In the weeks after Jenny left the home, the family learned through the lawyer Larry Max had hired that she had put a deposit down on a small home on the other side of town. The kids were to stay in their current home with Larry Max, of course, who drove up to the University to tell Mike in person. He tried hard not to inject his own anger towards Jenny into the discussion and just to keep to the facts.
Mike didn’t seem very surprised about any of it although he was upset and worried about the his younger siblings, especially Chelsea. Larry Max assured him he would be keeping a close eye on the kids, but Mike knew that Larry Max still had to work. His father remarked how nice the little house was that Mike rented on campus and couldn’t get over how much space there was considering the rent Mike paid. Mike nodded, but didn’t say too much about that. His mother had been the one to make the arrangements to rent the house. She looked at things much differently than his dad. To say the least.
“Well you know, it was getting so hard to study at the dorm after a while, Dad. Just crazy around there and the food was awful, so Mom suggested this. She said it would be okay and the family could afford it.”
“Oh, no problem, Mike,” Larry Max assured him, “And I want you to be able to keep on with your studies, that’s for sure. I just had no idea that one could live here alone and the price be so reasonable.”
Mike had made the dean’s list every semester and he was nearly done with this junior year, so Larry Max didn’t want to make any changes at this point.
Mike nodded, frowning, and changed the subject, “I’ll try to come home and spend some time with the kids soon, Dad.”
The summer went on and Chelsea still had her friends and she spent a lot of time with them. She also had a newly developing romance with Trey Lassiter. Corky and Andy really liked Trey, but they gave Chelsea a hard time about him when he wasn't there.
Andy was especially close to his dad, always had been, and spent a lot of time fishing with him that summer. He was also noticing the girls and frequently on the phone with one or another of them.
Chelsea was still a gamer and when she was alone she was frequently on the computer or in the game room playing pinball. Corky thought the most fun thing in the world to do after playing guitar was to "mess around" (as he put it) with an old car.
Mike kept his word and came to visit the kids and Larry Max at the house. Chelsea wanted to talk to him alone and was able to do so. She missed Mike terribly at the house during his first year at U, but had got past that. Then when their mother had left she felt more than ever their family was fracturing apart and missed Mike worse than she had his first year. She felt a little better after their talk and she was also able to pepper him with questions about University. He told her a little bit about campus life and she couldn’t wait to relate it to her friends.
At Alex Goth's Graduation Fling two years ago, Mike enjoyed some fruit punch. Alex had rented a very tiny house on campus by his senior year. Great for parties, Mike commented.
When he lived in the dorm, Mike tended to work on his assignments in the dining room rather than the rec room where the TV was always playing and various students hung around you.
However; he told Chelsea the rec room was a good place to socialize if you didn't have time to head out to the student union or something. Just don't try to study there. Some of the other students were kind of strange, some even smelled. "
Also lock your door or they'll come in and bother you in the middle of the night," Mike advised and then laughed., "You'll just love the llama, Chels!"
"Lucy Burb and I used to go to the library a lot, just to get some quiet time and to do research."
"Sometimes when you've been studying for what seems like years, you just have to let off some steam," Mike said, trying to explain why he had streaked through the dining room two years ago.
Chelsea just laughed and laughed at the thought of her brother prancing buck-naked through his dorm.
Sometimes a little romance was in order.
Chelsea couldn’t help notice that he mentioned Lucy Burb quite a bit, but when she asked him he said, “Oh she’s just a good friend; our rooms were right across from each other at the end of the hall at Landgraab. She’s a Lit major so I don’t have her in any classes.”
Chelsea just nodded and smiled. If she remembered correctly, one of the girls heard from Lucy occasionally. It would be interesting to find out if Lucy mentioned Mike at all. The boys got their talk with Mike while Chelsea prepared a lunch for all.
Chelsea felt better that day when Mike was there but when he left she teetered toward depression again. Summer was nearly over. There had been a lot of pool parties, cookouts and nights cruising, but it was all coming to an end soon. The one thing Chelsea was looking forward to was going to University in the fall with all her friends. The boys would be joining her in the next two years.
She never talked to her mother at all. Jenny had called her a lot at first, but when Chelsea refused to take the calls, Jenny stopped trying. Corky and Andy still talked to Jenny occasionally on the phone. Corky told Chelsea that Jenny always asked about her,
“You should talk to her, Chels.”
“And what about what she did, Corky?”
He shrugged, “That’s between Dad and her. Just talk to her because she’s our mom.”
“That’s an embarrassment to me--the fact that she’s my mom!” by this time Chelsea had tears in her eyes.
Corky just nodded. It was awkward for him to talk to their mom, too, but he wanted to keep trying to build the bridge between her and them.
One day, after she found out where her mother lived, Chelsea got Holly to drive by so they could get a look at the house.
Chelsea was aggravated when she saw it.
“Why should my mother be able to rip our family apart and break my father’s heart and then live in a nice new house and do whatever she wants?”
Holly didn’t say anything because she had no idea what to say. Chelsea realized this and shrugged as if she didn’t care, saying,
“Oh, well, let’s go to Sam’s, I’m dying for a double Snappy-burger with fries.”
Holly headed over to “Sam’s Snappy Service, the Drive-in with a Heart”. Their Chee-Chee Burgers, pork barbeque, and poorboys were to die for and so were their peanut-butter shakes; everyone in Pleasantview and Bluewater Village knew that.
Chelsea thought glumly, "I guess it’s true; sometimes only junk food can ease the pain."
Next Update: The Errol Flynn Family Ch. 3 One Last Fledgling
Next installment of the Lomax Family HERE
To read about the college years of Chelsea, Corky and Andy go HERE
For Mike's University story go HERE
For Jenny Lomax's continued story go HERE