“Luce, where are my cufflinks?” he called out from the bathroom.
“They should be in that little box with your other ones?” I answered, trying to zip my dress.
“I don’t see them…” he responded, eliciting a grunt from me.
“You know, Jack, I have to get ready too…It isn’t like I planned on waiting till the last possible minute to do this. This is your fault, mister I got my jeep stuck in the mud and needed my little wife to pick me up…” I throw at him coming into the bathroom, but seeing him in that white shirt, with that dark hair made me stop.
“What?” he asked.
“I… I just find it very hard to be mad at you when you look like that…” I said.
“Ditto, babe…” he said with a wink.
It was my parent’s twenty-fifth wedding anniversary four years ago and I had been putting the finishing touches on the decorations at the hall we rented when he called me. He’d been out with Jonah and some friends mudding and got his jeep stuck, his jeep that hadn’t been outfitted for off roading and that was almost fifteen years old. I don’t know why this popped into my head as I sit down with potential homeowners. Little insignificant moments like that always pop up at the most random times, you’d think it would be something like when we bought our house or a happy memory of being newlyweds, but no it’s about him getting his jeep stuck in the mud. Doing my best to conceal the thoughts and keep composed I begin showing this couple the prospective homes we are going to look at today.
“Susie, Joe, really I think we have some pretty awesome places to look at today, I think you’ll be pleased,” I continue, watching the interactions of husband and wife.
As we drive through the first neighborhood we come to what I think the perfect house for them is. It’s a two story, four bedroom, two bath, huge backyard and it’s just the best house I’ve found in their price range. It has everything they’ve asked for and I can tell by the look on Susie’s face as she gets out of their car, belly protruding that she loves it.
“Oh wow, Lucy, this is incredible…” she starts.
“Can we afford this Lucy?” Joe says worry on his face.
“I wouldn’t have brought you out if you couldn’t. In fact, it’s about ten thousand less than what you are willing to spend.
This is what makes me stand out from the hundreds of other agents in my field. I don’t overshoot the pricing for my clients and I research the homes and their needs. I spend a lot of time making the right choices for them so they don’t have to. I opened my own company a year ago and have surpassed my previous company in sales last year. I have three other agents working for me and while I can say I love my job it isn’t what I ever pictured myself doing. I never thought I’d be a real estate agent, never. I was going to be a journalist, and I was for a little while but it was hell. I hated every minute of it and Jack knew it. He told me to quit, do something else until you figure out what you want to do he said. He told me to get my real estate license and I’m thankful I did. His encouragement and support through the process was not unusual for him, he wanted to see me happy and content.
We’d worked really hard in those first years of our marriage to build something we could share forever and even with my career change we managed to pay down our debts and start looking to the future. We married when I was twenty, we had a plan and we made it work. His accident happened about a month after our fifth wedding anniversary and everything went downhill from there. I’d realized I was pregnant and then wham, everything came crashing down. It just seemed to get worse after that one phone call and I could never find a way to make it any better, make it work again. I don’t know if losing the baby was what killed my spirit or the fact that the husband who always cared just didn’t anymore.
Jack was just this person everyone loved to be around. Having him around was the best feeling in the world. From the first time, we actually talked to the very last conversation we had before his accident he made me feel like I was everything. I was everything I guess, looking back, to him anyways. Don’t get me wrong I was never made to feel less by others, except maybe by my mother. I didn’t want attention or the spotlight, that was my choice but when I was with him, when I had him on my side I became this whole other person. He brought out the best in me in every way and that bothered her to no end. It didn’t matter if it was something as ridiculous as having to get by on ramen noodles in college or something big like when my dad had a heart attack. You hear all these people talking about their “person” Jack was my “person”.
“He’s going to be fine Luce, the doctor just said that…” Jack said pulling me from his chest.
As much as I knew what the doctor said, it didn’t matter. I needed to hear it from him, I needed that reassurance, his arms around me to keep me safe.
“Lucy, Jack, you can go back and see him now, and please don’t be hanging all over each other…” my mother said.
I could feel him go tense, all his muscles pulling under my touch, and I swear he held me tighter just to spite her.
“I’m sorry Jack,” I whispered as we walked back to where my father was.
“It’s okay Luce, I’m used to it by now…” he said flatly, but I knew it bothered him.
“It isn’t Jack. We’ve been together for three years and she still makes comments like that. Why can’t she just accept the fact that?” I asked as we turned to go into my father’s room.
Sometimes I wonder how I ever survived my mother. She loves me, and I her but her incessant nagging, constant criticism and overall disdain for almost everything I’ve done since I was fifteen has at times taken its toll. Even now at twenty-eight, she can make me second guess myself. Jack saw through that, and I secretly think sometimes that she was glad when I got divorced. She never could quite crack his spirit like she did most other people and it killed her. I think deep down I let her get under my skin after his accident. I was vulnerable, especially after losing the baby and I couldn’t fight her off, not without Jack.
“Lucy?” Susie says, her voice a little worried.
“Oh, sorry, I got lost in thought there for a moment…” I say trying to bring myself out of my own head.
“Joe was just wondering about the roof and the air conditioning unit,” she says.
“Roof was replaced a year ago and the air conditioning unit is about ten years old. It was a top of the line model though, so it should last a good bit longer, I don’t think you need to worry about those Joe, the seller said they have all the service paperwork from the heating and cooling company they had come out and service the unit,” I respond quickly, I’ve done my homework here.
“Good, good, now do you think we could get them to come down a little on the asking price? I’d like to consider putting in a fence and if we could skim a little off, it would help…” Joe says as I see the wheels turning in his mind.
This is a good sign, I’ve seen it so many times, when the husband starts picturing the house in the future it means that the buying potential has gone up. Even though I still have three other listings to show them I know this is the best one.
After a long day, I head home to unwind and I’m surprised to find Logan’s work truck in the driveway. I don’t see him doing anything so when I go in I go straight out to my back deck and sure enough there he is. I notice it right away, the look on his face, something happened.
“What’s wrong?” I ask, kind of worried about what he’s going to say.
“Hey sis,” he says without going any further.
“Seriously, you’re waiting for me on my deck, with this weird look on your face, and all you give me is a ‘hey sis’?” I try.
“I can’t just come over to visit? I mean I slaved away here all day and this is what I get?” he says with a laugh and the look is gone, just like that.
“Thanks, bub. I don’t know, though, seemed like something was up?” I answer.
“Nah, just thinking about something, nothing major. Sell any houses today?” he asks.
“I think I might have. We’ll see…” I say plopping down to enjoy the warm summer air with my little brother.
“Luce, you know they are going to buy whatever beautiful house you showed them, you’re good at this!” he says triumphantly.
“Any word from Lacey today? She didn’t text me or call me once about the wedding…” I ask, trying to see if maybe that’s what’s got him worried.
“No, but I did talk to JJ this morning, he invited me to the bachelor party, like a month and a half from now… like I plan that shit…” he says indignantly.
“I’m sure it’s her, you know how she can get. She’s got to have her hand in everything, just like mom, I’m surprised actually that moms allowing them to invite you…ooooh, there might be the devil’s juice there!!” I laugh.
“I’d have just crashed it anyways,” he says with a hearty laugh.
He stops suddenly, and something passes across his face like he wants to tell me something, but then he keeps quiet. We don’t have many secrets so it worries me when he feels like there is something he has to keep from me and that’s the feeling I’m getting now. I wonder for a brief moment if he’s been to see Jack. I know he goes there sometimes, Lacey told me, but he never talks about what they do or talk about, he knows it would only bring me pain. Jack had been such a big part of Logan’s life for so long I can understand the connection and while at first, it bothered me that he kept that relationship with my ex-husband a secret, now I’m kind of glad. Logan never sugar coats things for me so I know he’d tear me apart by talking about it.
“You sure you’re okay?” I ask him one last time before he leaves after we’ve eaten dinner.
“Yeah, I’m good, Luce. Just wanted to get some dinner off of you before I head to the lion’s den and lock myself in my room,” he says hugging me before he disappears into his truck.
There is definitely something on his mind, and I can only hope it’s nothing major, or if it is that maybe he’ll talk to Jack about it.