tagNovels and NovellasTrue Match Ch. 01

True Match Ch. 01


"Soon you will meet a man who will be all you seek," Oliver said. "He will have experienced some of the same things you have. He will understand how those experiences have affected you throughout your life, and will help you overcome them. You wish to learn more about your own sexuality and to experience sex as a positive, loving event. With this man, that will occur."

"Sounds too good to be true," April said.

"There is nothing too good to be true. If you believe that you are deserving of this man's love and respect, as in fact you are, you shall find it. You know that you have the power to create your own life as you wish to live it. Do you doubt that you will create this man entering your life?"

"I've learned not to doubt anything you tell me." April had had several sessions with Oliver, a being of light channeled by her best friend Fisher. Everything Oliver had told her had proven true so far. "But I'm still married, so what good will it do me to meet this mystery man?"

"You know that your marriage will shortly come to an end. You have already made that decision, although you fear acting upon it."

"Yeah, because I'll be on my own. My parents and his parents always take his side; they aren't going to be pleased when I leave."

"His parents are more aware than you realize of how he treats you. They will be supportive when you leave; they wonder why you have not already done so. As for your parents, they have failed you in many ways in your life, but you are still their child and they will support you to the extent you are able. They, too, see more than you believe they do."

"So when will I be leaving?"

"You know that I will not tell the future, April. When you leave is entirely your choice. Just know that you have the love and support of many, seen and unseen, and trust that all will result in your highest benefit."

"Yeah, it usually does. Can you tell me anything more about that guy?"

"Only that you will encounter him when you are emotionally ready to do so, and that you must be patient until that time comes. Refrain from anxiety about how and where you will meet; that will only manifest itself in a 'don't-want', as you and my host call it, and may cause you not to meet him at all."

An image flashed into April's mind: a tall, brown-haired man with kind brown eyes crinkled around the edges by a smile, and a mustache and goatee. Was this the man Oliver referred to? How long would she have to wait to find out?"

"Have you further questions?" Oliver asked.

"None that you'd be willing to answer."

"Very well, then, I shall take my leave. As always, it has been a pleasure speaking with you, April. You may request another session with me when you like."

"Thank you."

Oliver closed Fisher's eyes. After a moment, Fisher came out of his trance. He rubbed his face and grinned at April. "So how was it this time?"

"Do you remember any of it?" Fisher chose whether to recall the things Oliver said during channeling sessions. With April, he often remembered more of it than with his paying clients, since April liked to discuss with him what Oliver had told her.

"Something about your marriage will be over soon, and some man you're going to meet in the future."

"Yeah." April pulled her knees to her chest. "I think I saw the man in my mind while Oliver was talking. Funny, though. I don't like guys with facial hair."

* * * *

Whenever April felt like giving up, she reminded herself of what Oliver had said. She felt like giving up a lot.

Her marriage was hell; the best thing she could say about her husband was that he didn't hit her or the kids. She had to get out. It was just a matter of time.

In the darkest parts of her mind, she wished her husband would die. A car accident or something. That would make it easier; she wouldn't have to leave and no one would think anything bad about her if she was a widow. She was pretty sure she could even pull off the grieving part. It would be better than cringing every time she heard his car in the driveway.

"Why the fuck are you always on that goddamn computer?"

Wonderful. He'd just walked through the door. Why couldn't he at least give her a minute or two to adjust before he started in on her? "I'm working on a book. I'm sending it to a publisher in a couple days and I'm trying to get it ready."

"Yeah, like that's going to go anywhere. No one's going to want your books. You never do anything with them except talk about them to that friend of yours, anyway. How many times has he emailed you today?"

From bitching about her writing to bitching about Fisher. It was his usual progression. Fisher was the real problem, as far as he was concerned. No matter how many times April assured him they were just friends, and despite his own conviction that Fisher was gay, he'd convinced himself that April was cheating. And he made that belief clear to everyone, including the children.

When April didn't answer, he got angrier. "Well? How many times did you hear from your boyfriend today?"

Tears stung her eyes. "He isn't my boyfriend. We're just friends."

"Fisher's nice," added Holly, their eleven-year-old daughter. April hadn't realized she was in the doorway. "He's not Mom's boyfriend, Dad. If he was, would Mom take us to see him?"

"Shut up and go to your room."

"I don't like it when you yell at Mom."

Holly was stronger than her mother, that was for sure. One of these days, that would get her in a lot of trouble. She shouldn't have to stick up for April. "Honey, it's fine. Do what your father says."

"Yelling sucks." Holly walked away. After a second, her bedroom door slammed.

"See what you're doing?" he demanded. "You're turning our daughter against me. How long before you turn my daughter against me too?"

"They're both both of our daughters."

"Yeah, well, you sure as hell don't act like it. You never tell me anything about their school or anything. You act like I'm incompetent." He flopped onto the bed. Living with his parents sucked; there was nowhere she could go to get away from him. "What's for supper?"

"It's your mother's turn to cook. Yours is in the microwave, I think."

"Which means you've all already eaten, which means you could answer my fucking question. Never mind." He stood again. "Let me know when you can be bothered to spend some time with your husband."

When he left the room, April let out the breath she'd been holding and grabbed a tissue from the box beside her. He was getting worse. Much worse. If she didn't get herself and her daughters out of here soon, who knew what he might do?

Her email alert tone sounded, and she opened her inbox to find a new message from Fisher. "Something happened just now," it said. "I'm concerned, April. I know you're upset right now. Was it your husband again? I know you're scared, but you need to get out."

She opened a new message and typed, "Nothing serious, just his usual. Of course I'm scared. I'm a substitute teacher with no job prospects and two kids to support. And you know how he'll be if I tell him we're leaving. What choice do I have?"

It took what seemed like seconds for Fisher's reply. "Do you want to die? Because that's what being with him is doing to you, killing you. Slowly and by inches, but it's killing you all the same."

The words were a slap in the face. How could Fisher be so harsh? But even as she wavered between tears and anger, April knew he was right. This marriage was killing her. And worse, her daughters were growing up with the belief that this was what marriage was.

She couldn't let it continue.

She closed the story she'd been working on and opened a new document, entitled, "How to Get Out." Her first entry on the list was, "Find a place to go." After that, the ideas flowed easily, interrupted only by her husband's return to the room.

* * * *

Step one was telling her parents. Not that they'd ever shown any support when April had mentioned problems with her husband before, but she figured she at least should give them another chance. When she emailed Fisher to tell him she'd decided to go through with it, he sent a reply that included one sentence from Oliver: "Refrain from underestimating those who are close to you." She took that to mean that maybe this time, her parents would actually help.

One day in early fall, April's father asked her to help him find some things in her grandmother's house. Her grandmother had been moved to a nursing home after proving several times that she was no longer safe living alone, and she'd requested some clothes and other belongings. "You've spent more time there than I have," April's father said. "You might know where these things are."

The following day, while her husband was at work and the girls were at school, April drove to her father's house. It had been a rough morning; her husband had overslept and naturally blamed April for not waking him, even though she had. How could she help it if he'd gone back to sleep? She'd been busy trying to get the girls off to school and had lost track of time, so hadn't made her second attempt at waking him until fifteen minutes later than usual. The fact that the clock radio was going off didn't seem to matter to him; as far as he was concerned, it was April's job to get him out of bed.

Since he'd spent so much time yelling at April, she didn't get the girls to the bus stop in time and had to drive them to school. That meant she couldn't pack her husband's lunch before he had to leave. When she got back from dropping off the girls, she'd found her wallet open on the bed with a note: "Took lunch money, since you didn't bother giving me lunch." Twenty dollars was missing. Twenty dollars they couldn't afford, since he'd already cleaned out their bank account that week.

Despite the half-hour drive to her parents' house, April was still in tears when she arrived. Her father led her into the living room. "Tell me what's wrong."

"We have to get that stuff for Grandma."

"That isn't what's wrong, and we aren't going over there till we talk. You haven't been yourself lately. Is it your home life?"

That brought a fresh wave of tears; for a few moments, April cried so hard all she could do was nod. Her father handed her a box of tissues and waited until she had composed herself. "So it is."

"Yeah. How did things get so screwed up? I shouldn't have married him. But then I wouldn't have Holly and Lucie, and they're the best things in my life."

"Start from the beginning. What's been happening?"

The words poured out, everything that April had gone through with her husband. The yelling, the threats, and what it was doing to the children. Her father didn't speak until she was finished. Then he said, "You need to leave. We'll do everything we can."

"I don't have anywhere to go."

"Find somewhere. Your mother and I don't have a lot of money; we won't be able to support you. But we'll help where we can. You find an apartment and a full-time job. You have our emotional support, at least. I wish you'd spoken up sooner. You and the girls should never have had to live like that."

"I didn't think I had a choice. I married him."

"There's always a choice. Start looking for a job and a place to live. I'm sorry if you thought we wouldn't help you, April. Of course we will."

* * * *

Searching for jobs and apartments was easy to do without her husband finding out. He worked long hours, and since April spent a great deal of time on the computer anyway he didn't pay much attention to what she did. As long as she wasn't emailing Fisher.

But she failed at keeping her decision a secret from him. One night during a particularly loud fight, she couldn't keep her mouth shut any longer. "Do whatever you want. We're leaving."

He was stunned into momentary silence. "You're what?"

"Leaving. Moving out. Getting away from you. You have no right to treat me the way you do, and I'm tired of our girls seeing it. We are leaving."

"You can't do that." He started to cry, crocodile tears as usual. "You can't leave me. I need you. You haven't even given me a chance to change."

"I've begged you to change since we got married, and you never have. It's been thirteen years."

"I can change. You just have to let me try!"

"No." All the anger left her. So did any sympathy she might have felt for him. She felt nothing at all. "You've had your chances. You can't change for someone else, you can only change for yourself. And you don't believe you need to change, because you don't see that you're doing anything wrong. It's over. We're leaving."

"You fucking bitch! It's that fucking friend of yours, isn't it? He's stealing you from me. You wouldn't think of this on your own."

Very calmly, April replied, "It has nothing to do with anyone but you and me. This isn't working. I am an intelligent woman and I make my own decisions. The only thing telling me to leave you is your behavior, and your reaction right now just proves my point."

"You aren't taking the girls."

"Yes, I am. They aren't staying with you."

"You can't have both of them."

"We'll discuss it later." Little ears were too close. "We aren't leaving tonight. I have to find an apartment first. But our marriage is over. Get used to the idea."

"Stay. I'll let you do anything you want. I won't even bug you about your boyfriend anymore."

"He isn't my boyfriend, he isn't why I'm leaving, and this conversation is over." Since he obviously wasn't about to let it go, April went downstairs and locked herself in the bathroom. When she came out, his parents were waiting for her. "I take it you heard?"

"Why didn't you talk to us?" his mother asked.

"Because he's your son and I thought you should hear it from him." And she'd figured they would take his side, but that sounded too argumentative to say.

"We understand," his father said. "You do what's best for you and the girls."

"You're still family," his mother agreed. "Let us know if we can help."

April's eyes filled with tears. She really had underestimated his parents. "Thank you. That means a lot."

"Just don't tell him we said it," his mother replied.

* * * *

As time went on, April became more and more worried that she wouldn't be able to find a job or a home. Her daughters didn't want to leave but were anxious to get away from the constant fighting between their parents, and she felt like she spent most of her time soothing tears and taking care of temper tantrums. Her husband, now that he knew it was over, didn't bother trying to stay calm most of the time, and escalated to saying things in front of the girls that he wouldn't have dreamed of saying before. After a couple months, April was desperate enough to consider a homeless shelter.

Then two things happened.

It became clear that April's grandmother would be staying in the nursing home indefinitely. Since she'd been moved, her mental state, shaky already, had deteriorated, and her parents wanted no part of trying to keep her home. But that left them with an empty house to take care of. "We need someone to live in your grandmother's house," her father told her one night. "Some of the bills will be paid by her pension; you'll have to pay the rest. We'll help, but you need a job first so we know you'll be able to pay."

April wasn't completely sure she wanted that house. The memories from her childhood were far from favorable. But she discussed it with Fisher and Oliver via email and they assured her it would be a good temporary move for her and her children.

The other occurrence was something April didn't bother trying to explain. Like Fisher, she had guides, beings whom she spoke with. For much of her life she'd thought they were imaginary friends, but since meeting Fisher she'd discovered that her "imaginary" friends knew a whole lot more than she did, and she agreed with Fisher's assessment that they were other types of beings who had chosen to work with humans. Their advice was always correct and it helped to have someone to talk to when no other humans would listen.

For two weeks after her father's offer, April sent out applications for the few jobs that were available at that time of year. All resulted in either no response at all or a "thank you but you do not suit our needs" form letter. Although she was a certified teacher, she hadn't taught full-time in almost four years. She'd been working in schools, but most were unwilling to consider someone who was that out of practice at running a classroom.

One afternoon, when no one else was home and Fisher wasn't answering her emails, she sat on her bed, closed her eyes, and asked, [i]Why haven't I been able to find a job?

Because you are still here.

I'm still here because I haven't found a job. My parents won't let me move into the house until I'm working full-time.

Indeed. However, the negativity surrounding you here, accompanied by your own fears that you will not find a job, are preventing you from succeeding in your search. You must leave; once you have, a job will come to you.

And if my parents disagree?

Persuade them.[/i]

That would be easier said than done, she was sure. Her parents had told her over and over again that they couldn't support her; she needed a job. But that weekend, when she visited, she told them, "Things are getting a lot worse. The girls and I need to get out. I know I don't have a job yet, but I guarantee I'll have one within a week of moving."

"Then why wouldn't you have one within a week if you don't move?" her mother asked.

April had explained her guides to her parents before, but she knew they were skeptical at best. It was slightly easier for them to accept that sometimes their daughter "just knew" things. "Being around him is holding me back. I just know I'll have a job as soon as I'm out of there. Everything will be better."

She expected more of an argument. But her father nodded. "It's dragged on long enough. You have to have a job, though. Make plans for what you'll do if you don't find one."

"I'll substitute teach and work part-time at a grocery store or something."

"Fine. You can move next week."

April spent the next week sorting out her and the girls' belongings from those of her husband. Her father-in-law helped carry boxes and other things down from the attic and even moved his truck out of the garage to make room for the piles of things that would go on the moving van. "We're sorry to see you go," he told her. "But that don't mean we're going to make it harder."

The girls both cried when she told them the news. Neither wanted to leave their father, nor did they want to change schools, something they'd done far too many times as it was. April tried to persuade them it would be for the best, that they would make new friends and at least they wouldn't have to listen to fighting and yelling all the time, but at eight and eleven years old, they believed none of it. She finally resorted to, "Because I said so" as the reason for the move.

On moving day, her husband and his father were both at work. Her husband had made one last attempt the night before to persuade her to stay; she'd politely told him to go fuck himself. He'd threatened to destroy the things she was taking with her; his father had responded by threatening to throw him out. The things had been left undisturbed.

Fisher and his mother showed up at the same time as April's father, who had rented the moving van. Fisher's mother took the girls in her car, while Fisher and April's father loaded the van with the little help April was able to give. Finally loaded, they drove away from her in-laws' house for what she was thankful would be the last time, except to bring the girls there for visits.

With the help she had and some directions from Holly and Lucie, the van was unloaded and the house arranged fairly quickly. She had no furniture of her own, other than a few bookcases and her computer desk; fortunately, her grandmother's furniture remained. "You're all set," Fisher said when he and his mother were ready to leave. "Now you just need to find a job."

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