The Death of Lila Jane(61)

By: Teresa Mummert



“Oh.”

“I’m going to go check out that parade,” Bridget interjected as she looked to both of us before hurrying up the road to give us some privacy.

I shoved my hands deep into the pockets of my jeans. “What about you? I heard you were dating Silas. You guys set a date yet or…? I never got my invitation.” I laughed but it was forced.

“How did you know about Silas? Daven.” She nodded and let out a small laugh. “Well, that’s interesting because he would barely tell me anything about you, except that you went to take care of your mom.”

“I did but I realized this is where I belonged so I brought her back with me. I figured she could use a fresh start too and I wanted to give her some happy memories of this place.” I gestured toward the house and Lila turned to look at the structure.

“Looks a lot different.”

“A lot of things have changed over the years.”

Reaching out to me, she hesitated before rubbing her fingers along my stubbled jaw. “I can see that.”

“I meant to shave but it’s been a long week with Mardi Gras.”

“No. I like it. It suits you.”

I smiled widely but hers fell. “What?”

“I can’t see your dimples now.”

My eyes lingered on her for a moment before I gained the courage to ask her what I’d wondered for years. “So Silas. Is he good to you?”

“He always has been,” she admitted. “We’d started dating a few years ago but broke things off when he left for college. I didn’t want him to not get the full experience, you know?”

“Yeah. I know how crazy those astrophysicists are,” I joked and she let out a genuine laugh.

“So Eva,” her voice trailed off.

“Never happened. She’s like a little sister to me.”

“That’s… nice. I’m glad you have your own little family around you now. I was worried you’d be alone.”

“Do you… want to maybe get something to eat or…?”

“You wanna go get bourbon faced on Shit Street?” She asked, her eyes narrowing as her teeth pressed into her plump lower lip.

I held out my hand and she slid her fingers over mine, intertwining them.

“I need to get some beads,” she mused and I shook my head.

“I’ll get you whatever beads you want, but this time, I’m going to make you earn them,” I joked, winking at her as she smacked me playfully on the chest.





***

April 3, 2021

I married Lila Jane in the lacy white dress she’d worn the first day I met her with a real pearl necklace hung around her neck.

That winter, I gave her matching earrings to celebrate the birth of our son, Kaden James Harken the second, my p'tit boug.

My mother passed away three months later and we made sure her life was celebrated with a second line parade. As my business grew, we moved away from the city to settle down in a small town to raise our son, but I refused to sell our old home, knowing one day I would pass it down to my own son. I still sang from time to time but now it was to a much smaller audience who preferred lullabies. Lila continued to attend college even though I knew it was hard on her. But I didn’t want her to have any regrets in life. I was going to make sure my family had everything they ever needed because I knew what it felt like to not have anyone.

I was one of the lucky few who’d gotten a second chance and I wasn’t going to waste a single second of my life with Lila Jane.





THE END

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