Opening the refrigerator, a rush of cool air drifted around Jake’s exposed skin. He grabbed two beers and walked back to the garage where his friend, Shawn, inspected the suspended motor in all its powerful glory. Jake spent the past six months rebuilding it and now here it hung, waiting for its place back in the sparkling, shiny red ’69 Camero. A project he took on in an attempt to divert his mind from dwelling on the past.
“Thanks, man.” Shawn grabbed the offered can and snapped the top. Foam erupted from the opening. He quickly sucked down a long gulp.
“So, what’s up, Jake?”
“What do you mean?”
“Come on, I know you and something’s bothering you. Is it Kelly? She hounding you again?”
Kelly was the bane of Jake’s existence—his ex-wife. She was beautiful, witty, yet self-centered and deceitful, cunning. Divorced little over a year now, Jake still reeled over the messy situation. He gave himself to her whole-heartedly, only to get pissed on when she had an affair two years into their marriage.
The memories still twisted and yanked at his insides. The arguments and cruel words passed between them. Words said out of hurt and anger, words that could never be taken back, as if he wished to take them back. Not a chance in hell.
“No, it’s…” He broke off, took a long swig of his beer. “Hell, I might as well just come out with it. I told you about that job transfer to
Shawn’s face slackened, jaw dropping open. “
“It’s time to move on and something in my gut is tugging me in this direction. I gotta do it, man.” Jake fingered the handcrafted pendant that hung from a chain round his neck. Shawn’s wife Amy had given it to him a few weeks ago for his thirty-fifth birthday. She claimed it held a bit of magic and would lead him toward what he desired most; a warm, soft woman to hold on cold nights, make love to during summer storms. Someone he could share himself with, without apprehension. He’d scoffed at the idea. But inside, he couldn’t help but wish she was right.
“All right. If you’re sure this is what you gotta do then I’m behind you. It’ll take some getting used to not having you around.” Shawn slapped him on the back and walked to the engine lift. “Amy is going to be upset, you know.” He shot him a sly grin. “She enjoys playing mom where you’re concerned.”
Jake laughed. “Yeah, well, soon enough she’ll have her hands full. No more playing mom, she’ll be mom.”
“Damn, Jake, are you sure about this? Never mind, I know you, and you don’t make rash decisions. But, you can believe, me and Amy are gonna miss you. I’m getting all emotional here. Let’s get this engine back in this baby,” Shawn said. He took a gulp of his beer, emptying the can.
Shawn was right. It would take some getting used to not having them around. Friends for the past twenty years, Jake and Shawn met in Basic Training and remained together during their four-year stint in the Army. Remaining in
He thought he had that with Kelly. The kind of relationship that moved mountains, that grew stronger with time. But looking back, he never did. What a mistake that had been. The time had arrived for him to put that mess behind him. Maybe he could learn to trust women again. But that little voice in his head laughed at the idea of trusting. Always laughing, taunting. It was time to mute the laughing.
Amy stepped into the garage, one hand rubbing her protruding belly and the other holding a glass of ice-cold tea. Condensation formed around the outer glass. “Why are we going to miss Jake?” she asked, eying Jake with suspicion.
A long silence ensued.
“It seems Jake is moving to
Amy gasped, looking from Jake to Shawn, then back to Jake. “When?” she asked.
“Next weekend? That soon?” She waddled over to Jake and wrapped her arms around his waist to the best of her ability, considering the size of her stomach. She stepped back. “Who am I going to send Shawn to when he’s getting on my nerves?”
She attempted to laugh, but he could hear the tears she fought to keep inside. “Shawn is a lucky man to have you. You’re a good woman, Amy, and good for him. I’m sorry I won’t be here when the little guy is born, but I’ll fly out as soon as he is.”
Another sudden gasp slipped past Amy’s lips. Her hand pressed to the outer swell of her stomach below her ribs. Shawn flew to her side in an instant.
“Whew, this little guy is strong with his kicks,” she said.
Shawn placed both his hands on her belly, leaned down and kissed her gently. “Why don’t you go back inside and rest while we put this engine back in,” he said near her ear.
Jake sighed. Watching them together, he longed to have what they shared. The love and contentment always emanated around them.
Agreeing with her husband, Amy turned once again to Jake. “Someday, Jake, someday real soon, I think you are going to get what you dream of.” With that, she winked and turned, waddling back to the house. His hand found its way back to the pendant. Did she refer to the silly tale she told him of the green gem she’d given him? He inwardly laughed at his foolishness.
“She’s gonna drive me nuts not having you to run to anymore.”
“I heard that.” Amy replied in a sing-song voice.
“Damn, woman,” Shawn muttered with a smile.
Second Chances © 2008 Amanda Cummings
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This book may not be reproduced in whole or in part without permission.
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