Chapter 227

Monday, March 8, 2010 at 1:42 PM
Everyone who knew Jon knew something was wrong. Deeply wrong. Unbelievably wrong. The man who never had trouble talking to anyone about anything had changed. If the answer to a question wasn’t a grunt, it was one word. If it was more than that, it was with a sharp edge seldom heard from him before.

Sharon was meeting with him one afternoon and when she asked something about Amanda and an upcoming event, Jon’s response had her nearly in tears at its harshness. He apologized later, but it wasn’t the last time something like it would happen.

He hadn’t asked Richie not to say anything to the other guys, so he wasn’t surprised to get a call from Tico.

“Hey man…” Tico called in greeting as Jon answered his phone.

“Hey T…”

Tico’s rough voice didn’t mince words. “Jon, Richie called and I ain’t believin’ it.”

“Believe it. She’s gone and I have a note from her. She set it up from the beginning.”

“Listen to me. Ain’t nobody THAT good at lyin’. There’d have been something to give her away. All of us and nobody saw or heard anything? That’s what I’m not believing.”

Jon gave a heavy sigh. “Then she’s real fucking good, isn’t she?”

An answering sigh met his ears. “I guess so, but something’s not right about this.”

“Let it go, T, I have. She got what she wanted and now she’s gone.” To Tico, Jon’s voice sounded resigned, yet so full of anger and pain. He wanted to say something, anything, to help, but no matter what he thought of, it seemed too little, too trite.

“I’m sorry, man.” Tico finally managed.

There was a long pause and then his friend’s soft voice answered.

“Yeah, me too.”

~~~

Later that same day, sitting in his office at the Soul headquarters, Jon’s cell rang. Seeing it was his mother, he gave a sigh and answered.

“Hi.”

“Hi Jonny. Am I interrupting?”

“No. What do you want?”

Carol was taken aback a bit at the flat tone in her son’s voice.

“I don’t want anything. I just haven’t talked to you in a few days and wanted to see how you are.”

“Fine. Busy.”

“But you said I wasn’t interrupting.” She heard Jon sigh.

“You’re not. I’m fine.”

“Your dad and I wanted to see if you would come to dinner soon. Matt and Tony too. Just a nice family dinner.”

“A nice family dinner.” Jon couldn’t disguise the sarcasm in his voice.

“Jon! What’s the matter? I can hear it in your voice. Something’s wrong!”

“Nothing’s wrong, but I can’t make a dinner. Sorry.” Jon’s voice was increasingly abrupt.

“But you don’t even know when it will be!” Carol was becoming genuinely concerned.

“It doesn’t matter when it is. Right now I’m too busy. Sorry.” Unfortunately, he didn’t sound sorry in the least.

“Jon…” Carol began, but stopped when he interrupted her.

“My other line is ringing. I have to go. Bye.”

For the first time in his life Jon hung up on his mother.

~~~

Jon was spending his days in a rage-induced fog. Every sound seemed too loud, every voice was grating, every decision was an intrusion.

Parts of his world seemed to be crashing down and he wasn’t sure what had happened. The Soul was going to be disbanded as Arena Football was coming to an end. Temporary or no, right now there was no way to say.

So many people depending on him, so many decisions to make and he found himself questioning over and over again each one. Unsure of his judgment, feeling as if he no longer could get a read on people, on their true motivations, as if there was always something under the surface, and that something had fangs.

He was sticking his fingers into everything, trying anything to get his mind off the one subject, the one person, he didn’t want to think about.

Amanda.

Married.

Fuck me.

He had no idea how she’d hidden who she was so well. No idea how he had missed every clue, any clue, that the woman he had fallen in love with, the one he wanted to marry, spend the rest of his life with, could be a complete fraud.

I am such a fool.

He viciously stomped on the little voice that kept insisting he look for her, demand an answer, look in her eyes when she explained her lies.

That little voice was wounded, but didn’t die.

~~~

Richie stood there silent, watching the sudden tears of the woman sitting so dejectedly on the side of the bed. First her eyes had gotten even wider and her mouth had opened. Then her face fell. The tears were silent and just rolled down her upturned face, until she lowered her head and her shoulders drooped.

Softening his voice a little, he spoke to her.

“Tell me why.”

She never looked up, just shook her head back and forth in denial.

“Then give me what you took.”

This brought her eyes back up to his face.

“What did I take?” Her voice sounded weary, even as the hurt she felt grew.

Richie ground out his words in such a way that there appeared to be spaces between each one.

“His cards, the jewelry, and the engagement ring you threw back in his face.”

Amanda was so astonished at this that words wouldn’t form.

“Look, I know you didn’t expect to see any of us again and you knew he wouldn’t come after you for them. But now that I know and I found you, I WANT HIS SHIT BACK!”

She actually flinched at the growl in his voice at those final words and this brought her up off the bed, standing rigidly in front of him.

“I did NOT take those things. I left them in an envelope on Jon’s desk in his office.”

Richie continued to stare at her, arms crossed, face unyielding. Then he moved.

Amanda took a step back, which sat her jarringly back on the bed, but Richie only walked over to the window on the opposite side of the bed while reaching for his cell phone.

“Jon? I’ve found Amanda. She’s here in California. What? No, I don’t know yet…she…”

Richie spun from the window at the snick of the door closing, the room empty.

“SHIT! She left!” Richie closed the phone on Jon’s words and crossed the room, throwing the door open, running out into … an empty hallway.

9 comments

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Can you really blame her for leaving like that Richie? You're just yelling at her and calling her a liar but you're not willing to listen to her and see what the truth is.

    Beth

  2. Sandy Says:

    OMG...run and find her Richie! Everyone deserves the truth including Amanda! Thanks for the latest update Sun and I love the way you are keeping us on the edge of our seats. Can't wait to see what happens next.

  3. Bayaderra Says:

    OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG!
    Richie run and catch her! Then get to the bottom of this MAJOR FUCKING MESS!!!!!

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Poor Jon has no clue that his wicked mother is behind all this nonsense. Even if Amanda gets a chance to explain, Jon probably won't believe her. You got a great story going here. Thanks

    Bonnie

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Man, Richie NEEDS to get to the bottomof this for Jon!!! Can't wait to see what happens next!

  6. Rike Says:

    oh please, don't let us wait that long for the next chapter. I so want to know what will happen now

  7. Anonymous Says:

    I sooo wanna know what happens!!! I just read this chapter at work!!!
    I´m desperate...
    ;-)))))
    Have mercy!

  8. bostongirl Says:

    Wow, what a chapter. Excellent work Sun! You are definately keeping us on our toes with the cliff hangers.

    Oh boy Amanda..you sure are making yourself look guilty by running.

    Again, considering the circumstances Richie is acting as he should. You are writing him perfectly for the situation. Cant wait for more.

  9. Heike Says:

    Get her, Richie - talk the shit out of her and then get her to Jon...
    sun, I shouldn't talk for the next days because of my vocal cords - so I have to read - I think one new JF chapter would be a good therapie...

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