Stephanie stopped short at the sound of Lexie's voice.
“Hi Lexie, I wanted to call you and tell you I'm sorry for the way I acted.” She repeated what she told the machine.
“Stephanie, It's okay I understand.” She did understand, but she would let her explain why she was sorry.
“Things were so messed up and I took it out on you, and I shouldn't have. Daddy and I talked today.” She started to say, but Lexie stopped her.
“Stephanie, did your dad pressure you into calling me?” She hoped she was wrong in her thinking.
“No, no Lexie, he didn't pressure me into calling, I wanted to call you.” She was shocked to think she had thought her dad could make her call. “We talked about him and momma and as much as I wanted them back together, it isn't gonna happen.” She said truthfully.
“I know it's hard, my parents split when I was about your age.” She hadn't told anyone, it wasn't even in her bio with her editor. “My dad, well lets just say, he went to work one day and didn't come home.”
“Did you want them back together?” She asked.
“At first I did, then I remembered what it was like at home. The quiet dinners and the slamming doors. They tried to keep it from me, but I knew things had changed.” She thought back to the day she admitted that it was better that her dad had another family. “I went through a hard time until I noticed my mom was happy again.” Which she didn't admit to Stephanie that she was in college when she figured it out that her mom was happy with her new stepfather. That also finding out she had a niche for writing also helped.
She thought about what Lexie was saying. Jesse had told her their dad was happy with Lexie, but until her talk with her dad today she didn't want him happy with anyone but her mom. She thought about what Mark had said about distracting her dad. A happy dad was a distracted dad.
“Lexie, will you come up here, Daddy is so happy when he talks about you and I want him to be happy again.” There she had said it.
Lexie was shocked, they had only been up there for two days and she was calling to ask her up. Red flags were going up all over the place, she thought about saying no, but she missed Jon too much to cut her own throat. She would just have to watch and keep her eyes open.
“I guess I could come up tomorrow,” she said. She would have to pack her bag and get Snowballs stuff together.
“Could you come up today?” She asked.
Lexie saw a huge red flag but pushed it away.
“I'll try, it might be late, I have to pack and load the car.” she told her.
“Try, please, I need some girl talk around here.” She laughed.
“Okay, I'll call if I can make it up.” She made a mental list of what to pack and food for Snowball.
“Call my cell, lets surprise daddy.” She was getting excited. Her plan was working.
“I don't have your cell number Stephanie.” She grabbed a pen and paper.
“Its two one two” She started “Nine six five three thousand.”
She wrote it down and promised to call her and let her know when she was on the road. Hanging up and looked down at Snowball.
“Something is up Snow, she thinks I don't feel it, but something is up?” She loaded the number in her cell and headed to her bedroom and pulled out her bag and started to pack.
It took her about an hour to get her car loaded. She hoped it make it she didn't want to take time to get her editors jeep again, so it was the Kia or taking another hour to rent a car.
She called Stephanie and started up the road. ''Snow I still think I should call Jon and let him know I'm coming. What would you do if you were me?” She laughed as Snowball started to bark.
Stephanie was excited when Lexie called to say she and Snowball were on the road. She texted Mark to let him know she had taken his advice. She went to clean up her dads room so Lexie wouldn't come to a messy room. Then she came down to pick up all the other things the boys left out when they went to the park.
Jesse and the boys walked into the grocery store grabbing a head basket they headed to the deli to pick up sandwiches and then the chip and cookie section before picking up a couple of sodas before heading to the check out. Sally looked up as the boys ran up to the candy rack by her register.
“Hi Romeo, you here with your dad?” Sally watched the boys look up at the sound of Romeo's name,
“Nope Sally, we're going on a picnic.” Romeo said as he put his candy bar and Jake's on the counter.
Jesse came up and smiled at Sally.
“So you three are going on a picnic?” She started ringing up the order.
“Yeah, you know where a park is, I thought I'd give dad a break and take the guys.” He added a snicker bar to the order.
“Yeah, there's a great park two blocks from here. Lots of things to climb on and great area just to run in.” She took the money and handed Jesse the change.
“Take the bags out Jake I want to ask Sally something, that is if you have time.” He asked her.
“Sure, I'm due for a break.” She smiled and let her boss know she was going on break.
They walked outside and watched the boys getting into the car.
“Last night when we were chatting you started to say something about Mark.” He watched her face as he spoke. “Is there something I need to watch out for with Steph dating him?”
Sally looked down and really didn't want to answer it with out coming off jealous.
“Mark, well I've lived here all my life, I've known Mark all my life.” She shifted from one foot to the other.
“Known all your life as in you dated, or wanted to date, or” Jesse tried to draw her out.
“Well, we dated.” she shifted again. “I went away to college and well to put it mildly he couldn't wait for me to get out of town before he cheated.”
Oh Oh girl dumped, how many times has his friends talked about their sisters getting dumped. He reached out an touched her shoulder.
“Maybe it wasn't meant to be.” He told her as he touched her shoulder.
“My friends sent me pictures of how he handled me being gone. He's just going to use her and drop her. She's not a townie and he will play with her and drop her before you leave to go home.” she blurted it out. “I got to get back to work. I'll talk to you later, just watch your sister.”
Sally rushed back in, Jesse stood there shocked. New he regretted asking her. But she did give him some insight in Mark, that his brother senses had been right all along not to trust Mark. Shaking it off he went to the car and took the boys on their picnic.
Stephanie was acting really strange, she yelled at the boys to pick up their junk, as she had just picked up the family room. Dinner was the usual salad, canned soup and cheese sandwiches, grilled if you didn't mind scraping off the burnt edges. She kept looking out the window and as the sun set and it started to get dark, it was worse. While no one was watching she opened the driveway gate so Lexie wouldn't have to be buzzed up and the garage door was open on the second slot.
It was close to nine when her dad started to get the boys upstairs for baths and bed, Stephanie took her phone out on the front porch and called Lexie, she should have been there by now. The call started to ring and Jesse stepped out on the porch.
“You calling Mark?” he leaned back on the railing and noticed the garage door. “Hey, who left the door open on the garage?”
Stephanie closed the call.
“What if I am, whats it to you?” she sat in one of the rockers, trying to get his mind off the garage door and if he looked out over the yard he could see that they gate was open.
“I sort of talked to Sally about Mark, I think you better watch out for Mark.” He told her.
“You talked to Sally about Mark? Jesse why did you do that?” she huffed. I can't believe he went behind my back to check on Mark. He's a vacation fling, like Sally is for him.
“She would know all about Mark and well they used to date, in fact, from the non verbal message I got from our talk, he's hurt her really bad and don't want you to ever be hurt like that. Hell, I think she's still in love with him, she's going back to college in the fall, if he asked her, I doubt she would leave him behind.” he really liked Sally and seeing her hurt made him mad to the point he'd like to rearrange Mark face.
“I'm sorry that Sally and Mark broke up, but Jesse, I'm not looking for a forever kind of guy. He's just a fun guy to spend a vacation with.” She rolled her eyes at him.
“I just don't want him to hurt you Steph.” he reached over and touched her arm.
“That's good, but there's nothing to protect Jess, he's just a fling.” She told him again.
“Does he know he's just the fling?” Jesse asked as he pushed off the banister and started to go in when a car slowed down by the gate. “Did you leave the gate open for Mark to slink in?” he shook his head. “Are you sneaking out?”
“No, It's not Mark.” She got up and headed to the walkway as the car pulled in. Jesse came up behind her as the car pulled up and into the garage.
“Then who is it?” Jesse asked as her rounded the corner as the door opened. The sound he heard was sound of nails on concrete. “Snowball?”
Hearing her name Snowball barked and ran to Jesse.
“She needs to go out Jess, she's been in the car for too many hours.” Lexie told him. She looked up at Stephanie “Well we made it. It was touch an go, had to stop for gas and food.” She popped the trunk and they got her stuff and Snowballs bag. “Does your father know I'm coming yet?”
“Nope, I want him to be surprised.” Stephanie said as Jesse came back with Snowball. “I cleaned up his room so you won't have a problem.”
Lexie stopped short, she was staying in Jon's room.
“You don't mind I'm staying with your dad?” She asked Stephanie.
“I don't mind,” she smiled.
Okay kiddo if that flag was any bigger it would swamp the cabin. We'll play it your way but I ain't stupid and you're playing with the big kids now.
She followed Stephanie into the cabin and stopped in the kitchen to put out Snowballs stuff. As Jesse came back in he put Snowball down who high tailed it upstairs to find Romeo.
“Well I guess the secrets out now.” Jesse laughed. “Hey Dad we got company.” Jesse grabbed Lexie's suitcase and carried it upstairs.
Jon was coming out of Romeo's room when he heard Jesse call out and saw Snowball running down the hall. He pushed open the door for her and heard Romeo squeal and giggle. Jake hearing his brother came out of the bathroom his hair damp and rushed past Jon into their shared bedroom laughing as Jon watched Snowball give Jake's face a bath. Hearing voices and feet on the steps he turned to see Jesse bringing up Lexie's case followed by the woman he had been missing for two whole days.
“Surprise Daddy.” Stephanie came up behind Lexie.