Thank you for visiting Book Club Mom’s Friday Fiction. Below is Chapter 38 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 38 – “He’s Here Now”
It was dinner time when I got back to the house and I felt a bitter resentment in knowing that my comfortable after-work routine of rushing home to shower and head over to Jimmy’s house was forever broken. No longer would I feel the excitement of seeing the one person I thought I knew and loved, the one person who understood me. I still loved Jimmy, but nothing else was the same. I wanted to blame someone for the change, but there was no one. It was a lonely feeling, to not even have someone to blame for my problems. Could all this be no one’s fault, just a massive coming together of Jimmy and our family’s mess?
I was already in the middle of two crises, Jimmy’s breakdown and my own psychological imbalance and now I had, in one day, found my lost brother only to learn I would soon lose him again.
Mom was in the kitchen when I came through the door. “Jessie, I’m making dinner.” She paused. “Will you stay?” she asked nervously.
I had many thoughts to pull together and Mom was one of the pieces. I wasn’t ready to talk to her about anything that had happened the last three days. I didn’t think I could sit with her over dinner. What else could we talk about? And to my shock, when I looked at the table I saw three place settings.
“Mom, is someone else coming to dinner?”
Mom turned to look at me. Her mouth was tight and I could see then that she had a store of thoughts ready to come out. “Yes, your father called. He wants to see you. I didn’t want him to come over. I haven’t seen him since he left us, Jessica. I know he’s your father, but you can’t imagine how it felt to have my husband leave me like that. And then you reached out to him when you had this problem, not seeing that I was right here to help you. I don’t know what you thought he could do to fix things and frankly, I’m still reeling from the preposterous plan he devised to get Jimmy out of trouble. I don’t know what to make of any of it. No one even thought to consider my part. You’re my daughter, Jessica. You and Jimmy were coming unraveled. I was right here and you went all the way to New York for help.”
I wasn’t ready for this. “Mom,” I started, “I need more time to figure this all out. I’m worried about Jimmy even though I know the doctors are taking care of him. I don’t know where that puts me or even if I want to be part of his life. I know you’re hurt, but I can hardly think straight, let alone think about you. I’m sorry if that sounds hard, but I’m so tired. I don’t even want to see Dad tonight.”
I stopped. Words were coming out of nowhere, too soon. I was afraid I would say something about Stevie, so I switched the subject.
“And before you ask, yes I am up to date on my pills. I know I need to take care of myself so I want you to stop checking on me.”
Mom had turned her back to me as I talked. I don’t know if she was trying to avoid a big discussion or if she was just preparing the next thing to say.
“Okay, Jessica,” I will give you time. But in exchange for that, I expect you to stay here for dinner and talk to your father. He’s coming here to see you, not me. I don’t have the slightest interest in seeing him, yet here I am, making the three of us a meal, for us to sit together and eat at our same kitchen table from back when we were all together. You talk about hard and about being tired, do you have any idea how I feel?”
I felt trapped. There was nothing I could do about Dad coming to dinner. I couldn’t imagine the three of us sitting together at the kitchen table. I wondered why Mom even agreed to the plan. “What time is Dad getting here?” I asked.
Mom looked out the window over the sink. “He’s here 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”
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”
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