• Twist of Fate

    A novel by J. L Wallace

  • This is a sample chapter of my novel Twist of Fate.


    Chapter One

    Eugene, Oregon



       Darius Templar turned off the headlights to his Jeep Cherokee as he pulled in the circle driveway of their home, hoping they wouldn't notice he was there. As the principal of a Christian high school, he was the one who had to tell his employees about layoffs and cutbacks. He hated that part of the job, the men got mad and the women cried and he felt like the grim reaper,

    stealing their livelihood and hope, which was all some of his employees had left.

    But, his secretary, Kim, always had a smile on her face, seemed to be able to find something good in everything, even cutbacks and layoffs and encouraged him to listen to Christian radio.

    So on the way home tuned into K- love and listened. " Today’s scripture verse is from Romans 8:28 All things work together for good, for those called according to God's purposes.” The said DJ announced with enthusiasm.

    Darius turned off the radio and shook his head. He’d been raised in a Lutheran church all his life and taught, if he was a good, moral person and went to church regularly he’d go to heaven when he died. But now, he was told he needed a personal relationship with Christ in order to go to heaven and if he had a relationship with Christ, God would work everything out for good. Really? That might work for other people but it definitely didn’t work for him. Darius mumbled to himself as he turned off the engine and stared out the windshield at the kitchen window of their home. A Tudor style home, nestled among large oak and pine trees, on an acre lot at the end of the street. Over 2,500 square feet of gleaming mahogany wood floors, antique furniture, mauve flowered drapes, all kept clean by the weekly maid service. But in the midst of all that elegance, hidden away in the basement was his man cave. It had a big screen TV with surround sound, a couch, recliner, a built-in fridge, and a private entrance. What more could a man want?

    He thought he had wanted he wanted when he married Isabel, the woman of his dreams but now he wasn’t so sure. A soft light played hide and seek between the wooden blinds as his wife's shadow passed by. At forty-two she was just as beautiful as she’d been on their wedding day. But, careers, kids and broken promises had built an unyielding wall between them. . . and they called this the American dream! Darius thought with disgust wondering if it was worth all the stress. What they needed was a vacation and if his plan worked they’d have one they’d never forget. He grabbed his briefcase, keys, got out locked it and went inside.

    “I’m home,” Darius called out as he walked in, set this worn black leather briefcase by the foyer table and glanced at himself in the beveled gold framed mirror just above it and noticed there seem to be grayer around his hairline than it was last week. He was forty- four but he felt more like fifty-four. Growing old was the pits. 

    “I’m in the kitchen ” Isabel called out as she dipped a spoon in the fettuccine sauce, tasted it and sighed with pleasure.

    “It smells Italian” Darius wrapped his arms around her narrow waist.

    “It is, but I need to rescue the bread.” She wiggled out of his arms, opened the oven door and set the garlic bread on the counter as the phone rang.

    Darius picked up the phone. “Templar Residence, Darius speaking

    “Hi son, guess where I am? Nickolas Templar blurted out.

    “I have no idea.” He played along

    “I’m in Hawaii. Nickolas answered with enthusiasm.

    “What are you doing there?” Darius turned on the speakerphone.

    “Well, it’s a long story …”

    “I hear giggling in the background, what’s going on?”

    “I’m with a woman”. Nickolas let out an exasperated sigh

    “You’re with a woman! Darius and Isabel said at the same time.

    “Where did you meet her?” Isabel took over the questioning

    “A dating sites for seniors,” Nickolas replied

    “Oh, brother!” Darius rolled his eyes.

    “I heard that.” Nickolas shot back

    “Dad, you need to come home,” Darius interjected.

    “ I have a right to do what I want.”

    “We’re concerned because we love you,” Isabel said softly.

    “ You want me, come and get me.” He snapped back and hung up.

    “I think my father has gone off the deep end. Darius shook his head as he settled into a cushioned mahogany chair at the head of the table.

    “Who went off the deep end?” Jessup strolled into the kitchen and grabbed a piece of hot of garlic bread off the counter.

    “Your grandfather, he ran off to Hawaii, with a woman he met on a dating site.” Isabel giggled

    “It’s not funny,” Darius grumbled.

    “I think it’s kind of cute.” Isabel filled the plates with a generous portion of chicken fettuccine and put them on the table.

    “What’s wrong with online dating sites? Jessup shrugged.

    “ I think the old fashioned way is better,” Darius mumbled

    "The world is changing and online dating is the way to go,” Jessup exclaimed as he slipped a small piece of garlic bread under the table to their Australian Shepard Juniper

    “Your grandfather could be taken advantage of, robbed or even killed. Darius declared.

    “ That could happen anyone and it does. Jessup threw up his hands.

    “That’s my point,” Darius stated gruffly

    “Your grandfather is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and your father is all freaked out about it,” Isabel interjected

    “I’m not freaked out,” Darius shouted. It took my father a lifetime to obtain the wealth he has and I don’t want some gold digging woman taking it away from him.” “

    “Grandpa Nick is an adult. He should be able to do what he wants.” Jessup said.

    "Spoken like a true teenager." Darius laid his napkin in his lap.

    “The problem with adults is, you get stuck in your ways. For example, we’ve been going to the same Lutheran church since I was born, saying the same prayer over meals, our internet speed is slower than snails, and every time you two leave town you make me stay with Sadie as if still a child. I’m sixteen and in some cultures, that’s a man.”

    “Jessup, say the blessing, the food is getting cold.” Darius glared at him.

    Jessup folded his hands and bowed his head. “Thank you, Lord, for the food we’re about to partake and bless it to our bodies. Amen! He rolled his dark gray-blue eyes

    “So how did the school board meeting go?” Isabel asked changing the subject

    “ Three more people were laid off and my job might be next! Darius took a bite of garlic bread chewed and swallow. And they cut some more programs.”

    “ Which ones? Jessup frowned

    “Art, music and chess club,” Darius answered.

    “That’s not fair, the chess championship is only a month away. I‘ve been practicing all year. Jessup mumbled through a mouth of fettuccine.

    “I know son, but there’s nothing I can do about it.” Darius attacked a piece of chicken with a steak knife as if it were to blame for the anguish he felt in his soul.

    “Sadie would say think positive.” Isabel tried to lighten the mood.

    “And so is my secretary June.”

    “Yes, but it’s more than that ." Isabel injected.

    “I know where this conversation is going. Darius interrupted and I’ve heard enough optimism for one day.”

    “When did you become such a pessimist?” Isabel shot him an annoying look

    “I’m not a pessimist. I’m realistic.” Darius grumbled

    " Neither one is helpful right now. She picked up her knife and cut a piece of chicken.

    “I’m not the enemy!' He yelled

    “Then stop acting like one!” She threw her fork down on the table, it bounced and dropped to the floor.

    ‘Can I be excused? “ Jessup asked, wanting to escape, the arguing was stressing him big time.

    “Yes, Darius snapped and take your dinner with you.”

    ‘” Come on Juniper.” Jessup slapped the side of his jeans and they disappeared up the backstairs without his dinner and slammed his bedroom door shut.

    "What do you want from me?” Darius yelled after he heard the Jessup’s bedroom slam closed.

    " Stop acting like a victim and man up!

    “ I’ll take your advice under consideration counselor. " Darius rubbed his temples trying to relieve the headache that had been plaguing him for days.

    "You’re impossible “ Isabel snapped back then turned and dumped their dinner down the garbage disposal.

    “So are you! Darius sucked in a deep breath trying to control the anger and frustration that raged with him. He wanted to punch his fist through a wall, He never imagined that marriage could be so rough. But the day he got married, he made a promise, to love honor and cherish her till death do they part. Who in the world came up with that line and how do they expect you to keep a promise like that? But maybe his plan would change things and things could be like they used to be. I’m going to Hawaii and bring my dad back home.” He announced.

    “By yourself?” She raised her brows

    " Time apart might do us both some good.” He said and glanced at his watch, it was 8:30 pm, he was tired and didn’t want to spend the next two hours stuck in a verbal hamster wheel with her. He’d made his decision.

    “You’re going to take our hard earned money and go to Hawaii alone? She put her slender hands on her hips, tapping her long peach-colored nails against her Calvin Klein jeans and glared at him with fury in her eyes.

    He knew she’d be mad and the fury in those squinted, periwinkle eyes glaring at him, made part of him want to toss her over his shoulder and carry her off to bed, but it also made him feel like a failure knowing he’d disappointed her so many times.

    “ So what!” He finally said and looked away.

    “You promised me two years ago, that we would go to Hawaii on our next anniversary, which is only a few days away, and now you have the nerve to tell me you’re going alone. Like hell you are.” Isabel slammed the palm of her hand against the table, making the dishes rattle in the aftershock.

    Darius put his elbows on the table, his head in his hand and closed his deep blue-gray eyes. Silence crept between them like a wall of fog while he thought about what to say next. It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. He wanted to come, home show her the tickets to Hawaii, see the delight in her face and feel it later in the bedroom. But she started another argument and ruin everything.

    “Alright, he finally said with a heavy sigh. We can all go. I’ll work out the details, you and Jessup can start packing.” He pushed his chair away from the table and walked away with an impish smile on his face.




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    All rights reserved copyright 2019 / J.L Wallace




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