Thank you for visiting Book Club Mom’s Friday Fiction. Below is Chapter 28 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 28 – “The Plan”
The break-in at my Dad’s Philadelphia office was set for the following Sunday night. I’d talked to Dad a few times since my trip to New York and he told me he had arranged everything. Two weeks earlier, he’d even called Jimmy’s boss and hired them to repair some equipment at the Philly office. And sure enough, Jimmy was given that assignment. He took an inventory and drew up a floor plan of the offices and most important, he figured out the security system enough to get them in and out. Stu borrowed the key card one night and got someone to make a copy to duplicate the code. They were set.
Jimmy was nervous that Saturday night. We met at his house for dinner and he barely ate. “You can’t stay here tonight, Jes. I can’t think of anything else except the break-in tomorrow night. I just want to get this over with.”
Jimmy knew that by helping the police arrest Stu and Gene, he would get a lesser sentence, and maybe he wouldn’t even be charged. But his hands were shaking as we sat at his kitchen table.
“You should relax, Jimmy. Trust my dad. Everything is going to be fine,” I tried.
“I can’t relax. Stu’s got me carrying a gun. Jesus Christ, Jes! I’ve never even touched a gun before and he thinks that’s going to help us. Stu acts like he knows what he’s doing, but shit, I don’t think he knows crap about guns either. These other jobs, they were so easy. They weren’t complicated like this one. How the fuck is this going to work? How are the police going to control Stu, how are they going to know when to get us, and how are they going to know if Stu’s going to shoot that thing? And besides that, this other guy is coming and I’m sure Stu’s got him carrying something too and Gene, he’s just a kid, Jes. I’m scared shitless. I want it to be over, but I don’t want to do it at all!”
I’d arranged with Dad for the police to watch out for Gene. Since he was underage, Dad told me not to worry.
“Jimmy, don’t worry about Gene. The police know he’s underage. They won’t go hard on him.”
“How the fuck do you know anything, Jes? And why is your dad suddenly an authority on police procedures? And you, you’re acting like you’ve been through this a million times before. God, we are in this so deep and I don’t know what to do anymore!”
The truth was, I was just as nervous as Jimmy. I was worried about just as many things as he was and after it was all over, I was nervous about what would happen with Jimmy and me. I hadn’t talked to him again about moving out of my house, of maybe moving into a place with Jimmy, of starting fresh, just the two of us. It was hanging out there. I wanted to reach for it. I wanted to believe it was there waiting for us once this was all over.
Dad acted like we had nothing to worry about, but I don’t think he was sure how it was all going to work. I was glad to lean on him and if I’d had more time to think about it, I guess I would think it was strange that I was depending so much on someone who had deserted me and made me grow up without his help.
I wondered if he had told his new family about seeing me. His new wife and my unnamed brother. I’d tried to ask Dad about his new family. I had a right, I felt, but Dad cut me off, as if he was saying, “I’m helping you with this mess, and you don’t get to ask me about my life.”
“Dad, is this your wife now?” I had asked.
“Yes, Jessie” and then he cut me off. “Let’s get back to the problem here.”
But I wanted to know more. “Who’s this little boy?” I asked. “Is this my brother?”
“Look, Jessy. You knew I had a new life here. You came to me, remember? I didn’t come looking for you. I’m sorry if that hurts you, but I’m here helping you, right? No more questions. I can’t do this and answer your questions at the same time, got it?”
I knew Dad was partly right, but I resented the reminder because I felt like he was twisting the facts to win his argument. Dad was the one who left, after all. It would have been much easier to ask him for help if he had just been sitting at his desk in our den. But I was in no position to say so. Maybe he’d realize this when it was all over.
I said goodbye to Jimmy and drove home. As I lay in bed, my stomach churned and I felt my nerves jolt up and down my arms and legs. The plan was in place. Now it was just a matter of time.
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?”
Chapter 27 – “You’ve Done Enough”
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