Sample Synopsis for A Family for Tory

» Posted on Apr 12, 2011 in Articles | 1 comment

Slade Donaldson is guilt ridden over the death of his wife and the tragedy that has befallen his daughter. Tory Alexander is running away from her past and a secret that refuses to lay to rest. Both will do anything for a little girl who must relearn life’s skills.

Victoria (Tory) Alexander runs a therapeutic riding program at her Bright Star Stables. She is devoted to helping people with special, physical, mental and emotional needs, especially children. Through her program she offers an unique brand of therapy with her horses, coordinating with other health specialists to give the person what he needs. She is used to working long hours, determined to make her program a success. Money, however, is always an issue for her, one she tries to deal with one day at a time.

When Tory was twenty-three she was raped by a man who she had started dating and trusted. Her rapist was brought to justice, but she had to endure the publicity and his trial which scarred her as much as the crime itself.

After the trial, she moved to Cimarron City to begin her life anew. She has struggled to overcome her past and finally feels her life is back on track four years later. Control is very important to her because of what happened to her. She never wants to feel powerless again.

She has turned all her love to God, the animals she raises and now the children she works with. Tory is sure she will never have children of her own so these children become the family she never will have. She can’t see herself ever in an intimate relationship with a man because she can’t trust her own judgment when it comes to men. She is standoffish with men, her fear always in the background even though she has managed to push the memories away most of the time.

On the outside she presents a confident facade, and she is confident when dealing with her horses. But around a man she freezes, erecting a wall, until Slade enters her life with a little girl in need of lots of love and her special kind of therapy.

Slade Donaldson is a single father whose child underwent brain surgery eight months before because of the severe seizures that developed after a car wreck she was in. His wife was driving the car and died in the accident twenty-two months before. She had picked him up from work and was arguing with him about wanting to go back to work herself now that Mindy was in the first grade. His wife didn’t see the truck that ran the red light, and with her attention focused on Slade, she pulled out into the intersection into the path of the vehicle.

Feeling as though he should have been able to do something to prevent the wreck, Slade has never been able to forgive himself for what happened to both his wife and child (he only suffered minor injuries). Guilt weighs him down and drives him to work fourteen hour days in order to provide the best care for Mindy. But all his eight year old daughter wants is his love and time. It takes Tory to show him the forgiveness of the Lord and the importance of his presence in his daughter’s life.

Slade is dropping his daughter off for her riding lesson because his housekeeper who usually brings Mindy to her therapy sessions has been called away. Her niece went into labor early.

Slade meets Tory Alexander, the stable owner and instructor, for the first time even though his daughter has been involved with the Bright Star Therapeutic Riding Program for over three months. Usually Slade is so involved in his company, pushing to expand it, that he only sees Mindy in the evening. He has left his daughter in good hands with Mrs. Watson, but now that the woman is gone for at least the next week, he will be taking Mindy to her therapy sessions in between all the meetings he has scheduled.

Tory volunteers to help by watching Mindy for him while Mrs. Watson is gone. Mindy wants to be her assistant and this will be the perfect time for her to be at the stables. Slade hates to impose, but Tory convinces him she would love to have Mindy stay with her. Tory even tells him she will take Mindy to her speech therapy on Monday afternoon and he can pick his daughter up there instead of driving all the way out to the stables (a twenty minute drive from town).

On Monday Slade is late to the speech therapists office because there was a car wreck that held up traffic. He is telling Tory about it when Mindy comes back from the restroom. His tardiness agitates her and both Tory and Slade have to calm her down.

Slade announces they should go out for dinner and lets Mindy choose the place. He invites Tory and is thankful when she accepts. On the drive while listening to the radio, Mindy hears about the bad wreck and becomes upset. Slade immediately stops the car and comforts his daughter. Tory is reminded of the pain the child has experienced and wishes she could wipe it away.

After a fun evening eating hamburgers, Slade drives Tory back to her car in the office parking lot where she left it to go to dinner with him and Mindy. He walks her to her car, thanking her for coming with them. They talk for a few minutes about Mindy’s intense reaction to the mention of a car wreck. For the first six months after the accident she hated riding in a car and would get hysterical when she had to.

The next day Slade brings Mindy to the stables after her morning physical therapy session. Exhausted, the child doesn’t do much and instead takes a nap in the late afternoon. Tory spends that time doing some work around the house. When she hears a scream, she rushes into the living room where Mindy fell asleep. The little girl is bolt upright on the couch with her eyes wide as saucers. She is trembling. She had a nightmare about the car wreck she was in. Hugging her to her, Tory calms the child. Love swells in her heart for the little girl who has gone through so much.

When Slade arrives an hour later, Mindy and Tory are in the kitchen preparing dinner. Tory invites him and Mindy to stay and share the spaghetti with her. Slade mentions he’ll have to bring Mindy out again early the next morning because of another meeting at eight. Tory suggests that Mindy spend the night since it will be late by the time he gets home that evening.

When Slade leaves, Tory goes with him out onto the porch. For a short time she felt the sense of family while sharing her dinner with Mindy and Slade. Now alone with Slade on the steps to her house with the dark shadows of night blanketing the yard, she tenses, fear nibbling at the edges of her mind.

By the end of the week Slade discovers that Mrs. Watson has decided to stay with her niece who wants to return to work and needs someone to watch her baby. He shares the news with Tory when he and Mindy come to the ranch to have a picnic by the pond on Sunday afternoon. Tory tells him she can watch Mindy until he finds a replacement. Relieved, he thanks her while his daughter jumps up and down for joy.

He starts his search for another housekeeper and finds no one is as good as Tory is with Mindy. Reluctantly he hires a new housekeeper, Ms. Davies. She lasts one week. Slade fires her after Tory tells him how mean she is to Mindy. (The little girl refuses to stay with Ms. Davies overnight when Slade has to go on a business trip. Tory invites Mindy to stay at the ranch with her. That’s when Mindy confides in Tory and also tells her she loves her. Tory’s heart is filled with such joy when Mindy hugs her.)

As Tory and Slade talk about his dilemma of getting good care for his daughter, he jokingly ask her if she would like the job permanently. The idea grows and before the conversation ends Slade has asked Tory to marry him, to be Mindy’s mother. Tory is speechless. She knows it isn’t because Slade is madly in love with her, even though they have become friends. He has many of his own scars from the accident still not healed. Instead of telling him no, she says she will have to think about it.

That night she tosses and turns in bed, trying to find an answer to his question. She prays to God for help, and when she finally falls asleep, exhausted, she still doesn’t know what she should do. But when morning comes, she awakens, determined to be Mindy’s mother. She has always wanted a family and this is her one opportunity. It was time she moved on in her life and quit letting her past dominate what she does. She is tired of it controlling her life.

She tells Slade yes to his marriage proposal. Tory emphasizes that all they can have between them is friendship. Slade concurs, not intending ever to lose his heart to another. His daughter is the most important thing in his life, and Tory is important to Mindy’s happiness. Besides, in the back of his mind he doesn’t think he deserves ever to be happy again (he’s experiencing survivor’s guilt).

Mindy is ecstatic, especially since she gets to be the maid of honor. Slade agrees to have a small service at Tory’s church even though he hasn’t step foot into a church since the car wreck. He felt his prayers had gone unanswered in his time of need. He will continue to survive without the Lord’s help.

Tory’s family come up from Dallas to attend the wedding. Tory and her older sister discuss what happened to her in Dallas. Judy asks Tory if she has told Slade about the rape. When Tory tells her no, her sister encourages her to open up to the man she is going to spend the rest of her life with. Tory can’t quite share something so personal and painful with Slade even though she likes him and thinks of him as a good friend.

The day of the wedding is one of joy with everything being perfect until Mindy goes to bed, leaving Tory alone with Slade (her family is at a motel). All her old fears surface despite her resolve to put everything in the past. Trembling, she makes an excuse to escape to the barn to see about the horses. (Slade has agreed to live at the ranch for the time being because of the animals that need care and because Mindy loves it.)

In the dim confines of the barn, Tory brushes her favorite horse to keep herself busy while her mind is in a state of turmoil. Whatever had possessed her to agree to a marriage? Suddenly the implications weigh down on her, and she realizes that Slade is her partner for the rest of her life. One day he may want a normal marriage, and she doesn’t think she can give it to him. Hugging her arms to her, she sits down on a bale of hay and cries.

Slade finds her and tries to comfort her. She pulls away, wiping at the tears that course down her face. A wall is erected between them and over the next several weeks they become polite strangers when they are around each other. Mindy senses the distancing between Tory and her father. She is determined to do something about it.

Tory and Slade settle into a routine. With Gus’s assistance, (an older man who Slade hires to help around the stables), Tory finds herself enjoying more time with Mindy. When the little girl needs some summer clothes, Tory takes her shopping. Mindy persuades Tory to see where Slade works. They drop in and have lunch with him.

When Mindy and Tory start going to church, Mindy pleas with her father to go with them. Finally Slade does, much to Mindy’s joy, especially because Sunday becomes a day for family, her father not working at all.

When the anniversary of the accident occurs, Slade shuts down on Tory. She helps him through the ordeal, making him see that he wasn’t to blame for what happened. Her support draws them closer together.

When Judy, Tory’s sister, returns for a few days over the Fourth of July with her husband and two children, Tory plans a large party, inviting some people from church. The minister talks with Slade about volunteering at the church. At first Slade wants to refuse, still angry at the Lord for what happened to Mindy and his wife. It is Tory who makes him see how much his anger is controlling his life. She points out the things he should be thankful for–Mindy is alive and recovering, his daughter is happy, his business is doing well.

After talking with Tory, Slade wanders off by himself. He ends up praying for the first time in two years. He ask the Lord’s forgiveness. He also asks God to help him support Tory through whatever it is that is holding her back. Slade knows something painful happened to Tory in her past. He realizes until she completely faces it, their marriage will never be complete. And he realizes he wants more from his marriage than friendship.

Judy takes Mindy to the lake for a few days with her family and leaves Tory and Slade alone for the first time. The atmosphere is strained. Tory is attracted to Slade but is afraid. Feeling the chemistry between them developing, he comes up behind her to surprise her with a kiss and hug. She comes unglued. When she calms down, Tory finally tells Slade about her past.

Slade sets out to court Tory. He wants their marriage to be real in every sense. Tory’s defenses are breaking down and he thinks with time and patience they can have a full and loving marriage. Their sense of family and friendship is strengthened as they deal with Mindy starting school (middle of August in Oklahoma). Slade finds himself spending less time at work and more time with Tory and Mindy at the ranch. He has come to realize his love and presence is more important to Mindy and her recovery than anything his money can buy.

When Tory’s mother has surgery (forecast at the wedding), Tory finally visits Dallas with Mindy and Slade. Being back home brings to the foreground her past, something Tory has been running away from for years. When Slade tries to draw her into his embrace to comfort her over her mother, whose operation is a long one, Tory pulls away from him. He finally admits he doesn’t know what else to do. He tells her he isn’t the man who raped her and he doesn’t see how their marriage will really work until she accepts that, to trust him and herself again. All her old fears surface and she must face them in order to get on with her life. She wants a family. She’s falling in love with Slade and wants a real marriage, too. As in the past she turns to the Lord for guidance.

In the end it is Tory who approaches Slade and draws him into the bedroom. They exchange words of love. The scene fades with the implication they will make love.

One year later at Mindy’s birthday party at the ranch, the little girl has a yard full of friends from school. She is talking a lot better and hardly limps. Tory, who is six months pregnant, and Slade look on as Mindy opens all her presents with a huge grin.

1 Comment

  1. Thanks for posting this! I’m working on a pitch and this was beyond helpful.

Leave a Reply to Stephanie Thomas Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.