Second Chance for Love(4)

By: Leona Jackson

“Calm down, Jetta,” she warned. “It's just a damn dog! And wait a goddamn minute! Are you saying you'd choose a dog over your own family? Jetta, I raised you better than that! Your daddy and I sacrificed everything for you and your sisters! You have no reason to come home and have this pissy attitude of yours. This is still about that damn white boy, isn't it? You're still pining away because he chose someone else over you. Your Daddy warned you about that!”

“This has nothing to do with Chase!” I yelled louder than I’d intended. “This is about you not caring about what I want. What I need. You never have! I can't believe I actually came back here. I haven’t been home five minutes and you’re already starting in on me. I'm outta here! I'm done! Done!”

She opened her mouth to say something else. I called for Bosco and we got back in the car. My sister Destiny's car pulled in behind mine effectively blocking me in and I punched the steering wheel in frustration. The horn sounded, sending Bosco diving under the seat.

Destiny ran to my car and tried to open the door just like my mother had. Sighing, I unlocked the door.

“Jetta, why do you look so upset?” Destiny asked. “What’s going on?”

“Oh, she's angry because I won't let her bring that mangy mutt inside!” Mama replied.

I shook my head. “No, it's about more than that. Destiny, please just move your car so I can leave. Or I swear I'm gonna slap her! I swear I'm gonna slap the black right off of her face, and she's gonna be just as white as the people she hates!”

“Jetta, for heaven’s sake! Calm down!” Destiny said, rolling her eyes. “I'll keep your dog until you can find a better solution. The kids will love him.”

“No, you won't! I'm not going to put Bosco through the hell of being surrounded by mean little kids that pull on his tail and ears, just so that old bag can have her way. No! She's had her way long enough.” I pulled Bosco's leash out of the car. “Come on, Bosco, let's go for a walk.”

“How the hell have I gotten my way?” Mama snapped. “In case you’ve forgotten your Daddy is dead! That is definitely not getting my way!”

I leashed Bosco and we walked off. I didn't have a clue where I was going, but anywhere had to be better than listening to the same old argument. I’d always been the bad one because I thought I deserved to be happy, because my sole reason for existing wasn't to do everything my parents wanted.

“You’re really going be that way right now?” Destiny shouted after me. “Daddy's not even in his grave yet and you're acting this way because of a dog?”

“I am,” I yelled to her without looking back.

Chapter 4: Chase

I’d been dreading the possibility of Jetta's return since I’d spoken to Destiny. A million questions came to mind and to be honest I didn't want to know the answers. Was she married now? Did she have kids? Did she hate me? Of course, she hated me. I was the one that bailed on everything we had together. Some days I even hated myself for it. I made a mess out of more lives than I would’ve liked to admit.

My daughter, Abby was conceived in the bed of my truck. Melissa and I had barely known one another, but she was drunk and I was looking for any relief from the thoughts of Jetta that never left me.

I married her because it was the right thing to do. There was no courtship or dating. Hell! I didn't even propose to her. I just told her I would marry her and we set a wedding date. So it didn't surprise me when she ran off four years ago in the middle of the night leaving me alone with a two-year-old toddler.

After she disappeared, I dropped out of law school and started a do-it-yourself handy man's blog. The income grew steadily, allowing me not to worry about money. Though it left me plenty of time to fight with the what-ifs of the past.

It was a Saturday afternoon. Abby and I had just left the park and were having lunch at the diner. Abby had grown up around the place and she enjoyed visiting with the waitresses and other customers. The atmosphere was quiet when we arrived, but by the time our food was served she’d managed to liven the place up with her story about her first day of the new school year.

We were sitting at the tables outside of the diner when Jetta walked by with a dog. I knew it was her instantly. She hadn't changed at all. A lump formed in my throat as I watched her go by. She was just as beautiful as I remembered. She was clearly upset and appeared to have been crying. What did I expect? After all her father had just passed away. I figured the best thing to do was just leave her alone. She had enough to deal with, without me getting involved and making things worse.

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