tagRomanceMemories Aren't Forgotten Ch. 02

Memories Aren't Forgotten Ch. 02

bydylan_J©

"So you think there's something wrong with Auntie Flo? I was at the house yesterday and she looked okay to me. So what if she when to the church bingo Saturday then the church picnic on Sunday?" Jessie told Danny and she carefully emptied some flour into the large bowl Chad was mixing furiously.

It was late Tuesday afternoon, three days after her fall at the restaurant. She had decided to take everyone's advice and taken a couple of days off from teaching literature at the local high school. To pass the time she decided to do some cleaning at the two stories Victorian home she shared with her cousin, Laura and her son Chad. After giving up on attempting making the downstairs bathroom tiles sparkled like they did some fifty odd years when it was built, she decided to take Chad to the lake at the back of the house. The sun had just begun to set when they returned home. Danny had called just as they were measuring flour to make peanut butter cookies.

"Those walks in the afternoons are okay J, but signing up for picnics and bingo and piano lessons may be a bit too much. Did you know she's thinking about taking a trip to France, Jessie? She doesn't even know French!" What's a sixty eight year old woman going to do in France?" Danny exclaimed.

"See the sights. The Louve is really beautiful and I read somewhere sixty is the new fifty. You're getting worked up over nothing. Aren't you glad she's not bundled up in a rocking chair knitting sweaters and smelling of moth balls?" Jessie told her.

"Well yeah, but, but mom is fragile," She lamented.

"Need I remind you that your mother has managed to successfully send all of her children to university and her niece? There isn't a fragile bone in Florence Anderson." Jessie reminded her. She was then interrupted by a beep on the phone.

"Hold on I got another call," she said quickly connecting the person.

"Do you know mom has a boyfriend," Josie screeched into the phone.

Jessie held the phone away from her ear as her cousin released a series of curses.

"Are you finished? Danny is on the other line she said putting on the three way.

"Do you know who was in our mother's kitchen this afternoon? Carl Thomas. Mom says he asked her to the movies this Saturday. What do we do? What do we do?" she continued frantically.

"How bout we wait for him to close his bookshop tonight hit him over the head and drag him over to Willow Creek. Nobody ever goes there. If we weigh him down with enough rocks they'll never find him. Jessie laughed as she removed two cookie trays from the cupboard.

"Jessie this is serious!" Danny said hysterically.

"Let me get this straight its wrong for your mother to date or have a love life."

"Yes!" they said together.

"But its okay for you two to stick you noses in mine."

"Yes," they said again.

"Let's be realistic J you don't have a love life," Danny told her.

"It's practically non existent," finished Josie.

"You two are ludicrous you know that," she exclaimed as she measured the butter, peanut butter and cracked the eggs.

"Its different with you Jess. You pining away on a guy who was a complete jerk," Josie began.

"I am not!" protested Jessie.

"But mom had a great guy. Sure they argued sometimes but who doesn't? They had a great marriage. Shouldn't those memories be enough for mom?" she continued as though Jessie had not spoken.

"It's not as if she's getting hitched or shacking up with the guy," she said.

"You but you don't know what old man Carl is cooking up," Danny pointed out.

Jessie just couldn't picture Carl Thomas as an evil villain in this picture. He was the one who drove her to the ranch to meet Aunt Flo and Uncle Hector fourteen years ago. He was too nice and smiled too much to be cooking up anything. She suddenly remembered another friendly smile like Carl's but on a lot more stunning individual. She quickly tried to forget green eyes and sexy Italian/Napolitano accent of Adam Cambridge.

"C'mon you two. You've known Carl all your lives," she pointed out.

"All this time he was just waiting to make his move! I can't believe I invited him to my wedding!" Josie gasped sounding horrified

"I can get through your thick heads. David and Todd will have to do it when they come to family reunion next Saturday," Jessie said simply before hanging up on them.

She turned towards Chad who was carefully spooning out the first batch of dough into cookie trays. He looked up as she approached. He looked so much like the dad he would never meet. Just nine years old and he was almost as tall as his slender five foot nine mother. The only thing he took on his mother's side was her striking brown eyes. Jessie could tell he was going to send a couple of hearts racing in the years to come.

"Hey what do you think of your granny getting a boyfriend?" she asked him as she pulled out the ice- cream from the fridge and sat on a stool. Chad pulled out two bowls and spoon and climbed onto the stool next to her before answering.

"Grandma is kind of old. But you could never have too much friends," he answered.

"Yeah I guess you never can," she smiled.

"Can we watch a movie before when mom comes home?" he asked shoveling a spoonful of golden vanilla into his mouth.

"I don't see why not," Jessie told him. Jessie placed the trays into the oven and sat on a nearby stool to eat her ice cream. Then she began with the next batch of cookies Laura came home at seven thirty. Jessie took one look at her and saw something was wrong. her pretty black curls were in a messy mass on her head and the navy blue jacket she choose to were to work that morning was crumpled under her arm. A smile lit her pale face when her son launched himself into her arms and kissed her soundly. The show she made of admirining the cookies he and Jessie made didn't fool her.

"Chad why don't you go watch that movie we talked about earlier?" she suggested.

"What about you and mummy?" the little boy asked.

"We'll come in a while honey," She answered.

She watched him go into the living room and listened for the television to turn on before turning to Laura who had managed to turn paler as she watched her son leave the room.

"What's wrong?" she questioned her pulling her to one of the stools.

"It's Tony, He called me at work today." she whispered.

"Oh Laura," Jessie whispered.

"He's coming here, Jess."

"After all these years? What does he want? He can't expect a family just waiting for him? Jessie pondered aloud.

"You think that's what he wants Jess? I don't know. He was the one who left. Maybe he wants to get to know Chad? Oh God Jess What if he wants to take my baby away from me?" her voice raising several octaves.

"We won't let him. This family won't let him," Jessie vowed.

"Jess you and I both work and Mrs. Smythe looks after Chad all day. What if he argues I'm an unfit mother?" Laura asked teary eyed. She pulled at one of the chocolate cookies Jessie hadn't put away yet. It crumbled between her well manicured fingers.

"You are great mother who loves her son very much. Everyone knows that. No court is going to grant a man who left his wife and three year old son because "he was confused and needed time to think" custody of his kid," she assured her.

"Even if the man in question has a father that is a well respected judge?" Laura asked her.

"I don't think Judge Manning would use his influence like that. He's a good man even though his son isn't. Jess said patting Laura on her back.

Laura stood up and wiped her eyes with her shirt sleeve.

"I hope your right Jess. I hope to God you're right."

Thirty minutes later, Jessie stood in front of the full length mirror of the upstairs bathroom. A skinny body clad in an oversized T-shirt with big brown eyes and bad hair stared back. Well maybe not that bad she thought pushing her fingers through her still damp hair from the shower she had taken earlier. Not that skinny either she thought pulling up her make shift pajamas and eying her stomach suspiciously. The last time she checked, she had put on a pound. She had never been a health buff in high school so fast food was her best friend. Her friends still marveled how she ate so much and never gained an inch. Maybe it was time to start those afternoon strolls she had been putting off. Gazing at the mirror one last time, she made a promise to herself to visit the hair dresser at the mall the next day when she was out shopping with Laura, Danny and Josie.

She walked out of the bathroom to her room down the hall thinking about the family reunion. There were the Greens, the Jones the Jacobs from her mother and aunt Flo's side, the Andersons and the Henderson's from uncle Hectors side, and Uncle Paul and Aunt Judy Ryan from her father's side. The Ryans was her father's only living relatives in her father's side. Paul Ryan was here father's identical twin. Jessie remembered after the funeral when her father had died and she saw her uncle in the service, for a moment forced her self into believing that he was really here dad and the hold thing was a prank he had pulled. She stilled believed it sometimes when she saw him.

Just then, there was a knock on the door. Chad poked his head inside.

"Are you asleep?" he asked

"Not yet," she answered pulling back the covers.

She patted her side. Grinning, he opened the door fully and climbed into the bed to give her a good night hug. He jumped off and hurried to his room.

The day when Laura found out she was pregnant; Jessie had been the first to know. She was cleaning the attic the attic when Laura came up smiling.

"Guess what," She urged.

"You passed you final exam," Jessie had asked excitedly. Laura had desperately wanted to pas her Economics Examination.

"Yeah, but not it," was the reply

"Then what is it then?" Jessie asked confused.

"Tony asked me to marry him and I said YES!" she screamed excitedly.

After a full minute of screaming up and down, Lauren delivered the final news.

"That's not all. I'm two weeks pregnant. I haven't told Tony yet," she grinned.

"I'm going to be an auntie!" Jessie laughed then paused.

"No wait that's not right we're cousins so what does that make me and her?" she whispered touching Laura's stomach.

"Second cousins, I think,"Laura replied spinning around the dusty room.

"Oh Jess I love Tony so much. If I love him and more I just might burst!"

Three years later Tony just disappeared without a trace. Not even his father knew where he was. Then came the letter. He was confused and need time to think things over. He would always Laura he had written.

The months that followed Laura did everything in here power to remove Tony's existence but he was there every time she looked into her little boy's eyes. Jessie moved me n to help take care of Chad and one night Laura realized she didn't want her son growing up not knowing what his dad looked like or hating him cause his mother did.

Jessie remembered the look on Laura's race when she had replaced the last picture of Tony.

"I'm only doing this for Chad, Jess. I stopped loving him the day he walked out that door."

Jessie climbed out of her bed and looked at the star lit sky through her open window. Memories floated back to her brain in a sudden rush. Her father, her uncle Hector and Peter weren't in her life anymore. It hurt like hell when they weren't there and more. Now Tony may be trying to take away Chad.

It seemed like the women in the Ryan and Anderson family were cursed when it came to the male species. Josie seemed to be the only one who was having a healthy relationship with her husband Paul so far. Maybe their marriage would be the one to break the curse.

Even though she would never have admitted it she missed the relationship she had had with Peter before he became a jerk. There had even been a time when she thought he was the one she would spend the rest of her life with. After their breakup Josie and Danny had designated themselves her saviors and tried desperately to get her to start back dating. For a woman who found her ex husband with the bride whose wedding she had been catering for Danny still thought there were still some men out there who should be given a chance. Josie was just happily married and wanted to get all her single friends tied to the old ball and chain as she called it.

Shoving her feet into her slippers and tossing on her robe, she opens the door that led from her room to the private gallery. The cold night wind blew roughly against her face. The water from the pond where she and Chad swam earlier shone brightly through the trees. Leaning against the railing she watched it for a while. Somehow that night felt different. She felt like crying for the first time since her Uncle died. Bowing her head into her she let herself cry like she did when her dad told her mother was dying and there was nothing he could do about it. The only difference was he wasn't there to hug and she wasn't a child anymore. She cried until the hiccups came and there weren't anymore tears. Then she looked at the lake some more.

A cool drop of rain dropped on her moist face mingling with her tears. As it fell quicker, she stood there on the gallery silent crying again. Just before the rain finished pounding the earth, she went back to her room changed her clothes and went to bed.

....

"Well? What do you think about the Simpson and Rickman contract son," Vincent Cambridge asked Adam helping himself to another slice of extra crispy bacon. When he receives no response from him he looks at the younger man more closely.

Since he had returned to the hotel the night before, he had been quiet aside from telling him about his helping a woman who had fallen when the restaurant/club he had gone to that had stampeded.

"If I knew you were seeing someone I'd have said you were in love," he joked bringing Adam from his day dream about the long legged lady he met at Eclectic Soul the day before.

From her nose to her red polished toes he could tell Jessie Ryan was a handful.

From the look on her face she was obviously not trilled to find him holding her bag last night at the hospital. From her cousins hints she was single and he would have made his intentions of dating her in a heartbeat if she hadn't leap from the hospital bed and made a dash for the door. He still remembered the way she looked at him as though e was an axe murderer. It didn't take a brain surgeon to understand the message she was sending and he understood it loud and clear. Danger, keep away it screamed. She had obviously been hurt badly by that guy her cousin had told him about while they had been in the waiting room at the hospital. He was pretty sure she would be horrified if she knew her cousins were making her social life public knowledge to single men everywhere.

"Well dad as far as I can see its pretty sound though you should consider S and R to lengthen the time frame. I think five years should be enough so you can import the better goods if you need to so they get the best for their money," Adam told him shoveling the remaining of his pancakes he had ordered. Aside from being a senior partner at one or the best law firms in Italy, he helped his father out with the legal part of his housing company.

"That's enough about work for one day Vinny, stop pestering the boy," Adrienne Cambridge chided her husband before turning to her stepson.

"How is house hunting going for you Adam? Some houses are built with faulty wiring and they get painted up to look flashy. Only when you've bought it then you see the flaws. I wish you would have waited until you father had established himself here in Cedar Oaks and built you one," she said nodding her head. Her grey eyes shone playfully as she looked at Vincent.

"I would have but the firm is expanding this year out here and dad may start at S and R next year. So I'll just have to get one of the houses already built here.

They sat silently for a while until the waitress came with the check. Paying he rose and checked his wrist watch he had gotten for his twelfth birthday

"What are your plans for the day? Adrienne asked getting up.

I thought I get a couple of things check how work is at the office building and see the sites Cedar Oaks has to offer a foreigner like me. He explained as they headed to the door.

"Ron Riceman and Ted Simpson have invited us to a game of golf. I still don't see the sense of grown men hitting around a ball with a club," his father grumbled as he and Adrienne headed to the lobby of the hotel. Laughing, Adam headed to the elevators.

"That hat you're wearing has got to be on to tight if you think I'm wearing that," Jessie snorted giving the shimmering green dress Danny was holding up one last look before returning to the pile of on sale jeans.

"Why not? It's perfect for the teachers Christmas dinner. Who knows maybe that teacher with the great but Reggie might make a move, Josie returned, pulling her away from the on sale pile and taking the dress from Danny. She measured it against Jessie.

"Perfect fit,"

It's now my style, Christmas is eight months from now and Regan and I are just friends," Jessie said in one breath.

"Come on Jess. Even if you aren't going to buy it just try it on. It goes nice with you brown eyes," Laura added.

Even though she was still worried about Tony she had agreed to go on the girls' only lunch date and shopping spree they had planned the week before only after she made Jessie promise not to tell her sisters. They would only get more worried.

Jessie began to give in to the dress idea slowly.

"I don't know guys. It's so revealing. You're cleavage is bond to get cold from all that exposure," she pointed out.

"Nope you'll be heating up the room with that dress you won't have a chance to get cold." winked Josie.

"Alright fine I'll try on the dress." She said heading to the change room with the dress and some other clothes.

After trying on a couple of jeans, sweaters, and a blue blouse Josie choose for her to wears for the reunion, she pulled on the dress.

"You're taking pretty long in there," Josie called "I'm going to put back this stuff. Some of these shirts are really hideous Jess."

"Are you stuck?" Laura asked worriedly

"Do you guys think she fell asleep in there?" Danny giggled.

Jessie open the door and came out.

"You looked gorgeous," Danny nodded

"I told you green is your colour, you have to buy this dress," Laura grinned

"I brought the best judge of all. Look who I found guys," Josie said from behind her.

Spinning around she came face to face with Adam.

"You look incredible," he said appraising her. She blushed furiously and pretended to remove a loose thread from the dress.

"Thanks you guys. I better change so we can get out of here and get some lunch. I'm famished," she stated stepping into the change room. The entire time Adams eyes seemed incapable of going anywhere but her bosom and Josie was smiling mischievously.

"I'll go change so we can meet Paul and the kids for lunch," she said turning quickly and stepping into the change room. Inside the change room she stared at her flushed face in the mirror.

What was Adam doing here? True Cedar Oaks wasn't a big town, but if they kept meeting like that she might just begin to believe in that fate Josie was talking about. If she kept blushing like a school girl her cousins would not let it rest, Jessie thought as she stepped out of the room. She suddenly realized she was talking to herself more than usually. Cedar Oaks Mental Hospital her she came.

She was not the least bit surprised when she found Adam still standing outside being heavily interrogated by her cousins. Then they proceeded to load him up with their day's purchases and stare him to the coffee and doughnut shop where Paul sat nursing a black coffee. He stood up as they approached giving Adam a skeptical eye. After being introduced and shaking hands, he groaned at the sight of the bags they had brought.

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