Thank you for visiting Book Club Mom’s Friday Fiction. Below is Chapter 18 of Jessica, a story about a nineteen-year-old woman who is trying break the pattern of loss and unhappiness that has defined her childhood. What Jessica wants most is to build a life with her boyfriend, Jimmy, but Jimmy is trapped in a dangerous family dynamic. When Jessica learns the truth about Jimmy, it’s up to her to save him. To do this, she must turn to the one person who has hurt her the most, her father. A series of events pushes Jessica beyond anything she can imagine and forces her to define happiness and love in a different way, and at a heartbreaking price.
Chapter 18 – A Mother Sees
I beat Jimmy to his house one night after work. We had talked that morning and I told him I would make him dinner at his house. I had seen that his truck was missing from the driveway on my way home from the diner, but I went home and showered, thinking he’d be back by the time I got there.
It didn’t matter to me, I thought, getting there before him and I found the extra key that was hidden on top of the garage door frame and let myself in. I had two bags of groceries and imagined myself walking into my picture of what might be our own house some day. I smiled at the thought of arriving home on some future day ahead of Jimmy and starting dinner for us, just like I was about to do in his own house.
I walked into the kitchen and put my bags on the counter, and I looked over at the picture of Jimmy’s mother, thinking she would somehow approve of what she saw, me taking care of her son now that she was gone. It put me in one of those sad and sweet moments and I thought about how happy I was going to be to see Jimmy walk in the door.
I didn’t expect to see Stu walk through the door. I didn’t pay attention to his schedule and a twinge of anxiety went through me. I tried to get myself ready for a comment about me making Jimmy dinner. I was sure he would make fun of me. I remembered how he grabbed my arm at the diner, acting somehow that it was his arm to grab.
Stu was loud as he banged around the side room and dropped his things on the floor. He walked straight into the kitchen and headed straight for the fridge when he saw me standing there chopping vegetables.
“Well, look who it is!” and he grinned as he grabbed a beer out of the fridge. He twisted off the cap and walked past me to the trash, taking a path that was closer to me than he needed. He leaned against the counter and looked at me. “You making me dinner, Jes?” he asked.
I tried not to be defensive. I tried to be light, tried to be cool as I answered. Stu rattled me. I swallowed and looked straight at him, foolishly hoping to gain strength by staring right at the enemy. “This is dinner for Jimmy and me.”
“How sweet,” he mocked. “Well, I don’t want to interfere. When’s the hubby getting home, little lady?”
“Very funny,” I said, trying keep strength in my voice. I shifted my feet to a more solid position with my back to the counter. Stu noticed the change. He came towards me and I realized the mistake of my movement, for it put me out there for him to approach. He took a drink from his beer, smiled and put the bottle down. “You’re a pretty young thing, Jes, you know that?” he asked. I had no good answer for him. I wanted to say shut up, to say stop, but I had no chance because in the next moment Stu was right there at me, pressing his mouth against mine and I had nowhere to go. The space between me and the counter was gone as I felt the sharp edge press into my back.
I wanted to slap his face, to ram my knee into him, but as hard as his mouth had kissed me and as hard as he had pushed me against the counter, he suddenly stopped. He made a hideous smirk at me and said, “Well, we can’t get carried away tonight, Jes, since lover boy will be here soon. I wouldn’t want to spoil your dinner plans.”
And with that, Stu grabbed his beer and left the kitchen, pounded his way upstairs. I looked again at the picture of Jimmy’s mom and somehow felt ashamed that she had to see what kind of man her oldest son had become.
Thank you for reading. All comments are welcome.
Click below to check out earlier chapters.
Chapter 1 – Jimmy
Chapter 2 – Stevie
Chapter 3 – A Photo and a Letter
Chapter 4 – The Life Within
Chapter 5 – Jimmy’s Truck
Chapter 6 – The Springs Diner
Chapter 7 – Dinner and a Game
Chapter 8 – He Made Me Nervous
Chapter 9 – I Called Dad on My Thirteenth Birthday
Chapter 10 – Connections and Time
Chapter 11 – The Reverse Apology
Chapter 12 – Empty Bedrooms
Chapter 13 – Job Description
Chapter 14 – The Car I Saw
Chapter 15 – It’s Not What You Think
Chapter 16 – A Different Route
Chapter 17 – Choosing Balance
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