Character Crush: Jimmy Costigan of Sin of Omission

Character Crush
Because Authors Have Crushes Too!

Jimmy Costigan first appears in Reconstructing Charlie.
He’s  the second child of four and four
years younger than big sister Charlie. Unknown to his sister and mother, he
witnesses from outside the window when Charlie defends their mother from their
abusive alcoholic father one night. Dear old Dad lies dead on the kitchen floor
and by morning, his beloved Charlie has disappeared from Jimmy’s life.
Mom remarries taking Jimmy and his twin sisters to Utah
where the stepfather has a spread of land. 
Now Jimmy is used as a cowhand and learns carpentry and a love for
building. Used is the key word for Jimmy’s background. When he’s had enough, as
a rough cowboy, he reaches out to Charlie to begin a new life with an aunt and
uncle who welcome him the same way they did for his sister.
Deprived of parental love, Jimmy is ripe and when he sees
Shelley Jackson the first time, his sister’s best friend and a basketball star
at Northwestern U in Evanston, Illinois, his heart is lost forever. Shelley is
four years older, six foot one, almost as tall as Jimmy, and the color of dark
chocolate. He yearns for her. She thinks of him as a nice kid, a cute cowboy,
never dreaming they’re on a collision course.
Longing for stability, a degree in architecture, and above all
love and honesty, he goes after his needs. Working in sister Charlie’s
construction business, getting his degree with honors, he comes so close to
realizing his dream.
With a high level of energy and unaware of his sexual
appeal, he connects with Shelley only to find she’s committed what she calls a
sin of omission. He believes a lie by any other name is still a lie.
They must work out a difficult situation before a resolution
can be accomplished.
Excerpt from my favorite scene:
(Ella is Charlie’s baby- Kirk Richards is a Jesuit priest
who counseled Shelley-Pat Donnelly is an old boyfriend of Shelley’s whose
parents rejected her)
entered the nursery where hungry twins were up and ready for action. Ella
bounced up and down in Shelley’s arms trying to get to the babies.
stopped in the doorway. Shelley could see her reaction to the permanent setting
of a nursery. She  moved toward one crib
and the other, touched the dark red hair so like hers. “They’re Jimmy’s.”
is the urgent reason you called.” She picked up one nephew and cuddled him. His
hazel green eyes so familiar. Shelley nodded.
Charlie’s clever mind put the pieces together, Shelley wondered if she would
ever forgive her.
a minute, wait a minute. Did you keep this from Jimmy, too?”
fell freely as the enormous burden of secrets crumbled. “Yes, until a few days
ago.” Shelley spread a clean blanket on the floor in a safe place and set a
squirming Ella down with a few toys. She handed the twins to Charlie. “This one
is Jake. He has brown eyes as you can see. Fraternal twins. I’ll get the
bottles and all I ask is for you to listen. Please.”
in a comfortable chair with her nephews, an impatient Charlie waited.
returned with bottles, a drinking cup and teething biscuit for Ella. She
dragged in a bouncy table for Ella to sit in, scooped her up and padded the
space around her little plump body.
Jackson is the only one who knew and of course, came to the rescue. Right?”
also told Kirk Richards but it’s my responsibility. Every dumb decision. Jimmy
hates me for closing him out. He says he loves the boys.”
slumped, Jimmy entered the room. Charlie rose to her feet and handed him his
children. “Et tu, Brute?”
betrayed my trust, too. I’m bitterly disappointed in you, brother.” Charlie
stood, back against the wall and tapped her foot. “You wanted to speak,” she
nodded toward Shelley, “now’s your chance.”
made bad choices in the past but nothing to equal this. Keeping the pregnancy
from you and Jimmy was completely stupid. I look back on it now and shake my
head in disbelief. Since I have background in psychiatric social work, I’ve
tried to analyze myself and here’s what I’ve come up with. The race card. Pat
Donnelly’s family rejected me because I’m black. Dark black. In the future,
these fair skinned twins could father black children. It’s a tough road.”
Breathe in and out, in and out. This may be your only time.
on Jimmy she poured out what long lay bottled up. “I had no idea what you
thought about racially mixed babies. Maybe the sex was fun and you’d forget
about me in school so I broke it off first, tired of rejection.” Hmm. He didn’t
meet her eyes. Shelley shifted her feet trying to stand still.
you accepted me as a friend and roommate but how would you feel if I were to
marry your brother and bring color into the lily white home of your Aunt and
Uncle. I’ve been there. So pristine and perfect. I envied your life and all the
love they have for you.” She took another deep breath and reached for the twins
in Jimmy’s arms. He relinquished them so readily it made her pause and when he
again refused to meet her eyes, her mind moved on. Maybe their father didn’t
want them after all. “That’s about all except to say I’m sorry. I’ve committed
a sin of omission by not coming clean. If you can find it in your hearts to
forgive me, we can work it out. Ball’s in your court.”

Charmaine Gordon writes books about women
who Survive and Thrive.  Her motto is take one step and then another to
leave your past behind and begin again. Six books and several short stories in
three years, she’s always at work on the next story. The books include To Be
Continued, Starting Over, Now What?, Reconstructing Charlie, Sin of Omission
and The Catch. And a new series of Mature Romances about Sexy Seniors under the
umbrella title The Beginning. . .Not The End.
“I didn’t realize at the time while working as
an actor in NYC, I’d become a sponge soaking up dialogue, setting, and stage
directions. I learned many tools of writing during the years watching directors
like Mike Nichols and actors including Harrison Ford, Anthony Hopkins, and
Billy Crystal. And would you believe, I was Geraldine Ferraro’s stand-in leg
model, my first job giving me entrée into all the Unions needed to work. When
the sweet time ended, I began another career and creative juices flowed.”
Samara, thank you for inviting me to Character Crush. I hope
you’ve grown to love Jimmy Costigan as much as I do.
I’m giving away an eformat copy of Sin of Omission and hope
you will select the winner.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. How can anyone not fall in love with Jimmie Costigan? He's a great character in a great book. Bravo, Charmaine!


  2. Tara Andrews says:

    Love the excerpt, Charmaine.


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