In-between the first chapters I submitted, (which you will find in my sidebar to the right, if you scroll down just a bit)
I took a break…and before that another one… to kick myself into gear…wrote a few little poems etc.. etc… and random thoughts…
I have found myself here more than not… A place full of people who understand… and share my passion for writing….
Networking and socializing with you guys, my new friends, my soft place to fall… My amazing new find!!! Reading and LIKING and commenting on your posts…. and oh yeah…maybe I am procrastinating ever so slightly…. okay then cough, cough… I GET it! Back to work!!!!
How could this be what others may call a distraction or my excuse to procrastinate in finishing my book?
Though I guess I agree… if I could just ask myself.. why is it that I can not just finish rather than continue tinker around the likes of this place? Hmmmm??? Smile…
Here it is… the final chapter, at least the final one that I am going to share with you here…… Chapter Seven.
By the way…..
If you have not read the first part of my book, I have it posted here. And really, if you haven’t read the previous chapters, Chapter Seven will not make much sense. But if I have kept you… this far… I am very pleased… even if you haven’t bothered to read chapters 1-6…. but it would make 7 make much more sense!
Here is Chapter Seven….
One night at dinner, Keri’s dad announced that he was surprising her with a trip up North to Tara’s house. She and Keri had been best friends since they were both four years old, and had been inseparable since the first day they had met.
When the girls were eight, Keri’s dad had been transferred to another state due to his job but Keri and Tara had stayed in touch through the years by writing letters and yearly visits that Tara’s dad had generously provided. He knew that they had been heartbroken over the move and so he had always tried to make sure that they got to see each other at least once a year. Their mothers had also become very close and so the trips had conveniently been planned around their yearly Seattle vacations, either stopping on the way there or on the way home and once the girls had gotten old enough to travel by themselves, Tara’s dad had either paid for one or the other to come for a visit.
Keri loved Tara and so did her parents. She was more than a childhood friend, they were family in every way. When her dad said he wanted to send her to San Mateo for a visit Keri was delighted. Unaware of what the real reason might be and why he might be gifting this trip to her so out of the blue. Though she happily started planning the visit. Both Tara’s and Keri’s school had the next Friday and Monday off and so Keri’s dad had booked a flight leaving Friday morning and returning Monday evening.
Jack was not pleased at all when Keri told him that her dad had surprised her with the long weekend trip. Instead of being happy for her, he sulked and brooded the entire night after Keri had announced that she would be going, “What am I going to do while you are gone?” He asked poutingly, angry, feeling that she had not considered him at all! At first, Keri thought it was cute and was touched that he was going to miss her so much. But when he continued to pout, it concerned her. She had told him that he could take her to the airport but when the plans to take her had been changed, he had grown visibly irritated and hadn’t called her for an entire day which upset her. Though when her parents questioned her, she just told them that she was worried about a test.
Keri’s dad worked in El Segundo, and LAX was just a few minutes from his office. He had booked a morning departure flight and told Keri that he would drop her off on his way to work. It had just been the convenient thing to do. He had noticed that she had seemed miserable until she finally heard from Jack and it had concerned him. Keri told her dad that Jack would pick her up and her father had hesitantly agreed since he would be out of town and Keri’s mom didn’t like driving in the evening, especially to LAX. He had not been happy with the arrangements since if truth be told, he had been hoping that the trip would distract her a bit from her relationship with Jack, and having him pick her up at the airport just seemed to negate the whole purpose of the trip.
On the day of her trip, Keri was packed and waiting for her Dad as she thumped her suitcase down the stairs. He grabbed it from her easily, carrying it out to the car. She kissed her mom and waved as they drove off. Keri chatted comfortably with her Father as they sat in traffic. He used the opportunity and her obvious good mood to tell her that he and her mother had been worried about her and that they wanted her to spend more time at home. “Why? You’re never there anyway.” Keri complained. She countered his observation trying to not be disrespectful, but feeling as if her independence was being challenged. “That’s not the point.” her father replied ruefully. Suddenly Keri realized exactly where he was going with the conversation, and that the trip may have had some ulterior motives behind it as well. “I promise that I am keeping up with my grades Daddy, I love him and I want to be with him when we can be.” She reasoned. “Didn’t you feel that way about Mom?“ She asked, softening her still emotional tone. Her dad just smiled at her, saying something about how she should look into being a lawyer and then ruffling her hair, he changed the subject for the time being. He slipped a wad of twenties in her hand as he dropped her off and told her to have a good time, hoping that the time away would at least give her food for thought.
Tara and Keri had a great time seeing movies and shopping in the city and just being together. Keri didn’t share too much about Jack, knowing Tara would not approve. It was a simple as that. Keri knew that there was something very different about her relationship with Jack. When Tara talked about the boys she dated, it was light and easy, not like the highs and lows she and Jack shared. She knew that no one would understand. She had not even spoken to Lori about it. She was still angry with her for not telling her about him in the beginning. She knew now, that she had to have known something. Though she had decided that she did not want to know if Lori had known anything about Jack’s problems because she truly didn’t know if she could ever forgive her if she had. But now she was in too deep. She loved Jack and no one’s opinion would change that. Neither what Lori or Tara thought mattered anymore. The trip did some good as her father had hoped it would, it made Keri realize that something was amiss in her young life. Something she could not talk about to anyone.
The visit was wonderful. Just hanging out with her best friend was a much needed break from all of the drama she had experienced recently. Jack’s up and down moods, and his not talking and then their times of making up were all just so exhausting and having no one to talk to about any of it was difficult. Though, she had missed Jack, and when he met her with such enthusiasm at the gate, she felt hopeful that things would get better again. Jack seemed so happy to see her and told her how much he had missed her over and over again. They fell right back into the little recesses of their relationship, perhaps even more than before. Keri was addicted by the love he showered on her and in turn she returned it equally. The physical portion of their relationship grew stronger. He told Keri she was beautiful and for the first time, she began feeling that she truly was.
The days seemed to all blur together. That terrible sailing trip was forgotten or at least never brought up again to anyone, ever. And Jack seemed to take Keri on as his project. He felt as if she was so innocent and naïve He encouraged her plans for college and would quiz her about her dreams. He urged her to step outside of her little box and discover new interests, to actually have opinions. The attention he gave her was addicting. Every new thing she learned seemed to please him and she craved his approval. Her father worked so much and never really seemed to expect more from her though he did praise her for her writing, she had always felt kind of apprehensive when it came to opening herself up to learning anything new because her dad had so little patience during her childhood when he would try to help her with her homework, especially math. So with Jack, everything seemed new to her and she realized she could learn and was surprised that she actually really liked learning.
After they had been dating a while, Jack took Keri home to meet his dad, Jack Sr. She liked him right away. “Nice to meet you Mr. Sagen” Keri held out her hand, as he took it and quietly replied, “Nice to meet you dear.” She could tell that he was a kind and quiet man, he worked as an Engineer in a building not too far from her dad’s office, and she noticed that he chain smoked quite a bit, later Jack told her that it was almost three packs a day. There had not been as many horrible stories about him as Jack had shared about his mother, but there had been enough to cause Keri to have a few reservations. She could see that the relationship between Jack and his dad was much more formal than hers was with her parents. But he seemed so pleased when she would make an effort to talk to his father, and so she always tried to engage him in conversation when she would come over. He would brighten up when he knew she was coming and genuinely seemed pleased to see her. Sometimes he would cook dinner for the three of them and to Keri’s horror the first dish he served them had canned spinach mixed with hamburger meat. Keri wanted ever so badly to be polite but she had never tried spinach before and could not hide her discomfort. Both Jack and his dad wathched her, urging her to try it and then they laughed when she touched her tongue to the forkful and then in Green Eggs and Ham fashion, announced “Hey, I like this stuff!” Jack’s dad beamed when she asked for another helping.
Jack lived with his dad in the small modest Torrance apartment that he had moved to shortly after his separation. Jack had moved in several months later, after a horrible fight he had, had with his mother. The building was very close to the beach where Keri had spent so much time with Lori. Mr. Sagen worked as an engineer and seemed to have given up everything after the divorce and yet, seemed content enough. Or so she thought. He had not expected Jack to move in with him and so the one bedroom apartment was a little cramped. He slept on a fold out sofa bed in the living room and had generously given Jack the bedroom who had protested to no avail, saying something about how a young man needs his own room. They both seemed to enjoy having Keri around and she loved being where ever Jack was.
When Jack’s dad was at work they would always seem to find themselves at that empty apartment whenever possible. She played house in her head as she would imagine that it was their place. They would talk and dream and lose themselves in a new world of desire, and discovered each other without shame. Keri had never really had a real boyfriend before. She had dated a few guys but Jack was her first true love in every sense of the word. It was as if they couldn’t get enough of each other. It was all so new and exciting.
Their kisses were hard and filled with passion and yet soft and filled with love, all at the same time. Their hands roamed in places Keri’s never had before. She felt as if she was somebody else when she was with Jack. Nobody had ever kissed her that way and she learned that she loved kissing. When they weren’t together they thought about being together and couldn’t wait until the next time and then the next. They tumbled further into somewhere they both had never been, and yet stopped just short of the place they knew was forbidden.
Shortly after meeting Jack’s dad, he took her to meet his mom Lee, who lived a little less than an hour away, in Monterey Park. Keri was hesitant. She was the woman who had a lot to do with the demons that Jack was fighting today, she was not so sure she wanted to meet the one who had hurt him so horribly, and for that matter, his dad, who she had grown protective over. She was not sure she could set aside the stories he had told her and yet, it seemed so important to him. He had such disdain for her when he would talk about his memories and yet he seemed to hold out some form of hope that things would be different. Maybe he thought that Keri could be that bridge. Always wanting to please Jack, she reluctantly agreed to the meeting.
From the very start, Keri noticed a kind of ambivalent indulgence in the relationship between Jack and his mom. It was disconcerting to her but she disregarded her apprehension due to her love for him and agreed to pursue the relationship. To Keri’s surprise, she and Lee hit it off almost at hello. His mother was charming and quite beautiful in an unusually sophisticated kind of way. They seemed to ‘get’ each other from the start. Lee seemed to genuinely like Keri. And from what Jack had told her, had despised Maddie, which made Keri uncomfortably blissful. She had never known anyone like Lee before. They talked about everything for hours. Soon Jack found himself bringing Keri to his mom’s house regularly. Keri loved to hear her stories and advice. Jack was thrilled that Keri and his mom became fast friends and through their new found friendship, Jack felt an acceptance from his mother that he had never enjoyed before.
They spent a lot of time together and Keri was very impressed with everything about Lee. She obviously loved to live life well and taught Keri to do the same or at least was very generous with her. Though she could not forget the stories that Jack had shared, it was hard to picture her so out of control ever. And so little by little, Keri let her guard up and found herself drawn to Lee, as their friendship grew.
As school continued, Keri became so wrapped up in being Jack’s girlfriend that her friends began to complain that she was always too busy for them. Between school and volunteering and the time she spent with Jack, there was just no time left for anything else. Keri didn’t care, she only wanted Jack. Her every waking moment was consumed by thoughts of him or what she could do to please him. She would pack sandwiches and meet him at the garage where he worked. She would sit in a car high up on the hydraulic racks as he worked on it late into the night. She studied or did homework in many cars on many nights just to be with him. Most of their times were filled with new adventures and passion that she could not get enough of. No one had ever made her feel so desired or loved and she looked forward to discovering new things with him. They were so caught up in the excitement of becoming adults, and imagining their future.
She pictured how it might be being married to Jack. They spent time looking for apartments and began going to a little church in the neighborhood where he and his dad lived. They became fast friends with some of the young couples who went there and some of the older ones too, and were invited over to their homes. One couple in particular, Dave and Cheri seemed to enjoy Jack and Keri’s company and took them under their wings. They would invite them over frequently to Cheri’s parent”s home for Sunday Supper. Soon they felt like one of the family and Keri learned to love Sunday. One Saturday night, Jack and Keri had come for dinner at Dave and Cheri’s apartment. Keri noticed a wedding album on the coffee table and began slowly turning the pages. She was so impressed with their life and love and faith in God. Cheri shared that they were trying to have a baby and Keri felt so envious. She wanted to fast forward everything and feel how it might be to be grown up and out on her own. As she chatted with her new friend, Keri glanced at Jack sitting across the room, as he and Dave laughed about something and her heart filled. She wondered what it would be like if he were her husband. All at once Keri knew she would marry him someday.
Jack and Keri became very involved in the church. Every Sunday they were invited somewhere. Jack began to bring his guitar to some of the gatherings that they were invited to. His dad had given it to him years before and it was one of the more special gifts he had from his youth. Keri was pleasantly surprised to learn that Jack had an amazing voice and she was transported to a new realm as she would listen to him as he strummed the strings and sang with the group. She loved his voice and was so proud. One day they talked about the fact that he had never been baptized. He shared with Keri that he wanted to. She was thrilled. He began going to classes and one Sunday in front of the church, he was baptized and watching him as he was lifted from the water, Keri saw his face and the joy that filled it and in that moment, she, believed that everything was going to be okay.
Between his work, and her school, church, and just their being together their free time seemed filled. The days ran together in sweet accord, each better than the last. Keri would run home in-between classes and seeing Jack and their time was consumed only in each other. Until one day, Keri’s mom complained that they never saw her anymore. She told her that even Lonnie had been talking about missing her. Keri started to argue and then realized that her mom was right and then to her surprise, her mother suggested that she invite Jack over for dinner. Her father would be home and had asked her to arrange something. Keri eyed her mother suspiciously. “What is this all about?” she asked her mom. “We just feel that we need to get to know this boy, Jack, a little better, since you are spending so much time together, that’s all.” Eyeing her daughter she added, “I promise to make something good.” Keri agreed, “Well okay, if you are sure there is not going to be some big speech or anything?” Her mom laughed saying, “your father and I discussed it and it doesn’t look as if Jack is going anywhere, anytime soon, so we might as well get to know him.” Keri was pleased by the invitation but remained a little hesitant. Her mom continued, “When we allowed you to date, we hadn’t bet on you dating just one boy.” Keri looke at her mom and said, “Well, I wasn’t planning on that either. It just sort of happened.” And then added, “I love him mom.” Her mother nodded. “I know you do honey.”
Jack agreed to dinner enthusiastically, he had been wanting an open door, a chance to prove himself to her parents. He loved the idea of family and had never felt as if he fit into his. All he ever wanted was to feel as if he fit in and to have a place to belong. Keri knew that about him by now He talked a little too much that night but her parents didn’t seem to mind or at least they didn’t appear to. They accepted Jack as someone who would be around for a while. Her dad had been impressed by his intelligence, as he kept up with the latest current events. He charmed her mom and helped clear the dishes. Keri thought that the evening had gone quiet well. She wondered what her parents thought. They remained unbiased, deciding to hold judgment. They were not sure how they felt about Jack yet. At times, they saw Keri happier than they had ever seen her, and though she tried to hide it, there had been other times when they had also seen her very unhappy. During those times, Keri never spoke of what was making her sad but then just as quickly, the mood would clear and she was happy again.
Her parents accepted her mood changes as normal teenage moodiness, though they remained on guard, having heard horror stories from some of their other friends and the difficulties that they were having with their own “teenage” children. From what they had heard, they counted their blessings, feeling grateful that Keri was so grounded. Her parents just figured that they were also having growing pains letting go, and tried to be more understanding and lenient by looking the other way rather than being so strict. Keri was grateful, never wanting them to guess what was really happening.
Though the dark times did seem fewer and farther between, when the rages did happen, they would terrorize them both. Jack seemed trapped inside of them and Keri had learned to be his target. He knew that he was horrible to her but something ridiculous would trigger the anger and the explosions followed like clockwork. Somehow, it had become a pattern with them. Keri had grown to accept the emotional blows, lost in her own hopelessness that they seemed to represent. The ambivalence she felt was debilitating. And yet she never shared any of it with anyone. She reasoned a little pushing was not like getting punched or slapped and he was usually so sorry after. There had been a time or two when Keri stormed out to get away and he had followed pleading for her forgiveness. He would kiss her tears and beg her to come back, pleading as if his heart would break, telling her that he could not live without her and how sorry he was. He would kneel at her feet and she would pull it up and then sadly follow him back as he would try to make up for everything he had just said. But Keri could not block out the names he had called her, slowly she began to grow numb to it all.
She wanted to protect Jack. She knew he was fighting pretty dark demons from his past and that he was dealing with them in his own way, and she felt it was enough. She also was too ashamed that she would allow anyone to treat her the way he did when he would lose control. He would be sorry and she would forgive him and the in-between, times that they shared, seemed to make up for everything else. The funny thing was that after the awful day on the sailboat, Keri never again, even considered leaving. She just accepted that this was part of her fate and the more she loved him, the deeper in she got.
This is not the end! There are more chapters to come…. but this is all I will share here. I am now working on editing the finished chapters of my book and someday, hope to have it finished. I just wanted to share a piece of it here to get feedback from my most favorite followers!
THANK YOU for all who have taken the time to really READ it!!!! You have a piece of my heart!