“Dave WilsonSometimes life gives you a second chance, or even two! Not always, but sometimes. It’s what you do with those second chances that counts.”
Windenburg Isle Cameron Estate
Standing in the backyard of the Cameron Mansion on the Windenburg Isle, talking with his parents and pregnant youngest daughter, Jamie was interrupted in mid-sentence by a young man hurrying up to the fence.
“ABBY! ABIGAIL! Can you come to the gate real quick please?!” the young man sounded urgent.
“Jay?” Abby was shocked.
“Abby, I need to speak to you. Right now. PLEASE! I know you are upset, but please, five minutes and …”
“Son, she said no and you are interrupting. Move along, kid. Come back sometime later and try then. Or better yet, tomorrow.” Jamie grumbled, having lost his train of thought.
“Sorry Sir, I can’t. Abby … please … a word. It’s important I don’t have much time!” Jay insisted.
“Not one word or a thousand! I don’t care whatever you think is so important. You are a D…. ahem .. DUCK! Sorry grandma, grandpa. And mom and dad … but he is! And I don’t want to see you again, Jay. I told you! Go … DUCK yourself!” Abby called back, then turned around and ran off into the house by one of the side doors.
At that time Jay scaled the high fence surrounding the entire backyard with ease, trying to run after her, but Jamie, grabbed him and yanked him back.
“No no no! Where you think you are going!? There is a fence for a reason! You are trespassing!” Jamie roared.
“But …” Jay tried.
“But nothing! You are way out of line and you need to leave! I’ll see you out the garden gate right over there!” Jamie insisted angrily grabbing Jay’s arm, but his mother swatted his hand off.
“James! Let the boy go. Can’t you see something is amiss here. Tell me, Jay, what’s the matter.” Jamie’s mother Rory interfered, her voice soft as usual, but enough to make Jamie freeze in his tracks and let off Jay.
“I … uh … Elliott .. the .. ahem … Abby’s babies .. the father, he was my brother. Half-brother … uhm… ” Jay stuttered, ever since the tragic fire had caused large portions of his face and body to be scarred most of his old arrogance and self-confidence failed him.
“Yes dear, I deduced that. I may be old, but I am not slow at least not in the brain. I used to be a highly paid scientist, so I do not have my head only to put hats on. So what is so important and why is Abby so mad at you?” Rory continued.
“He joined the army, probably to get away from the responsibility in case the baby – well – babies – were his. Didn’t you luck out there, kid? Not yours after all.” Jamie’s voice dripped anger and sarcasm.
“Mr. Cameron, they are still my nieces and nephew.”
“Only half a relation … ” Jamie insisted.
“JAMES BRENDAN CAMERON, don’t make me slap you, I WILL!” Rory threatened.
“She would! And she’s right, son. Listen to your mother. You are being a …. duck.” Declan affirmed.
“He’s right though about that … Elliott and I were only half-brothers and estranged. Same mother, different fathers. Both fathers were abusive, our mother just couldn’t handle it or us and it just went downhill from there back when Elliott and I were both young. He went into the military as soon as he could, I went down the illegal route. We had only started to get closer as brothers when he asked me to housesit. Your son is right, I am trash, Mrs. Cameron. Jailbird, good for nothing, I tried to get a job, but nobody would hire me, I have no skills or talents, well, at least nothing I could make money with the legal way. I wanted to be able to at least not be the deadbeat uncle and buy a toy for the kids now and then when they are old enough. I don’t even trust myself to stay honorable, so I heard the army can help straighten hopeless cases out. Worth a shot and better than doing nothing. But when I told Abby I enlisted she didn’t like that one bit. And now I have to go back to jail because at some point I apparently broke parole, can’t even remember that, and .. it’s only for three weeks but the army kicked me to the curb too. Another chance gone. Good news is I’ll be around .. eventually. Bad news is, I just got evicted and after prison will be homeless again.”
“Oh, you poor boy! Surely James can put you up in the guest room.” Rory said, shooting her son a glance.
“Oh no, mom, James can most certainly NOT. Absolutely not!” Jamie declined decidedly, his wife Averie looked shocked at the idea of Jay staying with them.
“Is that your final word, Jamie?” Rory inquired, her tone soft as butter, but Jamie knew she was dead-serious.
“Yes, mom, it is. Sorry, but I am the mayor of Windenburg and I have a pregnant daughter … he already … defiled her once before and .. no I cannot risk my reputation, my daughter’s or our safety. Averie agrees. Sorry mom.”
“All right. Your father and I happen to believe in second chances, don’t we Declan? Your cousin Blaine had a few rough spots, we took him in several times and straightened the boy out, and he turned out lovely. So, you are coming with us, Jay. We’ll talk to the police and see what’s going on, if it can’t be helped you at least will have a place to go when you get released. One of our grandsons, Eric, happens to be a detective, so I am sure Eric can figure out what to do. We have a guestroom, all yours, if you do not mind the toddler bed in there for when Blaine and Scarlett’s little one stays over.”
“MOM!” Jamie exclaimed.
“Uh .. Rory .. are you sure about that?” wondered Averie.
“I am sorry, was I not clear? I felt like I was speaking clear English. Yes, I am very serious. On that note, come on, ahem .. Jay. Is that your full name or is it a nickname?”
“No, Jay is pretty much it. Jay Randalls. And I didn’t always look like this. The fire that killed Elliott got me too. Just not like him … I tried to help him, but …” Jay was clearly affected.
“There, there. I am sure it will all heal and you will be as good as new, and I am certain you tried everything you could to save Elliott. Declan, come on honey, we need to get home to get this young man set up and call Eric for advice, maybe Liam too for some legal council. You come with us, Mr. Jay Randalls. Bye Jamie and Averie.” Rory turned, and both Declan and Jay followed her without resistance.
“MOM… dad?!” Jamie called after them.
“We will have a talk – LATER!” Rory called back angrily without even turning around.
“You heard your mother! Later.” Declan called back, also without turning back.
“Jamie, let it go. Your parents are no fools.” Averie tried.
“No fools … no. But they have hearts of gold. Avie, that guy is a known criminal. I have seen the rep sheet and it’s cringeworthy, well beyond stealing a candy bar. Serious stuff! Liam doesn’t like him much and you know, our son reads people like open books. I don’t want my parents murdered in their sleep. I need to do something!”
“Jamie … let it go. They will not listen to you now anyway and there is nothing you can do. It’s their home, and they can invite whomever they want.”
Two months later Jay had been released from prison after only one week, thanks to Eric and Liam. Jay was now living at the Lake House with Declan and Rory, like one of their sons and grandchildren, he had a firm list of chores to fulfill daily and was reprimanded when he failed. Still, he seemed to blossom quickly. But above all had he started working at Cameron Enterprises, the company Jamie still owned, alongside of being the mayor of Windenburg. Abigail had an office for her interior design work there too, so she would help take Jay under her wing. Since he had no proper training, he was assigned only simple tasks, mostly janitorial, he was strong as an oxen and he preferred to stay in the background, since his healing burn scars were giving him a rather rugged appearance generating stares which made him uncomfortable.
Jay seemed to feel connected to his late brother’s unborn triplets, and desperate for a real chance for redemption, which Rory and Declan were giving him now. Even Abby was almost polite to him again, thanks to Rory and Declan’s carefully orchestrated dinners at their home. Jamie relaxed, after a long talk with his father. Maybe everyone deserved a chance, and like it or not, Jay was already related and Camerons always prided themselves in never leaving any of their own behind.