Soundtrack: Dirt Road Anthem - Jason Aldean : I can totally picture to Liz belting this tune out... LOL
Grandma was waiting for everyone to be with her when she took her last breath in this world. Everyone from the squad, her best friends and her family were packed into the tiny ICU room whispering a prayer for her safe passage to heaven. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.
I slept on the couch in her living room that night, thinking back on all the times we had spent together as I grew up and all the times I didn’t get a chance to be with her. Even without her here, I could still hear her scolding me over the phone for saying sorry for not getting a chance to spend time with her.
“Jarret, you make me proud every time I see you on the ice. I know you are playing with me on your mind,” she would always say.
I couldn’t believe she wasn’t going to be there to talk to anymore.
We buried Grandma next to my grandfather and life moved on the way it always does.
My family returned home and I was left figuring out the pieces here in Kamsack before heading back to LA. Everyday Beth wasn’t working; she was with me helping to go through all of Grandma’s things. Things had changed between us, but I wasn’t sure if it was because we were both grieving for Elsie, if it was because Jack had moved to
, or a combination of things, but it somehow felt as if things were back to square one. Saskatoon
“Yeah?” she answered as we sat across from each other eating some grilled chicken I had made for dinner.
“What has changed?”
“What do you mean?” she asked, looking slightly confused by my question.
“Well, before everything…well, you know…we were basically dating, but now you don’t even let me kiss you,” I said quietly.
She sighed and sat back in her chair. “I didn’t think having a conversation about our relationship was particularly appropriate with everything going on.”
“Well, how about now? Because I have to admit I feel like you are a million miles away right now and I miss you.”
“I’m in love, Jay. But it’s not with you.”
She nodded her head and bit her lip. “Yeah, it’s Jack.”
I felt my heart drop a bit, yet something inside of me said it was probably the right thing. “That night in the garden…”
“You kissed me so that I wouldn’t see Jack,” she accused quietly.
“I really do care about you, Beth.”
She smiled sincerely. “And I really care about you and I don’t doubt your feelings, but I think we both know I am meant to stay here and live the life that I’ve always been comfortable with. That girl you met in
was not me and I can’t help but think that is the girl you would hope me to become. I wouldn’t want to disappoint you.” Vancouver
“See that’s the thing. I like this girl a lot better than the one in
,” I reiterated my statement by reaching across the table and taking her hand. “I guess I always knew your words to me in the beginning about not wanting a fling were always true and that there was no way it could be anything more than that.” Vancouver
“I don’t want to lose my friendship with you though…” she squeezed my hand.
“I’m fairly sure Grandma made that impossible with the instructions she left in her will,” I laughed.
“What do you mean?”
I left go of her hand, got up from the table and quickly walked back to my bedroom to grab the envelope the Lawyer dropped off yesterday. I was slightly floored when he read through everything, but it only cemented the fact of how selfless Elsie was. I was also made aware how much she wanted to make sure everything was in order when she died.
“Your grandmother,” the lawyer smiled as he was obviously thinking about her, “everyday she would come into my office and add a thing or two to the will. She was like clock-work. As the beginning of her last week on this earth, she came in with a solemn look on her face and said, ‘Frank, I need to change something because I messed up.’ I said, what is that Elsie? She said, ‘I tried to meddle with love and I realized that I have been so wrong. You see, I thought for sure my Jarret and Lizzie belonged together, but Jack stopped by the other day and we had a little chat. He has finally manned up and I know now that he and my Lizzie are meant to be together. So I need to make sure we take Jarret off the house and just put Lizzie on it. Her and Jack will need a place to live when they get married.’ I said, are they engaged Elsie? She said, ‘not yet, but that is what else I need to change in my will. I am putting some small print on the money that is designated to go to the Squad. I want it to say that they only way the money can go to the Squad is that the by-laws need to be changed to allow Jack and Lizzie to work together when they are married. This town needs them and it needs them to be allowed to be partners.’ I smiled and nodded my head at her, thinking she was done, but she spoke again. ‘And Frank, I want you to add that Jarret and Lizzie co-chair a community foundation with the money I am giving towards that. This way Jarret has to come back to Kamsack every summer so he never forgets me or his new friends.’”
I have to admit I was little floored with her request, but that was Grandma. She always wanted me to remember my roots and she knew how important Beth had become to me over the summer and that it didn’t matter if she wasn’t my girlfriend or not because she was always going to be someone I needed in my life.
Beth’s face was priceless when I read through the part of the will that explained how the two of us would have to work together and I told her the story from the lawyer. However, I left out the part about the Squad by-laws being changed because I figured that would be something Jack or Rick would want to tell her and I didn’t want to be the one to ruin that for them.
“I didn’t truly make my decision about Jack until Friday,” she said, sounding completely miffed as she relaxed back into her chair.
“She always knew everything,” I smiled.
“So was she also right about you and me staying friends?” she asked hesitantly, her blue eyes sparkling as she looked at me curiously.
“I’m excited at the prospect of working with you on a foundation for the town. I know there are a lot of things we could do…whether its projects for the kids, like a hockey camp or even just random community service projects,” I beamed as I told her some of my ideas.
“You still didn’t answer my original question,” she bit back an amused smile.
“Beth, I love you. Maybe not the way Jack loves you, but I love you in my own way and I never want to lose you. I’m just glad my meddling grandmother knew that.”
“If I wouldn’t be so in love with my profession, I’m sure things might have been different, but, well, you know as well as I do how much it means to me,” she said with a sad smile.
“I understand that completely, because I feel that way about my job.”
“This is going to be the best foundation ever!” she suddenly blurted out. “I’m so excited to be apart of this.”
I couldn’t help but laugh and smile at her enthusiasm. If it was one thing I learned this summer, it was the fact that Beth could always make me smile.
“Hello?” I answered my cell phone, Thursday night as I sat in my lonely apartment in Saskatoon. It had been a long first week on the job. I was grieving for Elsie and missing Liz more than anything, despite the fact we talked on the phone each night for at least an hour. I was hell bent on making this work until I was able to find a way to get a job closer to Kamsack.
“So I was wondering how tied down to this new job you are…” Rick began smoothly into the phone.
“You sound like you having something on your mind,” I chuckled.
“Well, I did lose my best medic this week,” he threw back.
“I wouldn’t say I’m your best…” I smiled while stretching back in the recliner.
“You sure have lost your edge by going all Romeo,” Rick chirped.
“I’m not saying that because she’s my girlfriend,” I replied.
He laughed into the phone and I could mentally picture him nodding his head in agreement. “So, what if I told you we changed some rules about relationships here on the squad?”
“Why don’t you just spit it all out and stop pussy footing around the information,” I growled into the phone, once again sitting up in the recliner with a hint of excitement flowing through my veins.
“Jack. Elsie left the squad money. A lot of money, but the only way we can have it is if we allow you and Lizzard to work together, despite the fact you two are now in a relationship.”
I took in a breath and blew it out, “Why that old bat. Even after her death she still meddles in people’s lives,” I laughed, silently throwing up a prayer to the wonderful woman.
“Un-surprisingly the board unanimously passed the new by-law last night when they saw the dollar amount they would be receiving. Not only are we getting a new station, but a new ambulance and off-road truck are being ordered next week,” Rick informed me.
“They are going to allow us to stay partners? Because truthfully if I have to work with
again I will be going to jail for murder…” Taylor
“You and Liz have always worked well together and I know you’ll always put professionalism first. I never doubted that. I’m just glad the two of you can finally be happy in your personal lives too, because honestly, you are too much of a bear when you aren’t getting any.”
I laughed. “Gee, thanks Rick.”
“Anytime buddy. Do you need me to smooth things over with your boss down there in
“Nah, Jason will understand.”
“Good, you in a week and a half then.”
“Can you do me a favor?”
“Please don’t tell Liz. I want to surprise her myself. She’s coming down here this weekend, but I want to surprise her.”
“No problem. You are the one that has to deal with her wrath, not me,” he laughed before hanging up.
Something I’m more than capable of handling.
“So you aren’t going to be jealous about Jarret and me working together on the foundation?” I asked Jack on Saturday night. I had driven down to
Friday evening after I finished my shift at the Squad. Saskatoon
“Why should I be jealous? I got the girl,” Jack answered back with a playful grin, knowing he came off cocky sounding. Sure he had the girl, but that didn’t mean I still wasn’t worried about how all this was going to work out. I was fairly sure the only reason why this week went well was because I was kept busy helping Jay with Elsie’s place. Once Jay left by the end of next week, I was fully expecting to go crash into the brick wall of reality. Sure, I’ve been an independent woman for how many years, but finally I didn’t have to be alone anymore and I wanted to be able to revel in that feeling.
I pinched at him, making him take my wrists into his hands to keep me from doing any further damage. “You can still lose the girl if you keep being a cocky ass,” I grumbled, realizing I couldn’t even make my words come out believable. Jack did that to me.
“You love my cock,” he growled, easily pushing me backwards onto the couch and pressing me into the cushion with his body.
“This is true, but…” I began before his lips came crushing down onto mine, effectively silencing me. With the amount of sex we had in just a 24 hour period, I almost began to be thankful that we only saw each other on the weekends because I was sure it was going to take a week to heal and rest up from all this. Not that I am complaining. We were definitely making up for lost time and I was enjoying every minute of it. Jack treated me like a princess.
“So can I ask you a question?” I practically moaned as his lips and tongue moved down between my cleavage.
“Hmm?” he hummed.
“Is this how the playboy of
Western Saskatchewan was with all his women?”
“You mean constantly fucking them?”
“Yeah…” I answered in a high pitch whisper when he jammed his hand down my shorts and pressed a finger to my button.
“Nah, they weren’t half as fun to listen to,” he laughed, his breath across my wet nipple causing me to shiver.
“Listen to?” I stuttered out.
“Oh baby, pleeeeaaassseeee. Yes, Jack… fuck me. Oh, yessss, I loooooove yooooooou,” he mimicked my bedroom voice in perfect tone. “I’ve been waiting to hear those words from you for so damn long that I just can’t get enough of them,” he informed me before stretching up and kissing me, not allowing me to cry out when he pushed two fingers deep into me.
I was panting when he broke the kiss and went back to sucking on my nipples. The man was masterful and I knew it was going to be hard to leave him on Sunday.
“So I can count on you to help me move next weekend?” she pouted while I had her pressed up against the driver-side door of her truck on Sunday afternoon. It had been an amazing weekend, probably could liken it to a honeymoon for some people. It was even better knowing she was going to be completely shocked when I came back to Kamsack on Friday night with a U-Haul of my own. She was going to be moving into our new home, Elsie’s home on Friday and it just so happened that I too would be moving in with her, but she just didn’t know it yet. She also didn’t know that she wouldn’t be stuck working with Rick on Wednesday.
“Why wouldn’t you be able to count on me?” I chuckled at her. “Did you forget that you have me now, Liz?”
She looked up at me shyly with her baby blues and shrugged her shoulders. “I guess I’m just not used to it.”
I leaned in and breathed into her ear, “Well get used to it baby, because I love you.”
“How long am I going to have to wait to be with you? I really am not excited about this weekend visitation thing…”
“As soon as I can find a gig closer to Kamsack, I will be there. I promise.”
She took a breath and kicked at some dirt. “Okay,” she said sadly.
“No frowns, Lizzie,” I scolded while lifting her chin with a finger.
“I love you Lizzie.”
She sighed and finally a smile began to appear. “I love you too, Jack.”
“Be safe going home and call me when you get there.”
“Alright. See you on Friday.”
“See you then, beautiful.”