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Coming Soon on All Or Nothing
  •        Pamela's life flashes before her very eyes.
  •        A random act of heroism occurs.
  •        Natasha returned from an eight month absence.

  •        After catching her husband with another woman, Pamela left River's Edge.

    Thanksgiving Evening, November 22, 2012 - Two Hours Later
    “I’ll say. You need to take a breath and calm down. You’re acting like a borderline crazy person.”

    “It’s this house. It’s this place. It’s that woman…” Brandi replied. “I cannot believe I caved and said we would come here
    for dinner. Why did I do that?”

    “Because Justin is Audrey’s son and your son loves her,” Brittany reminded her. “Besides is it really that bad?”

    “It’s not that it’s bad per se…” Brandi sighed. “It’s just uncomfortable when Audrey and I are around one another.”

    “Well honey you did sleep with her husband and both of her sons…”

    Brandi shot Brittany a snarky look from the kitchen sink, “And in return for doing so I gave her my son to help raise for
    eight years. I would have thought that should have reduced the amount of disdain the woman had for me.”

    “You want my advice?”

    “Of course I do.”

    “Get over it,” Brittany handed her a corningware dish filled with mashed potatoes. “Put these on the table, make small talk
    with the girls and thank Audrey for having you in her home for Thanksgiving. If you intend to stay married to Justin…”

    “And I do.”

    “Then you need to get comfortable around all of us and in Audrey’s home. She’s your mother-in-law now and if all of us
    picked our husbands based on their mothers then none of us would ever get married.” Brittany smiled and handed her
    spoon to accompany the mashed potatoes. “Now get going…”
    “Good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome aboard American Airlines flight 2770 with
    service from Dallas-Fort Worth to Washington D.C.’s Reagan National Airport,” a flight
    attendant announced over the intercom system.

    As passengers continued to file into the cabin one-by-one, Pamela Bradshaw McCarty
    reached into her purse and pulled out her cell phone. As a second attendant past through the
    aisle she questioned, “Excuse me ma’am do I still have time for a phone call?”

    “If you promise to make it a brief one,” the attendant smiled. “We’re almost ready to close the
    cabin door and push back from the gate.”
    Megan Shirley Holloway stood in the kitchen with her hands in the dishwasher. Her mind was
    filled with thoughts of her first Thanksgiving with Ryan in Watersdale, her first Thanksgiving in
    River’s Edge and most recently her first Thanksgiving with her wonderful husband.

    “Are you thinking about Natasha and Sabrina’s job offer?” her husband Gregory asked as he
    entered the kitchen and not so secretively picked a marshmallow from atop the sweet potatoes.

    She smiled at him, reached for the dishtowel and told him that she was thinking about all of
    her first Thanksgiving meals. “And this one is going to be a first as well,” she wrapped her
    arms around his neck.
    Pamela quickly searched through her address book and found the entry marked as Claire Monroe. “I promise it will take
    me less than thirty seconds,” she told the attendant as Claire’s voicemail began to play.

    Claire it’s your sister. I’m on the plane in Dallas and we’re just about to push back,” she explained. “Once I land in
    Washington I’ll call you to let you know I’m on my way over. I’ll see you real soon. Bye.”

    She ended the call, placed her phone back in her purse and bent down to place her bag underneath the seat in front of
    her. Just as the flight attendant had informed her, the cabin doors soon closed and the plane pushed back from the gate.
    It was fifteen minutes past five on Thanksgiving Day and the only thing Pamela could think of were her children and how
    this was the first time in her entire life, since they had been born she wasn’t with at least one of them.
    “Okay good…I was worried there for a bit,” Carol told her as she took an empty pot from her daughter and began to
    transfer the sweet potatoes into it. “Do you mind telling me how all of that exactly works?”

    “The sweet potatoes?” Megan questioned with a laugh.

    “No. Your friendship with Monica Holloway…your husband’s ex-wife. I can understand being friendly for the sake of his
    children, but are you really telling me the two of you are like girlfriends?”

    Megan shook her head, “Yes. Monica and I are very good friends.”

    “I suppose…I just can’t fathom to think that I would ever be friends with Nelson’s ex-wife, let alone invite her over to my
    house for dinner on Thanksgiving.”

    Megan walked across the kitchen, wrapped her arms around her mother and told her, “I don’t expect you to understand. I
    just expect you to approve of it. But whether or not I have your approval doesn’t matter Mom because this is my family.”

    They pulled away from their hug, but held one another’s attention. “It’s not the family I imagined that I would have growing
    up. It’s not traditional and that’s fine. Because I wouldn’t change who those people are in there for anything in the world.”

    Carol ran her hand down Megan’s cheek and kissed her. “My God…whoever raised you done an amazing, amazing,” she
    repeated with a smile, “job.”
    Brandi Brashears Pierce snuck into the kitchen and searched for the one person beside her
    husband and son that actually liked her in the entire house…her sister-in-law Brittany.

    “There you are!” Brandi sighed as she leaned against the counter. “I was looking for you.”

    Brittany looked over at her and smiled, “It’s Thanksgiving where exactly did you think I would be
    besides the kitchen?”

    Brandi shook her head, “I don’t know. In case you’ve forgotten I was in prison for seven
    years…I don’t know what the King-Pierce family traditions are exactly. Is there any wine? I
    seriously need a drink.”
    Andrew Bradshaw emerged from his office and into the dining room where he found his family gathered around the
    dining room table. A large turkey sat on the edge of the table with knives on either side waiting for him to make the
    inaugural cut.  

    Around the table was his wife Sabrina, his ex-wife Natasha, his sister Angela, his daughters April and Jodi, his
    granddaughter Emily and the newest addition to his seemingly growing family his step-son Brayden. He couldn’t help but
    smile at his good fortune in life.

    “I just got off the phone with Aunt Claire,” he announced. “She’s expecting Mother’s plane to arrive at any moment and
    then they’re off to some fancy Washington D.C. restaurant for dinner.”

    Angela smiled at him, “I still wish she was here.”

    “I do too,” he replied. “Do you remember when we were growing up Angela I think the only meal we ever prayed over was
    Thanksgiving dinner,” Andrew recalled.

    “Yeah…Daddy would always say the blessing before we ate…” Angela sighed at the thought of her beloved father. “And
    we always held hands…the five of us…”

    “We sure did and I think in honor of the holiday that we should do that again,” he smiled across the table. “And if no one
    has any objections I’ll lead the blessing.”

    Each member of the family reached out their hands to the person next to them…Andrew to Sabrina and April…April to
    Angela…Angela to Emily…Emily to Natasha…Sabrina to Brayden…Brayden to Jodi and finally as if fate were intervening
    on their behalf…Jodi to Natasha.

    “Gracious Heavenly Father,” Andrew began the prayer, “we thank you for this day together. We give thanks for the
    blessings that you have bestowed upon this year. We thank you for your guidance through the trials and the tribulations
    that we have suffered throughout the year. Father we thank you for bringing us all together here and prayer for our loved
    ones that could not be here today. We ask that you keep them forever in your hands, always close to your heart and that
    you keep them safe until the time we can be together once again. We thank you for this wonderful food, the company that
    we share and the many blessings that you bestowed upon us. Amen.”
November 23, 2012
Written By: Josh Hawkins
    Pamela rubbed her face with one of the warm damp wash clothes that the flight attendant had provided the first class
    passengers and tried to wake up a little. The pilot had announced that their flight was being diverted to Philadelphia for
    an emergency landing only minutes earlier.

    “Excuse me,” she stopped the flight attendant. “Could you tell me what’s going on? All I heard was that we were being
    diverted for an emergency landing.”

    “Yes ma’am. There is heavy rainfall in Washington D.C. this evening and a majority of the runways are beginning to
    accumulate water,” she explained.

    “How long of a delay are they anticipating?”

    “I really can’t say for certain, however I wouldn’t think longer that four or five hours.”

    Pamela smiled at the attendant and then leaned back in her seat. As the plane began the descendent into Philadelphia
    her mind raced with what she should do and by the time they had touched down at Philadelphia International she was
    well on her way to the rental car desk.
    Megan softly whimpered, “You have once or twice…but I don’t mind hearing it again.”

    “Well you are,” Gregory assured her. “I would have never imagined that you and Monica would have become such good
    friends and I’m thankful that you’ve welcomed Courtney back into our lives the way you have,” he smiled at her. “And I’m
    also grateful that it’s you here and not Sharon. I know we haven’t talked about it, but I hope you know that no matter who
    tries to come between us Megan I’m always going to pick you.”

    She pulled him close to her and laid her head against his chest. “You don’t know how happy that makes me to hear you
    say that Gregory. Thank you…”

    “You’re welcome,” he kissed the top of her head. “You know I think this year we’ve grown even closer and stronger as a
    couple. It makes me excited to finally meet your mom.”

    Megan pulled away from him and questioned, “What did you just say?”

    “Oh…damn it…” he sighed. “That was supposed to have been a surprise. Monica and Courtney wanted to do something
    special for you and I suggested they fly your mother out of dinner,” Gregory explained and then paused as he looked at
    her with a look of confusion and fear. “Is that a problem?”

    Megan slowly began to pace the kitchen floor and she answered, “You haven’t ever met my mother and when you factor
    in that I’ve not met your mother…then yes that becomes a problem.” She stopped pacing and smiled across at her
    husband, “Because I arranged for your mother to join us for dinner tonight as well.”

    “I’m sorry what?” he questioned. “I thought we agreed my mother would come at Christmas when Mason could be here.”

    “We did,” Megan confessed. “I just overheard Courtney talking to her last week and she sounded upset that she wouldn’t
    be here for dinner so…”

    “You arranged for my mother…Betty Rae Holloway to come to our house for dinner?” Gregory attempted to clarify as the
    doorbell rang throughout the house.

    “I did,” she answered with a reassuring smile. “And that…” Megan pointed in the direction of the front door, “that is either
    my mother, your mother or God help us…”

    “Both of our mothers,” Gregory finished for her with a look of trepidation.
    Carol Shirley was younger than she appeared to be. She always considered it a gift from her
    own mother and Megan had always prayed she would be so lucky when she was Carol’s age.

    “Megan I think you need to check on this pecan pie,” Carol poked her head into the living room
    from the Holloway’s kitchen. “It’s starting to look a little burnt on the top.”

    Carol waited patiently in the kitchen for her daughter to arrive. As Megan checked on the pie
    she rejoiced in the few moments that she would get to spend alone with Carol and tried to
    remind herself that her being there was done as a surprise…an act of good will from Courtney
    and Monica to her on Thanksgiving.

    “The pie is fine,” Carol finally admitted. “I just wanted to steal you a way for a few
    minutes…have some alone time with my girl,” she brought her daughter in for a hug. Far too
    much time had passed since they last saw one another and Carol just wanted to hold her.

    “You’re not upset because Gregory’s mother is here to are your?” Megan quested as she
    adjusted the temperature on the oven.

    “No of course not,” Carol answered. “You’re not mad that I’m here are you?”

    The question caught Megan off guard. “You think I’m mad? I’m not mad…oh my God no Mom,”
    she assured her. “I’m thrilled that Monica and Courtney thought enough to want to have you
    here. I’m just a little overwhelmed is all.”
    I hope you know Gregory Holloway that I am quite upset with you,” Betty Rae Holloway wagged
    her finger at her son from across the room with one hand and a martini in the other. “In fact if I
    could, I would take you over my knee the same way I did when you were a little boy.”

    “What?!” he questioned. “What is that you think I’ve done old woman?”

    It was only the two of them in the living room and Betty was working on her second drink of the
    night. Carol was still in the kitchen with Megan, while Courtney and her mother had gone to
    Facetime with Mason who had decided to stay in Seattle with his new girlfriend for the holiday.

    “Don’t you call me an old woman…” she warned him. “I’m not the one who’s married to
    someone twenty plus years my junior.”

    Gregory shook his head, “So is that why you’re upset with me Mother? Because Megan is
    younger than you had imagined. Is that you’re way of telling me you don’t approve of her?”

    Betty continued to nurse her martini and before her son could ask yet another question she
    burst into a haunting laughter that filled the echoed throughout the entire house. “Oh it’s good
    to see that you’ve not changed one bit,” she smiled. “Around me you are still as gullible as you
    always were. But I still do have half a mind to take you over my knee…you’ve been married to
    that girl for damn near three years and not once, have you brought her to Chicago to meet her

    “Well for that I apologize. If it makes you feel any better I hadn’t met Carol until tonight either."
    Jodi took a seat next to her sister on the sofa in the living room of Andrew and Sabrina’s home.
    The two of them sat alone and watched something mindless on the television. Andrew was in
    his office trying to call Pamela, while Angela, Sabrina and Natasha were in the kitchen finishing
    the final preparation for dinner. Emily and Lewis had scurried upstairs hours earlier to play.

    “Have you had a chance to talk to Mom tonight at all?” April asked as she flicked the television

    “No I haven’t,” Jodi answered her. “And before you even ask if I’ve tried to speak to her in the
    last few weeks the answer is no. I’m busy April…running a division at BC, planning a book tour
    and now thanks to Sabrina helping plan this damn launch party with Cricket Carter-Hawkins.

    April sighed heavily, “Oh you poor, poor girl,” she said, her tongue heavy with sarcasm. “It must
    be so difficult being you.”

    “What’s that supposed to me?” Jodi questioned.

    “It means that everything you just said was an excuse to not talk to Mom. I too run a division at
    BC, I’m also helping my best friend fight cancer, volunteer at Daddy’s campaign offices and I’m
    raising a pre-teenage daughter…” April fired back at her sister. “Yet I have found time to have
    lunch with our mother at least once a week since she’s been home Jodi. So why don’t you do
    me a favor…”

    “And what would that be April?” Jodi questioned with an equal amount of sarcasm in her voice.
    “Could you either talk to our mother or at least provide us all with a timetable for how long it is that you intend to punish
    her for Christ sake. Because this holier than though attitude you have is getting quite old.”

    Jodi turned away from her sister and shook her head. “I cannot believe how easily you’ve forgiven her and taken her side
    against mine. She was gone for nearly eight months April. She vanished into the night without so much as a post-it note,”
    she reminded her. “But since you’re clearly on Team Natasha and want a timetable how about we start with eight months
    and see where that gets us,” she stood up and started to leave the living room.

    “Don’t you just walk away from me,” April bolted from the sofa. “Mom may have been gone for eight months, but you when
    you equate that to the number of weeks you’ve been acting like a bitch then I think you’ve met and exceeded your own
    quota Jodi!”

    “Excuse me? What did you just say to me?”

    “I said stop acting like a spoiled little girl who didn’t get her way. And if that’s not clear enough for you sister dear, then
    perhaps this will be…stop acting like a bitch! You’ve been moping and skulking around here since Mom came home.
    You’re still mad at her and we all get that, but it’s time you started to act like a grown woman and move on from this.”

    Jodi cut her eyes at April, “I am not going to stand here and have my baby sister talk to me like this,” she told her as a
    sudden anger lit in her eyes.

    “Oh yes you are,” April assured her. “You’re going to listen to every word I have to say and then when I’m done you are
    going to go sit down at that table and have dinner with your family whether you like it or not.

    “I tried to give you the benefit of the doubt when Mom came home,” April continued. “I told her to take her time, to be
    patient with you because you wouldn’t understand why she did what she did. I said those things because I thought you
    would eventually come around. Clearly that’s not happened and my patience are running far too thin with you right now.”

    “Let me ask you something April?” Jodi countered. “Why were you so quick to forgive and forget? Our mother literally
    abandoned us for eight months?”

    “Jodi we’re not little girls anymore,” she answered. “We are grown women. You have a career, you’ve been married and
    divorced…I have a career and I child...” she reasoned with her older sister. “Our mother didn’t abandon us, we maybe her
    children but we’re grown adults. Did she go about leaving the wrong way? Yes,” April told her. “But you don’t even know
    why it was that she felt the need to do what she did in the first place. I was quick to forgive her because I know what it
    feels like to hit rock bottom and think that you have nowhere else to go.”

    April turned from her sister and walked across the room towards the kitchen. Before she left, she spun back around and
    faced Jodi once more. “Until you know what that feeling is like Jodi…until you get to a point in your life when you think
    nothing else matters…until you come to the realization that the only option that remains is running…then you don’t
    judge…” she assured her. “You don’t judge.”
    “That doesn’t make me feel any better Gregory,” Betty told him. “I think you were afraid of how I would receive her and
    that's why you didn’t bring her to Chicago.”

    Gregory shook his head and conceded, “Yes that probably did factor into my decision.”

    “And why would you think I wouldn’t receive her well Gregory, because she’s seven shades of being far too young for
    you? Just because your wife was probably learning the alphabet when Mason was still wearing diapers is no reason for
    me to not like her and it’s no excuse for you to have kept her from meeting me.” Betty Rae smiled, “You are my only son
    and your happiness comes first. It always has and you know that. If Megan makes you happy then she makes me happy
    too. Plus the fact that she worked so diligently to get me here today to spend this time with you and my granddaughter,
    well that speaks volumes about her character and her devotion to you.”
    Gregory leaned over and kissed Betty on the cheek. “Have I told you lately that you’re nothing short of amazing?”

    “Gregory…Mrs. Holloway,” Megan came into the living room. “The table is all set and we’re ready to eat,” she smiled as
    Gregory stood, walked across the room and took her hand in his.
    Audrey King Pierce sat down at the head of her table and looked across at the bountifulness of food laid out before all of
    them – Ethan, Brittany, Miranda, Ryan, Justin, Brandi, Savannah and Lewis. She couldn’t help but feel a little
    overwhelmed with emotion at the sight of all of her children together under one roof, at one table and know that it was all
    for her.

    “Every year before my father died, when we would sit down for Thanksgiving dinner he would recite a passage that
    Charles Dickens once said,” she recalled. “And if you all don’t mind before we eat I would like us to do the same thing,
    because looking around this table…knowing the year that we’ve all had…I couldn’t be happier than I am right now in this

    With all of their glasses raised she began, “Reflect on your present blessings, of which every man has many, not on your
    past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” Audrey smiled at them. “Thank you all for being here tonight…Happy
    Havre De Grace, Maryland - 11:23PM
    Pamela was settled comfortably into her rental car as a loud clap of thunder suddenly roared all around her and in the
    distance ahead a bolt of lightning shot straight through the sky over Havre De Grace, Maryland. She had been driving for
    nearly two hours and encountered only a mild thunderstorm and light rain.

    As a second bolt of lightning filled the dark night sky, she continued onward and cruised down Interstate 95 at seventy
    miles an hour.

    The radio was barely audible, but seconds before she turned it off there had been a warning of potentially torrential
    downpour and that there should be no one driving on the roads leading in or out of the city. Had Pamela continued to
    listen to the warning she would have known that cars still on the road were being advised to pull over on the side of the
    road to wait on the storm.

    A third…a fourth…a fifth bolt of lightning danced across the sky and the wind grew…the rain began to pepper down on
    Pamela’s car, yet she continued down the interstate. She passed a car on the side of the road…she ignored his flashing
    hazardous lights and as she continued onward the realization that something was wrong suddenly began to set
    in…Pamela’s instincts suddenly took over and as she crossed over the bridge of the Susquahanna River she knew that
    she needed to pull over…

    Pamela flicked the cruise control of the Jetta off and the speed of the car slowly, but not quickly enough began to drop.
    The rain continued to fall from the sky…faster and more frequent than before and Pamela felt the sudden need to stop.
    Without thinking she slammed on the brakes as the car sailed through a massive amount of water…and in the blink of
    an eye…in a split second Pamela lost control of the rental car…she was spinning out of control…terrified…and when
    she finally was able to get her bearings and was able to focus for only a split second…the only thing she saw in front of
    her was an embankment and trees…in that moment…she called out for God…