tagRomanceA Penny Saved is a Love Earned Pt. 03

A Penny Saved is a Love Earned Pt. 03


This is the third and final chapter. I hope you all like it...don't forget to vote.



Chapter One

I took stock in what my sister told me that morning, and in doing so, I'd realized that I'd used the wrong approach with Penelope. As opposed to confronting her head on about her nightmares, I was going to have to facilitate a subtler tactic; and the only thing that was going to work was love, pure, unadulterated love. And once I realized this, I knew that I was going to have to swallow my own pride and try and find a way to apologize.


I spent the rest of that day at the office, alone, and set into motion, the process of getting everything ready to go. The "Strong-Arm" wheel chair was going to be a success, and I was going to do everything within my power to see it through.


I had a hard time getting to sleep that night. And when I did, the dreams I had were of a dark and frightening origin. I dreamed that I lost everything that was precious to me in the most horrifying of ways. I won't go into any detail as I've forgotten over the years.

However, suffice it to say that I kept searching anyway, searching for that which I would never find, lost in a cloud of despair, pain and agony, and destined to walk a wasteland of self-doubt, alone for all eternity. Little did I realize that these types of dreams would haunt me on a nightly basis for longer than I care to remember?


I woke up the next morning feeling like I'd somehow lost a part of myself, and I experienced an emptiness inside of me the likes of which I'd never felt before. I decided to pour myself into my work to insure the promise I'd made to myself was kept. That's why I went into work that morning and called Richard Boles straight away.

"Hey Rich," I said, "I thought I'd give you a call this morning."

"Hey there, Bryan," he happily replied, "How're you doing?"

"Not too good," I grimly told him, "It's Penelope, she..."

He listened to what I had to say. I told him everything, omitting only the private moments between Penny and I, and when I was finished, He replied, "She's always been a headstrong girl, Bryan, even when she was little. It comes from being half Cheyenne; but if you give her some time to work everything out in her head, I think everything will be alright."

"I sure hope so, Rich..."


When I came home that evening, Sam was on a date with Tommy which left Megan and me alone in the house. Megan and I had always been close growing up, and while I love Samantha dearly, I was glad that I'd have the opportunity to spend some quality time with my big sister.

"Are you hungry, Bry?" she asked, greeting me as I came through the back door, "I made your favorite, my chili."

"Oh, man," I wearily smiled, "That sounds perfect, thanks, Sis."

And as we ate, we reminisced about the past when we were younger. Our conversation for the first hour, or so, was spent asking things like, whatever happened to, and, I wonder where..."

Finally Megan looked at me and said, "How's your heart? I'm real worried about you, baby brother."

Swallowing the anguish and pain that was inside of me, as well as lying like a cheap rug, I smiled at her and said, "I'm fine, Megs, you're worrying for no reason."

"Yeah, right," she snorted, "Why don't you tell that shit to someone who'll believe you, because I'm not buying it for a second, Bryan."

"Come on, Megs," I groaned, "Look, you're right so; cut me a little slack, alright?"

Megan rose from the table, came around to where I sat on the other side, and then after leaning down and warmly wrapping her arms around me; she put the side of her face to mine and said, "I'm here if you want to talk; okay?"

"Okay," I smiled, "Thank, Megs, I love you."

"I love you, too, little brother..."


I walked out onto my front porch later on that evening and simply laid back on one of the two large chaise lounges that were on the porch to relax. I thought about all the things that had taken place over the period of the last couple of months and how profoundly I'd been affected by them, but most of all; I though of Penelope...my pretty Penny.

My nights were filled with emptiness and my days were full of longing, longing for something I knew I'd never again have or hold dear, reducing me to a mere shell of a man. I couldn't help feeling like it was my fault for pushing the issue too hard. Perhaps I should've been gentler with her when it came to the issue of her nightmares.

Who was I trying to fool? She was gone and it looked like she wasn't coming back. And if I was truly going to be honest with myself, she was more deserving of someone more worthy than me. Hell, this woman was a Doctor for God's sake. She needed to be with someone who would stimulate her intelligence, as opposed to being with me. Hell, I was just a dumb ass construction hand and a guy like me would only tarnish her image.


I drifted off to sleep that particular evening under the starlit canopy of the night, and in doing so, I felt that I was floating on a cloud, looking down upon myself as I slumbered. All at once everything became so blindingly bright that I had to momentarily close my eyes.

When I opened them again I found myself alone on a great plain, a mountainous backdrop on the not too distant horizon. The night was calm, the moon full, and I heard the howling of a wolf somewhere in the distance. I couldn't explain why, but I somehow felt at peace with myself in the same way a child feels in the arms of its mother.

I closed my eyes again, only this time hen I opened them; I found myself lying beneath a bearskin, inside of a tipi. Suddenly I felt a soft palm against the side of my cheek, and when I looked up, I realized my head was lying in Nala's lap.

"You are weary, my son," she softly told me, "You have grown into a strong yet, kind and gentle man. But in your heart; you are still a frightened Ka'escone, (Cheyenne word for child). Your heart is in darkness right now, but you will find your way back to the light through your music, my son. And through your music, she will find you.... she will find you...."


The sound of Sam saying, "Wake up, Uncle Bryan," brought me from my slumber, making me open my eyes to find myself back on my front porch again with her kneeling beside me.

"Hi, sweetie," I sleepily smiled, "What time is it?"

"It's well after midnight," she sweetly giggled, "And Mom told me to tell you to come back inside and go to bed."


I awoke the next morning feeling at least a little better than I had been the past days. Over breakfast that morning Megan and Sam had both asked me, because the weather was so nice, to take them out on the boat.

"What about work?" I asked, "What am I supposed to do about that, huh?"

"I called Jessie at home this morning," Megan pointedly replied, "And she said that they could handle things while you were gone, and that there was nothing to worry about."

"Aw, hell," I sighed, with Sam squealing and Megan victoriously smiling, the both of them knowing that I could never deny either of them anything they asked of me.


Once we were underway and out on the river, Sam approached me intending to ask something of me, I could tell by the look on her pretty little face.

"Okay, Sam," I grinned, "What do you want now?"

"Why, Uncle Bryan," she gasped, feigning mock innocence," What makes you think I want something?"

"Because I know you, little girl," I chuckled, "And I can always tell when you're up to something so; spit it out."

"Well," she began, smiling at me the way she always had since she was little, "I have a friend in Dallas who's going to be attending Vanderbilt University, too. Her name is Sara Winston and she comes from a great family, but they can barely afford...."

Yes, Sam," I interrupted smiling.

"Yes, what?" she mischievously grinned, "You don't even know what I was going to ask you."

"Yes I do," I chuckled, "You were going to ask me if she can stay with us while you two go to college, isn't that right?

"So, you don't care," she wistfully asked, "I mean, it's really okay?"

"Yes, it's okay," I smiled, "Your Mom told me that you two are going back to Dallas next week to get ready to move back home, as well as making the arrangements to put the house up for sale so; why don't you bring her back with you?"

"Oh, thank you, Uncle Bryan," Sam squealed, throwing her arms around my neck, "I love you so much."

"You're welcome, baby girl," I grinned, "And I love you, too."

"Can I use your mobile phone?" she wistfully asked, "I want to call her and tell her the good news."

"Go ahead," I grinned, handing her the phone, "But don't stay on too long."


"She loves you so much," Megan smiled, as she and I sat on the stern while Sam floated in the lake on an inner tube, "You spoil her entirely too much."

"Yeah," I laughed, "And I do it on purpose, too."

"Hey, Uncle Bryan," Sam called from the water, "Can we spend the night on the water tonight?"

"Sure," I replied, looking at Megan, "If your Mom wants to, that is."

"As long as I get to cook," Megan smiled.


Later that evening as we sat down to eat beneath a canopy of stars, three large citronella candles being our only source of light, I thoroughly enjoyed being with two of my most favorite people in the world. And even though my heart was breaking wide open at the time, the love of my family was what held the wolves at bay when I went to sleep that night...at least for a little while anyway.


That night I dreamed of Penelope and all of the tender moments we'd shared in the time we'd spent together. While my dreams were pleasant, I still felt something beneath it all, something that I couldn't put my finger on, but something disturbing, none the less.

I wasn't sure how long I'd been asleep when I suddenly awoke in a cold sweat. I looked over at my clock and saw that it was still early, four-fifteen in the morning. Knowing that I wouldn't be going back to sleep anytime soon, I got out of bed and put on a pair of shorts and a tee shirt.

Then I made my way out and up to the galley and turned on the coffee pot that I'd set on a timer the night before. I fixed my coffee that morning with a shot of Jim Beam bourbon, for medicinal purposes of course; and then climbed up on the flying bridge to sit and drink my coffee.

I thought about Penelope and how much my arms ached to hold her, and the fact that I thirsted for the taste of her soft and sensual lips; and in that fleeting moment, felt a longing need, accompanied by the hunger for her touch.

"What's the matter, Bryan," Megan suddenly said from behind me, "Can't you sleep either?"

"I slept for a while," I quietly replied, "And then I woke up and couldn't go back to sleep, that's all."

"Are you ever going to call Penelope?"

"I don't know, Megs," I told her, "I mean, she doesn't want to see me again, and she made that very clear the last time we spoke."

"Come on now, Bryan," Megan insistently said, "I don't think she...I mean...haven't you ever said something you didn't mean when you were angry?"

"Well, yeah," I said, "But when you love someone, you don't say the things to that person that she said to me."

"Jeez, gimme a break," Megan sarcastically replied.

"What the hell are you talking about?"

"I'm talking about the fact that when it comes to relationships, there's always three sides to every story," she plainly told me, "There's her side of it. There's your side of it, and then there's the truth."

"That's such bullshit, Megan," I angrily replied, "I told you the truth, dammit."

"No, you didn't," she said, "You told me the truth as you see it," and then she continued further, "The real truth of the matter is that you're both so in love with one another, yet the both of you are also so dangerously afraid of getting hurt that now you've managed to hurt each other."

It suddenly dawned on me that my sister was right, especially when she'd expressed it in those terms. And with that realization, all I could do was hang my head and say, "Shit, Megs.... what am I gonna do...I can't lose her, I just can't."

Taking away my fears just like she's done ever since I was a little boy, my sister leaned over, and after wrapping her arms around my shoulders, she kissed me on the cheek and smiled, "It's gonna be okay, little brother. You just trust your big Sis, okay?"


Later that morning after breakfast, Sam and Megan cleaned the galley while I prepared to get underway. As the engines were warming up I took stock in the things my sister had said to me earlier. And in doing so I realized that she had been right, giving me the impulse to do what was right and gently confront Penelope, regardless of the outcome. However, having the impulse to confront Penelope and the courage to do so were two different things all together.


As soon as we got back to the house and were settled, Sam and Megan went to take showers, while I made some coffee. I had just finished and turned the pot on to percolate when the phone rang.

"Hello," I answered.

"Hey, Boss," Earl said, making me smile, "How're you doing to day?"

"I'm good," I grinned, "What's up?"

"I just called to let you know that the upgrade is almost finished," he excitedly replied, "And production should be on line in about two or three days, give or take a few hours."

"That's great news," I smiled, "I'll be there in about ten minutes then."

"I guess that means that you're going in to work then," Megan said, coming up behind me to fix herself a cup of coffee.

"Yeah," I said, "For a little while anyway."


"Hey, Earl," I smiled, walking into what looked now more like a factory than a shop, "Man, it looks like you've been a real busy guy."

"Yeah," he grinned, "It looks good in here, doesn't it?"

"You've done a great job," I smiled, "And I can't wait till everything goes on line."

"Oh, I called Doctor Brennan and told her about this," Earl informed me, "And she should be here anytime."

"What the hell did you do that for?" I gasped, then after quickly regaining my composure, I covered my sudden outburst and said, "I mean...that's fine."


"Hello, Bryan," Penelope curtly greeted me in the factory.

"Hi," I quietly said. And because Earl was standing right there, I got down to business and asked, "Why don't you show Doctor Brennan how everything works, Earl?"

"Why don't you, Bryan?" Penelope icily glared.

"Fine," I nastily spat, no longer willing to tolerate the shit she was silently giving me, "Earl, you go ahead with what you were doing so that I can get this the fuck over with." Then I looked at Penny with fire in my eyes, and half growled, "Let's get on with this, Doctor, I haven't got all day."

I took her all throughout the factory, showing her what everything was and then explained what it did. And while I was doing so, I saw her satisfactorily smirking as I continued the tour.

And when it was finished, she looked down her nose at me and snottily asked, "Would you mind escorting me to my car, that is if there's any gentleman left in you?"

"Follow me, I hatefully growled.


As soon as the door to the factory closed and I was sure no one else was out side to hear us, I turned around to look Penelope in the eyes and said, "Just who in the hell do...."

"Don't talk to me," she hissed, "I'm still mad at you, dammit."

"Fine," I seethed, almost ready to lose my temper, "I'm quite sure you can find your car from here," and then I walked back into the factory before I said something far worse to her than anything Penelope could've ever said to me.


I can't recall ever being so angry with one human being as I was with Penelope, ever. I mean, I hadn't seen her in almost three and a half weeks and she was being such a bitch.

"Well, fuck her," I said aloud, to no one, "She can kiss my ass."


After letting Earl know that I was leaving, I got into my truck and simply drove around town, aimlessly wandering with no destination. I thought about Penny as I drove and wondered why she'd been so hateful...downright mean. I knew that I couldn't have possibly done anything to piss her off any more than I previously had. Hell, I hadn't been around her.

Suddenly I came upon one of my favorite places, The Keyboard Gallery, over off of Harding Place. I've known the owner, Mike Shears, who himself was now a concert pianist, a number of years. We met right after I moved back to Nashville once I'd graduated college. He was also the guy I bought my piano from, and not only are he and his wife, Terrie, good people, but we've become close friends over the years. So, I pulled my truck into the parking lot then got out and went in.

"Hey, Bryan," Mike smiled, the moment I walked through the door, "How are you, my friend?"

"Not too good, old buddy," I quietly replied, "I'm trying to work some things out."

I bought my piano when I went through my divorce from Vicky. And in doing so, developed a friendship with Mike and Terrie to the point that, whenever I needed to play to work out some frustrations and wasn't at home, I was always welcome to do it in the store.

Mike led me back to the small demonstration hall, where they keep the nine-footers, and said, "I'll make sure no one bothers you so; take your time, Bry."

I sat down and began to pour the anguish in my soul onto the keyboard of the piano, using my fingers as my fingers as conduits. I tried to purge myself of all anger I felt as I endlessly played, one song after another, trying to not break down but knowing that I would. And just when I thought I could no longer contain my emotions, I felt a hand touch my shoulder.

"What the fuck?" I said, bolting off of the piano bench and turning around to find Penelope standing there, "What're you doing here?"

"Megan said that I might find you here," she quietly replied.

"Alright, you found me," I harshly said, "Now what do you want?"

"I really need to talk to you, Bryan," she replied, with a shaky voice, "Can we go to my house...please?"

"I'll go," I warned, "But this better not be some kind of fucked up trick."

"It's not, Bryan," she softly replied, "I promise."


"God, I've missed you," she softly replied, throwing her arms around my neck and hugging me tightly the moment her front door closed.

"Wait a minute. I'm confused," I said, holding her at arms length, "I thought that you were still mad at me."

"I am...I mean, I was...I mean...oh, I don't know I mean anymore," she began to cry, "But I never stopped loving you, Bryan."

"I love you.... so very much," I smiled, pulling her toward me, and then holding her closely, "And I never stopped loving you either.... my pretty Penny."

"I love you, too," she sniffled, "And I'm so sorry for the awful way I've treated you."

I felt the love she had for me radiating from her heart and into my own, and with the realization of that came the rainfall of tears that were suddenly making their way down my face.

"What's wrong, Baby?" Penny asked, as she leaned away from me slightly, "Are you alright?"

"I am now, " I said, pulling her back into my arms, "I am now, my love."

"You know what this means, don't you?" she asked smiling.

"I think so," I smiled, "But why don't you tell me anyway?"

"It means that we're bound to one another, Bryan," she sweetly replied, "And I can't think of anyone I'd rather be bound to than you, baby."

"I love you, my pretty Penny," I tenderly replied, "I love you with all my heart."

"I love you, too, Bryan," she cried, "And God knows that I'll love your whole life."

We said nothing further, but only stood together, simply holding one another and basking in the renewed love we shared.

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