Announcing her plans to write a feature story on homeless people living in the city, Sarah's ideas are snubbed by both Ben and her family who feel she should be spending less time at the paper and more time planning her big day.
Despite what her family thinks, Sarah takes to the streets where she meets a number of people who change her life, including Denny, a homeless man she soon falls for, putting Sarah in a situation she would have never imagined.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.35(d)|
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A Home for Your Heart
By Leah M. Kosin
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2012 Leah M. Kosin
All right reserved.
Chapter OnePop! Corks flew across the freshly manicured grass as family and friends cheered. A late summer breeze blew through the trees, leaves rustling as if they too were applauding the newly engaged couple. Sarah, the youngest daughter of New York City's Mayor William Duquesne and his wife Nancy, had just accepted the hand of Benjamin Daniels, a wealthy stockbroker who had grown up living in New York. To her surprise he had proposed less than a year into their dating, during her family's annual end-of-summer picnic. More than one hundred people had been invited, including family, friends and co-workers, who had gathered around the couple as soon as they saw Ben get down on one knee.
"Welcome to the family," said Mayor Duquesne, pushing his way through the crowd. Placing his right arm around Ben's shoulder, Mr. Duquesne quickly pulled him in, and began to pat him on the chest. "You'll make a fine addition to our family. You're educated, employed and a true gentleman if you don't mind me saying. I'll have everyone know that he made sure to ask me for permission before proposing to my daughter."
"Wait. You knew about this?" Sarah asked, surprised.
"Of course we did," her father responded. "Isn't that right, Nancy?"
Standing to his left was Mrs. Duquesne whose champagne drinking was interrupted by the sound of her name. A set of crow's feet became visible near each eye as she responded with a large smile. "I couldn't agree more," she responded. "We knew from the day you two first met that you'd be the one to marry her. And I can't think of a better person to play the part."
Sarah brushed a black curl away from her light blue eyes as she watched her parents dote over Ben. Adjusting the strap of her white sundress she cleared her throat as she attempted to free her fiancé. "To a new beginning," she said.
She grabbed Ben's hand and together they raised their glasses high. Toasting to their future, everyone took a drink and congratulated the couple one last time.
"Ben, why don't you come help me," Mr. Duquesne said, giving him a friendly slap on the back. "We've got a barbecue to serve and a lot of matters to discuss."
"Lead the way." Kissing her hand, Ben loosened his grip to catch up with Sarah's father. Wearing a white polo shirt, tucked neatly into a pair of pressed khaki Dockers, she watched as he made his way towards the back of the deck. The afternoon sun beamed off his brown hair, the same color as his eyes.
"How in the world did you ever get so lucky?"
Turning around Sarah was surprised to see a large group of female friends surrounding her.
"Would you take a look at that," one of them said, bringing Sarah's left hand to her face. A large two and a half carat, nearly flawless princess cut diamond, in a stunning platinum setting, encased her finger. "It's gorgeous."
"Sarah, I'm so jealous," said another. "How did the two of you meet again?"
Sarah looked over her shoulder, watching Ben and her father interact while waiting for the grill to warm up.
"We met at the Rockefeller Center last year," Sarah said, recalling the evening. "My family was there for the lighting of the Christmas tree when he accidentally stepped on my foot."
"I hope he apologized," someone said. The group of women began to laugh.
"He did. And afterward he proceeded to introduce himself to me and later he invited me to dinner. The rest is history."
"How romantic," someone else replied.
"You could say that," Sarah said, sounding a bit unsure. "Excuse me."
Feeling overwhelmed, Sarah made her way towards the front of the house, which was located in Southampton. The two story building, made of white stone, still belonged to her parents even though they had purchased a smaller home, near the city, just before Mr. Duquesne was elected Mayor.
Passing over the front lawn, Sarah caught a glimpse of the white, wrap around porch and recalled the many summers that her family had spent sitting on the swing. It was there that they had read books, listened to music or told stories about their day. One of Sarah's favorite pastimes was to listen to the sound of flowing water from the large fountain, which was centered in the front yard. Her father had built it himself after moving into the home nearly fifteen years ago.
Sitting on its edge, Sarah watched as three gold fish, about four inches in size, chased each other in circles before she let out a long sigh.
"Is it that bad?" a voice questioned from the front porch.
Startled, Sarah turned to see her older sister Gwenyth coming down the front steps of the house, wearing a pair of tan capris and a light blue cardigan, which Sarah had gotten her for her birthday just two months earlier.
Seven years older, Gwenyth was what Sarah considered to be "the favorite". She had followed in her mother's footsteps and studied psychology, focusing on the human mind and behavior. Graduating a year early, from the University of Michigan, Gwenyth had begun working with their mother, who had owned her own private practice for at least ten years. Shortly after, Gwenyth had married Nathaniel, one of the finest surgeons in the area, who she had met during college. Together they moved into her parent's estate since the home was only used in the summer months or for brief weekend getaways.
Sarah, on the other hand, was twenty seven years old and still living at home. She worked as a full-time journalist for The Daily Grind, a much smaller version of The New York Times, which focused strictly on local coverage. In her spare time Sarah could be found exploring the outdoors with her camera snapping images of flowers, landscapes and buildings. She was the quiet one of the family and often times preferred to be alone. However, despite their differences, Sarah and her sister had always been the best of friends.
Carrying a small bag of bread crumbs, Gwenyth sat down next to her sister and began to feed the fish.
"You scared me," said Sarah, still holding her right hand over her chest. "I didn't know anyone else was out here."
"I was inside getting something for mom when I saw you through the window," she explained, throwing in a handful of broken up bread. "Shouldn't you be out back celebrating your big engagement?"
Sarah looked away and began to laugh nervously. "I just . . . I can't believe he asked me to marry him. Not to mention in front of all these people!"
Gwenyth looked toward her sister and was surprised by her response. "You're not being serious are you?"
"Gwen, I'm getting married. Not to just anyone, I'm getting married to Benjamin Daniels."
"Is there a problem with that? I mean, last I knew you two were getting along just fine."
"We are. It's just ... I don't know." Sarah stood up and began pacing back and forth, looking for what it was she wanted to say.
"Sarah. Ben is crazy about you. Not to mention he's got a great education, a fantastic job and he's wealthy. And let's not forget the fact that he's got mom and dad wrapped around his little finger, which last I checked wasn't an easy task. What more could you possibly ask for?"
Sarah remained silent as she stood in one place. Looking up, she became distracted as a flock of geese flew overhead.
"I wonder why they do that," she said, following the birds. "Why they fly in the shape of a V."
"Don't try changing the subject." Gwenyth lightly scolded.
Giving in, Sarah sat back down. She grabbed a pile of bread crumbs and sprinkled them into the water.
"We've grown up in a family where money and success has always seemed to be top priority. Mom and dad want nothing but the same for us. But, I'm tired of all that. I just want to live a life where I'm happy doing the things that I enjoy while loving a man for who he truly is, inside and out."
"So what are you saying," Gwen asked. "That Ben's not the one for you?"
"I don't know what I'm trying to say." Sarah paused for a brief moment. "I'm just not sure if Ben is the one I want to be with for the rest of my life. Things between us have just seemed different lately. I don't know why or what it really is. Just an instinct I guess."
Both sisters sat quietly in thought until the sound of a distant laughter interrupted them. Standing up, Gwen brushed off her capris and looked at Sarah.
"You know, you've always been the indecisive one. And I mean that in a nice way," Gwenyth said playfully. "My word of advice is that you better decide quickly on what it is you really want in life. Ben is a great guy and I'm sure everything will turn out just fine. But no matter which path you choose make sure it's from the heart and not some silly instinct or butterfly invasion."
Leaning in, Gwenyth kissed her sister on the cheek before making her way towards the porch and back into the house. A second sound of laughter redirected Sarah's attention towards the back of the house. Realizing her absence she stood up, straightened her dress and prepared to contend with more invasive guests. Although she was still unsure of her feelings, Sarah knew that her sister had to be right. Everything would turn out fine between her and Ben. It would just be a matter of time.
Chapter TwoThrowing her purse on a nearby chair, Roslyn turned on the lights to her office and began to take off her coat. Hanging it in the closet, she closed the door behind her and caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror just a few feet away. In her mid-thirties, Roslyn didn't look a day over twenty. She was a tall African American woman with silky black hair, large brown eyes and amazingly clear skin. Although everyone thought she looked fantastic she still managed to complain about her appearance.
"Why did I wear this outfit?" she asked herself in the mirror. She began to tug and pull on the corners of her shirt while giving herself a displeasing look. On the way to her desk, Roslyn stopped to make a pot of coffee, having to throw out the coffee grounds that had been left in the dispenser since Friday. She quickly washed everything out, placed a new filter inside and plugged in the machine. Sitting down, she turned on her computer and began going through envelopes addressed to Roslyn Jackson, editor of The Daily Grind.
"Knock, knock." Looking up, Roslyn noticed Sarah standing in the doorway. "Can I come in?"
"Hey girl. How was your weekend?"
"It was OK," Sarah said. She took a seat in front of Roslyn's desk. A long pause followed before either of them said anything. "I got engaged."
"Engaged?" Roslyn asked. She dropped her mail onto the desk as Sarah showed off her ring.
"He asked me during a family picnic over the weekend," Sarah paused. "In front of everyone."
"Well, don't sound so excited." Roslyn said.
"Is it that obvious?"
"Girl, if I can read anyone it's you." Standing up, Roslyn went to check on her coffee and grabbed two mugs from a small drawer. "Do you want some?"
"No thanks," Sarah said. "I stopped at the coffee shop on my way in."
"Why do you waste time going to that store when you know we have an unlimited source here?"
"Tastes better, I guess."
Roslyn looked down at the garbage can where she had just tossed away last week's coffee grounds and wondered if Sarah had a point. Ignoring her thoughts Roslyn grabbed the nearby cream and sugar, placed it near the coffee mug and returned back to her seat. "So, why aren't you more excited?"
"About the engagement? I don't know. I mean, I guess I'm not sure if I'm ready to settle down yet. Is that weird? I mean, most times it's the guy who feels that way. Not the woman."
"Yeah, but if you're not ready, you're not ready. Ya know? I mean, how long have the two of you been together? A year?"
"Damn," Roslyn shook her head. "I wish I could find a man willing to propose to me in nine months. Let alone a man who is willing to even date me."
Sarah let out a brief laugh before continuing with her argument.
"I don't know. I guess I've just been so busy with work and everything that I haven't had the time to think about the possibility of getting married. You know?"
"Speaking of work," Roslyn stood up and headed to her filing cabinet. "I have an assignment for you."
"Oh, do you?"
"Yes ma'am. I came up with what I feel is a fantastic idea while I was out running through Central Park last weekend. And, you know how I love to come up with fresh new ideas." Finding what she was looking for, Roslyn carried a tan folder to her desk and handed it to Sarah. "How would you feel if I asked you to interview homeless people living in New York?"
Sarah looked up with surprise before opening the file.
"Well, you sure know how to get to the point, don't you?" "What I gave you is a press release I received last Thursday. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is renewing grant funding needed to keep thousands of local homeless assistance programs operating. Nearly $1.4 billion will help to continue offering critically needed housing and services to homeless people."
Sarah scanned the email. "I'm confused. Do you want me to write a story on the funding?"
Roslyn quickly responded.
"I'd like you to write a story about homeless people."
"I was afraid of that." Sarah cringed, hoping it would have been the other way around.
"Girl, you don't think it would be exciting to find out who these people are and why they choose to live the lives they do? I go jogging in the park every Saturday morning and every day I see the same people sleeping on the same park bench. And all I want to know is why they are living on the streets when there are assistance programs, like these, available. I just don't get it."
"You don't think it's going to be rude to approach these people?"
"No," Roslyn responded without hesitation. "They're people just like you and me so why should they have a problem being interviewed?"
"Regular people have a problem being interviewed, Roslyn," Sarah laughed jokingly and began to read over the material. "So, how do you propose that I approach this? I mean, what all are you looking for."
"Give me one minute while I pull up an email that goes along with this," Roslyn said. Curious, Sarah waited for Roslyn to continue. "Ah. Here it is. I'm going to go ahead and print this so you have a copy." Standing up, Roslyn waited for the document to print before handing it to Sarah. The paper still felt warm.
"The art gallery down the street is looking for photos next month that portray 'emotions'. I know how much you enjoy photography and I figured what better way for you to get your work displayed than by taking photographs of people living on the streets. If you ask me, that's got emotion written all over it."
"But as far as the story goes what all are you looking for?"
"I want you to write a feature story on the homeless people living in New York. In doing so, I want you to find out who they are, where they come from and why they are living on the streets. In addition, I want photos of each person you profile. If they refuse, ask if you can photograph them from afar, so as not to reveal too much. Otherwise, move on." Roslyn continued. "The way you approach this story should be no different than anything else I would have you working on. As for the gallery, some of your photos, if not all, may work well for what's taking place there next month. But your primary focus, your primary assignment, will be the feature story."
Sarah had always had a passion for photography but she was unsure that she would be up for the task. It wasn't that she doubted her ability to write but that it would take a lot more effort to get the interviews and the information she needed to make it a solid article.
"You're always looking to over achieve, aren't you?" Sarah asked her editor.
Ignoring her response, Roslyn stood up and walked to a nearby window. Looking down, she gazed at the endless stream of yellow and orange taxicabs below.
"What I need for you to do is figure out how you'll approach these people. What will you ask them? There are things you are going to have to think about, such as someone becoming negative or offended. What if they began to ask you for food or money?" Roslyn paused, turning to Sarah before she continued. "This won't be a simple task, that's for sure. It could even be dangerous. But you're the only one I can think of who is bold enough to do this."
Sarah didn't know what to say. For a moment she wondered what would happen if she told Roslyn no. But at the same time, she felt honored that her editor had come to her first.
"You're right." She decided, joining Roslyn at the window. "You're absolutely right. No one out there has ever come up with an idea like this one until now. And, there are plenty of homeless people living on these streets. I'm sure I could find one or two that would be willing to talk to me. And you know me ... I can be one competitive son of a bitch. If any paper is going to feature something like this you know it's going to be The Grind and I'll be the one putting it out there."
Excerpted from A Home for Your Heart by Leah M. Kosin Copyright © 2012 by Leah M. Kosin. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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