Carol was originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Sophia’s father, Etienne Peletier had been her high school sweetheart. Etienne, or “Ed” as he was more casually known, came from an old, French Creole family that had initially been wealthy sugarcane plantation owners on the island of St. Domingue which was later renamed Haiti. During the Haitian revolution when the formerly enslaved Africans fought for their freedom and defeated Napoleon’s army to win it, Ed’s family and many others fled to Louisiana. Once in America, the Peletier family rebuilt their fortune by growing rice, and their industry flourished well into the 19th century, and the modern branch of the clan was still wealthy from money that had been passed down since the antebellum/Civil War period.
By the 1980’s, Ed’s family still had money and clout in Baton Rouge, and were the proud owners of Peletier’s, a multimillion dollar chain of French fine dining restaurants and Ed’s mother Loren was a top society ‘grande dame.’ Ed’s father, Antoine, was nothing more than a functioning alcoholic, degenerate gambler and womanizer who often blew half his share of the family restaurant profits at the local riverboat casino on crap games and on high priced call girls but his affluent wife hid it well.
Carol came from more humble beginnings; her mother was a beautician by trade and her father was a laborer at a factory. Carol was the middle daughter in their large family of 7 children and her good grades earned her a scholarship at Valley Prep, the private, college preparatory high school in downtown Baton Rouge. Carol was very pretty with long, reddish brown hair and bright blue eyes and she had a gorgeous shape, sculpted from years of cheerleading and gymnastics. Several boys at her new school liked her and she dated a couple of them, but she was especially flattered when Ed Peltier, the wealthy and then strikingly handsome star of the football team took an interest in her in the 12th grade. After they went out a few times, they got serious pretty quickly. They dated all through senior year and won the highly coveted King and Queen of the prom title. The summer after graduation they were inseparable and a year or so after they started college, (Ed at an expensive ivy-league type, private university in New Orleans, and she on full scholarship at a small teacher’s college there in Baton Rouge, Carol discovered that she was pregnant. She wasn’t too surprised about the pregnancy; although she preferred that they used condoms whenever they screwed around (which was quite often because when Ed came home on the weekends from school he had a seemingly insatiable appetite for hot sex--even though he was only mediocre at it at best,) and it was sometimes hard getting him to use them once he was all riled up.
Once over the initial shock, she had a long, tear-filled heart to heart talk with her parents, who as expected were upset but told her they’d support her no matter what she decided to do. Carol had always known that she would keep her baby; she just hoped that the pregnancy wouldn’t completely thwart her plans of becoming a teacher. She then had the unnerving task of telling Ed about the pregnancy. She was just beginning to learn about his temper and mood swings and as such she thought he’d be pissed off about it but to her utter shock, he seemed totally unfazed about ‘knocking her up,’ as he put it.
Although he was far from being ready to be a husband, let alone a father, Ed did ‘the right thing’ and proposed and Carol reluctantly accepted because it was expected. Deep down however her heart wasn’t in it because she’d begun seeing a change in him. He’d always been a bit of an asshole but she liked him because he made her laugh, but by that time he’d started drinking heavily and using drugs and it was severely altering his attitude and behavior. Ed was a popular member of the Beta Gamma fraternity at his school, which included many of the other well to do trust fund playboys on campus well known for their pretty boy looks and nice cars and wardrobes, and especially for their heavy drinking, experimental drug use, and excessive promiscuity at their wild, private parties and it was at those parties that Ed developed a very nasty cocaine habit as well as an addiction to alcohol.
Ed’s mother, haughty and snobbish former model Loren Peletier, had never liked Carol; she thought that she was pretty enough but since the Greene’s weren’t in her social circle she felt that Carol was beneath her precious baby boy. She didn’t complain about the relationship too much in the beginning however; she knew that if she protested Ed dating her, he would only pursue her further like any rebellious teenager. Loren didn’t care that Carol was an intelligent and talented young woman, nor that she genuinely loved her son. She was annoyed that Ed was totally smitten with a poor, ‘nobody’ like her while their rich friends’ had several eligible daughters for him to choose from to date who were much better suited for him socially.
When Loren found out that Carol was pregnant and planned to keep the baby she was LIVID and Carol was officially on her ‘shit list.’ She ranted and raved to anyone who’d listen that Carol Greene was nothing more than a ‘back o’ town’ tramp who’d used her body like a common whore to trap her impressionable, vulnerable son with a baby, all to get her hands on his multi-million dollar trust fund.” Ed wasn’t exactly thrilled about the pregnancy news either, it meant he’d have to move back home, transfer to a local college and take a job with the family business in addition to taking on the responsibility of being a father; and the stress involved drove him to drink even more than he already did as an escape.
Ed was easily manipulated by his mother however and she told him that he could remain at his school, and to just leave Carol to her. “Everyone makes mistakes, ma petite,” she consoled him in their household’s second language, French, and stressed to him that Carol was the real problem in the equation, not the child itself. She filled his head with all manner of negative ideas about her; mainly that the baby she was carrying probably wasn’t even his, and he didn’t have to marry such ‘trash.’ Due to Loren poisoning him against Carol, (as well as poisoning himself with alcohol and higher and higher quantities of illicit drugs,) his treatment of her changed drastically over the following months. He’d always been a bit of a jerk and a possessive and somewhat controlling boyfriend but he’d never shouted or cursed at her before; but by that time it had become his regular thing. His behavior slowly went from bad to worse and he became even more controlling and as it got closer to her delivery date he was regularly verbally abusing her. It started gradually with him telling her to ‘shut up’, calling her stupid, making little insults about her changing figure and calling her a ‘bitch.’ The physical abuse started gradually too… from smacking her hand when he didn’t want her to change the radio station in his car, snatching food from her when he didn’t want her to eat something that he deemed ‘too fattening,” roughly shoving her, pulling her hair when the mood struck, and even getting a little rough during sex, then apologizing profusely and trying to butter her up with expensive gifts, promising each time that it would never happen again; only it did, and it just kept getting worse.
Once they were engaged, Ed demanded that she spend every free moment she had with him, and insisted that she move to his parent’s estate so that they could keep an eye on her while he was at school during the week but Carol rightly felt like he was trying to isolate her from all of her friends and family and refused to live there or move in with him until after the wedding. She’d withdrawn from school for the semester but kept her part time job at a local clothing boutique and suggested that he start working too so that they could get their own place. Ed blatantly refused, stating that he didn’t want to start working yet; he was remaining in college full time despite having a baby on the way. He told her that no wife of his was going to school or work with a baby at home; mothering was a full time job in his opinion so she needed to quit working at the boutique as soon as the kid dropped and forget about returning to school until the brat was in high school. Besides, his folks had plenty of money to cover their expenses while they were starting out. He said that his parents’ estate was his home and would be her and their child’s home for as long as he wanted them to stay there because it would be downright stupid to rent an apartment somewhere if they could stay there for free for as long as he wanted. He continued pressuring her, insisting that she frequently visit him at his parent’s home on his weekend’s home from school and whenever she went there she felt more and more depressed; she knew that his family despised her. His mother’s word was LAW at the estate, and she soon learned that although she’d spoiled all of her children terribly, Ed was her precious baby boy and she’d indulged him worst of all. Ed’s father gave her lewd stares and his older siblings, Antoinette and Julian were beyond rude. His younger sister Marie was the only one who treated her with respect when she visited and Carol never forgot her for it.
One day after Ed insisted that she visit the estate for dinner they got into a wicked argument after his mother insulted her, yet again by demanding that she submit to a paternity test. Carol refused and stated that it was an insult to ask such a thing after she’d already told them that Ed was the only man she’d ever been with. The argument ended when Ed slapped her across her face for raising her voice in his parent’s house and for ‘talking back’ to his mother. Although they didn’t normally condone abusive behavior, neither of Ed’s parents reprimanded him whatsoever. Carol was trouble in their book and as a poor girl from the wrong side of the tracks who’d trapped their son with a baby he didn’t want or need to ruin his future, she “got what she deserved,” according to Loren Peletier. Carol walked out and as she drove herself home in tears she swore she’d never step foot inside that house again. As usual Ed tried to apologize and later went out and bought her a new car of all things (his most expensive gift yet,) but that was the final straw. Carol had decided that she couldn’t possibly raise her child with a man who could strike her in anger.
When Ed drove the new car to her house that next day, she refused to accept it and gave him back his diamond ring as well, thus breaking off their engagement. Ed became angry and called her “an ungrateful bitch,” and insisted that she couldn’t keep his baby away from him. Carol told him that he could be a part of their child’s life if he really wanted to but that she couldn’t be with him in a relationship anymore due to his violent temper and he grew more irrational every time he called her to argue the topic. Carol knew that he was drinking a lot but it was around that time that it became painfully evident that he was also using drugs and had been for a while.
Carol was glad she ended things when she did; Ed was a different person because of the drinking and drugs and he scared her. She’d not only called off the engagement, she’d dumped him altogether and it was messing with his ego; how could a poor nobody like her, dump a rich guy like him? He was used to getting his way, and was beyond angry that she’d ended the relationship first. He didn’t even love her anymore; he’d simply wanted to possess her and at that point he only wanted her back so that he could then dump her on his own terms. He repeatedly popped up at her job to ‘talk,’ and one night when she refused to get ‘re-engaged’ to him, he began cursing, slapping and shaking her violently, shouting that nobody else would ever want a “used up, knocked up tramp,“ like her. Her supervisor called the cops on him and he ran out, but not before letting everyone inside the boutique know that Carol’s refusing to marry him as well as refusing to get the paternity test only proved that his mother had been right all along about her being a “slut” and that the baby wasn’t his.
Carol had bruises on her face and arms and was obviously showing by then and felt deeply embarrassed and hurt; she couldn’t believe that he’d said such horrible things and hurt her again and took that as a sign that she’d definitely made the right decision by ending the relationship. She’d already stopped accepting his calls and when he continued stalking her at her job she got a restraining order against him.
Ed claimed to the police that he wanted nothing to do with Carol but would then call her and scream that she’d never get a penny of his money for a brat that wasn’t his. He continued to harass her endlessly and eventually her father, Harlan Greene, finally put the fear of death in him by threatening to kill him; the only reason he hadn’t killed Ed before that point was because Carol had been so good at hiding the abuse; but once it was all out in the open, her father wasn’t having it.
Ed finally got the hint after that; he was nothing more than a bully, an addict and a coward; who could easily threaten and abuse his vulnerable, pregnant girlfriend but wouldn’t dare go up against a real man with a loaded shotgun who loved his daughter and unborn grandchild and would risk going to jail for protecting them.
Ed didn’t pursue her anymore thankfully but Carol decided to leave town anyway, opting to move to Georgia to stay with her dad’s brother’s family for a few months, at least until she had the baby and got on her feet. Not surprisingly not long after she left town she was contacted by Ed’s sister Marie (the only member of the Peletier family who’d ever been cordial to her,) who informed her that Ed had been killed during a drug deal gone bad at a frat party on his college campus. She apologized to Carol for her family’s ill treatment of her, and promised to help out monetarily with the baby from her share of the insurance policy money her parent’s had on Ed and had distributed among his siblings. When Carol sent the first batch of pictures of the baby home to her parents and other relatives, she also sent one to Marie Peletier. Marie cried as she showed her mother and the rest of the family the picture; Sophia was a strikingly beautiful baby who strongly favored Ed, and as to be expected Ed’s mother immediately had a change of heart and desperately wanted to be a part of her grandchild’s life. She insisted that Marie call Carol and tell her that she planned to set up a trust fund for the baby; Sophia was all that she had left of her beloved dead son.
Carol told Marie to tell her mother that she’d accept the trust fund for Sophia’s college education only and that Sophia would have to make the decision to meet her once she was older and visit on her own if she wanted to because Carol wasn’t EVER taking her there. She’d never been so insulted as she had been by Mrs. Peletier when she’d insinuated that Sophia wasn’t Ed’s, and had turned a blind eye to his striking her while she was pregnant and she’d sworn to never set foot in her house ever again and she’d meant it. Carol remained in contact with Marie however and once Sophia heard the story when she was in her teens, her Aunt Marie was the only member of Ed’s family that she cared to see whenever she and her mother went to Louisiana to visit relatives.
Carol’s father’s brother, Hershel Greene, a horse breeder and farm veterinarian in King County, Georgia (about half an hour outside Atlanta,) had welcomed Carol and her then unborn baby to stay at his home with his family for as long as she liked. While there Carol gave birth to Sophia then returned to college that following year. She went to school part time and worked part time as a teacher’s aide then got her bachelor’s degree, majoring in French Literature, and later got her teaching license. Since she spoke French fluently due to growing up in a mostly French Creole neighborhood in Baton Rouge she ended up teaching her beloved second language at a few different middle and high schools in the area and before she knew it Sophia was in high school.
Carol hadn’t dated much over the years; it took her awhile to get over the Ed fiasco but of course she’d had a few boyfriends here and there and even a fling or two just to ‘scratch the itch.’ Like everyone else, she had needs, but she’d focused on building her career, buying a home and making a good life for her daughter, but after a while she wanted someone to love and to love her and dreamt night after night of a building a romantic, passion filled and loving relationship with a good man. Her dream almost came true in the form of Tobin James, an Art History professor at the college where she’d gone back to school to pursue her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership.
Tobin was a big and tall man; he stood a bit over 6’3 and was a gentle giant when compared to Carol’s comparably petite 5’6 frame. He was quiet, a bit shy, and had a warm, sincere smile, though his eyes held a hint of sadness due to losing his first wife years prior to a terminal illness. She later found that he was mild mannered, soft spoken, witty and had a kind, generous heart. He was also very sweet and Carol fell in love with him before she knew it after only a few dates. It wasn’t the hot, burning out of control, passionate love that she truly desired however, but a calm, comfortable kind of love. Although she could take care of herself, Tobin was exactly what she needed. He was a provider and decidedly settled; an anchor of sorts… the kind of man who’d hold her at night and take care of her for a change.
Carol rarely took any of the few men she’d dated over the years around Sophia but when she did finally introduce her to Tobin she adored him immediately and Carol took that as an excellent sign. He became very fond of her right away as well. They dated a little longer before they got married and lived happily for the next couple of years, but after a while Carol realized that although Tobin seemed totally satisfied with their marriage, she wasn’t. He worked a lot; teaching both day and some night classes during the semesters, then when he was promoted to chair the History department, he had to work during the summers and over the course of the winter sessions as well, so he was often very tired. He was decent in bed at best in the beginning… but over time his meager sex drive gradually decreased due to his high stress levels from his consuming work load. He and Carol were both in their late thirties at that time and as such her sex drive was at an all-time high, but his was pretty leveled out. She wanted it hot and heavy, EVERY night… but Tobin worked so much that he was usually just too stressed or too tired to even try to keep up with her. He tried to please her in other ways; regularly indulging her with oral sex to make up for his often lackluster performance during intercourse, but that only made her want more and once she was ready for a real round in the sack, he’d already be snoring. Their lovemaking had become overwhelmingly routine and severely lacked even the hint of fire it once had. Carol wanted a lot more passion in her life that Tobin just wasn’t giving her and it was making her very unhappy.
Carol knew that marriage wasn’t just about sex but it was a big part of it and without it she sometimes felt like she might as well be by herself. She tried to wait it out to see if things would improve, and when they didn’t she finally told him that she felt unsatisfied and unfulfilled in their marriage. He suggested that she get a hobby for herself. She looked at him like he was crazy; he’d totally missed her entire point. She wasn’t bored with herself, she was bored of being with him! She didn’t want to hurt his feelings however because he was such a nice man, so she didn’t press the issue. She did decide to take his advice however, and started writing as a hobby; penning short, passion filled, sexually charged stories as a diversion and an outlet for her feelings (as well as joining a wine club and investing in a few high powered vibrators.)
Carol let her friend and neighbor Jacqui and a few other close friends read her racy stories, and they were all impressed to the point that they began insisting that she write more. In her free time, Carol poured herself into the stories and made certain that her characters got everything that she was missing in her marriage (and more specifically, in her bedroom…) and then some. Before long however, she felt even worse about the passionless state of her marriage than before and lived vicariously through her characters erotic escapades.
Sophia got an opportunity to study abroad as an exchange student in Paris for two months during her senior year in high school and Carol had a lot of free time on her hands and all she wanted to do was write since nothing had changed with Tobin. She felt torn and finally told him that she wanted to separate. She told him that she just wasn’t in love with him anymore and didn’t want to hold him back from getting the love he deserved. He was a wonderful man but she was unhappy and he just wasn’t fulfilling her needs, emotionally or sexually. He was deeply saddened by the news but told her he’d offer no contest, revealing that he loved her too much to see her unhappy.
Carol and her co-worker and friend, Theodore Douglass, (aka T-Dog, football coach at Woodbury,) often had lunch together, and when he found her crying in her office one day she confided in him that she was planning to separate from her husband. T-Dog was concerned for her safety but Carol assured him that Tobin hadn't abused her in any way, but she wanted to leave him for other reasons and needed a ‘quickie’ divorce to get it over with. T-Dog told her that his sister Michonne was an awesome lawyer who may be able to help and that was the beginning of Carol and Michonne’s working relationship that later turned into a friendship.
Tobin surprisingly remained amicable toward Carol during the divorce proceedings, and shocked her when he insisted on awarding her with a sizable financial settlement as well as the house they'd bought together, even after she insisted that she didn’t want anything from him. He only requested to remain in Sophia’s life if she still wanted to spend time with him (which she most certainly did) and Carol was forever grateful to him for that. Tobin didn't have any children of his own and he cherished Sophia like she was his own daughter. Even though he hadn’t formally adopted her, he was a great step-father and the only dad she knew. Carol sincerely hoped that he’d find someone new to love and it wasn’t too long before he did, and surprisingly he and Carol remained friends after his remarriage to a woman named Jessie (who just so happened to be the mother of Sophia’s best friend Enid’s boyfriend Ron.)
Once single again, and with Sophia away at college by that time, Carol took a few months to get over her divorce before she started dating again, but still had yet to find that special someone to give her the passion she was looking for. She had a lot of free time on her hands with no child or husband at home to care for anymore, so she poured herself into her new found love of writing, eventually starting a blog on her story characters’ universe at Sophia’s urging, and before long she had quite the following, including her divorce lawyer turned close friend, Michonne Douglass. She’d recently gone through a break up herself with her ex-boyfriend Mike, and loved the hot, sexy stories. In fact, Michonne was the one who encouraged Carol to try to get published. She called her good friend from law school, Andrea Harrison, an attorney for a major publishing house down in Savannah, and asked her if she had any leads on any of the smaller publishing companies in the Atlanta area who worked with brand new writers. Andrea gave her the names of a few firms worth contacting and Michonne passed the info on to Carol. She then promised to go over her contract paperwork with her at no charge if she got any publishing offers, and would serve as her professional counsel. Carol agreed but didn’t think her stories were THAT good, but she submitted a few samples to a few local publishing houses on a whim just to get some feedback and got the shock of her life when she got an acceptance letter offering her a deal for a small, $15,000 trial advance check as well as a percentage of all sales of a mini compilation of a couple of her short stories to be distributed in paperback form and as an e-book. It wasn’t much but Carol pounced on the offer since no one else was biting and it was a good thing she did because the books ended up selling like hotcakes and had to be reprinted and distributed four times due to high demand that previous summer, earning her a pretty penny for her trouble, a little over $85,000 extra and counting, and that past Christmas season she got offered a highly lucrative 3 book deal with an advance of $100,000 and more to come totaling close to a half a million dollars in advances for the next two books with an option for a mini web series if the new book series sales surpassed the multi-million dollar mark. Carol made over $90K a year as an assistant principal, but Tobin’s divorce settlement and the book sales windfall had enabled her to consider an early retirement. She paid the house off and most of her other debt and had a lot left over to play with. The good thing was that she was still young and could always go back to teaching or school administration if things didn’t work out in the long run but she had to give it a shot, especially if any of her book ideas got made into a web series which could earn her hundreds of thousands of dollars in the future with commercials, DVD sales and syndication rights, and into the millions if a feature film became of it.