ItSo…C: Chapter 10 and Chapter 11
After the Christmas play, Jesse, Lindsey, and Jade go out on what is essentially a date: dinner at the local “Dairy Cup,” complete with romantic music from the jukebox (Jade’s pick). Lindsey feels sparks, and Jesse talks about
Christmas Town Winding Stair:
“The place grows on you, that’s for sure.” [said Jesse]
“Sure would be a great place to raise a kid—in your house—DAMMIT, SHUT UP! STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!”
She wasn’t sure what he meant by that, but at least he hadn’t criticized her beloved town. Small, provincial and backwoods it might be, but Winding Stair took care of its own.
A fact Jesse might want to keep right in the front of his mind. Small, insular, and backwards it might be, but they take care of their own church members when they’re not gossiping about them behind their backs.
The very next day, Jesse combines a delivery trip with another piece of his plot: he tracks down the crooked (and, of course, drunk) lawyer. This should be interesting. Finally, an explanation for all this!
Jesse handed over the form his stepfather had signed, making the sale of Jesse’s farm valid.
“Eighteen years ago my mother died, leaving her parents’ farm to me. My stepfather, Les Finch, somehow managed to sell the place, claiming ownership.”
“What’s that got to do with me?” [asked Drunken Lawyer]
“Someone smarter about legal and business affairs than Les had to do the paperwork.”
“I want you to tell the truth. Confess that you helped Les Finch figure out a way to forge my mother’s name to forms that gave him ownership.”
“Whoa now, boy. You’re accusing me of a crime.”
The old hypocrite. He had committed a crime, probably more than one.
Um, okay. I guess. I’m sorry, I’m still having a hard time with this. I know we’re supposed to trust Jesse that he’s telling the truth, and hate the evil lawyer, who is obviously lying because he’s an alcoholic, but–
Where were the damn cops? Where was child services? This happened in 1987, not 1887.
For that matter, where was Jesse? I get that as a teenager, he was relatively powerless, but why not try to get back his farm two years ago or six years ago? Did he not want his home for Erin? For Jade when she was a baby? Why not fight for his “right” before now?
Indeed, Drunken Lawyer seems to legit not remember the transaction.
Jesse just barely manages to avoid hitting the guy:
“Listen, old man, Les Finch stole everything I owned, moved me off to an unfamiliar city, and then tossed me out like a stray dog when I was barely fifteen. Scared, alone, heartbroken, hungry. Do you know what that’s like?” He slammed his fists together. “That’s never going to happen to my little girl. Never.”
The more Jesse talks, the less sense he makes. I don’t see how moving to another city had anything to do with anything about selling the farm. Was it really worth so much that Les could afford to go to a whole other town, then illegally sell the farm (and I still don’t see any evidence that the sale was illegal), then toss the kid out?
If Jesse knew the house was his, why didn’t he tell someone? I know he was just a kid, but he was apparently savvy enough to know the house was his. Did his mother tell him it was, accurately or not? How did his mother die, anyway? Did she have a will? If not, why would her signature have to be forged, as Jesse alleges? Was the signature forged? I’m sorry, but I just don’t have enough evidence to even be on Jesse’s side yet.
SO MANY QUESTIONS
It all ends with Drunken Lawyer promising to contact Jesse if he remembers any details of the transaction. (After all, it has been eighteen years, which again raises the point: why did Jesse wait so long to settle this?)
And Jesse heads off to actually do his job and deliver the Christmas trees, and he convinces the guy to think about getting all the trees for his lot from Lindsey. Jesse is just pleased as punch about this, until he gets back into his truck and remembers that by next year, he’ll have thrown Lindsey out on her ass.
Memory of a goldfish, this one.
A few days later, Jesse suggests that the three of them take nighttime wagon ride, for no reason at all, which is terribly romantic and sweet and everything, and they have a little kissy after Jade falls asleep. Then, things take a turn for a different type of seriousness, as they talk about Jade. Turns out Jade has been asking lots of questions about her own mother and death. Although Lindsey kindly keeps from Jade the secret of the Christmas Curse under which she was born, she puts the child’s mind at ease regarding death (because Erin is now living in God’s house, natch).
They’re also making a memory book together, which is quite sweet, but when does Lindsey get all this free time with Jade but without Jesse? Aren’t they running a tree farm together?
Jesse has yet more guilt pangs…
He cared about her.
…but not enough to stop his plans.
He cared a lot and didn’t want ever to see her hurt. And hurting her would be the ultimate end of their relationship.
OH GEE, DO YOU FRAKKING THINK SO, GENIUS???
Memory of a goldfish, brain of one, too.