One Last Hurrah
Terrie Nichols felt resigned as she sat in the wooden chair in front of the cottage overlooking the lake. It was the last weekend she was ever going to be here in this spot and it depressed the hell out of her to have to let it go. She stared at the peacefully familiar scene in front of her – the small sandy beach around the dock, the lapping of the lake water against the shore, the smell of the trees around her, the softness of the grass on her bare feet.
Terrie knew selling was a bad idea but she was damned if she was going to let Jackson's new wife enjoy this personal Paradise. She sighed and shook her head with sadness and regret. She couldn't believe she was sacrificing all this just to spite him but he's the one who left her so to the hell with him. He wanted to buy her out and she wanted him to walk away leaving the cottage to her but when they both balked, she insisted they sell just for the satisfaction of knowing he'd lose the property that had been in his family for generations.
She took a sip from her wine glass and squinted with disappointment, partly with herself for being so petty but mostly with him for ruining what they had together. She would have forgiven him for the affair (eventually) but he asked out, promising an easy divorce so he could marry the new one. Terrie decided to play hardball instead, making him miserable and the divorce difficult just to be a bitch in her final hurrah. Losing her marriage was hard but giving up on the cottage was harder.
Terrie continued to watch the lake from her chair as the late afternoon sun started to settle low over the lake. Her yellow cotton pullover blew in the soft afternoon breeze but the realization that this was the end depressed the hell out of her. She swallowed hard as she took another sip from the wine glass, grimacing with the thought of having to leave for the final time. She came to retrieve her personal possessions and sentimental favorites from the cottage which was being sold with most of the belongings included. She couldn't trust the ex to rescue important mementos and she was relieved when he agreed to let her spend one last weekend at the camp before the bank closed on the property the following week.
"Always beautiful, isn't it?"
A startled Terrie turned and she was stunned to see Kelsey Jarvis standing on the grass behind her. She dropped her wine glass as she leapt from her chair and ran to give him a welcomed and needed hug.
"What in the hell are you doing here!?" She exclaimed, fighting back her nostalgic and soppy tears of joy and relief.
"I bumped into your sister at Dunkin's this morning," he grinned. "She told me you were up here conducting last rites."
"So you drove all the way up to keep me company!?" Terrie asked with amazement.
"This place was special to all of us," He said as he clung to her.
"Yeah," she sighed.
They finally broke the embrace and Terrie glanced behind her unexpected guest. "No Lucy?" She asked.
Kelsey shook his head no as he stared at the brown shingled single story cottage that he had been visiting since he was a kid. "I'm going to miss this place," he said.
"Do you hate me?" She worried, taking his hand for morale strength and support. "For making him sell?"
"I hate him for what he did to you," Kelsey said quietly.
"I don't want to come between the two of you," she said with concern.
"What he did to you was the last straw," Kelsey replied.
"Some think I'm being vindictive," Terrie sighed as she returned to her chair, picking up the wine glass that she had dropped. She gave him a critical look. "Do you?"
"You were married to the guy for twenty-years," Kelsey replied. "You're entitled."
"This place belonged to his grandfather," she stated with guilt, gesturing toward the cottage.
"He should have thought of that before he two-timed you," Kelsey shrugged.
She chewed on her lip. "Sometimes I think I should just walk away and let him keep it."
"That's because you're a nice person," Kelsey grinned.
She sighed once again at the entire sad situation before them. "Would you care for something to drink?"
"Yes, traffic was a nightmare, I could use one," Kelsey replied.
Terrie strolled into the cottage and Kelsey followed, catching the sway of her hips as she hopped the steps to the porch. She was Jackson's girlfriend turned finance turned wife over the years but now she was a middle aged divorcee and Kelsey was beginning to see her in a whole new light.
Kelsey always liked her of course, cast as the best friend confidant and third wheel sidekick through the years. He and whoever he was dating at the time would double date with Terrie and Jackson and later they would end up at the cottage for weekend getaways and the occasional longer vacation.
Kelsey had known Jackson since first grade (Terrie entered the scene when she moved to Hillsboro in high school) and most of their summers were spent here at the lake, Jackson's mom in charge while Jackson's Dad came up when worked allowed. It seemed Kelsey had spent half his life here but now it was all coming to an end.
Terrie took a beer out of the refrigerator and handed it to him before pouring two shot glasses with whiskey, handing him one.
"Here's to the past," she said with a forced smile before downing her shot.
"When we were young," Kelsey said with nostalgia, emptying his glass too.
"Not so much now," Terrie groaned, rolling her eyes.
"Forty is the new thirty," Kelsey grinned.
While Terrie didn't look thirty, she didn't necessarily look like her forty-one years either. Her skin was still smooth with just the hint of crows-feet around her (blue) eyes. Her hair was still silk black, currently down around her shoulders although she had it pulled back in a ponytail underneath her ball cap right now. She had always been taller than her peers – 5' 8" as an adult and her frame was still relatively slender, though not at her high school basketball playing weight! Kelsey always considered her an attractive woman.
"I have some tuna macaroni salad if you're hungry," Terrie offered.
"That would be fine," Kelsey replied. "Unless you want to go down to the fish place or something."
"No, I'd like to stay here," she said.
Kelsey nodded with understanding. "Me too."
He helped her prepare the plates of food which they took outside with the beer and whiskey, sitting in the chairs to watch the sun go down.
"We haven't seen each other for a couple of years," Terrie realized.
"Things were getting tense," Kelsey admitted.
"Did you know?" Terrie asked nervously.
Kelsey shook his head no. "He knew I'd never approve," he replied with disgust. "But I sensed things had changed for the worse. Mid-life crisis, twenty year itch, whatever."
"What happened to Lucy?" Terrie inquired with interest.
"She didn't want to get married," Kelsey sighed with defeat. "We were together for eight years. I thought it was time. We're not getting any younger. But she balked, especially with you and Jackson going down the tubes. She wanted to continue status quo but I'm ready for something more in my life at this stage."
"I'm really sorry," Terrie said with sensitivity. "I really liked her."
"Me too," Kelsey muttered, taking a long swig from his beer.
"Maybe we should just get drunk," Terrie decided, picking up the whiskey bottle from the ground between the two chairs, foregoing the shot glasses.
"Do you have any coke?" Kelsey asked. "That stuff's pretty strong to be drinking straight."
"Don't be a wimp, Kel," she replied, taking a swig from the bottle.
Kelsey laughed as he took the bottle from her and put it to his mouth, wiping his lips with the back of his forearm when he was done.
"Should people our age be acting like this?" Terrie worried.
"I have appreciation for this kind of behavior," Kelsey grinned.
"You mean being irresponsible?" She asked, lifting her eyebrows as she stared at him in the dusk.
"One last hurrah," Kelsey reasoned. "To the good old days!" He took the bottle back from her and took another swig.