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Lindsey chapter eleven
Lindsey stood in the doorway of my office. She was dressed in business attire but looking just as I remembered. I swear my heart stopped. “Hello Dale, how have you been?” She said softly looking down at her feet. I got up it was all I could do not to run over and take her in my arms. But at my first step towards her she seemed to step back. This wasn’t how I imagined this moment. Lindsey was shy and quiet like the first time I met her. “How are you Lindsey?” I asked trying to hide my excitement, trying not to scare her away. “Good, I just finished my degree at Stanford and” that last part trailed off and her voice broke like she was about to cry, she was looking to the side of me. At the shelf next to me. On that shelf I have half a dozen pictures of Katie and I on vacation and other times. I turned back to Lindsey. “I can’t do this!” She said beginning to cry and ran out of my office. I ran after her but she jumped in the Chevelle and sped away. I ran back in to grab my keys and chase her down, but when I came back she was long gone. Andy asked what that was all about; I asked him if she left a number or an address. The address she left was her fathers house. The number wasn’t her old cell. I called the number, it sounded like her mother picked up, “How dare you call this house!” And she hung up, caller ID had given me away. I asked Andy to lock up and I went back to Lindsey’s dad’s house.
I pulled up and Lindsey wasn’t there. I drove down the road where I could see the driveway and parked. But by midnight nothing. I had too much to do the next day to be out all night so I drove home. I pulled the ring out of my safe. I opened it and I could still see her face as the salesman let her try it on. I set the ring box on my nightstand and fell asleep. The next day Katie came by the shop. I had brought the ring, I’m not sure why, but I needed to keep it close. Katie walked in. “Andy told me what happened, I’m so sorry uncle Dale.” Katie was five months pregnant, I insisted she have a seat. Katie went on. “The more I think about it the guiltier I feel about that incident in the grocery store. I can try and track her down if you want.” She offered. “No sweetie, I could have looked her up years ago, but I herd she was doing well at Stanford and I didn’t want to jeopardize her future any more.” “But Dale, You owe her an explanation.” Katie said she had interns who she could get to track her down. I asked if they could at least get me an address or something and I would go from there.
By the next week Katie came by with a slip of paper with an address and a phone number. Lindsey lived in an apartment six hours south in Ventura. She worked at a company that designed aircraft computer systems. I went home that night and just stared at that piece of paper. I would let Andy have the reins for the next week. I hadn’t had a vacation since before Katie moved out. In the morning when I got to the shop, I began making preparations, I got Andy lined out and I pulled the Camaro out of the shop. That night I booked a room at the crown plaza over looking the ocean.
I left at two in the morning and headed out. It was early summer and it got light by five am. I stopped for gas and the station owner commented on my car. “That is a gorgeous car!” He read the decal in my rear quarter window. “Dale Anderson Motor Sports, we had a Chevelle from there last month,, poor girl in it was bawling her eyes out, I asked her about the car and she couldn’t talk about it.” That was hard to hear. I handed him my credit card, “Oh! Wow! Well Mr Anderson, them are some fine cars you’re building! “ I thanked him and went on my way. The thought of her making that six hour drive alone and up set broke my heart.
I arrived about a quarter till nine, check in wasn’t til ten so I had time to kill. I looked up that address. It was a very nice complex, so nice you couldn’t drive in to the parking lot without a gate code or permission from the guard house.
The trip to Lindsey’s work was as bad, she worked at a secure facility with gates and guard shacks, however driving by, I could see the Chevelle in the back of the lot. There was a bar and grill within walking distance from Lindsey’s work. I sat down for an early lunch. It was ten am and I asked for a seat by the window in view of the gate to Lindsey’s work. I ate breakfast. And watched as cars came and went. I stayed till noon, the lunch crowd began to pour in from that company. With any luck Lindsey would be among them. I waited, the crowd came and went , and nothing. The waitress had clearly lost patience with me holding up a table. So I left a generous tip and left. I made a pass by the parking lot and Lindsey’s car was gone. Somehow she had slipped out unseen. I drove back to the hotel and checked in. I sat in my room, staring at the ring box. I went on the balcony and watched the surf, debating if I should call her; if I did I would undoubtedly be shot down by caller ID.
There was a restaurant on the pier that looked nice. I called and they said the only seating available at the moment was at the bar. I figured that was fine for just me. I got cleaned up and walked over there. Had a nice dinner but it was still early so I jumped in my car for a cruise. I drove to check out the harbor, and as I pulled in there was Lindsey’s Chevelle pulling out. I spun the car around and chased her gaziantep rus escort down; it was all two lane road with nowhere to pass, I chased her down all the way to the highway, but she must have figured she was being followed because she suddenly floored it and was gone, I got jammed up by a red light, I would have run it but there was traffic. The light turned green and I was off. I followed the road till it turned into the old coastal Highway past the navy base. There was a small beach and the Chevelle parked there. I pulled in and she was sitting down near the water in the sand, there wasn’t another car in the lot and not a sole on the beach other than Lindsey.
I got out of the car and walked up behind her. Before I could speak she said still staring out into the ocean, “So hows your girlfriend?” The hurt in her voice was apparent. “Lindsey, she’s not my…” she cut me off, “Forget it Dale! you don’t have to explain, just let me be.” “Lindsey, Katie, she’s my niece.” I explained Lindsey got to her feet, “You fucking liar! I saw her with you! She was all over you.” That last part trailed off like she couldn’t spit it out. She started back to her car. “Lindsey stop! She is my niece! What you saw was just how she is with me! I’m her favorite uncle and nothing more!” “ You liar! I saw her at your house that night. She was there in the morning! “ she was yelling, crying hysterically. Calmly I explained the entire situation with Katie, even how she said that night at the store that it was for the best. Lindsey grew quiet, then she exploded! “You fucking asshole! How could you let me believe that you had moved on! Do you have any idea what I’ve been through all these years?” She was crying and screaming with the last four and half years worth of pent up anger.. Then she just collapsed into my arms crying.
She cried into my chest, I didn’t realize till then my own tears running down my face. I whispered to her, “I’m so sorry, the last thing I would want to is hurt you.” Just then a Park ranger pulled up, I never noticed how late it had gotten. “Come on, the beach parking lot shuts down in about ten minutes. We need to get going or be charged for overnight camping.” I said that last bit to joke and try and lighten up the mood, it didn’t work. I walked her to her car and she leaned back against the fender looking at the ground with her arms folded. She stood silent listening to the waves crashing. I didn’t know if she was waiting for me to speak or trying to think of what she wanted to say. Just then, the park ranger came up, “excuse me folks, I have to lock up the entry gate, I’m going to have to ask you to leave.” I looked at Lindsey, “are you okay to drive?” She didn’t answer. “Let me drive you home, I’ll just leave my car here and come back for it.” I looked over at the ranger, “look, she only lives twenty minutes from here and I would be back in less than an hour, do you think you can just leave it open?” The ranger shined his flashlight at me, “Wait a minute, You’re that Dale Anderson guy aren’t you?” He asked and I nodded, “Aw man, I just ordered your stabilizer bar for my mustang and,” he stopped just realizing the kind of moment Lindsey and I were having. “I’m sorry Mr Anderson, sure I’ll leave the gate open, I’ll even hang out here and keep an eye on your car sir.” The kid looked to be just old enough to put on that uniform. Lindsey didn’t say a word, just got in the passenger side of her car. I thanked the ranger and got in the car.
“Don’t think I’m going to jump in bed with you Dale.” Lindsey said in an annoyed tone. “I just want to make sure you get home safely,” I replied. I started the car, I had forgotten how loud that car was on the inside, talking on the drive probably wouldn’t be possible. It was like déjà vu, little shy quiet Lindsey riding in my Chevelle, arms folded looking out the window. Only now in the reflection in the passenger window was a very hurt young woman. She was so distant, deep in thought. That was the longest twenty minute drive of my life, I pulled up at the gate and got out, she slid over to the drivers seat. Before I closed the door, I asked her if I could at least take her out to dinner. “Fine.” She said staring at her steering wheel. “Pick me up tomorrow at seven.” Then she pulled the door shut and pulled into her apartment complex.
My taxi was already there when we pulled up, so I jumped back in and went back to pick up my car. I got out and paid the guy, the ranger was parked next to the Camaro. We talked for a good hour about cars, he was a nice kid, I gave him my personal cell number and told him I owed him.
That night I drove back to my hotel room, I pulled out the ring, and took it to the balcony and sat reflecting. I didn’t get to sleep till almost sunrise. The hurt I caused Lindsey was so deep, for the first time in weeks I thought she was gone for good.
I woke up the next morning about nine am. I hadn’t slept that late in years. I got up, got a good breakfast and headed out; I went to get my hair cut and a professional shave, I wanted to make my self as inoffensive as possible. I drove and got my car detailed and made sure I got the cherry air freshener, Lindsey always liked that one. I walked around the mall thinking of some sort of gift to smooth things over, but every thing just looked like, well, just stuff, nothing meaningful or would say hay, I want to make it all up to you. I walked by a jewelry store, there was a display of necklaces, they looked very nice, one caught my eye, it was emeralds and diamonds and a matching charm bracelet , I asked the sales lady about it, she took it out and displayed it, and she handed me a case of charms that were designed to go with it. I looked through, it was mostly crosses, starfish, and sea horses and things like that. But down in the corner, there was a golden violin. I picked that and she gift wrapped it and I was confident that would at the minimum break the ice.
Seven o’clock couldn’t come fast enough. I was ready to go two hours before I had to leave. I went over my hair, the shave and my cologne. I went and bought the cologne I used to wear. The last bottle I had I just left behind in my old house in the medicine cabinet. I was pacing in my room, clutching the ring in one hand, the necklace in the other. The clock struck six thirty and I bolted.
I still arrived ten minutes early, I sat outside leaning up against my car, seven o’clock came and went, ten after, quarter after. Seven thirty and I was crushed. I was about to get in my car and grab my phone to call her, but just then the gate opened. My god she was stunning! Her hands clutching a tiny purse in front of her, she walked toward me not looking up, didn’t say hello just walked to the passenger side of my car. I opened her door, she slid in slowly and still very unsure. I closed her door gently and ran around the back of my car to the drivers side and jumped in.
“Where would you like to go?” I asked. “I don’t care, anywhere is fine.” She said almost too quiet to hear. I had already researched where some good places were, there was a place in Santa Barbra just half hour north that seemed like a romantic spot.
We arrived after a cold silent drive. The restaurant was on the pier and so was the parking, the setting looked romantic, but not too romantic. It was a Tuesday night and it wasn’t crowded at all. They gave us a table over looking the boat docks, the waitress promised it was going to be a beautiful sunset if we stuck around long enough. What waitress came to get our drink orders. I just got a beer, I wanted to keep a clear head. Lindsey ordered a martini, and as the waitress was walking away she added “and a shot of tequila.” I had a feeling she was building up courage to tell me something big, or trying to get through this as painless as she could. We ordered dinner shortly after drinks, while waiting for our dinner, I slid the necklace and bracelet over to her. She just stared at the gift wrapped box. “Open it” I insisted.
Reluctantly she unwrapped the gift, she opened. The didn’t touch it or take it out to inspect it. Just stared emotionless. She closed the box, set it on the table and slid it back. “Thanks” She said sarcastically. “Another part of my life I left behind four years ago.” I didn’t understand, “Dale, I haven’t picked up a violin since high school.” She said sharply, tears filling her eyes. The rest of the dinner I tried my best to explain myself and my reasons for letting her go. Everything fell on def ears. At the end she was just pushing her food around her plate, without looking up, she said softly, “nobody has ever hurt me the way you did Dale, nobody.” That cut deep.
After dinner, I paid and as we left, I placed the necklaces and it’s receipt with the bill, the waitress just got a twenty five hundred dollar tip. Lindsey beat me out to the car as I left the tip, she was already in the car when I got there. “You have a bad habit of leaving your car unlocked Dale.” She said softly. Another long drive, again I pleaded my case. When we pulled up I parked just out side her complex and shut the car off.
We sat in silence for ten minutes, then Lindsey gave me both barrels. “Do you have any fucking idea what it was like for me after that day? At school the girls whispered to each other about the whore that slept with someone’s dad! The guys constantly coming on to me because they thought I was easy! The god damn parents at the band consents whispering about me! At my graduation two of the fathers tried to pick me up!” I began to try and apologize but she cut me off, “all of that wouldn’t have mattered! But you moved on! You used me and soon as things got hard you left! You know what the worst part is? I believed all the talk! I began to believe I was just a little whore!” She ran out of the car and I chased her down. I grabbed her arm, she swung around and connected with a left hook that sent me falling, I landed on the concrete and smacked my head hard, Lindsey was on top of me instantly , another left then a right . I just laid there, I deserved everything she was giving me and more. If this is what it took to absorb some of the pain I caused, I was more than willing to pay. Her swings slowed, and the unexpected happened, she leaned in and kissed me! Still sobbing she was holding the sides of my face kissing me like I hoped she would have the first day she walked back into my life. My face was on fire from her assault but I didn’t care. I held her tightly as we lay on the concrete. Just then I realized she wasn’t completely lost to me.
Lindsey got up slowly; obviously tipsy, I staggered to my feet and held her tightly. “You have to know, I’ve loved you from the first time I laid eyes on you, I only let it end because I allowed others convince me it was best for you. And I didn’t think I was the best thing for you.” “I have to go Dale, I have to get up early.” I could tell I had blood running down the back of my head and there was no doubt in my mind I had a concussion. Where we were it was dark and there was no way Lindsey would see the damage she must have done. I wanted to keep it that way but I also wanted to walk her to her door. I was just happy she let me do that. The entire time she just looked at the ground. When we got to the door she still didn’t look at me to my relief. I pulled her in, kissed the top of her head and said good night. I handed her my business card with my new cell number on it, and my room number was on the back. “Call me when you want to talk please, when you’re ready” she stepped inside without another word.
I drove straight to the emergency room. I took ten stitches to the back of my head and four to my cheek. They couldn’t do much about my concussion but make suggestions on relaxing and staying away from strenuous activities. I got back to my hotel room at one am and Lindsey was waiting in the lobby. She was just getting ready to give up when I came in. “Where…?” She asked then stopped when she saw what she had done to me. I was still woozy and she helped me to my room.
We got inside and I sat down. “I’m so sorry Dale”. I cut her off, “Don’t be, I deserve much worse, I think I got off rather easy.” She just stared at her handy work and looked ashamed. I asked her about work and if she needed to get going. “No, I almost never need to go in, most of what I do is done on my laptop and I work from home most of the time.” I asked if I could get her anything, she declined. I told her I probably shouldn’t go to sleep for a few hours, but she was welcome to relax and get some shut eye. I could tell she was exhausted. I walked out onto the balcony and took a seat in the lounge chair. Lindsey came over and sat in my lap. It was a moonless night but the stars were shining bright. We laid holding each other till almost three. Lindsey was sound asleep. I carried her to bed, and just watched her sleep. My head was throbbing but none of that mattered, just watching her sleeping in my bed was all the comfort I needed. I slept on the recliner in the suite.
I woke the next morning in agonizing pain, Lindsey was gone but left a note. ”Dale, I have to get to work. I’m sorry but I’m just not ready to do this.” The rest of the day she didn’t answer her phone or texts. I assumed she was working but deep down I was afraid it was something else. That afternoon I got a call from Andy. “Hey boss sorry to bother you on your vacation but we have a problem. Our last shipment never made it to Florida, the trucking company has signed receipts saying it was accepted but the customer says they only got a third of what we shipped. We think it may have been offloaded by mistake at another stop, but we need to get him his parts ASAP.” I knew the order he was talking about, it would take a week to have new parts ready, but shipping errors like his sometimes take weeks to figure out. I left Lindsey another text telling her I had to head back north. I checked out that afternoon and headed out.
On the ride home all I could think about was, how could I have done it better? My explanation of why I let her go didn’t seem to help at all. And I had not seen how much hurt I had caused until the night before. I began to rerun the the events of four years ago through my head. How did I let everyone convince me that what we had was wrong and not in Lindsey’s best interest? As much as I wanted to shift blame for what I did, I couldn’t. I got home and it was late already. The house was cold and dark. I put Lindsey’s ring back in my safe, turned on one of the MP3’s of the last orchestra concert I watched Lindsey perform in, opened a beer and sat on my porch listening. To think that she didn’t even play any more was gut wrenching. I fell asleep on my back porch and had an awful nightmare about going down to Ventura and finding Lindsey in another mans arms. I woke drenched in sweat and the feeling of loss weighed heavy on me.
I rolled into the shop and tried to put on my business face. After the shop meeting where I asked the guys to give up their weekend Andy followed me back to my office. “Jesus boss! Who kicked your ass?” Andy asked. “Would you believe a eighty five pound redhead?” He just shook his head. We went over how to fix this issue with the shipment and when we were done Andy said, “Hey boss, we got it from here, go home and get some rest, you look like shit!” “Thanks Andy, but I just asked the crew to give up their weekend, I’m not going to go home before them.” I said.
Around lunch time Katie came by. “Dale! What the he’ll happened?” I just told her I had it coming. “That’s bullshit Dale, Why do you do this to yourself? You take all the responsibility for what happened and refused to see that it wasn’t ALL your fault.” Katie was genuinely pissed off. I spent the last couple of days getting yelled at, what’s one more. “Lindsey just needs time, I’m going to give her space.” I said now just feeling defeated. “God damn it Dale! I watched you beat your self up over this girl for years. What did she have to say for herself? She was eighteen, she could have left! Or at a minimum tried to make contact with you! Stop trying to take the weight of the world on your shoulders!” Katie turned and slammed the door as she left.
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