Second Chance for Love(7)

By: Leona Jackson



I could tell she was angry and I started driving away. I didn't go there to start a fight.

“You're an asshole, you know that?” she yelled after me.

“Yes, I do know that,” I said to myself and turned on the radio.





Chapter 7: Jetta



I retrieved the box from the hood and got back in the car. My stomach was growling though my blood was still boiling.

“Let's see what you brought me, you asshole,” I said, popping open the to-go box, while Bosco watched intently. “You're hungry too, boy, aren't you? You're always hungry.”

I was pleasantly surprised to find that Chase had remembered what I liked to eat. The box was full of raspberry pancakes and sausage links.

“You're not getting any of these, Bosco, they're not good for you,” I told him. Feeling guilty for eating in front of him, I hauled his dog food out of the trunk and poured a bowl for him.

After breakfast, I took him for a walk in the park. He chased the squirrels and I sat on a bench watching and thinking. Tomorrow was my father's funeral and I was at odds with my mother and sisters, and to top it off, Chase had brought me breakfast.

Did he think that a to-go box from the diner was going to fix everything that went wrong between us? There weren’t enough pancakes in the world to make me forget how badly my heart ached. How much it still hurt to see him.

Chase had mentioned that Melissa wasn't around anymore. I felt more jaded that ever because I thought that was pretty damn funny. He’d thrown me away for somebody who had done the same thing to him. Maybe karma does exist after all.



***



That night, my mother finally broke down and agreed to let Bosco sleep inside the house. Only because she didn't want the neighbors to talk about how she was making me sleep in my car. My mother has always cared too much about what other people thought about her.

I snuggled close to Bosco in the twin bed of my childhood and sobbed until the pillow was wet with tears. I cried for the loss of my father and the relationship we never had. I sobbed for my sisters and mother who hadn't quit crying since it happened and then I cried for me too.

My sisters had their husbands to console them and tonight all I had to comfort me was Bosco. I might’ve been angry at Chase, but I longed to feel his strong arms around me, offering warmth and understanding.

In the city, it had been easy to ignore the fact I was alone. Everyday I walked through crowded streets, allowing their noise to mask my loneliness. Here where it was quieter, the pain echoed around my soul, making it hard to breathe. At one time, I thought Chase was more important to me than the air that I breathed.

Maybe I was wrong. Maybe he was my air.

That night, I dreamed that Chase's father came to Dad's funeral and danced on top of his coffin. I knew it was brought on by anxiety. Still I woke up angrier than I’d felt in years. If I’d seen the bastard at that moment, I would have socked him in the nose and enjoyed it.

I showered and dressed for the funeral. Before leaving the city, I’d stopped to buy a dress that would be appropriate. I looked at myself in the mirror and sighed. My reflection looked just as awkward as I felt. It had been years since I’d worn a dress or high heels.

I slipped into my shoes and went down for breakfast. My sisters were already dressed and gathered around our sobbing mother. I sat on the far side of the room, feeling like an outsider within my own family. To pass the time, I nibbled on a piece of cold toast though I wasn't hungry.

I sighed in relief when it was time to leave. Since I was the only one without kids, the responsibility to drive Mama to the funeral fell on my shoulders. It was a rough ride with Mama alternating between crying and fussing at me for breaking Daddy’s heart. By the time we reached the church, I was a shaking bundle of nerves.





Chapter 8: Chase



I’d just gotten back from driving Abby to school when there was a knock at the door. When I didn't answer right away, they knocked louder. Aggravated, I walked to the door figuring that it was my mother, but instead Henry stood in his best Sunday suit. He gave me a big grin.

“Why aren't you dressed?” he asked. “You can't wear that to a funeral, Chase.”

“I'm not going to the funeral,” I said and shut the door in his face.

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