General Fiction posted October 1, 2020 Chapters:  ...35 36 -37- 38 

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Jefferson searches for Monique.

A chapter in the book Par Angusta Ad Augusta

Chapter 37

by teols2016

A law professor gets a family and a bookstore owner offers advice.
Previously in "Par Angusta Ad Augusta":

After his brother and sister-in-law are killed in a car accident overseas, NYU law professor Jefferson Thomas brings his young nieces and nephew to live with him in Manhattan. Meanwhile, local bookstore owner Monique Vasquez continues running her family's business while pursuing a relationship with Jefferson.

"So you haven't heard from her?" Eric asked.

"Not for the last two days," Jefferson said. "She's not answering her phone and she won't return my calls."

They were having beers in Jefferson's kitchen. The kids were playing with Presley out in the backyard and Anya was supervising them while she cleaned up in the den.

"And you think Nancy's really gone for good this time?" Eric asked.

"Yeah," Jefferson said. "I'm pretty sure she is. She definitely can't get back into the house."

"Good. I'm glad."

* * *

Monique was in her office, angrily drumming her fingers on her desk. She didn't really have anything she needed to do, but she did not want to be around anyone right now.

What had once been the phone on Monique's desk now lay smashed on the floor next to her desk, it's cord having been yanked out of the wall. Monique hadn't let anyone clean it up yet, as it gave her some satisfaction to roll over it with her chair every so often. Jefferson was still calling her home and cell phone, but she had calmed down enough not to destroy them as well. After all, other people still needed to reach her. She was already working to replace the office phone.

Jefferson was also sending the occasional e-mail. Monique just ignored him. She did not want to speak to him and if she had the misfortune to run into him again someday, she'd probably kill him.

She was still kicking herself for being so stupid. Jefferson had just fed her some sob story about his girlfriend. She knew that his brother's death was the real deal, as was the origin of the twins and Matthew, but everything else was a lie. How could she have fallen for it? Monique did not have an answer for that one.

* * *

"Hey Uncle Jeff?" Taylor asked. "Where's Monique been? She never comes here anymore."

Jefferson, who had been sitting on the edge of his bed, looked at her for a long time before answering. It'd been about a week, but he supposed that seemed longer to a child.

"I'm not sure," he said, deciding the truth was too complicated.

"That's too bad," Taylor commented. "You were always so happy when she was here."

Seemingly done with her thought and unaware of the maturity of her observation, she walked away while Jefferson stared at the ceiling.

"She is right," Anya said, having passed by the bedroom door and now turning to come in. "You were happy."

Jefferson still didn't say anything.

* * *

Monique was in her apartment, waiting for Joan. The nurse was running late because one of her other patients was having some sort of crisis and she needed to tend to that. She had called a few minutes ago, saying she was now on her way over. So Monique sat there and waited.

The phone rang again and Monique went to answer it, working to handle the receiver with just her hands.

"Hello?" she asked when she finally got it to her ear.

"Monique," a male voice said. "It's Jefferson. Look, please don't hang up ..."

"I have nothing to say to you," Monique said, her anger now rising. "Don't call me ever again. Good-bye!"

She tried to slam the receiver down in its cradle but missed and hit the counter instead. Further enraged by this, she grabbed the phone and sent the whole thing towards the ground, yanking it's cable out of the wall in the process. That definitely ended the call.

Monique was still breathing heavily when Joan arrived a couple minutes later. It didn't take much guesswork on the nurse's part to figure out what had happened.

"He called again," she concluded.

Monique didn't reply.

"Forget about him," Joan encouraged.

She took Monique into the bedroom and got her ready for bed, offering a mild sedative to help her sleep. An idea coming to her, Monique declined, saying she'd be fine. Joan was hesitant but decided to obey her patient's wishes.

"Good night," she said and left.

Monique lay alone in the dark, contemplating her idea. For anyone else, it might not be so extreme, but in her case, the detours she'd have to make with her chair made it an extreme action. But Monique was set on it. It was the only way to start over.

* * *

The doorbell rang. Jefferson went to answer it and found the Kingmans standing on his front steps.

"Hi," Cassandra said. "We just thought we'd stop by and say our farewells before we leave tomorrow."

"Sure," Jefferson said. "Come on in."

The three of them entered and greeted Anya as she worked in the kitchen.

"Everything okay?" Cassandra asked, noticing the pained expression on Jefferson's face. "You look like someone just died."

Jefferson didn't respond as the twins and Matthew came into the room.

It was at that moment that Jefferson decided exactly what he needed to do. He quietly took Cassandra aside into the kitchen.

"Do you guys have any plans for this afternoon?" he asked.

"Not really," Cassandra replied. "Why?"

"Could you stay here and watch the kids for about an hour? I've gotta go take care of something."

"Sure. No problem."

"Thanks so much," Jefferson said.

They headed into the den, where the others had now congregated.

"Guys," Jefferson said to the kids. "The Kingmans are gonna watch you for a little while. I'll be back soon."

He then headed out into the foyer and got Presley into her harness and put on his shoes. Anya quickly followed him.

"I am here," she protested. "I can watch them ..."

"I need you to do something else," Jefferson interrupted. "I need a sighted guide. I don't know what's gonna happen or where I'll end up. I need you to help me with this."

Anya hesitated only for a second.

"I am right behind you," she agreed.

She hurried back to her room to get her shoes and purse. As they were heading for the front door, Darren Kingman came into the foyer.

"Hey," he said, "go get your girl."

* * *

Jefferson entered the bookstore to find Kathy working behind the register.

"Good afternoon," she said.

The tone in her greeting suggested she'd rather stick an ice pick into his chest. Jefferson decided to ignore that for the time being.

"Where's Monique?" he asked.

Instead of getting a reply, he felt a sharp blow on the back of his head and stumbled forward. He did manage to remain standing with Anya's help.

"You've got a lot of nerve coming here," Frank said, standing behind Jefferson with a broom in his hand. "and even more to be asking to see Monique."

He and Kathy glared at Jefferson while Samuel stood nearby, confused about how involved he should get in this.

"Look," Jefferson said, rubbing the back of his head. "I just wanna talk to Monique."

Anya decided it was best if she didn't say anything right at this moment.

"After what you did?" Frank asked incredulously. "That is not gonna happen."

"It was a misunderstanding," Jefferson said quickly. "Nothing ..."

He received another blow, this time to the side of his head, before Anya could warn him. Again, she grabbed his arm to help him stay on his feet.

"Don't you dare make excuses," Kathy hissed. "Monique knows what she saw."

"I don't have to explain myself to you," Jefferson said. "I just wanna talk to Monique. Where is she?"

"She's not here," Frank said.

"What do you mean? Where is she?"

"She went to visit her mom in California. She needed to get away from the city for a while to clear her head and figure things out. She asked us to watch the store while she was gone. And that's what we're doing. So get out."

Eager not to get hit a third time, Jefferson left with Anya right behind him. Once out on the street, he stopped to think. Monique was going across the country to California. It was doubtful that she was flying, as that required too many arrangements for her to pull off at the last minute. There had to be only one other way she was doing it, and Jefferson hoped he was in time to stop her.

"Where do we go now?" Anya asked.

"We need a ride," Jefferson told her, pulling out his iPhone.

* * *

Monique bought her ticket and pulled away from the counter. She didn't have much luggage, just a small overnight bag. but that didn't matter. Her mother could help her get some things out in California, as could her friend in Chicago. All that mattered was that she got out of New York as soon as possible. Checking her ticket, Monique turned in the direction of the waiting area to await her train.

* * *

The Uber arrived at Grand Central Station. Jefferson paid the driver, including a big tip, and got out. He and Anya went inside and made their way over to the ticket counter. Thankfully, an employee remembered Monique and told them what train she was waiting for and where it was coming in.

"Someone in her condition shouldn't be traveling so far alone," the employee said.

Ignoring the station employee's offer for assistance to get to the platform, Jefferson accepted his verbal directions and headed off with Anya guiding him. They managed to find the platform and moved through the throng of people, hoping to find some sort of sign of Monique.

"I do not see her," Anya reported. "It will be tough to see her over all these people since she is sitting."

Jefferson nodded. He was beginning to think they had missed the train when he heard the faint sound of a motor that seemed to be just on the other side of a group of people.

"Forward," he told Presley. "Find a way."

They made their way around the group.

"Monique!" he called.

The continuing sound of the motor told him she was there but choosing to ignore him.

"You can't just run," Jefferson said while Anya fought her way through the crowd to stay with him. "I'll follow you to California if I have to!"

The sound stopped.

"Just give it up," Monique said. "Go home and be with your girlfriend."

"But you're here," Jefferson said, catching up to her. "You're the woman I love."

Monique was about to say something, but he wouldn't let her. Anya joined them.

"I will give the two of you a few minutes," she said, recalling a nearby coffee shop they had passed in their haste to reach the platform. She stepped away and Jefferson and Monique looked at one another.

"You've had affairs with married women," Monique said. "Multiple times. You've admitted that. I'm supposed to believe I wasn't some side dish for you?"

"Nancy showed up," Jefferson explained. "I had taken the kids to the park when you came by and met her. She thought we could just pick up where we left off. I told her it was over and kicked her out."

Monique said nothing.

"She wanted me to cast the kids aside in favor of her," Jefferson continued. "She insulted you. I'm sorry that happened to you."

"How can I believe it's really over?" Monique asked. "What's to stop me from finding some other woman, or even her, at your house another day?"

"Because I wouldn't do that to you," Jefferson said. "Monique, I've talked to you ... held you ... kissed you ... made love to you ... that all meant something to me. I wouldn't want to do anything to lose you. You're not a side dish."

Monique again said nothing.

"I was never sure I wanted to have kids," Jefferson continued. "When I was with Nancy, we sort of agreed to never have any. But when my brother died, I immediately took in his kids. Now I wouldn't want my life to be anything else. That includes you. I want you in my life."

Monique began to soften. She looked at Jefferson for a long time and he seemed genuine to her. His explanation made sense. She thought about if she should take a chance again.

"Monique," Jefferson said. "Please don't go."

Monique looked at Jefferson, her eyes moist with tears.

I have rearranged this story a bit. It is now thirty-eight chapters (instead of the original forty-two.)

Cast of characters:

Jefferson Thomas: a blind NYU law professor.

Presley: Jefferson's guide dog.

Monique Vasquez: a bookstore owner in Manhattan

Abigail and Taylor Thomas: seven-year-old twin daughters of Stanley and Margaret Thomas. Nieces of Jefferson Thomas.

Matthew: four-year-old son of Stanley and Margaret Thomas. Nephew of Jefferson Thomas.

Anya Motkova: Jefferson's new live-in nanny.

Joan: Monique's nurse.

Kathy Quigley: a long-time employee of Mnique's bookstore

Frank Norris: a long-time employee of Mnique's bookstore

Samuel Bridges: a new employee in Monique's bookstore

Eric Nelson: Jefferson's colleague and best friend

Stanley "Stan" Thomas: Jefferson's brother. Killed in a car accident in Berlin.

Margaret "Maggie" Thomas: Stan's wife. Killed in a car accident overseas.

Cassandra Kingman: a colleague of Stanley Thomas's in Berlin.

Darren Kingman: Cassandra's husband.

Tiffany Kingman: Cassandra's teenage

Feedback is always welcome. Enjoy.
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