Monday, October 04, 2010

Harter Union: Part Seven, Chapters 5-7

“Dustin, what the hell are you doing here?” Annie asked to an inebriated Dustin leaning against the door frame at 3:30 in the morning. “Are you drunk?”

“She’s ruining my life and I wanted to talk to somebody,” he said drunkenly.

“What are you talking about?” asked Annie grabbing his arm and pulling him into the apartment. “What’s Beth doing now?”

The two sat on the couch and Dustin explained. “I hired that lawyer just like Jeff suggested and he put a temporary restriction on where she could go: New Jersey and New York. Well, now we’ve started an actual custody battle and it was going pretty good for me until she said…” Dustin started to cry and Annie tried her best to comfort him. “She said I’m molesting him.”

“What? How can she do that? She knows that you are a model father.”

“So we’re now going to have a hearing to judge my character but that could take forever and in the meantime, I don’t get to see my son,” Dustin began crying harder and laid his head on Annie’s shoulder while she cradled him. “The hearing starts Monday so will you come with me?”

“Of course. You can count on me to be a character witness or whatever you need to help get you through this,” Annie said. She raised Dustin’s head with her hands and carefully wiped the tear streaks from his face. They looked into each other’s eyes; Dustin took Annie’s face into his hands and kissed her. Annie kissed back.

Chapter Six
Kate was sitting behind her desk in her classroom during free-study period and reading my book. A little girl walked up to the desk. “Miss Haskell?”

Kate closed the book but held her place with her thumb. “Yes, Sarah?”

“I know him,” Sarah said pointing at the book. Kate looked at the back cover of the book with my picture on it. “He’s been in here before.”

“Yes he has, Sarah.”

“Is he your boyfriend?” Sarah asked with an innocent giggle in her voice.

“No, he’s just a really good friend,” Kate smiled.

“Oh. Well, I drew this picture for you anyway,” Sarah laid a piece of notebook paper on Kate’s desk. It was a drawing in crayon of Kate and me holding hands in front of a red and pink heart.

“Well, this is very nice, Sarah. But why did you draw a picture of me and Mr. Franklin?”

“You two look good together,” Sarah replied.

“Oh, well, thank you, Sarah. I’ll treasure it forever,” Kate said folding the paper and slipping it into the book.

Annie and Dustin were driving back to the city. “Thank you for coming with me. We really made headway to getting a quick hearing. Too bad I can’t see my son,” Dustin said.

“It’ll all work out in the end, you just have to wait it out,” Annie moved her hand onto Dustin’s leg. “You’ll see.”

“I never knew one girl could be so evil,” Dustin said shaking his head. “No wonder I don’t date anymore.”

“Not all of us are bad. You need to give us more of a chance. Do you want to come upstairs and I can fix us some dinner,” Annie offered. “I’m a little lonely without Jeff here.”

“Sure, that sounds nice,” Dustin smiled.

Chapter Seven
“You know,” began Shani biting into an Egg McMuffin, “we should probably invite Annie to join us for breakfast. She might be kind of lonely since Jeff isn’t home. Plus, she is right down the street.”

“I’ll give her a ring; see if she’s up…” Kate took out her cell phone and called the apartment phone which rang in both the kitchen and bedroom.

Annie reached over in bed and picked up receiver. “Hello?”

“Hey, it’s Kate. Did I awake you?”

“Yeah, but I should be getting up anyway. What’s going on?” Annie asked groggily.

“We’re all at McDonald’s eating breakfast. Wanna come?”

“No thanks. I’m not really hungry. Maybe some other time.”

“All right, Annie. We’ll see you later,” Kate hung up her phone and put it away. Annie hung up the phone in the apartment, rolled over onto her side and looked at Dustin lying in bed next to her. She pulled the covers back up over her, wrapped her arms around him and closed her eyes.

“I love you, too,” Annie said to me over and slowly hung up the receiver. Amber came in right after.

“Was that Jeff?” Amber tittered.

“Yes,” Annie smiled uneasily.

“This is, what, day five of his tour? Where is he?” Amber asked.

“He’s laid-over in Las Vegas for today so he’s out gambling. He’s won $700. He’ll arrive in San Francisco early tomorrow,” Annie said softly and disenchanted.

“What’s the matter? You don’t seem happy to hear from him.”

“I guess I’m just a little lonely for him, Amber.”

“Aw, that’s sweet.”

“Can I talk to you?” Annie asked.

“Of course.”

“Come in and shut the door,” Annie pushed her work off to the side as Amber shut the door and sat down. “You’ve been in love, right Amber?”

“Of course. Obviously it didn’t work out but I have been in love once or twice,” Amber chuckled.

“Have you ever been in love with two people at the same time?” Annie asked.

“Well, I don’t like where this is going. Jeff’s only been gone five days and you have already fallen in love with someone else?” Amber shook her head.

“I still love Jeff but there’s someone else,” Annie said starting to tap a pen on her desk.

“Who is he? Does he work here?”

“Amber, please. I’m confused. What should I do?” Annie begged.

“Well, what has happened between you two? A date? A hug? A kiss?”

“I slept with him,” Annie said shamefully.

“Oh, Annie,” Amber stood up and headed for the door. “I can’t help you with this. You’re gonna have to figure this out yourself. Do you want to stay with the man who you love and who adores you, or do you want to throw that away for something that may be lust?”

“I don’t want to lose Jeff but I don’t want to hurt Dustin either. Aw, crap!” Annie hand quickly covered her face.

“Dustin? Oh my God you are playing with fire. Look, I wash my hands of this. Both are wonderful guys but only one gave you that ring,” Amber left the office and Annie took off her gold engagement band and looked at the inscription: To My Kitten~Everlasting Love.

Kate watched lazily as an airplane flew overhead during recess. She immediately thought of me and sighed. She looked back at the playground and her class. She smiled seeing the young children run and climb. She looked back up at the sky but the airplane was gone.

Jeff makes a mistake at work then catches Annie and Dustin together.