In the last chapter of ‘What Line’, Helena had finely thrown Jim out of the house, having taken enough of his irresponsible ways with money and the lack of loyalty in their marriage. There were always second thoughts and what if’s though. Could she stick to her guns and go through with the threatened divorce or would she back down as usual and forgive and try to forget? Those were the questions plaguing her constantly while Jim was having a few second thoughts of his own.
Jim drove over to Jeffery’s house and put his bags in the spare bedroom. He decided not to unpack the bags he had haphazardly thrown half of his personal belonging in. That would seem too final. Surely Helena would calm down and see things his way in a day or so. She couldn’t be serious about this decision he felt she had hastily made.. He took his cell phone out to call her again and noticed a missed call from Lori. There was also a text from her. “why do u like to hurt me…I thought we meant more to each other :(…L”
His heart skipped a beat. He did have feelings for Lori, but knew they had to be suppressed. His family meant more and he had to find a way to make Lori know that without hurting her too much. He wished she would just disappear as easily as she had appeared in his life.
Knowing he should ignore her text, he instead typed in a reply. “Hope you r ok…try to get some rest this week…” Then he dialed his home phone trying to get Helena again. There was still no answer. He called her cell phone and there was no answer there either. Jim hoped she had not done anything drastic. He called Carrie’s number next.
Carrie answered on the first ring. “Hey Dad. You’re calling early this morning.”
“I just wanted to check on you and make sure everyone was ok. How’s Chip and Lizzie doing?”
“They’re great! Rich is off for a few days so we are trying to get a routine going with two kids. Mom called earlier to check on us. Didn’t she tell you?”
Hmmm, Jim thought. It sounds like she hasn’t said anything to Carrie yet. Good! “No. I left early for work. There were some things I had to take care of at the office. I tried to call her but didn’t get an answer.”
“Oh. That’s probably because she is busy. She said she had a meeting with Wayne. They had some business to take care of this morning. If she calls later I’ll tell her you were trying to get her.”
“Don’t do that Carrie. I’ll get her later. We may meet for lunch. Did she say where she was meeting Wayne?”
“No. I just assumed it was at Claire’s beach house. You know – the one they are working on?”
“Yeah, you’re probably right. I’ll get her later. It’s not really important. You and Rich have a good day with the kids. I’ll drop by later if I get a chance.”
After the phone call with Carrie, Jim was really irritated with Helena. Why was she meeting Wayne? If she was going to hire a contractor to work for her then she needed to let him do the work and stay out of the way. She was spending too much time at that beach house and too much time with Wayne!
He opened his phone again and sent a text to Helena. “we need to talk…and soon…call me…” She had been ignoring his phone calls all morning. Maybe she would answer a text. Jim shuttered to think what would happen if Helena actually went through with this divorce she had threatened him with. He would not look too good to his kids or to anyone else. He had to put a stop to this and soon!
His cell phone buzzed with a text. It wasn’t from Helena but from Lori! “I knew you cared J…Elise is bringing me home in about an hour…can u come by the house…”
What had he done now? He knew he shouldn’t have sent that text to Lori. Now she was expecting more of him. He was just trying to be nice and show some concern. Why did she have to read more into it than that? He closed his phone not answering the text. Lori would have to wait. He had to figure out how to handle Helena and Wayne right now.
He turned the TV on and sat in front of it for a couple of hours dozing through most of the program. He wasn’t used to being home in the middle of a work day and hadn’t gotten much sleep last night. It was lunchtime and he hadn’t had any breakfast. His stomach was rumbling. Helena had not answered his text. Maybe he would get something to eat and run by the house. If she was there they could talk.
The drive-thru lane at the fast food restaurant was long so he went inside to order and sat at a table by the window to eat. He had good intentions of eating when he ordered but there was still a knot in his stomach. He finished half of his hamburger and ate only a few of the fries. Jim didn’t like this feeling of loneliness, the feeling he had nowhere to turn and the walls were closing in, slowly squeezing the life out of him. Could this be how Helena said she felt when she was dealing with him and Lori? If so, he could relate to the problem she had. It was a sinking feeling.
His cell phone buzzed and looking at it anxiously, he saw it was only another text from Lori. “I’m home…why haven’t u answered my text…I really need to see u…call me…” He had opened up a can of worms by sending that first text to her! She wasn’t going to leave this alone. He responded to her text carefully. “I’m trying to work…gotta catch up…I’ll see what I can do…”
He didn’t want Lori to know that Helena had thrown him out and hoped that Elise had not told her he had spent the night there last night. Elise had pretty good sense most of the time. She would probably try to protect Lori from him and wouldn’t give her anything to hope for.
Jim threw the rest of his meal away and decided to drive over to the house to see if Helena was home. He didn’t like being ignored. He had given her plenty of time to answer his text. Her car was in the driveway when he pulled up. He opened the front door with his key. At least she hadn’t changed the locks yet, he thought.
The house was quiet and dark. He walked into the kitchen and Helena’s laptop was on the table. There were papers strewn around and it was opened to a word document. He glanced at it quickly not giving it much thought. She was probably working on a proposal. He called out her name but there was no answer. As he turned to walk back into the living room, the back door opened and Helena walked in.
Startled she studdered, “Wh..wh..what are you doing here? I thought I told you I didn’t want to see you anymore.” Helena said this as she walked over to the table snapping her laptop shut and gathering all the papers on the table into a pile and shoving them hastily into a folder.
“I’ve been trying to call you and sent you some texts. Why haven’t you answered?”
“I didn’t want to answer, Jim. I told you it’s over. We don’t have anything to say to each other anymore.”
Jim looked at her and replied. “I think we have a lot to say. You can’t just walk away from thirty years of marriage like it was nothing, Helena.”
“Yes I can. You have been treating it like it was nothing for a few years now. It’s time to end this charade – get on with our lives. What did you expect me to do? I gave you plenty of chances to fix it and you ignored me.”
“So now you just walk away? What about the kids? Have you said anything to them? What do you think we can tell them?
“It’s not about the kids anymore Jim. It’s about me. I have sat back and procrastinated and tried to believe in you for way too long while you took advantage of the situation. Now it’s my turn. You need to go. Get out of here. I need a few days to get myself together. I’ll call you when I decide how to handle the kids. I won’t say anything to anyone except my lawyer until I talk to you first.
This just made Jim mad and without thinking he lashed out at Helena. “Just quitting then, Helena? You must have something in mind. You don’t do things like this without a plan in place first! Is it Wayne? Carrie said you had a meeting with him this morning. How much of this does he know? How involved is he in all this?”
“How dare you even think of accusing me of anything? This is your entire fault and you know it. Wayne has nothing to do with it! I said to get out and if you want me to be nice about any of this then you need to shut your mouth and start thinking before you talk.” She stalked past him into the living room and opened the front door. “If you need to pick up any of your things let me know and I won’t be around when you come. Please leave now!”
Jim looked at her with fire in his eyes. “I’m leaving now Helena but this isn’t the end of it. I can get a lawyer too!”
It’s anyone’s guess to see where this story is going. It may get a little heated!