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    Wayne Gray
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Bluegrass Symphony - 3. Broken Blood

"Are we goin'?" Charles stood beside Caleb's truck, his voice impatient and his tanned hand drumming on the exposed frame of the engine housing. His brother was lagging, hood up, messing with the motor in the vehicle.

Caleb nodded. "Yeah." He grunted as he pulled his hand out of the cramped space in the engine. Apparently, there was a loose hose and he had to work it back into place. "I just had to tighten the clamp on the water line."

Charles grimaced at the stripe of grease left on Caleb's skin. "Shit. Let's get to the Hambrick's place. You need to wash up. Again." It was eight in the morning and the viewing wasn't until ten, so they still had time.

Caleb glanced at his greasy hand, then nodded. They had already dressed for Beecher Hambrick's viewing, and somehow Caleb had avoided getting his dark green flannel shirt and the new jeans he wore dirty.

To Charles's relief, his brother shut the hood and climbed in behind the wheel. They left Charles's and Tracy's house up on the hill and drove down through the Hambrick family's properties. Tilled fields dotted the clearings below the road, and Charles's place was the only parcel for a few miles that didn't belong to the Hambrick family. It was easy to tell who owned the land - all of the Hambrick fields were destined to grow tobacco, and in the summer that was all a person would see for acres.

The two exceptions were Rachel and Beecher Hambrick's property. Beecher's sizeable homestead was in a prime location and Charles sighed as he thought how it too would soon fill up with the greedy tobacco plants. The amount of fertilizer that went into raising the crop always gave Charles pause. Even with the chemicals, after a few years the ground turned lighter in color, almost like clay, as nutrients, the natural biota, and organic matter disappeared.

Caleb looked over at the old house that sat in the corner of the elder Hambrick's land as they drove past. He blew out a frustrated breath. Though Caleb didn't say anything, Charles knew the same thing was on his mind.

"Yeah. I know. Those boys are gonna wreck it." Charles had so many good memories of that farm, and it pained him to think that it'd be a lifeless scar in a few years.

"Be fine if they'd rotate legumes or alfalfa in." Caleb turned off of the old blacktop road onto the gravel drive leading to Rachel Hambrick's home. Caleb's degree was in Agriculture, and Charles had benefited from his brother's education on his own farm. The bigger Shaw boy's jaw clenched.

That was the crux of it. The Hambrick men didn't rotate crops. They grew tobacco until they couldn't, even with the addition of fertilizers, then they moved on to the next field. There were now acres of land where even weeds struggled to survive. Instead of taking care of what they had, they bought property bordering their drained territory and planted the lucrative tobacco.

It was short-sighted, rapacious, and it made Charles ill. Though it was hard to get more than a few words out of Caleb at a time, Charles knew his brother shared his sentiment, as did the late patriarch of the Hambrick family.

They pulled up to Rachel's place and got out. Charles looked up at the gray sky overhead. "Suits the mood," Caleb grunted in agreement, and the two men walked up onto the porch.

Truly at home, Caleb opened the door with Charles on his heels. "Miss Rachel?"

"Back here, boys!" Her voice sounded from deeper in the house, and Charles followed in Caleb's wake.

They found her in the laundry room, folding a short stack of men's shirts. She had already dressed in a lovely white blouse with pearl buttons, and a gray skirt. Her dark hair was off to the side, held in place by a single amber hair clip. She smiled warmly at them. "Aww. Boys, you look so nice."

She hugged Charles, but when it was his turn, Caleb waved her off. "I need to wash." He held up his greasy hand.

Rachel chuckled. "You know where the bathroom is." Caleb nodded and disappeared down the hallway.

"Where's Wren, Mrs. Hambrick?" Charles had already spied the open suitcase on the bed in the back bedroom. The door was open, and he had a line of sight to it as they entered the hall.

"He's out back." She motioned with her head toward the door beside her. "Go on. He'll be real happy to see you." She smiled sadly. "He could use some cheering up."

Charles nodded in thanks, then opened the door. He saw Wren as he sat in a metal chair at a rusted wrought-iron patio table. During their childhoods, Charles, Caleb, and Wren spent many warm summer afternoons there. Though after Adam Hambrick left, those gatherings took on a vastly different tone.

Wren saw him and stood. He wiped his face, though there were still wet tracks on his narrow cheekbones. Charles smiled sadly, approached, and wordlessly the two men embraced.

Charles hung on and Wren exhaled. "Good to see you, Charles."

"You too, Wren." Charles pushed back and patted Wren's shoulder. "Glad you could make it back."

Wren nodded. "Yeah. Thanks, me too." He smiled then looked over Charles's shoulder. His eyebrows slowly rose. "Caleb?"

Wren watched as the short-haired, broad Shaw brother approached through the grass of the backyard and ducked under the clothesline. Caleb stopped a couple of steps away and nodded at Wren. "Howdy, Wren." His blue eyes held both sadness and relief. "It's good you were able to come."

Wren swallowed. Caleb was about thirty pounds of muscle heavier than Wren recalled. Though the last time he had seen the younger Shaw, Caleb had been seventeen and had yet to add mass to what was his then-lanky frame. His studies at university kept him busy and away during Wren's regular visits, but now those studies were done.

"Hi, Caleb." Wren smiled a little at him, still a bit stunned by Caleb's transformation over the last five years. He blinked and refocused. "You know that I had to come." His sadness returned. "It's papaw. I had to."

Both of the Shaw boys nodded, their jaws set. They respected Wren's choice to ensure he was home for the viewing and funeral of the Hambrick patriarch. Charles put a companionable hand on Wren's shoulder and squeezed. "We got a bit before we need to go. You want to sit? Talk some?"

"Yes. That sounds real nice." Wren frowned at his word choice. It had always been a smooth transition for his brain to pick up the speaking patterns of his home state, and this trip was no different.

The Shaws didn't seem to notice. The three young men pulled the heavy, metal chairs up to the patio table, and Wren looked at his hands as he rested them on the surface.

A few moments passed, then Caleb cleared his throat. "How's California, Wren?" Caleb watched him, interested, but relaxed.

The way Caleb sat, Wren had to force his eyes to stay up on Caleb's face and not wander down the muscular man's body. "Ah, it's good." He tried to smile, then grimaced. "Well, honestly it's tough. I'm through with school, but I've still not found a job in architecture. I've got forty-thousand dollars of debt hanging over my head, and I'm working at a damn diner." Wren slumped and looked at the table top. "And I live on a couch." The last part was uttered with a shameful grumble.

"Shit." Charles shook his head. "Forty…" He made a noise of disbelief. "Forty-thousand?"

Caleb's eyebrows arched, but the number didn't seem all that surprising to him. "I've got twelve, and I busted my ass working while I went." He nodded. "I'm surprised yours isn't more, considering you were in California and got your masters." He sighed. "And I live with Charles and Tracy, least till I can get my own land."

That was literally the longest string of words Wren had ever heard from Caleb. Charles frowned in bemusement at his brother. Caleb's eyes didn't leave Wren.

There was an odd mix of gut reactions as Wren looked back at Caleb. He was annoyed to admit that there was an attraction there. Yet, it was more than that. There was the commonality of their backgrounds, and their choices to take on higher education. Then, also something else - something Wren couldn’t quite nail down.

“Yeah. Scholarships helped a lot.” Wren leaned forward, arms on the table. “But I still don’t know how I’m going to make payments on the loan and pay rent too.”

Caleb was thoughtful. “Well, someone will hire ya.”

“Let’s hope,” Wren said. His tone told the story of his waning faith in that possibility, but he was glad for the vote of confidence from Caleb.

Charles shook his head. "You're both braver than I am." He leaned back in his chair. "I'm thankful you went though, Caleb. You've been a real help on the farm, and I've told you already that you're pullin' your weight, easy. Don't feel like you're putting us out, Tracy and I both appreciate you." He laughed. "Plus, you're a great uncle to Oliver. He loves you, same as he loves us."

Wren tapped his finger on the flaking metal of the table. "To pile onto that, Mom says both of you are why she still has this place, and that you fellas pitched in for papaw too." He looked back and forth between them. "I know it doesn't mean much, but thank you."

"It's the right thing," Caleb said as if it were apparent.

Before anyone could respond, the back door opened, and Rachel looked out at them. She crossed her arms and smiled at the three young men gathered where they were so often found over the years. They all stood up, brushed off their pants, and went in to join her.

Soon they had all piled into Caleb's double cab truck and were on the way to Grayson.

The drive was quiet. After twenty minutes on the road, they arrived at Malone's Funeral Home and parked. Caleb's gaze took in not only what was there, but what wasn't. 'Uncles aren't here yet.' None of the big, white Dodge trucks favored by the trio were among the few vehicles in the lot. Most of Beecher's friends had long ago died, so the only cars were the simple black automobiles which belonged to the funeral home staff.

As they went to go inside, another car pulled into the lot. Charles grinned. "There's my family."

The old, blue Corsica parked beside Caleb's truck. Tracy stepped out, her blonde hair blowing a bit in the slight breeze, then she opened the back door. She and Oliver had been out doing errands in town before meeting up for the viewing.

Charles went down to help her. He took the baby seat with their son, Oliver still clipped in. The little boy was asleep, and Charles smiled down at his four-month-old boy. They walked up the steps to join the group.

Caleb watched as Wren cooed over the baby and then as he hugged Tracy.

"He's so cute, guys." Wren looked down at Oliver's red cheeks. "I'm glad I get to see him."

"Me too." Tracy smiled. Then she sighed. "Oh, I hope he sleeps awhile." They all entered the funeral home. "He's got a cold and he's cranky."

They walked past a couple of men in black suits. Caleb listened as they gave condolences to Rachel and Wren. Then the pair shook hands with the rest of them. It was a small town. Everyone knew who was family, and who were friends.

The entire space was covered with a spotless, thick, maroon carpet. Two bouquets of lilies framed the open double doors, and Rachel smiled sadly at the flowers.

Wren patted her shoulder, and she put her arm around his waist. They walked in that way, leaning on one another, while the Shaw family followed behind. It was unspoken, but family went first, and they all instinctively understood that.

Wren and Rachel approached the glossy, woodgrain coffin. More lilies surrounded it, and their heads dropped as they mourned over the body of Beecher.

After a few minutes, they shuffled away together. Caleb felt a pang of empathy when he saw Wren's face. His friend looked so wounded. Caleb knew that Beecher was more like a dad to Wren than a papaw. After Wren's father vanished, Beecher made sure to ask for Wren's help on his farm, even when it wasn't really needed. It wasn't long before Wren, Caleb and Charles all split their time between both Hambrick homesteads and the Shaw farm as well.

The Shaws all went up together. Caleb gave his due respect, along with the rest. He caught Charles wiping his face, but Caleb didn't fault his brother. Beecher was a good man, and his loss was felt by all of them.

They stepped over where Wren sat. He had his head down, his elbows on his knees. Tears rolled down his nose, and Rachel had her arm around his shoulders.

Charles took the seat on the other side of Wren, and he put his arm around their sad friend. Caleb watched them, his own grief twisting in his chest. As he looked on, there was something that rode along with it. When Charles laid his head so it was against Wren's, the sensation increased until Caleb frowned.

Caleb stood back. Charles was Wren's best friend, and right at his side, that was his place. 'His place, not mine.' The thought sprang to mind, and Caleb's frown deepened, unsure why he'd even think of such a thing.

Caleb's thoughts were interrupted when Rachel sighed and shook her head. "Are those boys really not going to come to their own daddy's viewing?" She looked at the doorway, then glanced at the clock on the wall. She shook her head.

Beecher had arranged his own viewing and the burial so that none of it would be a burden to those he loved. Part of that arrangement was the pointed lack of a preacher or speaker. Beecher was the rare non-religious man in this part of the country, and he didn't want any such person to preach over his body.

They all stayed for an hour, talking, laughing at memories, and paying gentle respects to Beecher.

Finally, Rachel got up. "Well, thanks for coming, boys." Rachel nodded at Tracy. "You too, Tracy. Wren and I appreciate that y'all are here."

"Of course." Charles smiled at her. "We'd not leave you two…"

He was interrupted when all three of Beecher's sons sauntered in.

Caleb kept his face neutral only through a great deal of effort. It wouldn't do to show disrespect now - not at a funeral.

"Oh, the gang's all here, even nephew Wren. I reckon you made it after all." Wade, the oldest of the three, grinned across the room at them, his tobacco-stained teeth on display. He wore dirty boots, jeans, and a flannel shirt with the sleeves rolled up. He looked as if he just came from one of their tobacco fields, and tracked grime on the previously pristine carpeting. The other two were similarly attired. Wade was just barely graying, the hairs scarcely visible among the brown on his head. He looked even heavier to Caleb, his potbelly hanging over his belt.

Rachel's arm tightened around Wren's shoulders. "Howdy, Wade." She nodded at the other two as well. "Jason. Kyle."

"Well, howdy Rachel." Jason's mouth curved into a smile. "So good to see you again." The fellow was rail thin - a counterpoint to Wade. Though he shared the brown hair and eyes of his older brother.

"Yeah. Real good." Kyle, the biggest of the men stared at them with eyes that seemed just a bit too small for his head. He was as tall and broad as Caleb, and the younger Shaw noticed Kyle puff out his chest as he walked by them on the way to the casket. Kyle always loved throwing his weight around with Caleb when he was growing up. But the last time he tried his "playful roughhousing" Caleb tossed him into the creek - in January.

All of the men went up to the casket and looked down at their father. After a moment, Wade took a breath and looked at his brothers. "Welp. He's definitely dead."

"Wade." Admonishment tinged Jason's voice. "Be nice."

"What?" Wade looked over his shoulder at the cluster of onlookers, Caleb among them. "Oh, right. Okay." He shrugged. "Sorry." The apology was utterly devoid of actual intent.

Rachel steered Wren, and they exited the place. Back out at the truck, Wren stared down at the asphalt of the lot. "I hate them so much," he whispered.

"I know, hon." She sighed. "They make it awful easy."

Charles got into the car with Tracy and Oliver. "I'm real sorry, but we need to take the baby home. And I've left Tracy to handle him by herself for too long." Charles leaned out of the window and explained that he wouldn't be by the house later. "But we'll see you all at the funeral and burial tomorrow."

Tracy and Charles went home while Wren and Rachel rode back with Caleb. The big Shaw boy worked his jaw as Wren slid into the passenger seat. He glanced over at Wren. His friend looked blankly through the windshield, seemingly drained.

Caleb started the truck, and they drove back to the Hambrick farm. It was just after eleven thirty. Rachel got out of the backseat and stepped into what had become a sunny late morning. "Boys, do you want some lunch? I can make something."

Before Caleb could say anything, Wren piped up. "Would you stay for a while, Caleb? Have a meal with us, and…" He sighed and shook his head. He and Caleb exited the truck, and Wren looked over the hood at him. "I don't know. Just talk, I guess."

The desolate inflection in Wren's voice made Caleb's stomach tighten in empathy. He nodded. "Yeah. Lunch and talkin' both sound good."

"I'll get a couple of grilled cheeses and some tomato soup heated up for you boys." Rachel raised her head, a task in mind, and entered the house.

Wren watched her go, then he smiled at Caleb, and there was real happiness in it. Caleb's own lips flickered in a timid version of the expression and he nodded to gloss over the weird sensation in his chest.

Wren cocked his head, and his smile slipped. "You okay?"

Panic fluttered in his belly. "Yeah!" Caleb chuckled, and he flinched at his own nervous voice. "Yeah, I'm fine." He motioned toward the back of the house and the patio table. "Come on. Let's go sit in our spot."

Wren eyed him. Then he inclined his head, his scrutiny not quite over. "Sounds good."

Caleb and Wren ambled across the grassy lawn together, and they took seats at the patio table.

This time, Caleb chose the chair his brother usually took - right beside Wren.

Wren and Caleb spent a couple of companionable hours together. Wren was distracted by his grief over losing his papaw and the anger at his uncles, but he still detected an uneasiness in Caleb's manner.

Even with Caleb's subtle anxiousness, it was pleasant to talk, have lunch, and catch up a bit. Wren remembered the way Caleb had become thoughtful as they looked out over the garden rows of Rachel's farm. "I love working with Charles, an' helping him out." A deep inhalation and a slow release of breath followed. Caleb grimaced. "But, I really need my own land." Caleb's whole education centered around farming practices and responsible land use. He had shaped himself into an authority, yet he didn't have his own arena to exercise his expertise.

Eventually, Caleb went back up the hill to his brother's farm. Wren spent the rest of the day helping his mother on the property, then when darkness fell he crawled into bed early.

He slept in until eight-thirty, and Rachel let him. Wren showered, dressed and had a breakfast of fried eggs, toast, a glass of milk, and apple slices.

The burial, scheduled at two p.m., was a few hours away. After it was over, this chapter in Wren's life would close. He lost more than his granddad. He knew once the uncles got their claws into his papaw's land, it would never be the same. It would lose something vital, pure, and clean. After he ate, Wren took his mother's truck and drove up deeper into the holler. His grandfather's place was almost at the end of the paved road, past all but his uncle Wade's expansive property.

Wren rounded the bend and his grandfather's house came into view, along with something he didn't expect.

"The Shaws?"

Caleb's dual-cab Chevy, so often parked on the side of the driveway, was there. Wren pulled in behind the truck and got out.

He was curious about what would bring the brothers out to the property. He walked through the dewy grass, up onto the old, creaking porch, then stepped around the corner of the home.

Caleb looked his direction from where he leaned against the wooden railing that enclosed the porch.

Wren smiled. "Hey." He approached and stopped a few feet away.

"Hey." Caleb gave a friendly nod of his head. He gazed back out over the newly plowed field. Beecher had gotten that far in his annual work on the land, but no further. "I reckon you're here to see it one more time."

The finality in those words made Wren frown. He sighed and leaned on the railing beside Caleb. "Yeah." Wren glanced at Caleb. "Where's Charles?"

"Home." Caleb didn't offer anything else, but he straightened. "You want to walk the fields?"

Wren did, and he nodded. "I do." Caleb stepped off of the porch and Wren followed.

The same creek that flowed by his mother's place was off to their right and bordered the field. They walked a narrow path between the cultivated land and the creek bank. Birds hopped around in the tilled rows, searching for bugs and worms in the recently turned soil. Early hatching insects were beginning to make themselves heard and the chirping of a few crickets sang out in the otherwise quiet morning.

The loamy smell of earth, manure, and compost struck Wren. Multiple summers of his childhood crashed back into his mind - his papaw, Caleb and Charles all starring in those memories.

They got to the old, dilapidated barn. It looked like it was about to fall down, but it still kept the rain off of a load of hay stacked to the rafters inside. Beecher had eight cows, which wandered a forty-acre, fenced section of the farm. That time of year their diet didn't need supplementation with the hay, but it was always good to have it, just in case.

Wren put a hand on the weathered, gray wood of the barn. He looked up the face of the building and sighed.

Caleb stepped away as if to give Wren the moment to himself. Wren was thankful for the incredibly attuned way Caleb understood him - it had been five years, yet Caleb instinctively knew.

Wren's phone vibrated and he pulled it out. He frowned slightly. His mother was calling. It wasn't time to go yet, so he wasn't sure why she couldn't wait for him to return.

"Hello, Mom. What's up?"

"Wren, come home, son. We've got a problem - three of them." Rachel's voice conveyed a hint of stress, and Wren heard angry male voices in the background.

"Is that Wade? Are the uncles there?" Wren motioned at Caleb, and he began walking quickly across the garden, back toward the trucks. "What are they doing there?"

"It's best if you just come."

Caleb frowned with concern as he listened to Wren's side of the conversation. Both hoofed it across the tilled earth, straight through to the vehicles. "Okay, Mom." Wren glanced at Caleb. "I'm bringing Caleb." The big Shaw boy nodded, his jaw set.

"Good. See you boys soon."

Wren got into his mom's truck, and Caleb jumped in the passenger seat. "Bring me back later?" Caleb asked.

Wren nodded, started up, and they were on the way back up the holler.

It didn't take long. They pulled into the driveway, where all three white Dodge trucks of his uncles were lined up. Wren and Caleb both got out, and they headed to the house.

"This is bullshit!" Wade slapped some piece of paper against his palm. He stood in the kitchen along with his two brothers. All of them held crumpled papers, all of them fumed. Wade took a step toward her. "Give me yours."

Rachel's eyes hardened, and she had her hand protectively over an envelope on the counter. "First, it ain't mine. It's Wren's. And second…" She glanced at Wren and Caleb as they entered.

The three brothers heard the door, and now all of them glared at Wren. Kyle cracked his neck, and he started to step toward them. Caleb gently pushed Wren back, and moved in front of him, eyes locked on Kyle. Jason held up an arm. "Wait." He wet his lips and glanced back and forth between Caleb, Kyle, and Wren. "Just, hold on. I'm sure there's just a mistake. We'll have to talk to Roseberry, get this figured out."

Mr. Roseberry was the family's lawyer. Wren was alert for an altercation, yet confused. "What's going on?"

"Bullshit. That's what." There was such acid in Wade's voice. He made a chopping motion with his hand. "Let's go, boys." He glared at Wren. "You'll be hearin' from us, nephew."

Caleb barely stood aside as they filed past them. They watched through the window as trucks started, and the heavy-duty vehicles threw gravel as they zoomed off down the driveway.

"What the hell?" Wren shook his head. "What's going on, Mom?"

Rachel bit her lip and handed Wren a thick envelope, stamped as certified mail. "This came for you. I think I know what it is, based on how the uncles were actin'."

'Wren Hambrick ℅ Rachel Hambrick' was the addressee, and Wren opened it. Caleb stepped near, curious of the contents.

He read. Slowly, the blood drained from Wren's face as comprehension set in. He reached a hand on the table and flopped down into a chair.

"What?" Caleb couldn't quite see the document, and now he stood over Wren's shoulder.

Rachel gently took the papers from Wren's unresponsive fingers. She read, her eyes passing over it. A grin spread on her face and Rachel looked at Caleb. "First, it was a surprise for the boys to find out papaw had a Will at all. They didn't expect that. Second, this is the original, and they were all copied. Here's the meaty bit." She cleared her throat. "'All items, lands, animals, and funds in my name are hereby bestowed on my grandson, Wren Hambrick.'" Rachel raised her gaze to Wren's stunned face.

"Papaw Beecher's farm is yours, son."

As always, I love hearing from you. It makes writing worth doing.

Copyright © 2019 Wayne Gray; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Chapter Comments

24 minutes ago, Kitt said:

Oh boy! Talk about standing too close to the honey wagon!

Hahaha ... yes indeed.  It's definitely about to start flying too.  Thanks for reading/commenting/rating, Kitt.  🙂

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1 minute ago, chris191070 said:

What a great chapter. I love Charlie and Caleb. I hate the Uncles. I’m glad Wren has got the farm. Wren seems to get on well with Caleb.

Thanks, Chris!  Charles and Caleb both bring back many memories, feelings, and hopes for Wren.  They've both been very good friends to him through the years.

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3 minutes ago, starboardtack said:

You ar e a consummate storyteller -- and your descriptions bring it all to life.

Thanks!  Honestly, @MacGreginspired me to attempt and step up the description game.  If you’ve not read Dissonance in process by him you’re missing out.  Thanks for reading!

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I was right about Wren’s reaction to Caleb!

And I just knew that Papaw would leave his farm to the grandson he knew would care for the land properly rather than his sons who would abuse it. So now Wren and Caleb have a place where they can set up home together. Who will make the first move in their little dance?

Generally, when you throw a lot of chemicals on your crops, a lot of it washes into the creeks and streams around the fields. All those chemicals destroy the environment and cause more damage downstream. Could a smart investor buy up some of that used-up land to grow alfalfa, soy beans, and other legumes for a few years?

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11 minutes ago, Wayne Gray said:

This one, papaw even having a will ... that one is a little different for me.  Most folks where I'm from don't do wills at all.  The family gets what they've left behind, and it's usually an amicable sort of split among children/surviving siblings.  So that Beecher would have a will was SPECIFICALLY to keep his sons from getting that land.  It was very intentional, and quite a slap in their faces.  Hah!

Even if Papaw hadn’t written a will, he clearly favored his grandson over his own sons and their attitude towards the land.

I have already told my very religious brothers that I do not want to have a religious funeral – no hymns and no sermons! I’ve been trying to figure out what sort of secular music I’d want instead. I’m trying to figure out what Erasure, Pet Shop Boys, Melissa Etheridge, kd lang, New Order, Romanovsky & Phillips, or ‘70s/‘80s rock songs would be appropriate.

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1 minute ago, FanLit said:


Funniest line of the chapter for me, 😂

Good on Papaw, those three cums he shoulda shot on someone’s stomach  thought their father was dumb and old, their greedy asses deserve no less.  Now Wren can give or sell/lease the land to Caleb.

I think they are both attracted to each other, Travis ain’t the only confused one walking around.

Hehehe.  Yeah.  He hasn't seen the fella in five years.  And Caleb did just a bit of, ah, growing.

Beecher was nobody's fool.  Though gone, it doesn't make him any less important in Wren's life.

We'll have to see what happens between those two - if anything.  Never know.  I love introducing characters late into a story, so we'll have to see.  Hehehe

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1 hour ago, Wayne Gray said:

We'll have to see what happens between those two - if anything.  Never know.  I love introducing characters late into a story, so we'll have to see.  Hehehe

You’re not fooling anyone here!

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23 hours ago, JeffreyL said:

I like Wren even more after reading this chapter! Sounds like it's all going to hit the fan! I bet this chapter is just the beginning. Thanks for more of Wren's story. 

I'm glad he's growing on you.  😌

There's more on the way!  Thanks for writing!

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Everyone's said it all!!!! Kudos on some AWESOME writing and a few fabulous characters...even the ones we're going to "love to hate"(the uncles)!!! :worship::heart:

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1 minute ago, Onim said:

Everyone's said it all!!!! Kudos on some AWESOME writing and a few fabulous characters...even the ones we're going to "love to hate"(the uncles)!!! :worship::heart:

Hey, Onim.  Thanks for reading, rating and commenting.  🙂  I appreciate the great encouragement.
Hehehe.  Oh, just wait.  There's so much more coming for all of these characters.  Definitely!

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I like the theme a lot, can't wait for the next one. Wren and Caleb ? Old news!:gikkle:

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15 minutes ago, drsawzall said:

Alrighty then...I could see this coming a mile away and still I am captivated...😉

Heh.  Yeah, I didn't do much in the way of hiding it, eh?  But, I wasn't really trying to hide it either.  No need.  The struggle isn't in the knowing, the struggle is in the how.

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