Friday, July 28, 2017

Jack & Crush Chapter 3

I always wonder why
Birds stay
In the same place
When they can fly
Anywhere on Earth.
Then I ask myself
The same question.

~Harun Yahya


EPOV


I needed a place to stay on the weekends other than the bed & breakfast. The owner had too many cats, and the place creaked at night. Not to mention the rooster that crowed in the morning. As much as I was used to getting up at 5 AM, I didn't need a rooster right outside my window to scare me awake. The week I'd spent there was grating on me.


So that's how I came to be jogging before sunrise, mulling over my conundrum. I could move full time to the base, but I actually loved splitting my time between there and Forks. There's nothing better than returning to my rainy hometown when I come back from the desert.


There was a sign in a window of a little cabin on the edge of the Indian reservation. Pulling my cell from my pocket, I typed in the number and saved it. I highly doubted anybody would appreciate being called this early in the morning.


I ran back toward town, feeling the urge to run by the bar and the house of the woman I'd apparently stayed with. I'm not a drinker normally, and I guess I never noticed her there before. We don't exactly travel in the same circles.


I still can't get over what we did, what I did. I just never was the type; I made Jane wait until we were engaged for crying out loud. It had to have been the whiskey. When I drink Jack Daniels, I tend to do things I shouldn't.


But why shouldn't I? I'm not engaged anymore, clearly. I should go out and have some fun. Do something interesting. Date somebody.


She was way out of my league, though. I don't even know what her league is, but it sure as hell is worlds away from mine. I don't know what we would talk about if I was sober. I don't know what we could possibly have in common. I've always been a bit of a nerd. I would rather read maps than watch television. I would rather work late than hit up a club in Seattle. And I'm out of town more often than I'm home.


No wonder Jane grew tired of me.


BPOV


Leaving my girls at the shop, I headed over to the bar. I looked at the calendar on my desk to make sure I wasn't forgetting anything. There was a delivery later today, inventory Monday. The weekend would be busy; it always was.


There was rarely anything different happening in Forks. It was a same old, same old type of town. There was something comforting about that. I knew the lady that ran the grocery, the faces of the men that ate at the diner. I could name the daily specials at that diner by heart. I loved nothing more than to sit in my daddy's favorite spot, ass in the groove in the booth he and countless other men had worn down.


It was familiar, and left a certain settled feeling in my heart.


It was also boring sometimes.


So the bar brought interesting nights, and Trois Femmes brought interesting days. It just seemed like there ought to be more. Rosie and Emmett grew up here, and she always knew she would marry him. They really are a perfect match. Mary Alice was seeing this guy off and on that lived in Port Angeles. She swore that it wasn't serious because neither one was willing to move, but I knew her. She'd wear him down soon enough, and then she'd be married too.


And me? I'd never dated anyone seriously. I never found a guy in this town that was worth more than a few dates, and maybe a romp. The Quileute boys all thought they were the best thing to walk this Earth, and even worse, they thought they were the lowest hung. They really weren't.

I thought I knew every face in this town, if not the name of everyone. So the soldier from the other night remained on my mind. I'd never seen his face before, never knew a soldier in this town that wasn't a veteran. I couldn't get his sad green eyes off my mind, or the pain on his face when he said he didn't have a home to go back to.


My dad always said I'd take in any stray, and that's still true.


"Bella?"


"In here, Mom!"


My mom came into my office, frowning as she saw me working. "What are you doing in this dusty office? Shouldn't you be outside enjoying the sunshine and crisp air, or something interesting?"


"Mom, I'm going over the invoice for the order that's due any minute. I don't have time to be outside." I love my mom, but she's clueless as to how a business runs.


"Oh. Were you planning on meeting the vendor all by yourself?" Ah, yes. I'm supposed to be a damsel in distress.


"Yeah, Mom, I always do. It's no big deal." She was starting to frustrate me.


"What if the delivery man isn't a nice guy? What would you do if he tried to touch you inappropriately?" This is the same conversation we've had over and over since I started running this place.


"Mom, I can take care of myself. Daddy taught me well. Just ask Jake," I added with a chuckle.


"Now, Bella, that boy has been nothing but lovely to you. Why do you antagonize him?"


"Well, maybe if he wasn't manhandling me and calling me a whore, I would agree with you." She loved Jake, and thought he could do no wrong. That was because he sucked up to her and acted like the finest gentleman in her presence, so she thought I was exaggerating.


"Bella, if you would not flaunt other men in his face-"


"Whoa, whoa, whoa, stop right there! There is never an acceptable time for a man to call a woman a whore." The bell at the delivery entrance rang, saving me. "Don't you have paper stars or turkeys to cut out?"


She narrowed her eyes before kissing me on the forehead. "I love you, and I will always look out for you."


"I love you, but I wish you'd realize I can look out for myself."

"There's a difference between leaning on someone and supporting each other." With that, Renee left through the employee door and I went to answer the bell as it rang again.


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