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The Lost Letter Series

Book By: MidnightsRaven
Other


When I wrote this, it started out with one single story. I took on a dare from a relative and it took me about 7 months to turn it into what it is today. I know it is long, but I hope you enjoy it. I know I did when I wrote it out.


Submitted:Jun 2, 2008    Reads: 75    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   


The Lost Letter Series

Introduction

Paw Paw is the patriarch of the family. He is also a major practical joker. He has five daughters named Bertie, Sierra, Clara, Hattie and Gracie. He also has a young granddaughter named Melody.

Hattie is the oldest daughter followed by Bertie, Clara, Sierra and Gracie who is the youngest. Follow them through their every day lives and you will learn about how they turned out the way that they did.

Paw Paw is the first you shall learn about, then you will learn about his daughters in order, followed by his only granddaughter. In the last chapter, you should be able to understand everything and why things turned out how I had written it.

I hope you have many laughs and understand the characters as you read my short novel. Enjoy!

Paw Paw

Chapter 1

Nathan James Cuervo earned his nickname Paw Paw back in the late 1950's. When he was only 15 years old, he joined a group of traveling carnies and worked as a clown.

He spent 9 years with them, learning tricks, pranks, and numerous gags. His favorite thing in the world was to make people laugh. When he was 26 years old, Nathan let one of the dancing bears out of its cage and painted its feet green.

As the bear walked around, it left these green bear paw prints everywhere. Nathan laughed when he saw it, but the bear didn't think it was funny. It ran over and knocked Nathan to the ground.

The trainer came running over and managed to get the bear back to its cage. Nathan was bruised but he was also lucky. There were no broken bones the bruises looked like paw prints.

All of the carnies snickered when Nathan walked by them. They jokingly called him Paw Paw due to the paw prints on his back and his jacket. The name stuck and Nathan would only answer when you called him Paw Paw. After a total of 14 years, Paw Paw Cuervo left the carnies and settled down in a quiet little town. He kept to himself most of the time, and sometimes he performed in the town square, making the passers by smile and laugh.

Chapter 2

In the spring, Paw Paw was celebrating his 30th birthday when he met a young woman named Elena. She too was celebrating her birthday. They dated through the rest of spring until the end of summer. Knowing it was love, Paw Paw asked Elena to be his wife.

She accepted and they were married on Halloween. To get into the spirit of things, Paw Paw dressed up as a clown and Elena dressed up as Raggedy Ann. It was quite an interesting wedding affair.

Less than a year later, the couple had their first child. After Hattie was born, Elena had Bertie, Clara, Sierra, and their youngest daughter Gracie. Paw Paw was so proud to have five beautiful daughters.

When the girls were in their 20's, Elena had gotten a strange fever and ended up passing away. Paw Paw got the sense that he had to take care of everything on his own. He sold his home and built a big new one to make sure his daughters could have a place to run to when they were in trouble.

He made his wife her head stone and also remembered to buy a plot right beside hers. This way, he could be close to his love always and make it a little easier on his daughters when his time came to pass.

Chapter 3

The time had come for Paw Paw's daughters to move into their own homes. Out of all of them, Gracie was the only one who decided to stay home and help her father.

"You are my youngest daughter and the spitting image of your mother, Gracie. You make me so proud to have you as my baby girl," Paw Paw said. Gracie smiled at her father, knowing that he was happy to have her there.

"I promise to always stay with you and help take care of everything, Dad." Paw Paw gave his daughter a hug. The only time he ever saw or spoke to one of his other daughters they always asked him for money or other things.

Paw Paw had no idea where he had gone wrong with his other daughters. Elena and Paw Paw made sure they had the best schools, had good friends, and never did anything to disappoint their family.

Chapter 4

One evening, after dealing with his older daughters, Paw Paw sat down in his favorite chair to read the newspaper. He heard a door upstairs close then noted that light footsteps were heading down the stairs.

Paw Paw knew it was Gracie coming down to talk to him. Sure enough, she came in with her head down and sat across from him. As he looked at his youngest, he knew she had something important to say.

Paw Paw reached out and lifted her chin, surprised to see tears brimming in her clear blue eyes. "What happened, baby? You know you can tell me anything, no matter how good or bad it may be," he said to her gently.

Gracie brought her head up a little and whispered," I am going to have a baby." Paw Paw smiled and held her. He was so happy for her. She looked at his smiling face, and was relieved to know he wasn't angry with her.

Sitting down together, she explained that the father wasn't the type to stick around and broke up with her. Paw Paw decided then and there that he would help Gracie raise his grandchild. About 7 months later, Gracie had given birth to a baby girl. Paw Paw had the wonderful honor of naming her. He talked with his daughter about it and she agreed. The baby's name was to be Melody Grace.

She was named after her mother for her middle name and her first name was Elena's middle name. Grace was the best mother to her daughter and was proud that her father took such a huge interest in his granddaughter's life.

Chapter 5

As the years went by, Paw Paw taught Melody everything he knew and also taught he the secrets he created while building the house they lived in. They had a very special bond, one that would never be broken by anyone. Gracie respected it and was pleased that her baby girl would be raised just the same way she had been.

Paw Paw learned long ago that Melody would be his only grandchild. He knew his other daughters were too selfish and greedy. They would never have children and would make sure no man would enter their cold, deceiving hearts because that meant sharing everything they had.

When Melody graduated from high school, Paw Paw held a huge celebration party for her. He smiled proudly, knowing that she turned out exactly like her mother and grandmother. His greedy daughters attended and seemed quite jealous of all the attention and gifts that their niece was receiving. Where did we ever go wrong? Paw Paw wondered, watching them glare and sulk. Him and his wife gave up a lot so his daughters would be taken care of for life.

In his heart, Paw Paw knew that his daughters loved him but his mind held quite a few doubts about it. When he developed a heart condition, Paw Paw kept the news to himself. When his daughter and granddaughter went out shopping for Melody's college needs, Paw Paw drove to the lawyer's office and wrote up a new will. It was copied and he took the original home with him.

He stated that Gracie and Melody would be provided well for and his older daughters would get what they deserved. He hid the original in an envelope and stamped Melody's name on it. He hid it in the secret room that was connected to Melody's spacious attic room, knowing that when the time came, she would find it.

Chapter 6

When Melody started college, Paw Paw worked every day in his workshop, building a brand new shelving unit that, when finished, would be placed in Melody's room. The days seemed to drag slowly for Paw Paw and he found that he tired easily. He knew that Gracie was worried about him but he told her everything was fine, he was just getting older and feeling his years.

He always had his good days when Melody came home for the holidays. Paw Paw managed to finish the shelving unit and placed it in Melody's room so she would have a place to store her things when she came home. During the springtime, Paw Paw had suffered a mild heart attack and was in the hospital for a week. Every day while he was there, Melody and Gracie stopped in to check on him.

His other daughters only called one time. Paw Paw was heart broken, knowing that the only two who cared were his youngest daughter and granddaughter. In the beginning of the summer, when his granddaughter was finishing up for the year, Paw Paw had felt a sharp pain in his chest and laid down on his bed.

He fell asleep on his bed and passed away a few hours later. Gracie found him and called everyone to let them know. They had a lovely funeral and mourned the loss of the family patriarch.

Epilogue

By honoring Nathan James "Paw Paw" Cuervo, Melody and her mother Gracie donated over $400,000 to the save the Kodiak bear fund. They even had a head stone specially made for him. It was made of jade stone and had two bear paw prints etched onto it. They carried him in their hearts and made sure that they carried his work wherever they went.

Hattie

Chapter 1

Ever since she was a little girl, Hattie had to watch over her younger siblings. Her parents gave her whatever she asked for and yet, she always felt like something was missing. Watching how her sisters were treated, Hattie felt a jealousy start to rise up inside her. She decided that she needed to stop watching her sisters for her parents.

As soon as school started and she was 13 years old, Hattie joined the drama club so she wouldn't have to go home and babysit her sisters. As she kept up with it, Hattie decided she loved the attention she received from her fellow members and the audience. For once in her life, she doing her own thing.

When she was 16, Hattie started to hang out with a bad crowd. No matter how her parents forbid her, she kept smoking and staying out late with her new friends. When she was 18 years old, Hattie got into a fist fight at school and decided right then and there to drop out.

Chapter 2

As soon as her younger sisters were old enough, they all started to hang out with Hattie's troublesome friends. Their parents Elena and Paw Paw were so fed up, they decided to put their feet down. The girls had to get jobs after school to help out with the bills. Elena and Hattie argued constantly over just about everything.

"You always spent more time with my sisters than you ever did with me!" Hattie yelled. Her mother sat down, feeling depressed. "How can you say that to us? We treated all of you the exact same way, Hattie. We do not play favorites among any of you," her mother stated.

Hattie glared at her parents, then stomped up the stairs to her room. When everyone was asleep, she snuck out of the house, determined to have her own life. Hattie decided to get a place with 3 of her friends, having no reason to go back to her home. The only time she did was so she could get the rest of her stuff that was left behind.

No matter how much her parents pleaded, she refused to come back home to them. "I am happy where I am now. I refuse to come back home and have you two run my life," she argued. Elena felt her heart breaking and walked away from her daughter. Paw Paw hung his head in defeat and said," If this is your choice, then there is nothing we can do. Goodbye Hattie."

Chapter 3

Hattie enjoyed her new found freedom very much. Whenever her sisters came by to visit, she would brag about how she could come and go as she pleased, and hd no one around to tell her what to do. Her sisters all wished that they had freedom like that. Hattie promised them that their time would come. Whenever they went home, Hattie would sigh in relief.

As much as she loved her sisters, she also enjoyed her freedom from them. She did everything she wanted to do. She traveled around, drank, met different crowds of people, and countless other things. When she was 26 years old and living in California, Hattie received an urgent phone call from two of her sisters.

Bertie and Clara told Hattie that their mother had contracted a strange fever and passed away. Hattie flew home to attend the funeral and be there for her sisters. She said she was sorry to her father and dutifully placed a single white rose on her mother's coffin.

After the funeral, as Hattie got ready to fly back home, Clara, Bertie, and Sierra asked if they could come and live with her. Looking at them, Hattie realized how much she missed them and agreed to let them come to California and live with her.

Chapter 4

With her close sisters living with her, the only time Hattie ever called home was to ask her father for money. Like her, Bertie, Clara and Sierra called home for money as well. Hattie refused to talk with her youngest sister and only talked with Paw Paw when she wanted something from him. Hattie knew that her father loved her very much but she was also too selfish to realize that she had everything she could possibly want already.

It was in her nature to always ask for something even though she didn't really need it. Her motto in her life was take whatever was handed to you, no matter what that thing might be. After having her sisters live with her for a year, Hattie found someone as reckless and unstable as she was and decided to run off with him.

She left her sisters to take care of the house and the bills and gallivanted all across the U.S. with her new toy. Hattie loved being able to go wherever she wanted and she smoked a lot with her new boyfriend. There was one thing Hattie kept secret from her family. While moving around from place to place and bed to bed, Hattie was pregnant a total of 4 times. The first 3 times, Hattie went and got abortions.

The 4th time however, when she realized that she was pregnant, she was too far along to get an abortion and ended up putting the baby up for adoption. She vowed that her family would never know that she had done so nor would they find out the times she was pregnant.

Chapter 5

After 3 years and money flow had dwindled, Hattie's boyfriend left her and found someone better. Since she had a cold heart, Hattie didn't care what he did. She returned home to her sisters and was given the news that their youngest sister was now a mother of a beautiful little girl.

In her locked heart, Hattie wished that she kept her son but at the same time, she knew that she had made the right decision in giving him up. When her sisters went out, she gathered her strength and called her youngest sister on the telephone. What she didn't expect was that her father would answer it. "Hello?" a gruff voice asked after the 3rd ring.

"Hey dad. It's Hattie. I heard that Gracie had a rug rat and thought I'd call and see how she was doing," Hattie said, keeping her voice as civilized as much as she could. Her father replied happily," Yes, your sister had a beautiful baby girl who we decided to call Melody Grace. Both of them are fine and asleep at the moment."

Hattie sighed, listening to her father brag about his new grandchild. After a while, she said that she had to go and promised that she would call again soon. She hung up and sat back in her chair.

Chapter 6

As time went on and she saw more and more of her niece Melody, Hattie deeply regretted giving up her child. The only thing she had to remember him by was a photograph taken moments after he was born. She called the adoption agency and found out that her son was placed with loving parents.

The caseworker couldn't tell her anything else due to being bound by law. Hattie thanked her and hung up, feeling and emptiness and a wave of sorrow wash over her. Hattie resolved to sit down with her family and tell them the secret that she had kept hidden from them for 8 long years. When her sisters learned that she had a baby boy but gave him up at birth, they were shocked but at the same time, they understood why she made that decision.

She no longer smoked, drank, or met any wild guys. Ever since Melody was born, Hattie learned how to mellow out even thought she still had a few of her greedy and selfish moments. She refused to settle down still and also vowed that she would never have another child. Her family understood and helped to support her whenever she needed it.

Epilogue

Hattie never managed to find her son but she learned to accept that over time. She prayed every night and held a small vigil whenever his birthday rolled around. Maybe someday she would be able to forgive her past mistakes but it would be a long, hard road and Hattie was strong enough to get through it with the love and support of her family.

Bertie

Chapter 1

Ever since she was a little girl, Bertie had a secret wish; that some day she would be a famous singer. All through childhood and into her teenage years, Bertie sang in the church choir and was in the school chorus every years until she graduated. Even though she had a part time job, Bertie would ask her parents for money whenever her cash flow had gotten short.

Luckily though, she didn't have to ask them often for she made good money at her job. After her mother passed away, Bertie did her best to help her father with her sisters. Then when Hattie came home for their mother's funeral, Bertie knew that it was time to leave home. Her and her sisters Sierra and Clara all headed out to California with their oldest sister Hattie and left their youngest sister Gracie home so she could take care of their father.

About a month after moving into the spacious home, Bertie managed to get a job at a night club as a singer. She loved it so much, she knew that she was one step closer to her dream becoming a reality. Sierra supported her sister's dream while Clara and Hattie laughed at her for it. Bertie just ignored them and continued to sing at the club. After she worked there for 2 years, a young man walked up to her.

He sat down with her on her break and said that he loved her voice. She blushed at the compliment and stood up. "Where are you going?" the young man asked. Bertie smiled and replied," My break is over now. I have to get back on the stage." Before she walked away, the young man asked her to go out with him some time. She grinned and promised she would do so.

Chapter 2

Bertie dated the young man for two months and found out everything about him. His name was Blake Adams and he was the same age as she was. Her worked as a computer technician and had a nice big house near the mountains. Bertie found that they liked the same books, music, shows and also shared the same passion for nature.

After 6 blissful months of being together, Bertie managed to record a demo of her singing and sent it a bunch of different recording companies, hoping that one of them would give her her big break and make her wish come true. As another year went by, Bertie and Blake became engaged to be married. The same day he asked for her hand, Bertie received a phone call from one of the major recording companies and got a contract with them.

Blake went with her every day while she recorded her 1st single and her 1st album. Her sisters were surprised by the changes in her but after a while, they were happy that Bertie found and an excellent job. Her father came to California a few times with Gracie and they too were happy for her. They also approved of Blake.

It seemed as though all of her dreams were finally starting to come true. Bertie just hoped that nothing would happen that would make her happy world come crashing down.

Chapter 3

Her cd came out and rated high on the music charts. She made her 1st video and had Blake cast in it. He surprised her by singing a duo with her. They managed to sing in perfect harmony and the manager loved it. Blake got a record deal as well and the two made a cd together.

When they both made a lot of money, they moved in together and planned a grand affair for their wedding. It was the week before their wedding and Blake had gone to Virginia to fly back with his mother and younger brother. Bertie paid the fares for her father and sister to fly out, even though her sister Gracie was 7 months pregnant and Hattie was off in an unknown place with her new conquest.

Gracie and Paw Paw arrived safely some time in the evening. The next day, Blake was due back in the afternoon. Bertie waited all day for him, keeping an eye out the window for his car to pull up. Paw Paw watched the news and also managed to keep an eye on his daughter. A news flash rolled across the screen and announced that a flight airplane from Virginia to California suffered engine failure and crash landed in a field, exploding on impact and leaving no survivors.

As soon as Bertie heard that, she sank to her knees and sobbed. Her father and sisters rushed over to her and held onto her while they all cried tears of sorrow.

Chapter 4

Bertie and her family held the funerals for Blake, his mother and younger brother. Gracie called everyone and told them what happened, trying to stay calm for her sister. After the funerals were held, Bertie gave up her singing career and became a shell of a person.

She lived off the money her and Blake had made and barely spoke to her family. Her whole family was worried about her and tried their best to cheer her up. When Gracie gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Bertie went and spent 3 weeks at the old homestead. She kept her mind occupied by helping to take care of her new niece.

When Bertie went back to her home in California, she walked into an empty house. She called her sisters to let them know that she was back and they promised to come over and keep her company. As soon as they arrived, Bertie showed them photos of their new niece and let them know how their youngest sister and father were doing.

Yawning, Bertie excused herself and headed up to her room to sleep. She laid down on her bed as the tears fell silently from her eyes. All she could think about was how lucky Gracie was to have baby Melody and how much she missed Blake being in her life.

If only there was some way to talk to him one last time, she thought sadly. She closed her eyes and fell into a fitful sleep, dreaming of her fiancé and trying to reach out to him one last time.

Chapter 5

When she awoke the next morning, Bertie headed downstairs to have breakfast with Clara and Sierra. Hattie called to say that she would stop over in the afternoon. Bertie pulled her dark curly hair back just as the phone rang. She walked over and answered it, knowing that it was her old boss from the nightclub.

He kept her on the phone for an hour, trying to get her to come in and sing a few nights a week. Knowing that Blake would have wanted her to, Bertie agreed to come in. She hung up and headed into the kitchen. Sierra gave her a hug and Clara set her breakfast down in front of her. After eating as much as she could, Bertie told them her decision about going back to work at the nightclub.

Her sisters smiled encouragingly at her, proud that she was going back to her dream. When Hattie arrived, they told her about their new little niece and Bertie told her that she was going back to work at the club. Hattie was surprised by this news and wished Bertie good luck. That very night, Bertie drove to the club to sing for a few hours. By the time she got home, it was almost 2am and her sisters had left. Bertie walked into her house feeling content.

Chapter 6

Over the next few months, Bertie continued her singing career at the nightclub. One night, on the 1 year anniversary of Blake's death, Bertie walked onto the stage and looked out at the crowd. "This next song is dedicated to my love Blake," she said.

Closing her eyes for a moment, Bertie started to sing 'You're Gone' by Diamond Rio. When she opened her eyes, she smiled softly and finished the song. Her hair on the back of her neck rose up and tingled with a familiararity. Sitting at the 1st table was Blake, smiling and applauding along with everyone else. With tears in her eyes, she whispered I love you and Blake grinned and mouthed it back to her.

She closed her eyes for a second and when she opened them, Blake had vanished from sight. Walking off the stage, Bertie was smiling softly. Blake had managed to come to her and give her what she needed for almost over a year, she got to see him for one last time and had the opportunity to tell him goodbye.

Epilogue

Bertie continued to sing and finally managed to find closure. Her family continued to check on her just about every day and they were always surprised by the changes in her. She dedicated her music to the love she shared with Blake and always kept him in her heart. Like her sister Hattie, her father Paw Paw, and her sisters Clara, Sierra and Gracie, she kept love in her heart and followed faith and her dreams.

Clara

Chapter 1

Clara was pretty much the middle child. She had two younger sisters and two older sisters, not that she minded. She was sweet like her youngest sister and greedy like her oldest sister. Her father loved all of his daughters very much. As soon as she finished high school, Clara went to college to become a beauty technician. When she graduated, Clara got a job at a local hair salon for a while.

She managed to save enough money to make the move out to California to live with her sisters Sierra, Hattie and Bertie. Clara immediately found a good job with a popular beauty salon in town. Saving half, she made sure that she sent the other half home to her sister Gracie and her father. It was her contribution to helping make ends meet.

Her oldest sister ridiculed her for being so generous and was always trying to get Clara to give her money instead of their father. "You take money and waste it on frivolous things, Hattie," Clara said to her sister. Hattie glared and retorted," I get what I need to get." This was the usual fight between the two of them. Bertie would be heading out the door when they started and Sierra would chill in her bedroom with music blaring.

Chapter 2

The night that was most remembered happened in the spring. Paw Paw called his daughters to tell them they were aunts. Hattie sulked for a little while and Bertie was still mourning the tragic death of Blake, her fiancé. All of the girls flew home for a while to spend time with their dad and their sister. Once the girls laid eyes on their new niece, they couldn't resist her.

When Melody Grace was 3 months old, Clara learned the surprising reason as to why Hattie tried to get out of holding the baby. As it turned out, the girls had a nephew somewhere and never knew about it. Naturally, all of the girls understood the reasons she didn't keep the baby. Hattie wouldn't have been a good mother no matter how hard she tried.

When 6 weeks went by, Clara headed back to her job at the salon. Bertie kept up with her singing and the other sisters did what they wanted. Clara loved having a new niece and made sure she sent goodies and necessities home to her. Gracie called Clara when the baby was a year old and told her that she wanted Clara to be Melody's godmother. With tears evident in her voice, Clara told Gracie that she would be honored to be the baby's godmother.

After hanging up, Clara let out a whoop of joy. Everything was going so well for her and her boss was so pleased, she gave Clara a raise in pay.

Chapter 3

No matter how much her sisters grumbled, Clara continued to send money and gifts home to Gracie, Melody and Paw Paw. Clara did everything she could to help support her family. After living in California for over 4 years, Clara decided that it was time to get a place closer to her old home. She managed to buy a place just 2 blocks away from her father's house.

She had a bedroom painted in a fairy land design in case her goddaughter ever wanted to stay the night. Gracie and Paw Paw went through their old furniture and appliances to help make Clara's home feel more cozy and livable. Clara opened her own hair styling salon and made such good money, she was able to save up enough to but anything and everything that she could want or need.

She also sent gifts and money to her sisters so they could live comfortably. Whenever Paw Paw had dizzy spells or Melody was sick, Clara took time off to help Gracie take care of them. Every holiday and birthday, the family got together and held wonderful parties. As they all got older, they grew closer and started to mellow out more. Clara managed to get Hattie to quit smoking and drinking and got Bertie to record a new music record.

Chapter 4

Even though she went out on occasional dates, Clara never managed to find love. In her own way of thinking, she had enough people in her life and more than enough love. She worked almost every day and hired more intelligent and qualified people to make her customers happy. At the rate she was going, Clara would be able to pay for Melody's college fund and do everything she wanted to do.

Every day, Clara would call her family members to check on them. In her own way, she had resumed a motherly role even though she was the middle child. Her coworkers were pleased with her as their boss for she treated them like friends, never like employees.

Taking care of everyone started to make her feel run down but Clara told herself that she had to do it because no one else loved her family as much as she did. While working one day, Clara had a terrible pain in her chest and fell to the floor. Her coworkers called for help and she was rushed right to the hospital.

Chapter 5

Clara spent 4 days in the hospital, undergoing every kind of test the doctors could think of. They examined the results and came to the same conclusion: Clara had a hole in her heart that needed immediate attention.

She had surgery the very next day while her family saw waiting, hoping and praying that she would be all right. After waiting what seemed and eternity, the doctor walked out and let them know that Clara's surgery went well and she was resting comfortably.

Her family checked on her, then headed home to get some sleep. A few days later, Clara was signed out and on her way home. She was so happy to see everyone that she started to cry. They held a wonderful dinner and party as soon as she felt strong enough.

As the weeks went by, Clara took things nice and easy. Knowing that she could have died, she realized all that she took for granted and changed right away. She was more giving, less greedy, and did everything possible to change her life.

Before she knew it, Melody was graduating from high school. Clara felt like something was missing in her life but she didn't know what it was. That is, until Paw Paw brought a man Clara's own age to the house. As soon as she looked into his crystal blue eyes, Clara fell instantly in love with him.

His name was Aiden Goodwin and he owned a huge chain of jewelry stores. Once he saw Clara, he fell for her on the spot. They dated for 6 months before they were wed. Paw Paw, weak as he was due to having a mild heart attack, managed to walk his daughter down the aisle.

Chapter 6

Clara and Aiden had a blissful 2 years together as husband and wife. They spent a lot of time together and with the family. On a crisp autumn day, 1 week after celebrating their two year anniversary, Aiden went to one of his stores to check on progress.

Clara was at home working on supper when there was a knock on her door. When she answered it, she saw two police officers standing in the entryway."Oh God, please tell me that my husband is all right," she said as she let the officers inside.

They sat down in the living room with her and explained what happened. Aiden was helping out one of the managers when 3 guys showed up, intending to rob the place. He distracted them and helped the manager and 3 other employees escape.

While fighting the robbers, he was shot numerous times and hit the alarm as he fell to the ground in a heap. Clara buried her head in her hands, wishing that this was just a bad dream and when she awoke, Aiden would be beside her.

She brought her head up when the officers handed her a bag containing her husband's effects. When the officers left, Clara screamed in pain and sorrow. She knew that she would never have Aiden beside her again. He wouldn't be there to comfort her when she was feeling sad or alone. She would never see his smile and hear his laughter again.

She called her family and broke the heart rending news to them. Aiden was truly gone and he would never be alive again. As with any crisis or horrible thing that happened, Clara's family stayed with her through everything. After the funeral, Clara said she needed to be alone and her family understood completely. She needed time to adjust to a life without her true love.

She stayed home for 2 months, packing all of Aiden's things and putting them in storage. The day she buried her husband, Clara made a very special vow; that she would never let any other man into her heart because she couldn't handle it again if she lost someone close to her.

Epilogue

Clara went back to work 3 months after she buried her husband. She remained emotionally detached from everyone in her life, worried that fate would step in with the Angel of Death and claim someone else that she loved dearly.

She never found someone else and remained alone the rest of her life. Her family made sure that she was all right every day and kept vigil on Aiden's birthday and their anniversary with her.

Sierra

Chapter 1

Sierra was the 2nd youngest of 5 girls and coincidently, she was also the wildest out of all of them. Some of the things she did made Hattie seem normal. Ever since she was a little girl, Sierra knew that she was different than other children. She would spend hours upon hours by herself, never associating with children her age.

When she was in school, her parents were called in at least twice a week. No one wanted to hang out with her, the teachers never bothered with her even though Sierra never raised her voice or caused a single problem during her school years.

When she graduated, Sierra gave college a try and did all right as far as the classes went. Just like high school though, none of her fellow peers wanted to hand out with her after class and she was never invited to any social gatherings that were held.

No matter what her parents told her, Sierra knew that she was the problem and somehow she had to fix it. Sierra was not ugly but quite beautiful. She was thin, had large burgundy eyes that matched her long, straight burgundy hair. Her skin was silky smooth and pale as ivory. With her height, she looked like a model.

Chapter 2

As she was entering her 2nd year at college, Sierra knew that she had to make some changes. Right before summer ended and school began, she went into the bathroom and cut all of her long hair off, leaving just enough so she could spike it.

After rinsing off the rest of the pieces of hair that clung to her, Sierra dyed her hair dark purple and changed her whole wardrobe. Instead of the usual, she went out and bought long slinky skirts, tight jeans, fishnet stockings, and also got her ears, tongue, eyebrow, and navel pierced. She showed her family her new look and they were astounded by the change.

On the 1st day of her 2nd year, Sierra walked into her dorm and grinned when she saw heads turn her way. Everyone was shocked at the sight of her but at the same time, they all wanted to be friends with her. For the 1st time in her life, Sierra was finally making friends and invites to parties and social events were pouring in every day. She was so happy that she changed her appearance and she was finally content with who she was.

When spring break came, Sierra got together with a few of her new friends and spent her vacation on the beach with them. She also met someone who made her heart beat rapidly and Sierra spend the whole spring break getting to know this person and sharing everything with them. Her new friend got transferred to her dorm and they would talk straight through the night about things only the 2 of them could understand.

To avoid any negativity, they managed to keep their relationship behind closed doors. When the 2nd year ended and summer began again, Sierra decided that it waw time to bring her new love interest home with her and have her family meet the one who took her heart.

Chapter 3

Her family came rushing out of the house to greet her, then held surprised looks when she introduced her new love. Her mother and father were the 1st ones to step forward and introduce themselves. "Hello dear. We're Sierra's parents Elena and Paw Paw. These are our other daughters Clara, Hattie, Bertie and Gracie. Welcome to our home," Sierra's mother said, smiling at their visitor.

Sierra smiled as she watched her parents take her love into the house. Hattie shook her head and strolled away while Clara and Bertie stood staring at her. Gracie headed inside so her older sisters could talk. Sitting down on the steps, Sierra grinned at her sisters. "Well, what do you two think? Isn't she beautiful?" Sierra asked, grinning like a cat.

Bertie sat beside her younger sister and replied,"Yes, she is beautiful. I am so happy you found someone, Sierra." Clara nodded in agreement and hugged both of them as they headed inside to see where everyone was. They found everyone sitting down in the kitchen. Sierra walked over and gave Tessa a kiss as her parents and sisters smiled at the 2 of them.

Excusing themselves, Tessa and Sierra headed upstairs to their room so they could unpack their bags. "I'm so glad you're with me, Sierra. I am doubly glad that your family has accepted the two of us being together." Tessa said, holding onto Sierra. Sierra returned the hug and replied,"Even if they didn't, I would still be with you, Tessa. You complete me in a way no one else could."

Smiling at each other, they unpacked quickly, then headed downstairs to join everyone for dinner. Everyone was nice to Tessa and were looking forward to getting to know her better as the summer days went by. Later that evening, Hattie returned home with a few friends and made crude jokes and remarks about Sierra and Tessa.

Her other sisters stuck up for Sierra and Tessa, saying that the two of them were perfect for each other. Hattie stormed out of the house and stayed with her friends.

Chapter 4

Tessa and Sierra heard about the awful things Hattie and her friends said about them and were upset over it. All they asked was to be accepted as a couple and be able to have happiness and peace in their lives. Tessa tried hard to stay with Sierra through the summer but everywhere the 2 of them went, people snubbed them and refused to acknowledge their existence.

About 4 weeks later, Tessa packed her bags and told Sierra that she couldn't deal with having a relationship with her anymore. Sierra begged Tessa to give it a 2nd chance but Tessa refused. Without saying another word, Tessa left Sierra's home and her life.

Watching her love walk away, Sierra stormed into the house and screamed at her family. Hattie stood there and smiled snidely, knowing that she hurt her sister but not caring about it. "All of you are so damn hypocritical it's amazing you believe in anything at all! Thanks to all of you, especially you Hattie, I just lost the best thing that ever came into my life. I loved Tessa very much and she is gone now. Thank you for totally ruining my life!" Sierra screamed, running up to her room.

She slammed her door shut and threw herself on her bed, crying hard. After a while, Sierra sat up when she heard a knock on her bedroom door. "Come in," she said, trying to wipe the tears away. Her parents and her sisters Clara, Bertie, and Gracie entered and sat down on the bed with her. Sierra glared at them, then turned abruptly and stared out the window.

They told her how sorry they were and that they liked Tessa very much. Her parents said that Hattie's opinions didn't matter and she shouldn't let her bother her so much. "It isn't only that. I really loved Tessa, you guys, and thanks to Hattie, she is done with me for good," Sierra said sadly.

They hugged and kissed her, letting her know how much they cared about her and her feelings. Walking out, they told her that she would find someone new and when that happened, they would welcome and accept the person who brings joy into her life. Sierra nodded and fell asleep, thinking about everything that her family told her.

Chapter 5

Over the next few months, Sierra kept busy and thought it was time to try and find someone new. She received a letter from Tessa a few days before and it said that she found someone new. She shed a few tears over that but then decided to move on as well.

She got a job as a waitress and after only a few weeks of working there, she met a young woman who was just like her. They spent quite a bit of time getting to know each other better and decided to enter into a relationship. They dated for over a year and then Sierra felt it was time for her parents and sisters (except Hattie) to meet her new love.

On a nice autumn day, Sierra and her new girlfriend Callie walked up the front steps and entered Sierra's family home. Her family was overjoyed to see her so happy with Callie they told Callie that they considered her family to them.

Callie and Sierra smiled and said softly,"We are going to move in together. Our house is only 3 miles from here and we feel that we are ready to take this next step together." Everyone cheered and threw together a huge celebration dinner for the couple. After dessert, they were all sitting together talking in the living room when Hattie stumbled in and smiled crookedly at everyone.

"Am I interrupting anything?"she asks sarcastically, staring at Sierra and Callie. Sierra stood up and held onto Callie's hand while everyone took a deep breath. The memory of what happened last time popped into their minds and they all wondered what would happen now.

"Actually, you are interrupting, Hattie. We're celebrating our new relationship and life together and you are not welcome to join us," Sierra said calmly, looking at Hattie. Hattie took a step back and stared in shock. "Fine then. Have fun everyone. I have better things to do anyway,"she said, storming out of the house in a huff.

Chapter 6

After Hattie left, everyone settled down to have a good time. It was more peaceful around the house while she was away and Sierra was glad of it. Her family enjoyed spending time with Callie and getting to know her. When they moved into their house, their families helped out a lot.

They lived in their home for 3 years and nothing ever got to them. Hattie refused to acknowledge them as a couple or even as people but they didn't let that stop them. Clara, Paw Paw, Elena, Gracie, and Bertie loved them and that was all they needed. When Elena died, Callie was there for everyone, especially for Sierra. Then when Gracie had Melody, they all spoiled her and gave her whatever she could possibly want.

On a moonlit night, Sierra and Callie were fast asleep in their bed when there was a loud banging coming from outside. They sat up and looked all around the house, but found no one. When they went back to sleep, someone broke in and set the house on fire.

Callie woke first and tried to get Sierra to rush out of the house so she wouldn't get hurt. Sierra did so and waited outside for Callie. Even though she had minor burns, Sierra tried to get back in to rescue Callie. The firefighters held her back as the whole house was engulfed in flames. Callie never made it out of the blaze.

After the fire was put out, they recovered Callie's body and Sierra screamed. Her girlfriend was severely burned beyond recognition. She had the horrible job of calling Callie's family and telling them what happened. Paw Paw and everyone came and made the arrangements for the funeral and both families stayed together through the hard time.

Sierra kept in touch with Callie's family every week and refused like her sisters to find someone else. Her family understood perfectly how she felt and respected it completely.

Epilogue

Two weeks after the devastating fire incident, the police caught the one who did it and he was tried for arson and murder. Sierra looked at the face of her lover's killer and recognized that he used to hang out with Hattie. Even though Hattie never admitted her part in it, Sierra and her family had a feeling she told him about their house and the fact that they were together. She remained innocent of everything until her last day on earth.

Sierra never forgot about Callie and kept a small photo of her in her pocket, always remembering the love and happiness that they had together.

Gracie

Chapter 1

Gracie was the apple of her parents' eyes and the youngest of 5 daughters. Ever since she was a little girl, she tried her best to help her mother and father with anything she could. Her sisters used to get into trouble and then blame the mischief on Gracie.

But her parents knew who was always at fault, so Gracie was never in trouble with them. She helped with the housework from when she was knee high, learned how to cook when she was old enough to stand on a chair, and paid close attention when her parents spoke about news and other things.

All through her school years, Gracie was on honor roll, kept excellent grades and also tutored many of her peers. Her teachers adored her and were thrilled when she graduated with high honors. The day that her mother passed away, Gracie stepped into the role of taking care of everyone and everything. She made sure that her father was fed and kept busy with all the housework and cooking and numerous other things.

One night, she came home and sat down in her room deep in thought. She had graduated high school just a few months before, her sisters had decided to go and live in California with Hattie, so it was just Gracie and her father Paw Paw at home. She dated a young man who she thought she was in love with, but then he left town when she found out she was pregnant with his child.

Brokenhearted and terrified at what her father would say when he found out, Gracie tried her best to hide it from everyone. Then the night came when she knew it was time to tell Paw Paw that he was going to be a grandfather. She walked down the stairs and entered the living room, finding Paw Paw sitting in his chair with the newspaper.

He looked up when she sat down in front of him and said,"Gracie, why do you look so sad? Tell what is wrong." Looking down, she replied softly,"Dad, I am pregnant. You are going to be a grandfather." She looked up when he was quiet and saw that he was smiling at her. He wasn't mad at her at all and seemed quite thrilled at the news.

Chapter 2

As her pregnancy progressed, Gracie blossomed like a flower who just felt sunlight shine on it. When she was about 5 months along, she went to the doctor and Paw Paw went with her. The doctor smiled and said,"Congratulations, Gracie. You are going to have a little girl."

Gracie smiled happily and Paw Paw chuckled, realizing that he would have to spoil another little girl like he spoiled his 5 daughters. When they drove back to their house, Gracie walked inside and called her sisters to tell them the news. They were thrilled and surprised at the same time with knowing that their little sister was going to be a mother.

On the day that she gave birth, Paw Paw was Gracie's coach through the whole labor. Her sisters found time to fly out after the baby and Gracie were brought home. They smiled and exclaimed that Melody Grace was the most beautiful baby they had ever seen.

At the christening, Gracie declared that Clara was to be Melody's godmother. Her other sisters scorned the idea but smartly kept quiet about their dismay over her choice. When they found out they had a nephew somewhere, they all shouted and cried because Hattie never told them that she had a son. If they knew, they would have stepped in and taken care of him.

At the same time of course, Gracie and Paw Paw understood Hattie's reasons for doing what she did and to their surprise, she spent a lot of time with Melody. When Melody started to crawl, Gracie and Paw Paw built a fence at the bottom of stairs so she wouldn't fall down them. Hattie and Clara went through the house and baby proofed it, this way Melody wouldn't get into something she shouldn't and she wouldn't get hurt on anything.

Sierra and Bertie sent gifts every week or so for Gracie and Melody while Clara had a room painted and decorated just for Melody to have a place to stay at whenever Gracie needed a break.

Chapter 3

When she was old enough to walk, Paw Paw would walk into the play room to say,"Gracie, I am going out for a stroll. I am going to take Melody with me so you can relax for a little while." Gracie would nod and reply,"Ok, Dad. Just be careful walking with her. I don't want something to happen where one or both of you get hurt."

Paw Paw loved spending time with his grand daughter and showed her everything in the house. All the secret hiding spots, the tools he used, everything she could be taught, he did it. Gracie was so happy, she knew that if anything ever happened, her father would always be there for her daughter. He loved her like one of his own.

Once school rolled around, Gracie would take Melody there and either Paw Paw or Clara would pick her up. Gracie knew that Melody had everything she could always want in life and more. She made sure her daughter did not become a stuck up princess like her sisters were when they were younger.

All through Melody's childhood, she had her mother, grandfather, and aunts around her. Whenever a birthday or holiday came around, Gracie would cook up a storm and decorate the house from top to bottom. She knew that her father was keeping an eye on Melody and never had to worry about her for even an instant.

When graduation rolled around, Gracie sat and watched as her little girl received her diploma. She knew that she was now a young woman and for some reason, it made her sad. Realizing that her baby was grown up, she had to decide something important.

Melody would go off to college in the fall and leave her mother behind. Gracie felt sad but at the same time, she knew it was time for Melody to use her wings and soar. "My beautiful daughter, I am so proud of you. You turned out exactly how I thought you would,"Gracie said one night.

Her daughter smiled and gave her mother a hug. "Mom, you and Paw Paw taught me so many things all through my childhood and teenage years. I don't think I could have grown up any better anywhere else," Melody replied. Paw Paw came into the room and sat down in the rocking chair.

Gracie turned slowly to him and saw how he was taking deep shallow breaths. "Dad, are you all right?" Gracie asked, worrying. Paw Paw nodded and replied,"I am fine, darling. I just couldn't catch my breath for a moment. That's all."

Chapter 4

While Melody worked all summer to save up for college, her grandfather and mother stayed home and created beautiful things to sell for money. Aunt Clara told Melody that she had enough to send her to college, but Gracie explained that Melody preferred to take care of it herself.

She worked hard at two different jobs and her mother decided to get one as well for the evenings. Gracie found a job at a small clothing store and brought home things that needed fixing every day. She sewed perfectly and managed to sell some of her original designs and clothes, making a comfortable profit off of them.

She spent her days at home, cleaning house, taking care of her father, and making sure that dinner was on the table for her daughter when she was done with work. Gracie knew that something was going on, but no one said anything to her about it. Paw Paw would walk in and sit down in his favorite chair, reading the newspaper or watching a television program.

Gracie grew concerned about her father, but kept her anxiety hidden from her daughter, not wanting to worry her or her sisters. In secret, she got a hold of her father's doctor and found out that he had a heart condition. She hung up and went into the living room to talk to him about what he hid from her.

"Dad, why didn't you tell me about your heart condition? I have a right to know," Gracie said, turning the television off. Paw Paw turned slowly toward her and replied," I am still able to get around on my own, and I am capable of doing things I normall





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