ItSo…Christmas: Chapter 12
It’s Sunday, which we all know is good for only one thing, and that is GOING TO CHURCH, but Jesse doesn’t go to church, though he is having a crisis of conscience, so he does the next best thing: he goes to see the old man, Clarence, who was helping (and failing) with the church’s Christmas lights a few chapters ago.
Jesse might well think that Clarence is a wise old Hermit Guru, because Clarence is the guy who clued Jesse in to the fact that people have two sets of grandparents.
Despite everything that’s happened, here is where Goldfish Jesse still stands on the whole issue:
The only way to avoid more suffering on the part of everyone involved was to bring the situation to its rightful end. He’d give [Drunken Lawyer] one more opportunity to come clean and then he’d find his own lawyer and go to the sheriff. The story could break out into the open soon and Lindsey could discover the truth about him.
Yes, discovering that he was angling to steal her home out from under her for all these weeks will be a great way to “avoid more suffering,” Jesse.
He wished he’d never met Lindsey Mitchell.
No. That wasn’t true. He wished she didn’t live on the property that belonged to him.
Citation needed, Jesse. I’m still not convinced this property is yours.
This is no small point by this time. Where is Jesse’s mom’s will? Did she even have one? Is this all in Jesse’s head? Did he take some offhand remark by his mom (“This is your home, too, sweetie.”) and blow it out of proportion for all these years? Won’t it be difficult for Jesse to find a lawyer to take this case, especially in this bitsy town that probably has only one lawyer anyway, and where everyone “looks after their own,” especially the church members?
Well, Jesse certainly has a lot to think about (though not, again, all the ramifications and details that he might think about), so he goes to have a chat with Clarence.
He catches the man on his way out the door to church, and really, Jesse? This couldn’t have waited until the afternoon? Clarence’s wife even has to go to church without him.
But it’s okay, because “The Lord has a reason for you showing up on my doorstep on Sunday morning.”
This makes sense to Jesse:
Maybe others made this trek up the mountain to seek wisdom from the old guy.
And what wisdom it is…
“Jesus is the best friend you’ll ever have. And he’s always there to listen to your troubles and to help you work out the answers.”
He’s no Chochem, but he’ll have to do.
Jesse, unsurprisingly, doesn’t reveal his whole plot to Clarence, but instead speaks in riddles:
“But doesn’t a man have a right to do what he believes is best? … Shouldn’t I fight for what I know is rightfully mine?”
Seriously, except for the “problem” has something “to do with Lindsey,” these are the only facts Jesse provides.
But Clarence has the RTC playbook, he does!
“Rights. We sure hear a lot about people’s rights these days.”
Pfft, rights. What have rights ever done for us?!? Hell, last time someone talked about rights in this town, boy, we almost had our public-school Christmas pageant turned into some librul-commie “holiday” celebration, and this ain’t Trapper Falls, Alaska, son!
Clarence offers to pray with Jesse, but Jesse turns him down. Ha!
Back at the
ranch tree farm, that evening, Lindsey theorizes about the ways of God. Sorta.
Maybe Jesse and Jade had been sent for her to help them find the healing they needed. Maybe she’d been meant to love them back to health and then to let them go. She didn’t know.
Man, life must be so stressful when you constantly have to assess the Meaning of each new person you meet.
And we have a new tradition for Wintermas romances: Missing Children!
Remember when stupid Nathan ran off to find his erstwhile (and FAT) father? Well, now Jade has run off, too. To give Actually Not That Bad Where It’s Due, Jade is a few years younger than Nathan, and Lindsey keeps a much better eye on her than Joella did on Nathan (who, if you remember, ran all around town with zero supervision, hauling canned chili to squatters).
I was a bit afraid that Jesse would pull a Dickish Alpha Male routine and blame Lindsey for Jade’s disappearance, since she was the last person to see her. But it is established that Lindsey watched Jade run to the barn to find Jesse, and Jesse isn’t a dick about that at all.
What he is a dick about, is the dog.
See, they can’t find Sushi, either, and Jesse assumes that the dog scared Jade and chased her into the woods.
“Sushi is not a danger. She wouldn’t harm anyone unless they threatened me. Jade was even beginning to accept her company.” [said Lindsey]
“And maybe that wasn’t a good thing. If you hadn’t forced the situation, Jade wouldn’t have felt she had to accept the dog to please you.”
Ouch. So, Jesse, your plan was to have Jade be terrified of all dogs for the rest of her life? Swell idea.
Hurt pierced her like a sharp nail. “That’s not true. Jade knew I was trying to help her.”
“Yeah? Well, look where that got us.” He jerked around and stalked off into the darkness, calling back over his shoulder. “I mean it, Lindsey. That dog is dead if she’s harmed my daughter.”
Okay, dickish, sure, but I also quite like this tense little conversation. It seems very much like the bitter recriminations that people would throw around when they’re panicked like this.
Like Nathan’s little escapade last year, this chapter ends on a cliffhanger.
Where did Jade go? (Unlike Nathan, she has not had some stupid kid plan cooking for an entire book.)
Did Sushi hurt her? (Yeah, right.)
Stay tuned! Three chapters to go! (I will get through this book by Christmas. Oh yes, I will.)