Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: IN-LAWS( 07/11/19)
| TITLE: Meeting His In-Laws |
By Joanney Uthe
| ~ 8th Place |
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“You okay? Ya look a little nervous.” Brandon reached and took her hand, “They are going to love you. Just as I do.”
“But they’re her parents. I know they’re important in your life and they’ll always be Avery’s grandparents, but I don’t want them to feel like I’m trying to replace her. Not in their lives. Not in your life. Not in Avery’s.”
“Sweetheart, Denise fought a good fight against the cancer. We all grieved for her. But in the end, Fred and Catherine agreed with her that I should move on and remarry. They are not going to begrudge you for fulfilling their daughter’s deathbed request.”
As the car pulled into the farmyard, Jazmin spotted her soon-to-be stepdaughter coming out of the barn with a man whom she assumed was Fred.
“Daddy! Jazmin!” Avery pulled on her arm, “Come and meet my Grandpa and Grandma. I’ve told them all about you!”
“Has she ever! I feel like I know you already. I’m Grandpa Fred. Grandma Cathy is in the kitchen getting lunch ready.” Fred held out his hand to take Jazmin’s suitcase. “You been on a farm much? Want a tour after lunch?”
Soon after the suitcases were in the bedrooms, Cathy called them to lunch. Denise’s sister, Tina, introduced herself to Jazmin. “Don’t let this one go.” She pointed towards her brother-in-law. “Avery speaks highly of you, and that’s all the proof we need that you deserve someone special like Brandon.”
Brandon’s gentle squeeze of her hand gave her a silent “I told you so” as they sat down. “So, Tina, how’s what’s-his-name that you were with when I dropped Avery off two weeks ago?” Brandon asked.
“Jared. I met his parents and saw how he treated his mom and knew he wasn’t for me.” Tina looked sheepishly at her plate. “Denise always said she knew you were the right one for her after meeting your parents. That you spoke with respect to your parents, even when you disagreed. And you stood up for Denise when she disagreed with your parents about how to raise Avery. Jared was disrespectful to his mom. His dad insulted me and Jared joined him. He said later he didn’t mean any of it, but didn’t want to argue with his dad. I couldn’t live like that. So I broke it off.”
“I’m sorry. But no, you shouldn’t live like that. No one should.” Brandon’s tender look towards Tina confirmed for Jazmin that this was as much his family as his own parents and brother.
Jazmin helped Catherine and Tina to clear the table and do the dishes. The laughter that ensued made her miss her own grandmother and mom. This home definitely felt like family.
After lunch Fred made good on his promise to give her a tour of the farm, including a horseback ride to the back pasture. Brandon told her that the horse could feel if she was anxious, but the anxiety of meeting his in-laws had subsided. She soon relaxed and enjoyed her first horseback ride since visiting her cousins when she was Avery’s age.
Childhood memories mixed with Tina’s words brought a vivid image of her own parents’ marriage. Her dad screaming at her mom. His mom in tears after he spoke harshly to her. His fear of his own dad and the argument they had shortly before her dad left Jazmin and her mom. Her mom’s sobbing tears asking if there were signs she had missed. Jazmin finally had the answer to that question. She had heard it today at lunch and witnessed the alternative when she met Brandon’s parents and now Fred and Catherine.
“A penny for your thoughts.” Brandon reached up to take the reins as they stopped next to the corral by the barn.
“I was just thinking how lucky I am. Not only will I have a wonderful husband and daughter, but I get two sets of in-laws.”
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