CW: A Girl from the Apple Orchard (12/12)

O-M-G! It’s December! And with that, we have our twelfth and final (?) chapter of “A Girl From the Apple Orchard.” I usually do not say that I am proud of myself for anything, but I AM PROUD OF MYSELF for sticking to this project the entire year. As the year progressed, I stopped writing anything on here that was not AGFTAO, which means that if it was not for this self-imposed challenge of writing one chapter every single month, there would probably have not been ANYTHING posted these past few months on this blog.

In January, I was very excited, but also somewhat scared – of the unknown, more than anything. I did not know where the story would go, if I would feel motivated enough to carry it for so long, etc. Twelve months later, I could not be happier that I made the decision to do this challenge.

***

Previously,

on AGFTAO:

1) We meet Laura on a Saturday, deep in thought in her home office where Roy thinks she is writing her book. Instead, we learn that she is trying to write a letter explaining why she is about to leave. Her thoughts take her far away, and only a loud noise brings her out of the trance. Upon investigation, Laura learns that it was only wind that slammed the previously open window shut. Relieved, she tries to write, but nothing satisfactory makes it onto the paper. A pile of discarded balls of paper surrounds the trash can. Roy returns home with groceries to make dinner. When Laura confesses she was not able to write anything, he comforts her by saying she will do better next time. [AGFTAO Part 1]

2) Roy returns with groceries on another Saturday afternoon to a quiet home. Assuming that Laura is writing, as per usual, he unpacks the bags and begins to make plans for dinner. After a while, he grows slightly agitated and looks for Laura in her office. In the dark room, all he finds is what looks like a gift bag placed on the desk. In the meantime, we learn that Laura is on a moving train, but we are unsure of her immediate plans. Her fellow passenger – a young boy keeps swinging his legs and kicking her in the shins, but his mother does not even seem to care, excusing him as: “just a kid.” Laura gets up and walks out in search of a more peaceful seat. Then, we jump back to Roy who is finishing reading a letter from Laura. There is a teddy bear for Tommy in the gift bag. When Tommy runs into the room and tells Roy he is hungry, Roy puts the gift away and tells his son they will get pizza for dinner and watch TV. They leave the room, the letter, and the bear behind. [AGFTAO Part 2]

3) About a week or so later, Laura fires her gun reflexively and kills an enemy combatant, which leads to her being chased by his compatriots. As she runs away, she trips and falls down a hill, but manages to get up quickly and runs towards the forest where she hides and tends to her injuries. Unfortunately, shortly after, she is apprehended and taken away on horseback. Her captors bring her in before a woman on a throne. [AGFTAO Part 3]

4) Once Tommy falls asleep, Roy laments the fact that, just like him, Tommy might be destined to grow up without a mother. In the shower, he finally allows himself to cry. In the living room, he pulls out a hidden piece of paper containing wedding vows. Afterward, he rereads the letter Laura left behind in hopes of finding some comfort but it only makes him sadder. Before going to bed, Roy wonders why all the women in his life end up leaving one way or another. [AGFTAO Part 4]

5) Laura finds herself in front of a woman who is stylized differently but is undeniably her friend for whom she was looking. ” Queen Naayelli,” the locals call her. Although Laura is pleased to see that their mutual friend – Jason, was right about the fact that Olivia was not dead, she finds herself confused with how unperturbed the queen is by her arrival. Laura was hoping for a warm welcome, but instead, she gets thrown into a small, dark cell for the night. The next day, Olivia comes to meet Laura in her cell, but, to Laura’s surprise, she continues to act coldly and does not ask about Roy or even Tommy. The chapter ends with Naayelli calling in the guards as she is leaving, to presumably inflict some pain on Laura. [AGFTAO Part 5]

6) When another day goes by without Laura making contact, Roy runs out of reasons to excuse her actions. Instead of taking care of his son, he starts to rely heavily on the babysitter to help with Tommy as he goes out drinking with his mates. We witness Roy undergo a change. He starts being more and more selfish, pointing fingers at everyone around him and being especially resentful towards women. When his babysitter quits, Roy leaves his son with his co-worker and goes to a bar to meet someone. There, he has a hard time finding a woman receptive to his questionable charm until a full-figured red-head joins him. They have a grand ‘ol time. The only problem – she is gay. [AGFTAO Part 6]

7) Roughed up by Naayeli’s men, Laura continues to be stuck in the dark cell while the Queen formulates plans on how to best deal with the new prisoner. After a couple of days, Laura wakes up to Olivia in her cell. A look around the room reveals the presence of a table with various tools that could be used for torture. The sight of a hammer prompts Laura to recall a traumatic event from her childhood. Having come back from school one day, when she spots her dad dead on the floor and his killer rummaging through his things, she grabs a hammer. She uses the element of surprise to her advantage and kills the murderer. Olivia confirms the gossip Laura did not want to believe in – she killed her partner and allied herself with the enemy. We part with Laura as we learn that Laura is holding the hammer after Naayelli had left the room. [AGFTAO Part 7]

8) Roy hopes for a lone night of drinking at home, but when Tommy is brought back early by his friend’s parents, he is forced to edit his immediate plans. The father and son duo spend a pleasant evening eating pizza and chatting. At bedtime, while reading to Tommy, Roy starts reminiscing about Laura and recalls her maternal abilities. He realizes that her creativity makes for a perfect trait in a parent, meant to inspire curiosity and open-mindedness. In Laura’s desk, Roy finds a note with her scribbles that are initially hard to decipher. After some stellar detective work, he learns that in that note Laura was trying to tell him that Olivia – Roy’s first wife and Tommy’s biological mother is still alive. [AGFTAO Part 8]

9) Laura detests the fact that the Queen is living life in the fast lane while all she has to look forward to are regular lashings, and Roy and Tommy are stuck without a wife and mother. She struggles with her thoughts on how and if to use the hammer when Olivia returns and unlocks her bindings. Once unrestrained, without hesitation, Laura loops the chain around Naayelii’s neck, taking her as a hostage and stunning the guards for a moment. Seconds later, Olivia frees herself and begins to fight the soldiers. Laura joins in and the female duo ends up incapacitating the watchmen and making their way out of the dungeons. When on horseback, Laura learns that Olivia still deeply cares for Roy and Tommy. Out of an abundance of caution, Naayelli leaves her friend behind on the outskirts of a nearby town as she searches for a phone to call for help. When she is gone for hours, Laura starts to question her friend’s allegiance again. [AGFTAO Part 9]

10) Roy attempts to contact Jason in order to find out more about his previously-thought-of-as-dead wife but the number had been disconnected. When Tommy witnesses one of his father’s bouts of anger, we catch a glimpse of the duality of being an imperfect human and trying to be the perfect parent. To make up for his unruly behavior, Roy sets up an impromptu picnic in the backyard for him and his son during which they search for shapes in the clouds. It is then that he gets a brief phone call telling him that she will return soon. Before Roy can pass that message onto Tommy, a black bag gets thrown over his head, his arm gets pricked, and his eyelids grow heavy. He awakens in a house which he does not recognize. Thankfully, Tommy is there, too – unharmed. A note on the table echos the words of the woman on the phone “… will be home soon,” but Roy does not know whether it is Laura or Olivia coming back. [AGFTAO Part 10]

11) While waiting for Olivia to come back, Laura reminisces about how her life with Roy and Tommy came to be and wonders how all of their lives are about to change. She saddles the horse and starts making her way into town when she finally encounters Olivia who is to lead them into a meeting point where Jason will be waiting. On their way there, they barely talk, with Olivia only making it perfectly clear that she is back in Roy and Tommy’s life and Laura’s help is no longer needed. Laura’s reunion with Jason is bitter-sweet. She is happy to see him but mourns the other men in her life. In the meantime, Roy is informed that his wife is on the way and once she gets there, they will have to move for safety reasons. We end the chapter with Olivia coming back ‘home’ to a son who does not know her and a husband who looks over her shoulder in search of Laura. [AGFTAO Part 11]

***

At an undisclosed location, two years later…

“Come in,” Laura called out, gently stroking the cyan envelope in her hand.

“Wow, you look gorgeous as ever,” Roy blurted out.

Laura’s dress was the color of pale fuchsia. Getting married a second time did not warrant a white one, she figured.

“What are you doing here?” she asked, blush adorning her cheeks.

“I had to see you,” Roy replied as he closed the door behind him.

She nodded slightly. A gentle smile danced on her face. “I did not know if you were going to be able to make it or not,” she said, unable, or unwilling to meet his eyes. “Are Olivia and Tommy here, too?” she asked, biting her lip.

“No. Olivia thought it would negatively impact the progress Tommy had been making in therapy and at home… with her… I did not know until the last minute if I would be able to come, either.”

Roy noticed the envelope in Laura’s hands and his heartbeat’s speed increased. “Did you read it?” he asked. “I sent it in case we wouldn’t be able to talk.”

Laura looked at her name written on the front of the envelope with nostalgia and shook her head. Roy always made the letter ‘a’ a capital one when writing her name. At first, she thought it was strange, but then, she began to love… like… it. LAurA. “I guess I don’t need to, now that you are here. Tell me all about how things have been!” She handed the envelope to Roy and pulled him onto the sofa in the middle of her changing room.

“It feels like it’s been aaaaages since I last saw you!” she said, suddenly with more energy.

“Yes. One day I just came back home and you were gone…”

Laura lowered her gaze. She prayed that one day she would be sure she had made the right decision leaving that day. “I’m sorry,” she whispered.

“Are you happy?” Roy asked, looking at Laura’s ring finger. The gold band shone brightly. ‘Jay’ was a lucky guy.

Laura nodded. “I just came in here to freshen up. The wedding reception is truly spectacular,” she beamed. “Will you be staying for long?”

Roy smiled. “Last time you were the bride, I thought I would stay forever. Fast-forward a few years and here we are – at your wedding to another man.” Roy stood up and chuckled.

Laura was clearly uncomfortable. Her eyes drifted from one side to another.

“Kidding. It’s all good.” Roy reached out his hand to help her stand up from the sofa.

They both smiled politely, uncomfortable as if they were strangers.

“They didn’t think me coming was safe, but I had to. I had to see you one last time and to tell you how things have been since Olivia came back… She’s really trying, Laura. We all go to therapy – together and individually. She makes grilled cheese sandwiches for our Sunday picnics and even writes little lunch notes for Tommy and me.”

Laura nodded as she listened to Roy speak. Her gaze was fixed on the wall in front of her.

“Again – all the best to you and Jason,” Roy said before walking out of the room.

“And you…” Laura said quietly as she turned away from the door. Tears streamed down her cheek. She always had a crush on Jason, but she could not forget the time she had spent with Roy and Tommy. She had hoped that a letter from Roy would give her clarity. Instead, it made things worse. In the letter that she DID read, he professed his undying love for her and expressed his hesitations regarding Olivia. He had thought that she wasn’t fully forthcoming about her past and her plans for the future. Tommy had kept asking about Laura.

A knock at the door made her jump.

“Come in,” she answered, drying her cheeks hastily.

“Have you been crying, my dear?”

“It’s nothing. I’m fine. I’m good. Let’s go.” Laura straightened her dress and led Jason out of the room, through the hallway, and out into the apple orchard where a handful of guests were dancing.

“Making babies BEFORE the wedding night?” Laura and Jason’s neighbor – one of the wedding participants – asked and winked as she passed them by with a cocktail in hand.

Laura’s face fell.

Jason knew that on a day like today Laura would think back to her life with Tommy, but he had no idea how hard that would be on her. They were going to adopt a child of their own. He had already planned on surprising Laura with that idea the following day.

“We’re going to be happy here,” Jason said, pointing at the house and the yard surrounding them.

Laura nodded, closed her eyes, and lifted her face towards the sky. She liked it there. The orchard was her favorite place. It was where she wrote, just like her mother did when she were young. Laura often wondered how different her life would have been if her mother was with her in a physical form, but among the apple trees, she swore she could feel her all around. The rustling leaves was her mother whispering words of advice, wisdom, and comfort; the breeze was her warm embrace; the bird songs – her kisses.

“Yes, we are,” Laura agreed.

***

Meanwhile…

Tommy entered Olivia’s office without a knock out of habit. It used to be where Laura wrote and where Tommy would come to watch her at times. He was too young to know that it was longing that he had seen in Laura’s eyes when she sat at that desk, but what he did know was that her eyes lit up when Tommy would ask her about her stories.

“Who’s this?” Tommy asked. A man he had never seen before stood by the window where Laura’s desk once stood.

“He’s our neighbor. He is moving out. He just came to say ‘Good-bye.’ Did you not, Franco?” Olivia gestured towards the door.

Franco tipped his head and left.

“Honey, can you not tell Daddy this mister was just here? He will be very said he missed him. I don’t want to upset him,” Olivia said, brushing Tommy’s hair off his face.

The boy hesitated, but nodded in agreement.

“Good. Now go play in your room. Mommy’s got work to do.” She waved him away dismissively. “And close the door behind you.”

Olivia allowed Roy to go see Laura just so she could have some time to meet with Marco. “Who said a woman had to choose either staying at home or having a career?” she asked out loud. Having a family was never ‘enough’ for Olivia. She always wanted more. While initially she had to go dark to save Roy and Tommy (she was not THAT ruthless!), she grew to like being a ruler and not having to worry about others. They worried about HER. If it wasn’t for that stupid Laura – always so noble – she would still be sitting on a throne, all of her needs taken care of. At home, she could barely sit on her ‘throne’ in the toilet for three minutes before either Tommy or Roy would come looking for her.

She knew she could have both, but she would need Roy’s support. She could not have him pining for Laura, as that would allow for variables in her plan that she would not want to have to handle. Olivia did not think he had it in him to leave Olivia for Laura out of worry for Tommy, but she could not bet on that. “Laura must disappear from this equation…”

***

The following day…

Christine and Bruce merged their lives together forever.

Or until a dead spouse returns

THE END

Laura sat back in her chair with a smile, proud of the book she wrote.

***

“Write a story inspired by the word ‘merge.'”
– prompt used for this CW piece.
[Source: BlogBattle]

***

P.S. As always, you are more than welcome to use this prompt to inspire your post. If you decide to write something, be sure to pingback to this post so that I can get an alert and check out your piece. (A post on how to do pingbacks can be found here.) If pingbacks are not your thing, feel free to simply leave a link to your piece in the comment section below. The more, the merrier!

Stay golden,

SGK signature.png

***

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30 thoughts on “CW: A Girl from the Apple Orchard (12/12)

Add yours

  1. Seeing a project through is a great feeling.
    There is no rest for us writers, though. I only wish there were more hours in the day I could write. (Or fewer I had to work — yeah, that’s what I’d prefer).
    Congrats.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. OMG! FO REELZ! Sorry, I don’t know where that came from.

      The work/writing ratio is definitely something I think about more and more. My new job is more demanding, leaving me less time to write. But, for now, I actually like my job and don’t feel like quitting. Plus, there are some benefits I plan on using that would end if I leave that employer… Tough choices. All I can do for now is spend as much time outside of work on my writing. It’s truly what makes me happy.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nicely written, Sam. I wasn’t sure how you’d end this, which is good, and I liked the ending you chose, which is even better. You didn’t shoehorn the characters into doing something to satisfy your plot ideas. The ending you chose made sense considering who these people were and the choices they’d made during the story.

    You have every right to be proud. I’ve read a lot of these serials, and I rarely like them, but I did enjoy this one. Your habit of including a synopsis was a HUGE help when reading monthly installments. I’m so happy for you, Sam. It’s such a pleasure to see someone I know reach a worthy goal, especially since I got to watch it unfold. Go you! : )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you liked the ending. As a reader, I know ending can make or break the entire story. No pressure!

      🙂 Your comment made me smile. There was so much positivity and encouragement in it. Meeting you, interacting with you, and learning from you is yet another advantage of the BBprompt community!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It was interesting, at times puzzling and sometimes frustrating; as a reader there were parts I enjoyed and parts I didn’t. I like the characterisations, I didn’t get the whole Queen and dungeon thing and there’s a part missing regarding Roy and Olivia’s reconciliation… she must have had some explaining to do! I think it’s a great achievement though, you managed to successfully write and complete a story that evolved month by month into a whole, and without pre-planning that must have been difficult to do. I’ve missed your other writing though, especially the short stories with those fantastic twists you manage to come up with. Looking forward to seeing more of your work next year… have a great Christmas and new year!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re right – I definitely feel like there should be more backstory to the Zapotec/Qeen and the reconciliation. As Em suggested – this should have been a 2-year-long project.

      Thanks Stuart for your honest feedback. That’s the only way I can grow.

      I missed those short stories myself and hopefully I will be able to deliver next year.

      Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Of course I should have guessed this wouldn’t end in a Hollywood fairy tale way.
    It is written by you after all!
    And I think we can all agree by now that that is your thing, creating brilliant unexpected endings!

    Congrats on finalizing the project!
    I hope it has given you a bit of motivation to return to blogging or writing in any way!
    And if you’re ever up for a children’s, you know where to find me 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Indeed, is this the final installment…? 🙂 Congrats on a real achievement! When you began this project a year ago, I knew you could do it. I’m also impressed that you not only came up with new a chapter throughout, you also included a summary from the chapter before – proof there’s something masochistic about writers!

    The way you ended (?) the story was thoroughly bittersweet. I readily guessed it was Jason that Laura married, and the back and forth between what she lost with Roy and gains with Jason rings so true. So does the repeated mention of therapy for Roy’s family – from the beginning it really underscored Olivia’s selfishness, which is confirmed to still be alive and well at the end. And I love the return to the apple orchard.

    Olivia’s true villainy is wrapped up the sentence how she liked being a ruler and not having to worry about others. And I really identified – for you – when Laura sat back with a smile, proud of the book she wrote. You do have something to proud of here, and I’m wondering if we’ll see elements from this project crop up in future posts. Congratulations again, and well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For now, it is the last chapter, but, who knows if this won’t spark a larger project in the future. *shrugs* (I always wondered how people can have multiple WIPs. INow, I think I’m starting to understand how this might become a thing for me, too. Hopefully, though, I will be able to finish them instead of having the WIPs constant WIPs.)

      Thank you for your consistent support throughout this project. It really helped keep me going!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Congratulations! Completing a book is no small thing. There was much here I liked, even though it didn’t end the way I expected (or hoped: Olivia didn’t end up with an anvil on her head: shame 😉). The scene between Roy and Laura was beautiful: sweet and bittersweet, awkward and sad, all at the same time. I would’ve liked more of the transition between chapters eleven and twelve, especially some of the scenes between Olivia, Roy, and Tommy, but that would likely then be a two-year, chapter a month project.

    You set us up for a sequel, and I’m hopeful we’ll hear more. I did like learning about the apple orchard, and that bit was beautifully written as well. The postscript puzzled me some: was the whole thing a story written by Laura, or did she write down her life to tell the world about her love story?

    💖💖💖

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m sorry it did not end as you expected. I thought about it but felt it would be too easy to get rid of her. Plus, that would mean Roy, Tommy, and Laura would end up together – Where’s the drama in that?! lol

      Thank you for your feedback regarding the break between 11 and 12. I definitely agree that it would be nice to have something in-between. I tried to just sum it up a bit in this chapter. Otherwise, it would have gone on for too long.

      Good question regarding the ending. This is one of those things that I never understood until now. Authors say that they don’t know. What do you mean you don’t know? You wrote it! But, seriously, I actually don’t know. The story was meant to be real and I wanted to show that Laura was able to transition into her dream of being a writer. However, when I got to that last bit, I paused. Could it be that all of that was in her head as she wrote the story? … *gasp*

      It means A LOT to me that you’ve stuck around this year, read these chapters, and shared your feedback. THANK YOU!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It has a finality to it… lets see, given how the story unfolded I don’t know if I can say I am entirely happy with the ending when I cant see how else it could have gone given all the character dynamics… what I can safely say is I am glad I wasn’t the one who had to figure out how to wrap up this tangled web…. and I love that you left room for possibilities in the future be it in the reader’s mind or in case you wake up one restless day and decide for a dead spruce to return.

    ~B

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Congratulations on finishing! You SHOULD be proud, having faithfully finished such a long-term project.

    My thoughts on this final chapter? Olivia doesn’t need therapy. She needs an institution — and with her in a straitjacket, I’m sure the staff will be catering to her every need, so she’ll be happy. As for the general resolution… Well, maybe it’s just me, but Jason doesn’t feel as much like a person as the other characters, and I loathe when good characters settle for 2D ones. But that’s just a personal pet peeve, and how things end up does make a lot of sense for the characters. Olivia being a– well, being Olivia, Roy and Laura being more noble and sacrificing the life they’d had together for the sake of Roy’s prior obligations. And of course, you leave room for continuation, so Olivia may well get that anvil to the head after all.

    And if it’s of any use, I noticed a few typos — like Roy expressing “her undying love for her” (well, that would certainly be an unexpected twist…), “the breeze” in the apple orchard being “he breeze”, and “spouse” near the end is spelled with a “ce” instead of an “se”.

    By the way, I’ve been wondering… Do apple orchards hold a significance for you?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate your watchful eye! I like how I go back to some of my posts and THEN the misspelled words are underlined but they weren’t when I first typed them. Annoying.

      The anvil to the head seems to be a popular idea, and it’s definitely something that probably would happen sometime down the line.

      I understand the 2D character comment.

      Thanks for all your feedback throughout the chapters. Maybe next time I will be able to hold you accountable to a similar challenge.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Congratulations on getting to the end of this story, Goldie. I’m proud of you for you if you weren’t! It was indeed quite an adventure that went in so many directions and was unpredictable as most of your stories are too hahaha Do you think you’d do this again? 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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Ellie Thompson

Memoirs - true tales of my life ...

Roars and Echoes

Where the power of my thoughts comes from the craft of writing.

Becoming The Muse

words on paper

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