Chapter 22 - His brain

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When Ella woke on Tuesday morning, the first thing she thought of was Joe. That alone wasn't new, but instead of sadness, she felt a wave of excitement. Granny was right about forgiveness, but Ella discovered that Joe was punishing himself. It was a relief to let him take the heat for what he did. She could still see his face when he feared losing her because of her family. As much as she loved her family those months when she was suffering, they hadn't brought her the joy that she felt with Joe.

Granny talked about having more than passion. She and Joe had always had so much more than sex. She made a point of it from the very beginning after that stupid fling before him.

In just a few days she already felt responsible for Caleb as she remembered hugging him. He had come in at exactly ten-fifty-nine. They had been trying to keep a straight face because they had seen that he had actually arrived home ten minutes before. They didn't want to know if he had been waiting outside alone or if he was fogging up the windows in the car. Caleb had given them a long stare when he saw them sitting together.

"So you forgave the idiot," he commented.

Ella had jumped up and said, "I did!" She hugged Caleb so fast that he couldn't stop the unexpected assault. "I'm so happy that we'll be seeing each other more!"

She hadn't smelled any alcohol, but she was pretty sure that he had eaten some kind of chocolate ice cream.

When Joe had asked about the beach, he had replied in more than one sentence.

"It was actually kind of cool. A lot of kids hang out down there. Some kids even live there in the winter...They said there's a teacher too, but I don't know who."

"Join the club, I probably wouldn't know either," Ella added.

"So does this mean we can go to the lake?" Caleb asked.

Joe laughed, "Sorry, but I've got a long way to go to win over her father."

Caleb scoffed and mumbled, "Fucking idiot for falling for the bitch's trap..."

Ella laughed and said, "He and I think alike."

"Yeah, well it's nothing I hadn't thought about myself," Joe replied.

She wanted to rush to work, but she didn't expect Joe to be early since he had Caleb. She had seen him again just the day before for a few hours, but it wasn't enough, they had lost time to make up. She had spent Sunday with her family and Saturday afternoon before her gig with Ava. She didn't tell Ava that Joe was back. What would Ava think after months of holding Ella's head above water? Would she be angry that Ella ran right back to him? Ella thought it was best to keep it to herself for a little while especially since it was still so new.

She arrived early to get some work done. She suspected she would be spending her free block with Joe. She sent a text to her sister to wish her luck on her job interview. She was excited about the prospect of Ava coming back to Maine. When Ella asked her where she would live, she had said with their parents temporarily. Ella was glad that she didn't want to stay with her because she needed her privacy to see Joe.

Ava drilled her about her spirits being lifted and Ella told her that although she didn't like Dylan going on a date had helped. Only she knew it had helped her confirm that only one man would ever be right for her. Ava seemed pleased and when they met up with Tony he had forgiven her for dumping his friend.

She was smiling at Ava's response when Joe walked in and said, "Are you texting your boyfriend?"

She smiled and said, "My sister, but somehow I think you would know the answer to that question."

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