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Authors: D.M. Hamblin

Tags: #General Fiction

Once Broken (10 page)

BOOK: Once Broken
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“No guessing about it. I’m studying you, Jackie Martin,” he said with a wink. “Someday I’ll know everything there is to know about you.” He presented her with a small wrapped box. “Happy Birthday.”

“Thanks!” She eagerly opened her gift and found a silver charm bracelet with heart and sand-dollar charms dangling from it. “It’s lovely.”

“I chose the heart because you’ve stolen mine. I chose the sand dollar as a memory of this weekend. I plan to fill that bracelet with tokens of all the memories yet to be made.”

“Oh Tony, that’s the sweetest thing ever.”

*

Drizzle dampened the following morning. Arm in arm, Jackie and Tony headed to the Goldenrod restaurant for breakfast. The drizzle stopped after breakfast, but it remained a gray day. They tossed their overnight bags in the car and headed toward the ocean side cliffs. They walked for hours, taking in the stunning view and sharing their fantasies of one day owning oceanfront property.

Brown’s Ice Cream appeared around a corner, and they stopped to share a burger and ice cream. They strolled back to the car hand in hand.

“Jackie, this weekend went by too fast.”

“I know. I want to stay here forever. Or at least another day.”

“That’d be nice. But Jackie, this is just the beginning. I can’t wait to bring you to other places. Have you ever been to Newport?”

“Nope.”

“Then wait until you see the Newport Cliff Walk. I’m glad you’ve never been. I want to be the first one to show you that beautiful place.”

“Can’t wait.”

Tony held the car door open for her, stopping her for a tender kiss. When he dropped Jackie off at her house, they kissed again.

“Thank you, Tony, for a wonderful birthday and my beautiful bracelet.”

 

November 1976

Jackie was excited to have a boyfriend for the holidays, but they decided to have dinner with their own families for Thanksgiving.

“My dad’s brothers, Uncle Mitch and Uncle Steve, will be over with their wives and kids. All my cousins are in their twenties, and we have a blast after dinner playing ping-pong, darts, and poker. It’s tradition,” Tony told Jackie. “Please join us.”

“I’d love to. I’ll be over after our dinner. Your parents’ house is like a country club. I’m sure it’ll be tons of fun.”

*

Tara and Jackie met to celebrate Tara’s birthday at their favorite Italian restaurant, Gregg’s. Already seated at a booth, Jackie rose to greet her friend and give her a birthday hug.

“Happy Birthday!”

“Thanks! It’s so good to see you. It’s been too long. We fell in love with our guys and look what happens! Fill me in on all the sexy details. Leave nothing out!”

Jackie lit a cigarette. “I’m so in love!” She blushed. “Remember the time I was sitting on the front steps with Nikki crying my eyes out and you said relationships shouldn’t be that hard? Well, now I know what you meant. This is easy. He’s easy. Easy to be with and easy to love.”

A waitress came to the table to take their order.

“I’ll have a glass of Riunite and a chef’s salad with Russian dressing,” Jackie said.

“I’ll have the same,” Tara told the waitress, turning her attention back to Jackie. “I’m so happy to hear that. Now, what about the sex?”

Jackie described their lovemaking episodes to her best friend, ending with a sigh. “We can’t get enough of each other!”

“Young love. Ain’t it wonderful? I’m so happy for you guys. What a road you took, but you have what you wanted for so long. So what are the complaints? Everything can’t be that wonderful all the time.”

“Well, it’s great most of the time. He can be moody. But usually he’s attentive and sweet. Yet every so often he’ll be distant and cold, like he’s gone off to some other place in his mind. I ask him what’s wrong and he’s weird. I don’t know. I can’t explain it. But it doesn’t happen often, thank goodness. Other than that, I couldn’t be happier!”

Tara and Jackie caught up on the details of each other’s lives. After sharing the slice of birthday cake Jackie ordered, Tara said, “So, Jim and I are having a holiday party December 12, at his apartment. I’m sending invitations this week. But make sure you save the date. You have to be there.”

“We wouldn’t miss it!”

*

Jackie went over to Tony’s when she finished helping her mom clean up after Thanksgiving dinner. Tony greeted her at the door and consumed her in kisses. “Geez, after kisses like that I have to go spend time with your family? All I want to do is go directly to your bedroom.” She giggled, tucking her burgundy-and-beige print blouse into her wide-leg burgundy pants. “Holy shit, what you do to me!”

“Come on.” He took her hand. “Everyone’s in the basement.” He grabbed her buttocks as she went down the stairs. She squirmed, slapping his hand away. “Stop,” she whispered, with a giggle.

In the basement, he introduced her to his extended family. She pecked Anna and Louie on the cheek. Tony’s cousins were playing a heated game of ping-pong. “It’s a pairs tournament,” Tony explained as Jackie perched on a barstool against the wall to watch the game. “Are you any good at ping-pong? You can’t be my partner unless you’re good,” he teased.

“I’m good enough,” she fibbed, as she lit a cigarette and crossed her legs.

Louie stood behind the bar. “What’s your poison, Jackie?”

“How about one of your outstanding whisky sours? It’ll loosen me up for the game.”

“Coming right up.”

Jackie and Tony played a furious game against the winners and won. They hugged and hollered in victory. “My God, Jackie. Where did you learn to play ping-pong like that?”

She laughed, returning to her barstool. “My brother Vic has a table in his basement. I’ve had tons of practice.”

“Well, that was a shocker! Any other talents you’re keeping from me?”

“I thought you were studying me. You’ll have to study harder.”

“Oh, I plan on it,” Tony replied, leaning in for a smooch.

“Hey, hey,” said Uncle Matt. “You guys better cool it over here.” He put his arm around Jackie, who was now blushing. “You’ve got yourself quite a hot little number here, Tony.”

“Don’t I know it!”

 

December 1976

Jackie dialed Tara’s number.

“Hey Tara, what can I bring to the party?”

“An appetizer would be great.”

“That’s easy. By the way, I’m going shopping for Tony’s Christmas present this afternoon. Wanna come?

“Oh, I can’t. Jim and I are visiting his parents. I wish I could, though. I miss you! Anyway, I’ll see you next week at the party.”

Jackie went to the mall in pursuit of the perfect present for the love of her life. After scouring the stores for hours, Jackie decided on a Big Caravelle automatic watch by Bulova. Tony was such a punctual person and his current watch was old. She knew he’d love it.

Jackie was window shopping when she heard a familiar voice. “Jackie! Hey, Jackie!” Scanning the crowd of shoppers, she spotted David Lancaster in full Air Force uniform, waving his arms. Both stunned and excited she raced toward him.

“Oh my God, David!” She threw her arms around his neck and he spun her around.

“It’s so nice to see you,” he whispered in her ear.

“What are you doing up here?

“I’m on leave. Came to visit my cousin Frankie. I was considering stopping by The Stockyard but I figured you couldn’t still be working there.”

“Oh, I am.” Jackie laughed. “I graduated last May, but haven’t been able to find a good job. So while I’m searching for my perfect job, I’m waiting tables at the The Stockyard.”

“Hey, let’s go have a drink and catch up? We can go over to Jimmy’s Steak House.”

“I’d like that.”

David and Jackie sat together at Jimmy’s feeling as if no time had passed. He took out two cigarettes and lit them both, handing one to Jackie.

“You look mighty handsome in that uniform, buddy.”

“Aw, shucks. And you’re as lovely as ever.”

“Thanks. So you have another two years in the service?”

“Nope, actually I’m a
professional
soldier. I’m in for twenty years, like my dad.”

“Really? That’s great! Where are you stationed now?”

“Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. I’m a mechanical engineer,” he said with pride.

“Nice! Looking so handsome in that uniform, you must have all the North Carolina ladies chasing you.”

David smiled. “Well, I don’t know about that. But I’m seeing one special lady. She’s a soldier too.”

“That’s awesome! I’m delighted to hear it.”

“What about you? I see no ring on those lovely fingers, so you’re not married yet. But you must be seeing someone?”

“Believe it or not, I’m seeing that guy from Sammy White’s. Remember Tony?”

“Cut the shit!
Please
don’t tell me the same old crap is going on.”

“Oh no. I mean, I’m
seeing
Tony. After the …” she hesitated, shutting her eyes, “abortion, I went to therapy for a few years to deal with a lot of my issues. Tony and I got together after that. Boy, a lot has happened since we last saw each other. In fact, that’s why I’m here today, buying his Christmas gift. Want to see it? I’d love a guy’s opinion.”

“Sure thing.”

Jackie flipped open the box.

“That’s one cool watch! I hope he knows how lucky he is.”

They finished their cocktails, hugged, and said good-bye. “It was so nice to see you, David.”

“You too. Don’t let that guy take advantage of you or I’ll have to come up from Seymour and kick his ass.”

Jackie smiled. “No worries, David. You take care of yourself.”

*

The following week, Tony picked up Jackie to go to Tara and Jim’s Christmas party. Jackie greeted Tony wearing a glittering red fitted dress with a plunging neckline and a handkerchief-cut hem, and red ankle-strap heels. Her dark straight hair hung loose below her shoulders, as Tony preferred it.

“Oh my God,” Tony gasped as she opened the door. He eyed her up and down. “I’ve never seen you look more beautiful.” This time he couldn’t wait until they got to the car for their hello kiss. He took it right there and then. Pushing her up against the hall wall, he kissed her ardently and whispered, “I hope Lucille is nowhere around.”

“No one’s home.”

Tony lifted her flowing skirt and caressed her legs and ass while he kissed her neck and worked his way down to her breasts. “Oh my.” Jackie pushed him away. “We’ll never get to the party if we keep this up.”

Tony laughed. “Sorry hon, you’re so hot in that dress. I don’t know how I’ll keep my hands off you all night.”

“Well, you’ll have to try,” she said with a smile. She grabbed her white wool coat and red purse. Tony held her coat and as she slipped into it he kissed her neck again. She whispered, “Ooh, seriously, we need to go.”

He chuckled. “Okay, okay.”

*

At Jim’s apartment, Jackie handed Tara a plate of olive cheese balls she had made.

“Thanks.” Tara kissed Jackie’s cheek. “It’s so nice to see you! Come help me in the kitchen. Tony, the guys are playing pool in the community room if you want to join them.”

“Sure!”

Jackie followed Tara through the living room into the kitchen.

“Jackie, that’s an awesome dress! Can I borrow it for Jim’s work party?”

“Absolutely! I bought it last week at the mall. By the way, you’ll never believe who I ran into that day.”

“Ellen?”

“No. You’ll never guess. David.”

Tara passed Jackie sour cream and Lipton soup mix.

“David Lancaster?”

Their conversation was interrupted. “What the fuck, Jackie, you ran into David at the mall and didn’t tell me?” Tony had returned to the kitchen to grab a beer and stood at the door eavesdropping. Jackie’s heart thumped. She’d never heard that tone of voice from Tony before.

“Oh Tony, it was nothing. I’d have told you but I didn’t have a chance.”

“What do you mean, you didn’t have a chance? It was a week ago! We saw each other last Saturday and Sunday
and
spoke on the phone every night. How could you not have had a chance?”

“Well, I mean it wasn’t important so it slipped my mind.”

“It was important enough to tell Tara as soon as you saw her.”

“Yeah, but I didn’t break a leg calling her. If it was that important, I’d have called her.”

“It’s important Jackie. I know it’s important.”

Taking Tony by the hand, she led him into Jim’s bedroom for privacy and sat on the coat-covered bed. “Calm down. So I ran into David in the mall. It’s no big deal.”

“If you had told me before I overheard you telling your best friend, I might believe you. But


“That’s the point. Tara and I
call
each other with important news. If it was important, I’d have called her. And, if it was important, I’d have told you.”

“I’m not buying it, Jackie.” Tony sat on the coats with his arms folded.

“Oh my God, you’re jealous!” She chuckled. “Don’t be jealous.” She took his face in her hands and kissed him. He melted into her kiss for a minute and then pushed her away.

“Jackie, this is serious. This is the only other guy you’ve had sex with. You ran into him after what you guys went through and it was nothing? What happened?”

“Nothing. We went for one drink.”

“You went for a drink?”

“It was two old friends catching up. It was good to see him. I love David. I always have and I always will but not in the way that I lo

” She caught herself before she divulged her true feelings.

“What? What were you gonna say?” Tony’s voice was softer.

“Uh… not the way I like you.”

A smile spread across his face. “That’s
not
what you were gonna say. You were gonna say you
love
me.” Jackie blushed. “Ah ha!” He took her hand in his. “It’s okay, Jack, I love you too.” Hugging her, Tony lay back on the pile of coats. Jackie straddled him as they shared a hot, deep kiss. A knock on the door reminded them where they were.

“Sorry to interrupt,” said one of Tara’s guests, as she peeked in the room. “I need the keys from my coat so someone can move my car.”

Back in the kitchen with Tara, she flashed a wide smile and whispered to her friend, “He loves me!”

BOOK: Once Broken
10.92Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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