Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The Long Road To Love -- Chapter One




 Chapter One
        Jack took one last look in the full-length mirror. He thought to himself, I don’t know why I even bother worrying about how I look. This is going to be another horrible date like all the rest. Where am I finding these ladies? Oh, I know. I’m not. Denny is. While I’m thinking about it, why do I keep letting him set me up?   He walked into the kitchen to find a snack since he had a couple hours before his date. As he opened the refrigerator to grab a soda, he heard the front door open.  Jack looked up and said. “Mom. Don’t you knock?”
            Mary smiled at her son. “Oh Jack. Come on now. What is wrong with your mama making herself welcome in your home? Even if it is an apartment and not a house with a nice fenced in yard so my grandchildren can play.”
            Jack shook his head. “Oh, you have grandchildren today? Yesterday I was just giving you one grandchild to play in the yard. Today you have grandchildren and I’ve sprung for a fence for the yard. Money is no object for your grandchildren.”
            Mary walked over and gave her son a kiss on the cheek and then helped herself to the refrigerator. “Well Jack I’m not getting any younger. And while we are talking about it you aren’t getting any younger.”
            Jack let out a sigh. “Um Mom. I’m only twenty-five. Not a hundred.”  He went over and sat down at the table. “So, what brings you here anyway Mom?”
            Mary walked over and sat down across from her son in the big comfy recliner that she knew he had gotten for her. “I’m on my way to the church for our monthly fundraising meeting. It’s on the way so I wanted to stop in and say hi.”
            Jack loved to give his mom a hard time and he knew deep down she enjoyed it too. “Well I’m glad you didn’t have to go out of your way to stop by. At least it was on your way to somewhere else.”
            Mary couldn’t help but laugh. “Very funny Jack.”
            The front door opened. Jade Summer walked in with her long brown hair pulled back with a headband. She saw Mary sitting in the chair and Jack on the couch. “Hey Jackie. I’m here. The fun can begin.”
            Mary smiled and then looked at Jack. “Oh, I see. Jade can just walk right in without knocking but when I do it, I get yelled at.”
            Jack laughed and then smiled up at Jade. “Jade is different. She’s actually welcome here.”
            Mary got up and pretended to be upset. “Oh, you are too much Jack Wyatt. I need to get going before I’m late. You two have a fun day.” She walked over and gave her son a hug goodbye.
            Jack looked over at Jade. “Whatcha out doing?”
            Jade got up and went to the refrigerator to find a snack. She ate all the time but you couldn’t tell. She was blessed with the small figure. “Nothing much. I have to do some errands for my mom today. I promised her I would help her since it’s my day off. So being my day off she filled it up with as much as she possibly could. You know how busy she is.” she said sarcastically. “What are you doing today?”
            Jack laughed. He knew what she meant because he had the same kind of mom. “I have a date in a little while. I’m going to a late lunch early dinner kind of date.”
            “Oh, I see. Where did you meet this one? The last few haven’t been all that great. You might want to try a new place to meet your dates.” She laughed as she ate the candy bar she had picked up from the counter. 
            Jack shook his head back and forth with a smile. “I know. Right? I have got to stop letting Denny fix me up. This one is somebody that one of his old girlfriends from years ago knows. So, he doesn’t even know her at all.”
            Jade almost spit her drink. “Oh my gosh, Jackie. What in the world are you thinking? I know he’s been our friend since grade school but he is not good at picking women for you. This is not going to go well. And when it doesn’t and we both know it won’t, call me. I can’t wait to hear what happened.”
            “Way to stay positive. If you weren’t my best friend and the only person, I trust with my life, I wouldn’t let you get away with this kind of negative talk.”
            Jade laughed as she stood up. “Well I have stuff to do and you need to get ready. I’ll see you later and you can fill me in on how it went.”
            “Okay. I hope you enjoy your errands.” he said with a grin full well knowing she was not going to have any fun. He knew how her mother was. He knew she would be running all over town for one item that would be really hard to find and not really needed at all.
            Jack grabbed his keys and gave himself a quick look in the mirror before heading out to meet his date. They had decided to meet at the local diner down the road so it wasn’t too awkward for either of them. Jack glanced down at his jeans and t-shirt and thought that was fine for a diner.
            He got into his blue four-wheel drive Chevy truck and headed down the road. The diner was only a couple of miles away and it had really good food so he didn’t mind having a laid-back date like this.  It wasn’t as good as Taco Bell of course. Nothing would beat his favorite place to eat but it would do for this date.
            He walked in and looked around. He had seen pictures of the girl he was meeting on his friend’s phone so he knew that was her in the corner booth.  She was sitting there with short blonde hair wearing jeans and a white t-shirt.  He walked over to her and said. “Hi. I’m Jack. You must be Diane.”
            The woman smiled and said. “Yes. It’s nice to meet you. Denny told me so much about you.”
            Jack smiled as he sat down. “Well I hope it was all nice.”
            Dianne started laughing in a loud obnoxious laugh. “Oh my gosh. I just heard it.”
            Jack looking confused said. “Heard what?”
            Dianne was getting really excited and pointed at him. “You are Jack.”
            Jack still looking confused nodded. “Yes.”
            “And I’m Dianne.” Dianne said excitedly.
            Jack still confused. “Yes. I thought we knew that?”
            “Oh my gosh. You don’t see it.” she said almost jumping out of her seat.”
            Jack glanced around the diner to see if anyone else saw her acting odd and luckily nobody was looking. “I guess you will need to tell me.” he said.
            “Dianne started to calm down a little bit. “You are Jack and I am Dianne.” You know. The song. Jack and Diane by John Cougar. I love that song. I always thought it would be amazing if I found a Jack to marry. Then we would forever be Jack and Diane.”
            Jack picked up his menu and held his phone behind it so it couldn’t be seen and hurriedly sent a text to Jade. “Help. SOS.”
***
            Jade had just got in her car finishing up her last errand when she saw the text and started laughing but knew she had to save him so headed to the diner where he had mentioned going.
                                    ***
            Jack sat there trying to make small talk hoping Jade would get there soon. He knew she would know just what to say. She always did. Once he saw her walk in, he started to relax.
            Jade walked over to the booth and sat down beside Jack. “Hey Jack. What’s up?”
            Dianne looked over at Jade. “Excuse me. But who are you? We are on a date here.”
            Jade smiled. “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t know it was date night. Jack and I need to finish planning our baby’s birthday party and I can’t do that and watch our other kids.” Jade looked at him. “Honey. You said you would only be gone an hour. We need you back home now.”
            Jack tried to hold in his laugh as much as he could. “I’m sorry sweety but you know I get hungry and I wanted diner food.  I knew I could get a date to pay for it if I came here.”
            Dianne jumped up. “I’m sorry but you are crazy. The man is supposed to pay. You have kids? What in the world is wrong with you? I’m out of here.” And She stormed off.
            Jack laughed so hard that his stomach hurt. “Thank you so much. I owe you.”
            Jade nodded. “Yes, you do. Big time.”
            “Well if it makes you feel any better my mom will love the fact that I have a house full of kids.” He laughed. “She just told me this morning that I’m getting older and need to give her grandkids. Now I can tell her I have a houseful.”
            Jade laughed as she picked up the menu. “Well you drug me out here so you are buying me dinner.”
            The waitress walked up just then and asked if she could take their order.
            Jack looked at Jade and then back to the waitress. “Whatever she wants. I owe her big time.” 
            The waitress smiled and turned to Jade. “What can I get for you?”
            Jade glanced it over for a quick minute. “Well it’s not Taco Bell but I’ll have a burger and fries I guess.”
            Jack couldn’t help but smile because he had been thinking that same thing earlier. “I’ll take the same.” He said to the waitress. “And can you bring us a couple of sodas too?”
            The waitress nodded and walked off.
                                    ***
            Jack picked up his phone when the text notification went off. He saw that it was Denny checking on the date. He started typing ‘are you kidding me dude’ as the waitress walked over with their food.
            “Here are your burgers and fries. Let me know if you need anything else.”
            They thanked her and immediately started eating.
            Jade said in between bites. “I’m starving. My mom had me running all over town today and I didn’t take a minute to stop and eat. I just wanted to get all her errands done.”
            “I know how you feel. I was getting hungry too. I swear I have got to stop going on dates that Denny sets up. This one was out there.” He said as he snickered.
            “Really?” Jade said sarcastically. “I thought this one looked like a real winner.” She couldn’t hold back the laugh anymore.
            “Oh yeah a real winner. She had us married before we even ordered any food.” Jack shook his head in disbelief.
            They sat there eating their food and sharing stories of some of their worst dates for about an hour before deciding they should probably leave. They said their goodbyes and both headed in different directions to their car and truck.
            Jack pulled into his drive and started to his front door when his text notification went off. He glanced down to see that Denny was apologizing for this one, but had another great girl for him. Jack couldn’t help but say to him self ‘great’ yeah right. He didn’t want to even think about it right then. He just wanted to go inside and relax for the night.
            He sent a text back that said, “I’ll think about it.”
            Instantly his friend sent back. “I’ll get it set up and send you the details. I knew you would say yes.”
            Jack sighed louder than he had thought as he shook his head. ‘I didn’t say yes.’ He said out loud to nobody but himself.  He couldn’t wait to get inside and go to bed.




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