shaunaleeHere is my interview with the beautiful and mysterious Shauna Lee Holt, From “Full Circle” Book II of the Belanger Creek Ranch Series

Gloria: What do you think is your most significant achievement in life?

Shauna Lee: (her astonishing beautiful blue eyes gaze at me while she considers her answer.) Some people would think it is the fact that I became a Chartered Accountant and own Swift Current Accounting and Bookkeeping Services.  I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished in my business life—but becoming successful in business has been the easiest part of my life.

Gloria: (I wait for her to continue, but I begin to realize that this beautiful woman is not going to reveal details until I ask a specific question.) If being successful in your career has been the easiest part of your life, what was the most difficult?”

Shauna Lee: (she looks down and studies her brightly colored nails)  I really don’t talk about that very much.  Some things are better left unsaid.

Gloria: You are making this hard for me Shauna Lee.  Let me ask you something else.  What is your family like? Do you have any brothers or sisters?

Shauna Lee: I have no family.

Gloria: No family?

Shauna Lee:
  No…I had a brother, but he died… it was tragic and… it destroyed my parents. My Dad lost himself in the bottle… and he finally left us.  Mom sank into a dark world. She died a while after dad left.”

Gloria: I so sorry Shauna Lee.  What did you do then?

Shauna Lee: (sighs) I was only 15 years old.  I was afraid social services would step-in if they knew I was alone, so I…I moved in with a young farmer in the neighborhood. (Her face is filled with sadness and determination as she looks me in the eye.) That is all I have to say about that time in my life.

Gloria: I understand, and I don’t want to make you uncomfortable. You are a chartered accountant, so eventually you must have finished high school and went to university. Can you tell me about that?

Shauna Lee: After…when I was eighteen, I went to Saskatoon and completed my schooling. When I got my CA, I came to Swift Current to work for the previous owner of my business. I worked for him for three years. He had a good clientele, and I worked with him long enough, to have earned their confidence. He wanted to retire so I bought the business from him.

Gloria: That was a bold move.  Did you have any financial help?

Shauna Lee: (She catches her bottom lip in her teeth, and then sighs as she releases it.) “I’d worked hard through the years; in fact, I did little else but work and study. I’d saved enough to buy the business. He did give me a break though; he was happy to have me take it over. It’s done well over the past ten years.”

Gloria: I’m happy to hear that. I sense that you are reluctant to talk about yourself.  But I do have some questions I’d like to have answers to, so I can get a better understanding of who you are. Do you have many friends?  You are a beautiful woman…have you ever been married?

Shauna Lee: (shaking her head) I don’t have any close friends, just my professional associates and clients on a business level. And no, I’ve never been married.

Gloria: (I reach out to her to touch her hand gently) I did hear that you had a relationship with Colt Thompson for a few years before he married Frank.

Shauna Lee: (Looks away) We did see each other for four years. We were…(she flushes)…we were two people who were good together as good friends and we met each others physical needs, but we were never In love.  He actually proposed to me and I was stunned because neither one of us talked about marriage, in fact, we both said we would never fall into that trap. When he finally came clean and told me why he had proposed, it made sense. Even though I had already started planning the wedding—it was less than six weeks away—I never considered holding him to it.  I told him to find Frank and be happy.

Gloria: That was generous of you Shauna Lee.

Shauna Lee: Not really. We’d have been miserable if we’d gone through with it. I gave my staff and clients the grandest New Year Eve’s party they’d ever been to.  (She smiles softly.) I even wore the dress I had chosen for the wedding.

Gloria: Really?

Shauna Lee: Shauna Lee chuckles. “I’m certain that you know my reputation. I could hardly have worn white.  The color blue suits me; It matches my eyes. (She sobers and becomes thoughtful.) There are times when I have regretted that I let Colt go so easily, when I see what love has done for him. Brad Johnson says Colt and I weren’t meant to be together, but I feel a little envious when I see him with his family.  They are so happy and so in love…sometimes I have to wonder, could we have been like that?

Gloria: Speaking of Brad Johnson, I hear he’s pretty smitten with you.

Shauna Lee: Shauna Lee looks away before she speaks: Brad is so different from any of the guys I’ve known. He should have run as fast as he could…in the other direction. The first time he met me, he couldn’t have seen me in a worst possible light.  (she looks at me as if she wants me to understand how she feels.) I can’t let myself get involved with anyone on a permanent basis, but I do have needs—not just sex, but I need to feel someone touch me. I need to feel the warmth of a body next to mine. I need someone to share a meal with, to spend the weekends with. I begin to feel so alone. If I go to a bar and pick someone up for the weekend, they expect to have sex with me, and we do…but I get to feel the other things that I need for a night, or a couple of days.  Can you understand that?

Gloria: Why do you say you can’t get involved on a permanent basis?  It’s the natural thing to do.

Shauna Lee: It is for most people, but not someone with my past. I just can’t be hurt again. (tears well in her eyes.) Everyone I love dies or they end up leaving…hurting me.  I just can’t do that anymore. (she is very close crying)

Gloria: Would you rather we end this interview?  I don’t want to cause you pain.

Shauna Lee: (sniffles and wipes her eyes.) No. I need to do this, so people will understand me when they read Full Circle. All those guys I slept with; they used me, but I used them too.  Then Brad came along, and he refused to sleep with me.  He sat on the chair in my kitchen and looked me in the eye and told me that he was a hunter, and he’d hunted cougar before. He preferred to keep them in the wild, with him doing the stalking, and he didn’t hunt where everyone else was checking out the territory.
I was stunned.  He had basically called me a cougar.

Then he got up and walked to the door. Before he left, hw told me that he would be interested in getting to know me, but if we decided to see if we could have a relationship, he had to be the only one I saw: and I knew within myself, that even if I agreed to his conditions, we wouldn’t be having sex for a while. I was so furious that I threw the cup at the door when he closed it behind him. He had shattered all my hopes for that evening. The worst part was, I had a real attraction to him, and it was a different feeling, than I’d had with all the other guys I’d been with.

Gloria: Aren’t you seeing him now?

Shauna Lee: (she shakes her head, but she’s smiling and I see a faint light of happiness in her eyes.) He’s been unbelievably persistent, and so caring and so loving.  I’ve never felt this way about anyone, except possibly my grandmother.  He loves me—no matter what comes up.  I’ve started having memories of my past and some of them are really devastating to me. But he is patient and he gets me to tell him things that I can’t imagine sharing with anyone.  I know he loves me, but I just can’t tell him that I love him. I’m too afraid. (She blushes a bright pink) But that impossible man sleeps with me and we cuddle and we talk, and we share his house…we act like a couple,  but we haven’t had sex yet, because he’s waiting to hear those magic words.  It’s killing me, because I feel as though he still doesn’t think I’m good enough., and he’s not willing to accept me for who I am. He swears that isn’t true, but I don’t know how to act with him.  Having sex is the only way I know how to be close to a man, how I show him how I feel.

(She looks sad) He is determined that I will come to the place where I realize that I love him and that I will want to tell him so.  He just doesn’t understand how frightened…how damaged I am. I would die if something happened to him…if I hurt him…or if someone hurt him, because of me.

Gloria: Shauna Lee, I think you already love him, you just haven’t accepted it.

Shauna Lee: (her eyes fill with tears and she whispers) I can’t. He deserves someone far better than me.

Gloria: You know sweetie, you obviously don’t see yourself the way the rest of the world sees you.  You have a very successful career and business.  Your clients respect you. The business community sees you as being confident and professional. That is a huge part of who you are. I believe Brad is seeing what I see…a wonderful woman who has been hurt.

Shauna Lee: Pfft…that’s all surface stuff, but deep down I know I am damaged, and so unworthy.

Gloria: I believe in Brad’s unconditional love.  I can hardly wait see the woman you become by the conclusion of Full Circle. I believe you truly are the woman he thinks you are.  

Shauna Lee looks at me, her eyes wide and startled.  Beneath the surface, I get a glimpse of the eighteen-year old girl, that she has tried to protect since her life fell apart when she was a teenager.  We shake hands and say goodbye, and she immediately slips into her confident, professional, business person mode. No one would possibly know that she feels the way she does, in the depths of her mind.