Friday Fiction – Jessica Ch 39 “Not Everything Changes”

Friday Fiction


Thank you for visiting Book Club Mom’s Friday Fiction. Below is Chapter 39 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 39 – “Not Everything Changes”

Mom turned off the stove, wiped her hands on the dish towel and draped it over the cabinet door. Her face was set in tight resolve. “You let your father in. I’m going upstairs to change and I’ll be back down after you get settled.” She was halfway out of the kitchen when she turned and said, “Go ahead and offer him something to drink. There’s beer in the fridge and there’s wine if he wants a glass, but you’ll have to open the bottle and find the corkscrew and glasses if that’s what he wants.”

I can do that for Mom, I thought. I knew this would be hard for her. Was Mom nervous or mad about seeing Dad? Offering him a drink? Was she thinking about being nice, or did she just want a drink herself to steady her nerves? I hadn’t thought much about Mom’s reaction to all that had happened. But I had been talking so much about everything else for the past three days, I had no more words.

I foolishly thought Dad would come to the back door because that was the only door I’d ever seen him come through. Despite the years, it seemed only natural for him to walk right into the kitchen, the way he had when we were small. How strange to fall back into the idea of a routine that had been broken.

I jumped when the doorbell rang and shook my head in disgust. Was I still hoping Dad would come back to us?

“Hey Jes.” Dad stood on the front step. His hands were in his jacket pockets. I thought it was strange for him to be standing there like that, deliberately casual. He must have quickly stuffed his hands in his pockets after just ringing the doorbell. I wondered if Dad was nervous about seeing Mom.

“Hi Dad. Come on in, we’re going to eat in the kitchen.” We walked through the hall to the back of the house and I felt a familiar pain behind my left eye. I knew I would be facing one of my headaches by the end of the night and I groaned at the thought. Day after day of stress and change and shock had caught up to me.

“Smells good, Jes. What are we eating?” Dad was cheerful and I appreciated his effort because I wasn’t sure how I felt about seeing Mom and Dad in the same room together.

“Actually, I don’t know. I just got home too and Mom was cooking.” How strange to be talking like this. As if we were both coming home to dinner that Mom had made. I had to remind myself that Dad had a whole new home in New Jersey, with a new wife and family.

Dad smoothed his hair and pulled his shoulders back, preparing himself, I suppose, for a tough night. What had they said to each other when he called that day? Had Mom accused him of taking over? Was Dad’s plan to save Jimmy really that crazy?

We entered the kitchen and he looked around. “Where’s your mother?” he asked, a little too quickly.

“She went upstairs to change. She’ll be down in a few minutes.” I paused. “She said to offer you a beer if you want, and we also have a bottle of wine we could open.”

“Oh, well that’s nice. I’m kind of in the mood for a glass of wine. Maybe your mother would want a glass too. Do you need help with the bottle?”

Our conversation was too easy, and it didn’t fit. I didn’t think we should be talking about wine and whether Mom would want a glass. But I was grateful for words to fill the dead air.

“Here, Jes. Hand me the wine and grab a corkscrew. I’ll open the bottle. Go ahead and get three glasses and when your mom comes down I’ll pour us each a glass.” Dad’s take-charge charm was filling the room.

I didn’t think the night could get any stranger. I was sure a glass of wine would cause my developing headache to arrive even quicker, but maybe a glass of wine would help.

“Okay,” I answered. I pulled the corkscrew out of the utensil drawer. Dad smiled. “Same place as always. I guess a lot of time can go by, but not all things change do they?” He looked at me, hopeful, I supposed, that I would meet his smile. I thought about his effort to try so hard and what it meant. I was afraid to agree with him, but I felt a smile expand my face. “Here Dad. I’ll be right back.”

I met Mom halfway through the hallway. Unlike her normal routine, she had changed out of her work clothes, not into sweats, but into nice jeans and a sweater I had never seen. Her hair was pulled back in a barrette and I tried to remember if it was the way Dad used to like.

“Where are you going, Jes?” Mom was whispering fiercely at me, like a conspirator, I thought.

“I’ll be right back Mom. I’m just going to get some glasses. Dad opened the bottle of wine.”

“Oh, okay. Keep your voice down. I’ll wait for you.”

“Mom, I know you’re nervous about seeing Dad,” I whispered back, “I’m sure you are mad at him too. But you’ll be fine. You look great and I’ll be right back.”

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”
Chapter 36 – “I Just Want To See Him”
Chapter 37 – “I’m Not Going Anywhere”
Chapter 38 – “He’s Here Now”

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The Epic Minivan – Heart Beings article

I recently joined the team of contributing writers at Heart Beings, a website dedicated to empowering people to reach their full personal potential by embracing self-affirming attitudes and becoming part of an accepting community.

Heart Beings published my first article yesterday and I am sharing it with you here.

Originally published on

Where Human beings become Heart beings



The Epic Minivan

When Four Wheels Become a Part of the Family — or Do They?

article by Barb Vitelli, Contributing Author on Monday, 26 October 2015

I didn’t want to get a minivan. I liked my Geo Prizm. I had two little guys buckled snugly in the back seat and I was comfortable in my small car. But our family was growing. I was eight months pregnant and we needed a bigger car. As much as I wanted to keep things as they were, three car seats would not fit in the back seat of my sporty Prizm.

The van joined our family about two weeks before our next son was born and that was the beginning of an epic era. I joined the parade of moms in minivans, traveling our streets and moving our children through their days — first preschool, then kindergarten, grade school, parks, grocery stores, the mall. A few years later, another baby boy arrived, but there was plenty of room! Our bigger boys happily shifted their seats for the baby.

For years, our van was filled with the things our young children loved: little cars and toys, plastic play phones, books, markers, and papers. Each boy decorated his area with stickers, some from cashiers for being good, some from the doctor for being brave, others from school or party bags, with each sticker marking time. And I drove our boys with a mother’s pride. Oh, to look back in the mirror and see four little faces doing their little boy things!

Then middle schoolers became high schoolers and growth spurts meant more trips to the grocery store. The back was filled with sports equipment as we headed to practices and games. The van had a new purpose and I was a willing driver.

My husband and I watched our children grow, but in many ways we were suspended in time and the van was our constant. In this bubble, we traveled together, always as a group of six, to visit grandparents, go on vacation, or simply go out for a family dinner. Days upon weeks upon years.

Then, in a blink, we were loading up the van to take our oldest son to college. Six of us drove him to college and five of us came home, happy for him but a little sad, too. And while it was the beginning of something new, we held onto the van. It was in pretty good shape and we still needed it, we reasoned. In another blink, our next son was off to a different college, and this time, there were only five of us to help with the move. Yes, we were beginning to see a change.

After 16 years, the van was showing its age. The windows weren’t working as well, the horn was harder to beep, and the directional signal blinked weakly. As we faced the inevitable, I felt a twist of anxiety. The van had kept our family together. What would happen now? But the fact was that our boys were becoming adults, with their own paths to travel. And while our lives will always be connected, we were all facing new directions.

I drive a new and smaller car now. And after accepting the change, I made a happy discovery. The connection to our children, minus the van, is just as strong. Perhaps that faulty directional signal was telling us something — that it was time to let go and get a new car, one that would drive us confidently down new roads.

IMG_0826For more information about Heart Beings, Where Human Beings Become Heart Beings, visit their website at

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

“A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner

a rose for emily pic“A Rose for Emily”
William Faulkner


In “A Rose for Emily,” William Faulkner tells the story of the reclusive Miss Emily Grierson, an old southern spinster from an era past.  In just a few pages, he shows the character of the curious townsfolk and, with only a small amount of dialogue from Miss Emily, hints at an understanding of her thinking and choices to cling to a southern life that has long passed.

I’m sure I read this story in school, but I’m finding how great it is to re-read something with the perspective of being older.  I don’t know if, back in high school, I could have appreciated Faulkner’s writing style and his ability to give the reader such a clear view of the personality of his characters.

Faulkner touches on the themes of change and death in “A Rose for Emily,” particularly as he shows how Emily and many people in the southern states resisted change after the Civil War.  Miss Emily wants to continue to live in a time when her family was part of the upper class and tries to do that by shutting herself inside, as reconstruction and northern influences surround her.  Faulkner also shows how she struggles to control the circumstances of death and decay, which play into the surprise ending, tying what seems to be just a descriptive detail into the final evidence of what she’s done.

If you have a few minutes to sit and relax, this short story is the perfect way to get a quick taste of Faulkner’s high quality literature!

william faulkner
William Faulkner

William Faulkner (1897-1962) was an American writer from Oxford Mississippi and is considered one of the greatest writers of American literature.  He placed many of his short stories and novels in the fictional Yoknapatwpha County, based on his own experiences in Lafayette and Holly Springs/Marshall Counties.  In 1949, Faulkner received the Nobel Prize for Literature and received the Pulitzer Prize twice (1955 and 1963), for his novels A Fable and The Reivers.  In addition to these works, Faulkner is best known for his novels The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Light in August, and  Absalom, Absalom!  Faulkner also wrote poetry, essays, screenplays and two stage plays.

Thanks for visiting!  Come back soon.