I wanted to shout, “That’s exactly what I mean! It’s about time you figured it out!” but for some strange reason I couldn’t manage to answer at all. I was frozen, watching him silently. He seemed to be thinking very hard, and I wasn’t sure whether that was good or bad.
Neither of us noticed the car that sped past us, so when the man suddenly said, “Chad, you need to come with me,” we both jumped dramatically. Then we looked at the man speaking and both disgustedly said, “Mr. Thompson?” before looking at each other in confusion.
“How do you know him?” I asked, finally finding my voice.
“It’s a long story,” he said slowly. “How do you know him yourself?”
I rolled my eyes. “Unfortunately, he came with Abby.” He nodded understandingly.
“Well, isn’t that nice. Now we all know how we all know each other, will you please come with me, Chad?”
I jumped up. “Wait a second, we’re having a conversation here, and you can’t just come in here and drag him away. I don’t care who you are, or who you’re working for.”
He smiled. “Well, well, Miss Pierce, it’s nice to see you again, isn’t it?”
“Are you talking to yourself?” I asked disgustedly. I glanced at Chad for some moral support, but was startled to see that all the color had left his face. “Chad? Are you alright?”
He barely glanced at me and shrugged. “Why do you need me?” he asked Roger Thompson hoarsely.
“Can’t you guess?” Mr. Thompson answered shortly. “Your mother and her husband have filed for custody of you. Now come on. The plane leaves way too soon for this stuff. Don’t worry about packing anything, we’ve already got a suitcase from your grandparents.” With that, he stalked into the house.
Chad looked at me with hollow eyes. “I guess this is goodbye.”
“Is everything alright?” I asked, even though I knew that it couldn’t possibly be. He shook his head, no. “I’m sorry,” I whispered, then impulsively gave him a quick hug. Smiling through the suddenly gathering tears, I told him I’d pray for him. It felt good to say that and mean it the way I’d heard it said so many times at church. “I’m going to miss you though.”
“I’ll miss you too,” he answered in a whisper. “I’ll be praying for you too.” He seemed to be fighting over saying something. “Tell you what,” he finally said, “if I ever come back, let’s pick up this conversation where we left off?”
I grinned through the tears that were quickly streaking down my face. “I hope you’ll have an answer by then,” I teased him.
He half smiled back. “I hope it won’t be that long.” I couldn’t tell what he was implying, but I went with it.
After another quick hug, I watched the one guy I’d really trusted walk out of my life. For the first time, though, I knew that he didn’t really want to leave me, or anything here. I watched him get into the car with Mr. Thompson, and I didn’t move a muscle as the car moved out of view. For a long time after it was gone, I kept staring at the last place I’d seen it, tears all but blinding me.
Despite all the promising words, I knew we’d never see each other again, but I was thankful for the time we had shared.
After I’d been standing in the same spot on the sidewalk for about half an hour, Abby suddenly showed up in my vision.
“Hello? Earth to Jessie!” she called, waving her arms annoying in front of my face. “What’s the big deal, Jessie? You’ve been standing here for, like, ever.”
I noticed that she didn’t seem to worry about the tears that still hadn’t let up, but I let it fly for once. “Abby, Chad just left,” I managed to get out before breaking down again. This time I just sat down woodenly on the sidewalk. She sat beside me looking shaken.
“You’re kidding,” she said flatly.
“Would I look like this if I were?” I asked. She sighed, then to my surprise, draped her arm around my shoulder, and we sat on the sidewalk crying together, two unlikely friends that a cruel twist of fate had thrown haphazardly together.
*NOTE: All characters and events portrayed in this story are purely fictitious. Any resemblance to actual people or events is entirely coincidental.*
Next part next Thursday! Suggestions, names for various characters, or other questions, comments, or concerns can be left below, or you can e-mail me at the address on my contact page.
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