Monday, July 4, 2016

Incendiary for 99 cents

Jake always thought bad things happened in threes. If so, he wondered what would round out the trio.
     The arson counted as number one. Tim Hagerty on his doorstep might be number two. They’d parted as friends when he left, but a lot of years passed since then. Jake had spoken to him for the first time three weeks prior to his return to Biggin Hill. In fact, he wouldn’t be back except for Tim’s offer.
     “Tim, come in.”
     “Just wanted to see how you’re settling in.”
     Jake led Tim back to his kitchen. He didn’t know what to expect of this visit. Or what to think about it. “Beer?”
     He opened two imports and handed one to his old friend. Silence ensued as Jake took a swig.
     “So, you glad to be back?”
     Jake frowned. “Not sure yet”
     Tim sat on a metal chair and placed his beer on the table. “I know it’s only been a few weeks.”
     “Not much has changed.”
     “Not much does in a small town. A few more houses built. That’s about it.”
     Jake sipped his beer. “It feels right to be back here.”

     “Does that have anything to do with Chelsea?”
     The sound of her name kicked his heart’s beat off rhythm. “I haven’t really talked to her.”
     Tim’s eyebrows shot up. “No? I would have thought she’d be your first stop. Then maybe Brad’s reaction to your relationship with her might stop you.”
     Jake rubbed the back of his neck. He ignored the comment about Brad. The two old friend’s hadn’t parted on the best of terms. “I’m not sure I’m on her A-list.”
     “True, considering how you left.”
     A stab to the heart. Was Tim after Chelsea? His hand found his chest. “Ouch.”
     Tim shrugged then lifted his beer. “Truth hurts.”
     His friend had never been the most tactful person. “So what’s your interest in her?”
     A grin broke out on his face, or a leer. “What any red-blooded American male would want.”
     “Really?” His heart hurt. “Does she return the interest?”
     Tim retained some unrequited love for Chelsea when they’d been younger. So the torch still burned.
     “I think she plays it close to the vest.”

     Jake couldn’t deny that when it came to men, Chelsea didn’t broadcast her feelings. At least she hadn’t to him. Maybe she hadn’t felt anything for him.


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