Excerpt from Buried Lies, Surface by Casey Bell
On a warm day in March the past of many lives resurface and a family has to finally face the harsh reality of the truth. Sarah is in the den of a beautiful big home in the suburb of Bridge Way, NJ. Sarah is a nineteen year old who lives with her parents Gregory and Madeline Dawson. She is setting up the den for a party to take place within thirty minutes. She has decorated the room and has a ray of food and refreshments on a table. As she continues to work Madeline enters the den,
“Wow, Sarah, you did a pretty good job by yourself. What time did you get started?”
Sarah looks at her watch,
“About an hour ago.”
“Do you really need all this food?”
“No, but I figured it’s better to have more than enough than not enough.”
“So, did Kenneth tell who he invited, because he failed to tell me?”
Sarah ignoring the question,
“Do you think I should put the drinks out now or later? I was afraid that they might get too warm.”
“Later, I guess. So, who did your brother invite to this part?”
“Maybe I should bring them out now, I mean we don’t want them to be too cold, besides we do have ice.”
“Sarah, are you avoiding the question?”
“What do you mean?”
“I asked you a question, twice, and you keep talking about these drinks, as if they are that important.”
“I’m sorry; I am just trying to be a good host. What was the question?”
“Did Kenny tell you who he was inviting?”
“Why, didn’t he tell you?”
“No, Sarah. If he did I wouldn’t be asking you; now tell me, who does your brother have coming to my home?”
“Mother, Kenny told me not to tell you okay. He has my word.”
“He has your word? I’m your mother and your word to your brother means more than that?”
“Mom, I promised him I wouldn’t tell.”
“Alright, that’s okay, I only carried you for nine months and took care of you and this is the thanks I get.”
“Thank you mom.”
Madeline leaves the room; Gregory walks through the door,
“Hey, Sarah this place is beautiful.”
“She just went upstairs.”
“Oh, what time is Kenny coming over?”
“He should be here in about thirty minutes. Jillian should be here soon as well.”
“Why is Jillian coming over?”
“Kenny invited her.”
“Wow, this must be some big announcement. Well, I’ll be upstairs washing up and getting ready. Call me when he gets here.”
Sarah goes into the kitchen to get the drinks, the door bell rings. Sarah runs to the door, opens it and screams with joy. She grabs Jillian with a big hug. She then hugs Matthew James.
“I haven’t seen you guys in a while. How is everything?”
“I am doing well, thanks for asking. And how are you?”
“I am much better now that you are here.”
Referring to Matthew
“M.J. look at you, you’ve gotten taller since I’ve seen you last. You are growing up to be one handsome man. How old are you now?”
“I’m ten yeas old.”
“Oh, my gosh I feel so old.”
“So where are your parents?”
“They’re both upstairs getting ready. So have a seat, and eat anything you want. This special reception was prepared by yours truly.”
“It’s beautiful. So, what’s this big announcement your brother has?”
“I don’t know, he wouldn’t say. He did tell me who he invited. He said he wanted the most important people in his life to be here for his announcement. Guess who else is coming?”
“Matthew, Jillian. Matthew Jacobs.”
“Are you serious? You have to be kidding.”
“No, Kenny told me that he invited him and that he is actually coming.”
“I don’t believe this. How long has it been?”
She looks at M.J.,
“How could you forget?”
“Right, you know when I had M.J. all I could hear Matthew say was, I told you so. I never had the guts to tell him.”
“How could you, he left so fast and didn’t tell anyone where he was going.”
“I knew where he was going. It’s just by the time I tried to call him he had left.”
“Where did he go?”
“He went to Michigan to live with his aunt and uncle.”
“I never understood why he didn’t stay with his parents.”
“He told me he couldn’t stay in this town any longer, and his parents didn’t want to leave, so, he left.”
There’s a short silence in the room. Sarah breaks it,
“Did you believe him.”
Jillian thinks trying to answer,
“I really don’t know. It was a very difficult situation. It must have been hard on you. I know this is a stupid question, but, did you believe him?”
“Believe it or not I believed him. I know it’s hard to believe it, being the situation I am in, but Matthew never lied to me, so I had to believe him.”
Another silence crosses the room, Sarah breaks it again;
“So, M.J. what grade are you in now?”
“I’m in the fifth grade.”
“I don’t believe it. You were in the third grade the last time I saw you. Has it been two years already?” Madeline enters the room.
“Is that Jillian?”
“Yes it is. How are you?”
“I am doing just fine.”
“Oh my goodness I don’t believe it, is this little M.J., he’s getting bigger by the minute. So, how is everything? It is so good to see you. So, how long has it been?”
“About two years now, everything is fine.”
“Well, I am so happy to hear that. Well, Sarah I see you haven’t brought out the drinks yet. I’ll be in the kitchen.”
“Did you need help?”
“Oh, no thank you Jillian, sit back and relax.”
“Oh, come on momma Dawson let M.J. help you out.”
“Well, okay. Come on M.J. I just don’t believe how big you’ve gotten.”
They exit to the kitchen.
“Your mother hasn’t changed a bit.”
“Tell me about it.”
“I’m surprised though.”
“Surprised about what?”
“That she would let Matthew in her house. You know how much she hated him.”
“According to her she didn’t hate him, she just disliked him. And she doesn’t know he’s coming. She didn’t even know you were coming.”
“Oh, why didn’t Kenny tell her?”
“I don’t know. He just didn’t want her to know anything.”
“So, Matthew is coming over and she doesn’t know?”
“Yeah, that’s pretty sums it up.”
“This can’t be good.”
Madeline and M.J. enter the room with a tray of drinks.
“Sarah, you were right, it was a good thing you left the drinks in there. Now they are nice and cold.”
Gregory enters the room.
Jillian runs to him, they hug.
“Jillian, how are you doing?”
“I’m doing fine. You remember M.J.?”
“Oh, wow, when did he get so tall? Do you remember me M.J.?”
M.J. nods yes.
“Well, of course you do.”
Gregory picks him up.
“Whoa, you’re getting too heavy for the old man.” He places him down, the door bell rings. Madeline responds,
“I wonder who that is.”
“It’s probably Kenny”, replies Gregory.
Sarah and Jillian look at each other, Sarah then opens the door.
“Oh, my gosh.”
She embraces Matthew and begins to cry.
“It is so good to see you. Well, how are you? I haven’t seen you in ten years and you don’t speak to me.”
“Exactly Sarah, what am I supposed to say?”
“Well, you could start with hello.”
“Hi, Sarah, it’s good to see you too.”
Madeline walks towards the door,
“Who is at the door?”
“Hi, Mrs. Dawson.”
“Matthew? What are you doing here?”
“Mother could say hello first.”
“Hello Matthew, what are you doing here?”
“Mother, he’s a guest alright. Kenny invited him.”
“This is why he didn’t want me to know.”
She walks away from the door. Sarah responds,
“I don’t believe it, ten years later and she is still upset. I’m sorry Matthew.”
“It’s okay Sarah.”
“Well, come in. There’s someone I want you to meet.”
Sarah and Matthew walk in the den. Jillian runs towards Matthew and embraces him.
“Matthew, it’s so good to see you. Look at you.”
She looks at him then she hugs him again.
“I don’t believe this. I am so happy to see you.” “Hey, Matthew, whoa, long time, no see.”
“Hey, papa Dawson. It’s good to see you again.”
They hug. Gregory responds,
“Wow, this is something. It’s like a reunion. Now all we need is Kenny.”
Sarah walks over to Matthew.
“Remember I told you I wanted you to meet someone.
She walks toward M.J.
“Matthew this is Matthew, Jillian’s son. We call him M.J. though, because his middle name is James.”
Matthew shakes his hand.
“It’s nice to meet you M.J.”
“It’s nice to meet you too Matthew.”
“How old are you M.J.?”
Matthew looks at Jillian, she hangs her head.
“Wow, that’s great, that’s beautiful.”
She lifts her head up.
“You look just like your mother. You have your father’s eyes.”
Jillian looks at Matthew in confusion.
“You know my dad?”
“Yeah, your parents and I went to school together.”
The door bell rings, Sarah runs to the door in excitement, she opens it, she embraces Kenneth,
“Kenny, it’s so good to see you.”
She hugs Darryl,
“Hey D, how are you?”
“I’m doing just fine.”
Sarah looks at Kenneth,
“Come on in, everyone is here.”
She stares in his eyes,
“Everyone.” He walks past her leaving Darryl at the door; they follow him in the den.
“Matthew”, Kenneth cries.
Matthew turns around and runs to him. They embrace. Everyone looks on, Gregory breaks the silence,
“Come on; share the love.
Kenneth responds, he hugs Gregory, then Madeline,
“Mom, it’s so good to see you.
Jillian walks towards him, they embrace,
“Jillian, how are you?”
He walks towards M.J.
“Is this little Matthew?”
He hugs him,
“Hey, M.J. you got so tall. You all remember Darryl right?”
They all agree and say hi to Darryl. Matthew responds,
“No, I don’t remember him.”
“That’s because I haven’t seen you in like ten years. This is Darryl, he’s my partner.”
Matthew shakes Darryl’s hand,
“It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“So, what’s this big announcement you couldn’t make over the phone?”
“Everyone, take a seat.”
Darryl stands next to Kenneth.
“After some consideration and much talking and thinking, Darryl and I have decided to get married.”
A silence has hit the room, after a few seconds Jillian speaks,
“Thank you Jill. Well, what does everyone else think?”
“How are you guys getting married?”
“What do you mean mom, the same way you and dad did.”
“I think what she means is how, being that you both are men.”
“We’re getting married in Massachusetts, where it’s allowed.”
“So, are you going to do that like, now?”
“No, we’re getting married four months from now.”
“Four months, isn’t that a bit fast with the wedding arrangements and all?”
“Everything is set; we’ve been planning it for the past two months.”
“How are you going to get everyone to go all the way to Massachusetts? Air fair is not cheap.”
“The people we are inviting won’t mind going?”
“Oh, really, I’m sorry son, but I am not paying over a thousand dollars to go to some God forsaken place and see my son get married to a man.”
“Mom, chill out, I’m paying for the plane tickets, and it’s not even close to a thousand dollars.”
“Son, no. What are you trying to do to me, put me in an early grave? I put up long enough with this game you’re playing. I accepted your little boy toy here, but I am not accepting marriage. That is out of the question.”
“Mother please we have guest.”
“What is your point in saying that Sarah? Huh?”
“All I am saying is keep your composure. This is supposed to be a happy occasion.”
“What is so happy about this occasion? I got my son here, who I haven’t seen in about six months pull a fast one on me. He invites people to my house without letting me know. Jillian I don’t mind, but.” Sarah interrupts,
“Mother please don’t do this.”
“Don’t do what Sarah? I’m going to my room.”
She leaves the room.
“I’m going to go check on her and see if everything’s okay. Congratulations son, congratulations Darryl.”
Gregory leaves the room. Sarah responds,
“Well she ruined another occasion. I’m sorry guys.”
“No need to apologize”,
Looking at Kenneth,
“Someone should have warned every one of what this was all about ahead of time.”
“I don’t understand, I thought she was happy for me and Darryl.”
“She’s not upset about you and Darryl. You should have told her Matthew was coming.” Matthew responds,
“You didn’t tell her I was coming?”
“Why are you surprised? You saw how she treated you at the door.”
“I thought she was just treating me that way on purpose. I honestly did not think she wasn’t aware of my coming here. Kenny, what were you thinking?”
“Matthew, I haven’t seen you for a long time. I wanted you to share my joy. You were…you are my best friend. If I told her you were coming she wouldn’t have let you in. I needed to see you.”
“Well, what do we do now?”
“Well, we might as well eat. I didn’t prepare all this food for nothing.”
After an hour of eating and communing Sarah begins to clean the kitchen.
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