Thursday, June 24, 2021

You still have a lot of time to make yourself be what you want. There’s still a lot of good in the world



 Mick wasn't sure if he could call Vicki ....Victoria. "When did that happen?" He was in a squint thinking she was different now. Maybe even strange. She wasn't like his old friend from school.

"When did you start to ask questions?" She was congenial enough. Quite happy actually. It took Mick a second or two when he saw her with Steve at the memorial that maybe they were a real couple.

"Are you two..really together?" He guessed he didn't need to know, but before he thought she was just someone who bothered Steve a lot like she bothered him. And he'd been happy that she'd found someone else to bother. Otherwise, he was just her sidekick to take to parties and possibly spy on guys she was interested in, just to act like she wasn't.

Victoria only smiled at him. He guessed it was true.

"What about you?" She asked.

"What about me?" He hadn't changed. He was still the same. Even dressed up, Mick was Mick. 

"Oh, you two have grown quite fond of each other," she said she'd noticed. This only gave him a stiff upper lip. She was just being silly. 

"He's my friend," Mick felt Jools had been through a lot these last few months. He wasn't sure he could do all that much, but to be here for him.

"Are you sure?" Victoria pointed out that he might be more. 

Mick only sighed and wanted to say the same thing to her. He was sure now Steve and Victoria were far from being just friends. He could sense it when they looked at each other. They held hands now. Mick didn't hold anybody's hand. Jools definitely wasn't smiling at him.

No, Mick felt a certain sadness around Jools, like a shadow that had nowhere to go. All Mick could do was watch Jools carefully and hope he didn't fall off the deep end.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Don't let yourself go



 Jools wanted Evan's memorial to be enough. After all, a lot was put into the afternoon. It was in the Library's large meeting room and afterward there was a tree planted out on the Library lawn in Evan's name. 

People came who knew him and said so many good things about Evan. From school teachers who had worked with him to patrons who remembered him as a shelver at the library. Steve and Victoria came as well as his friend Will and his family. Actually, he was surprised to meet so many who knew Evan. Yet, in his heart, even Jools doubted if he really knew the real Evan, after all.

"I know it's supposed to make me feel better," he said later to Mick when they had takeout at home. It was good to be out of the suit and yet he felt he had not done enough. He felt practically listless, standing there for so long. Although, everyone was masked up. No handshaking. And Mick had stood beside him the whole time. He'd taken a day off work and Jools had never seen Mick so quiet.

"If..if.."

"If what?" Mick wanted to know.

"If I had his ashes." It sounded so morbid when he said it. He wasn't certain what he would even do with them, but at least he would know. Perhaps a closure he needed, but this was it. A remembrance. Of course, no one chose to talk about how Evan died. Jools didn't even want to say it. And now he felt a little mental himself thinking what to do.

"Where are they?" Mick asked as he was playing around with the mac and cheese he got with the chicken tenders.

"We'd have to go to Pennsylvania." Jools looked at him blankly.

"Pennsylvania?" The way Mick said it, it might as well have been Transylvania. "Do you want to go there?"

Jools shook his head, no. He knew it would be another dead end. Evan's great uncle supposedly had them, but even Jools didn't know for sure. 

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Don't go chasing rainbows



 Matty wasn't one to boast, but he'd made plenty of wins and medals this year in track. Not that he would mention it, even now to Valentina. Still, there was always running.

"I mean, I know we can't run home," he kind of smiled because he had a feeling he could make the distance on foot faster than waiting for Liam to get here. Maybe that's what Valentina needed, a good run. Maybe she'd figure out her future. But he knew she'd think it was ridiculous and she was becoming more like he remembered her.

She was still indifferent even if they'd found a motel room with two beds. He sat on the one opposite of hers and channel surfed. There wasn't anything good on. If that wasn't enough, they heard a rowdy bunch outside, and he knew it didn't sit well with her. 

Yes, maybe finding a room near the casino was a bad idea, but the car broke down not far from here..and..he really wished he had more grown-up answers for her.

He got a text from Liam, they weren't all that far. He told Val they would be here soon.

"And then what?" She looked at him helplessly. 

"It'll be fine." After all, her brother called someone to tow the car to the nearest repair shop. Still, she looked sad and he knew if he came near she might kick him out. He returned to the TV and the searching. He couldn't give up. Although, he knew it was Valentina who he couldn't give up on. 

Finally, a knock came to the door. They both jumped. Thankfully, it was Liam and he was with a girl.

Matty winced, wondering if he just picked her up along the way.

"It's her Dad's SUV I'm driving," he explained.

"Oh." Matty shook his head. "We should drive back in the morning." He knew Liam had to be exhausted.

"Well, it's the four of us. Can we all sleep here?" Liam asked.

"I'll sleep with Matty, you sleep with Valentina," Liam pointed to Emily as if that was after all the right thing to do.

"Sure." Matty nodded. He looked at Val as if this was the worst getaway possible, but he had a feeling this was for the best.

Friday, June 18, 2021

the rules keep coming



 "I think you're being judgy," Dan said that night when Valentina talked about her car troubles, friends, boyfriend, and the university. She'd let slip how she was feeling lately. He guessed now, maybe it was a cry for help. But all he could think of was how her mother needed to know if she was safe. Yet, that hadn't been a priority to her. 

Dan felt he was on the fence, somehow. Not sure if he wanted to give up the trust that there might be between them. Of course, she was already upset with him that he was with Ivy. His sister, Val had given him the silent treatment.

"She's just a teenager," Ivy said about the matter the next day as if Dan should let it go. After all, Val was fine. Matty's friend was going to pick them up. "She might be more of a drama queen than you'll ever know."

Of course, Dan knew who must have been the real drama queen, and it wasn't Valentina. He was certain Ivy must have been troubling from the get-go. He could see why Val could be indifferent about his relationship with Ivy, but it wasn't something he was going to drop just because Val wanted him to.

He was here for the long haul. Naturally, Ivy hadn't even thought of the complicated math of this relationship. There were Keanu and his dad and step-mom. Now there was baby Hope and her dad Jay. At the moment Ivy was oblivious to what to do about child support.

 Dan had a feeling there wouldn't be any, but he wanted Jay to at least step up and see his only child. It would be wrong to take that away from him.

Of course, there was a little help from Slater in all this. After all, Jay was Slater's roommate and he'd let them know there was a crib in Jay's room. At least, Jay did have weekends free to take care of Hope.

"But..but she's so little," Ivy said about the matter.

"I guess you should have thought about that sooner," Dan didn't mean to be harsh with her, but this was the truth.

"She can't go there every weekend," Ivy was adamant about it. He knew he had to stay out of it. 

"That's where the lawyers come in," he told her she needed to be sensible. "And what about Keanu, when are you going to have weekends with him?"

With her swelled pout and in a stomp, he was certain that he was no one's loved one. But after she got off the phone with her lawyer who talked with Jay's lawyer from the reservation, it was settled. Jay would get Hope on the weekends.

"It was never this complicated with Brian," she shook her head.

Dan kept his mouth shut and knew they all had to be friends for at least the kids' sake.