Book Three of the Michael & Jessie Series is still in the editing stage but still on schedule. Here's a SNEAK PEAK of TWO"S COMPANY THREE"S A CROWD
Six long painful years later.
Jessie arrived at George’s Cocktail and Lounge, known as the Club, where she worked as a manager, hoping she could sit around the bar and talk with Keith, her bartender, before starting her shift. Just to see how the afternoon business was going to be like. She was about to order a soft drink when Keith cut her off. “Hey, sweetie,” he smiled and kissed her from across the bar. “We were just talking about you.”
“Oh.” She smiled back at the man that she has been dating now for over a year. “And just what trouble have I been accused of now?”
Keith was a little over eight years older than Jessie and has been married before, just as well as her. But, unlike her, he wasn’t divorce. His wife died four years back giving birth to his only child. Leaving him to raise a new baby girl all alone. Jessie hasn’t met the little girl, yet, and at times she couldn’t understand why, but all the same she wasn’t ready to get close to any kid. Keith wasn’t too much taller than Jessie either nor much bigger. He was teased a lot about his built, being told that he was a little like a girl. Some even thought that he must be gay. For being single so long and still living at home with his mother at the age of thirty-seven. Jessie is the first and only girl that he even considered dating after his wife’s death. Jessie didn’t mind him being a momma’s boy. She thought he was cute in his own special way, like a small businessman. With his sandy brown hair and brown eyes. He was an easy laid-back type, always in collar shirts and slacks. Someone that looked too sweet and harmless, to put her in any danger. She was tired of the tall macho guys. Had enough dealings with them to last her a lifetime.
“Nothing bad, I promise,” Keith smiled back at the woman he hoped to marry someday. “George just wants to see you in his office.”
“Why?” she teased. “Is it time for me to start looking for a new job?”
“Are you kidding.” Keith had to laugh at her statement. “George would never get rid of you. And neither will I.” He squeezed her hand and raised it up to his lips to kiss. “He’s in there talking to the new band leader and wants you to meet him, as well.”
“Have you seen him?”
“Yeah. He’s seems innocent enough.” Keith shook his head, giving his opinion of the new band leader. “Nothing too dangerous. We should be okay this time.”
“That’s good. The last one was really something.” She rolled her eyes and pulled her hand from Keith. “I didn’t think we would ever get people back in here.” She pushed herself away from the bar and stood up to go meet her entertainment for the month.
George Silverton was the owner of the Club, that Jessie has been managing for the past two years. He was a short fat man, barely reaching five feet eight, with a head full of gray hair and the most loving caring blue eyes you could ever see. He was near his mid-sixties and a retired crime investigator, who was known to judge people closely. After Jessie’s second failed marriage, she enrolled into a battered woman class and had met George. He taught the class and gave her the job. Helping her get a good start on life, after hearing about her two marriages to woman beaters. Now, he’s like a father to her. Her real father, Wade Peterson, had died over four years ago in a gas explosion at the chemical factory where he worked.
As Jessie reached the office door, she heard voices inside, so she pushed her hair back and knocked before entering. “It’s open,” George called out and she entered. Coming to a complete stop in her tracks, as her eyes met the eyes of her first husband, Michael Davis. He was still the best-looking man that she has ever seen. Still had the same blond hair and the bright blue eyes. Still wore the same western clothes from her past. All the way down to the cowboy boots and western belt around the waist of his tight blue jeans. She blinked and re-blinked her eyes, hoping her mind was playing tricks on her by bringing her past to life. But the image of Michael would not go away. She shook her head too slow for anyone to notice and was about to turn and run from the office, until George stood up and came to her. “Jessie. Honey,” he smiled at her, like only a father would and pulled her the rest of the way into the office. Closing the door behind them. Taking the only way out from Jessie as she continued staring at her pass. “This is Mr. Davis,” George went on saying. And at the sound of his name, Michael stood up. Still just as tall as before. If not a little taller. “He’s the leader of this month’s band.”
“Band?” Jessie caught the words that her boss spoke and frowned. Be cool, she told herself, this is some kind of a joke. Hell, it must be. Michael is supposed to be in freaking California.
“Yes.” George looked worried at her strange actions. “The Guys Around band that we signed up last week.” He watched as her body grew weak right before his eyes and she fainted.
“Jessie, don’t,” Michael ordered, before he rushed to her side and caught her before she hit the floor. The look on the old man’s face was enough to help Michael decide that he would need to take over. He carried her over to the office couch and laid her down. He brushed her long blond hair back and slightly patted her face. “Jessie?” After getting no responses from her, he looked around for the old man. Catching him running out of the room, hopefully going to go get a wet wash rag. “Jessie? Baby, wake up.” He patted her face, again and begged. “Baby, please, don’t do this to me.” He leaned down and dropped a small kiss on her forehead. “Jessie, please, wake up.” His last pat made her eyes blink and when they focused on him sitting there beside her on the couch, she jumped up and started to let out a scream. “Don’t scream,” he ordered and put his hand over her mouth. “The last thing we need is for you to scream, you hear me?” She shook her head with still wide eyes staring back at him. When he was sure of her not going to scream, he lowered his hand from her mouth. “Are you okay?” he asked, pushing her hair back from her face.
“What are you doing here?” she whispered back, frowning at him, too scared that someone will hear her. “Why are you here?” She moved to the other end of the couch away from him.
But before Michael could answer her, George rushed back into the room carrying a cold towel. He shut the door back and rushed to Jessie’s side. “Honey, are you alright?”
“I’m fine. It must have been the heat from outside.” She forced a smile for him and stood up from the couch, pushing her hair back from her eyes. “Thank you.” She turned to Michael and held her hand out to him. “It’s nice meeting you.”
“My pleasure, I’m sure.” He stood as well and took her offered hand, understanding her distance. He shook her hand and held it in a squeeze longer than necessary. His eyes smiling back at her. Showing he was pleased in seeing how grown up she had become. Not to mention, he thought she was still just as beautiful as before, if not more so. God, those eyes, he thought, someone could get lost in them.
“Jessie, here, is my manager.” George broke in on their stare, wrapping his arm around her shoulders, making her pull her hand from Michael. “Funny, but I just realized you two have the same last name. Davis. Any chance you kids are related?”
“No,” Michael answered, quickly, smiling at Jessie, as she shook her head, refusing at high speed, toward George’s question.
“Anyway, Jessie can run this club like a pro. So, if you have any questions, just ask her. I trust her with my life.”
“I’ll be sure to ask,” Michael replied, thinking I use to trust her with my life, too. He watched the old man squeeze Jessie closer to him and dropped a kiss on her forehead. When another thought came to his mind. Jessie, his brain took note, to think she is still going by that name, after all these years.
“You do that,” the old man said, showing the love for Jessie in his eyes.
Jessie surely wouldn’t go as far as getting herself a married ’sugar daddy’, would she, Michael thought, as George pulled her over to the door, out of his hearing.
“I’m going to leave everything to you now,” George said, and Jessie shook her head agreeing. “Go over the contract with him, before he signs it.”
“I will,” she whispered, feeling Michael’s eyes on them.
“You sure, you’re okay?” George frowned at the changeover Jessie. She seemed more defensive now then carefree from before.
“I’m fine. Promise,” she assured him with one of her best smiles. “I guess I’m just nervous about running the club.”
“You’ll do fine, honey.” George dropped another kiss on her forehead and gave her a friendly hug. “I have faith in you, but if you do run across a problem that you nor Keith can’t handle, don’t hesitate to call me.”
“Things will be fine, George. I promise,” she smiled and raised up on her tip toes to kiss his chubby fatherly cheek to assure him. “You just have fun in Florida.”
“I knew I could count on you.” He gave her one more hug, before he turned to wave at Michael and smile. “It was nice talking with you, Mike. Good luck with your plans and again, I promise, you are in good hands here with my Jessie.”
“Thanks.” Michael returned the old man’s smile and met him across the room to shake hands. “You have a good time in Florida, sir. And do take the little lady to those beaches, I was telling you about.”
“I’ll do that.” George laughed back and turned back to the now confused Jessie. He gave her one last hug and sweet kiss. “Bye, sweetheart,” he whispered, but not low enough to keep Michael from hearing. “Remember, I’ll have my cell phone with me at all times.”
“I know,” she mumbled back and stared off after him, as he walked out of the Club’s front door, leaving his business in her hands. And a nightmare that he doesn’t know anything about. She turned back to the nightmare and slammed the office door shut, before yelling, “What in the hell are you doing here?”
The Club’s main office was like any other office in a small business, with addition to a one-way looking glass. Giving management free will to observe employees working out in the dining area, without knowing. In return, the employees could not see into the office. There was a medium size desk setting in the far back of the room, with a couple of half shelves behind it. Topped with file folders, a stack of 500 sheet reams of copying paper. A copy machine and a fax machine. Plus, a couple of framed pictures of George’s family. The desk was topped with the usual items displaying a business desk: a desk lamp, calendar, pencil holder, stapler, and such. Plus, paperwork of the hourly reports of the business. To the right of the room, facing the desk, there was two four drawer gray file cabinets, with different types of quote magnets on the side of them and sitting on top was a fake greenery and an honor plaque. Beside the file cabinets, was an end table, topped with un-necessary magazines, and an office
couch. In the front office corner, sit a matching office chair. The walls were painted a soft cream color and the lights gave off a soft glow, making the room have a relaxing environment to work in.
“And hello to you, too, baby.” Michael grinned at Jessie, as he leaned back against the front of the office desk, crossing his arms over his chest. “You know, this is not quite what I pictured,” he said, and she passed him a dirty confusing look, before he went on to explain. “I always dreamed that when our path crossed, again, you would run back into my arms and we would immediately pick up where we left off. Making love and not able to keep our hands off each other.”
“Not a chance,” she said and rolled her eyes at him. “And don’t call me baby,” she snapped, moving away from the office door and marched straight to the office desk and took a seat behind it. Making Michael having to turn to lean on the desk, now supported on his arms, still watching her.
“What’s the deal, baby?” he asked, ignoring her order, still grinning at her. “Are you all fired up because of seeing me or because your ’sugar daddy’ is taking the wife to the beaches, instead of you?”
“What?” She was shocked by his words and jerked her eyes up to him and frowned. “George isn’t my ’sugar daddy’. He’s my friend as well as Dory, his wife. They helped me get back on my feet, after dealing with jerks like you.” She dropped her eyes from his, knowing that looking into those deep blue eyes was the last thing she needed to do. She pulled one of the desk drawers out like she was looking for something, when really, she was just trying to find something to distract her from Michael’s eyes on her.
“You sure, I mean,” he remarked, watching her closely, noticing that she was getting nervous. He turned from her and moved over to the office couch to give her some space. “It looked like love to me,” he gave his opinion, taking a seat on the couch.
“Daughterly!” she snapped back, slamming the desk drawer shut. “Nothing more.” She ran her fingers through her hair, before resting her arms on top of the desk and dropping her head to hide her face in her hands. “God,” she moaned in her hands. “I knew I shouldn’t have gotten up this morning.” She rubbed her eyes in the palm of both hands, before she raised up to look at him. “Look, let’s get something straight here.” She pushed her hair back out of her eyes and leaned back in the chair. “I work here. Five to six days a week. This is my job. How I stay alive and together we…” She pointed themselves out. “Will run a professional business, only. There is no hanky panky around here and there never will be. What we had is the past. We have nothing today. And nobody here knows or will ever know about us. Got it?”
“Sure thing, Casey,” he said, trying to keep a straight face and using a deep voice, saluting her like she was some drill sergeant. “Or is it Jessie?” He underlined her name with his normal voice, as he pushed down farther on the couch and laid his arms out across the back, grinning over at her from the look she shot him. “I mean, that is what Mr. Silverton called you. Right? I don’t recall him saying ‘Casey’ once.”
“Whatever,” she moaned at his question, shooting him a dirty look. “Let’s just get this started and hope that the month goes fast.” She stood up from the chair and moved over to the file cabinet to flip through, looking for his contract. “Damn it, when is my punishment going to be over?” she hissed under her breath, with her back to him.
“Why, Jessie?” He stood up, too, and moved over to stand behind her. Only inches, having a tough time not to reach out and touch her. He slipped his hands in the front pockets of his tight jeans, to avoid the act.
“Because…” She turned to face him, but stopped as she found him standing close, real close, to her. She took a deep breath, taking in the same cologne smell from years back and took a step back, before pushing herself to finish talking. “I have a feeling this month is going to be hell,” she said, trying to keep eye contact with him.
“No,” he re-asked his question. “Why are you still going by ‘Jessie’ and not “Casey’, after you begged for your real name back at the divorce hearing?”
“Because…” she whispered, then stopped. Not sure on how to answer. Her eyes searched his face then ran down his body. He was still strong built, and he was still the same good-looking guy that she had fell in love with fifteen years ago and was married to for seven years.
“You still love me?” he asked, interrupting her thoughts. He raised his left hand up to her face and ran his thumb across her lips. “If you do, I understand, because I might have feelings for you still, too.”
“I don’t,” she lied, moving around him, licking her lips. She walked around to the front of the desk, needing to get space between him and took a deep breath. “I tried to go by ‘Casey’, again,” she went on to explain. “But people started looking at me weird. Like, I was crazy when I didn’t answer them. So, I decided to stay with ‘Jessie’. Been used to it for so long, I guess.”
“I see,” he whispered back, not believing her. He followed her steps and moved back to the front of the desk and leaned back against it. “I still think it suits you better,” he volunteered his opinion, crossing his legs at the ankles and his arms over his chest.
“Yeah. Anyway.” She shrugged her shoulders and moved over to the couch and sat down, still needing to be farther away from him, not looking at him, but the papers she held in her hands. “Let’s go over the contract, so you can start tomorrow night.” Michael watched as she studied the papers, avoiding his eyes and letting her hair fall over her shoulder to hide her face from him. “It looks as if George has it where you will get a…” she went on mumbling.
“Jessie?” he moaned out her name, interrupting her. He pushed away from the desk and walked over to sat down beside her. Grabbing her arm, when she started to
get up from where she sat. “No,” he ordered and took the papers from her, dropping them to the floor. “This stupid contract can wait. Look at me.” She shook her head, refusing to raise her eyes, but closed them tight. “Baby, for this to work, we have to get rid of the tension.” He continued holding onto her arm and with his free hand he raised it up to brush her hair back from her face and behind her ear. “We need to talk…”
“About what?” She jerked her head up and shot him a frown, jerking her arm from him.
“Us,” he said. “The past eight years. Maybe even our marriage.”
“No.” She shook her head and stood up from the couch, taking a deep breath. “I don’t want to re-live that pain.”
“It wasn’t all bad, baby,” he protested, watching her, leaning back in the couch and crossed one leg up over his other knee. “We had some good times together, too. Like the night we first made love as husband and wife. Back when you first enjoyed it. Even though my parents walked in on us.” He made an unsure laugh. “It was a beautiful night that I will never forget. I didn’t think you would either.”
“I haven’t,” she mumbled, now hugging her arms around herself with her back to him.
“And I remember the day we got married and we felt that nobody existed, but us,” he said, still watching her closely. “You remember our wedding day, don’t you? We were both nervous as hell, but we wanted to be together.”
“I remember,” she mumbled back.
“And once we were married, we made love every night,” he went on. “I couldn’t wait to get home from work every day because I wanted you. I always thought that you wanted me, too.”
“I did,” she replied.
“And then what about the days we laughed and played with the twins?” He was on a roll, thinking that he was breaking through the tension. “Those kids…”
“Just tell me why, Michael?” she snapped, stopping him from going down memory lane. She dropped her arms and jerked around to face him, giving him a dirty look. The tension was back.
“Why, what?” he asked, raising up to lean over on his knees, still watching her.
“Everything,” she snapped back, with a dirty look. “Did you hate me so much that you had to hurt them to get back at me?”
“I never hated you…” he tried to cut in.
“I loved you,” she went on, frowning at him. “But you made that love go away.”
“Correction, sister,” he cut in, again, with raised eyebrows. “You gave it away. To Tony.”
“And you, to God only knows who,” she snapped back, defending herself.
“Just because I couldn’t stand the ideal of losing you!” he yelled back, defending himself. “Damn it, Jessie! I came home one day and found you wrapped up in a sheet. And to top that, you smelled like sex.”
“What are you talking about?” she frowned back at him, not remembering the day he was speaking of.
“Oh, please,” he moaned, rolling his eyes. “Don’t deny it.” He tightened his hands, trying to gain control of his temper.
“I’m not denying anything, Michael,” she snapped, crossing her arms, again, noticing his hands tightening up. “I just asked, what you were talking about.”
“Let’s just say, I knew about my precious little wife and my so-called cousin before my father’s announcement the morning of Christmas of ‘88.” He waited for her to reply, but when she didn’t, he took a deep breath and stared back at her. She stared at him with no trace of shame in her eyes. He dropped his eyes from her and pushed his hands over the top of his head and through his hair, as he went on. “I tried to pretend I was imagining it, because I didn’t want to believe I was losing you. After that didn’t work, I tried to tell myself that you were only doing it to get back at me for sleeping with Ginny. Instead, I lost it and I paid five years in jail for it.” He raised his eyes up at her. She still hasn’t moved from the last time he looked at her. “Those were the longest five years of my life. My thoughts were always on you and what I could have done better. The first three months, I had dreams, no nightmares,” he corrected himself. “About your marriage to him…”
“Tony?” she frowned, stopping him and questioning the word ‘him’ and he shook his head replying. “I didn’t marry Tony.”
“You might as well have; you were planning on divorcing me.”
“Who told you that?” she frowned at his words.
“Donna overheard you telling him your plans,” he said and stood up, making her take a step back from him. He started pacing the office, as he went on talking. “Plus, Dana walked in on you and that bastard fucking in his apartment.” He turned to look at her and slipped his fingers in his back pockets. “All, while my rights were being read to me. Tell me, I’m wrong. That Dana was lying.”
“Is that why, you hurt the twins?” she asked, instead. “Because, I was with Tony.”
“I tore the hell out of our room, first, then my music room,” he said remembering the day his life was over. “I destroyed ever machine I owned, with my favorite guitar. You would have thought a tornado went through that room.” His eyes turned hollow, as he talked and remembered his actions. “The more I destroyed, the madder I got. God only knows, how many times I wished the twins weren’t there.” He looked up at the ceiling, trying to stop the tears that wanted to fall. “They yelled at me to stop, but I didn’t. It was like, I couldn’t hear them. Like, there was a part of me, that stood back and watched. I called you everything that I could think of. I slammed that guitar into those machines and cussed you to hell, as sparks flew. I hated you for what you did, but I never stopped loving them.” He looked back at her and tears rolled down his face. “Ischelle grabbed my arm, still yelling at me to stop and I turned on her. I hit my baby girl with that fucking guitar and then I remember grabbing Ashley. Things are blurry after that. I’m not sure what all happened. I just know I hurt them, and I have to live with that for the rest of my life.”
“What you did to them, was meant for me. Right?” she asked, fighting the tears in her eyes.
“Jessie,” he moaned, rubbing his eyes with the heel of his hands. “You’re not hearing me. I tried to kill them.” He slapped himself on the chest with both hands. “Me. Their father. I beat the shit out of our kids for no fucking reason. I became my father.”
Jessie turned away from him and walked over to pick up the contract. “I guess we can say you did kill them.” She left her back to him and rubbed at her own tears.
“Why?” he asked, frowning at her.
“Because.” She jerked around to face him, again, letting her hair fly out around her shoulders. “I haven’t seen them since that day. You had my babies taken away from me.” She glared hateful eyes at him and cried, “And I hate you for that.”
Michael didn’t say anything, just stared back at her, wondering why or if he should believe her. He watched as the tears rolled down her face, while she held his stare. The tears convinced him that her words were true. He wanted to hold her but was too afraid that she would reject him and push him away.
After what seemed like eternity, she broke contact with his eyes and turned her back to him, looking down at the floor. She hugged her arms around her body, like she was cold and squeezed her eyes tightly shut. Taking a deep breath, trying to gain control and not re-live the pain, again. Michael was the last guy, she wanted around if she lost control. In the past eight years, she has had sleepless nights and lonely days because of the twins and of the day she has tried so hard to forget. Just wishing and hoping that she would find news on their whereabouts. Always wondering why, she couldn’t see them or if she ever was going to see them, again.
Michael sensed her pain and moved toward her. He took a big chance as he stepped up behind her and wrapped his arms around her shoulders. She didn’t pull from him, so he pulled her up against his chest. She was still a good nine inches shorter than him and he had the feeling he could hold her there forever, without her ever pulling away from him. “I’m sorry, Jessie,” he whispered, against her head, dropping a small kiss in her hair. “I am so sorry.”
“I don’t understand why,” she cried, not moving out of his hold, but now turning around in his arms to face him. His arms around her gave her something that she hasn’t felt in such a long time. Security. Someone taking charge of the burden on her shoulders. She just hoped they could give her the answers, as well. “They had no business taking my babies from me.” She went on crying against his chest. Now holding tight onto his shirt. “I could have cared for them. Give them everything that they would need. I loved them more than anything. Or anyone.” She wiped her eyes off her hands that still held onto his shirt. “I want them back,” she cried harder, soaking his shirt now with heavy tears.
“Oh, sweetheart, don’t,” he pled, squeezing her tight to him and dropping his head down against hers, trying to not cry himself.
“It’s not fair,” she cried on. “If I knew my life would have been over that morning, I would have never gone to bed the night before.” She stepped back out of his arms and looked up at him, rubbing at her tears. “I never loved Tony, Michael. It was always you. And yes, I was with him the day you came home. But the minute I saw you, I regretted it. It was the first and only time. Until that Christmas, of course, but by then, I figured it was over between us. I felt that you didn’t want me anymore. That everything we shared was over.”
“I’ve always wanted you.” He took her face in his hands and rubbed his thumbs under her eyes to wipe away some tears. “Baby, you meant everything to me. I had no life without you.” He forced a smile for her, through his own pain. “Didn’t you know that?”
“I guess not,” she whispered, watching his eyes and raising her hands up to lay over his on her cheek. “It seemed that there at the end, you only yelled at me or told me to stop bitching. You stopped holding me and telling me that you loved me. What was I supposed to think?”
“I don’t know,” he mumbled and pulled her back against him. “I just don’t know,” he repeated, closing his eyes and squeezing her tight to his body, hiding his face in her hair. They stood holding each other for several minutes not saying a word but enjoying the feel of each other. Holding each other, gave them the feel of the twins around. Michael hated it, but he had to know and broke the silence between them. “Baby, I need to know. Why haven’t you seen the twins? I was sure they were back with you.” ………..
Wow! Now didn't that make you want to know what was up with them two? Where was the twins? And what actual happened that morning of Christmas '88? Well, you will soon be able to find out. Release date is still in February. As it grows closer, I will keep you informed. In the mean time, grab book one and two and get caught up in Michal's and Jessie's story.