Thank you for visiting Book Club Mom’s Friday Fiction. Below is Chapter 27 of Jessica. Jessica is nineteen-years-old and she is trying break the pattern of loss and unhappiness that has defined her childhood. What she wants most is to build a life with Jimmy, but Jimmy is trapped in a dangerous family dynamic. When she 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 27 – “You’ve Done Enough”
I should have felt glad that Jimmy had agreed to Dad’s plan, but instead I felt uneasy. I wanted to feel like Jimmy and I were in this together, that we were a team. But Jimmy made it clear to me that he was being forced to do what Dad had arranged. I didn’t know where I stood, just that I was in the middle.
I also couldn’t shake the feeling I had about the “other guy” Jimmy and Stevie were using to help with the break-ins. Jimmy had acted strange about him and I was sure he wasn’t telling me everything. I was in this now, I reasoned, and I needed to know more about him, to tell Dad, in case he was going to help with the Philly job. I had only told Dad that Jimmy and Stu had agreed to the plan. I hadn’t mentioned their friend yet.
The next day, I drove to work the way Mom had taken me when I didn’t have a car, so I could go by his house and see if his car was there. I thought of the rocks and now that I knew what they meant, I decided to check them out. It was just getting light when I turned onto 401 and approached his house. Sure enough, his beat-up car was sitting in the carport and there was a stack of rocks at the edge of the driveway. I slowed down and turned my head just in time to see the shadow of a man as he opened his front door and walked over to his car.
It was one of those moments you can’t predict, when two people, who seconds before had no warning that they would cross paths or connect in any way, when they look up at each other at the exact same time and there between them is a strange and intense look in each other’s eyes, a look that is scary and curious at the same time. I looked up and this stranger’s eyes locked into mine, I could tell they did, even at that distance, even from my car, as it slowed past his house. And a shiver went down my back for a reason I didn’t understand. In an instant, the man looked away and, shoulders bent, he turned completely around before reaching his car and went back inside his house.
The image of him looking at me, turning and walking back inside was running through my brain long after I passed his house. It was strange, I thought, that he would stare at me like that, that he would somehow know to look up at me just as I drove by. And why did he go back in the house before he got to his car? The expression on his face was still in my head. It was as if he could tell I was looking for something.
How crazy, I thought. I know that he’s unloading the things that Stu and Jimmy are stealing and he looked at me like he knew I knew.
Jimmy called me that afternoon. He was calmer, but still distant. It hurt to hear his voice and know that’s all he was offering. I took comfort that he had called me, but there was a flatness in his tone.
“Stu’s going to pick a night soon. Until then, nothing’s going on.” I had been hoping he wanted to see me. Now I was sure he didn’t. Our relationship was suddenly shaky. I knew it wouldn’t help to talk about their extra guy, but I was in this for Jimmy, I reasoned. I had to ask.
“Jimmy, tell me who is this guy who’s helping you? I saw him today on my way to work and he looked at me in a crazy kind of way.”
“Jes, what the hell are you doing going by this guy’s house. Stay out of it, will you? I know you think you have a part in all of this, but I’m telling you to stay away from that house.”
“God, Jimmy, I was just going to work the other way and yes, I was curious about this person you refuse to tell me anything about. I wasn’t going to stop there. I just happened to see him as he walked out of his house and he turned at the same time as me and he had a strange look on his face, that’s all. It was over in a second and then I was on my way to work. Don’t make such a big deal about it.”
Jimmy was right, I did feel like I was part of this mess, but more than that, I felt like I had the right to know everything about it.
“I’m just trying to help, Jimmy,” I defended myself.
“Well, don’t. You’ve done plenty. That’s more than enough.”
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”
Chapter 18 – “A Mother Sees”
Chapter 19 – “Taking More”
Chapter 20 – “Robbing the Future”
Chapter 21 – “I Thought I Didn’t Need Her”
Chapter 22 – “It Was Up to Me”
Chapter 23 – “Separate and Icy”
Chapter 24 – “Striking a Nerve”
Chapter 25 – “Help Has Its Price”
Chapter 26 – “Who Asked for Help?”
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