Thanks to all that are reading this story and emailing me. It is extremely encouraging. My girl stayed up past her bedtime (unheard of) to read the next four chapters. I hope you guys enjoy it as well. It gets very interesting from here on out. But dont be discouraged To use an old cliché, Love will always find a way.
The rains of February subsided and gave way to the cool winds of March. During this time Jump threw herself into working on a plan to get a loan for the expansion of her shop. Shed thanked Sue again for the idea and was happy to have the challenge before her.
After the initial sadness of Mark leaving and the loneliness that followed, Jump started to rebound. She also noted that as time passed, both Matt and Bernadette had stopped treating her as the woman who broke Marks heart.
Apparently Sue had had a talk with Matt about how Jump was hurting too and Matt had talked to Bernadette. She was mad at first for her friend discussing her personal life, but she realized even though she wasnt dating their brother anymore, she really cared about how both Matt and Bernadette viewed her, especially Bernadette. Strange.
Either way, she was glad things had smoothed over. It made hiring Matt to do the work on the addition easier. She was meeting with him and Sue later that day to iron out some details. She was hoping to start as soon as the loan was approved.
Since she had a few hours before she met them, she decided to clean up her apartment a bit. She had started the dishes just as the phone rang.
"Hello?" She said as she reached for a towel to dry off her hands, cradling the phone between ear and shoulder.
"Hey, its Bernadette."
"Hey there, whats going on?" Jump itched the bridge of her nose with her slightly damp index finger. She was a bit surprised by the call.
"Um.. Matt was telling me about the addition you were putting on your shop. He asked if I could help him out with it."
"Oh? Well, Im sure you are busy. I mean, you wouldnt have to " Jump was unsure what else to say. This seemed way too small a project for Bernadette to get involved with.
"I told him Id help out. I have some time before starting on my next project. Their financing fell through so they have to regroup. Besides, it sounds kind of fun. I understand you wanna do some cool stuff." Jump could hear the smile through the phone.
"Well, in that case, Id be happy to hire you, Foreman Rand." Jump quipped into the phone. She was actually very pleased that Bernadette was offering her help.
"Cool. Mind if I join you guys today then? Get up to speed on when you wanna start and all that?"
"Sure Ill see you at the shop." Jump smiled.
Hmmm, thought Jump as she hung up the phone. She hadnt thought to ask Bernadette for her help, she figured she was just too busy. I hope I didnt offend her by asking Matt and not her. Jump thought on that for a moment. Shed just mention why she didnt ask her before again and make sure there were no hard feelings or anything.
Jump chuckled softly at her concern over Bernadette. It wasnt the first time she worried about what the eldest Rand child thought. Perhaps it was just that Im in charge quality about Bernadette that had her thinking like that.
When Jump got to the shop, the trio was already there. Sue had let them in and they were already looking at possibilities on where best to expand. Jump then took them outside and showed them where the property line ended and they talked about her vision of what shed like to do.
Bernadette fell into full work mode when she began sketching out rough plans, guided by Jumps input. Every once in a while Bernadette or Matt would make a suggestion or tell Jump why something wouldnt work but gave an alternative as close to the original idea as possible.
Jump was impressed at how easily and accurately Bernadette sketched up a design based on her descriptions. The drawing that resulted was even better than what Jump had envisioned. When Jump said as much, Bernadette offered a small, shy smile.
When they were done, they had a rough plan to start with. In the hours before their meeting, Bernadette had already done a little work on getting some pricing on materials and had contacted the city to start pulling permits. Jump was pleasantly pleased at the initiative Bernadette was taking on her little shop addition.
"I can see how you have gotten to where you are." Jump told Bernadette as they walked out of the shop. Bernadette said nothing but grinned widely at the compliment. A few seconds later as she stood behind Jump while she was locking the door, Bernadette said, "It wasnt easy, thats for sure. Not that Im complaining. I love the work, its the assholes who get in my way that make it a pain."
"I totally understand." Jump said, remembering how many banks she went to before she had someone who took her and her business plan seriously.
They both shared an empathetic smile.
"Listen, Im going to call in a few of my crew to work on this if that is okay. It will get done pretty fast. I dont want you to close down anymore than you have to while this is going on."
"Of course." Jump said enthusiastically. As they both headed for their cars Jump realized Matts car was still there. "Where did Matt and Sue go?" Jump asked as she looked around. "I thought they left before us."
"I dont know." Said Bernadette as she too looked around. Just as Jump began heading back to the shop, they both heard giggling as the two lovebirds rounded the back of the shop, a bit disheveled.
Matt was the first to look up and see four pairs of quizzical eyes looking at them. Upon hearing Matts "Uh " Sue looked up and blushed.
"I dont even want to know." Said Bernadette as she headed to her car, head shaking in amused disbelief.
Jump clapped her hands together and grinned gleefully. "I do!"
By the second week of April, work on the addition had begun in earnest. The roofing, stucco, and insulation had been torn from the south side of the surf shop to make way for the new large structure that would house the skiing and snowboarding equipment and accessories.
Bernadette had started her other job on a business building inland and would basically come by on weekends or sneak in for the afternoon during the week to see how things were going. Shed had Matt, Alex and Scott stay on to work on the addition and left hiring a few day workers up to Matt to expedite the building.
Things were going very well for Jump. Even with the construction going on, business was on track for this time of the year. People inquired about what the extra room was for and were elated that they could not only get their summer recreation equipment here but their winter stuff too.
It warmed Jumps heart to see the enthusiasm of her regular customers that came in for their board wax, leashes and sunscreen. They all promised to spread the word to their friends about the addition too.
"Now if only I could get rid of this stupid flu bug." Said Jump as she closed out the last sale. She had come back in to see how things were going this afternoon. She had been real tired and nauseous for a good week now and was thinking about going to the doctor.
"You still feeling crappy?" Asked Sue who was rehanging some clothing from the dressing rooms.
"Yeah. I start to feel better in the late morning, but then it comes back. Ugh " Jump said as she leaned her elbows on the counter and dropped her head down.
"Go home. Matt and I can finish up from here. Call a doctor will ya? The flu doesnt last this long."
"Youre right. Ill schedule an appointment. I might need you to cover in the morning if I get one in the a.m." Jump looked pointedly at her friend to make sure she understood that meant opening the store.
"Got it covered, babe. Matt is here at dawn practically. Well come in together." Sue smiled as she saw the object of discussion coming through the framed up far wall of the new part of the shop. She did love a man in a tool belt.
Jump chuckled at the lust in her friends eyes. Jeez, those two are something else.
"Ill call you later if I need you to cover." Called Jump as she headed out the door and towards her car.
Jump called her doctor as soon as she got home. She usually wasnt one to go to the doctor unless something was broken or bleeding profusely, but this nausea and tiredness thing was going on way too long. It was getting in the way of her daily routine.
"Hello. I was wondering if Dr. Seavers is working tomorrow Are there any appointments available? Anytime would be fine. 8:30 a.m. would be perfect Oh, flu like symptoms .yes Thanks." Jump hung up the phone as a wave of nausea came over her. "I am so tired of this!" She groaned as she headed towards the bathroom.
Then next day, Sue was busy helping out a family pick out some Hawaiian shirts when she heard Bernadettes voice in the new construction part of the shop. Her and Matt were talking about the sub floor or something like that. It was funny to see how serious the crew got when Bernadette was around. No joking or playing, the radio was turned down, not a smile out of any of them.
Sue could see how the tall woman could be intimidating-looking. Not the overt, yelling and ordering around kind of intimidating, but the quiet, unsettling kind. Like you arent sure what shell do if you are caught not giving 100 %.
Sue knew such a different side of her though, the joking with her family and such. It was interesting to see this side of her when she was supervising a project.
She had turned her full attention back to the family when she heard the bell ring on the front door. It was an ashen-faced Jump. Sue tried to get her attention to see what was wrong, but Jump just went directly back to the back of the shop.
She quickly guided the undecided family to a decision and rang them up, all the while looking at the storeroom door. As the father was signing the credit card slip, Sue glanced at her watch. Noon. Had Jump been at the doctors all this time?
Finally, the family left and Sue went to put the "Be back in 5 Minutes" sign on the door.
"Jump?" Sue called out quietly as she opened the storeroom door. She saw Jump looking through some purchase orders, seemingly looking for one in particular.
When Jump heard her name, she stopped and stood stock-still. Sue could tell even from looking at her friends back, that she was far from okay.
"Well, it aint the flu " Jump said without turning around to face her friend. Sues imagination filled in dozens of terrible incurable diseases that her dear friend might have.
"What is it?" Sue asked in a half-whisper as she closed the gap between her and her friend and put her hand on her back.
Jump sniffled and let out a short, humorless laugh.
Jump had left the doctors office in an utter daze. She didnt recall getting into her car or driving home. She sat on the edge of her bed for what seemed like days but in reality it was a couple of hours.
She sat on the corner, feet on the ground and hands on her lower thighs. She stared at the corner of her room, the space where her closet met the wall where the window was.
She was aware of noises outside, people talking, someone calling for their dog, car doors opening and shutting. After about 15 minutes of sitting in a near comatose state, her mind began to work again. She replayed the scene in Dr. Seavers office.
First, confusion. Shed been on birth control for years. When she started dating Mark shed been like clockwork with taking it. She hadnt lapsed once. She could hear her doctors voice here. "Nothing is 100%, Jess." Yeah, no shit.
Then the disbelief. Shed had him double check that it was her blood he tested. Shed even wanted to take it again. He humored her. It came back exactly the same.
She was nine weeks along. A little over two months. In the past when shed been exercising a lot, it was common for her to skip her period. When Mark left she increased the activity that brought her peace- mountain biking. When she went a month without her period, it wasnt a surprise.
She would have an abortion. No one would know. She began mentally planning it out. Shed find a clinic; have it done on a Monday. Shed have to find a ride. She couldnt tell Sue. Sue would tell Matt and then
No, this is what I have to do. I can have kids when Im ready. When Ive found someone I cant live without. Jumps mind went over and over what shed do and how shed handle the details of getting rid of the pregnancy.
Shed started feeling better about this now. She had a plan. No one had to know. Her life would continue on as it had been. She could deal with the guilt. Women did it all the time, every day in fact. She wasnt ready, she wasnt mother material. There were too many things she hadnt done or seen.
A baby. A child. In her. Growing as she breathed and planned and decided its fate. Jump took her hands off of her thighs and brought them around her stomach. Her hands moved around, feeling for something different. Nothing. But there was a life. A new one, part her, part Mark.
He wouldnt know. He couldnt know. He would want to come home and marry her. She knew this for certain. Why would it be so bad, she asked herself.
"Im such a fucking coward." She needlessly confessed to herself.
Her thoughts again turned inward. Why cant I just be in love with him? Why cant this be good? She had no answer.
She bonelessly slipped to the floor and brought her knees up to her chest. Her head rested on her knees and she covered her head with her hands. She felt the tears come from behind her eyes and she let them fall unbidden for a long time until they turned into full-blown, racking sobs.
"What are you going to do?" Sue asked as she turned her friend around to look at her. Jumps eyes were puffy and red. She kept her eyes focused on the edge of the desk as if trying to make up her mind on something.
After her sobs had racked her body for the better part of an hour, Jump had started having second thoughts on an abortion. She wasnt religious by any stretch of the imagination, but she did believe that things happened for a reason. Perhaps she hadnt realized the reason of her being pregnant yet, but she knew, despite her plans, she couldnt just terminate this pregnancy.
So, after more thought and tears, she had decided that she would keep the baby and tell Mark about it too. She knew there were several other major decisions to be made, but for now, this was her plan.
"Im going to keep it Sue. Im going to keep the baby." Jump was surprised by a tight hug and squeal from her best friend. If this were what Jump wanted, shed support her with love and enthusiasm. Like she always did.
"What about Mark?" Sue asked tentatively. She knew how it ended with Mark and Jumps desire not to continue with a long distance relationship.
"Im going to tell him and then we will figure it out. I dont want to mess up his life. I dont want anything from him. If he wants to be involved that is fine. I just " She trailed off when she realized how she might sound.
Once Mark was gone, she hadnt had to consider how she felt about him. Theyd broken it off before he left, and to her that was the end of it.
This was how Jump operated. Things were always considered, categorized and put away until needed again. It worked for her well in business and so it naturally extended into her personal life.
Now, for Jump, things had changed and she had to look at what this would mean for the both of them. Still, she couldnt see her being with him much less marrying him. She was petrified that that was what everyone would expect of her.
Sue looked at her friend with understanding. Not for what Jump was going through exactly because Sue could only imagine. But she did understand how hard this was going to be for Jump.
So, Sue went against her natural predilection to push Jump to continue her sentence. She just held her friends hand as they both leaned their backsides on the desk and looked at their toes in the comfortable, non-threatening silence reserved for best friends.
Continued in Chapter 6
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