Authors: L B Pavlov
Copyright © 2012 L B Pavlov
All rights reserved.
ISBN 13: 9781478362821
eBook ISBN: 978-1-62345-780-8
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner
This book is dedicated to my beautiful Aunt Dee Dee, who taught everyone she knows how to fight for what you want. Thank you for always believing in me. I only wish that you were here to share this with me, but I know that you are up in heaven smiling as you read it. I miss you so much, and will love you forever!
Thank you for reading the book every step of the way, and always being honest with me. I couldn’t have done it without you. You are an incredible daughter! I love you!
Greg & Chase,
Thank you for always believing in me! Keep holding out for the movie! I love you!
I would NEVER have been able to complete this story without you. You kept me going every day, waiting for new pages. Thank you for all of your feedback, your support and your encouragement!
Eric & Abi,
Thank you for believing in this story! I could never thank you enough for encouraging me to keep going! Your love and support means the world to me!
Dad & Sandy,
Thank you for your excitement about the book! You always inspire me to try harder. Thank you for always believing in me!
Thanks for your love and support! I am so happy that you and Buddy loved the book!
Misty & Lexi,
Thank you for believing in me and helping my dreams come true! I am so thankful for your feedback and encouragement. Olives and Flowers Sid!
Thank you for taking the time to read the book, sharing all of your feedback with me, and most of all, thanks for your honesty. (Please notice…..NO exclamation points in your thank you.)
I……want…. you to know……do you have to let it linger? I love you!
Julie & Yimmers,
Can’t wait to hear what you think!
You are one in a million mama! Thank you for making me laugh every day!
I hope you love it, because I love you!
Thank you for telling me to never give up, and always being there for me! I hope I’m never on the bubble!
Thank you for your excitement, and for believing in me!
The Mama’s (Laura H, Kristen, Mindy & Steph),
I can’t wait to have a book club meeting at Cheesecake factory about this! Thank you for your friendship!
Lying on my bed, looking out the window, I can remember it like it was yesterday. Dad had just moved us into this house. Mom had been gone for a little more than six months, and Dad wanted us to all have a fresh, new start. I remember how he had Lenora decorate my room the same way that Mom would have decorated it. Lenora is our housekeeper, and she lives with us. But honestly, Lenora is much more like a mother to me than a housekeeper. She has been with us since before Jack was born. Dad always wanted Mom to have help around the house so that she could focus on us kids. Jack is my eldest brother, followed by my brothers Eric and James and, finally, me, Charlotte. It’s not always easy having three older brothers, but I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
Dad had our rooms all set up before we moved in. My room was absolutely beautiful. It was exactly as if my mother had come back from heaven herself to decorate it. Dad was so pleased. I was only five years old at the time, so this was twelve long years ago. I remember sitting on my window seat, high atop a pillow topper Lenora had designed out of Mom’s fabrics that she had left behind. I could still smell my mom’s perfume on the fabric, and I sat there looking out the window and feeling so alone. I turned to look up at my sparkling crystal chandelier, and it reminded me of my mom. She loved beautiful, sparkly things. I missed her so much.
There was just no way around it. We all did. Dad was quiet and hurting, and he let Lenora handle most of the house stuff as well as the kid stuff during that time. My brothers had gone out to play with some neighborhood kids. I could hear laughter and yelling from my bedroom window. That was the first time I ever saw him.
Jack, Eric, and James had met some neighborhood kids. They were all playing baseball out in the street. Everyone was laughing and having fun. A boy went up to bat. Some of the kids started teasing him, saying that the outfielders may want to back up, and everyone was laughing. He enjoyed the teasing; I could tell right away. He was the youngest of the group but somehow didn’t require any special accommodations. He strolled right up and grabbed the bat while my brother Eric got ready to throw him his first pitch. The ball met the bat with a loud
and went sailing through the air. Everyone, including my three brothers, watched in absolute awe as the ball passed overhead. His name was Daniel, and he lived right across the street. I stared at him through the window as the kids lifted him up to carry him on a victory march in the street. He had a magical smile—even back then.
My brothers brought some of the kids over for cookies and lemonade. Lenora makes the best cookies I have ever had. People always rave about her baking. My brother Jack called me downstairs to meet some of the new neighbors. I was nervous as I approached the kitchen. I preferred to stay up in my room and observe the fun from my safe little window seat. I met Preston and Devon, who lived across the street with their younger brother Daniel. They were the same ages as Jack and Eric, who were ten and eight years old at that time. They all seemed very excited about having new kids in the neighborhood. I also met Sam, who was closer to my brother James’s age, and he lived five houses down on the corner. Sam was seven years old, and James was six years old. Everyone seemed to have found a new friend. That’s when he came out of the bathroom.
“Wow! Your bathroom smells like flowers,” he announced, and everyone laughed. That was Daniel; he could always make a room laugh. He was five years old, just like me. He would be starting kindergarten with me in a couple weeks, and he would become my first real friend.
When he noticed me, his smile grew even larger. He said, “Hi, I’m Daniel,” and he beamed his pearly white teeth at me.
He asked my name, and I responded with a single word: “Charlotte.” Sometimes when I would speak, people had to lean very close to me because my voice was soft and quiet.
He paused for a moment and said, “Like the web?”
He was silly, and I liked it. I hadn’t had a lot of silly in my life for a while, so it was warm and welcoming.
was my mom’s favorite book. That is why she named me Charlotte,” I said quietly.
Daniel oozed warmth, even when he was just a five-year-old kid. He gave me a smile, and I could tell by the look in his eyes that he already knew about my mom and how she had gone to heaven, and he felt bad about it. Daniel wanted to be my friend.
He beamed, “I like the name Charlotte, and I don’t know any other girls named Charlotte.”
My brother James walked up and said, “We all call her Charlie. Like Charlie Brown.” Everyone laughed with him.
Daniel turned and smiled at me. “If you were named after Charlotte in
, then I will call you Charlotte.”
That moment with Daniel Hollingsworth marked the beginning of a friendship that would steer the rest of my life.
“Charlie! Where are you, little sister? We’re home!” Jack called enthusiastically from downstairs.
I went bounding down the stairs to see the boys. I loved it when they came home from college and the house was full of noise again. Since James left last year, it’s only Dad, Lenora, and me now. Jack left first to go to Notre Dame, and two years later Eric joined him and then, finally, James. I like that all of my brothers are at least together at the same school. I don’t worry about them as much because I know that they will watch out for each other. They do come home often because it’s not too far of a drive. It’s just not often enough for me.
When I hit the bottom step, Jack came charging at me and threw me over his shoulder. I didn’t even get mad at him because I had missed his teasing and playful ways while he was gone.
“Put me down, you big baboon!” I squealed.
Eric gave me a big hug; James messed up my hair, and I gave him a giant hug too. I was always happy when we were all together in the same house. My dad had a big smile on his face. He was happy to see all of his kids in one room. We sat down in the kitchen, and I listened to their stories about school and all of the fun that they had been having together.
“James is afraid to pledge the frat house, Dad,” Jack announced, laughing.
James looked very irritated and responded, “I’m not afraid, I just don’t know if I want to join a fraternity as a freshman.”
Eric burst out laughing. “You know you’re a little worried about what we’ll do to you because you’ll have to do whatever we say during initiation,” he said and continued laughing.
Dad told them all to knock it off, so the boys went upstairs to unpack. They had come home for the three-day Labor Day weekend and would be back in three weeks to see my first race of the season. The boys always made it to as many of my races as they could. They loved to cheer me on, and it was important to Dad that they supported me.
I had been running since I was a little girl. I am not sure if I started because it was just in my blood or if it was just something that was expected of me. Either way, running was definitely my thing. I ran year-round on my high school cross-country and track teams. I was entering my senior year at St. Viator’s High School, and I had won the Indiana state championship my freshman, sophomore, and junior years. A lot of people were wondering if I would be able to pull off a four-year streak, and I was hoping I could do it, but I was always aware that my competition would be tough.
My mom had been a runner, but I don’t do her justice by stating it like that. My mom had a full-ride scholarship to Stanford University for cross-country and track. She was a three-time national champion in cross-country, and she set a national record for the mile in track her senior year in college. She was expected to go on to the Olympic trials right out of Stanford, and many people had expected her to be on the Olympic team.
She met my dad in college, and they fell in love. My dad loved to watch my mom race. He was her biggest fan. They were married during their senior year of college, and they were very much in love. Mom found out that she was pregnant with Jack right before the Olympic trials, and the Olympics never happened for Mom. My mom was thrilled to start a family, and as she explained in her many journals that she left behind for me to read, her desire to go to the Olympics just wasn’t there anymore. My dad always felt guilty for taking her off her path, and my grandfather didn’t help with the situation. He felt that Mom got married much too young and that she lost the chance to go after her dreams. He blamed my dad for that and held that against him.