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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Snap (09/04/08)

TITLE: Chocolate Latte and Second Chances
By Olivia Stocum
09/07/08


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“I need you to listen.”

“From the moment I step foot through that door all I do is listen. I can’t get a word in edgewise.”

“Maybe if you’d just open up a little, I wouldn’t be so miserable.”

“If you’re miserable, it’s not my fault. Maybe you should look in a mirror.”

Jessica Malone felt her heart sink. “Mirror?” Why would she need to look in a mirror? “But-”

“Don’t cry. Don’t you dare cry.”

She clenched her hands into fists at her sides.

“If you cry, I’m leaving. You always let your emotions get the best of you.”

“Well,” she managed, blinking, “it’s better than being a rock, like you.”

Todd Malone took up his jacket and headed for the door. “I’m out of here.”

And a moment later he was gone.

Time lost all value to Jessica as she stood there, hot tears streaking down her face. He was her best friend; that was why she agreed to spend the rest of her days with him. But three years of marriage and a miscarriage had stolen that away from them.

“This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be,” she whispered at the closed door.

Taking a deep breath she pulled herself together, or at least something resembling it. She tried to remember all the good times, but felt hollow inside and couldn’t see past her pain. It was like something had snapped inside her. Maybe it was the sound of their marriage vows breaking apart before her.

“I want out,” she told herself. “I’m done. It’s too hard.” She closed her eyes. “I’m so sorry, I know I made you a promise, but this is too much.” She turned away from her prayer quickly, ashamed of her own heart. Jessica grabbed for a tissue and blew her nose.

Then she picked up the phone and dialed up her big sister. She needed to talk.

****************************************************************
“Thanks for meeting me,” Jessica said, stirring her chocolate latte.

“No problem.” Bridget shrugged. “I was just about to put the baby down for a nap anyway, and mom said she had no problem watching him.”

Jessica peered over the rim of her cup. “You didn’t tell her, did you?”

“Course not.”

She sighed with relief. “Thanks. I don’t want to worry her, you know.”

Bridget nodded. “I know.” She blew at her coffee.

Jessica looked out the window, down into the busy street, wondering if anyone out there was as miserable as she was. “It’s just,” she started, “that he’s been so distant lately. Maybe it’s because of our baby. Maybe he’s mad at me?”

Bridget shook her head. “I don’t think Todd’s that kind of guy. He might be really stressed about it though. Have you guys talked about it much?”

“All we do is argue. I think I should move out.”

Bridget sucked in a shocked breath.

“You’re mad at me too,” Jessica squeaked.

“No, but you two were so close. I mean, he was the one you always went running to when something went wrong.”

“And now he’s the one I’m running away from.”

“At least ask Todd if he’s willing to work it out. I think you’d make a huge mistake by giving up on him.”

Jessica shook her head. “I don’t know if I’m strong enough. I need a sign, something to give me a little hope.”

Bridget set her coffee aside, then reached out to take her sister’s hand. “Let’s pray about it.”

****************************************************************

The house was quiet when she returned. Not that Jessica really expected to see Todd there with a dozen roses or something--but then again, it would’ve been nice.

She closed the front door, hung up her coat and walked into the living room. Sinking down on the sofa she grabbed a pillow and held it against herself. She was so absorbed in her grief she almost missed the single sprig of snapdragons on the coffee table; orange snapdragons, her favorite.

Her heart raced as she tossed the pillow aside and picked up the flower and corresponding note lying discreetly under it. It said two simple words in familiar handwriting. “I’m sorry,” she read out loud.

No one would accuse Todd of overusing those words, especially Jessica. This was her sign. She clutched the note against her heart and closed her eyes. “Thank you,” she whispered.


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Member Comments
Member Date
Beth LaBuff 09/12/08
Your story is very heart-warming and filled with hope. The orange "snap"dragons were a nice touch. :) I enjoyed reading this.
Patricia Turner09/15/08
I like snapdragons too. Nice flow to this story and I love the ending.