Authors: Karen Pokras
By Karen Pokras
Book Three: Whispered Wishes Series
Book Three: Whispered Wishes Series
© 2014 by Karen Pokras
All Rights Reserved
Published by Grand Daisy Press
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, please go to
The characters in this novel are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual individuals is purely coincidental.
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Edited by Melissa Ringsted of There For You Editing
Cover by Najla Qamber Designs
Models: Courtney Boyett and Willis Totten
Model Photographer: Casey Boyett
The church sat empty on the morning of September fifth. There would be no guests hurrying to take their seats as soft music played in the background, nor a nervous groom standing at the altar anxiously waiting for his bride to appear through the double doors that seemed so far away. It was a shame, actually, as Tessa had planned everything for her wedding down to the last detail. Included on the list of cancelled items were the string quartet set to play Pachelbel and Wagner as she and her bridal party walked down the aisle, the florist order of white roses and daises, and of course, the three-tiered wedding cake with the bride and groom perched on top, ready to start their happily ever after.
She and Scott had been dating ever since they met in English class the fall of their senior year at Forest Hills University. He was the handsome, popular football star, and she was getting ready for her dream job as the director in the theater school’s production of
West Side Story
. Neither of them understood the assignment for the required history class they’d both put off taking until their final year. Perhaps it was coincidence, or perhaps it was fate, but they found themselves waiting outside of Professor Sutter’s office at the same time to ask for help. They decided to join forces and work together. Before they knew it, they were a couple.
The pregnancy wasn’t planned. Scott did what he felt was the right thing to do and proposed a week before graduation, promising to love and cherish Tessa and the baby for all of eternity. Of course, she said yes. He was her soul mate. The man she was destined to be with forever and always.
They planned to get married in early September. She’d always dreamt of a beautiful winter wedding, but the timing wouldn’t work, and she didn’t want to wait. If she didn’t have her almost perfect white wedding now, she knew it might never happen. A late summer wedding would have to do.
As her belly swelled, so did the arguments, followed by hostility and resentment from her soon to be husband. She rationalized he was just nervous about becoming a father. They’d talked several times about having children when they were dating, and both agreed they wanted a family … later. Neither had been prepared to welcome a baby this soon. While Tessa was looking forward to the birth of their child, Scott was still having trouble adjusting.
Her family was so focused on all of the excitement going on around them, they didn’t notice the trouble brewing. Besides planning for the upcoming wedding and birth for Tessa, her other sister, Holly, had married her fiancé, Ben, only a few months earlier. Their wedding was spectacular—a dream come true for both of them. Then, there was Ava. She and her husband, Max, had recently moved back to the East Coast after having given birth to their second child, Logan. Nobody really saw the end coming, not even Tessa.
In August, two weeks before they were set to walk down the aisle, Scott called off the wedding and moved out of state without saying good-bye or leaving a forwarding address. She attempted to contact his family, but they wouldn’t speak to her. She wasn’t surprised. They’d wanted Scott and her to put the baby up for adoption from the moment they’d found out about the pregnancy, implying the entire
was a mistake. It was no wonder he got cold feet and ran off.
On Thanksgiving Day, Sophie Rose Haines entered the world. Scott never once called to ask about his daughter.
Three Years Later
“Tessa!” Mr. Abbott bellowed from his office without getting up. “Tessa!”
She quickly put the phone on hold. The fact that she’d been waiting for fifteen minutes to speak with the nurse at her daughter’s pediatrician’s office was irrelevant. Her boss had made it quite clear on more than one occasion that work came first. Standing up, she straightened her blouse and steadied herself before walking one door over to face the wrath of the man who signed her paycheck.
“Yes, sir,” she said, turning the corners of her lips up into a forced grin. Taking a seat in the chair opposite her boss’ desk, she braced herself for the inevitable attack.
He slammed the binder down on his desk. “Your projections are off. The return on investment doesn’t match the statements, and the interest calculations on the bonds are all wrong. I’m meeting with the client first thing in the morning. I can’t present this to him. It’s crap! Nicholas Schilling is a multi-millionaire. He pays us a lot of money to get this right … money I use to pay you. Every time you get this wrong, you’re wasting that money.”
“Sir, I ran the numbers several times. They—”
“I’m telling you, they’re off.” Picking up the binder, he held it out as his beady eyes bore through her. “Are you going to sit there and argue? Because one of us is wrong, and it’s not me.”
There was no use trying to explain. Red would always be blue to him.
“These reports need to be completely re-done. All of them. Looks like you’ll be working late.” He sneered as she took the thick folder out of his hands.
Rising to her feet without another word, she quickly walked out of his office, not giving him the satisfaction of seeing the tears well up in her eyes.
. She rushed back to her own office and picked the phone back up. The call had been disconnected. No matter, she wouldn’t have time to bring Sophie to the doctor after work anyway. This job truly sucked. Well, not the job itself, but the people she had to work with … make that person.
Her parents told her she was ridiculous when she announced she wanted to be a theater production major in college.
You’ll never be able to make a living doing that.
They were right.
After Scott left and Sophie was born, Tessa moved back in with her parents. She cared for Sophie during the day, while her parents took over at night so she could work as an assistant director at the local theater. She loved the job
the people, but barely made enough money to pay her portion of the food bill.
At the same time, her father had just retired, and her parents were looking to sell their house. Initially, when they thought all three of their daughters were to be married off and settled, they had put a deposit down on a condo a few towns over. The place was perfect for them—a fifty-five and older community with lots of activities. Unfortunately for Tessa, it meant she would need to find a new place to live, as her parents would now be in a tiny home that didn’t allow young residents. It also meant she was stuck looking for alternative childcare. While her parents would still be close enough to see their grandkids regularly, the hour plus commute would make them too far to be her daily sitter. With rent and daycare expenses now looming, she had no choice but to give up her theater job.
Thankfully, her father had an old college friend, Bruce, a local accountant and financial planner, who was looking for some office help. The pay was decent, and there was a good yet inexpensive daycare close by. She was able to move out of her parents’ house before it sold and into her own tiny apartment. Bruce was a kind man who taught Tessa about the business. She found it interesting and learned the ropes quickly. After a year, Bruce, like her parents, decided he was also ready to retire. He sold the business to one of his competitors: Steven Abbott. Mr. Abbott, as he insisted on being called, agreed to keep her on as part of the deal. Unlike Bruce, however, her new boss was not a kind man. He was ruthless … and heartless.
Tessa constantly had her eyes out for another job. She worried, though. This one was close to Sophie’s daycare, gave her basic medical insurance, and covered her rent. And who’s to say her next boss would be any better? Although, it was highly unlikely she’d get stuck with someone worse. She sent out inquiries on a weekly basis with no luck. It looked like she was stuck with Mr. Abbott whether she wanted to be or not.
She began to dial the telephone again.
“Pick up, please, pick up,” she whispered just as she heard the familiar “
“Hi, it’s Tessa. I need your help.”
“Tessa? What’s up?” Ava sounded flustered when she answered the call. In the background, her son, Logan, was shouting for her … crying was more like it, drowning out any silence that might have existed prior to the phone ringing.
At three years old, he was a typical toddler, always wanting attention, particularly when his mom was in the middle of something else. By the sound of it, if Logan didn’t get what he was yelling for that very second, his world would surely come crashing down around him.
“Sweetie,” Ava said, with more than a hint of pleading in her voice, “I just need to talk to Auntie Tess for a minute. Tessa, would you mind holding on for a sec while I get him settled?”
“Sure, no problem,” she replied.
The click of the television turning on drowned out his demands. Too many times, she had done that herself, trying to distract Sophie with a show or movie so she could get something accomplished, or to squeeze in some much needed alone time.
Parenting at its finest.
She knew it wasn’t the best alternative, but often she had no choice, and it wasn’t doing anyone any harm … was it? They did plenty together. Besides, Sophie loved her shows. Logan probably did as well. It’s not like she put her daughter in front of the television for hours at a time. At least, not very often.