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Fiction Friday: Father Said

Posted by Julie on August 26, 2011 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |

Welcome! I’m hosting this week’s edition of Fiction Friday. This weekly feature is available to ANYONE who wants to share a piece of their own fiction. It can be your first time ever for fun, your attempt to see if this writing call is real on your life, part of a series you share through FF each week…anything goes!

Here’s what you do: write your story on your blog. Link the post URL below. Read the others’ stories and leave a comment. Others will do the same for you.

You can also, and I hope you do, “like” Fiction Friday on Facebook. Click here.

Anyway, my story probably breaks all the good fiction writing rules but I’m trying to flesh out the villain in my work in progress, Kyle Swarthmore. Spectacular Falls is a contemporary romance I’m editing that is of course, all about surrender. Jenna Anderson left everything and everyone back in Youngstown, Ohio for a job as senior center director in the Adirondack Mountains. She earned the job after one phone interview but later learns the job was posted by town matriarch Sara Bivins. The town council voted months ago for the senior center to close. Ben Regan, town councilman and co-owner of JB’s General Store wanted the center closed for good. He’s determined to send Jenna back home and keep the center locked.

Kyle Swarthmore is a weekend Speculator Falls resident who spends his week in New Jersey as a real estate developer. As much as Ben wants the senior center closed, Kyle wants JB’s. This story explains why.

By the way, what makes Spectacular Falls fun to write is that the town matriarch and Jenna’s biggest ally, Sara Bivins, is also Ben’s grandmother. Yep, the sparks fly…

But here is more on Kyle. I learned a lot.

Father Said

Marissa Banks reached for the barrage of papers knowing there had to be fifty pages. Her boss, Kyle Swarthmore, was on his way out the door headed for the Newark airport. Another weekend for Kyle at his family cottage in the Adirondack Mountains. Marissa? Staying overtime yet again to finish Kyle’s last minute Friday projects.

Marissa walked to the break room and decided it was time for a fresh pot of coffee. Kyle’s newest venture included plans to purchase the only grocery store in Speculator Falls, New York. Marissa remembered the pictures Kyle included in the dossier. JB’s was a mom and pop store at best and the smallest, least profitable business Kyle ever set his sights on. As she waited for the coffee to brew, she remembered Kyle talking about the store and why he wanted it.

“Ben Regan has no clue how to turn a profit. That store has so much potential but he’s too country boy to make it work. Father said I’m the perfect person to make that little shack go from a little store to an Adirondack chain of grocery stores. He even mentioned JB’s with the big grocery chains. Krogers. Wegmans. Giant Eagle. Marissa, I need your best work on this. I have to make this happen.”

The more she thought about it, Kyle’s true motive rose to the surface. Ben Regan. Father said. Bingo. In her five years with Swarthmore Enterprises, she realized how insecure William Swarthmore’s only son was. Kyle constantly went to “father” to show off accolades and accomplishments, ninety percent of them Marissa’s effort. Repeatedly Marissa saw William barely acknowledge his son. Instead, he threw out a carrot of sorts to tempt Kyle to move into the next big conquest. It was sad, actually.

The family was already self-made real estate developer millionaires many times over. The New Jersey media called William the Donald Trump of the Garden State. Kyle even copied Donald Jr’s slicked back hairstyle. Marissa was certain Kyle figured it would increase his success somehow to look like the mogul. Tina, William’s Executive Assistant, constantly joked that the reason Marissa was employed there was because the Trump’s had an assistant named Marissa. It appeared more than a coincidence.

She finally sat back down at her desk with her coffee and the JB’s takeover paperwork. Her task was research. Find as much as she could on Ben Regan and JB’s General Store. Discover financial weaknesses and risks. Create a presentation laying out a possible strategy to make the little place the newest Swarthmore purchase. Kyle assumed Marissa completed these things with private detectives and back alley type conversations with Speculator Falls residents. All it took was a few hours on her computer with a few Google searches. Kyle would take the credit and daddy paid little attention. What a vicious cycle.

The coffee turned lukewarm as early evening transformed to dusk. The offices were empty aside from the cleaning services and Marissa. She made good use of her ninety minutes. Ben Regan co-owned JB’s with his grandmother, Sara Bivins. JB’s stood for John Bivins, the founder who passed away eighteen months before. Ben ran the store as John taught him but he felt it was time to expand. These plans gave Kyle a lot of ammunition to work with.

Marissa felt she was missing something. It was easy to keep working. No one waited for her at her apartment. There was no weekend summer home to fly off to. Just the job. A thankless job that paid the bills and helped her keep up her blonde locks. Her plan? Wait it out for Mr. Swarthmore to retire and Kyle take over so she could make her pitch to take Kyle’s position. He had to agree to it. She worked too hard for too long to be ignored for that moment.

She thumbed through Kyle’s file one more time. A loose picture fell to her feet. She bent over to pick it up and saw a college-aged Kyle with his arm around a girl. The background looked like a beach and mountains. She flipped the picture over and read the information. Kyle and Trish Maxwell, Lake Pleasant.

“A-ha. This is what was missing. It’s more than pleasing father. This is revenge, isn’t it Kyle?” Marissa whispered to herself. Even in the little mountain village in a county that doesn’t even have a red light she knew there was one thing Kyle couldn’t ignore.


Marissa recalled her first year. Kyle was on the phone with his mother lamenting the loss of a summer Adirondack romance. She heard him talk about all those weekends trying to get Trish Maxwell’s attention but she was always with Ben Regan. When they broke up Kyle pounced on the opportunity and Trish said yes. She didn’t fit the supermodel mode Marissa figured Kyle would go for, but the country girl had big city ambition. She apparently knew how to play the game. Trish dated Kyle long enough to make networking connections to further her dream to leave Speculator Falls. She dropped Kyle, went back to Ben for part of college, and then dumped him a couple years later. Trish left Speculator Falls and the senior center director position in the dust when she landed a marketing job. A job with one of Kyle’s contacts.

Kyle wanted JB’s to please father, yes. But now the rest of the puzzle came together. He had deep feelings for Trish, probably still did. However, the way Kyle’s mind worked, he wasn’t angry with her. Kyle blamed the local grocer, Ben Regan.

Marissa spent her Friday night creating much more than a takeover strategy. She just put together her employer’s mode for revenge.

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