Love Me Steady
Publication Date: December 31, 2014
Penelope ‘Nellie’ Brennan has finally had it! Tired of her health problems holding her back, Nellie is determined to do just whatever she wants to do and no one is going to stop her. First item on the list for the determined 17-year old: secure a date to her first school formal dance. Second: find the perfect dress.
Brian Moss has agreed to a favor for his Mama: take her friend’s daughter to the girl’s first formal dance. All it took was a glance at Nellie for Brian’s interest to be piqued. He needed to know more.
What started out as a half-blind date, soon became so much more when Brian learns of Nellie’s big secret. Even after discovering the truth, Brian doesn’t run from her. Nellie is as surprised as those near and dear to her. But can Nellie trust him to stay? Will Brian be able to handle things when they get even harder? Can their quickly-deepening relationship survive the truth?
“Tell me about the sunsets.” It was one of the things I missed the most. Not that the sun didn’t set in Millstown, but I didn’t have the luxury of wide open spaces to view it in. Not like Camden.
“Baby, the sunsets are beautiful. I don’t find them as enjoyable without you there, but when I’m at work, I do find myself stopping to watch them and I think of you here. I wonder if you see the same sunset. I guess it sounds a bit weird, but it makes me feel connected to you. I know how much you enjoy not only the sunsets, but also when the sun rises. You take such pleasure in it. I like to picture you with that gorgeous smile of yours shining as you witness what some take for granted every day, but I always wondered why. Would you tell me, Little Cat? Why and how do you find such joy in the simplest of things?”
I looked around at the Riverwalk to take a moment to gather my thoughts. It wasn’t a hard question to answer and, in truth, I think Brian knows the answer and is just looking for a way to sidetrack me, but I found myself really wanting to share with him. We still had quite a bit til the sun would set here in Millstown, but I could picture the sunsets and rises in my mind from the many I made a point to watch in Camden. When I had put together what I wanted to say, I turned towards Brian to tell him my simple logic.
“It may be silly, but the sunsets and sunrises always gave me strength. It was a message all wrapped up in a painting of reds, oranges, yellows, and pinks telling me I was alive and a new day was coming. It has always meant a chance for new beginnings for me. Many say water is cleansing, a chance to get rid of the hard day, but for me it was always sunlight.
Maybe it was the warmth. Maybe it was the sometimes feeling of a light being spotlighted on me, which always made me feel like I was being specifically taken care of. Like my guardian angel needed that light to examine what needed help and what was fixed. I don’t know. Hell, that reasoning could just be from spending too much time under doctors’ lights and microscopes. I’m babbling, but, Bri, it has always been amazing to me how darkness comes and the light brings hope for a better day.”
When I finally finished, I was kind of surprised at the expression that took form on Brian’s face. I was expecting confusion and maybe contemplation, but Brian had neither. His face was one of complete understanding and what I thought may be awe.
“Baby, that is beautiful.” He wrapped his hand around my cheek to graze it gently, almost reverently. “I love your constant belief in hope for a brighter tomorrow. With everything you have gone through, many expect you to just be happy to make it day-to-day or even to have given up by now. But not my little cat. You always have an optimistic view. How do you do that?”
Elle Vanzandt grew up a Navy brat who has had the privilege of living in many places but
she will always call Illinois her home. A wife to a caring husband, a stay-at-home mom to two amazing children, a blogger, and a writer, she wears many hats. With determination and strength taught to her by her mother, she has made it through many obstacles, always sticking with the family motto ‘pull up your bootstraps and get it done’. Writing is an adventure she could have never predicted but is enjoying the ride all the same.