Friday Fiction – Jessica Ch 38 “He’s Here Now”

Friday Fiction

Jessica

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”

© 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 37 “I’m Not Going Anywhere”

Friday Fiction

Jessica

Thank you for visiting Book Club Mom’s Friday Fiction. Below is Chapter 37 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 37 – “I’m Not Going Anywhere”

I drove to Stevie’s house the next afternoon at 4:30. Millie had agreed to give me the breakfast and lunch shifts again, this one time, but tomorrow I would have to work lunch and dinner.

Stevie was expecting me this time and he came to the door before I had even gotten out of my car. He looked a little better. He had shaven and his hair was shorter and clean. His eyes met mine in a tired, but glad kind of way.

“You look better today, Stevie,” I told him.

“Thanks. And thanks for coming back today. I know I must have scared you yesterday, but you surprised me so much by coming here. I didn’t know what to say to you, Jes.” Stevie opened the door wider and stepped back so I could go inside. His hand stayed on the door frame and even though I tried not to notice, I was sure he was doing that to hold himself steady.

The house was dirty and run-down, but I could tell someone had straightened up for my visit. We walked into the living room and I was shocked to see a hospital bed in the middle of the room.

“Sit down, Jes. I have something to tell you.”

I sat on the couch. I was so alarmed to see the bed in the room, I wanted to ask him about it right away, but I knew the reasons would come.

“I’m sick, Jessie. I have bone cancer and they can’t fix me. I didn’t want you to know. I don’t know why, except maybe it was because I was such a jerk to you and Mom and even Dad, I didn’t think I deserved to get your sympathy. I was having a really bad day yesterday and I couldn’t let you in. If you had seen the house, you would not have understood and I knew once you came in here, I’d have to tell you.”

I didn’t know what to say. I sat looking at my brother. He looked so unlike anything I imagined him to look like after leaving us five years ago, I couldn’t put the picture of him here and his name together.

“Why are you living here, though?” I finally asked. “There must be a better place for you to stay.”

“I have zero money, Jessie. I’m living here because a friend of mine from high school owns the house and is letting me stay here as long as I need to. You remember Stu?” he asked.

“What? Stu? He’s the person who is letting you stay here?” I couldn’t believe what Stevie was telling me.

“Yeah, he and his brothers have been helping me out. I could drive up until recently, but now I can’t even do that. They bring me food and come here to check on me.”

“Stevie, Stu’s brother, Jimmy. He’s my boyfriend. He’s been helping you? Why wouldn’t he have told me that?”

“I didn’t know Jimmy was your boyfriend, but Stu and Gene and Jimmy, they promised not to tell anyone. He never told me about you, I swear.”

It didn’t make sense to me, but I knew I couldn’t make sense of anything Jimmy had told me.

“But the rocks, Stevie. What do they mean?”

“Oh, those,” he smiled. “Just my way of telling them how I felt that day. The more rocks, the better my day. I think Stu used to do the same thing at his house, to tell his brothers how I was.”

“I need to rest now, but stay here for a little bit.” Stevie grimaced as he shifted himself on the couch. I wondered if he wanted to get into the hospital bed. The thought made me nervous. I didn’t want to see him struggle to get on the bed and I was embarrassed about trying to help him. Stevie saw me looking at the bed and he smiled.

“Oh, the bed. Ignore that for now, Jes. I don’t like to get in the bed unless I really have to.” Stevie looked and sounded like a completely different person. Not the bitter and argumentative brother I once knew. I didn’t know him as a sick person. I wondered if being sick took that out of him. I thought if it had, it was a dirty trick because surely Stevie would have figured things out and come back to us without getting cancer.

“I made a pot of tea and it’s sitting on the kitchen table, next to some mugs. If you bring them in, we can talk and you can tell me all about this boyfriend of yours.”

We sat in Stevie’s living room and drank our tea and I told him about Jimmy and his breakdown.

“That’s rough, Jes. And how are you doing?” he asked.

That’s when I told him about my own problems coping and about my medication. Stevie listened quietly. I wanted to ask him if he’d ever felt that way and what he did about it. I thought about the years we wasted. “A lot has happened since our family split, Stevie.”

Stevie nodded, drank the last of his tea and put his mug down on the coffee table. “None of it good, Jes,” he answered. “But we have today and that’s something.”

He was fading. I hoped he was just tired from today. I didn’t think he’d want me to notice. “Well, I’d better get going. Is there anything you need?” I wondered if he was going to ask me to help him get into the bed after all.

“I’m fine for now. Stu’s coming by later and he’ll help me with dinner and get me set up for the night, but thanks. I won’t get up, but you can find your way out. Make sure you turn around in the yard again so you can pull out safely.” Stevie was thinking about me, taking care of me, in a way.

“I’m going to come by again tomorrow, Stevie,” I told him. “I have something to ask you.”

“Okay, Jes. I’m not going anywhere.”

“Good,” I answered. “See you tomorrow.” I wondered if we were talking about Stevie dying. I hoped not.

I got in my car and turned around in the yard and headed back on the driveway. This time, I looked for rocks, but I saw nothing.

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”

© 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 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 35 “It’s a Dead Yard”

Friday Fiction

Jessica

Thank you for visiting Book Club Mom’s Friday Fiction. Below is Chapter 35 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 35 – “It’s a Dead Yard”

I saw Mom’s note in the kitchen the next morning. Please take your prescription. I will call you later. I stiffened at the reminder. “She can’t tell me what to do,” I told myself and sighed with frustration. I had already taken my pills and I wanted credit for the decision. I knew I needed a clear mind to find the house with the car port and the rocks and learn what they meant. I also needed to get through my work shift without Millie thinking I couldn’t handle my job. I knew at least I was making sense, even if everything around me was muddled.

I jumped in my car, determined to find answers before I went to work. I felt sure of myself as I backed out of our driveway, and my spirits lifted. I had no plan, but I was sure I would know what to do when I got to the house with the car port. Minutes later I turned up the long and narrow gravel driveway. My tires crunched the stones and announced my arrival.

The old house was set back in the yard. It looked bad and uncared for from the road, but it looked worse up close. I parked directly behind the brown sedan with the duct tape on the side mirror. What about the rocks? I had forgotten to look and I turned my head back to see, but if there had been any, they were too far away.

The grass was patchy and the yard was littered with junk, left and forgotten for how long? A rusty metal bucket sat on its side next to a tree. A broom with only half the bristles lay on the ground, the remaining bristles bent and useless. What must have once been a flower bed was loaded with tall, overgrown weeds. The bushes were wild, and an aggressive vine had overtaken the front shutters.

As I turned off the ignition, I saw a figure look at me through the front window. I felt a trickle of sweat run down my back. What was I doing? I tried to balance my resolve with caution. How strange and scraggly the man in the car had been! Was this a mistake? This person could hurt me, I realized stupidly, and I shivered to finally understand what should have been obvious.

I got out of the car and headed to the house, driven by my need for answers. The door opened before I had a chance to ring the doorbell. I recognized the face right away as the same face I had seen in the taped up-side mirror of the brown sedan. But there was something else in his eyes. I stood and looked at him with my mouth hanging open.

“Stevie?” I croaked.

“What the hell, Jes, what are you doing here?” he asked.

“What is going on, Stevie? This is you living here, driving that car? You’re living a mile and a half from Mom and me? You’re living in this beat-up house? What the hell is going on here?”

“You shouldn’t have come here, Jes. I didn’t want you to find me living here.”

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Why was Stevie living here? I thought he wanted to get away from Mom and me, from our town. I thought anything except this.

“Stevie…” I didn’t know what to say. My feet were frozen at the door, but I wanted to get in that house, to see something, anything that would explain.

“You can’t come inside, Jes. I’m not going to talk to you. You never should have come here. Just because I’m living close to you and Mom doesn’t mean I ever wanted to see you. You don’t understand, but I’m not going to explain it to you.”

I had to think of something to say. Stevie had been gone four years and as I looked at him I couldn’t decide if he looked older than twenty-one, or younger than that because there was something childlike and needy in the way he stood. He was terribly thin and pale. His hair was dirty and stringy and his clothes were old and worn. He looked beaten, I thought, like the four years had wrung him out and left him to live in this disgusting place. But when I looked in his eyes, I saw a shaky fear. I saw eyes that were lonely, I thought, eyes that were part of a face that had always been misunderstood. And in this scared, lonely and defiant face I saw my lost brother. Stevie was an angry, trouble-making kid when he left us and now he was worse off than Mom and me. I wanted to ask him what it was that really made him leave us. And what it was that put him in the place he was now. I didn’t have the courage.

Instead I said, “Stevie, you don’t have to let me in, but I have to ask you something and it isn’t about you or your life. It’s about my life, which is falling apart right now because everything is all messed up and I don’t understand half of what has happened in the last couple days. I know you must know something that could help me because my boyfriend Jimmy told me about you but I didn’t know it was you, Stevie. And I saw his truck over here one day and those rocks, you have to help me know what it all means or I will go crazy Stevie. I’m already half-crazy. You have to help me.”

“Jes, I don’t know a damn thing about your boyfriend and, if his truck was over here, well lots of people come and go from here and I don’t know who half of them are. I’m telling you the truth, but I don’t have anything left to tell you.”

Stevie had started to sweat and he looked even weaker and paler, like he was going to fall down from standing up too long. And then I thought there was something more to Stevie I didn’t know.

“Are you okay, Stevie?” I asked. Stevie’s eyes widened and he tilted his head. He reached for the side of the door frame and crumbled as he slid down and sat.

“What is it?” I cried. Of all that could have happened to me after I turned up his driveway, I never could have imagined I’d be watching my brother collapse in an exhausted and sick heap.

As soon as I called out, he raised his arm and stretched it out with his palm facing me. “I’m fine, Jes. I’m just tired. Now please go. I can’t talk to you like this.”

“Like, what, Stevie? What is this? Tell me what’s going on with you. Are you sick or something?”

“Look, I wasn’t expecting you to come here and I’m not feeling well. You can tell that much just by looking at me, so please go.”

I gave in. I knew he wasn’t going to let me into the house. “Okay, Stevie, but I’m coming back tomorrow to check on you.” I felt both tenderness and alarm for my brother, when, up until that moment I had felt only anger. I reached down and touched his shoulder. It felt like the bones of an old man and I wondered how frail the rest of his body was. “Okay?” I asked.

“Come at 4:00. I’ll be better by then.” I walked over to my car and turned the key in the ignition and he called out to me, “Go ahead and turn around in the yard, Jes. It’s all dead and you’ll never get out of here backing out.”

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”

© 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 34 “The Car-Port House”

Friday Fiction

Jessica

Thank you for visiting Book Club Mom’s Friday Fiction. Below is Chapter 34 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 34 – “The Car-Port House”

I needed to see Jimmy. I didn’t think I had heard the whole story. It couldn’t be true. I had to see Jimmy to understand. I couldn’t believe that Jimmy would have told me stories all these months about fake robberies. I didn’t want to believe any of what he told me.

First Dad told me that Jimmy had been so upset and confused after he came out of the office building that Dad had trouble talking to him and explaining to him that no one had shown up. Jimmy yelled at Dad that Stu had set him up. “They’re going to arrest me for breaking in and Stu’s nowhere in sight!” he cried. Dad still thought there was really going to be a break-in. He didn’t know what to think.

It was a long ride from Philly to Jimmy’s house and by the time they got there, Dad was sure there was something wrong with Jimmy. Jimmy screamed and moaned during the ride home, blaming Stu, yelling at himself for getting mixed up in the whole thing, and finally falling asleep. Dad called me just after they arrived at Jimmy’s house. Jimmy seemed calm to Dad then and after Dad and I hung up, the two of them sat at Jimmy’s kitchen table, Jimmy’s head hanging so low it almost touched the table, neither one speaking. I thought about the picture of Jimmy’s mother, sitting on the counter and I wondered if somehow her image could have taken in what had happened. Dad tried to fix him something to eat, to get him to have a drink of water. Jimmy refused.

Stu walked into the house at 4:00 a.m. and he was so relieved to see Jimmy sitting there that he burst into tears. “I was looking all over for you Jimmy,” he’d told him. “I couldn’t imagine where you had gone. I tried Jessie’s house, I tried your boss. Where were you Jimmy? I was so worried! I’m so glad you’re safe!”

Jimmy’s head snapped up when he heard his brother’s voice. He jumped up from his chair and his face was full of rage. He walked up to Stu and swung at him, hitting Stu in the eye. Stu was bigger, but Jimmy was full of an intense anger. Dad told me that Stu tried to grab his brother, but Jimmy pulled out of his grip. He ran to the corner of the kitchen and grabbed a knife from the drawer. Dad and Stu called out to Jimmy, “Put it down, Jimmy,” but Jimmy had a crazy look in his face. Jimmy was crying, sobbing and he yelled, “You let me down, Stu! You were supposed to be there for me, but you let me down. You left me there all by myself. How was I supposed to know what to do, Stu? How was I? How, Stu, How?”

Stu did not understand. Dad had not explained to Stu about their night in Philly and the staged break-in. He did not know yet that it was all a story that had only existed in Jimmy’s head. They argued and Jimmy stood there with the knife in his hand, when Dad told me that suddenly Jimmy grew quiet and he had a strange, almost peaceful look on his face.

“You let me down, Stu,” he said and then Jimmy took the knife to his wrist and cut a notch to the inside of his arm. Dad said that Stu called out, “No Jimmy!” and flew across the kitchen and pulled the knife away from Jimmy before he could make any more cuts. He grabbed a towel and wrapped it tightly around Jimmy’s arm and said to Dad, “Take us to the hospital.”

Dad drove Stu and Jimmy to the Springs County Hospital and when they patched up the cut on Jimmy’s arm, the doctor led him to a private room where he talked to Jimmy alone. It was then that Dad and Stu talked for the first time about Jimmy and what had happened in Philadelphia and Stu tried to make sense of the story. Stu insisted there had been no robberies. He told Dad that Jimmy had always been the one to make up stories, to explain his behavior. This time, because Jimmy had tried to hurt himself, the doctors kept him at the hospital overnight.

Dad explained all of this to me, but nothing made sense. My head was reeling from my own doctor’s visit and my night waiting for Dad and Jimmy to call. Dr. Hutchins talked me into taking the next dose of my medication and, even though I hadn’t wanted to take it, I was feeling like I could understand things better.

“Mom,” I said. “Can you take me to see Jimmy?”

I don’t think Mom wanted me to see Jimmy right away. She never liked him and this was another excellent reason to keep us apart.

“Why don’t you let him settle down before you see him, Jessica?” she suggested. So we went home and Mom insisted I take the day off from work. “I’ll call Millie for you, Jessica. You go lie down.”

I told Mom I wasn’t tired. I didn’t want her to be right, but the truth was I was exhausted. I lay on my bed and closed my eyes. My brain was a jumble of all the things that had happened and all that Mom and Dad and Dr. Hutchins had told me. Nothing made sense. I tried to sort out the pieces, why Jimmy would make up a story. How was it that Stu was a completely different person than the one I thought he was? Why didn’t Jimmy tell me the truth? There were so many questions that didn’t have answers.

And then I thought of the stacked rocks and the strange guy in the beat-up brown sedan. I knew Jimmy hadn’t made him up because I had seen him. He hadn’t made up the rocks either because I had seen those too and I had seen how they changed over the days. A signal, Jimmy had told me. A signal that it was all clear to drop off the things they stole. It didn’t make sense! And I had seen the rocks at this person’s house. I wanted to know who that person was and the more I thought about it, the more sure I was that this person would be able to answer my questions.

I fell asleep and slept for four hours. Mom was in the kitchen cooking dinner when I woke up. She must have taken the whole day off from work to take me to the doctor’s office and then to stay with me while I slept. Maybe she didn’t trust me. I knew myself that I was going to try to see Jimmy as soon as possible. I was going to ask Jimmy about this strange person and as soon as I could I would drive over to the house with the beat up sedan under the car port to see what I could see.

“Don’t do anything until tomorrow, Jessica,” Mom warned me. She had spoken before I’d even said a word and it bothered me that she had read my mind. “Give Jimmy a chance to rest, okay? And maybe you should talk to Stu first anyway, Jessica. He might be able to tell you things that Jimmy can’t.”

I knew Mom thought Jimmy wasn’t ready to talk to me. It might have been true. But I mostly thought that Mom wanted to keep him away from me. I don’t think she trusted me to take my medication and she was right. “And Jessica, you need to take your medication again before you go to bed.” I hadn’t decided what I was going to do about my prescription! I had only taken the last dose to get Mom and Dr. Hutchins off my back so I could find out more about Jimmy. Now I could see that Mom was going to watch me closely so to be sure I stayed on schedule.

“Mom!” I yelled, trying to shake the sleepiness from my head. “I’m fine and if I decide I don’t need my next dose, you’re going to have to deal with it. I told Dr. Hutchins those pills make me feel dead inside. She said she’s going to try to find different ones for me. Besides, I don’t want to be in that dead kind of fog when I see Jimmy. And I’m going to see him tomorrow, Mom, whether you think it’s a good idea or not.”

Mom didn’t know about the rocks or about the guy. Maybe Jimmy and I were the only ones who knew. Maybe Jimmy wasn’t telling a complete lie. There was something more to this.

I called the diner the next morning and Millie had put me on just the dinner shift again. “Okay, Millie. That’s fine for today, but can you put me back to the breakfast and lunch shifts tomorrow? You know I want more hours than that and I feel fine now. I need the money.”

Millie didn’t want to agree to anything. She gave me that uncomfortable feeling like she was doing it for my own good. I didn’t like her watching over me, like Mom.   But at least it gave me time to drive past the car-port house.

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”

© 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 33 “Truth and Lies”

Friday Fiction

Jessica

Thank you for visiting Book Club Mom’s Friday Fiction. Below is Chapter 33 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 33 – “Truth and Lies”

I went into see Dr. Hutchins the next morning. I didn’t want to go. I wanted to talk to Dad and to Jimmy and I had to work the dinner shift that night. Millie had cut my hours to only one shift. She had told me it was because they weren’t busy enough to have that many waitresses working, but I was sure it was because she didn’t think I could handle the busy morning and lunch shifts. I didn’t like not having as many hours because I was still saving my money to make my escape.

Mom insisted she drive me to my doctor’s appointment and she made a big deal out of helping me get buckled into my seat before we left. It was like she wanted to keep me strapped into a sort of life that I didn’t want. I kept saying to her, “I’ve got it, Mom. Stop. I can do this,” but the truth was I was a little bit unsure of my steps and I guess it showed.

We got to Dr. Hutchins’ office and Mom and I sat in the waiting area. I kept telling Mom I needed to call Jimmy and I kept asking her if Dad had called me and Mom, she answered with words, but she never did give me a straight answer. I knew she was spinning an answer for me and maybe she thought my head wasn’t clear enough to notice, but my medicine had been working its magic on me and I could hear her just fine.

“Well, as soon as we get out of here, I’m calling both of them. Dad called me after you went to bed and I told him I’d talk to him this morning.”

Dr. Hutchins came out of her office and told me she was ready to see me. Mom stood up and started walking with me to the office and I started to panic like they were planning to descend upon me and force me into more medication or lecture me on the tricky task of balancing a person’s mental health. I did not want Mom in the room with us and I thought it was my legal right to refuse, but then I wasn’t sure, being only nineteen and not twenty-one. My thoughts were getting cloudy again.

“Mom, I can handle this by myself,” I told her. “I don’t want you in there with me.”

Mom looked worried and unsure, but Dr. Hutchins said it would be alright. Would be alright. What did that even mean? Why wouldn’t it be?

I sat in one of Dr. Hutchins’ comfortable swivel chairs. Dr. Hutchins sat in the same kind of chair across from me, like we were about to have a nice friendly chat.

After she asked me how I was feeling, which I answered fine, she started to talk to me about how important it was for me to take my medicine consistently because otherwise it wasn’t going to work. She warned me that the prescription’s efficacy would drop every day that I didn’t take it.

“Dr. Hutchins, you don’t know what it feels like to take those pills. I don’t even feel like myself when I do. Nothing tastes good, nothing feels good, everything just feels blah. I can’t live like that.”

“Your mom called me this morning and she mentioned that you are anxious to talk to your Dad and to Jimmy. She doesn’t understand what you are talking about and she thinks you are making up the story about your father calling you. Why don’t you explain to me what’s been going on?”

I liked Dr. Hutchins because I think she believed me and I knew Mom thought I had just been babbling about Dad and Jimmy. At least she was giving me a chance to tell her Jimmy’s story, but there were so many things I didn’t know at that point.

I told her all about the break-in and about Jimmy and Stu and Dad helping get Jimmy out of trouble. She didn’t take notes, she just listened and sometimes she asked me a question. And when I was finished, Dr. Hutchins put down her pad and pen on the glass table between us and took off her glasses.

Finally she opened her mouth and then I was glad I had taken my medication because I could tell she was about to tell me something important and I didn’t seem to have any trouble lining up her mouth with her words. But what she told me next made no sense to me and she had to explain it to me three times before I began to believe it might be true.

Mom tried to call Dad that morning, after I had insisted for about the tenth time that he had called me at 3:00 in the night. She tried his office in Manhattan and sure enough, his secretary told her he was at the Philadelphia office. I could have told her that, but she wouldn’t listen. Dad wasn’t surprised when she called him in Philly, but he refused to tell her anything more.

“If you’d been in touch with Jessica more often than once every seven years,” Mom told him, “you would know that she is very unstable and is under a doctor’s care.”

Dr. Hutchins told me that as soon as Mom told Dad about my condition he said he had to go and he hung up.

“That’s when your father called my office, Jessie. He asked about you and I told him a little bit about your medication, but now this is the part I’ve decided to tell you. I know you are waiting to talk to your father, but I’m going to break some rules and tell you that Jimmy is in the hospital and he’s undergoing psychiatric evaluation.”

“No!” I screamed. “Dad called me in the night and told me that everything was fine, that Jimmy was home and that he was safe. I don’t understand.”

Dr. Hutchins picked up her phone, and dialed. “Here,” she said and she handed me the receiver. “It’s your dad.”

That’s when Dad told me about Jimmy, that there was no break-in, that Jimmy had made it all up, the Philly break-in, the robbery ring that Stu had supposedly been involved with. It was all a story and he had pulled me into it, and I believed it all. Every single word. And the worst part was that Jimmy hadn’t been trying to trick me, he believed it himself. Even that first time, where he supposedly stole equipment from his boss’ client. All a lie.

He told me that once he got Jimmy in his car in Philly, Jimmy fell apart. “I didn’t know what to do, Jessie. I knew this boy was something important to you, but I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t know if I could trust his brother Stu and in fact every time I mentioned Stu’s name, Jimmy would just wail. I was afraid for him. By the time we got back to his house, Jimmy was no better, he was worse, in fact, and I knew I couldn’t leave him. That’s when I called you, Jessie. I called you because I knew you were waiting to hear from me, but I didn’t know what to tell you so I said nothing.”

“I didn’t know about you either, Jessie, that you’ve had some problems, otherwise I wouldn’t have handled it this way. I never would have helped you stage a break-in like that.”

I made up a lie about my session being over and I told Dad I had to get off the phone then I hung up and said to Dr. Hutchins, “Where is Jimmy? I want to see him.”

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”

© 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 32 “Sorting It Out”

Friday FictionJessica

Thank you for visiting Book Club Mom’s Friday Fiction. Below is Chapter 32 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 32 – “Sorting It Out”

I hung up with Dad, feeling crazy with no answers. Now my mind was beginning to unravel. As if the situation with Jimmy wasn’t enough. I also had to sort out a big mess with Mom and Dr. Hutchins.

I’d been sitting and waiting in the same chair in my room all night when I heard Mom coming home from her weekend trip. I jumped when she stuck her head in my room. It was dark, but I could see what looked to be a surprised expression on her face and I couldn’t understand why she would feel that way since my car was in the driveway and she knew I was home, but I guess I hadn’t moved from the chair since Jimmy left and there were no lights on in the house. Mom was looking at me with an alarmed kind of face and I could see her mouth moving and then a few seconds later the words would come out. I had trouble connecting the words to the movement of her face and all that time I was thinking, wow, it must be crazy trying to read lips, yet that’s what I was doing because the sounds Mom was making weren’t making any kind of sense to me.

I think I remember hearing Mom say, “Jessica, are you alright?” But I guess I didn’t answer her because then I could see her shape coming towards me from the door in my room and her figure suddenly looked like a huge shadow because she was right behind what I was thinking for the first time was a searchlight in the hall, and with no lights on in my room everything about her looked dark and massive. It scared me, that giant shadow because it didn’t make sense, seeing it coming towards me. I must have screamed, because the shadow seemed to jump backwards and then I heard Mom’s voice again, but still the words didn’t make sense.

The shadow left my room. I leaned back in my chair again, and I put my hand on the phone that was on the table next to my chair, lifting it up, checking to make sure it still worked, checking the base to make sure I hadn’t missed a call. Then I looked at the digital clock next to my bed and tried to read the numbers on it. Inside my head I thought, how weird that the numbers I was looking at were so hard to read because I remember buying that clock with the huge numbers to help me see them when I wasn’t wearing my contact lenses. I was sitting there studying the numbers. I had narrowed it down to either 11:00 pm, which made some sense to me, but something was tricking me and then the clock looked like 1:10, but was that am or pm? I didn’t know. As I thought about those numbers, there was a noise at the door again but this time there was no shadow because Mom had turned on the light in my room.

Mom was carrying a cup of water and my pill bottle. I remember thinking, “God, she has no right to go get my pills,” and I was getting ready to tell her just that, but Mom spoke first and this time her words were coming out very slowly, like she had figured out how to keep her mouth and voice connected and I thought to myself how strange, I’d never known that the person talking would have to concentrate on something as complicated as that. And I wondered how on earth I knew how to do that since I’d never even thought of doing something like that until right then.

Mom sat on my bed, which was weird too because when she sat all I could think about was how ridiculous it was that she was sitting on the bed where Jimmy and I had just made love. Then I started thinking about Jimmy and me clinging to each other on that bed and a certain clarity returned to me, and then it didn’t matter what time it was or what Mom was saying because the new thought in my head was Jimmy and his warm body next to mine and that’s what made me smile.

“Jessica, you are not taking your prescription. You need to take one of your pills now. Can you tell how disconnected you are? Do you even know where you are?”

Bam! Mom’s words were pulling me away from the nice warm thoughts of Jimmy and me and I yelled at her. “I don’t need any pills, Mom. All I need is Jimmy and I’m sitting here waiting to hear from him. He’s going to be calling me any minute now.”

“Jessica, I’m going to have to insist that you take one of these, or I’m going to call Dr. Hutchins right now and she’s going to agree with me and make you get back on your medication.”

“But Mom,” I yelled. “You don’t get it! I hate those pills. You can’t make me take one. Jimmy’s going to call me soon and if he doesn’t call me Dad’s going to let me know that everything is okay, that it all went okay, that Jimmy is safe.”

“What are you talking about, Jessica?” Mom was yelling at me and her words weren’t matching her mouth again. Think about Jimmy, I thought. If I think about Jimmy, maybe I’ll be able to understand what Mom is saying. “What does your father have to do with any of this?”

Mom walked over to the phone and I felt my hand jump over to the receiver and grab it before she could put her hand on it. “No, you can’t use the phone. I’m waiting for Jimmy!” I yelled.

But Mom pulled the phone away from me and then I heard her talking, talking to someone about Dr. Hutchins and then she hung up. “Mom, I’m not going to take that medicine. There’s no way you can force me to.”

The phone rang a few minutes later and Mom grabbed it before I got to it and I heard her talking in a quiet but tense way, like she was trying really hard not to be loud even though the force of her words was adding volume to the sounds. And then she handed me the phone and told me Dr. Hutchins was on the line.

I didn’t want to talk to my doctor and I hated that Mom was making me talk right then, after sitting in the dark all those hours, not during my regular appointment where I had the time to think up the correct answers and phrases ahead of time. I squeaked out a hello on the phone and I heard Dr. Hutchins asking me how I was, how I was feeling. I wondered if she was taking notes on a big pad at the other end of the phone line, if she was writing something down that would later be transcribed into a memo that would go into my file. Saying something like, “confused, disoriented, belligerent.” What the hell did doctors mean using words like belligerent anyway? Who wouldn’t be ready for a fight when their mother blasts into their room and is trying to force them to swallow a pill that does the opposite of what it’s supposed to do, making me lose the person where I can find the one major and solid part of my life?

“Jes,” she started. At least she called me by the name I liked. I started thinking about that and then I couldn’t decide whether she was doing that to pretend to understand me or if that she really did respect me.

“I want you to listen to me. I can tell you have been off your medicine for a few days. I can hear it in your voice. I know you don’t like taking them, but I want you to try to think about taking just one pill, to bring you back a little bit so we can talk about what isn’t working with the medicine and everything else that’s going on in your life. One pill. Can you take one and then tomorrow come and see me and we’ll talk about what to do?”

I felt like she was tricking me. “I don’t know. I have to wait for Jimmy to call me. I don’t need a pill to talk to him. And Dad, he’s supposed to call me too.” Again, I had mentioned Dad and I remembered that Mom probably didn’t understand what I was saying.

“Take one pill and I promise you I won’t ask you to take anything more until you and I talk it over.”

“Jessica, please.” I heard Mom say from her spot next to me and I wondered how on earth Mom could know what Dr. Hutchins was saying since we couldn’t see her face and it was my ear that was connected to the phone, not Mom’s.

I don’t know what made me say okay. Part of the reason I didn’t want to say so was because I couldn’t stand to see the whooshing relief rushing through Mom and changing her whole figure into something that looked a little more like Mom. Or hear Dr. Hutchins say, “Well that’s good” even though I didn’t have to see her face.

But I gave in and I put the phone down and Mom brought me the cup of water and the pill and she watched me swallow it and look at her like I was supposed to get praise for being a good girl or something.

Mom left the room so I could get some sleep, but I knew I wasn’t going to rest until Dad or Jimmy called. And after Dad called, I lay on my back and stared into the black space above me, my mind racing with questions.

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”

© 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 31 “I’ll Call You When It’s Over”

Friday FictionJessica

Thank you for visiting Book Club Mom’s Friday Fiction. Below is Chapter 31 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 31 – “I’ll Call You When It’s Over”

On Saturday, I tried to warn Jimmy about Stu, but Jimmy was already so nervous about the robbery on Sunday that he wouldn’t listen. “I already know Stu can’t be trusted,” he told me. “I don’t care about him and any new schemes he’s got. I just want to be finished.” We were standing in Jimmy’s kitchen and his hands shook as he wrote something on a pad. “Here,” he said, tearing off the sheet and handing it to me. “Hold onto this. It’s the combination to the safe I have and directions where to find it. If I get arrested, use the money that’s in there to get me out.” I was trembling, but I kept telling Jimmy to relax. He was getting fired up, talking non-stop, worrying out loud, and running through a list of things that could go wrong. I’d told him that Dad and the police had it all figured out, but now my own thoughts were beginning to muddle. All I could think of to say was not to worry and I said it again and again. I don’t think Jimmy was listening.

Dad told me I couldn’t go down to Philly. He told me to stay home and he promised to call as soon as everything was taken care of. I didn’t like his plan. I had thought I’d be there the whole time with Dad, making sure Jimmy was protected. “Look Jessy, you came to me and I went to the police. It’s out of your hands now. Your job is to wait at home. I will call you when it’s over.”

The plan was for Jimmy to head down to the city at 11:00 pm with Stu, Gene and their friend. Dad’s office was on the twelfth floor at 16th and Market. Two weeks earlier, he had arranged for Jimmy to get a temp job there and Jimmy had learned the ins and outs of the building. Dad gave him an extra key card to enter the building after hours.

On Sunday, Jimmy picked me up at noon and we took his truck up to St. Peter’s Village. We climbed onto the rocks and sat, watching the water rush past us. The day was perfect for everyone except us. The sun was warm on our faces and the water swished over the rocks, making them sparkle. White fluffy clouds drifted in a beautiful blue sky. If only we could enjoy ourselves. If only we could do this tomorrow when it was all over.

I was nervous too. I wanted it to be over. I wanted Jimmy to be cleared. I wanted to hear Dad tell me everything was alright. It had been five days since my last medication. That was the longest I’d gone since I’d been seeing a doctor. I looked over at Jimmy and I couldn’t tell if he was shaky too, or if it was just me. He was babbling, I thought. Or maybe I wasn’t listening carefully enough to follow him.

I centered my eyes on him, my trick to look like I was paying close attention. I don’t think Jimmy noticed, but I heard him say, “Jes, I don’t think I can go through with this. I mean, now Stu wants me to go there separately, says he and Gene and the other guy are going to meet me there. What’s that about? I don’t want to do that. He thinks it’s safer for me to go in first. I feel like he’s setting me up, like they’re not going to show or something. Like I’m going to get caught and Stu’s going to be sitting at home and laughing his ass off at his stupid little brother.”

“Jimmy, what are you saying?” I was so confused. I hadn’t heard this new plan and I was worried that Dad wouldn’t know about it.

“Haven’t you been listening to me Jessie? I’m saying that this whole shitty plan is changing by the minute and Stu’s telling me I’m the one who has to go in there. I don’t want to do it, Jes!”

Jimmy drove me home and we sat in his truck in front of my house. I told him that Dad was going to call me when it was all over. I felt like we had both been talking to different people the whole afternoon. I looked at Jimmy and his eyes were wild and I focused fiercely on those brown eyes thinking I’d get a sign from him that everything would be okay.

“Come here,” he said and he pulled me across the front seat. And then his lips were on mine and I felt the fire between us that had been missing, the heat that gave me ground. Jimmy’s words were still spinning in my head, but my body was still, my mouth on his, our bodies pressed. We were holding tight to each other and it gave me strength.

“Is anyone home?” he asked me. His voice was hoarse, his eyes were still fierce, needy. “No,” I answered. “Mom’s away until tonight.” We went into the house and closed the door and Jimmy pushed me against the wall. His arms pulled me to him and I couldn’t move my mind and my body fast enough, to feel his hands, to touch his body. We were the two of us, trying to grasp as much as we could get a hold of and I felt like Jimmy was doing just what I was trying to do, to feel this fire, to center ourselves, to confirm that everything was the way it should be.

We made love on my bed and we stayed there until the sun went down. It was dark when Jimmy got up. “I have to go,” he whispered. “I will call you tonight if I can. If I can’t I’ll call you in the morning as soon as I can.”

“Call me no matter what time it is, Jimmy. Call me. I’ll be waiting for you. I’ll come to your house if you want. Just call me.”

To understand what happened next is to pull yourself out of one story and step into an entirely different one, to take all the things you thought were true and real, and reverse them or erase them and to stand there in utter disbelief, running through what you thought were facts about yourself and about the people around you.

I couldn’t reach Dad before he’d headed down to Philly. I’d wanted to tell him about Jimmy going there alone. I was afraid of this new plan. I sat at home and waited in a numb and frozen state, not moving from the chair next to the bed in my room, the bed where Jimmy and I had just made love, the bed that had brought me back to a clarity and a reality that I felt I had a right to.

Jimmy went to Philly. Dad told me he had driven his truck right down to 17th and Market, had found a parking space right on the street, and had walked right up to Dad’s office building, used his key card and took the elevator right up to the 12th floor. Dad was watching and the police were waiting for Jimmy and his brothers to break the law.

Dad and the police waited two hours for Jimmy to come out. The police were positioned all around and inside the building and no one except Jimmy had entered. What was Jimmy doing in there? They all wondered.

At 1:30 in the morning, Jimmy shuffled tentatively out of the building, alone. Dad was sitting in a car near the entrance and Jimmy was crying, shouting loudly, and screaming “Stu, you were supposed to be here. You set me up. You set me up to get caught!”

Dad wanted to help, he said. He told me he wanted to help the boy his daughter loved. So he opened his car door and stepped out onto the sidewalk and called out to Jimmy.

Jimmy was so startled that he turned and screamed at Dad. The police, who were watching, jumped into action, afraid that Jimmy had a gun.

They came from all different directions and surrounded Jimmy and told him to get down on the sidewalk. They handcuffed him and frisked him and didn’t find a gun, but they kept him like that and by then Jimmy was sobbing, yelling things in between and telling them first he was so hot, and then that he was freezing cold.

I was sitting in the chair next to my bed while this was happening and I didn’t even know that the boy I loved had his face pressed against the concrete sidewalk and was telling everyone he was hot and cold at the same time.

Dad told me that the police got Jimmy on his feet and tried talking to him, but he couldn’t say anything that anyone could understand. Dad and the police were so surprised at the way things had unfolded and they had no idea what to do about Jimmy until Dad finally said, “Hey, this is my daughter’s boyfriend. I’ll take him home.” The police didn’t have any reason to arrest Jimmy since he hadn’t walked out with any computer equipment and his brothers and their buddy had never shown up.

The police un-handcuffed Jimmy, went back to their cars and drove away, leaving Jimmy crying and trembling. Dad helped Jimmy over to his car. Jimmy was sobbing and saying things that didn’t make sense. Dad guided Jimmy into the passenger seat, buckled him in, closed the door and together they made their way over to the Vine Street Expressway and onto the Schuykill and finally home to Jimmy’s house.

Dad called me at 3:00 am from Jimmy’s house.

“Jessie, Honey. I’ve got Jimmy here and it’s all over. He’s not feeling well, so I’m going to get him to bed. He’s not hurt, he’s safe and you don’t have to worry about the police. I’ll call you in the morning and explain everything.”

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?”                 

© 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 30 “What’s So Great About Balance?”

Friday Fiction

Jessica

Thank you for visiting Book Club Mom’s Friday Fiction. Below is Chapter 30 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 30 – “What’s So Great About Balance?”

I don’t know why I never told Jimmy I was on medication except that I was afraid he would think I was too shaky for him. But I think he probably would have understood this about me, maybe he would have loved me more because of it.

I couldn’t figure out why Stu was suddenly so worried about Jimmy. It didn’t make sense to me. Jimmy always acted like they stayed away from each other as much as possible, and this whole break-in connection, it wasn’t like they were buddies in it together, it was Stu putting pressure on Jimmy. These two parts of Stu were completely different.

I didn’t want Mom to know I had stopped taking my medicine. I was due at the doctor’s office next month, to go over my progress, to make sure I was on track. I hated those appointments. I always lied at them. Whose business is it what I think or believe? “Yes, my job is great,” I’d say. Or, “Jimmy and I are going to get married just as soon as we save enough money to get our own place.”

Then he’d ask about Mom and Dad and I’d say something like, “Mom, she’s great. We’re good friends and we spend a lot of time together, eat dinner out, just the two of us.” And then I’d talk about Dad. “Sure, I guess I missed having Dad around, but they didn’t get along. He needed to get away, I guess and I understand that. I’m good with that. Sometimes things just don’t work out.”

Then my doctor would ask me more about Dad, because I guess she thought this was probably the center of all my troubles. “Sure, I talk to him every week. He’s great. Always on some kind of adventure.” Or, “Oh yes, I’ll be going up to New Jersey next week to spend time with him. He’ll be working during the day, but I’m going to shop in the mornings and then meet him at his office for lunch. It’ll be great.”

I felt like I could say anything to her because I knew she couldn’t tell Mom. I was nineteen and an adult. Everything was confidential. I could paint the best picture for my doctor and no one would know the difference. And then the doctor would check off a bunch of milestones for me in my file, maybe adjust my medicine, reduce it. I didn’t even think I needed to go anymore.

I wouldn’t have even gone to those monthly appointments, being that I was an adult and my own responsibility, but Mom, even though she couldn’t know everything about my ‘condition,’ as she put it, she nagged me to go. And she kept track of when my appointments were, reminding me when they were coming up.

“Yes, Mom, I know,” I’d say. “Yes, I’m feeling good. I’ll go, but I don’t need to.” And then she’d ask me if I was taking my medication and I’d lie to her about that if I had skipped some days. The truth was, sometimes I did take the pills. On my shaky days, that’s what I called them. I never called them bad days. They weren’t really bad. I never felt bad when I didn’t take them. That’s the ironic thing. I usually felt worse when I took them. Like I was slow, like nothing was really funny or enjoyable. Just stable. Stable. That’s the word Mom liked to use. “Just take them to keep you stable, Jessica. Then you’ll be able to balance your life.”

Who wants to balance a boring life? I’d always think that and if I said that to Mom or to my doctor, they wouldn’t really have an answer. I guess Mom liked having a boring life. Maybe she’d had enough excitement with Dad jumping ship and Stevie leaving us. Maybe she liked that balance. And my doctor, well that was usually the point where she’d look down at the pad in her lap and say, “Hmmm” or something like that and then she’d casually write something down, pretending not to be urgent about it, like it was just something she’d remembered to get at the grocery store that night. Maybe she didn’t want to hurt my feelings, or alarm me, make me think that I still had big problems. That was her job, I guess. Play it down in the office, take a few notes while I was talking with her, then fill up my file with reports of concern. Recommend medication. Keep me off the fantasy path.

I didn’t just hate the medication because it made me too stable or too boring. The pills upset my stomach, made my mouth all dry, made me want Jimmy less. So when I knew I was going to see Jimmy, I’d skip a day. What harm could that do? I mean, here I was a physically healthy young person being told I needed to take these pills to keep me centered, but oh, by the way, there are a couple side effects, like your libido is going to drop.

Libido? What a stupid clinical word, I thought. At first I smirked a little when she said it, and she’d only said it in passing, like, yeah, these may make you tired sometimes. And I thought my doctor was young enough not to skim over that subject.

I thought that was the worst part. It was. But I didn’t want to talk about sex with my head doctor. What did she know anyway? The ironic thing was sex with Jimmy was the one thing that actually helped me. Made me feel centered, focused, in control. And wait, they were giving me medicine to take that away from me? The first time my doctor told me this, I just nodded like a bobble head. Yeah, I thought, right. And like a good girl I did start taking the pills regularly at first. I didn’t feel any different I thought, the first few days and I guess I had started to see my real life in better focus, God how I hated hearing that word. And mentally, I was still looking forward to seeing Jimmy, physically too I thought.

The first night we were together when I could feel the full effect of the loss of libido, I pretended there was nothing different. I acted through the whole thing and I thought, great. Now I’m acting like I’m having a good time. What kind of reality is that? Maybe Jimmy didn’t even notice, but I did. I wasn’t even interested.

I got home that night and cursed myself for taking my pills that day and I swore a promise to myself that I would just keep myself on track without losing the one piece of me, my life with Jimmy, without taking my pills.

I didn’t tell anyone I was skipping days. Whose business was it anyway and I didn’t think anyone would be able to tell. Jimmy didn’t know about the pills in the first place and if he had, he’d probably have been glad to get the old me back. But Mom, she must have been keeping track on the calendar. Checking to see when I’d need to get a refill. She was monitoring me. “Have you taken your medicine today, Jessica?” she’d ask. “Yes Mom,” I’d tell her, but then she’d say, “You seem to have a lot left in your prescription bottle. Are you sure you haven’t missed a day or two? You know you have to take them consistently to have them work.” Another word I hated, consistently.

So to beat the system, I consistently flushed the ones I didn’t take, got rid of them on schedule so Mom wouldn’t check my bottle and count the days.

The day Stu drove me home I had fought the feeling that Stu and Millie were naming as what was unique to my condition. I lay on my bed actually feeling good about myself. As I lay there and closed my eyes thinking that I knew better than anyone, that was when I started to remember Jimmy and my trip to see Dad and the big Philly break-in and I felt the anxiety creep into my body. I couldn’t figure out why Stu was acting this way, when he had a big illegal robbery just days away. Maybe it was a trick, to get me out of the way. But he didn’t even know I knew, or did he? I couldn’t remember what I’d told him exactly.

I closed my eyes. I’ll take a nap now, and then I’ll call Jimmy later and make sure he’s okay. I have to warn him about Stu, that Stu’s got some other scheme that’s going to confuse me.

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?”                             

© 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 26 “Who Asked for Help?”

Friday Fiction

Jessica

Thank you for visiting Book Club Mom’s Friday Fiction. Below is Chapter 26 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 26 – “Who Asked for Help?”

It was after 5:00 when I left Dad’s office. It took the better part of the afternoon for Dad to come up with a solution. I sat, feeling helpless and young while Dad made phone calls to his lawyer and asked him countless questions about how to get Jimmy out of Stu’s robbery ring. The balance had shifted between Dad and me. I had used him by asking him for help, but I’d had the right, I felt. Now I was in trouble and he had taken charge. It seemed too fast, for him to have all the control, but I had no choice.

It wasn’t a perfect solution, but it was the only way. If Jimmy set them up to break into Dad’s office in Philadelphia, with the police staking them out, Jimmy might have a chance at a lighter sentence. I had to talk Jimmy into trusting Dad and me.

I called Jimmy the next morning and told him I had some news and we met after work at his house. He said no one would be home and we could talk.

Jimmy grabbed a beer from the kitchen and we sat on the couch. He was shaky when he tilted his head back and took a long drink. I told him I had gone to see Dad.

“You what?” yelled Jimmy. He slammed his beer bottle down on the coffee table. The noise shook me and I was sure the bottle had broken. The force of his arm slamming the bottle down had a violent and careless motion to it and I wondered what would come next.

The night was already off-course. “What the fuck, Jes! Why would you go to him without telling me? You had no right to do that and now it’s like I don’t have a goddam choice except to do what he says. Did his lawyer already talked to the police? Why the fuck would you let him do that? And shit, Gene’s just as deep into this as I am and that’s Stu’s fault, not his. Gene’s only seventeen. I want this to all be on Stu, not on Gene or me.”

Jimmy finished his beer and grabbed a second one from the fridge. He twisted off the cap and threw it across the room.

“I don’t like it, Jes,” he said. “This is a crap plan! And our guy who takes all our stuff and unloads it, he’s not going to like it either.”

I didn’t care about the other guy, and I didn’t think it should matter.

“Well, why would he care where you go?” I asked. “It’s not like he’s going to have to deal with any of the stuff since the police will have caught you already.”

Jimmy was acting funny. “Well sometimes the other guy helps us if the job is big and I know Stu’s going to want him to help this time. He might not like it.”

I was getting frustrated. Jimmy was dragging his feet.

“Jimmy, I don’t care about that other guy. If we don’t get you out of this, you and I are always going to be stuck and who knows how long these break-ins can go on without you guys really getting caught without someone protecting you?” Nothing was going right.

“Jesus! Jes. Who says I ever wanted someone to protect me? Why the fuck did you go talk to your dad about me? I didn’t ask for your goddam help and how do you know you can even trust your dad? He fucking left you and he’s been gone all these years and you’re the one who looked for him and went to him. He wasn’t looking for a problem to solve.”

“But Jimmy, don’t you want to get out of this mess? Don’t you want to move out of here and away from Stu?” Then I stopped. Weren’t we working towards the same thing? Didn’t he want a life with me? I had been so sure of it. I hadn’t slept over at Jimmy’s house in almost two weeks. I was aching to get back to the core of our happiness. I knew he was feeling the strain of the break-ins, but if we could only think together, we could work our way through this. Jimmy looked down and away from me. My throat tightened.

“Jimmy, don’t you want that?” My voice was small, needy. I hated myself.

“I can’t think of anything except this, Jes. That’s all that’s on my mind. I have nothing else going on, no future, no fucking future. Just this shit-hole life. God, Jes! You’re asking me about our future and I’m on the verge of being arrested and maybe going to jail. Don’t ask me about anything, Jes.”

I sat, defeated and humiliated. Was I wrong to think that way, to remind Jimmy of what I thought we both wanted? Wasn’t it better to hang onto a future? To get strength from the same goal, to be together?

“Go home, Jes. I can’t think with you here.”

I left Jimmy’s house without saying goodbye. I felt the bitterness of rejection. It was Jimmy’s problem, no it was our problem. I had a solution and he cut me out.

Jimmy called me the next day. His voice was dry and unfriendly.

“I’ll tell Stu I know about an office in Philly, your Dad’s, that we can break into. I won’t tell him it’s your Dad’s office. He wouldn’t care anyway. He might even think that’s funny, us ripping off your Dad’s company. We’ll plan it out and then we’ll let your Dad know what we’re going to do.”

I felt a wave of relief and a glimmer of hope.

Jimmy hung up before I could tell him he was doing the right thing.

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”                                    

© 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.