Jack is going to be home for a long weekend. Things have been going great for the last six months between us. I’ve slowed down at work, I have gotten so much out of therapy, and I am learning how to live my life for myself. I hope Jack is okay with the news that I bought, invested in the bakery downstairs. I didn’t ask for his advice or opinion. I did this on my own, I met with a financial planner, and she has me set on a path that is safe and achievable. It is something that I have, I earned, and something that I have control of for the future.
Tomorrow night is May’s 79th birthday party. She needs to quit thanking me over Jack’s change of heart about the house. Since my relationship with Jack, he’s left her alone about it. He won the battle of choosing all the new decor and some small plumbing changes, and she’s been living there more than she has in the last few years. She doesn’t want to miss Sophie growing up, and she’s talking about living here months at a time instead of a week a month. I love her, but Jack is right, she’s crazy. She told me one night over wine how she married Jack’s dad when she was 20, at the end of her sophomore year at college, and they were high school sweethearts. She went on and on about how she’s taking this last chapter, her words, to act and do things she never had the chance to when she was younger.
I’ve introduced her to the Golden Girls, she’s watched every episode on her laptop, and now she likes to joke she loves being a Blanche. I thought Jack’s scowl was going to be a permanent fixture on his face after she informed all of us of that fact. Unfortunately, Golden Girls is a show I watch a lot of on cable reruns; he understood her reference. I giggle. Even Sarah Jane got the joke; she loves the Golden Girls. I have a feeling Sophie has watched Golden Girls by now; she didn’t like not getting her grandma’s joke.
I hear Jack unlock the door. He walks inside, drops his bag, and we meet each other in the living room.
“Christ, I’ve missed you so much. Come here. ”
He hugs me tightly. He’s sweaty.
I pull back to look over his face; he’s pale. I feel his head.
“You’re burning up with fever, Jack. Come on, let’s get you in bed.”
“Okay, I need you and maybe then a nap, sweetheart.”
“My God, Leslie, I’m happy for her, but I don’t want to tell Jack. Make Ben come over and tell him when Jack’s fever breaks.”
“Ben’s still in shock himself.” She giggles. “He’s trying to get the girls to leave Dick’s side. Dick’s sharing ornery stories about May’s life in Florida.”
“I can’t believe I am missing that,” I add cheerfully.
“Can’t believe you’re missing what?” Jack says gravelly like his throat is sore.
“What are you doing out of bed?”
He smiles. I even get his dimples. “You weren’t in our room.”
“Gotta go, Leslie, wish me luck and tell everyone hello.” I hang up, but not before I hear her laugh.
“Wish you luck, sweetheart; you don’t need any luck with me, baby.”
I feel his head; he’s still burning up with a fever after taking four Advils.
“Do you have a family doctor to call you in an antiviral medication, or do we need to go to urgent care?”
He waves his hand in the air. He still looks so handsome, crazy hair and dark eyes. My poor man has dark, dark circles.
“I’ll call Teddy, my doctor, if that’s what you want me to do. I just want you in our room, baby.”
I laugh a little. He’s not silently brooding and a grump, he’s sweet and playful.
“Okay, Jackson, let’s get to our room.”
He smiles like he thinks he’s won something. I see he’s hard underneath his PJ pants. I giggle and get him settled in bed, give him his phone, and make him call Teddy.