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(Please note: This is an important part of the story to understand the growth of Jeana and Bowen)
We headed down to McCally’s, it was packed, we found a table out of the way, close to the pool tables, and two of us started a game while some of the others went to get our beers. The music was loud and the smoke was thick, but the company was great. We played several games, eliminating each other until it was just down to just Otto and me.
The same girl that had been there the night before walked over to me about the time I was getting ready to break, “If you win this game, there’s someone that wants to play against you, if not, he still wants to speak to you.”
“You’ll see, just win the game.” she winked at me and walked away.
“Otto,” I suggested, “twenty?”
“You’re on.” I broke, practically ran the table, lost two banks, but still beat Otto because he scratched on the eight. He handed me the fifty and walked away, retrieving a few more beers.
“Care to lie that back down?” the deep voice came from behind me. I turned to see an older version of myself, knowing instantly that it was my father.
“Half, I promised my mother I would bring her back something special.” I said sternly.
“Half it is, your table.” he motioned, at the rack.
The crowd gathered, and the game was even between us. Neither of us ran the table completely, but in the end, I think he let me win. He handed me the cash and shook my hand. “Your mother has taught you well.” he smiled. How did he know?
I thanked him and handed my cue off to Otto, allowing him the table and walked away.
“You have your mother’s smile.” the deep voice came from behind me again.
“She says I look like you.” I mentioned, not turning around. “She never stopped loving you, I hope you know that.”
“Nor I her.” there was guilt in his voice. I did turn to face him then, seeing the sadness in his eyes. “How is your mother?”
“She is well.” I pulled my phone from my pocket and brought up her pictures, “She has faired better in these last few years than when you last saw her.”
“I regret every day that I was not strong enough to stand up to everyone over her.” he stood shaking his head.
“She has suffered so much since then, but she is a strong woman. Stronger than anyone will ever know.” I handed him my phone, he looked through the pictures.
“She’s still just as beautiful as ever.” He looked at me, “is this your brother and sister?”
“Yes, Lauren and Arron.”
“I see her in them as well.” he smiled, looking at me. “I’m Ron.”
“Yes, I know. She had told me everything about the two of you since I can remember.” I held my hand out to shake his, “Bowen Scott.”
“Bowen, it is a pleasure to meet you son.” I was not sure how to read his reaction. He cleared his throat, “When Chelsea told me that you had come into the pub last night, and they thought it was me, I was shocked to say the least. When she said you were coming in tonight, I made it a point to be here.”
“Who is Chelsea?”
“The little blonde over there, she’s my niece.” he pointed to the slim waitress that had been talking with the other girl that made the move on me istanbul escort the night before. I shook my head in acknowledgement. “What are you in Chicago for?”
“Law Enforcement convention,” I looked at him over my beer.
“A police officer, I bet your mom is proud of you.”
“I’m a deputy sheriff, and she is, but it scares her too.” I remembered her reaction when I originally told her I was joining.
“The girls said you were from Mississippi? She decided to go back there?”
“At the time, it was her only choice, and things just seemed to work out best for her. She has her own house, and business, and is doing very well for herself.”
“Where are you living? I assume you’re not too far from her.”
“Her house is down on the coast. And due to recent issues, she asked me to come back and live at the home.” I felt no reason to get into details about our current situation.
Someone called his attention away and he excused himself, telling me he would be right back. I drank down what was left of my beer and glanced over at the others, who seemed to be intent on their newest game. My phone vibrated, displaying I had a message. When did I miss that?
I called it up and listened, “Bo, baby. I’m sorry about earlier. Danny and I, you know how much I love you and he and I are just friends. I needed the company, your not home. It was pleasant to get out after all this time with another man who actually likes me and won’t hurt me. You understand, don’t you? I love you Bowen. Please know how much I love you. Baby, there will never be another man I will love so much.” I stared at the phone. Yes mom, I know and I understand.
Ron approached the table again, setting down two beers, and then himself. ‘Shame on the Moon’ played in the background.
“Mom loves that song.” I smiled, thinking about the reasoning behind it. Yes, I understood now.
“I know, it was ours.” I could almost make out the well of tears in his eyes as he smiled. “Is she married?”
“No.” I sat up a bit straighter, not sure if I wanted to explain things to him but did so briefly, “she’s had two very bad marriages, and to this day, she doesn’t date anyone because of them. She keeps to herself and us kids.”
“That’s too bad, she was always such a sexual animal, so full of life.” he cleared his throat when he saw the look I gave him. I’m not sure he knew what to say after that, he was quiet for sometime. “So, what about you, a wife, kids, ex’s?” he finally asked.
“My career takes most of my time and the rest is spent with mom and my brother.” it may have been cocky for me to say, but I added, “I am very dedicated to them both.”
He leaned back against the seat, “I have so many questions to ask you about her, how things are with her, but I’m not so sure I should after your previous comment.”
“I don’t mean to sound vague, but this was totally unexpected. I know how much she still loves you, but I don’t know how it would affect her if you were to ‘pop’ back into her life.”
“I know there’s no making up for the lost time between us, but seeing you, I know that she will always hold a bit of me in her heart.”
“More than you realize.” my phone rang, it was kabataş escort mom. I looked at him before I picked it up, excusing myself, “hi Angel.”
“Hi baby. Did you get my message?”
“Yes. I’m not mad, I’m not hurt. I’m just…”
“Yes baby, I know. Look Dan and I, we had a great time, but…”
“Mom, you don’t have to explain anything to me, trust me, I understand.”
Ron was looking at me while I talked to her, it was as if he wished to speak to her, but wasn’t sure about asking. “Mom, how would you feel about hearing a voice from your distant past?”
“Bowen? Are you talking with…” she trailed off.
“He’s sitting right here across from me. I think we’ve been talking for the last two hours, after he lost a game of pool to me.”
“Oh, you beat him?” she seemed a bit surprised, “He threw the game didn’t he?” she commented as if she had been watching.
“Yes, I believe so. But said you taught me well.” I smiled as she giggled.
“Baby, I’m not so sure I can find the words to say anything to him.” I knew she was unsure about talking to him after all those years.
“Do you really want to? After all, it’s up to you Angel.” I glanced back to Ron, seeing anxiety in his expression.
“Yes, I suppose a few moments wouldn’t hurt.” She was hesitant.
“All right mom, hang on.” I held the phone out to him, his hand was shaking when he took it.
“Hello Jeana,” he smiled, “It’s been a very long time baby.”
I half-heartedly listened to the one-sided conversation, knowing only that whatever they were discussing was something that should have been said twenty-five years earlier. My only quandary was where it would lead after this. After thirty minutes, he handed the phone back to me, drying his tearstained cheeks, and dismissed himself.
Mom and I talked a bit longer, ending the call with her reassurance that she was fine, and was heading off to bed. Ron came back to the table a little later and asked if I would like to go somewhere that was quiet so we could talk. I didn’t see where it would hurt.
We got up from the table, he walked to the bar, and I told Otto I was taking off. He shook his head, telling me he would see me later. I put my jacket on and met Ron at the door. We spent the rest of the night talking about mom, and her past.
She gave me her blessing to relay anything I felt comfortable talking about, concerning her past, to Ron. In the end, with a little uneasiness, and at his request, I found my Dad, something that I had never had in my lifetime.
Sunday night found me at the pub again, dad and I playing pool and talking about mom. I was amazed that there was so much she never told me about the two of them. He spoke fondly of her every time he talked about her. You could see her never stopped loving her. And I knew, somewhere deep down inside of him, like her, if they were ever given the chance to be together again, they would be inseparable as a couple.
Monday was the last day of the conference. There weren’t that many left, just diehards and of course, I stayed because I had to attend a last minute seminar. Otto had stayed behind, but the others left earlier. I packed all but kadıköy escort my clothes for the early morning flight the next day, and headed out to the pub. Otto met me in the lobby and we walked the chilly wet sidewalk the few blocks up the street.
“So, how’s it feel to meet you dad?” he looked at me, curious.
“It’s been ok; he has a lot of regrets over loosing mom.”
“You would think he would have gotten over it after all this time.”
“Otto, neither of them have gotten over each other. They moved on, because they had to, not because they wanted to.” As we briskly walked towards the pub, I remembered dad telling me the actual truth behind their separation, and told Otto.
“My mom only knew that her parents didn’t want her marrying him because according to them, he had ‘nothing’. Dad told me that his parents liked her, and agreed to take her into the family, that was why he went back to get her, besides the fact that he loved her.
They all knew she was pregnant, but it was too late by the time he got back to her. The man from Louisiana (I refused to mention his name) paid her parents a hefty sum of money, promising to care for her if they allowed the marriage.” I looked at Otto, who had this astonished look on his face.
“They sold your mom off like a piece of meat?”
“Yeah, you could say that.” I shook my head, still trying to grasp the concept, “dad tried everything to find her, but ran out of resources. After a year of trying, he finally found someone who thought they knew what happened to her, and he was told that she died during child birth, and we were both gone.”
Otto looked at me in disbelief, shaking his head, “I bet it was tough on him seeing you in the bar the other night.”
“Think how tough it was on me listening to him tell me that story, and I know the rest that he doesn’t.” I opened the door to the pub, “I don’t know if I should tell mom or not.”
“Bo. maybe that is one story that you should keep to yourself, maybe, your dad should be the one to tell her. It might be better coming from him.”
“Yeah, if he ever actually calls again.”
“You give him the numbers?”
“He’ll call, trust me.”
“Otto, I’m not so sure I want him to.”
On our last night, wanted some good food to last me through the night and into the flight. With it being Monday night, I doubted dad would be there. I had said my goodbyes earlier that morning when we parted from the pub.
He hugged me tightly, promising that we would keep in touch. His words to me before I departed his company the night before rang in my ears. “I’m proud of you Bowen. I’m sorry we have missed out on so much together. The good thing is, we have plenty of time to catch up.” he told me, “Tell your mother I still hold her in my heart, as she does mine.”
When he pulled away from me, there were still many years of sorrow behind his eyes. In the end, I had the feeling that I had sealed my fate with them in that instant.
Otto and I found a table open and sat down with our beers. We found conversation else where besides my mom and dad, and played several games of pool, before leaving for the night. It was almost midnight when we decided it was time to go, and I was trying to remind myself that I had to get up at six a.m. As we walked in the rainy night air, I thought of everything that transpired over the last few months to the last four days, and how much life had suddenly changed. Not at all, what I was expecting while I was here in Chicago.
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