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Lester made an extra effort to make it to the group on time this week. When he arrived people were still getting coffee and finding seats. He grabbed himself a cup and took a seat next to Emma. "You came back." He said to her.

"Yeah." she replied.

Nothing better to do?"

"Not really."

"Me either. I have an abundance of free time these days."

"I''m sorry."

"It's not your fault. Unless of course you're admitting setting me up some how."

"Of course not."

"Didn't think so." A silence fell over them for several self conscious moments before Lester continued the small talk. So, uh... how long have you been working at the Coney Island?"

"Since I was sixteen."

"That's a longtime for someone as young as you. Until these legal issues I worked at the ad agency for twenty years. That's almost half of my life."

"I can't imagine what that must be like. Nor can I imagine what it's like to lose such a dedicated career."

"I can certainly say I never thought I'd end up in a support group discussing legal issues with a bunch of strangers. I'm not even sure why I'm here. Sharing my story isn't going to keep me out of prison.:

"Won't bring my mom to her senses either."

"I don't suppose it would."

"So why are we here?"

"That's easy. We're here because we have nowhere else to turn with our troubles."He took a sip of his coffee. "And because we have nothing better to do with our time."

Father Bishop called for everyone to take a seat putting an end to their conversation.


Jackie sat in the group fighting boredom while everyone else talked. She didn't really hear what was being said. She noticed Lester and Emma sitting together and chatting before group started and it made her wonder what happened to make them bond so quickly. Even more, however, she wanted to know the identity of the young man who picked Emma up last week.

"Jackie, do you have anything to share with us today?" Father Bishop asked, jarring her out of her haze. "How was your week?"

"My week? It was fine I guess. Nothing special really."

"How are you adjusting to life without your son around?" Someone asked.

"It's been painful. I'm not ready to pack his things up just yet. I just keep the door to his room closed so I don't have to worry about it every time I walk down the hall."

"That's a good start." Father Bishop responded. "It can be difficult living alone after taking care of a child for so long."

"I also started looking for someone on the dating web sites. No connections yet but I've really only just putting myself out there. I haven't been on a date in years and I don't know what I'm doing."

"Good for you girl." One of the other women applauded her strength.

"It's good you're putting yourself out there but it is also important we not rush into anything just to fill the void in our hearts." Father Bishop added and several other group members nodded in agreement.

"I know. Nothing will replace my son just like I could never replace his father."

"You haven't mentioned the father before. Where is he now?" Someone observed.

"He's no longer with us. He was killed in action in Afghanistan fifteen years ago."Jackie replied.

"Damn girl. That's a long time to go without a man." Another woman commented.

"I had a man in my life. The only one that mattered."

"Does anyone else have any thoughts they'd like to share in regard to Jackie's situation?" Father Bishop asked.

"I got a cousin who's single if you're looking for a set up." The group chuckled.

"Anything else?"


By the time group ended Emma was tired and ready to go. As she got up to leave Jackie approached her.

"Excuse me. Emma. I have a quick question."

"Ask away."

"I was wondering who the young man who picked you up last week is."

"That's Spoony,my boyfriend. Why do you ask?"

"I think he was a friend of my sons." Jackie responded.

Oh shit. Emma thought. "Spoony has a lot of friends I can't even pretend to know them all." She replied cautiously.

"That's okay. I just wondered who he was. I didn't expect you to know my Elijah."Jackie shook her head. "Anyway, I have a bus to catch. See you next week?"

Emma nodded. "Most likely."

"See you then."

"Yeah see you." Jackie left and Emma heaved a sigh of relief. Has she made the connection between her sons death and Spoony. She hoped not. She took a minute to compose herself before leaving. Spoony would not be waiting for her this time. He called it a waste of his precious time and pointless for her as well. At least he trusted she wasn't lying about where she spent the evening. That's progress She thought.

When she got home Spoony sat in his customary spot on the couch carefully measuring and bagging small mounds of white powder. "Hey babe." She said as she passed him to the bedroom so she could put away her purse. "She letdown her hair and returned to the living room. "Expecting a boom in business?" She asked.

"Not really. Just getting geared up so I can go longer without having to deal with my supplier. Guy is a complete tool."

"He didn't seem so bad the couple times I met him." She sat down next to him being extra careful not to disturb the stuff on the table.

"Dunbar is much more tolerable when there are girls around. Doubly so if he thinks he has a shot of nailing them." He replied while remaining focused on what he was doing. "If I have my way I won't have to deal with him anymore in the near future."

"What do you mean have your way?"

"None of your damn business that's what." He turned to her. "It' not something you need to be concerned about.


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