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Chapter One

The corners of Jennifer McCormack’s lips turned up in a soft smile. She dreamed of a long ago memory, when love and family went together, when people didn’t leave you all alone.  The emotions caressed her like a gentle breeze. Then the sudden jarring of the bed rudely shook her awake. She fought to hold on to the feelings that warmed her thoughts while her three-year-old son, Benny, made his morning ritual early. The sun had barely peeked through the windows.

He bent his chubby little legs and waved his arms as he prepared for another launch into the air. The king size bed, now too big and too lonely, provided the perfect trampoline. The serious look on his face erased her annoyance of having her dream interrupted. Jennifer sat up and grabbed him in mid-air. She hugged him tightly and tucked him under the covers with her. The two of them snuggled together, Benny’s fingers locked in her long blonde hair, his sweet breath against her cheek. Looking at her son took her breath away. She loved him more than she ever thought possible.

“Mr. Sun is up,” he whispered.

“I see him,” Jennifer whispered back. She brushed the blond curls off his forehead and kissed his nose.

“So...time to get up,” Benny said, his head nodding as if to emphasize his statement. He squirmed to get free.

This had always been Jennifer’s favorite time of the day. A time when everything was fresh. A new day to enjoy. The past year had been rough. Charles, her husband for seven years, had abruptly moved out and remarried soon after the divorce. She had been devastated by the failure of her marriage. During that time she wondered if she would ever find peace again. Wondered if she could force herself to face a new day each morning. How would she cope with being alone? Or raising her son...alone.

After months of counseling, Jennifer had finally arrived at a semblance of peace, and on most days she found she could deal with Charles without rancor or hard feelings, feelings that had once threatened to consume her. She had found a new strength. A special strength only a mother would understand told her she would make it. With that strength, she buried the pain and anger from the divorce and made a new world for Benny and herself. Her days were filled with teaching Benny the wonders of life. Doing things that never would have been permitted if Charles had not left them; like adding a new member to her shrinking family. Lily looked more fur than kitten when they brought her home, and the Persian kitten had become Benny’s love. Wherever you found Benny, you could find Lily.

She gave her son another hug and threw back the covers. Together they left the warm bed and went downstairs to the kitchen. 



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S.L. Dwyer