Chasing What's Already Gone (Second Chances Book 1)

Chasing What's Already Gone (Second Chances Book 1) by Michael Ross Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: Chasing What's Already Gone (Second Chances Book 1) by Michael Ross Read Free Book Online
Authors: Michael Ross
changed everything. Thomas Griffith stood out in any crowd; tall and thin with an unruly, monochrome green-coloured beard that made it impossible to overlook him. Jessica took an immediate dislike to her fellow student as he wandered around the room, drawing attention from all. Jessica’s obvious efforts to completely ignore him backfired; her disinterest sparked Thomas into performance.
    “You are by far and away the most attractive girl in this room or attending this university. I am smitten by you and always shall be.”
    Jessica was disgusted by his arrogance, by the sexist tone to his voice. They were married ten months later.
    Jessica’s family were outraged. “Love? What has love got to do with anything?” Her father exploded when he heard the news.
    “Well, if nothing else, it saved you quite a few thousand pounds that it would have otherwise cost if Mum had known about the wedding and got involved.” Even twelve years after the divorce, Jessica’s mother never missed a chance to extract money from her ex-husband’s coffers. Whilst acknowledging the truth in Jessica’s analysis, her father could find nothing redeemable about his newly acquired son-in-law.
    “The last time I saw him, he had a green beard and hair down his back. He turns up today with no hair at all and a ring through his nose. Has he any clue whatsoever what he wants to do with his life? How does he intend to support you?”
    “Pardon me, Father? How does he intend to support me? What am I, some sort of handicap to him? You’re living in the Dark Ages. At this point in time, I think it is far more likely that I will be supporting Thomas than he’ll be supporting me. I like that he’s a dreamer, but he has a fantastic mind and one day he will amaze the world.”
    “‘Amaze the world.’ I must make a suitable note of that comment, Jessica.”
    Within ten minutes Jessica and Tom had left the house. She did not see her father again for another six years.
     
    ***
     
    All those years later, Julian Roberts was horrified when he answered the door to his only child. If she had not warned him with a phone call, he would not have recognised her. There was hardly anything of her. She weighed next to nothing, her hair and hands were grubby, her clothes pathetic. There were scars on her upper arms. For the first time in his life, he was overcome with love for his daughter. Some paternal instinct guided him into making no comment about her appearance. He brought her up to her old room, drew the curtains back, and left her alone for two days. They had experienced grief within the jaws of its greatest power. They had something in common—there was no rush needed to build bridges between them.
     
    ***
     
    Jessica’s father’s younger brother, Colin, had married a girl, Donna, who worked in the local factory. The family were most unhappy about the arrangement, but thirty years later, the couple was still content and together. Donna had always been Jessica’s favourite aunt. The older woman was devoted to the young girl and soon had installed herself in the house. Her haphazard whistling and singing brought a crack of joy through the gloom.
    During her “missing years,” Jessica was unaware that her mother had died a slow, painful death, eaten away by cancer, and that her father had loved her to her dying day. Similarly Julian was unaware, until Jessica told him the story, that Thomas’s life had ended within seconds of being hit by a motorbike whilst ambling across a zebra crossing. They now had something tangible to share
    They never managed to communicate with words—neither could say the right thing at the right time—but they learnt to comfort each other with hugs and long cuddles. Both regretted the wasted years, and neither had the slightest interest in replacing the people they had lost. When Julian offered his daughter the chance to work for one of his companies, he met with no resistance—just the firm proviso that she would not

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