Second Chance for Love

By: Leona Jackson

Chapter 1: Jetta



I looked around my empty house one last time and knew my life was changing again. Two days ago was the last time I’d enjoyed the illusion of life being normal. In forty-eight hours, I’d packed up my life into the back of my car and given away what wouldn't fit.

None of it mattered to me; not what was in the car, or what had been given away. With the exception of my online clothing business, it didn't matter whether it was thrown to the curb or stuffed in a box. I’d felt that way for some time though I’d done a good job of lying to myself. Now, there was no longer a reason to pretend.

I sighed and forced myself to my feet. I had a three hour drive ahead of me and just wanted to get it over with. I walked out of the place that had been my home for the last six years, knowing I would miss my cozy apartment. After all, it was the place where I had adopted Bosco and found out who I really was; the place that had fostered and nurtured my independence.

Bosco was still running around the yard looking for his ball, not understanding the big changes underway. I retrieved it from the floorboard of my car, where I’d tossed it to make sure it wasn't forgotten and gave it a squeeze. The high-pitched squeak hurt my ears, but it got my Golden Retriever's attention. He looked at me and wagged his tail.

“Let's get on the road, Bosco. I want to get this over with.”

Bosco jumped in through the driver's door and settled down in what had become his seat whenever I could possibly take him with me. Even the few times I’d gone out with friends, Bosco had always ridden shotgun since the day I adopted him.

I pulled out of the driveway and didn't look back. If I had, I may not have left at all. It wasn’t a mansion, but it had been my sanctuary from the craziness of my family. Without it, I wasn't sure what I was going to do.

“I hope you dug up all your bones and packed them, boy, because we ain't coming back,” I told him.

Without looking at him, I could hear his tail wagging against the seat. A typical Golden Retriever, Bosco had always been a happy dog, and I’d never been more grateful for his steady presence in my life. His wagging tail reminded me that there were better days ahead. There had to be, because I’d taken all the pushing and shoving around I was going to stand for.

Two days ago, I received an unexpected call from my mother that I didn’t answer. My family hadn't been in contact with me for over three years and I didn't see the need to start talking to them again now. I was in the middle of getting a large order ready for shipping and didn't have the time to waste. She called four more times while I was working, and I knew something was wrong.

I took Bosco for his evening walk before I called her back. My life was peaceful and I wanted to hold onto that a little while longer before I let my family tear it apart again. When we arrived home, I immediately saw the blinking red light on the answering machine.

“Jetta.” My mother’s sobbing voice echoed around the room. “Your father died of a heart attack last night! I need you to call me! Please come home. We need you.”

I turned off the machine and unplugged the phone. Bosco followed me to my bed and jumped up beside me while I stared at the ceiling.

“Bosco, I don't like this,” I told him. “This is going to be bad for us, boy. I know it.”

I felt numb as I walked back downstairs and picked up my cellphone. Six years ago, I’d left home after a falling out with my father, and had only spoken to him twice since then. Now he was gone, and much as I hated to admit it, it hurt like hell.

My mother was probably never going to let me live down how I had “broken his heart” and as always my feelings on the matter wouldn't count. They never did.

When I called her back, she cried on the phone and begged me until I agreed to move back home. At least for a little while. For the life of me, I don't know why the hell I agreed, except for the fact my mother has never lived alone a day in her life. My sisters are all married and I knew they weren’t willing to give up time with their husbands and children to look after Mom. So it was up to me, the bad daughter, the one everyone always treated like shit to come home and take care of her.

How the hell did that make sense? It didn’t. Truth was, I felt I had no choice.

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