Second Chance for Love(3)

By: Leona Jackson

I hated myself for being such a coward and for being too chicken and insecure to give up the plush comforts I’d grown up with. Sure, I could’ve earned them back eventually on my own. At the time though, the thought had seemed impossible.

The only good thing that had ever come out of my losing Jetta was my daughter, Abby, but even her life had been hell so far. My mother claimed she was a happy child, despite the fact she didn't even remember her mother. I didn’t agree.

Abby frequently withdrew into her own little world of make-believe. I didn’t think that was healthy for a child and it caused me to worry about her. Sometimes she reminded me too much of what I had begun to do. I lived in my own bubble and kept everyone else the hell out of it too.

Chapter 3: Jetta

The town had grown up more than I’d expected. New buildings had popped up, intermingling with the older ones. I drove past the diner and it looked the same as it always had. Then I saw an old truck that I thought I recognized. I bit my lip and pushed the gas pedal. I wasn't here for Chase and his cut-out bride. My sudden burst of speed nearly knocked Bosco from his seat.

I pulled into the park to calm down before heading home. Bosco needed to stretch his legs and I needed time to think. The park was filled with children and their parents. I watched a man pushing his daughter on the swings and a bolt of envy shot through my stomach. That was supposed to be my life.

“It's not your life,” I reminded myself. “It was just a pretty lie. Chase chose money and his daddy over you. Girl, you're over this. Been over it a long time. Just leave him to the fate he chose and try to get through your daddy's funeral. You're going to have enough issues without allowing Chase to become one of them.”

But was I really over it? Over him?

I've heard that time heals all wounds, but I don't believe it. The passage of time only puts a band-aid over the wound and allows it to scar over and life sure was ripping off the band-aid and cutting open the scar today.

I was already regretting coming back home. How long would I be able to avoid Chase and Melissa? I would come face to face with them sooner or later, and I didn't think I was ready for it. No, I knew I wasn't ready for it. I'd end up acting like some crazy ex-girlfriend, or even worse, a jaded bitch. I took a deep breath and decided I'd deal with it when I had to, not now.

Right now I had more important things to worry about. I had to get through this funeral, and then there would be shipments to catch up on. I wasn't about to lose the income I’d worked so hard for just because I was back in this snake pit of a town. I leaned down and hugged Bosco after a short game of Frisbee. I was feeling a little stronger, and knew I had to get to my mother's house. I could hear my cellphone ringing from the car.

“I'm coming, Mom.” I rolled my eyes and began walking back towards the car. This was going to be a damn nightmare.

The drive to my mother's house took less than five minutes. I didn't even have a chance to turn off the engine before my mother was trying to wrench open my locked car door. When I got out, she squeezed me so tightly that I thought I might choke.

“Oh baby! You’re finally home! Thank god my favorite baby girl is home! Oh how your Father would have wanted to see you too!” She alternated between sobbing on my shoulder and hugging me.

I let her ramble on. She was grieving, but I felt like she was trying to lash me with her tongue to relieve her own pain. When she finally pulled herself together, she suggested we go inside. I opened the car door and Bosco ran out wagging his tail.

“What the hell is that?” she asked, looking disgusted.

“Mom, meet your grandson.” I laughed at his big tongue hanging out. “His name is Bosco.”

“He's not coming inside my house, Jetta!” she snapped. “You know how much I hate dogs! Why the hell did you bring that mangy mutt home? You ought to be ashamed of yourself! Does he live inside your house?”

“Don't you go insulting Bosco!” I yelled, letting years of pent up anger cause me to lose my cool. “He's a better soul than you've ever been! He stays where I stay. I drove all the way here because you said you needed me! Bosco and I are a package deal. If he can't stay, then I won't be staying either!”

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