JENNA JACKSON is a sultry mystery, but it wasn’t always that way. Her addicted mother, HELEN, doesn’t want her, and DICK, her alcoholic father, is abusing her by the age of seven, ultimately destroying her ability to conceive. But then she meets RANDY WADE, and slowly her life begins to change. He teaches her the wonders of life, - and love. As they grow and learn, she transforms from a tragic child into a stunning beauty, and fights to find the courage and strength to persevere.
Dream Scape Publishing, LLC
Jenna’s Dream is a completed, young adult romance novel, 137,000 words. The story, set in rural New England in the 1950’s, chronicles the early childhood, and teenage years of Jenna Jackson.
Life is a struggle for Jenna from the day she’s born. Her father, Dick Jackson, is the son of an alcoholic farmer and as so often happens, he follows in his father’s footsteps. Jenna’s mother, Helen, has two claims to fame; the title of ex-homecoming queen, with a high school diploma. Twin boys complicate an already humble existence so the birth of Jenna, two years later, is not welcome. But the pain killers seem to help, and by the time Jenna is five, her mother is a full-fledged addict. By the time she is seven, Helen no longer caters to Dick’s needs, and Jenna’s abuse begins. It doesn’t seem like there is a whole lot of hope for this little girl.
Randy Wade is the one bright spot in Jenna’s life. They meet on the first day of school in 1955, and though the words aren’t spoken, their love is born on that very day. And almost from the very first day, schoolmate Martin Sweet is jealous. When Martin’s ill-fated plan to win her heart goes awry and nearly kills Jenna, Randy is implicated, and it looks like she will lose her one true reason for being. She should think about ending it all. Wouldn’t you?
Sandy and Donny made their way around the bleachers and saw the flickering of candlelight as their eyes adjusted. When they got close enough to see Jenna, Sandy’s breath caught in her throat. Donny whispered, “Holy cow!”
He had never experienced feminine beauty like the vision lying before him, and he was trying to memorize it, because he was sure he would never see it again. She’s the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen! I wonder why I never noticed her before?
The combination of candlelight and moonlight cast an almost enchanting glow over Jenna, illuminating her soft, perfect features, and reflecting shimmering light from her hair.
Sandy regained her composure and squeezed Donny’s hand as they stepped onto the blanket. “Jenna?” she whispered.
Jenna opened her eyes and sat up. “Huh? Oh…sorry, I musta fell asleep.” She stretched her arms way out behind her in a deep yawn, and then rubbed her eyes with the backs of her hands. “Hey! Hi, Sandy! I thought you mighta changed your mind.”
“Oh, no. We just got here. You know Donny, don’t ya?”
“Oh, yeah. Hi.” She smiled at him, and his legs practically gave out.
Sandy crossed her legs and folded her hands in the lap of her new, shorter skirt. Donny sat on her right.
“So,” Jenna said, “how was the hayride?”
“Oh, it was fun! Most of the class was there. So, what did ya bring?” she asked anxiously.
Donny was content just to look at Jenna.
“Oh, hold on!” Jenna stood up and slipped into the darkness. She returned in a minute with three paper cups. “I thought ya might like this.”
“What is it?” Sandy sniffed.
Donny knew as soon as he saw it.
“It’s called a Screwdriver, but it tastes like orange juice.”
Sandy sniffed again, then took a sip.
Donny didn’t need to sniff. He downed the drink in about ten seconds, and his brain nearly exploded. It wasn’t like he remembered. “Wow! That’s really good! Got any more?”
“Oh, yeah, but you really gotta take it easy with this, ya know?”
Jenna didn’t know how right she was. The bottle she had snatched over a year ago from her father’s stash did, in fact, have a vodka label on it. What Jenna didn’t know was that it was just a cover for the pure, homemade “white lightning” that Dick had gotten from Lonny Timmerman.
“I’ve had them plenty of times,” Donny said. “You’ve had these before, ain’t ya?” he asked Sandy.
Sandy was struggling with the new taste. “Oh, yeah. Several times.” Then, as if to prove the point, she took a huge gulp. She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand as her eyes began to water and her heart began to race.
“Hmm, that’s pretty good!” she said, fighting off the impulse to gag.
The refrains of Ricky Nelson singing “Hello, Mary Lou,” drifted up from the school.
“Well, I just wanted to have a little fun before we went to the dance.” Jenna stood up.
“Yeah, but didn’t ya say you had some more? One more won’t hurt nothin’.” Donny said.
“Umm…yeah, I got more, but you gotta be careful,” she cautioned.
“Aw, c’mon.” He looked at Sandy. “We can handle one more, right?”
“Oh, uh…sure. But I haven’t finished this one yet.” Her eyes were glazing.
Jenna seemed reluctant. “Well, okay.” She took his cup and ducked back into the darkness.
She returned and handed him the refill. “Jus’ sip it, though, okay?”
But Donny immediately drained half of it.
“Where did ya go?” Jenna asked, sipping hers.
“Oh, we went down Fentress to Willoughby, and then went around the back way to the school.” Sandy’s voice already had a mellow quality. “Ya know? We went by your road an’ Randy’s house, come ta think of it.”
Jenna’s wasn’t prepared for the pain that shot through her heart. She had done everything she could to put him out of her mind—with little success. “Yeah?” was all she said.
“Yep.” Sandy took another sip, and Donny was making no qualms about admiring Jenna’s cleavage.
“Ya know,” Sandy added, with some conviction, “I think you were right, Jenna.”
“Yeah? Right about what?”
“I think…” She finished her drink. “I think I always been jealous of you an’ Randy.”
This was wrong—not what Jenna wanted to hear. For sure Sandy was supposed to get drunk. Meddling, insensitive bitch! I’ll fix her ass. We’ll see who’s pregnant by the time she’s fourteen!
“But I was wrong, ya know? I mean, God, we’ve known each other since the firs’ grade!”
“It’s okay. I knew ya didn’t mean it.”
“Can I have a’ nother drink?”
“Umm…I don’t think you wanna. I mean, this is pretty powerful,” she said, never realizing the understatement, but wondering how one drink could be having such an effect on Sandy.
Donny spoke up. “Aw, c’mon, Jenna, don’t be mean. She can handle it. Let’s have one more.”
This was the kind of response she had hoped for from Donny.
“Okay.” Jenna got up and fixed the last of the “Screwdrivers.” So far, her plan had worked perfectly. But somewhere in her heart she was beginning to have second thoughts. Still, she wasn’t ready to admit she might have been wrong. She returned with the drinks.
“Thanks.” Sandy took it with unsteady hands. “Oops!” A little spilled on her dress.
“Alcohol abuse!” Donny laughed. “So, go ahead, Sandy. Down it!”
“Well, okay…here goes!” Sandy guzzled it, laughing and nearly puking as she tried to swallow.
“Awright, Sandy!” Donny yelled.
“SHHHH!” Jenna shot a nervous glance in the direction of the school. “Somebody might hear us!”
Sandy put her finger up to her mouth unsteadily, and repeated, “Shhhh,” then giggled.
Part one complete. She’s blitzed.
“Jenna?” Sandy asked, “Would ya believe me if I tole ya I thought you was the most beauful girl I eva seen?”
“I think maybe I gave ya too much Screwdriver.”
“Naw, she’s right,” Donny said, with the type of honest sincerity that can only be expressed with alcohol, and slid over next to Jenna. He still had half of his third drink left. He had decided he might have a chance with Jenna, and was trying hard to maintain, so he nursed it. If I could git some of that, MAN! I’d be the mos’ popla guy in school!
“An’, Jenna,” Sandy added, very incoherently, “Ine sorry for sayin’ what I said. I would really like to bein’ yer frien’. Jou be my frien’, Jenna? I really like dat,” were the last words Sandy tried to say before she tipped over. When she did, her new, shorter skirt rose almost to her waist, revealing the hem of pink panties, trimmed with white lace.
Part two done.
Donny started laughing and couldn’t stop. When he finally got back to just giggling, he said, “Well, Jenna, looks like that leaves jus’ you n’ me, don’cha know?” He tried to slide his free hand inside Jenna’s blouse, but she grabbed it.
“Donny,” she said in her sweetest voice, “I think you better take care of Sandy.”
“Aw, she’s no fun. But you, Jenna, you’re more beautiful than I can find words to say,” he slurred, aiming an unsteady hand once more toward her top.
Again she cut him off at the pass. “I ’preciate that, Donny. I really do, but you really gotta take care of Sandy. She needs ya. ’Sides, I gotta go.”
“Go?” he frowned, weaving. “Where ya goin’?”
“I’m spose to meet my brothers. I need to go before they come lookin’ for me,” she lied, and stood up. “It was fun, Donny. Tell Sandy I’ll see her in school,” and walked into the darkness.
Part three of her plan was simple. Jus’ let what’s gonna happen, happen. And that was her intention. She stood at the end of the bleachers, drank the rest of her orange juice and threw the empty bottles as far as she could into the woods. She’d come back for the blanket later. She watched to see what Donny would do.
He sat there befuddled for a minute, looked over at Sandy, then mumbled, “Aw, what the hell.” He gulped the rest of his drink, wiped his mouth with the back of his forearm and slid over next to her.
Jenna didn’t know exactly when it happened. Maybe it was the way Donny clumsily groped at Sandy’s clothes. Maybe it was when she looked at them, and instead of seeing Donny and Sandy, she saw her own father standing over her. Or maybe it was when she envisioned Sandy struggling with a huge child-filled belly. Any of these things could have caused the demise of her perfect plan. She didn’t know. She just knew she had to fix it—and she knew how.
“It doesn’t matter,” she said softly, unbuttoning her blouse. Somehow there was something else she already knew. “I can never have babies anyways.” And from that intuitive knowledge her deepest sadness was born. She slipped her skirt to the ground, and as she slid her bra straps down her shoulders his words came back to her…
“You won’t be afraid anymore, because now, nobody can ever hurt you again. But you can hurt them, and if you don’t use your gift wisely, it can hurt you. You’ll understand.”
Donny was struggling most unsuccessfully with the buttons on Sandy’s blouse when somebody whispered his name.
He turned his head with drunken surprise, and said, “Wha—” His eyes grew to the size of half dollars taking in the beauty before him.
She smiled. Even in his stupor it seemed to him like a very sad smile. Jenna bowed her head, as if to submit herself to his will with grace, closed her eyes and turned her face away.
He thought he heard her whisper something. What did she say?
Then, slowly, she raised her hands, parting the veil of honey hair with her fingertips and gently pushing it back over her shoulders.
Now Donny Cole was at last going to be the most popular boy in the whole school! At least he would have been—if he hadn’t passed out.