Damaged Souls (Broken Man) - By Christopher Scott
Delaney didn’t know what to expect after Jack told her there was someone he wanted her to meet. Sure, she had told him it was time for him to move on and find love again, but now as they made their way from the parking lot to the hotel, Delaney was unsure if she had really meant it.
In a strange way, she admired how difficult it had been for Jack to get over the death of her mother. It showed how much he truly loved her, and Delaney knew she could count on Jack to help keep her mother’s memory alive. That was important to Delaney as already she could sense her mother’s memory fading from people’s minds. Even her father had moved on fairly quickly, unfortunately preoccupied in his relationship with Wendy.
Wendy. This woman who pretends to be my mother, this fake blonde haired impersonator who tries to tell me how to act, how to dress, how to think. When is she going to realize she is nothing like my mother? I just hope Jack has the sense not to fall in love with a woman like that, Delaney thought to herself as they arrived at the hotel’s front entrance.
“Are you hungry, honey,” Jack asked as he opened the door and Delaney sensed his nervousness.
“I am, Jack,” she responded with a smile and tried to ease his nerves.
They made their way to the restaurant that was so special to both of them, the spot of her mother’s first date with Jack exactly two years earlier. Delaney remembered the way he looked at her during that Mother’s Day brunch, the way he paid attention to her and little sister, Bailey. It was then that Delaney realized how much Jack loved all three of them, and he had never disappointed from that day forward.
He had helped make the last few months with her mother so special. Delaney had never seen her mom any happier and their mother daughter relationship had evolved in a way that was hard to describe. It was as if she no longer had to spend the majority of her time trying to hide so much stress and could instead just concentrate on being the wonderful mother she always had been. The result was an entirely different relationship between them, and Delaney remembered the many conversations they had, conversations that would have never happened when her mother was still married to her father and she was just a little girl.
But she wasn’t a little girl anymore. Delaney was thirteen now, half way to fourteen. No, she definitely wasn’t a little girl anymore, and she wished that Wendy would stop treating her like one.
“Delaney, this is Amanda,” Jack interrupted her daydream as Delaney quickly realized they had arrived at their destination.
“Hi, Amanda, it’s nice to meet you,” Delaney greeted her politely as she extended her hand.
“It’s nice to meet you too,” Amanda replied as she ignored Delaney’s hand and instead gave her a hug. “Jack has told me so much about you, and he is right, you are absolutely gorgeous.”
“Thank you,” Delaney smiled shyly, unsure of what to make of this new woman in Jack’s life, not yet willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.
She was certainly beautiful, not in the made up, contrived way that Wendy was, but in a different, more natural way. Long dark hair, great figure, and perfect skin that hardly needed any makeup at all. Amanda was also young, much younger than her mother and probably closer to her own age than Jack’s.
“So, how was your visit with your mother,” Amanda surprised Delaney with a rather personal question as they sat down.
“It was good,” Delaney replied slowly, still not quite sure what to make of this woman. “I think she would have been happy that Jack and I visited on Mother’s Day.”
“I know she is happy,” Amanda impressed Delaney by referring to her mother in the present tense. “Jack has told me what a special woman she was.”
“She was a special woman,” Delaney replied suspiciously, unaccustomed to anyone discussing her mom so freely. “She was a great mother to me and Bailey, and I know she will always be there with us.”
“I know she will be, too,” Amanda reached for her hand as Delaney could tell she was about to cry.
“Did you talk to your mom this morning,” Delaney tried to quickly change the subject so Amanda wouldn’t cry.
“My mother passed away earlier this year, just after the holidays.”
“I didn’t mean to