for me? I jumped in my wheelchair as Virginia slammed the door as she left. I had already made an enemy, but even with that the want to go back to Chicago was slowly fading away.

“I’m staying too,” Lou said looking off in the direction Cece Elizabeth went.

“You like her,” I blurted.

Lou’s cheeks turned crimson.

“That’s a discussion for another time,” Lou said.

I winked at him and he winked back.

“So tomorrow I will take you down to the high school and sign you up,” Laz said quickly. He gave Lou a quick stare.

“Charlly!” Natalie shouted rolling into the B&B. “Virginia’s having a sleepover! And I can guarantee it’s gonna be CRAZY!”

**

Just the sight of chickens, a goat, and a pig told me why a sleepover would be a crazy idea.

“You have to be careful when you’re at Virginia’s house,” Natalie explained. “I almost squashed a chicken once.”

“Note to self. Don’t go out in the yard,” I said.

“Forget the yard,” Natalie said. “There are chickens in the house.”

“Are there goats too?” I asked.

“Nope,” Natalie said, “but I think Rachel keeps one of the baby pigs in her room.”

“Who lives like this?” I asked as Natalie rang the doorbell.

“Farm people,” Natalie said.

A tall boy yanked open the door.

“In the family room and FYI I’m not lifting you girls up the steps,” The boy said with a Massachusetts accent.

“Hi, Andrew,” Natalie said sarcastically.

“What did ya’ll think of that? Leo’s been giving me voice lessons,” Andrew said.

“I think you should do what I did,” Natalie said.

“And that is?” Andrew asked.

“Let it naturally find its way into my accent. I love the way I say ‘car’ now!” Natalie shouted.

“You’re accent is cute. You got a little British, a little Southerner, and dash of Massachusetts. My accent is a big piece of Southern pie,” Andrew said.

“And you want to sound like you’re from Boston?” I asked.

“Why not?” Andrew asked.

“A teacher told Virginia her accent hurt her ears and she only embraced it more. Own who you are!” Natalie shouted.

“Andrew! Stop harassing my friends!” Virginia shouted. “Well my friend.”

“Sorry, Ginny,” Andrew said.

Tears mounted in Virginia’s eyes.

“Just let them in,” Virginia shouted at Andrew. She marched down the hall.

“She was dumped earlier,” Andrew whispered as we rolled in the house. “And she’s pretty sour about it. Frankly, I don’t know what Leo saw in her in the first place.

Natalie rammed him with her wheelchair and left him silently screaming his pain.

“I haven’t seen you in a while,” Jessie-Maria pouted as Natalie rolled into the family room.

“I haven’t seen my brother in a while,” Natalie said. Jessie-Maria blushed.

“So how’s that going away?” Emily pried.

“None of your beeswax!” Jessie-Maria shouted throwing her pillow at Emily. “How’s your relationship with Nelson?”

“It’s officially and that’s all that I’m saying,” Emily smiled. She started to pet a chicken that had just snuggled up under her arm. “How ya doing Aggie?”

“You know the chickens by name?” I asked.

“Yup,” Emily said. “This is Aggie and the one leaving droppings by your wheelchair is Ellen.”

“You don’t have these chickens potty trained?” I asked.

“All but Ellen,” Virginia giggled. “She refuses to poop anywhere but that spot you are sitting in.”

I immediately rolled away from that spot.

“Hey, girls,” Aunt Jane said walking into the family room. She had a chicken on a leash.

“Hi, Aunt Jane. Hi, Alice,” Natalie said.

“Bock!” Alice shouted. She started to run towards Natalie.

“Stop!” Aunt Jane shouted. “I have a flight risk here. She ran out in the middle of the street. Timmy almost ran over her. He was racing Jaci to the clinic. The poor girl had resorted to puking in her purse.”

“Oh no,” Emily said. “My big brother is gonna be a daddy!”

“What’s so horrible about that?” Aunt Jane asked.

“Think about it,” Emily said. “My big brother Timothy-Caleb Stewart raising a child…with his genes.”

“God help us all,” Aunt Jane said.

Everyone laughed.

“Well, we all know he’ll be a better father than Lou,” Virginia said.

Nobody said anything. Natalie and Aunt Jane stared at Virginia in shock that she had just said that.

“Virginia, that wasn’t a very nice thing to say,” Aunt Jane said. “Apologize.”

Virginia looked at me and smirked.

“I’m sorry, Aunt Jane, but I can’t do that,” Virginia said.

“And why can’t you?” Aunt Jane asked folding her arms.

“Because from this moment on, I am never speaking to Charlotte Lily King ever again!” Virginia shouted.

Natalie and I stared at each other. We were both thinking the same thing.

Oh, snap.