The next day was a gloomy, stormy one in Chippewa Falls. Dean and Lily were in the kitchen drinking coffee, listening to the thunder and lightening of the coming storm.
“Sounds like a bad one,” Lily sighed.
“Those two haven’t been down since yesterday morning,” Dean referred to Jack and Rose.
“Well Jack was pretty upset,” Lily
shrugged. “I hope he’s used to the idea
of us by now.”
“What is he doing here?” Jack appeared in the doorway, openly glaring at Dean. Rose stood behind him, looking very uncomfortable.
Lily stood from her chair, wanting to be as gentle with Jack as possible, but also wanting to be firm in her decision. “Dean’s my husband now Jack. He’s living here with me of course. In fact, we need to talk about the rooming situation.”
“We want the master bedroom,” Dean crossed his arms. “Your mother’s old room.”
“Dean please…” Lily looked at her husband, pleading for him to be gentle.
“You mean you want him to seep in my father’s bed?” Jack glared at Lily, not believing that she had the audacity to want this…man in his father’s bed. “No! Absolutely not! It’s bad enough that you were with him when pa was alive! He’s not sleeping in his bed!”
“Big news kid, I already have, the old man none the wiser. So me being in his bed is nothing new,” Dean crossed his arms. “So I suggest that you and your pretty wife here prepare to switch rooms.”
Jack glared at Dean, hatred burning in his heart. He hated Dean…he hated Dean more then he’s ever hated anyone before. “Go to hell!”
Brushing past Rose, Jack stormed out into the raging storm, his destination unknown.
“That went well,” Dean snorted.
“Are you always like this?” Rose glared at her new stepfather in law. “Do you even care that he’s hurting right now? You had just blown apart the view of his parents that he’s had for years and to be so callous now…you both should be ashamed of yourselves!” Rose threw one more glare at Dean then went for a raincoat so she could go after Jack.
Jack knelt next to his father’s grave, tears streaking his face. He gently touched the engravings on the tombstones while images of Andrew Dawson were running through his head. Andrew reading little Jack a story, taking him ice fishing. Andrew cradling the shivering boy in his arms after Jack had fallen through the ice into the below freezing waters of the frozen lake Wissota. His father telling him to stay put as he raced into the barn fire that had taken his life. His father’s burnt body being taken to the morgue.
Jack sat on the ground in the freezing downpour, ignoring the damp cold seeping into his already frail body. He wished that his father were there to tell him what to do, how to handle the Dean situation.
He looked up at the angry sky, tears mixing with rain. “Pa, tell me what to do. Help me,” he sobbed.
Just then, a crash of thunder and a bright flash of lightening hit the tree that shadowed the grave. With a loud groan, the tree split and fell knocking Jack unconscious and burying him in its dead branches.
It’s been a few hours since Jack had fled the Dawson home and still there was no sign of him. The boarding house was Rose’s last resort. If he wasn’t with George and Cillie, she didn’t know what she’d do.
“Rose,” George blinked in surprise when he answered the hurried knock on the door. Rose was the last person he expected to see, especially without Jack. He frowned as he noticed the desperate worry in her eyes.
“Please tell me Jack’s here. He has to be. I’ve looked everywhere else…,” Rose tried not to get hysterical. Hysterics were the last thing Jack needed.
“Whoa, wait a minute. Come in, Cillie will fix some hot chocolate…”
“No offense, but I can’t…not until I find Jack. Is he here?”
“I’m sorry but no. What’s going on?” George shook his head.
Rose’s legs wouldn’t hold her up anymore. The stress finally got to her and she collapsed into George’s arms. He quickly scooped her up and carried the sobbing woman into the apartment.
“Oh God Jack,” She sobbed.
“Rose?” Cillie questioned, laying down her dust rag. “What happened?”
“I don’t know, but I think it has to do with Jack,” George answered.
“…Jack, Dean, and Lily had an argument this morning. Jack had stormed out into the rain without his coat. I’ve looked everywhere I could think of, but no one has seen him! What if he’s hurt? Or dying?!” Rose busted into renewed tears.
George hugged Rose close, wishing that he could snap his fingers and make everything ok again. “Don’t worry Rose. Jack’s fine. We’ll find him. In fact, I think I know where he may have gone.”
“Where?” She sniffed, wiping away the spilt tears.
“The graveyard. He might have wanted to be near his father and went there,” George got his coat and a extra coat for Jack. Goodness knows, he must be freezing by now. “Come on. Let’s go look.”
“I’ll stay here and get some hot chocolate ready,” Cillie headed for the kitchen.
“Please Jack. Be alright,” Rose prayed as she followed George into the flooding streets.
“Jack!” Rose called as they entered the cemetery. “Jack!”
“Hey Jack! If you’re here, answer us!” George shouted. “Any sign of him?”
“None,” Rose shook her head. “Where is his father’s grave?”
“Follow me,” George beckoned. He stopped at the bottom of the fallen tree. “Holy shit. What happened here?”
“It looks like lightening had hit it,” Rose answered, getting a tight feeling in her chest. She gasped in horror when she spotted the lifeless hand among the branches. Quickly, she began pushing the branches aside.
“Rose? What are you doing?”
“There’s someone trapped under here,” Rose continued struggling with the branches. “Help me.”
George nodded and helped move the branches off the person. They both gasp in dismay to see Jack, all wet and bloody.
“How long has he been out here?” George looked at Rose.
“Three hours at the most. Oh God, we have to get him a doctor.”
“First, let’s get him out of this weather and back to my place,” George finished lifting the tree off his fallen cousin.
Soon a cab was summoned and they were on their way back to the boarding house, hoping that things weren’t as bad as they seemed.