Read Once Broken Online

Authors: D.M. Hamblin

Tags: #General Fiction

Once Broken (38 page)

BOOK: Once Broken
3.52Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

“Oh, I got a good deal, just so you know. Look on the inside.”

Tony turned the face over and gasped. It read ‘
Twice upon a time, Love, Jackie’
“I’m speechless. I love you.” He kissed her tenderly. “Let’s go to bed.” He took her hand and led her up the stairs.


After morning coffee, Jackie went to Gina’s and Tony went to see his mother. As they kissed good-bye, Jackie said, “I’ll see you at Gina’s by noon, right?”


“Kiss your mother for me.”

“I will. I hope she knows who I am today.”


The house was filled with the aroma of turkey baking in the oven. Holiday music filled the air. Jackie and Gina chatted about Christmas Eve as they prepared dinner.

“I have to say, it was delightful watching you introduce him around the Bakers last night. You two are so sweet together.”

Gina smiled warmly. “It’s amazing. I like having him in our lives. Did I tell you at dinner a few weeks ago I learned that we have the same exact favorite foods?”

Jackie was pleased to see how well her daughter was adjusting. She watched her peeling potatoes at the sink.
Gina was always a happy kid, always looked on the brighter side of things. But now she looks even happier.

John greeted Tony at the door and showed him where to put the load of presents he was holding. Gina came into the room with a tray of spiked pumpkin egg nog. “Hi Tony, Want one? They’re yummy.”

“Sure, sweetheart.” He took a cup. “Where’s your mom?”

“I’m here.” Jackie entered the room holding Charlotte. “She’s freshly changed and looking for Papa.”

“Tony took Charlotte in his arms and they gave each other a hug. “Merry Christmas, precious Charlotte.” He sat on the couch with her. “Have you guys already opened your gifts?”

“Oh no, we couldn’t open our presents without Papa,” Gina said.

“I appreciate that.”

“Let’s all sit around the tree,” Jackie suggested. The group settled in the living room with their festive cocktails. John distributed the presents.

Gina gasped when she opened her present from Tony. “Oh my God, Tony, they’re beautiful!” She held up a pair of diamond earrings.

“Actually, Gina, they were my mother’s diamond earrings. She, of course, has no use for them now. I had them reset for you.”

“Oh that’s wonderful. I love them! Thank you.” She leaned over to kiss her father’s cheek. Tony gave John a gift certificate for golf lessons and Charlotte got a bunch of presents any baby would love.

Gina checked her phone. “Hey Mom, John and I are supposed to go to Krissy’s on New Year’s Eve. Patrice said she’d babysit, but she canceled. Are you guys doing anything?”

“Actually, we planned to spend a quiet night at Tony’s with Bailey. But I don’t mind babysitting. How about you,” she turned to Tony for approval.

“Sure, no problem. Can we bring Bailey?”

“Oh sure. I’d love to meet Bailey. I’ve heard so much about him.”


On New Year’s Eve, Gina, holding Charlotte, greeted Jackie, Tony, and Bailey. Bailey greeted Gina like a long lost friend. “Oh my, this is Bailey?” She laughed as she patted him. “He’s so adorable!” Charlotte babbled and reached out to pat the dog with her mother. “Oh honey, he’s too big for you. Let’s sit and pat him.”

The family shared a New Year’s toast before Gina and John left for their party.

Jackie, Tony, Charlotte, and Bailey spent the evening playing on the floor. After tucking Charlotte into bed, Jackie and Tony, with Bailey at Tony’s feet, celebrated a quiet and cozy New Year’s Eve in Gina’s living room watching First Night fireworks on the Esplanade. With the stereo pumping out the Boston Pops, it felt as if they were right there in Boston. Popping champagne at midnight, Tony offered the toast. “I’m sorry to see 2008 go. It was a transformational year! Here’s to 2009 and continued blessings and happiness for us all.”


July 2008

Greeting guests on the front porch was a “Happy First Birthday Charlotte” banner spanning the wide front steps; on the left side was a life-size Elmo Mylar balloon. Inside the house and onto the deck and sprawling backyard, Elmo and friends were everywhere along with red, white, and yellow balloons. Charlotte wore a white dress with big red polka-dot bow at the neckline, and a red “I heart Elmo” appliquéd on the front. The hem was bordered with a strip of red fabric with white polka dots. She happily moved from one room to the other, crawling like an expert and walking like a novice, while guests doted on her. Mountains of presents were stacked on the dining-room table.

Tony was resting against the deck railing sharing an appetizer plate with Jackie when Charlotte, being transported in the arms of Auntie Patrice, spotted him. Her brown eyes widened as she squirmed in an effort to free herself, extending her arms and yelling, “Papa! Papa!”

Tony smiled proudly. “My granddaughter beckons.” He took her in his arms and hugged her, then returned to Jackie with Charlotte. “I have to say Jack, my cup runneth over. As much as this celebration is for Charlotte, I’m having my own private celebration. A year ago when Charlotte was born I was a walking dead man, emotionally speaking. In this short year, here I am a proud father and grandfather. And I have the woman of my dreams by my side. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.” His voice cracked.

“Tony, don’t thank me. Thank Gina.”

“Oh no, it all started with you. Don’t be so quick to take the spotlight off yourself. You gave me Gina. Therefore, you gave me all of this.” He wrapped his arms tighter around Charlotte. “Thank you seems so insignificant. I’m a lucky man to have been given another chance.” He leaned to kiss Jackie’s cheek. “I love you more than you can ever know.”


Christmas 2009

ackie and Tony pulled up to Gina’s house. Bailey whined to get out of the car. Jackie opened the door letting the dog go, watching Bailey bolt to Gina’s porch. “Are you sure you can carry all those gifts? I can take some or get John to help.”

“I’m good. I love being Santa.”

Gina opened the door for Bailey to come crashing through. Running toward the door, Charlotte could be heard along with the clapping of her dress shoes, “Bawee! Bawee’s here!”

Tony followed behind Jackie carrying a sack of presents and a gigantic Winnie the Pooh. Gina gasped, as Charlotte’s eyes bulged with amazement. “Mama! Wook Winnie!”

“Oh honey, I see. I remember him.” Gina’s heart skipped a beat.

Tony smiled at his daughter. “Your Mom told me you gave him away a long time ago. It’s time for him to come home too.”

With tears in her eyes, Gina hugged Tony. “Oh Tony.”

“I hope Charlotte enjoys many hours of reading books, sitting on Winnie.” Tony hugged Gina back.

“Oh, look at Charlotte.” Jackie had tears in her eyes. The group turned to see Charlotte sitting on Winnie patting Bailey who had settled beside her.

Gina sniffled as John announced, “I hope she’s willing to share him.”

“What did you say?” Jackie looked at him and Gina, waiting for confirmation.

“Yup.” Gina nodded, with sparking eyes and a wide smile.

“Oh my God, another grandchild!” Jackie clapped her hands. Tony and Jackie hugged each other and then included John and Gina.

“Merry Christmas,” Tony said. “Who needs anything more?”


About the Author

Since childhood, D.M. Hamblin always loved writing whether it was a paper for school or college, advocacy letters for herself or others, love letters, short stories, or business communications. She was accepted to study communications at Boston University’s School of Communications in September 1980. However, life interrupted. She became a single mother the following year instead. While raising a delightful daughter, she went on from a short stint on welfare to finish college, start a paralegal career, send her daughter through private schools, and begin and finish the first draft of
Once Broken
from 1995–1996. She abandoned the manuscript as her paralegal career took off, and married the love of her life when her daughter was fourteen. She blended two generous stepdaughters, built two businesses in the legal industry, fell madly in love with three amazing grandchildren, suffered with Lyme disease for seven years, and sold two businesses. In 2015 she was blessed to have found the time and resources to resume the dream of writing. After twenty years, she unearthed
Once Broken
, converted it from a floppy disk, polished it up, and launched her new and long-awaited writing career with the self-publishing of
Once Broken

D.M. Hamblin is currently working on
A Debt to the Devil
, a murder mystery.

Did you enjoy this book? If so, submit a review on Amazon! And, please sign up for my mailing list at
I’ll let keep you posted on the progress of
A Debt to the Devil
, my second novel.


A Note from D.M. Hamblin

The undertaking of writing
Once Broken
was inspired by one of the most beautiful souls I ever had the pleasure to meet, Jacqueline Lazare-Dunne who died of breast cancer at the age of twenty-nine. We were not close friends. We were co-workers, waitresses at a Newton restaurant. At twenty-one years old, she was nearly nine years younger than me and busy living a joyful life. I was a single mom, going to school and working, pinching pennies and overwhelmed with responsibilities. Nevertheless, I felt delight whenever I had the pleasure of working a shift with Jackie. Her boundless love for life was extraordinary. She fought her battle against breast cancer for five years but refused to stop living. She married the love of her life and they enjoyed every moment they had together. When she died, she was robbed not only because she was so young, but because she wanted so badly to live on. Upon hearing the news of her death, I was so outraged for her and by the tremendous loss of such a beautiful soul at such an early age, that I needed to reconcile such a tragedy by doing something huge in Jackie’s memory. Hence, the work on
Once Broken
began. I am indebted Jackie Lazare-Dunne for being one of the most inspirational people I have ever known.

BOOK: Once Broken
3.52Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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