Behind Closed Doors: Five Marriage Stories by J. Parker by J. Parker - Read Online

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Behind Closed Doors is a collection of five inspirational short stories addressing marriage and sexual intimacy.

 

The Rose Club: Wendy and her two best friends are still mourning the death of Aunt Rose, as they sort through her treasured belongings and their childhood memories. When a discovery in the Aunt Rose’s bedroom sheds light on an unexpected side of their straight-laced “aunt,” the revelation unleashes confessions among lifelong friends.

 

After the Baby: Jack knows the exact number of days since he and his wife made love. With a newborn baby and an overwhelmed mommy in the house, how much longer must he wait? More importantly, how can they reconnect not simply as parents, but also as married lovers?

 

Shotgun: Tina and Josh are newlyweds, thanks to a surprise! teen pregnancy. But when a pregnancy complication knocks Tina onto her back for bed rest, it’s even more grown-up problems and less, or rather no, sex. Are the doctor’s orders for abstinence in their marriage a case of divine payback?

 

The House the Densons Built: Candace is a wife, homemaker, and mother of two, devoted to her family—until the arrival of a mysterious package shatters everything she believed about her marriage. How could her husband destroy their trust? Now they must confront the truth and decide if their marriage can be saved.

 

Suite Nothings: Nadine has dreamed of her wedding since childhood, determined to transform herself from tongue-tied klutz to fairytale princess for at least one day. After finding Mr. Right and setting the date, she realizes her preparations don’t include anything post-nuptials. Add another tab to the notebook! What can she do to make their wedding night unforgettable?

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ISBN: 9781513032504
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Behind Closed Doors

Five Marriage Stories

J. Parker

Behind Closed Doors

Written and published by J. Parker

© 2015 HHH Books

ISBN: 978-0-9912542-2-4

All applicable copyrights and other rights reserved worldwide. No part of this publication may be reproduced, in any form or by any means, for any purpose, without the express, written permission of the author, except by a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in a review, or as provided by the U.S. Copyright Law.

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the author's work.

Book cover design by Melinda VanLone of Book Cover Corner

Behind Closed Doors

The Rose Club: Wendy and her two best friends are still mourning the death of Aunt Rose, as they sort through her treasured belongings and their childhood memories. When a discovery in the Aunt Rose’s bedroom sheds light on an unexpected side of their straight-laced aunt, the revelation unleashes confessions among lifelong friends.

After the Baby: Jack knows the exact number of days since he and his wife made love. With a newborn baby and an overwhelmed mommy in the house, how much longer must he wait? More importantly, how can they reconnect not simply as parents, but also as married lovers?

Shotgun: Tina and Josh are newlyweds, thanks to a surprise! teen pregnancy. But when a pregnancy complication knocks Tina onto her back for bed rest, it’s even more grown-up problems and less, or rather no, sex. Are the doctor’s orders for abstinence in their marriage a case of divine payback?

The House the Densons Built: Candace is a wife, homemaker, and mother of two, devoted to her family—until the arrival of a mysterious package shatters everything she believed about her marriage. How could her husband destroy their trust? Now they must confront the truth and decide if their marriage can be saved.

Suite Nothings: Nadine has dreamed of her wedding since childhood, determined to transform herself from tongue-tied klutz to fairytale princess for at least one day. After finding Mr. Right and setting the date, she realizes her preparations don’t include anything post-nuptials. Add another tab to the notebook! What can she do to make their wedding night unforgettable?

For Paula

Thanks for the candid conversations

and the many laughs.

I miss you.

The Rose Club

~ ♥ ~

1

Remembering Aunt Rose

Standing in the driveway, I stared at Aunt Rose’s house and sorted through my emotions. So many memories here, I said.

Just like I remember, Marie said, punctuating with a sigh.

The white wood-slat house greeted us cheerily with pink azaleas blooming in the front yard and a wide front porch with wicker furniture where Aunt Rose had read her Bible or worked crossword puzzles on pretty days. Sometimes, she’d perched there to watch us little girls play in her lawn sprinkler and perform talent shows to an audience of one. Even if she wasn’t my aunt, I’d grown up playing dolls and dress-up in her house, drinking her honey-sweetened lemonade, listening to her cite scripture after scripture. She seemed to have half the Bible memorized. Her house had been my second home.

Gina stepped out of my car’s back seat. Memories, huh? Like the time Wendy kissed the boy down the street under that oak?

I groaned.

And Aunt Rose caught you? she added.

Wasn’t he Mr. Hershel’s grandson? Marie asked.

Don’t remind me, I answered. Most awkward moment of junior high. And that’s saying something.

C’mon, Wendy, Gina said, bumping my shoulder, if we’re going nostalgic, let’s do it with style. We could do Truth Time.

"In that case, we could go through your list of old boyfriends, Gina. Oh wait, that would take all day, and we need to get busy."

Marie let out a refreshing laugh.

The past is the past, Gina said haughtily. I’m a married woman.

Me too, I said.

Marie smiled, but she didn’t have to say anything. We’d started praying for our husbands as children and had three marriage success stories. As far as I knew.

But now, Aunt Rose had died.

With her tear-stained funeral behind us and the legal loose ends tied up, Marie—Rose’s actual niece—had two days to sift through her life, pack what she wanted to keep, and place it all in storage until she could ship it across the Atlantic or she returned to the States. Gina and I, her lifelong friends, were here to help.

We lugged Marie’s suitcases inside, the ones she’d brought all the way from West Africa where her husband and family did mission work.

Once in the house, our mood dimmed—memories sweeping into us from every nook, cranny, and crevice of this well-weathered home. That scratched dining table, where we played Scrabble and Monopoly; that cramped hall closet, where Aunt Rose stored her discarded vintage clothing of flowing dresses, broad hats, costume jewelry; that gold velvet sofa, where we wrapped ourselves around cushions and one another’s lanky legs to watch game shows and musicals on her television. Her living room still smelled of lemon furniture polish and Shalimar perfume. Suddenly, I was ten years old, and Aunt Rose might walk through the kitchen any moment with a plate full of cookies and a mouthful of wisdom.

I cleared my throat. Okay, then. Where do you want to start?

Gina dropped her expensive Coach bag on the floor like it was a beach tote. How about we start at one side of the house and work to the other? Dining room or her bedroom?

I caught a flicker of sadness on Marie’s face—her lips pursed, her eyes glassy, her jaw clenched—but it was gone in a flash. Aunt Rose had lived long and met death well. Hers was a life that deserved celebration more than sorrow. Marie sighed. Let’s get the hardest over with first.

A knot gathered in my stomach as I followed Marie and glanced around the house, wondering what all we’d find. Gina brought up the rear, her rhinestone flip-flops flicking the hardwood floor behind me.

Aunt Rose’s bedroom was cleaner than any room in my house, the bed perfectly made with a quilt folded neatly at the end. Not a stray item lay on the floor, and books were aligned on a nearby bookcase. On her nightstand sat a monogrammed leather Bible, its pages fanned out and colorful post-it notes lining the edge.

Only a veil of fine dust had descended over the room in the weeks since she’d been gone.

Okay, ladies, Marie said, with a thin crack in her voice, I’m only keeping something if it’s valuable or sentimental.

Gina tilted her head. If in doubt, throw it out. You don’t need to worry about a bunch of stuff right now, and Aunt Rose wouldn’t want you hanging onto things that weigh you down.

A trickle of a smile stretched my lips. Looking at Gina, you’d think she was all about stuff — designer clothes, manicured nails, fine jewelry. But she kept her wardrobe to a small collection of fancy things and gave more money to charity than we made in a year. Including donations to Marie and her husband’s missionary work.

Let’s get started, I chirped, trying to reintroduce that lighter mood. Eat not the bread of idleness.

They both grinned. Aunt Rose said those exact words, from Proverbs 31, whenever she asked one of us girls to do something and we didn’t start right away. Eat not the bread of idleness, young ladies.

Aunt Rose was gone, but her wisdom lingered.

2

Uncovering the Past

Gina, Marie, and I each took a different section of the bedroom and picked through Aunt Rose’s belongings. From time to time, my throat choked up. I attributed it to dust billowing around me, although memories billowed as well.

We boxed up clothes for giveaway, all but her classic hats and two fur stoles; stashed books into smaller boxes for the public library; and divided sheets and blankets into one pile for charity and a smaller pile of handmade quilts for Marie.

Tucked into Aunt Rose’s closet, I sat on the worn carpet and reached into the corner for a collection of purses, their styles spanning fifty years or more. I held up a hideous green straw bag. Toss or keep?

Gina grimaced at the lime-colored purse and raised a perfectly-plucked eyebrow. I think we can safely discard that one.

Agreed, Marie said. I’m glad that never made our dress-up pile.

Oh yes, I answered, a dollop of sarcasm in