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 Category:  Romance Fiction
  Posted: October 9, 2017      Views: 79
Chapters:
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Chapter 14 of the book The Products of Love
...the last part of Jenny and Ron's story
"Together at Last" by Mustangpatty1029

Background
A story, based on truth, detailing a love affair that stood the test of time. But like even the best of love stories, things get rocky; things get lost, and life passes by.



Our story so far:

Back in 1983, Jenny and Ron met on their way to work in the shipyard.  He worked at one end of the shipyard and she worked in a building closer to the gate they went in together.  The shipyard in Bremerton employed about nine thousand people back then.  After flirting and talking for several weeks, Ron finally asked Jenny out.

 
Their first date was magical, and it was the beginning of a wonderful six months or so of dating.  Jenny warned Ron that there wouldn't be any sex until they were in a committed relationship.  She remained true to her word.  Ron finally told her he loved her and expressed his belief that they had something that would last.
 
The feelings of elation for Jenny were dispelled the very next day.  She arrived at Ron's house, after ignoring her ringing phone as she left the house.  When she let herself in, she found Ron sitting with a strange woman.  Unbeknown to her, this was Ron' half-sister who had been blackmailing him for years.
 
She left the house with a broken heart, and Ron didn't follow her.  He was at a total loss as to what to do.
 
The misunderstandings continued and the couple drifted further and further apart.
 
Jenny found out she was pregnant two weeks after a bitter argument with Ron.  Hurtful words had been said by both.  Their stubbornness once again got in the way of them working things out.  Calling Ron with the news, Jenny was disappointed when he didn't want to speak about it but asked for a few hours to 'process' the news.
 
Eighteen years later, the 'baby,' called Ron.  Jenny calls Ron first to warn him to be ready.  When Joey, the son they put up for adoption, speaks with his birth father, they are able to build a relationship.  Ron and Joey are living in Bremerton, WA and Jenny are living in San Diego, CA with her family.
 
When Jenny's other children have left the nest for college, she plans a trip with her husband.  They are going to go to Bremerton so Jenny can meet her son.  Their plans are interrupted by her husband's sudden illness.
 
Austin, Jenny's husband, is diagnosed with ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease.  After suffering for two long years, he dies, leaving Jenny widowed.
 
A few weeks after the funeral, she receives a sympathy card…
 
~2007~
 
From the end of Chapter 13: 'Living Separate Lives'
 
With shaking hands, she tore open the envelope.  A beautiful sympathy card greeted her, and when she opened it, his words were simple.
 
August 31, 2007
 
Dear Jenny,
 
I have no idea how you're feeling, but I wanted you to know I'm here for you.  If there's anything you need or anything I can do, all you have to do is ask.
 
Love,
Ron

 
…and now, our story continues
 

Jenny read the words over and over.  Lifting her hand to her throat, she wasn't surprised at the tempo of her pulse.  He still cared.  What did she feel?
 
Walking to the kitchen, Jenny still held the card in her hand.  "Is my sandwich ready?" she asked Cathi.
 
"Of course, Mom.  I made it just the way you like it.  Ham and swiss, with the mayo next to the Swiss and the mustard next to the ham.  The caterer you picked for the wake was great.  He even included the mustard Dad loved.  Did you do that?"
 
With tears in her eyes and a tug at her heart, "Yeah, I did.  I wanted everything about the Memorial to reflect who your Dad was.  He was such a good man.  We were lucky to have him, weren't we?" Jenny choked out.
 
 "Yeah, Mom," Cathy's watery voice replied.  "Well," she said, trying to shake off the emotion, "what should we do today?"
 
"I need to take care of getting your father's ashes to the Navy.  You know how he always said he wanted to be buried at sea."
 
"How on earth do we do that?"
 
"I think I need to contact the VA," replied Jenny.  All the tears gone now, she concentrated on the tasks at hand.  She needed to make sure all Austin's wishes were carried out.  The card fell back onto the pile with the others, and she cleared her mind of all thoughts of Ron…and what maybe could…
 
§§§§§§§§§§
 
A few months later, Jenny could hear her cell phone ringing as she drove home from the grocery store.  She let it go to voicemail because she didn't like to talk and drive.  It wasn't until she put the groceries away, she took a look at her phone.
 
'360-555-3246'
 
Recognizing the area code for Bremerton, she punched the buttons to access her voicemail.
 
"You have one message," the robotic voice said.  "Message received today, at 10 o'clock a.m."
 
"Hi, Jenny.  It's Ron.  Um, I, uh, will be down your way in a few days.  I have a project to work on at North Island.  I was wondering if you might like to meet for dinner?"
 
"Let me know.  This number is my cell number, three-six-oh, five-five-five, three-two-four-six.  Call me anytime.  If I don't pick up, for whatever reason, just leave a voicemail."
 
She pressed the 'end call' button.  Her heart was beating that all too familiar thump.  Her heart had always reacted that way to him.  Even after all this time, he still had a deep effect on her.
 
Shaking her head in resignation, she dialed his number.  She expected to get his voicemail, and his gruff greeting took her off balance.
 
"Ron?"
 
"Oh.  Jenny, is that you?  I was hoping you'd call."
 
"Hi.  Dinner sounds nice.  When will you be here?"
 
"As a matter of fact, I just got off the plane and I'm at the baggage carousel watching everyone else's bags go around and round.  I've no idea where mine is."
 
Laughing, Jenny said, "Maybe we should plan a late dinner." 
 
And so, it began.  Dates, trips by one or the other for a visit.  San Diego and Bremerton became their stomping grounds.  Neither was happy without the company of the other.  Their love was re-ignited, and neither one of them had any regrets.
 
~2009~
 
"Hello?"
 
"Hey, Patty.  I've got some great news."
 
"Really?  I haven't heard from you in a while.  What's up?"
 
"It may surprise you.  I'm getting married again."
 
Silence
 
"What?  Do you think it's too soon?  Austin's been gone for almost two years."
 
"No.  I don't think it too soon, but I'm worried about the who in this marriage."
 
"I was worried this might be a problem for you.  I'm marrying Ron.  Patty, he's changed.  It took over twenty years, well, almost thirty, but he is everything I want.  And need."
 
"Are you sure?  He hurt you so bad.  I just don't know."

"You need to lose these worries.  I want you to stand up for me."
 
"Oh.  I'm honored, really, Jen.  I just need to think about this, okay?  You know how I feel about attending weddings.  If I can't promise to support the marriage, I just can't be there when the officiator asks everyone to support and uphold the couple, or whatever it is they say.
 
I hope you understand, okay?" Patty's voice was wistful and a bit teary.
 
With her own teary voice, Jen replied, "Okay, my friend.  Don't think too long or too hard.  I need you for this.  Do you think you can get back to me by the end of the week?"
 
"I will do my best.  Wait…when is this wedding?"
 
"At the end of the month.  We don't want to waste any time, Pat.  Neither of us is getting any younger."
 
With a heavy sigh, Patty tried to keep her voice even, and not show the anger she felt building inside of her.  "I understand, my friend.  Just give me a few days to think about this.  Okay?"
 
Tell me something though, what does Joey think about this?"
 
"Oh, Patty, he is simply over the moon.  He's going to stand up for Ron. In fact, Joey's little girls are going to be our flower girls."
 
"Oh. Okay, I will give you a call by Thursday night.  I promise."
 
In the end, Patty agreed to be the Matron of Honor, and the wedding came together.  It was simple, yet beautiful.  Jenny was radiant as she walked down the aisle towards the love of her life.  She didn't feel she was taking anything away from her marriage to Austin; she was simply reclaiming a part of her heart.
 
 
~October 2016~

"Hello, ?"

"Hi, Patty."
 
"Hey there, Chica.  I was just working on a love poem, and I couldn't help but think about your love affair.  How are you two?"

"Hey, are you okay?  You sound a little down."
 
"Wait!" exclaimed Patty.  "What's wrong?  Why did you need to call?" she was immediately thinking Ron had hurt her friend again.

"Patty, I'm sick."

"What's that mean, exactly?"

"I'm dying." 

"How can this be?" Patty sobbed into the phone.

"I don't know.  It's just my luck to find a bit of happiness and lose it all again."
 
"What?  No.  I refuse to believe that.  Something should be able to be done.  No matter what you have, they are coming up with new treatments every day for everything.  You're going to be okay.  We can find a specialist…Ron has plenty of money.  You're going to be fine."
 
"Patty, we've tried all the routes.  I have pancreatic cancer.  I spent some time at the Cancer Treatment Center of America down in Phoenix.  They told me there's nothing more they can do.  They sent me home to die."
 
The uncomfortable silence on the phone flowed between Bremerton, Washington, and Keizer, Oregon.

"Well, I was going to call you, but I couldn't find the right time.  Your birthday was just last week, and Christmas is coming.  I know the holidays are busy for you, and sometimes they can bring on a depression…"
 
"Okay," Patty started, "You are only a four-and-a-half-hour drive.  When do you need me to come?"
 
"Why don't you come up for a weekend soon?  There's something I want to ask you to do for me."
 
"Okay.  I can probably come up this weekend.  Dave shouldn't have any problem holding down our fort here.  I need to get home for Monday morning though.  I need to be there to take care of the dogs."
 
"Can you be here by Friday night?  I'll have Ron make something special for dinner."
 
"Count on it.  I will be there."
 
The weekend was spent in good fellowship. They recounted old memories going through photo albums.  Numerous rounds of hearts were played at the dining room table and Ron was royally trounced.  They avoided the elephant in the room, and simply enjoyed their time together.
 
At the end of the weekend, Jenny pulled Patty close into a bear hug.  "I want you to do me a big favor."
 
"Anything, sweetie.  You just have to ask."
 
"Can you write mine and Ron's story?  You were there at the beginning and you've got all the newsletters from my Christmas cards, right?  I want something for the kids and grandchildren."
 
~2017~
 
With a heavy heart, I worked on the story of Ron and Jenny.  The names were changed, along with the locations.  I kept my name intact so I could be the narrator of the story.  Work was slow and arduous.  'Jenny' and I talked on the phone several times a week.  All too soon, I had to drive to Bremerton for our last weekend together.
 
 
 
 
~August 29, 2017,~
 
The monitors beeped and whirred in the background.  He could barely hear them as he concentrated on the pale face lying on the pillow.  Her eyes were closed and he only hoped they would open and gaze at him in the way that had bewitched him so long ago.
 
As if in answer to his thoughts, her eyes slowly opened.  Jenny looked at the man gently holding her hand, and sighed.  Why had it taken so long for love's promise to be fulfilled?
 
Tears were streaming down Ron's face as he watched the only woman he ever loved slipping away.  A circle of love was formed as he held Jenny's hand, and they both held each of Patty's hands.
 
Joey stood in the corner watching his birth parents and the aunt he'd known his entire life.  While he was thankful for the time the three of them shared, he felt deprived it was ending so soon.  He knew he had to be strong for Ron.
 
Patty broke the circle and gave Jenny's hand to Ron.  She joined Joey in the corner and suggested to him they leave the two lovers alone for a private goodbye.
 
Ron broke down into sobs resting his head against Jenny.  She stroked his hair and told him it would be alright.  He just needed to remember she would always love him.
 
"But, we had so little time together…and it's my fault.  I wasted our chance back then.  Why couldn't I see you were the one?"
 
"Who…knows, love?" her labored breaths pushed out the words.  "I'm afraid I don't have…time for this con..ver…sa…tion.  It's time."
 
"You go.  You enjoy your glass of wine with Jesus.  Hold a place for me, okay?"
 
She forced a smile and let out her final breath.  It was over.
 
§§§§§§§§§§
 
 

Recognized

Author Notes
Dedicated to my friend, and a love she lost and gained;




There are four love words in modern Greek, 6 in Ancient Greek, Hebrew has four, we have one. Attraction is one thing, but indeed what is love, the only constant love is God's. I guess that's why we have a marriage contract, by far the most successful are arranged ones. But who knows. It obviously doesn't depend on emotion.

The real 'Jenny' passed away at the end of August. She has gone to her better place, and both Ron and I are left to mourn one of the truest loves we've ever known. I will never have another friend like her, nor did I have anyone before she came into my life back in 1982.

I'm truly sorry it took so long to finish this saga. My grief wouldn't allow me to try to put into words the final days in the hospital. Thank you all for your patience and loyal readership.

Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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