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"Creve Coeur" by Jacob M Appel

"Creve Coeur" by Jacob M Appel 

This story is from the anthology "Scouting for the Reaper" put together and written by Jacob M. Appel. 

Ever hurt by love?  Fallen for the wrong girl and had your heart broken in two?  Then this story is right up your alley.  This is a story about love, how strong of a bond it can form, and how quickly it can break a heart.  This is also about the relationships that form over a lifetime and the strength of a marriage put through the ringer. 

A family, living in Creve Coeur, Rhode Island, are meandering through life when a woman by the name of Sheila Stanton enters their life, again.  The story is told through the voice and eyes of a fifteen-year-old boy named Wade.  His father, Charlie, owned and ran a small lighting store.  He was expanding his store to include the space bought on each side of his store.  During the opening ceremony a fifteen year old girl came up and started asking around for Mr. Dortmund.  When Charlie inquired about what she needed, the girl, Pamella, responded by telling him that her mother asked for his help to install a chandelier.   Charlie finds out that her "step-mother" (as Pamella calls her) is Sheila Stanton.  When Charlie hears who is asking him for help he says he will come over and see what he can do. 

Sheila Stanton turns out to be the ex-fiance of Charlie.  She left him and ran away leaving him holding the bag.  She is also the lone survivor of the serial killer "Red Ribbon Strangler."  She was held captive for ninety-one days before he let her loose.  He died without ever explaining why she was the only one he didn't kill. 

Wade was in love from the moment he saw Pamella at the opening ceremony.  He was hook, line, and sinker caught.  His dad asked him to go with him to Sheila's house and  Wade was more than obliging to help out.  When they arrived Sheila sent Pamella and Wade off for a tour and his father consented.  While standing out on the balcony overlooking the city Pamella talked about wanting a super Christmas display like the one at his dad's store.  Wade then promises to build her a display like she wants. 

Over the next few months Wade spends every day at Sheila's house measuring and eventually putting up the display.  And everyday Charlie stopped by early to visit with Sheila for an hour or so.  Everything seemed fine until one night after they arrived home and Wade heard his parents fighting.  His mother was screaming at Charlie about his visits with Sheila.  She screamed that he still loved Sheila and why not just move in with her since he spends so much time over there with her. 

This is where the test of marriage strength comes into play.  They would fight everyday and everyday Charlie would try to put her mind at ease.  How do you console a pissed off woman that thinks her husband is cheating on her though?  You just do the best you can.  They remained married throughout this story, buit not without some major difficulties. 

Pamella hardly spent any time at her home.  Wade was by himself more often than not working on the Christmas display.  he was starting to get really mad.  He wanted to spend time with Pamella and show off his skills and abilities to her, but she was off with other boys doing only God know what. 

This eventually leads to a climax where Charlie and Wade are together and each are angry.  Angry at the world, and angry at each other.  They each snap at each other, but really niether of them understands why. 

Wade trys to express himself to Pamella one night.  He finds her out on a swing, drinking, and alone.  He tells her he loves her and all he gets back is a figurative Thank You.  

Well it turns out Sheila is sick with cancer, and she is fighting for her life.  That means more time Charlie spends with Sheila, and more fighting at night.    
Then a twist in the story turns everyone on their head. 

Jacob's writing style is very readable.  I am enjoying reading his writing so far and I doubt that will be changing with future stories.  This was a great story about love from opposite ends of the specturm.  Of one man who is trying to help because he owes it to himself to love her and a boy who is just starting to feel the pain of what love can be.  Love is a bitch when it comes down to it.  And this is a beautiful way of expressing that emotion through story.

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