Author: Katie Byron
Book title: Meadow of Imagination (Til an End Defined by Time) Book 1
Publish date: November 1st 2020
Kat Eddie is from Westchester, New York, and has a Master’s Degree from Boston University. She’s out and proud, raising her daughters to be socially conscious souls.
Rory Tucker, a straight woman, lives in the hill towns of Western Massachusetts. She didn’t attend college, opting instead to chase her dream—life within the equestrian world. But Rory has an ache in her heart for peace and a desperate need to escape years of lost honor and hostility. She hopelessly wants to instill kind, generous characteristics in her twin daughters.
When Kat and Rory meet, they’re deeply curious about each other’s unconventional lifestyles, each from vastly different worlds. The two become fast friends, spending hours together. But soon, their friendship blossoms into something more—a budding relationship with endearing feelings and mutual attraction
Rory stands on the porch, brushing the last bit of dust off her pants. She kicks off her Ariat boots into a pile of shoes outside the open front door, then rubs her tired feet.
Clanking dishes, the hum of the television, and the wafting smell of pork greet her. Rory, uneasy, exhales with a sigh so deep, she chokes before walking inside.
Turning into the kitchen, she examines the empty room. Pots and pans fill both sides of the sink. Her husband, stretches out on the couch in the den off the kitchen, watches the television with an unwavering focus.
Exhaustion cuts at her heart. Fighting the tears brimming her lower lids, she hangs onto her resolve. “Did the girls eat yet?”
He doesn’t bother to glance at Rory. “Ariana did. Alexis said she wanted to wait for you.”
Rory flips Max the bird and walks to the back pantry, grabbing the half-empty Absolute bottle. Bringing the gallon jug into the kitchen, she snatches a glass from the cabinet, then fills it with ice. In one clean swoop, she splashes enough cranberry juice in the container to give her cocktail a pink hue to compliment the vodka—she doesn’t want to stop pouring.
“There’s food in the oven and dishes in the sink, all for you.” Max laughs with a snort.
Why does he think that’s funny, Rory thinks to herself? At least he made dinner for himself and the girls. For that, I’m thankful.
Rory stares at the sink. “We talked about this. The girls can help clean up. I’m out there all day long in the heat or cold and exhausted at night.”
“Suit yourself, Rory.” Max rapidly flips through the chan‐ nels, stopping at the WWE. “You get them down here.”
After twenty years of marriage, Rory lets the comment slide. If she doesn’t, she knows at some point, she’ll blow her top, and they’ll have an all-out fight.
But tonight’s not the evening for fighting, not with a hoarse voice from riding lessons. All Rory wants to do is numb her mind. Taking a spoonful of the mashed potatoes, and a small piece of pork, Rory sits on a barstool in the kitchen, then swallows a generous gulp of her cocktail. She looks at her husband in his undershirt, ripped shorts, and soiled white socks.
Man, with a few more drinks in him, I could grab that pillow— she thinks, stabbing at a piece of meat—and put it over his mouth and watch him gasped for air just for fun.
As quick as the thought pops into her head, it disappears.
He might flail his arms and slap me in the face again, she lets that thought come and go, as well.
“Alexis and Ariana, get down here and help clean up.” Rory washes down the last bite of pork with a swig of her drink.
On autopilot, she gets up and opens the empty dishwasher.
No reply from either daughter finds her ears.
She puts her plate in the lower rack and thinks about loading the mess—dishes matted with food.
Leaning against the sink, hands gripping the edge, her rage bubbles to the surface. “Alexis. Ariana,” she yells with a force that comes from sheer exhaustion and feelings of unappreciation. “Pull the hooks out of your assess and get down here before I brat slap you.”
This burst of steam somehow eases Rory’s tension. In retrospect, she laughs to herself for the red-neck phrase that comes out of her mouth with ease.
“Coming, Mom,” shouts Alexis from upstairs, unfazed by the choice words.
Her daughter appears in the kitchen, a bright smile on her face, stopping at the doorway.
“Where’s your sister?”
“I think she’s outback with that idiotic goat.”
Alexis peeks around the wall separating her from her Dad and glances at the television.
Rory looks at the back window, and sure enough, Ariana has a bucket on her head, getting ready to ram the goat.
Running as fast as her short little legs will take her, she goes low and contacts Billy head, then falls backward. The goat jumps on top of her belly, claiming his unwavering claim to the king of the mountain.
Repeated cries of distress break Rory’s laughter.
“Help. Help me.” Ariana rolls from side to side, and the goat hops along, never breaking his stride.
Max hoist himself off the couch, then glances out the window.
Rory doesn’t make a move for the back door. “Well,” she says with a sigh, “you gonna go? Or do you want me to?”
“Nope. Look at her, she’s fine.” His body sinks into the cushions. “Go on upstairs. I got my eye on her.” He ends the conversation with a loud belch.
“You need another pillow, Max, maybe another drink?” Her words drip with honey-sweet venom.
“Yeah, that’d be great.” He turns his heads slightly, but not enough to interrupt his television viewing pleasure. His arm flops over the back of the couch, offering up the glass.
She steps into the den, takes his tumbler, throws a pillow on his head, then dumps it into the sink with the rest of the dirty dishes.
“I don’t need a fresh glass, that one’s fine.”
Completely ignoring him, Rory turns to her daughter. “Alexis, sweetheart, eat upstairs with me. We can watch a show.”
Her face lights up, and she shoots a curious glance outback. “What about Ariana?”
One glance out the window proves the backyard drama has wound down. Ariana now has Billy in his shed for the night.
“She’s on her way in, Munchkin. Let’s go upstairs. I’m tired.”
“I’ll take care of you, Mom.” Alexis wraps her arms around Rory’s waist, then squeezes her tight.
“Let me grab some food for you.” Rory fills a plate, grabs a fork, then crosses the kitchen floor.
Alexis takes hold of Rory’s free hand. “I’m glad you’re home.”
Hand in hand, Rory and her daughter head for the stairwell.
“Hey,” Max’s voice hangs heavy in the air. “When’s the cash cow starting—the woman with the two kids?”
“First, those are new clients,” shouts Rory, walking down the hallway, shoulders slumped. “Second, not everything’s about money, Max.”
“Yeah, I know. You pay the bills.” The volume on the WWE goes up.
Rory’s too tired to get into it with her husband, so instead, she turns the hall lights off and heads upstairs with Alexis, knowing the dishes will be there in the morning.
Ariana stumbles in the front door and skips down the hall just as Rory reaches the stairs. Hair disheveled like a lion’s mane, and patches of dirt on her knees, she looks like a ragamuffin.
“Have fun with Billy?” Rory grins, then links her arm in her daughter’s.
“I almost had him,” replies Ariana.
Halfway up the upstairs, Ariana releases Rory’s arm. “I’m gonna watch wrestling with Dad.” She turns, humming a tune, and trots back down.
“Don’t stay up too late, sweetheart, ya got school tomorrow.”
Yep. Daddy’s little princess, Rory thinks to herself.
Alexis and Ariana are paternal twins with distinct personalities. But both girls are a solid mixture of their parents’ similar, physical characteristics.
Max, five-foot, eight inches, has an impressive beer belly, minimal neck, and stocky legs. Whereas, Rory, five-foot, five inches, has a full-bodied frame with a muscular fullness from years of riding and training horses.
Ariana took on a stocker build like her father’s but has her almond-shaped eyes. And Alexis looks more like Rory, but with her father’s wide-set eyes. At an early age, each girl gravitated to a parent, and it seems they still do today.
Katie is an emerging author of poetry and women’s literary fiction. Born on Long Island, raised in Westchester, NY, Kathleen now resides in Western Massachusetts with her incredible family. She writes transcendent works about the individual spirit, passion, and the power of positivity through contemplative thought.