Begin Again

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Twenty-Nine: JFK to CLT

I pack my clothes, placing them neatly in a suitcase as I prepare to meet my dad at the airport. His purpose for visiting New York was for me, now that I wanted to go back to North Carolina with him, there was no need to prolong the trip.

While getting my things together, I dial Maks’ number and place him on speakerphone so I can talk while packing my suitcase.

“Thomas Reid, you dirty mother f*cker,” I hear his voice echo in my room, he chuckles and I can tell he’s ecstatic to hear from me, “Bro, what the fuck, man? It’s been months!”

I chuckle lightly, never phased by Maks’ large personality. He’s always been this way and it’s one of the reasons we had become friends in the first place, we were both jerks in high school and we fed off of each other’s horrible negative energy.

“Yeah, yeah. Lecture me later. I’m heading to North Carolina today, within the next two hours, actually. How does a weekend at the beach house sound?” I ask him, tossing a few shirts in my bag, “I need to get out of this place, man.”

“Do you even have to ask? I’m always down to party, brother.”

“Not party, just escape,” I clarify before sighing heavily, “I’m getting in this afternoon and we can head to the beach house tomorrow, what do you say?”

“It’s a deal, see you then.”

After saying goodbye, I hang up and close my suitcase. I text my dad that I’ll be heading to JFK Airport within a few minutes and after doing so I pause before searching my contacts for Jenna’s name. I choose to call her and wait for her to answer as I hear ringing over and over.

The sound of shuffling is heard before she finally answers, “Hey Thomas.”

“Jen, how do you feel about going on a trip with me?” I ask her.

“Uh, it doesn’t sound like a smart thing to do,” She respond before continuing, “Why would we go on a spontaneous trip?”

I chuckle at her hesitance, the old Jenna would just at any opportunity to make decisions on the spot. I’m proud of how far she has come as a person. I explain to her my thought process, “I’m going with my dad to North Carolina. I need time away and I thought that maybe you would also... If you want to join, Maks and I will be going to the beach house tomorrow. It would be an opportunity to escape the world and just enjoy life for a while.”

It’s almost as though I can hear her smile on the other end of the line, “It sounds tempting and all, but I have too much going on here.”

“I get that,” I nod my head, understanding where she’s coming from. I would never expect her to bail on everything going on to escape, my situation is different. I don’t want to fix things with Violet but Jenna has to fix things with Mason. “If you need anything, I’m here. You and Mason will figure this out in time, I know you will.”

“Thanks, Thomas... I appreciate that. And don’t let Maks influence you to be an idiot, okay? You’re better than that and you’re passed that in your life. Maks isn’t...” Jenna giggles, taking a deep breath before continuing, “Have a safe flight. Let me know when you arrive, okay?”

“Will do,” I smile to myself and hang up.

A part of me would have loved having Jenna come with me but at the same time I’m relieve that she chose to not come, I don’t need to risk dragging her down when she can stay here and fix her relationship. That’s her priority, as it should be.

***

I meet my dad at the terminal and he’s sitting in the waiting area with two coffees from Starbucks. As I approach him, I groan and drop my carry on bag beside the free seat, “Mine better be black.”

“As always,” He answers.

He’s texting on his phone and I’m sure he’s giving Allison updates on our flight. I can’t manage to bite my tongue, so I ask anyway, “I assume you told Allison I would be joining you?”

“Of course. She’s thrilled that you’re coming home.”

“Yeah, well, I’m not going there for her. Just an fyi.”

I roll my eyes, my inner child revealing itself to the surface again. Allison seemed to always be the trigger when it came to my bitter side, but no one can really blame me considering the way she came into my life. I don’t even remember the woman being my babysitter before she ended up becoming my father’s slut.

“I’m very much aware, Tommy. So is she.” Instead of fighting me on it like he usually does, my dad leaves it at that. Maybe he finally realized that he can’t change my opinion on things. “I don’t expect you to ever be okay with what went on between Allison and I. But I would hope that eventually you can let that anger that’s in you leave so you can focus your energy on more positive things.”

“Doubtful,” I snarl.

My dad clears his throat and changes the topic, “Mila is excited to see you. She asked to take a week off of school to spend time with you, imagine the fight she put up when we told her she wasn’t allowed.”

“Ah, she’ll get over it.” I smile at the thought of seeing my little sisters, it would be nice to finally spend time with them. I haven’t had the chance to often since I moved to New York, this was my first trip back that would last more than a weekend.

I notice the look on my dad’s face change as he stares ahead, clearly confused by what he’s looking at. My head turns to look in the direction his eyes are focusing on and just like him, I’m surprised.

Jenna is walking towards us, she has a small leopard print carry on suitcase being dragged behind her and even through her dark sunglasses I recognize that it’s her. Her heels are clicking on the floor, causing an echo throughout the busy terminal.

“Is that Jenna?” Dad asks me.

I nod my head and stand from my chair, not saying a word as I walk over to meet Jenna, “You said you weren’t coming.”

“Yeah, well I thought about it and I figured a little trip away couldn’t do no harm,” Jenna smiles at me and she actually seems to be eager for this trip, “Thanks for inviting me. I think I need this more than I’ve been willing to admit.”

I reach around to grab her bag for her and I look over with a smile on my face, “I promise you won’t regret this. We will have a great time catching up with Maks and living in the moments.”

“You better be right because I may have lost my job to come,” Jenna grins as we walk towards my father, I rest my arm over her shoulder as she leans into me, “Hey, Mr. Reid. I hope it’s okay if I crash.”

My dad looks confused, “Of course, you’re always welcome... Is Mason--”

“Mason isn’t exactly talking to me right now,” She answers before my dad can finish his question, “I would much rather be distracted by my friends than sit in my apartment sobbing and listening to love songs while waiting for Mason to call me back.”

I can see the look on my dad’s face and I’m unsure if it’s disappointment in Mason, or him being unsure of the situation all together. He manages to keep his mouth shut and refrain from asking anymore questions.

Maybe the situation is odd, but if Mason hadn’t been a jerk then Jenna wouldn’t have thought twice about coming along. As her best friends, Maks and I are going to be there for her as they will be there for me. Now that I know Jenna is joining us I have full intentions on texting Mason to let him know so he wouldn’t worry if he went to the apartment looking for her.

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