Friday Fiction is back! Twelve: Chapter 5 – The Fight

A few days late…

Friday Fiction
Welcome to Twelve, a new book of Friday Fiction! This story begins the summer Emily Kingston turns twelve and is about a friendship that changed everything.

I hope you enjoy it!


CHAPTER FIVE – THE FIGHT

Jackie and I had just settled into my room when we heard the shouting.  Jackie’s overnight bag was on the extra bed and we sat side by side on the floor, surrounded by a pile of magazines.  We were sipping icy Cokes, singing to the radio then boom, our carefree summer night became something else.

Mom and Dad were fighting.  I shook when I heard their words.  I couldn’t understand why Dad was so angry.  Jackie sat with me and we pretended not to hear.  I stared at the open magazine on my lap.

I heard their shouts and my body was still but my mind raced back in time as I tried to remember if there had been another argument between Mom and Dad I could compare to this one.  I thought about times when Mom said she wasn’t feeling well.  Or when Dad came home late.  Were they fighting then?  Was there an argument when Mom sat and read a book instead of talking to us?  Or when Dad watched television by himself in the den?  I didn’t know!  It was too much to recall.  My stomach flipped and I looked at my arms and hands to see if they were shaking too.

All this time, Jackie was quiet.  If she noticed the changes in me, she didn’t say and I was grateful for her silence.  I wondered if her parents had ever argued like this.  I guessed they had, but I didn’t want to compare my parents to hers.

Through the music I heard Dad shout, “How could you have forgotten, Anne?  How hard is that to do?  I mean, all you do is go down to the gas station and they do it for you!  Would it have been too much for you to say, Can you check the oil for me?

Mom said, “Dammit Glen, I forgot, okay?  Are you perfect?  Don’t you ever forget anything?”

“I don’t forget to take care of my car.  God, Anne!  The whole engine’s wrecked!  The car’s done now.  I wasn’t ready for us to get a new car.  Do you think that now we just go down and buy a new car, just like that?”

Mom yelled, “Stop yelling at me, okay?  I’m sorry, Glen!  Don’t you get it?  I just forgot.  What more am I supposed to say?  How can I explain it any more than that?”  I thought about who was right.  I thought they were both right, in a way.  I wondered what I would do if someone was shouting at me.  Or would I be the one shouting?

“It was your responsibility to keep up with that car.  I can’t do everything around here!  That engine could have blown any time, on the highway, while you had the kids in the car.  Did you think of that?  You are damn lucky it happened in town and no one got hurt.”

It was quiet for a minute and I thought they were through, but then I heard more shouting.  I didn’t care anymore what they were saying.  I didn’t want to hear them.  And as I sat there frozen in thought and action, Jackie got up and turned up the radio.  She looked at me as she sat back down on the floor and said, “This is a great song, but you have to play it loud.”

When I opened my mouth to thank Jackie for that small gesture, my throat tightened and the words froze in my mouth.

I thought of Tommy who was playing down in the woods with his friends.  I wished I were down there with him.  I wanted to not know about this fight.  I thought of how sometimes it is better never to know about a thing and, with this thought, I felt a part of my childhood fall away.  To go on simply not hearing an argument.  And at the very moment I realized this, it was no longer a possibility.  Minutes before, I had no knowledge of their fight, now it was there in my head.

I could still hear both of them, then it was quiet.  I heard Dad come upstairs.  Just a half-hour before, everything had been so normal!  Now I just wanted to go back to that.

A few minutes later Dad went back downstairs.  I heard the back door open, then slam shut.  I looked out the window and watched Dad pull out of the driveway in his car.

The house was quiet when I went downstairs.  My voice cracked when I called out to Mom.  I found her sitting at the dining room table.  She looked up at me.  Her mouth was turned down and her bottom lip stuck out.  For a moment I thought it looked just like a sad baby’s mouth and, in my nervousness, I almost laughed at the thought.  Mom looked out into space.

She didn’t turn to me the way she might have done on a different day and I was hurt by the change.  I pulled out a chair and sat down next to Mom.  I asked, “Mom, are you okay?”  She turned her head and looked at me.  I hoped she would smile at me and say everything was okay, that she and Dad had argued but that they made up and that Dad would be right back to have dinner with us.

Mom looked at me and said in a small voice, “I’m okay, honey.”  Her brow tightened and I knew she was thinking hard about something.  I only wanted her to make me feel better and felt cheated when she didn’t try.  If I had been younger and understood less, I was sure Mom would have pulled me on her lap and comforted me.  I didn’t want to know this new thing about my parents.

“Okay Mom.  Jackie and I will be upstairs.  You remember Jackie’s sleeping over tonight, right?”  Mom said, “That’s fine.”

“Mom, when is Dad coming back?”  Mom straightened a little and said, “I don’t know, dear.  But I’ll get dinner together in a little while.”

Dinner was a frozen pizza and some cut up vegetables.  Mom said she wasn’t hungry and Dad did not come home for dinner.  After dinner, Tommy and Jackie and I went into the family room and watched TV.  Tommy had not heard the fight.  I decided not to tell him.  I didn’t want him to know.  It was better not to know.  His fight with Jackie over Capture the Flag was long forgotten and he made us laugh by making fun of the commercials.  I thought of how easy it was to have a brother like Tommy.

At the end of a long string of shows, we climbed the stairs in a sleepy daze and headed towards our rooms.  I got into my bed, and Jackie got into hers.  She punched the pillow and turned on her side to face me.  “My dad would sometimes leave after a fight too.  I’m sure your dad will be back soon.”

“Thanks.  Hey Jackie?” I said.

“Yeah?”

“Thanks for turning up the radio before.”

“No problem, Em.  Hang in there.”

I turned to face the wall.  My eyes filled with tears and I squeezed them shut, glad to be out of view.  I had lost something that night.  I hoped Dad would come back soon, but if he didn’t, Jackie would know what to do.  She always did, didn’t she?

Thank you for reading.

Just jumping in?  Click below to read previous chapters:

Chapter 1 – “Meeting Jackie”
Chapter 2 – “Mrs. Conroy”
Chapter 3 – “Downtown”
Chapter 4 – “Capture the Flag”


Copyright © 2016 by Book Club Mom

All rights reserved.  All material on this blog is the property of Book Club Mom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.


Thanks for visiting – come back soon!


Friday Fiction – Jessica Ch 36 “I Just Want To See Him”

Friday Fiction

Jessica

Thank you for visiting Book Club Mom’s Friday Fiction. Below is Chapter 36 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 36 – “I Just Want To See Him”

Driving home from Stevie’s, all I could think about were his face, his eyes, his scared and lonely eyes. I couldn’t imagine what had happened to Stevie that had put him in that dirty house, in those worn and ragged clothes, in that beaten and spent body. I felt like on top of my problem with Jimmy and my own unbalanced self, there was no room to think about Stevie. I decided to tell no one about my visit to Stevie’s house, not at least until I went back there tomorrow.

I still had hours before I had to work the dinner shift at the diner. I drove home and before I could even get in the door, the phone was ringing.

“Hello?”

“Jessica, hi, it’s Mom. I’m just checking in. How are you?”

Mom tried to act casual, but she was talking too fast. Her words were tight and she was too loud, like she was hoping that if she got the words out loud and clear, I’d definitely hear her and I would know exactly what she was asking me, even if I was in a fog from either taking my medication or from not taking it.

“I’m fine Mom,” I answered.

“Good! Great, actually. I can hear that you’re fine. In your voice, I mean. Did you get my note this morning?”

I don’t know how I could have missed Mom’s note. She had attached it to the tea canister in the kitchen. I tried to keep Mom far away from understanding my thinking, but like a mother who has studied her daughter and her habits for years and years, I guess, she knew the patterns of my movements. And she knew that even when I changed them just to annoy her so she wouldn’t be able to claim that she knew me so well, even then, she knew I would always have tea in the morning, that it would be the first thing I did when I walked into the kitchen.

“I got it Mom, thanks. And yes, I took my pill this morning.” I knew that was the real reason she called, to make sure I took it.

“I’m glad, Jessica. We have to talk about this more, just hang in there with them until we figure it out.”

“I will Mom.” I was partly lying. I would hang on but I couldn’t promise I would keep taking them.

“And Jessica, I know you want to go see Jimmy today. I can’t keep you from going. I don’t know how he is, but I want you to think about going with someone, maybe his brother Stu would take you, just in case Jimmy’s not good, then you could have someone to talk to about it. His brother might help you fill in some of the blanks about what has been going on with Jimmy.”

I hated the idea of going to the hospital with Stu. I still didn’t trust Jimmy’s brother, no matter what Dad had explained to me.   I tried to remember the night Stu kissed me in their kitchen. I knew I hadn’t been feeling great that night. I couldn’t remember how long ago it was exactly and when I had stopped taking my pills. It was like trying to remember a night of heavy drinking, thinking back to the thick, hazy, slow-moving minutes and hours of that night.

“I’ll think about it Mom, but I’d rather see Jimmy on my own.” No sense in promising Mom something I would never do.

I called the hospital to see if Jimmy was still there. He was and that’s all the nurse would tell me about him.

“Are visitors allowed?” I asked.

“Only family today,” answered the nurse.

Damn. I was going to need Stu after all. As much as I didn’t want to call him, I knew that would be the only way I could even have a chance of seeing Jimmy.

“Okay, thanks.” And I hung up.

Stu answered the phone right away.

“Jes, how are you?” he asked.

Stu’s voice was friendly, glad to hear from me, I thought.

“I’m fine. How’s Jimmy?” I asked. “I want to see him today. Do you think you could take me?”

“I can take you, Jes, sure. You should know though, that he’s not doing very well. They’re keeping him in the hospital for a few more days at least until he can settle into some clear thinking. This story of his, the one about the robberies, about me forcing him to break into your Dad’s office building and others, there’s not one piece of truth in them. I know you believed Jimmy’s story. I just got off the phone with your dad. He’s still in town and was asking about you.”

It was strange to not see Dad for seven years and then suddenly to be pulled into a crisis where we had to talk constantly. There had been no time to yell at Dad for leaving us. No time to think about why he had agreed to help me. Why he was still in town. There was no time to work those feelings into the words we traded.

“Oh, okay,” I said. “I guess I’ll call him later,” I added for no real reason, but once I said it I knew I would probably do just that. No time to think about anything else.

Stu started up again, “I was just getting ready to go over to the hospital. Visiting hours begin at noon. I can pick you up on my way over there, okay?”

“Okay,” I agreed.

“And, Jes,” he added. “Jimmy’s on some medication. He might not recognize us, so don’t be disappointed if that happens.”

“Okay,” I answered. “I just want to see him, to see that someone’s taking care of him.”

Stu told the nurse I was Jimmy’s sister and the nurse let us both go into Jimmy’s room. It was a private room and Jimmy was sitting in the chair next to the bed, looking out the window. His arm was bandaged. I hadn’t wanted to look, to see where he had cut himself.

“If Jimmy had wanted to kill himself, Jes, he wouldn’t have cut his arm crosswise like that. It was just a surface cut and it hardly bled. I think he was just so overwhelmed that night when he got back to the house and seeing me, well, he was so confused about what he thought I had told him to do and I think he was starting to see that what he had been telling himself and you was all wrong. I don’t think he could put it all together and understand his mistake, or maybe he could tell after all, how confused he had been, maybe cutting his arm was a way to get us to focus on something else. Anyway, it worked, I guess and it got Jimmy here which is where he should be for now.”

“Hi Jimmy,” I said. My voice was quiet. He looked at me blankly at first and then I think he saw me, who I was, he saw my eyes and when he did, he locked them with mine and it was this recognition I was looking for. These eyes that I had looked into so much over the last two years, they were the eyes I still loved and they were still part of this boy who had fallen into a jumble of misunderstood thoughts.

“Jes,” he croaked. His voice was so dry and cracked I couldn’t tell if it was because he had been shouting in a rage all night, or if he hadn’t said a word that day until just then, but it was the same deep man’s voice coming from Jimmy, the one that could always make my heart sing with the joy of knowing that this deep and wonderful voice was talking to me.

My eyes filled up and all I could say was “Hi” again but it was enough because just saying it rebuilt the connection that had broken between us, the one that had been based on a confused collection of fantastic and crazy ideas, my voice and his, they met in the middle like the space between two separate pools of water, dug by children on the beach and filled with buckets of ocean water, all the time the children running down to the surf and then back, with water spilling out of the buckets, but leaving enough in them to dump into the holes until the walls of sand keeping them separate slowly break down and the waters from each mix together and minutes later you would never even know there had been two holes, the single larger one was so perfectly formed and so full.

I knew then that once we got out of this, Jimmy and I would be okay.

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”
Chapter 28 – “The Plan”
Chapter 29 – “Who Says I’m Not Okay?”
Chapter 30 – “What’s So Great about Balance?”
Chapter 31 – “I’ll Call You When It’s Over”
Chapter 32 – “Sorting It Out”
Chapter 33 – “Truth and Lies”
Chapter 34 – “The Car-Port House”
Chapter 35 – “It’s a Dead Yard”

© All rights reserved.  All material on this blog is the property of Book Club Mom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Friday Fiction Jessica Ch 19 Taking More

Friday Fiction

Jessica

Thank you for visiting Book Club Mom’s Friday Fiction. Below is Chapter 19 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 19 – Taking More

I started to see Jimmy’s truck missing from his driveway more often in the mornings, usually only a few hours after I’d left him late in the night and I wondered where it was that he was going, why he would need to leave the still-warm bed we had shared, the one I had just left. Was he waiting for me to leave on those nights? Was he jumping up right after he heard me back out the driveway? It bothered me that Jimmy was doing something that I didn’t know about and I struggled to think of a way that I could ask him without making him mad. I didn’t think it was right that he was doing something that was in the middle of the night but I was afraid to ask because I worried that Jimmy was going off to see someone besides me.

I didn’t like thinking that Jimmy might also be involved with someone else. When I’d drive by and see that he was gone from his house, I could almost feel myself falling from the view of our future, where I was perched and only waiting for Jimmy to give me the sign by joining me. I had been working so hard towards this goal and I felt a queasy mix of worry and fear, wondering if once again I would be left alone.

I thought of Mom. What exactly did she do that was good to cope when Dad and then Stevie left? Besides cleaning the house and getting a job, what had gone inside Mom to direct her through the emptiness? I suddenly felt ashamed when I realized that I had always thought Mom was weak. She cowered, I remembered, she cried, she withdrew around me and Stevie and then just around me. Then she became fixed on keeping me from going the wrong way or from leaving her.

But Mom, I realized, was doing what she could do to make it. She had no one to lean on. She found a way, despite my scorn. I started to understand that Mom had a good job after all, that we lived in a nice house. I knew Dad still sent us money, but I wondered how much. I realized Mom was working harder than Dad to support us because she was here doing the job and he was just sending a check.

I wondered if she was happy. We never talked about our happiness. We existed together but I had done my best to avoid Mom. I tried to brush off a feeling of guilt and I wondered what Mom was doing at that moment, what she was thinking.

I hadn’t told Jimmy about Stu. I was afraid of his reaction. Maybe he would think I had asked for it. I still thought I could handle Stu, as uncomfortable as I was around him. He had only kissed me after all and I talked myself into believing that I was the reason he stopped. I could handle Stu.

Jimmy and I took a ride to the lake one night after work. It was one of those early summer nights when the sun’s warmth pulls everyone outdoors and strangers, when they catch each other’s eyes, share the unspoken happiness that comes with the carefree feeling of getting something good out of a work day. We drove out there in Jimmy’s truck, blanket and a six-pack in the back.

The sun was close to setting and I spread the blanket at the edge of the water. We sat and Jimmy handed me a beer. Jimmy was the one who suggested we go to the lake that night. I was glad to get out of my house, and glad to have Jimmy to myself, without worrying that Stu would be around.

“It’s nice here tonight, isn’t it, Jimmy?” I asked.

“Yup,” he answered and before he had even finished his first beer, he was grabbing the next and opening it. I was quiet. I figured he was still trying to shake off his day. I sat and sipped my beer and looked out on the lake which was quiet, with a glass-like stillness.

“Jes,” he started. The voice that I loved had a strange tone to it and it startled me. I wasn’t sure I knew it. I was afraid to look at him. I wondered how the tone of Jimmy’s voice, one word spoken, my name, in fact, how this alone could create a panic in me, with no warning. I got the courage to look at him and when I turned I saw that his eyes were wet and glassy.

“Jimmy, what is it?” I asked. I didn’t know what was coming. I didn’t know what to do to brace myself for what would come next.

“Jes, I’m in trouble and I don’t know what to do.”

“What do you mean, Jimmy? What is it?” It was suddenly worse not knowing. “What kind of trouble, Jimmy?”

“I’m in way over my head and I don’t even know how to begin to tell you. I don’t even know if I should tell you because I’m afraid you will hate me if you know, but I can’t keep it all in anymore.”

I couldn’t stand it. “Jimmy, what is it? Tell me what it is.” I was sure he was going to tell me that he was leaving, that there was another girl, that she was pregnant.

Jimmy started his story in a babbling, unorganized confession. He swore to me that he didn’t know he was going to get as deep into things as Stu. He only wanted a little extra cash. He didn’t think what he was doing was so wrong, but now everything was going so wrong. And he didn’t know how to pull out of it. And Stu was putting on the pressure to do more.

“Do more what?” I yelled. I was starting to get scared.

“Oh Jes. We are deep into layers upon layers of burglaries, of stealing computers and other crap and unloading it for cash. At first I thought it would be just one time, but Stu, he’s such a greedy shit, he said it was so easy the first time we should just keep going. I didn’t know what to say because he was right, it had been so easy and it was quick and we all got pockets full of cash. How can you say no to that? It’s not like we were hurting anyone, we were just taking stuff and making a profit so we could get ahead in the world. That’s how Stu put it.”

I had been expecting such a completely different story that I didn’t know how to react to Jimmy’s confession. My head was spinning, half with relief that I wasn’t losing him and half with the cloudy confusion of trying to understand his complicated story in such a short period of time. His rambling had just spilled out and was hard to follow and I was just beginning to put the facts together.

“Jimmy, you have to get out of this. Just tell Stu you want to stop. Tell him you’re out.”

“Jes, it’s not that easy. You don’t know Stu very well. He’s my brother, but he’s a real bastard if he doesn’t get what he wants. And Gene, he’s got Gene right under his thumb and he’s barely seventeen. Says he’s teaching him the deck business but that’s all a bunch of bullshit. He’s got Gene working for him making decks, sure, but he’s teaching him how to steal on the side. Me and Stu, we’ve never gotten along and I thought I had gotten out of his reach by doing my own thing and my job at _____________ has been a good one. I thought I could break away from him. Ever since Mom died, Dad hasn’t been right, he’s been helpless in fact and he’s pretty much left us to take care of ourselves. And Stu stepped up as he always puts it, but all he’s ever done was order us around.”

“Jimmy, then how the hell did you get pulled into this in the first place?” I asked.

“I’m so stupid sometimes, I don’t know when to shut up. I had come home from work one day and I was so excited because my boss was getting ready to send me to one of his corporate customers, to work there for two weeks and do a bunch of repairs on-site. I was bragging, I guess, trying to show Stu that I had a job that was making some money. I didn’t notice Stu’s face when I first started telling him about my new assignment, but by the time I had finished talking, he had a hungry look in his eyes and he looked like was working a plan out in his head. At first I thought he was thinking about something besides my bragging, but then he started to tell me what a great job I was doing. He was really buttering me up, I guess, telling me how important I was. At first I thought he was just being sarcastic, telling me for the thousandth time how inferior I was, but he actually sounded sincere and I was so fucking excited about my job that I kept on talking about how I would be going there starting the next Monday, how it was a real swank office, full of fancy computer equipment and, Jes, I didn’t realize that Stu was making up a plan to steal that equipment right out of the office where I was getting my first important assignment at work.”

“Well before that night was over, Stu had me agree to make an inventory of what was there, which offices had the best stuff, and told me to figure out the best way to get in there after hours. He told me we could make a shit-load of cash from just this one job, that he’d already pulled a few other burglaries like this and with Gene and me helping him out we’d be able to get a good profit from just one job.”

“I had told him I was afraid of getting caught and losing my own job, but Stu started being real nice to me and acting like he had changed his mind about me, telling me I wasn’t the stupid little brother that he’d always said I was and that we had to pull ourselves out of our shit-hole house since Dad wasn’t good for anything anymore except drinking to escape to some other place.”

“And Jes, it was easy, just like Stu said it was going to be. We didn’t take too much at first. We took a couple things to test out our plan and then we went back three more times so it wouldn’t look like a huge robbery, like maybe a bitter employee was sneaking stuff home piece by piece after work, not us. And we didn’t do it until a month after my assignment there, but I had been lucky enough to steal a key-card, the kind that disarms the alarm when you enter the building.”

“Oh Jes, I don’t know what to do. I’m so deep into this and I don’t want to be. And I’m fucking scared of Stu. I told him a few weeks ago I just wanted to work at my own job, that I wanted to get out of this other crap and he actually slapped me across the face and told me I’d better shut up and do what he said.”

I was astonished at what I was hearing. I sat there on the blanket and felt Jimmy’s panic. I looked at him and said, “Jimmy, you’ve got to move out of there, now.”

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

© All rights reserved.  All material on this blog is the property of Book Club Mom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 

 

Friday Fiction Jessica Ch 18 A Mother Sees

Friday Fiction

Jessica

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

© All rights reserved.  All material on this blog is the property of Book Club Mom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Friday Fiction Jessica Ch 6 The Springs Diner

Friday Fiction

Jessica

Thank you for visiting Book Club Mom’s Friday Fiction. Below is Chapter 6 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 6 – The Springs Diner

The Springs Diner was a big restaurant, not a one-counter roadside place like the one on Route 30. The Magnusons must have known that Route 100 was going to be a big thoroughfare one day and they built it right on the corner of 100 and Pierce. I started waitressing there the year it opened. The Springs Diner quickly became the place to go and thirty years later, it’s still full of regulars. With two big rooms full of tables and booths and a long counter in the back, we had a big menu and plenty of room.

Despite its size and popularity, I got to know the regulars pretty fast. My morning shift people were mostly guys eating breakfast before their jobs, too lazy to get their own food, or just in a hurry to get out of the house.

Jimmy’s brother, Stu sometimes came into the Springs Diner when I was on my shift. He’d nod at me as he came in and if I wasn’t busy at another table, I’d go over to him and talk for a minute before I took his order. Stu was twenty-five and was a slightly older and more muscular version of Jimmy. Thin, but strong with a body that worked every part in his job building decks.

“What’s up, Jes?” he’d say, just like I was one of them, I thought. I liked that and wanted to belong there with Jimmy and his brothers and dad.

Jimmy and Stu both had messy brown hair, messy because I don’t think either one of them spent much time combing it into place and, from a distance I sometimes thought I was looking at Jimmy when it was really Stu. It happened the first time Stu came into the diner, about six months after I had started working there. I had had a fight with Jimmy the night before and was feeling shaky about the things we had said. I had felt like we had been on the edge of breaking up, just like you’d feel if you were standing up high on something that looked down and briefly lost your balance, just enough to feel the electric jolt run through your body that gave you a look at what was so close to happening. And I hadn’t gotten over that feeling the next day at the diner. So I was going through my morning there working the words we had said through my head in the order we had said them, each time thinking the last words would come out differently.

And while I was waiting on tables and working those words through my head, Stu walked through the door to the diner. Something in my head tricked me and I was sure then that Jimmy had come to the diner before work to apologize or do something to make things right. I had felt an overwhelming relief wash over me as I sensed his presence and when I looked up I must have had that look on my face, when I looked at Stu with my shaky body and sad eyes. And for a minute I thought I was looking into Jimmy’s eyes, showing him my soul and thinking he was going to do the same.

That’s when I noticed that Stu’s eyes were green, not brown the way Jimmy’s were and I felt the horror of my mistake, but it was too late. I had shown Stu my vulnerable self and he had seen the weakness. I knew that he would never bring it up, but Stu saw my face and looked back at me, straight into my eyes. He hadn’t laughed, the way some people might laugh when there was a simple misunderstanding. His look said something different, like he was reading something in my face, like I was showing him something that was interesting and maybe even useful.

I was uncomfortable seeing Stu stare at me like that, but it was over a second after it started and by then I had realized my mistake and was trying the best I could to stop shaking and say something that would carry us out of the moment.

Stu never said a word about it, only, “Hi Jes” and he made his way over to the counter for breakfast. But I got a creepy feeling about it.  Ever since that day, I’d always look twice to make sure I was looking at Jimmy, not Stu, before I said anything and the first place I’d look was in the eyes to check the color.

Since that day, Stu would always say, “What’s up Jes?” and not much of anything else. If he looked at me differently, I hoped it was only because he knew that someday we’d be related once Jimmy and I got married.

Thank you for reading.  All comments are welcome.

Chapter 1 – Jimmy
Chapter 2 – Stevie
Chapter 3 – A Photo and a Letter
Chapter 4 – The Life Within
Chapter 5 – Jimmy’s Truck

© All rights reserved.  All material on this blog is the property of Book Club Mom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.