Saturday, September 6, 2014

Chapter 33


"Feel like going to town?"

"What?"

"To town?  Feel like going?"

"Uh ... Sawyer.  My ankle is still ... I ... I have to ..."

Frowning he said, "You better use that crutch.  I don't want to see you putting any weight on that foot until that brace fits properly.  Kay-Lee, there's no need for you to be in pain.  Don't make me be a jerk and have to order you."

I looked at him and saw something.  He was giving me an out.  Letting me think that it was his fault I had to use the crutch.  He was actually trying to use reverse psychology on me so I wouldn't feel bad.  My mouth almost fell open.  "Sawyer?"

"You gonna make me be a jerk?"

I hobbled over to him and put my hand on his chest.  "You aren't a jerk.  You're ... you're the opposite.  And I'll take the crutch."

"And use it?"

"And use it," I agreed.

He relaxed.  "Good.  Hopefully, if everything works out, we'll grab some Chinese food when we're finished.  If there's time we'll even go to a buffet.  If there isn't we'll do take out.  Place I'm thinking about has both."

Going back to the kitchen chair and sitting down I asked him, "What do you need in town?"

"I thought we'd hit that discount place again.  Then a couple of pawn shops I've been meaning to stop at.  But first Linda told me there's a couple of thrift stores and some yard sales that she and Tommy and a couple of the others were going to where I might be able to find some extra jeans and I thought ... well ... you don't have many clothes either so ..."  Then in a little bit of aggravation he said, "How come you don't ever ask for anything like that?  You don't ask for anything."

"'Cause I don't need anything.  And besides, you gave me that money to spend at the flea market and I got what I needed then and when we went to town."

"I mean besides that."

Carefully since I didn't understand the problem I asked, "Aren't we ... I mean you and me ... whatever ... supposed to be saving money so it could be spent on stuff we're gonna need when that thing you're Gramps expects happens?"

"Yeah.  And we are way ahead because of your crazy uncle ... er ... I mean ..."  He sighed.  "I'm sorry Kay-Lee.  It's just really hard to think of him any other way."

Slowly I admitted, "He probably was a little crazy.  Hiding money in a fireplace, even in a supposedly fire-proof safe, isn't exactly not crazy.  And the other stuff he did showed he had issues too.  And I know he gave your family a lot of grief.  I can understand where it is coming from but the guy is dead and he left us all this ..."

"You.  He left you."

"You.  Me.  Us.  Does it matter?  We're here now and ..."

"It matters to you."

"What?  No it doesn't."

"Sure it does.  You think because I volunteered to marry you that somehow I'm going to be sorry for it and wish it away and you're going to be out on the street.  You think now that he's dead that it's just going to happen sooner."

I was silent for a moment then said, "You did marry me so your family could get this property.  That's a fact and one I've accepted.  But it isn't because of this house and stuff that you could get to where you wish you hadn't been the one to volunteer.  I don't know if you need glasses or what but ... c'mon ... look at the mess I am right now.  God knows I'm not as much of a freak as I used to be but I'm not ever gonna get better.  I'm not ever going to be able to be like other girls Sawyer.  I've accepted it but I'm wondering if you have.  Falling like an idiot is just part of it."

"One I wish you wouldn't call yourself a freak.  It isn't good to make yourself feel like that.  You ... you were different but different doesn't equal freak.  And two, you have to give me a chance to prove you wrong.  You accept real easy that I might regret volunteering down the road someplace.  How about accepting that I might not regret it?"

The idea was so novel and different that it took me a few minutes to wrap my head around it.  "Uh ..."

My confusion must have been enough to appease Sawyer because he smiled and pulled a chair over to where I had been sitting folding the latest load of the old clothes that I had managed to wash, dry, and mend.  "Here.  Let's see if I can loosen the fastenings on your spare brace.  This way it won't turn your toes purple."

"You don't have to do that Sawyer I can ..."

"I know you can but let me pretend you need me a little more than you do."

"Huh?"

"Linda told me that I need to ... uh ... open up to you more because if I don't then you won't.  I used to be a really open guy, no secrets, no nothing but ... now it is a lot harder to be like that so if I sound stupid blame Linda.  But here it is ... I like when I'm needed.  It ... it hurt my feelings when Delly believed Buttface over me.  I did a lot of stuff for her because he was never around or when he was he was too tired to notice she needed help.  Then when Lisa and her folks turned their back on me too ... I couldn't ... still can't ... believe how fast everything changed.  I can't understand how they just out of the blue believed that I would steal like that.  Buttface and I had never been what you would call friends but we weren't enemies.  Hell, he is twenty years older than I am and I barely had much to do with him until after Dad died.  He was just never around.  There was no reason for him to believe that I'd steal that kind of money from him ... any kind of money."  He stopped and shook his head.  "Everybody use to be my friend, love me I guess, and suddenly I couldn't get a dog to come around even with a steak tied around my neck.  I know that sounds pathetic but I was feeling pretty pathetic and hurt and confused.  It still hurts that my cousins and uncles thought it was possible that I would sink that low but it is what it is and I think mostly it is because Uncle Forrester had just had his stroke and everyone was so worried about him dying that Gramps ... well he thought that it would work out."

He started putting the brace on my foot and said, "The reason I can understand some of what you feel is because I guess I felt abandoned by everyone ... like you got abandoned by your extended family after your parents died when you were a baby.  For a while Delly acted like she was sorry and I went right back to doing what I had done before but I think Gramps may have had something to do with that even though no one has ever come right out and said so.  But ... now there's you ... and me ... and we ... I mean ... together ... we can need to be needed by each other and it's ok because we aren't going to leave or whatever."  He was concentrating on putting my shoe over my brace and said almost too low for me to hear, "I'm the type of guy that needs to be needed Kay-Lee.  Just need me a little ok?"

I reached out and touched his hair.  "I'm afraid I might start needed you a whole lot.  If I do and then suddenly, for whatever reason you aren't ... I've hurt a lot in my life but I think that would hurt more than I could stand."

He looked up and I just knew he was going to kiss me.  He was half an inch away from my lips when a car horn playing "Dixie" could be heard coming down the drive.  Sawyer groaned.  "That would be Benedict.  He and Jeannie were picking up Tommy and Linda."

"And we're all going into town together?"

"If you want to go.  I won't make you but ... I'd like you to."

"Depends," I told him.

"On what?"

"If I can get a rain check on the kiss and if you help me to get up and get going so we don't keep them waiting."

Sawyer grinned hugely making it totally worth stepping outside my comfort zone.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks Kathy, great story.
    Wayne

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  2. Hi! Just wanted to let you know that I really, really, like this story.

    One question, though -- I notice that there's a Ch31 and a Ch33, but no Ch32?

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    1. Thanks for letting me know. That was a flub for sure.

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