Horizons Ch. 06: Simmering Inferno Pt. 02

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Another installment of Jody and Ellie.

Please read Slow Burn, Stolen Moments, Smoldering Fire then parts 1 and 2 of Smoke Effects then Finding Ellie, Then part 1 if Simmering Inferno (in that order) to catch up with their story.

I am not sure how things will be for Jody and Ellie but i felt this was where this part of their story ended. There is no sex in this part, so if you’re reading for that skip this one. If you’ve been in this from the beginning then read on.

As always, a like and comment would be excellent.

I’m working on the next piece of their story were we will find out if the can come back from all of this.

****************************************

It had been a few days since I unblocked Jody’s number. I had gotten a message every 4 hours from 6am to 10pm ever since. All just my name, or some version of it and a question mark. I was sitting at my desk staring at the long list of messages. Lost in thoughts of the past.

“Earth to Ellie.” Tina was standing in my doorway.

I snapped out of my memory and looked up. “Sorry was zoned out. What’s up?”

“Just making sure you’re still coming later.”

It took me a second to remember that a bunch of the staff had plans to meet up for dinner and drinks tonight. It was the first time I had agreed to go since before everything happened.

“Yep! 5:30 right?”

“Yes. You want me to pick you up?”

“Thanks, but I have a few errands to do beforehand so I’ll just meet everyone there.” I didn’t have errands. I just didn’t want to be required to stay long because someone else was my ride. I knew how these dinners got after the food was gone and since I was no longer drinking, I wanted to be able to make a polite, early escape.

***

“It’s nice to have you back Ellie.” Jess, an English teacher, said as we sat around the tables that had been put together to accommodate our large group.

I looked at her. I hadn’t actually gone anywhere so what she really meant was ‘glad you’re acting semi-normal again’. I didn’t have words to respond that wouldn’t be brash, so I just nodded and took another bite of my salad.

Conversations were firing off around me at a rapid pace. I had given up hope of following them and just settled for looking like I was engaged. I had at least 45 minutes before I could excuse myself and not feel rude.

I felt my phone vibrate. Without even looking I knew who it was from. I didn’t understand why she kept sending the same thing over and over again. I didn’t know why I hadn’t blocked her again.

I was pulled from my pondering when I heard my name from across the table. “Right Ellie?”

“Um, I missed that. What?” I got pulled into a conversation about hiking, as it seemed I was the resident ‘expert’. Before I knew it, it was after 7pm. Everyone was done eating, had been and the alcohol was flowing well. I was ready to leave and said goodbye to everyone, told them all to be smart leaving and I would see them Monday.

There was a race this weekend, but it was over three hours away. Timmy and Evan had left and were staying the night in a hotel. Jessie was off visiting a friend at college, so I was going home to a dark empty house.

As I walked in, my phone vibrated again. I set my stuff down and took it out. I thought it was one of the kids, it wasn’t. It was only 7:30, yet it was another message from Jody. More than just my name and more than one. I didn’t want to read them. I didn’t want to not read them.

Jody- El I know you’re getting these messages. I just want I don’t know what I want Ellie, I don’t. I just know I miss you. I miss you in my life. Nothing has been the same without you.

Jody- I hated you for what happened. I did. I hated you for trying to kill yourself. I hated myself for not being able to go to the hospital when you did. But I don’t anymore. We can’t change the past. There is so much I would change if I could. But I can’t.

Jody- I can’t will a different outcome to be real. I’ve tried.

I read them and started crying. I sat there with my tears falling onto the phone. I needed her to stop.

Me- Jody please stop please

I wanted her to stop and I wanted more. My gut felt ripped open.

Me- if I could change the past I would too. I’d make it so we never met. If we never met I couldn’t hurt you. Then there would be nothing and no one to hate.

I put my phone down and went to shower. I blasted my music, trying to drown out the noise in my head. I decided to block her again and as I picked up my phone to do so, I saw new messages. I made myself read them.

Jody- Don’t say that. don’t take away the good times we had. Those memories are what I hold on to

Jody- I don’t want to not have met you

Me- that makes no sense. None. I can’t do this. I won’t.

Jody- Don’t block me again please please El

I didn’t block her again and I didn’t respond.

I had another night of Jody filled dreams. The way it felt when her fingers wrapped between mine and her thumb would stroke bahis firmaları the top of my hand. Her eyes when I would catch her just staring at me. Sitting next to her watching movies, my head on her shoulder. The sheepish grin that had started this whole thing.

***

It was a race weekend again. Jessie and I were going together. The messages hadn’t stopped from Jody. They were back to just my name though. I hadn’t responded again. I didn’t know why I hadn’t blocked her but I hadn’t. I had the feeling Jessie knew more than she let on just by the way she was ‘handling’ me. I didn’t call her out and she didn’t offer anything. I was just happy to be spending time with her. Soon enough she would be leaving for college.

Jessie had offered to drive and I happily said yes. I reclined my seat, shut my eyes and let the sway of the highway lull me into a nap. I awoke to the telltale noise of a mountain bike race venue. 500+ racers along with their coaches and supporters. One thing was certain, race venues were never quiet. Quiet was the enemy right now, so this was the best place for me to be.

“You okay for this mom?” Jessie looked at me as we exited the vehicle.

I smiled at her. “You don’t need to handle me Jes. I’m fine. I promise.”

“Even if…” her words trailed off as I cut her off.

“Yes. Even if.” We both knew. Even if Jody was there.

It was our turn to bring the main food so I grabbed the rolling cooler that was filled with burgers and hot dogs, cheese, sausage, bacon and eggs, from the trunk. Jessie had our chairs and I was slowly dragging the heavy cooler along the unrelenting grass. I was slow and told Jessie to go ahead of me. She said she’d drop off the chairs and come back and help. I assured her I wasn’t that weak.

I was glad we were semi early and the trek to the team area from where I parked wasn’t super long. I crossed into the team area and spotted their tent in the distance. I stopped for a second to change my position and felt someone come alongside of me.

“Can I help?” It was Jody.

Fuck.

I took a deep breath and told her I was fine.

“Ellie.” She started to say more but didn’t finish. She simply put her hand next to mine on the handle and started walking. I had no choice but to walk and pull also. Her skin touched mine and I shifted my hand as far away from hers as I could. We got to the tent and the kids came over and grabbed the cooler.

“Geez that’s heavy!” Aiden said.

I quickly moved as far away from Jody as I could. I couldn’t wait for the Spring series to be over. Jessie had seen us walk in together and came over.

“Everything okay?” She whispered. I shook my head yes and went about helping to get breakfast going for the older riders. The younger ones were out racing and would eat when they got done. The grill was going and I started cooking the bacon and eggs. I looked up and Jody was getting the English muffins ready to make sandwiches. I looked at her and shook my head slightly.

“I’m here to help my kid too El. So you are just going to have to deal with me.” She said so only I could hear.

I sighed and stayed focused on feeding the hungry team. Timmy came over to check on my progress. ” Smells great mom! I’m starving. Jody can you make mine a double?”

She laughed and asked him,” you want that much in your stomach before you race?”

“It’s just a snack. Come on I’m a growing boy! You know how much I eat!”

Jody chuckled again and promised him a double. Jessie had joined in to help wrap the sandwiches in foil at this point and was chatting between them both. It was a little awkward but I listened to them banter back and forth. Somehow I had forgotten the relationship my kids once had with her. At least it sounded like I hadn’t totally fucked that up for them.

“Owww.” I yelled. Crap. I had lost focus for one moment and burned my damn hand on the grill. Fuck it hurt too.

Jessie came over. “Oh Mom that’s not good.” She turned my hand over and I had two 3 inch lines from the grill seared into my skin. They were already red and swollen. She called for some of the other parents to take over cooking and feeding the team. We walked over to where the first aid kit was and she opened it. She tried to clean the grease off, some of my skin went with it and I yelped.

“I’m sorry Mom. Oh man I’m so sorry.”

I gritted my teeth, “It’s okay. Let me do it.” And I reached for the supplies. Before Jessie could get them to me Jody was intervening.

She looked right at me. “Don’t bother to argue. You are going to let me help you.” She proceeded to clean and dress my burn. Every time she touched me a white hot poker hit my gut. It wasn’t from the pain of the burn. I had tears pooling in my eyes. Again not from the pain in my hand. When she was done I stood up and walked away.

“You’re welcome.” I heard her mumble.

My hand was going to be useless for awhile. It was a good thing Jessie had come. The younger kids and their families started filing in and eating. I got lots of questions kaçak iddaa about my hand. It was exhausting me. I told Jessie I was gonna go for a walk before Timmy raced. I needed to clear my head. “Don’t get that look in your eyes Jes, I’m just gonna go check out the course. Nothing more. I’ll be back.”

I walked in the opposite direction and into the woods. I went in about a quarter of a mile and there was a decent rock about 20 feet off the trail. I climbed up, luckily it wasn’t too high, so I could manage it one handed, and sat down. There were a few older kids out pre- riding but mostly it was just quiet. My hand was killing me. It was slowly getting more painful. I was staring at the bandage wondering how I could have let it happen when I could feel someone behind me. I knew before she even spoke who it was.

“You may want to have that checked when you get back home.”

“It’s fine.”

“Bullshit it is.” she climbed up on the rock and sat down behind me.

“Why are you doing this?” I asked her quietly. I wanted to move but I was afraid to try with her so close and my hand not working right. The last thing I needed was to get hurt worse. I could feel her heat in the air.

“Because I care about you.”

I closed my eyes. “You shouldn’t. I’m a piece of shit.”

I felt her hand touch my back. I shook it off and moved over as far as I could without falling.

“Don’t say that. You’re not.”

“Yes I am. I took the best thing I ever had and destroyed it.” I was shedding silent tears as I talked. “Please just let me be Jody.”

“I did Ellie. For months I left you alone. I hated you for months. Holding on to that was slowly killing me. It was poisoning every part of my life. I woke up one day and knew I had to let it go if I ever wanted to be okay again. I couldn’t hold on to it anymore. I still hate what happened but I don’t hate you.”

“You should.”

“I think you hate yourself enough for both of us El.”

I sighed. Why did she have to know me so well. I wanted to move and couldn’t. We sat in silence for what seemed an eternity. The slight breeze pushed her warmth and scent my way every few moments and the white hot poker stabbed my gut each time.

I checked the time. Timmy and Madi would be starting their race in 25 minutes. I heard Jody get up and jump off the rock. I started to stand up to do the same and wobbled a little and instinctively put down my injured hand to keep myself from falling. Pain shot up it. “Fuck!” I fell back on my ass. Jody started to walk over.

“Don’t. I’m fine.” I managed to say as my hand throbbed. My stomach was turning from the pain.

“No, you’re not.”

She hadn’t even finished saying it when I was doubled over vomiting. She put her hand on my shoulder as I wretched. “You’re not okay Ellie.” I pushed her away.

I sat for a minute praying my stomach would stop so I could get to the race start before Timmy started. I began to get up again and Jody put her hand on my arm. “I’m helping you down before you end up hurting yourself more.” I glared at her as I got off the rock, this time without hurting myself again.

“We need to redress that.” Jody said, pointing to my hand, the bandage was filthy from my almost fall.

“We don’t need to do anything. It’s fine. I’m fine. Stop.” And I walked ahead of her and to the staging area. I found Jessie in the sea of people and made my way to her.

“Are you okay? You are pale, Mom.” Jessie said as I came into her view. She had that worried look in her eyes again.

“Do you have a water? I need a drink.”

“I’ll grab ya one. Be right back.” She took off towards the team tent and was quickly back with a cold water. I downed it. “What happened to the bandage?” She asked.

” I slipped. Can you help me redo it after his race starts?”

“I don’t want to hurt you. Again. Kat just got here. She’s a nurse, you should have her do it.”

“It’s fine Jessie. It’ll be fine. I don’t want it to be a big deal.” I told her.

Timmy went off and instead of watching from the woods we went and got a clean bandage on the burn. It looked worse than it had when it happened. “Mom, you need to have this looked at.”

I looked at the angry looking wound and knew she was right. “I will. When we get back home. I promise.”

The rest of the afternoon went off without anymore injuries. Timmy came in 4th and was happy. We started packing up. The cooler was empty so it would be easier to drag back to the van than it had been to bring it to the tent. Jessie and I said goodbye to Timmy, who was going from the race to Aiden’s for a sleepover. Jessie left to put the chairs in the car while I did the mom thing with Timmy.

He gave me a hug and said, ” Thanks for coming Mom. Really. And I’m glad to see you and Jody are talking again. I’ll see ya tomorrow.”

I stood there as he jumped in Aiden’s dad’s truck. He noticed more than I thought, even if he didn’t really understand what he saw. My hand was still throbbing and I couldn’t wait to be able to sit down and close my kaçak bahis eyes on the ride home. I started towards Jessie and the vehicle.

“Get that checked Ellie. Please. You need antibiotics.” Jody said as she walked past me and towards her Jeep. For the first time I noticed that Madi and Joe were in his truck and Jody was by herself.

***

It had been a week since I had gotten burned. I had kept my promise to Jessie and went to urgent care when we got home. I was going to have a scar but at least I had avoided getting an infection.

The every-4-hours texts had continued. I continued to not respond but I didn’t block her. I couldn’t bring myself to. I didn’t understand why she was still trying. I didn’t want her stop. Everything about it was confusing me.

“Bye Mom. See ya Monday at school.”

I looked up from my coffee and smiled. ” Be safe, have fun, don’t become a statistic.” She came over and gave me a quick hug and kissed my cheek.

“I will and I won’t I promise. You have a good weekend too okay.” And just like that Jess was off for a weekend of camping with her friends. Timmy was gone 4 hours way for a weekend of mountain bike riding. No race, just riding and camping with his father and the team. I had schoolwork to do so that was my exciting weekend plans. Typing was a lot more tedious with my hand still sore so it would likely take the weekend to type out my paper.

After Jessie left I started another cup of coffee and went and got my laptop to start working. As I sat down on the couch my phone went off. It was 10am on the dot so I didn’t even bother to look at it. An hour later I had made a decent dent in my paper and my phone vibrated again. I figured it was Jessie with an update. Instead it was another one from Jody.

Jody- Ellie?

Jody- El. I know you’re home. I know the kids are off doing stuff this weekend. Mine are too.

Jody- Remember when we used to pray for weekends alone…

Why? Why why why was she typing this stuff? I put my laptop down and just sat there. Pain washed over me. Why was she doing this? Yes I remembered. I remembered aching to be near her. How could I forget when I still felt what way.

Jody- can’t we try to at least be friends again. I miss you. Every time I see you at a race I remember how much I just fucking miss you.

I didn’t respond. How could I? What the hell did she expect me to say. I couldn’t be friends with her. She had been the love of my life, there was zero parts of me that could be near her after what I had done to her. I thought I had made that clear the times we’ve had to be near each other. I knew the fact I hadn’t blocked her again was part of the issue. I hated myself for not doing it because it was selfish.

Jody- coffee. Or a movie. Something. I need to know if we can at least be friends again.

Me- we can’t. we need to not go to the same races. If you never have to see me again you will forget missing me. You shouldn’t miss me. You make no sense. Please stop Jody. We can’t be in each other’s lives ever again. I shouldn’t have ever been in your life.

Jody- bullshit. I told you not to try to erase the good times we had. One bad decision doesn’t have to ruin us both.

Me- “one bad decision”?? Seriously. It was more than a bad decision Jody. Don’t downplay what I did. Don’t.

I was shaking as I typed.

Me- stop

Jody- it was ONE bad decision. One horrible night that almost killed you and broke my heart, broke your heart too. I’m not downplaying anything. That decision nearly destroyed us both. I’ve never felt pain like that before. I just refuse to keep living in that pain Ellie. I did it for long enough. I can’t pretend you don’t exist, I tried that too. That hurts worse. We can’t let one bad thing define everything about us

Me- there is no us

I put my phone down. I needed to get away from it. Away from her words. I put my sneakers on and walked to the lake. I sat on the bench and tried to lose myself in the noise surrounding me. It wasn’t working. Instead tears started falling. I couldn’t be the weird lady crying alone. I wiped my face and headed into the woods that abutted the lake. I found a downed tree to sit on and let my tears flow. I slid down that tree to the ground with my tears. When I had nothing left I got up and made my way home.

I checked my phone in case the kids had texted. Jessie was at her destination safe. Nothing from Timmy. There was several from Jody but I didn’t click on them. I was spent. I showered and crawled on the couch and turned on a movie. My paper would have to have to wait.

I fell asleep part way into the movie and when I woke up my head was less fuzzy. I made food, ignored my phone for the evening and finished my paper. Writing, even a paper for a master level class, was calming and distracting enough that I could relax. I clicked submit and shut my laptop down. I watched some TV as I ate a snack. It was late and I decided to check my phone and see if the kids had checked in. Timmy had, things were great. He was having a blast. Nothing from Jes. A couple more from Jody. I sighed. A few were sent right away a few more a couple hours later, the normal every 4 hour ones too. One just a few minutes ago. I opened them.

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