Friday, May 13, 2011

Journey - Leaving

*Editing comes later* 

Continued from the last post:

    Just as his father had pointed out, DJ took time to notice the things in the neighborhood that remained the same. Sunday dinner at the Addison house was one of them. He pulled his motorcycle to the curb, it was exempt from the sale of belongings because it had been his since high school. DJ had also put his foot down. Jessica could keep her purses, he was keeping his bike. He babied it along but the excellent condition was maintained because he was gone more often than not.

    The cars in front of the Addison house told DJ that the family was gathered. He spied Meg’s blue car and took a deep breath. He hadn’t talked to her in a week. It wasn’t avoidance - not exactly. Instead of seeking her out, DJ had focused his attention on selling the house and creating new accounts with his mother as his proxy.

    “Man up,” DJ muttered to himself, “she doesn’t bite.” He raised his hand to knock on the door, “She just swings a bat.”

    Uncle Mark answered the door. Running his tongue over his teeth, Mark swept his eyes over DJ’s broad form, “You thinking the uniform will make her go easy on you, son?”

    “I’ll take whatever advantage I can get, sir.”

    Mark chuckled, “Come on in. You’re welcome to the table, just like always.”

    “Thank you.” DJ pulled his beret from his head and stepped into the house. The noise of voices filled the air and Mark led the way.

    “Look who I found.”

    The dinning room fell silent when DJ followed Mark through the door. The table that seated twelve had long ago seemed too big but was now nearly too small. Meg’s brothers had added wives to the family. And a child, it seemed. Big chocolate eyes stared up at him.

    “You’ve not met the new additions, have you?” Mark motioned to the table, “I know you remember Michael and Matthew. This is Michael’s wife, Sara and their daughter, Megan. This is Matthew’s bride, Trish. You boys remember DJ, I’m sure. Norma already set a plate for you, son.” DJ saw the place setting at the end of the table.

    “Thank you.” Across from his place was another empty place setting. Set and, he assumed, waiting for Meg.

    As DJ took his seat, Michael grinned across the table from him, “Next time you want to go out on a bender, soldier-boy, you need to call us.”

    Sara lifted an eyebrow and gifted her husband with a supreme gaze, “Really now?”

    “Sure.” Matthew offered next to DJ, “We at least know the good places to go.”

    The wives exchanged eye-rolls and the slightest of grins. They knew their husbands would talk big and still come home.

    Norma carried the roast from the swinging doors and smiled brightly at DJ, “Oh, I was hoping you would come.” After setting the platter down in front of Mark, she hurried around the table to hug him. “Don’t get up. I just want to hug your neck. If you stand up, I couldn’t reach from way down here.”

    Before she broke away, Norma patted his cheek, “So handsome you are.”

    Her eyes scanned the table, making that last check,  “Meg’s bringing the carrots.”

    “We can start without her.” Matthew offered, not particularly fond of carrots.

    “No you can’t.” Meg carried the bowl in from the kitchen, “I had a phone call. Sorry.”

    As she sat the dish on the table, her badge winked at DJ from it’s perch on the waist band of her jeans.

    Meg dropped into the seat across from DJ and lifted an eyebrow. Mark blessed the food while they considered the other. When ‘Amens’ floated reverently above the table, Meg smirked, “I didn’t think it was possible but you look even bigger in your uniform.”

    Meg’s response to his presence lessened the stress DJ had felt around his lungs, “That works in my favor.”

    “Probably,” Meg said slowly, “most people tend to avoid big apes.”

    DJ’s smile was brilliant. His friend was back and he hadn’t realized how much he’d missed her.

    Sunday dinner went pretty much as he remembered. There was laughter and teasing. Stories were tossed out, corrected by all parties and then rehashed. DJ was included, as he always was and often found himself needing to defend himself. It was once again, at least for a day, his second home.

    With the brother’s having wives, they separated to go their own way soon after they ran out of conversation and jokes. Meg and DJ sat on the stoop and looked out over the park. Only the merry-go-round was the same since that very first journey through the park. The playground equipment and swings had been updated. It was brightly colored and currently covered with children.

    “You still play ball?” DJ asked watching a son pitch to his dad.

    “Sometimes. There’s a co-ed team in the department. We really only play if there’s a charity need. We played once to bring in some new K-9 units. I played first base.”

    “Listen, Meg, I only remember part of what I said the other day.” DJ scrubbed his hands over his head, “It was enough to know that I should be really sorry about what I don’t remember.”

    “It’s all under the bridge. This wasn't exactly the homecoming you were hoping for.”

    “No, can’t say that it was. I walked into an ambush. Didn’t see it coming.”

    Meg grinned, “That’s what made it an ambush. Sheesh. Didn’t they teach you anything in the Army?”

    DJ watched her eyes laugh through his narrowed lids, “You’ve always been a wise-ass.”


    “Look, Meg, I’m sorry. I'm sorry that I didn’t listen to you all those years ago. I'm sorry that I took it out on you last week. I'm really sorry I missed out ... I missed out on a lot of things.”

    “Aw, don’t be sorry for that. You needed to put your marriage first.” She bumped his arm with her shoulder, “You can be sorry for being an idiot though.”

    “Then I'm sorry I was an idiot.” DJ grinned and held out his hand, “Let me see the badge.”

    She placed the badge and clip in his hand and watched him run the pad of his thumb over the texture of the raised design.

    “Mom sent me newspaper clippings of your graduation and a picture of you in your uniform.”

    “It made me look square.”

    “Yes, it did.” DJ grinned down at her, “And short.”

    “What can we do?" Meg laughed, "I got all the brains, you got all the brawn.”

    Unoffended, DJ held the badge between his fingers and watched Meg reclaim it. Her small hand barely covered the shield. “It would look funny if it were reversed.”

    “I’d be on magazine covers instead of undercover.”

    “I'm going to cut my leave short.”

    “I thought you might.” Meg ran her thumb over her top lip, “I know you were thinking of mustering out.”

    “Did I tell you that?”

    “It was a passing comment in a letter.”

    DJ stared off toward the park without really seeing it, “Will you still write to me?”

    “Sure.” Meg sniffed, “If you think you can find someone to read it to you.”

    His retort was cut off Meg’s by loud laugh and her cell phone. She muffled her laughter and considered her display before putting the phone to her ear, “Addison.”

    She listened and agreed, “On the way.”

    Standing to her feet, Meg hopped up to the door and stuck her head in the door, “Mom, I got a call. I’ve got to run. I’ll be careful. Love you.”

    When she turned around her heart shot straight to her throat. DJ stood and considered her. They were eye to eye. Meg tucked her phone back into her pocket, “I’ve got to go in. My partner is moving on something that apparently can’t wait. He probably just needs the paper work done.”

    “You gotta do your job.” He tapped his beret against his hand, “Listen, Meg, I’m leaving in the morning.”

    “That is fast.” Meg frowned, putting a crease in her forehead. “I have a phone card for you but it’s at my apartment. I’ll mail it.”

    “That’d be good.” DJ sighed heavily before asking, “We’re good?”

    “Oh, yeah,” Meg grinned. “I’m still your second biggest fan. Your mother will always be number one.”

    “True.” Motioning over his shoulder, DJ started making motions to leave.

    Meg put her hand on his shoulder, “Look, Sarge. I know this wasn’t exactly the homecoming you were hoping for but I can at least send you off the right way.”

    DJ was surprised when her arms closed around his neck and her mouth melded with his. Then he stopped thinking and pulled her close, taking the kiss deeper. Meg was, for just a moment, exactly where she wanted to be - a desire she’d harbored since she was sixteen and she realized her gangly friend was just a bit more than a friend.

    The kiss was a perfect blend of lips, teeth and just the softest brush of tongues tasting and testing. Since it was perfect, she wanted to leave it that way. Meg broke away with a quick kiss on DJ’s bottom lip and a caress of fingers on his neck.

    “Take care of my friend while you’re gone.”

    DJ could do nothing but stare at her back as she walked down the sidewalk and then to her car.
    “What just happened?” DJ asked the air.

    He received no answer and he desperately wanted one.

© 2011, Amelia Antwiler/Comfy Denim


jugglingpaynes said...

Just finished reading through your story so far. I saved it until I knew I would have time to focus on it. Little did I know how much more I would have to read the longer I waited!

This is wonderful! Your characters are well thought out and the dialogue flows smoothly. You have a gift my friend! Thank you for sharing it!

Peace and Laughter,

PS- LOL! My word verification is "poodat"

Mother Mayhem said...

WOOT! Are you sure this is just going to be a short story? ;o)