What You Can’t Get Back: Chapter Twelve

I’m running late, and I wonder briefly if this day could be any more of a cluster.  First, it was flat-tire on my way to work. Stuck in meetings all day after that it was difficult to concentrate on anything but the fact that in just hours I’d be with her, close to her for the first time in so long. It consumed my every thought and even now it consumes me as I rush to finish getting ready since Logan had used all the hot water.  He’s been here for a little more than a few weeks and since we’ve been roommates things have gone smoothly, until today.  Until I couldn’t think straight long enough to be patient with him and even still he’s waiting on me.  I think he knows what today and tomorrow mean to me, what my plans are even without me actually uttering the words.

I want this to be a positive thing but in the back of my mind, I’m wondering if I’ll choke. Will I be able to get her to even speak to me? What will her reaction be when she sees me, will she look as beautiful as I know she can? Why did I ever let her go in the first place? It’s all running through my mind as I hurry to make myself presentable. The strict instructions from Lacey to wear what she wants even tonight made picking an outfit easy but it’s the mechanics of it all that still take the effort. I quickly run some wax through my longer than normal hair and grab my wallet from the dresser before heading down the hall to find Logan waiting on me.

“Ready?” I ask interrupting whatever important message he’s engrossed in.

“Yep,” he responds finally looking up from his phone.

It’s quiet for a good while of the ride until finally, he breaks the silence, “are you going to show her tonight?”

“No,” I answer quickly.

“So basically you are going to surprise the shit out of her tomorrow when she’s knee deep in our mother’s crap and watching our sister get the happily ever after?” he fires back.

“When you put it like that you make it seem like I’m the biggest asshole. Did you ever consider even for a second that I’m trying to do this in the easiest way possible for everyone?  You know as well as I do that by doing this at all Lacey is going to be out of the spotlight, even for just a few minutes. And we all know just how badly she craves that light, Loge…” I answer.

“Why do it then? Why not just do it tonight and get it out there? All the oohs and awws would be done and over with and Lacey still gets her shining moment tomorrow,” he says.

“I’ve thought about it, but during the ceremony, she can’t hide. I’ll see her reaction, her true reaction and she won’t be able to disappear on me. Luce isn’t going to just be okay with this Logan, this is going to mess with her head but I know that with having the duty of maid of honor she isn’t going to screw that up,” I say, knowing she would never cause a scene.

“You think that, but what if she does…” he asks, turning to face me.

“I think the point you’re missing here is that I didn’t just do this for her Logan, I did this for me, too,” I fire back at him, with a look.

This is hard, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, I think as I try to focus on not falling on my ass.  

“Take your time,” her voice invades the space inside the room.

Just the thought of her potentially witnessing me crashing to the floor is enough to set me off and instantly I lose it.

“Go! Get out Luce…I told you not to come today,” I scream, startling the therapist next to me.

“It took a lot to get to this point Logan, and while it was part of my motivation it wasn’t the main reason.  I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. I know that nothing will ever be the same Loge, but any little bit that could be better was worth it,” I say shaking the memory from my mind.

“I get that, Jack, but I wonder if she’s up for the surprise.  She’s been different lately, not happy, but less miserable. I’d hate for her to fall back into that.  It took her a long time Jack,” he says trailing off as we pull into the boat club.

I look around just like he is, not surprised to find the line of classic cars that Lacey rented sparkling in the sun.  Leading the line is a 1923 black and white Rolls Royce and it is amazing.  It’s in perfect condition and to say that I’d give anything to drive it would be an understatement, hell I’d just like to ride in it.  How Lacey managed to connive all these classic car owners to be here for two days amazes me.  If it is one thing I can give her credit for, this wedding is going to be gorgeous, she has planned every little detail perfectly.  

“Jack, are you going to park?” Logan asks, rousing me from my daydreaming.

“Yeah,” I say, barely unable to take my eyes off the cars in front of us.

“They are just cars Jack, jeez, it isn’t like you’ve never seen them before…” he says with a chuckle.

He was never into cars really growing up, something I didn’t understand, but Logan can fix a car just as well as any mechanic I know, he just isn’t impressed with them. Me, hell as much as I love my jeeps, I’m a muscle car fan through and through. It took me three years, but I  rebuilt a canary yellow 1969 Dodge super bee when I was younger, then I met Luce. The desire to be stuck under the hood of a car disappeared as she became my world and I never looked back.  It’s still sitting in my parent’s garage, I never did finish it.  Maybe one day, I think as my mind wanders.

“I’m never going to finish it in time…” I said to my dad as we took stock of the now put back together engine in the hoist.

“Jack, it’s still three weeks away, I think if we work on it together we can get it done,” he said trying to calm me down.

I wanted more than anything to take her to prom in this car, to pick her up in this beautiful classic car.

“What if it’s not…” I whined.

“Then we figure something else out, rent a limo, take the Bentley?” he offered.

“Yeah I guess,” I conceded but knew I’d be devastated if I didn’t take my car.

I’d been working on the super bee for a little over three years when I meet Luce and since then I hadn’t worked on it nearly as much as did before her.  I was too busy with her, not that I minded, but now I was wishing I had finished it.

“Jack…look,” Logan’s voice interrupted my memory.

“Huh?” I shrugged trying to follow his sightline.

Finally, I saw it, canary yellow, slowly moving into the line behind the Rolls.  It was out of place, to say the least, most of the other cars are more subdued, nothing flashy like this. I’m still eyeing the beauty as the driver gets out and I’m a little surprised to see my father.  I’m not sure what the purpose of all the cars is, but my mind starts to wonder as he walks over.

“What are you doing here?”I ask, still stunned.

“Lacey wanted a car that suited you…even if it was flashier than a disco ball, I think she said…” he explained with a chuckle.

“When did you…how long has it been…” I try to find words but come up short.

“Logan is pretty handy with the mechanics, did you know that?” my father asks.

“Uh, yeah…you finished it? When did you do this?” I say finally taking my eyes off of the car.

“I’ve been working on it all summer.  Lacey asked me about it, said she remembered you working on a car a long time ago and when she called your mom she told her the plan.  Only issues were that it still wasn’t running and how you’d drive it. I swapped out the manual for an automatic transmission dropped the engine back in and then fitted some hand controls, which I modified to fit the interior more by the way. After a good detailing here we are…” Logan said with a face splitting smile.

I could feel the prickle behind my eyes as I looked from him then to the car and back at him.  There were no words to describe just what I was feeling in this moment, joy, surprise, shock, amazement, and sadness all rolled into one. Maybe I didn’t get to take her to prom in the car, but maybe I’d get to take her in it tomorrow.

“I could have helped you,” I tried to say but he shook his head.

“Jack, I wanted to do this, you’re letting me stay with you, it got me out of my parents and it was fun, you did a good job with it…” he said still sporting that grin.

Looking from Logan to my dad I still couldn’t believe it was finally finished and even set up so I could drive it.  Patting me on the back my father said his goodbyes and tossed me the keys as I still sat in disbelief of just how lucky I was.

“Let’s take her for a spin before we have to go in there…” Logan said nearly jumping from my jeep.

“Do we have time?” I asked, itching to get behind the wheel.

“We have twenty minutes Jack, I’m sure a little jaunt down the road isn’t going to hurt us,” he said egging me on.

“I’ll blame you if we are late, you realize that right?” I threatened as I lowered myself down from the Jeep.

“And I’ll take the heat this time,” he called over his shoulder as he walked towards the blaring yellow car.

With so many emotions flowing through me not to mention the anxiety that had taken a brief hiatus at being close to her,  I almost forgot to pull my stuff from the jeep before I followed him.  Quickly I situated myself and the bag I needed before joining Logan.

“The driver door is going to open a little wider than you’re used to, to give you a little more room to get in, but other than that it’s really the only other mod I made. Just be careful not to slam it into anything, okay? Those doors are hard to find,” he said before disappearing around the car.

 

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