Monday, October 18, 2010

Harter Union: Part Seven, Chaper 9

Movers were carrying out my boxes and furniture as Kate and I looked on. “So you’re having all your furniture and stuff trucked halfway across the county?” she asked.

“Yeah. I got everything all set up. I have an apartment ready for me in Lawrence, several job interviews so I should be all set. I didn’t think I would get all this done in a week but here I am,” I smiled at Kate who looked at me disappointed. “What?”

“I still don’t want you to go,” she said softly.

“I have to because trucking my stuff halfway across the county is expensive and I can’t get that money back now. Nor the money I used to rent the apartment in Lawrence,” I laughed. “Besides, there are people in Kansas that I really want to catch up with.”

“Old girlfriends and such?”

“They were girls and friends but never, unfortunately, at the same time,” I sighed.

As one of the movers took the bedroom nightstand out of the front door, Annie came in and stood completely still. “Hello, Jeff,” she said.

“Kitten,” I replied without hesitation.

“I’ll leave you two alone,” Kate patted me on the back and headed out the front door. Annie said ‘hello’ but Kate said nothing.

“I suppose you’re wondering why I’m here?” Annie asked.

“Not really,” I said.

“I heard you were leaving tomorrow and I didn’t want you to go without returning this,” Annie pulled her engagement ring out of her pants pocket and held it out in front of me.

“I’m not taking that,” I said pushing her hand away. “It’s yours. Keep it. Do what you wish to it.”

“No, I can’t I…” she placed it back on her finger, looked at it and smiled. “I’m sorry.”

“I know you are. So are you and Dustin still seeing each other?” I asked, leaning against the kitchen counter.

“No, we decided that no one would ever accept our relationship so we ended it almost as quickly as it happened. I’m looking for my own apartment but I’m still living with Amber right now,” Annie said. “Dustin’s sorry, too.”

“I know. Maybe doing all this was a bit hasty but I lost my job and trust in my fiancĂ©e all in the same day. Within hours of each other. That would drive anyone off the deep end,” I chuckled and pushed aside a box of stuff on the counter to make more room for me to actually sit on the counter.

“No hard feelings?” Annie asked with a bit of uneasiness.

“No. I’m gonna miss you. Tell Dustin I’ll miss him and congratulations on earning full custody of his son. I’m keeping my cell number so call me. Have a good life,” I said.

“You, too,” Annie headed for the door but stopped and turned around. “I love you, Jeff.”

“I love you, too, Kitten--Annie,” I answered. She disappeared behind the front door and was gone. I pulled a picture frame out of the box and looked at it. It was a photo of me, Annie, Dustin, Kate, Shani and Amber sitting in a booth at Sardie’s. I rubbed my eyes with my thumb and forefinger and carefully placed the picture back in the box.

The final part begins as we learn about Jeff's new life in Lawrence, Kansas. Also, Jeff reunites with Alyson and learns what happened with some of the Baker staff.