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(continued)

7-Eleven

Beaverton, OR

“Were you planning on calling us?” she asked as she came within a few feet of him. He didn’t bother answering right away, as she’d already adopted the same pose her mother did when she was pissed off. Her hips were cocked slightly to the left, her arms were folded over chest, and she looked as though she would stand there all day and night until she got an answer. Jesse was her mother’s daughter through and through. In fact if she’d gotten anything from him it was the irritating glower she was giving him now, the one that meant that he’d made his own bed and now had to lie in it, whatever that meant.

“Well?” she asked.

He blinked, “The lot of you said you were done with me.”

“And we are,” she nodded, “At least until you can get yourself together. But we still need to know that you’re alive.”

“Why?”

That question seemed to stop Jesse in her metaphorical tirade for just a moment, but much like her mother she blinked, which was the equivalent of a mental reset, and charged right back into the fray again.

“How can you ask me that? Do you know we’ve been searching for you for the past week now? We didn’t know where you’d gone, what you were doing, or why you weren’t staying with your friends!”

“They wouldn’t let me,” he said simply, shrugging as he went on, “I had no home to go to, no one to take me in, and I only got out of there with enough money to keep me fed and-”

“And drunk,” she said pointedly, nodding at the forty-ouncer.

He nodded, “Yep, that. I’m not going to change overnight Jesse, and I’m certainly not going to stop drinking as of now. I spent the weekend in jail sweetheart, and right now I’m looking forward to a cold beer and something to eat that doesn’t look like it was cooked up by a sadistic trustee that hates his fellow inmates. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to find a nice shady spot to sit and enjoy my meal.”

He walked off then, leaving her there, fuming at him but not saying a word as she was no doubt trying to decide whether to follow him and continue the tirade at his back, or just leave it and assume that he was dead set on his current course of being homeless.

Of course he wasn’t. He wanted to go home, but he wasn’t going to be harped at by his kid when all he needed at this moment was a good, greasy meal washed down with an alcoholic beverage. After that, then he’d see which way he wanted to turn. He wanted to go back, but things were going to change, and he wouldn’t be the only one changing. Honesty truly bit the big one, but the great thing sometimes was that it bit both ways, and he’d be damned if he was going to be the only one feel the pinch.

When he was ready though. Right now he was just hungry.

The End

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