Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Journey - Choices made

Continued from here.
 Prologue can be found: here

    Sitting in a conference room, listening to Jessica complain about life as she knew it, DJ couldn’t see  a reason to contest the divorce. He hadn't realized how spoiled she was. Nor had he realized how much debt she’d incurred over their short marriage.

    The sale of joint possessions would go to paying off the fifteen thousand dollars. DJ was angry at the waste but saw no reason to argue. He would end up back on a base and have no need for a house. Or lawn furniture.

    “We don’t even have a patio.” DJ looked from the list to his soon-to-be ex-wife.

    Jessica rolled her eyes, “How would you know? You were never home.”

    “You knew what was going to happen when you agreed to marry me.”

    “I just thought you’d get it out of your system and go back to college.” Jessica crossed her perfectly toned and tanned arms over her chest, “This is why I want a divorce. You can go play soldier and I can get on with my life.”

    “Fine. But I'm not paying for all these damn purses.”

    “I needed them to help me cope.”

    Stunned, DJ stared at her. Slowly, he wanted to know, “Purses help you cope?”

    Jessica narrowed her eyes at him but didn’t say anything.

    “At $500 dollars a pop, Jess, you could have had actual therapy. Or collagen injections.”

    Her manicured fingers flew up to her lips with a gasp, “You’re impossible.”

    “No. I was stupid.” He looked at his attorney, “I’ll sign the papers but I want in the house before anything is sold so that I can get my things.”

    There wasn’t much that he wanted out of the house. Just his personal belongings.

    The surprise of his high school years was the friendship of former enemies. Travis and Dale Winkler grew to be solid citizens, despite a very shaky start in life. They helped move DJ’s weights and a few boxes from the attic that hadn’t even been unboxed.

    Walking through the house, Travis frowned, “Dude. There’s not one thing in this house that reminds me of you. How many times did you come home?”

    DJ looked up from scouring the photo albums, “I came home every chance I got.”

    Dale shook his head, “Doesn’t look like it.”

    Travis heaved a sigh, “So where do you want us to take this stuff?”

    “I guess I’ll dump it at my parent’s house.”

    Still fixated on the lack of DJ’s presence in the house, Dale crossed his arms, “It’s just not right. I mean, you went off to war! Meg Addison has more pictures of you than your ex-wife.”

    DJ shrugged and frowned, “Wait. You've been in Meg's apartment?"

   Both brothers shrugged, "Basketball playoffs. There were six of us."

    DJ accepted the information with a broad gesture of his hands, "The photo album I want isn’t here.”

    They found it in another box in the attic. In the first one they opened in their hunt, DJ found his letters and gifts he’d mailed to Jessica from overseas. He left those for the attic. At what point, did she stop loving him? Had she ever?

    Fairly certain he would never get an answer, DJ stopped asking the question.

    His mother was pleased to see the boxes, full of memories, but she scowled at the weight bench. When he saw his life spread out on Charlotte's kitchen table, it was a difficult blow and everything seemed to crash around him. When the Winkler brothers offered to take him drinking, he didn’t say no.

    Meg answered her phone without glancing at the display, “This had better be important.”

    “I got a drunk soldier on my hands.”

    Pressing her fingers against her eyes, Meg glanced at the clock on her nightstand. Three hours down time.  “Blake?”

    “Got it in one. Listen, I need to close up. I got Dale and Travis sent home but this dude’s just too big and in a piss-poor mood. Think you can handle him?”

    Staring at him twenty minutes later, Meg wasn’t sure. She could call her brothers but when he found out, would DJ resent it? He was head down on the table, his arms dangling down toward the floor.

    Meg felt for his pulse just to be certain and then slapped him on the shoulder. His entire body jerked and his eyes opened.

    “Hey.” Meg offered.

    “Go to hell,” DJ groused.

    “Not on my list of things to do, actually.” She tugged on his sleeve, “Com'on, Darcy, Blake wants to close up his bar.”

    Slowly and with several drunken oaths, he managed to get to his feet and Meg slid herself under his arm, steadying him. “One foot at a time.”

    Blake helped her get him to her car where he sort of fell in.

    “How are you going to get him out?” Blake wanted to know. Tilting his head, he considered the angle of DJ’s neck between the two front seats.

    “Maybe he’ll roll out?” Meg tilted her head, mimicking Blake's pose. “Or maybe I’ll just leave him in there for the night and sleep at my parent’s house.”

    “Good luck.”

    Meg was going to take all the luck she could get.

    When she pulled into the drive, the Rediker house was dark except for the single porch light that shined. Meg heaved a sigh and angled her self to get a look at DJ’s face. With his head back, his mouth opened naturally and he snored. Loudly.

    “Good lord. You’re going to make this difficult aren’t you?” None too gently she patted his face until he snorted himself awake and blinked at her with bleary, red-rimmed eyes. “I brought you home, Darcy. Can you get out of the car on your own?”

    He swore at her and fumbled for the door handle.

    Meg shook her head when he fell onto the grass. “Big apes should not be allowed to drink.” She slammed her car door and rounded the front to put herself on the grass in his line of sight.

    When he managed to lumber to his feet, DJ glared down at her, “Don’t stand there all high and mighty. You were right about Jessica. You might as well go ahead and say it.”

    “I was right about a good many things, Darcy.” Meg put her hands on her hips. “Can you make it up to bed?”

    Glaring at the house and then at Meg, DJ gave her a shove, “I don’t need your help.”

    “I can tell.” Meg jogged up the stairs and unlocked the front door with DJ’s key. “You’re handling everything just fine.”

    Lurching into his house, DJ mumbled something unflattering and Meg rolled her eyes at his back, “If you weren’t drunk, Darcy, I’d put you on your back.”

    “You could dry....” DJ whirled on her, “ You’d tail.”

    Without grinning at his word blunder and undaunted, Meg moved toward the stairs, “Find your bed, soldier, before you fall on your face.”

    When he staggered on the bottom step, Meg put herself under him and helped him get up the stairs.

    DJ swore at her, “You have no clue what it’s like, do you?”

    “About what?”

    “Any of it.” He released the stair well and gestured grandly, nearly sending both of them toppling backward.

    “You’re too drunk to be specific. Keep moving, we’re almost to the top.” Meg grit her teeth against the strain in her legs and back.

    “You stay all nice and comfortable at home.”

    Meg thought of the last time someone had tried to resist arrest. Or the time she’d been shot. She had a scar in her hip where a bullet grazed her. She kept her thoughts to herself.

    “No one’s tried to shoot at you. So you can sit at home and be judge over all that goes on.”

    Meg’s eyes narrowed but she didn’t have to respond. There was no way she could explain what she’d seen in her considerably short years as a police officer. And it wasn’t like he was going to remember.

    They crashed into the door of DJ’s room. Meg’s head clanged against the frame. Their legs meshed together and they tumbled onto the bed. Muttering and huffing, Meg pulled herself out from under him, her wrist ached where it had twisted under his mass.

    Rolling onto his back, DJ scowled at her, “And you’ve never loved someone who didn’t love you back. So you just go on back to your happy world and I’ll go back to being a soldier to keep you safe.”

    “Oh, for the love of God!” Meg stood over him and shouted, “If it weren’t for the fact that you won’t remember a damn bit of this, I’d kick your idiot teeth down your throat! I hope you have one hell of a hangover in the morning!” She kicked the leg that angled down to the floor, “I thought people got smarter as they got older but whatever the Army’s feeding you to make you so big has apparently made you stupid, you big ape!”

    “Don’t you start on me again...”

    “Again? Again?!” Meg shoved his face, pushing his head back down onto the pillow, “I haven’t even started.”

    “Some friend you are.”

    Meg tossed her hands in the air, “You know what, you jerk? I’m a great friend! I’ve put up with your Barbie infatuation for all these years! Go ahead, just try to blame it on me. You’re the idiot ape that married the wrong girl!”

    “Go to hell!” DJ yelled at her back.
    “Not today!” Meg slammed his door and stomped down the stairs. At the bottom she yelped with surprise. Her hand placed over her heart, she stared at DJ’s parents. They stood like shadows in the front room.
    Charlotte took a step forward, “Meg, honey...”

    Overcoming her surprise, Meg started for the door, “Your son is drunk and I hope he’s perfectly miserable in the morning.”

© 2011, Amelia Antwiler/Comfy Denim


Christa said...

I am really enjoying this. I hope there is more coming!

ComfyDenim said...

Thank you!!! I'm hoping to finish the tale...another verbal montage is coming. LOL

Mother Mayhem said...

I'm on the edge of my seat! :o)