Copyright© 2017 Rebecca Jane
All Rights Reserved.
Author's Note:The end of this one has taken me several revisions to get the end of this one be somewhat close to what I was hoping… Apologies for it taking me so long to get it out. Thanks for y’all patience, and thank you all so much for reading. ~Rebecca
No sooner did the words come out of Sarahs mouth, she regretted them. She knew that her parents were trying, and trying really hard. She knew she was being difficult, but she had that right didn’t she? She didn’t know if the reason they were here were only to honor a dead child’s last request, or if they truly wanted to reconcile. The entire day had been an emotional rollercoaster, one that she couldn’t seem to get off of or have any control of either. The one thing she did know was just how much those words had hurt her parents, the look on both of their faces turned her anger instantly into remorse. She covered her mouth with one hand, and mumbled, “I’m so sorry…” Then the tears started to flow yet again. She uttered I’m so sorry…” Then she turned and bolted to the bathroom, she just had to be alone long enough to recollect her thoughts.
Steve had walked in to the living room to see how things were going to witness Sarah’s outburst. He was stunned at how cruel she had been, but also saw how much saying that had hurt not only her parents but Sarah as well.
Bill looked up and saw Steve right after Sarah had gone down the hallway. He softly said, “I appreciate all this… I think we should go… It’s just too much for her…” Joan just held on to her husband tightly.
Steve tried to console them for a moment, but he was also worried about Sarah. He had seen her angry, but she had never been cruel. He looked at Bill and Joan and told them, “No… You two go get your plates and sit down… I’ll go talk to Sarah. It’s going to be okay…“ He mentally added the words ‘I hope’, but refused to say those words to them… The older couple nodded and moved on towards the dining room, then Steve made his way to the bathroom.
As he was about to knock on the bathroom door, he stopped and listened to see if Sarah might be okay. He could hear her crying through the doorway, even though it sounded like she was trying to muffle it. He said gently, “Sarah, its Steve… Open up please.” He listened some more, and it sounded like she had stopped crying, or at least loud enough to hear. He repeated his plea.
“Go away, I’m Fine” came through the door.
“No you’re not fine, c’mon and open the door. Talk to me.”, he told her.
A muffled, “It’s not locked,” came from the other side of the door.
Opening the door he saw a distraught Sarah sitting on the lid of the commode and wiping her eyes with tissue. The look on her face crushed him, seeing his best friend like this made him wish he could just take her in a hug and hold her till she was okay. Trying to console her he squatted down so he could look her in the eyes and softly said, “Sarah, it’s going to be okay…”
Sarah slowly nodded, “I want it to be… I keep lashing out at them… I know they’re trying… What the hell is wrong with me? I don’t want to be this angry person…”
Taking her hand in his and giving it a soft squeeze of encouragement, he told her, “Sarah… You’ve been through a lot… We all know that. They’ll forgive you for your outbursts, I know that… Look, let’s get through dinner and when they leave why don’t you stay so we can talk. We actually need to talk.”
Still upset that he and Dana had told her parents the truth about the girls, she nodded and replied, “Yeah we do need to talk…” Giving his hand a squeeze, she then said, “We just have to get through dinner right? I guess I need to straighten up my makeup…”
Giving her one of his patented mischievous grins, he said, “Well I wasn’t going to say anything…”
Giving him a ‘go to hell’ look before her lips started to curl up in a small grin, she told him, “You’re such an ass…”
Shrugging her comment off, he joked, “Yeah, but that’s probably one of my redeeming qualities.” He then stood up and helped her up, where he gently gave her a hug.
“You’re probably right.” She told him softly laughing in his embrace. This was one of the things she both loved and hated about him. No matter how mad he made her, she could never stay mad at him for long, even if she wanted to stay angry with him.
Releasing her from the hug, he asked, “So you going to be okay?”
Nodding she told him, “Yeah, at least for the next few minutes…”
That brought a chuckle from him, “Well we can’t ask for more than that. See you in a few minutes while you do… You know, your face stuff.” Sarah playfully slapped him on the arm and shooed him out of the bathroom, so she could clean up her tears.
A few minutes she walked into the dining room where everyone was seated. Her parents looked up hopefully at her, hoping she wasn’t still so upset. Still regretting how she had snapped at them, she smiled slightly and apologized softly to them.
Then Larissa spoke up, “Sarah! We saved you a seat!!!” While little Ally just kept saying, “Sarah, here. Sarah, here..” Seeing the two empty seats, with one of them in between the two girls, she giggled at their enthusiasm.
Dana spoke up, “They had to have you next to them, if you want just sit at the other side it’s okay.” Both girls groaned at that, which only brought more giggles from Sarah.
She said, “It’s okay, I’ve missed them almost as much as they missed me it seems.” She sat down in between the girls, and facing her parents. Ally was to her left, and on the other side of Ally sat Dana, with Steve at the head of the table. All the food was already placed in the center of the table, and shortly everyone had helped themselves to the food, with Sarah helping both Ally and Larissa with theirs.
Before they dug in Steve spoke up, “First things first, ‘Rissa do you want to say the blessing?” Larissa just nodded vigorously.
As they bowed their heads the young girl started the prayer, “God bless Daddy and Mommy and Sarah and her Mommy and Daddy, and bless Ally too… She needs it the most…”
Ally interrupted, “Heyyyy… Nuh uhhh!!” Which then made it difficult for the adults to silence their soft chuckles.
Larissa continued without missing a beat, “Thank you for all the yummy food the Daddies and Mommies made, and God thank you for helping Sarah find her mommy and daddy… that’s it… Amen…” She then looked up at the adults seeing if they liked her prayer, all the adults were smiling at her, but her eyes rested on Sarah. Seeing that Sarah was wiping a few tears away, she asked her, “Do you need a hug?” She then held her arms up to hug her.
Sarah gently leaned over and gave the small girl a hug and told her, “I’ll always need your hugs sweetie…”
The tender moment was broken up by little Ally speaking up, “Me too, me too!” Which made Sarah laugh in earnest, but she still leaned over and hugged the four year old, who also gave her a sloppy kiss on the cheek.
Once everyone recovered from Sarah’s expression when she wiped the slobber off her cheek, everyone started eating, well at least everyone other than Sarah. Both girls slid their plate towards her with hopeful expressions that she would help them cut up their food into bite size pieces. Dana tried to help Ally but she was insistent that she wanted Sarah to do it.
Sarah laughed, “It’s okay Dana, I don’t mind… You do this all the time anyway…” Looking at her parents she saw them looking at her with, what she though was pride on their faces. For a moment she felt the anger starting to boil up, she was able to stifle it quickly though. Trying to change her mood, she looked at Bill and Joan and told them, “I guess you see now how I stay so thin, I call it the ‘Rissa and Ally diet plan…” Everyone laughed, other than the six and four year old, they just didn’t get the joke.
The rest of the dinner was actually pleasant, the conversation was directed away from Sarah’s transition or the twenty year gap in their history. Before Sarah realized it, it was approaching 9PM, which was way past the girls bedtimes. Everyone looked exhausted, the stress from the day had taken its toll on everyone present. Sarah volunteered to put the girls to bed, while Steve and her parents cleared the table, so Dana could sit and rest.
When Sarah came back downstairs after getting the girls to sleep, Steve and her parents had been finished cleaning for awhile and were just finishing a cup of coffee around the dining room table. Sarah sat down and they talked for a few more minutes before both Bill and Joan stood up saying they needed to get some rest. After making sure that they knew she wanted them to come to her birthday party, Steve volunteered to walk them out to their car so Sarah could sit and rest with Dana.
While walking them out, Steve asked them, “So do you two have any plans for in the morning?”
Bill replied, “Not really, since we are in a new place we were thinking about trying to find a church to go to… One that isn’t so… I guess ‘old fashioned’…” Steve immediately understood what he meant, with what their old church had caused.
Steve grinned, “Well that is why I was asking, I wanted to see if you two wanted to join Dana and I at our church. It’s a really good place, one that welcomes everyone.”
Bill and Joan looked at each other for a moment, then Joan said, “I think we’d like that… Will Sarah be there?”
Steve smiled, and for a quick second Joan could have sworn a mischievous look crossed his face. He said, “She normally sits with us, but tomorrow she has other obligations. So it’ll just be us in the pew.”
Disappointed that they wouldn’t be with Sarah, they both eagerly agreed though. It had been so long since they had been to a church after what had happened with their old ‘Reverend’. Their faith had been shaken to the core with how much hate they had witnessed in their old church, but it was still there. Bill shook Steve’s hand, while Joan grabbed him in a big hug and thanked him before they got in their Prius and drove away.
Steve walked back into the house and found that Dana and Sarah had moved to the kitchen table where they both sat, with a frustrated looking Sarah nursing her own cup of coffee. As he sat down, Sarah stated, “Okay now will you two tell me what the hell is going on? Why are you two being so insufferably nice to them? You know what they did, and what they put me through.”
Steve started to say, “Sarah, trust me we are just trying to help…”
Sarah accused, “Help who? Them or me?!”
He just stated, “All three of you…” He then glanced over to his wife and then back at Sarah who was glaring at him.
Dana trying to calm her down, softly said, “Sarah… Things aren’t exactly what we thought…”
Sarah exclaimed, “What do you mean its not what we thought? They kicked me out, disowned me and only regretting their actions twenty years later, only because April died and wrote us those letters!”
Dana tried to reach across the table to grasp Sarah’s hand, but Sarah pulled it away. Dana looked down at her hands and said, “It wasn’t twenty years later that they regretted it, it was less than twenty-four hours later…”
Sarah gave her a confused expression, “Twenty-four hours? They didn’t want anything to do with me! April told me that…”
Dana interrupted her, “Sarah, she lied… She lied because she thought she was protecting you… She lied to us both… I had believed April the same way you had…”
The accusation completely caught Sarah off guard, she just stared at Dana in shock. Finally she asked in a very cold tone, “What do you mean she lied?!”
Dana softly stated, “I mean she lied… Your parents regretted their actions the day after you left… They tried to search for you, and you were nowhere to be found… When you showed up at the sorority, April called let them know you were safe… All they wanted was for you to come home. It was April that didn’t let it happen…”
That was a hard statement for Sarah to believe, especially since April had been there for her for as long as she could remember. “No! She wouldn’t have done that! You’re the one that’s lying… She had always been there for me! For you too! How dare you!”
Dana appeared to be on the verge of tears, “Sarah… She got it all twisted up somehow… She thought the best way to protect you was to keep you away from them, anyway she could…”
Sarah blurted out, “Why are you telling me this?!? Did they tell you all this?!? They just show up and tell you all that crap to try to get on your good side?”
Dana started to cry at this point, seeing her best friend so angry at her. Even though she had expected it, but she couldn’t prepare for it actually happening. Softly she sobbed, “No… they didn’t tell me anything…”
Sarah exclaimed, “Then how do you know all this crap?!”
Reaching into her purse, Dana pulled out several folded pieces of paper and told her, “You’re not the only one that got a letter…
To be continued.
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