The Builder Ch. 03byCathleen©
Morning came all to quickly for Julie. She considered calling Nick but decided against it, she was too grumpy and would probably say something she shouldn’t. The long cool shower she took woke her up but did nothing for her mood and she didn’t really feel like doing anything but she wanted to see her sister and the kids so much that she would go; they would lift her spirits. She had packed a few things and headed out for the day. It would be a good change of scenery and maybe she could talk with her sister about Nick – that it if she even wanted to think about him. Julie laughed to herself, like she had a choice about thinking of him; it was just something she did, like breathing.
When she pulled into her sister’s driveway she heard the kids in the pool and when they heard her car door shut they started yelling their hellos, she loved them so much and their welcome instantly made her mood brighten. She went to the pool and they jumped out to give her a kiss and she greeted their friends too. They wanted “Auntie” to come play in the pool right away. The feeling of being wanted just as she was felt so good to her, she didn’t disappoint them the way she felt she disappointed Nick last night. She told the kids she’d join them in a bit after she’d relaxed with their mom for a while, and that she had brought a surprise for them, and no she wouldn’t tell them what it was yet.
Her sister was waiting on the porch for her and gave her a big hug and kiss. Julie held on a bit longer and tighter her sister noticed.
“What’s wrong Jules?” Sisters know. Julie just looked at her sister with the ‘what do you think is wrong’ face and Trisha knew. “Nick.” It was all that need to be said.
“Yea, but I don’t want to talk about it yet. There is time enough. Lets just have a chat and catch up. How are you and Joe? The place looks great, as usual.” Julie voice started to relax, she knew she had the whole day to not be judged, she could be whoever and whatever she wanted here, this was family. Something inside made her think that Nick was family too though.
“Joe’s fine and so am I. Come on let’s get something to drink and I want to show you something in the living room.” The two sisters went off chatting and laughing as always. They were the best of friends and had been since childhood. There was a special bond between them, one born from sadness but the bond wasn’t sad, it was love.
Joe, Trisha’s husband came into the kitchen and greeted his sister-in-law with a hug asking her how she was. Trisha just gave Joe a look and he let out a chuckle.
“Oh Nick troubles, I better get out of here now.” Joe was easy to get along with and Julie loved him but with that remark she just stuck her tongue out at him, he just laughed more. He gave his wife a kiss good bye and said he’d be back after his golf game. “Julie, are you staying for dinner? We’re just going to grill some chicken and steaks.”
“I don’t know yet Joe. Thanks, but I will be here when you get back, have fun and remember, swing easy and keep your damn head down.” Julie always kidded him about golf, because she could and because she and her sister had never lost to him and she didn’t want him to forget it.
“Someday Jules, ‘pow to the moon’, just like your sister!” And with that he was gone, leaving the sisters alone to gab.
They sat on the deck talking about nothing and everything and watching the kids have fun with each other. The shouts of ‘Auntie watch this, Auntie watch me’ were almost endless and the two sisters went into the kitchen to make lunch and talk more. Julie told her sister about the fight she’d had with Nick the night before and what she thought about it all. Trisha listened letting her get it all out; the two had always shared everything and valued each other’s thoughts and opinions. Finally when Julie let out a sigh Trisha knew she was done and waiting to hear what she had to say. Trisha knew Julie wouldn’t want to hear it either.
“Julie, I think Nick is right.” She waited for Julie to cut her off but she didn’t. Trish was surprised and knew then that her sister felt more for this man than any other she’d dated. “There is a part of you that is closed. I know it but that is only because we share that same place. Joe said the same thing to me when we first started dating. I was afraid to let him in, afraid to let him love all of me.”
“Damn, Trisha its so hard. What do I do, I mean how do I let him in – I don’t even want to know it myself. So how do I open it up for him to see, why do I want that?” Julie was so tired, her sister could tell this was a big step for her, after all she’d done it too and knew just how scary it was, Trisha was so grateful for Joe, he was wonderful and she had a feeling that Nick was just as wonderful for her sister.
“Jules, you take it slowly, one step at a time. You have to trust him. Do you trust him? Julie, do you love him?” Trisha was sure Julie did but wanted her sister to admit it out loud that would be the first step.
“I don’t know Trisha, I think so but I don’t know what love is. I know I hurt right now. I feel badly about how mean I was last night. I know I hurt him. Trish I told him to leave, that I couldn’t take it anymore. When he walked out the door I felt numb, like I just ruined a good thing you know? God, I don’t know what I feel anymore. I just - oh hell I don’t know.” Not only could Trisha hear Julie’s sadness but also it showed on her face, in fact her whole body looked sad. She’d not seen her sister like this before.
“Jules I think you do know. You just don’t want to admit it. I know for me it was hard to tell Joe the same thing. But I did and it isn’t as scary as you think honey. Let’s just finish making this stuff and have some lunch with the kids. Come on.” Trisha knew her sister well and knew she needed to be distracted for a while and the kids were perfect for that.
They all had lunch together on the porch and laughed and teased one another. The kids were just what Julie needed, her mood brightened around them always. Trisha had always wanted her sister to find someone to love and have a family of her own but that never happened and her kids were as close to being Julie’s as they could ever be. They adored their aunt and she them; the bond between she and the kids was as strong as the bond the sisters shared.
Julie’s nephew kept hinting about the surprise and Julie loved to keep them in suspense as long as possible. Trish left them all together to have fun and went into the house to make a phone call and clean up the kitchen; she listened to the laughter outside and knew what she had to do.
Julie came into the kitchen to get the surprise for the kids, she always brought a favorite treat for them. Trisha was just hanging up the phone and handed her sister a platter when she saw the bakery box come out of the refrigerator. Julie placed the fruit tarts and cookies on the platter and smiled at her sister. Trisha knew the kids would be bouncing off the wall soon and gave her sister a smirk that said ‘sure, you’ll be gone and I’ll be stuck with those wild children’ but they both knew it was all in fun and love. As soon as Julie appeared back on the deck with the platter the kids were diving in for their treats.
It was such as pleasant scene and Julie was so relaxed. But in her mind she wondered if she called Nick would he want to see her? She wondered if she blew the whole thing last night. Her thoughts continued to wander to last night; what she could have done, what she didn’t do, there was so much behind her wall. Her sister was right, she had to let him in.
The kids went off playing and Julie and Trisha sat in silence for a while. Julie was lost in her thoughts and her sister knew she was struggling but she also knew Julie needed time to work this out. Trisha got up and gave her sister a kiss on the head and told her she was going in to make a few things for dinner. Julie offered to help but Trisha said no, she wanted her sister to relax and have some quiet time.
Julie didn’t know how she was going to let her guard down with Nick; it was hard to be so vulnerable. She felt scared but she knew Nick was worth the risk and the effort too. She reached for her cell phone and listened to his home phone ring and ring. When the voice mail picked up she didn’t know whether to leave a message or not; she decided not and hung up. She quickly dialed his cell number before she lost her courage. His cell phone too rang and rang; again she hung up without leaving a message but knew that he would see her call come in. Then she started to second-guess herself – he would know I called and didn’t leave a message, maybe I should call back and leave a message, maybe this, maybe that. She was so off balance and she didn’t like it at all. Julie was always self-assured but not around Nick. Closing her eyes Julie drifted off to sleep.
When Julie woke they chatted quietly again; Trisha asking if Julie had called Nick, was she staying for dinner and just chitchat. When Julie’s cell phone rang she saw it was Nick on the ID and motioned to her sister she was going to take it inside.
“Hi Nick, how are you?” There was tentativeness to Julie’s voice.
“Hi, Jules, I’m fine, thanks. How are you today? Did you get any sleep?” Nick’s voice was strong but gentle too. She thought he would be angry with her, as she was with herself.
“Not much sleep no. I’m tired. Nick, I’m sorry about last night, I really am. I wish it wasn’t complicated.” A heavy sigh escaped her, so heavy that Nick could feel her tension.
“Sweetheart, come home. We can have a quiet dinner and just relax together. There is no need to bring anything up tonight, just come on home.” That soothing voice was what she needed, and she noticed he called her sweetheart and wanted her to come home.
“I will Nick, I will. I can pick something up on the way or do you want to go out?” He heard a change in her voice and he smiled.
“You just come home, I’ll take care of things. I’ll be at your place by 6 o’clock, and I’ll bring dinner. You just be there ok? I will see you later sweetheart.” With that he hung up and Julie’s spirits lifted.
The ride home was far happier then her drive that morning. Julie was singing to the songs on the radio and the grin returned to her face, it had been missing for a few days. Even the typical Cape Cod traffic of Saturday afternoon didn’t bother her, she just rolled on happily.