Hey Everyone! How are you? A while back I mentioned I have been working on a short story. Fact is I’m working on about ten short stories right now – and counting. I started flashtweeting a story a couple of months ago entitled “I Was Expecting You.” I FINALLY finished Part IV today and although I could flashtweet it, I decided in the middle of writing it, I’d post it here on the blog. It simply allows for longer dialogue, etc.
If you haven’t read parts I – III yet, check them out here:
I would love your feedback when you get done with the story. I am sure in the future, as some authors have been known to do, I may continue the story and continue to tell it. The plan this year was to publish more fiction on the blog. If you happen to write as well, you know sometimes it’s not as easy to push things out (to our own satisfaction) as we’d like to think it is. I’m no different. In the process of all of this, I realize it’s not always about being perfect but getting the story written. Sometimes I know what’s going to happen and other times I have no clue – unless I sit down at the keyboard. Main thing is — I have to do the work. It doesn’t write itself. I am eager to hear your feedback and what you think June should have done. Did she do the right thing? Also, would you like to see more fiction on the blog? Let me know!
And without any further wait…
“I Was Expecting You” Part IV — The Conclusion
June’s husband kissed her when he came back. Asleep on the floor, he was down there with her when she felt his kiss.
By now she was awake with the kiss and startled to see him, more startled to see where she was laying.
“Haven’t seen you like this since the girls’ first birthday. Are you thinking about him?”
June thought she must have clearly missed something or it was another man. The long pause didn’t help,
“I mean, their party. The floor. I figured it was about him. Wasn’t about the girls. They were and are fine.”
“Is it ok if we talk about this later? I can’t right now.” June quipped.
“Sure, when you’re ready.”
June never thought she’d be ready. She rolled back over to meet his face and kiss him.
They went to bed without another word about it and she was thankful.
June was up before everyone else the next morning. He still had no clue. That regret began to eat away at her.
But poor Isaac – no questions. No info. No worries. He liked projects. He liked saving women.
He saved June and and the girls and inadvertently saved himself.
He thought June was different. June didn’t think anything of the sort.
At least temporarily. June looked at him sleeping, and wondered if her days as his wife were short-lived.
In penance and to cover the regret for the plans she was dreaming, she prepared pancakes, bacon, omelets. Fresh juice, coffee. The table was laid out.
June’s husband had the girls in tow when he came downstairs. They were all in awe. Lana trailed not too long after.
He hadn’t seen a morning spread like that in months.
“What’s all this for babe? Good morning….” Kissing her on her lips. The regret followed. She realized she’d miss that smile.
“I haven’t done this in a while. You and the girls deserve this. And Lana is here. The girl needs to put a few pounds on..”
Lana laughed. It was no secret she was rail thin. Just like her mother. Tall and bird-like.
“Well, you won’t hear me complaining. I need to go into the office today. Will you be here when I get back?”
“No.” June said flatly with a long pause. “We’re headed out for a while today to see some friends.”
“Ok.” he said looking at June with a smile. No questions. June worried about him for a few minutes.
She thought he knew. But dismissed it. There wasn’t time to worry. Things needed to be settled. Later, after getting Isaac off to work, June and Lana packed up the girls and headed towards James’s place.
“Are you nervous?” Lana asked. “No, but I used to be. I probably should be. He lost that privilege.” June said.
She had become brave in the last few years. Nights spent missing him had turned into nights where she didn’t need him.They drove for what seemed like three hours but had been a little over an hour. The twins played for a while, sang along and then
were asleep in 40 minutes.
“We’re here, turn right at the next street” Lana said.
What looked like an open field paired off with a warehouse. “That’s Dad’s place.”
“You’re fuc…you’re kidding me right?” June’s voice was shocked.
“No. Been there for a while now.” Lana said. “I’m not taking the girls in there. This was a mistake.”
But they were already there. The girls were asleep by now. They had already come this far. June wondered if maybe it was better to just get it over with. Then she would know what she needed to do. Problem is she already knew what she needed to do. She was going to miss Isaac and the house. They pulled the car in front. A rolling garage door, wide open on a nice day. A garage of old cars and oldies music playing. James always did like building things. June thought to herself.
The girls in protest, they were awake but not happy. Lana led the way and walked in. Not without grabbing the hand of one of the girls first. Lana presented a key but the door opened before she could use it. James stood there.
Before she could even think about it, June had stopped in her tracks and her eyes welled up. It was the first time James had seen the girls walking. He stood there in awe. She wondered how he could leave them so easily. But she looked at James and a smile broke through the tears as she lunged forward to hug him. He caught her right one cue. It was a long time before he let her go. Lana stood back with the girls and ushered them off into the kitchen on the other side.
“I’ve been waiting to see all of you. My girls. I always wanted to see all of you together. God, you’re beautiful.” James said.
Lana smiled and said nothing. Breaking free from the embrace, she traced the warehouse, turned into a home and wondered if he had been there all those years. James kept talking. The endless chatter of a guilty man.
“I’ve missed you. How’ve you been?”
“Well.” Lana said.
“I can see that. But that’s all you have to say?”
“All I have to say? You got some damn nerve. James, look, why did you ask me here? Why did you want to see the girls? Why did you send Lana first? I mean, just tell me what you want from me at this point”
“I want you and the girls and me to be a family again. I asked Lana to come because I wasn’t sure you’d talk to me. I know you got married – Isaac – right? But I didn’t want anything to happen to you if I came by the house.”
“James, if you were so worried you would’ve never left us in the first place. We had become your family. I know now I ain’t have no business with you then, but still, you left me when I needed you most. In fact, if I really think about it – and I have – you’ve never been there for me. At all. Ever. Every time I needed you, you were never there. You just showed up when you needed to be put back together. It’s never….”
You could see the words made James uncomfortable. He interrupted her – “I know I was wrong. But I didn’t bring you here to hear all of this. You think I haven’t punished myself all of these years? You think I haven’t thought about all of you?”
June started walking away and waved him off, “You haven’t. Let me go and check on the girls.” She realized she had totally forgotten they were there for a few minutes. She never liked the way James had such a hold on her.
She rounded the corner to the twins in a happy place with juice and snacks. Lana looking as if she knew what the answers would be. “We’re not staying much longer baby. But before we leave, I’m going to say this to you” June looked at Lana focused on her high cheeks and berry skin and smiled. “You know if you ever need anything, I am here for you – that promise is still good no matter what happens between me and James. You understand me?” Lana nodded. “Your mother means well, but I know she didn’t always have the right answers. Not that I do, but it’s nice to have someone – another woman who’s been where you are, to talk to sometimes. I mean it.”
June made a pivot and headed back around the corner. James was sitting with his legs crossed. “So when will you and the girls be here?”
James stood up and stepped towards her. June stepped towards him. She wanted to close the distance to make sure there wasn’t a misunderstanding.
“James, there is a man at home for me. He’s been there since the beginning with these girls. You haven’t. You haven’t ever been here for me. Not one single fucking time. So what makes you think I would trust you again? I loved…still love you. I always will. Just for the girls. And I won’t keep you from the girls. If you want to see them, you can see them. But I never thought you’d leave us. I can’t bear to see it happen again. I’ll never give you the space for it to happen again. I have a home already and I’m going home.”
James grabbed her and looked at her. The look she returned forced him to release her. He stood there in awe and tears welled in his eyes.
June turned back to James, “There’s no time for that now honey. I forgive you. I am sure the girls will too one day. But the fact remains they have a father. I have a husband and we all have a home. Here I thought I was going to leave my life for you. I’m not the same woman you left.”
June was growing impatient. The 20 minutes spent talking had seemed like an eternity. She wanted to get home before Isaac. She knew she was going to have some explaining to do. Walking to the kitchen, the girls ran into her legs and she kissed and hugged them.
looking at the girls and holding their hands, she looked at him, “This is what you missed. Good-bye James.”
He said nothing. June’s last memory of James was him standing there with the same look he had the last day she had seen him years earlier. She didn’t say good-bye to Lana. She packed the girls in the car. When they were asleep the tears began to flow. Angry and remorseful she wondered how Isaac was doing. She just couldn’t get it out of her mind. The regret. The feeling she had wronged him even by going and entertaining the idea of love lost years earlier. Staring at the girls from the rear-view mirror she had to at least thank James for giving her those girls. They were perfect in every way.
Pulling into the driveway, she noticed Isaac’s car. She didn’t think he was going to beat her home. It was still early. He came out to the car to help her with the girls. Asleep again, he pulled them out one at a time and carried them into the house. Isaac had been dutiful like that since she let him in their life.
June trailed behind into the house about ten minutes later and Isaac came down the stairs. “How did it go today June?”
She stopped. “What do you mean?”
“With James. How did it go? What did you decide?”
In a moment’s time she knew he would leave her and she and the girls would be alone. “How did you know?”
“June, I’ve always known. I just never pried. I didn’t see the point. I figured the way you talked about him at first and then when you stopped talking about him. I just figured it was something you didn’t want to bring up. So I never forced you to. But I’ve always known. But you didn’t answer my question – what did you decide?”
Struck in both remorse and a respect words can’t measure, June all too suddenly knew she had underestimated Isaac. She couldn’t talk through her tears. When she started to talk, the tears overtook her again. Isaac coming closer to her didn’t help at all. The shock of it all. How could he have possibly understood? Why would he want to be here now? Jesus, I need to leave – I’m not worthy of this man.
“June, I’ve been patient all these years. Now I need an answer” as he looked at her.
“I am so very very sorry,” June’s voice barely audible “I need you. I told him it had been a mistake to be there and that I was going home. That he could see the girls if he wanted, but I was not leaving you. Baby, I am so sor….”
Isaac stepped in to hug her. “What’s done is done. I just wanted to make sure I still had my family. June, it’s nice to finally meet you. I’ve been expecting you.”