Chapter 10-Then I See Your Face And It's Hard To Fake It

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The sun shone brightly through the windows of Reba's car one hot summer afternoon on her way to pick up dinner for the kids. Kyra had band camp almost every day, and Jake had taken up football, which meant camp all day, every day. So, she had nominated poor Van to drop them off in their respective places each morning and take them home in the afternoon.

Reba cursed silently, as her weak sunglasses and pounding headache that had been there for six continuous weeks were not helping matters. She swore on the sixth week of her drinking binge that she would at least get takeout for her family every night. Even if the hangover was still present in the late afternoon.

She sighed as she pulled into a space in the parking lot of the grocery store. Getting out of the car, Reba ran her thin fingers through her now neck-length hair and smoothed out her black Nike dry-fit pants and white Nike sleeveless workout top. Since her drinking days had started, she had gone to the back of her closet to the lounge around clothes. Granted they were actually meant for working out, but maybe this way, Cheyenne would get of her case about getting out of the house if she thought her mother looked dressed for fitness.

Walking in the store, Reba headed for the prepared foods section, mind already choosing what to get. She settled on a rotisserie chicken and then chose three sides that everyone would like. As Reba hurriedly picked up the last side of macaroni and cheese, she notices her thin arm, and then her slimming waist and stomach while she brushes up against the buggy in her once form-fitting clothes.

She sighs, realizing for the first time just how much weight she had lost. She knew she hadn't been eating 3 meals a day, but filling those meal times with liquor. After her divorce, she had lost quite a bit of weight with the depression and shock, but she hadn't turned to the bottle. No, this time was different. Reba know knew what this was doing to her body. She knew this was the lowest she'd ever been in her life. Having love just in her heart's reach, but unable to do anything more was killing her.

Shaking off the teary-eyed feeling in aisle two of the grocery store, she turns her buggy around, only to have the same tears return again. There he was, standing at the opposite end of the aisle, staring at her. His ex-wife.

"Damn you, Brock." The fiery red head cursed under her breath, as she did nothing but stand still. They were both frozen in time. It had been six long weeks. Six weeks since they had touched one another.

Brock was too caught up in his beautiful ex-wife to move, say nothing of speak. He just stood there with his mouth open. He couldn't believe how thin she was. He had never seen her that thin. Ever. Much less in Nike gear. This showed off everything, including how much she hadn't been eating. He guessed she'd been drinking too, considering the red, puffy cheeks and eyes. Her eyes...Cheyenne had mentioned they were dull, but this? His eyes moved to Reba's hair which was long, but just the right length...but it had lost it's fire. It broke his heart, right there in aisle two.

Reba was trying not to stare at Brock, darting her eyes away. She was trying to put him in the dream she'd had weeks ago, however, it wasn't fitting...yet. But she still caught a full glimpse of his voluptuous blonde hair. It had grown over his ears and was almost over his blue eyes since the last day they were together. His eyes, she could tell from far away, had been bloodshot for quite some time. He hadn't shaved in a couple of weeks, as the more than five oclock shadow graced his soft features. Upon glancing into his small shopping basket, she found all the proof she needed that he was just as miserable as she was: two cases of Heineken and two bottles of Jack Daniel's. Once again, their eldest child was correct.

"Hi, Brock." She was the first to make the move, as she edged toward him down the short aisle.

"Uhm, Hi, Reba..." Brock was obviously still shaken by her appearance. He halfway recovered in an instant, though, "Wh-What are you doing here?"

"Just came to pick up dinner for the kids." Her eyes finally shifted upward. "You?" Dumb question, Reba...

"Oh, ahh...well. I-uhh, ran out of uhm...Hell, I ran out of liquor." He finally admits why he's at the store in the early evening, as she already knows.

"Oh, well okay." She observes his shaking hand run through the thick lockes of blondeish hair. Easily one of his nervous habits, Reba thought. A moment of awkward silence follows. Reba breaks it. "Well I guess I better get this home before it gets cold..." the statement hangs in the air as Brock finally gets her drift.

"Oh, uh, yeah sure. Of course." He's stammering. Shifting his weight as she goes to push her buggy, he steps in front of it. Reba knew it was coming, sooner or later.

"Brock, come on. Don't do this," She looks upward, relying on God to get her through this one. Her hands gripped the cart tighter, while he lightly pushed on the edge of it.

"Reba, I just wanna talk..." She reluctantly stays put. Silence follows, again.

"Well, talk, or I'm leaving!" Her patience was already in shambles.

"I miss you!" It came out suddenly. His love's face was one of confusion and exhaustion. But Brock didn't stop.

"I miss you, okay. I miss you, and I love you and I still want you!" Brock's shopping basket had long since abandoned his hands, which were now animatedly floating in the air.

"No. No, you can't. We can't do this Brock! Not here, not ever, okay? We would be hurting everyone!" She hisses, not even feeling the tears falling from her fragile face.

"We are hurting everyone, honey! But most importantly, we're hurting ourselves!" He is full on yelling, and doesn't even care. However, he sees her look and tones it down a notch.

"Look, Reba, you and me belong together, okay? Four years ago was a mistake and I don't give a damn about BJ and what she thinks about us!" He takes a breath. "I've been drowning myself for weeks now in this booze, and I think you have too."

"We tried, Brock. We tried, but BJ and your son do matter in this! And whatever I put into my body is none of your business!" Reba's index finger accusingly stretches out to his face. She's even yelling now, concern of others opinions not in her head.

"Well..You haven't been eating!" Brock searches for something to say.

"And that is none of your business either!" Defense mode is in the red head, but she doesn't deny his accusation.

"Look at yourself! You're as thin as a rail! You can't keep doing this to yourself...everyone's concerned. I've never seen you this way before, sweetheart." Brock shows true concern and it scares Reba. She does the one thing she knows how to do: run. But she forgets that Brock knows her moves. He's known her moves for over twenty-five years. He steps closer to her.

"Don't run from this, Reba. Just let me in. Please." He begs, seeing the scared look in her eyes. She hears desperation in his soft voice.

Despite the desperation, in the quietest voice she chokes out the whispered words, "I can't. Do this." Brock knows he's pushing her. "I have to go. I'm sorry." His hands fall from the cart while she escapes his questioning. Brock's eyes follow the downward motion of his hands as he stands there, stuck in time.

She blazes past onlookers to the checkout lane, and stops for a second at the incap of an aisle, picking up a bottle of grey goose, not even considering what she was doing. Practically throwing the money at the clerk, Reba hurries to her car before anyone can say anything to her. Finally in the driver's seat, she lets every tear fall, sobbing over her ex-husband's words. Why is this so hard?

It doesn't have to be.

She knew that voice. God was trying to get her attention. She had been pondering that dream or vision for weeks, but right now, all she wanted to do was numb the pain at home, alone, with the bottle of vodka she had in the seat next to her.

When Reba made her way to the front door of her home, she took a steady breath and wiped away the tears. Nodding her head ever so slightly, telling herself to buck up, she enters into the home. The kids were sitting on the couch, still sweaty from their practices. Using her rehearsed 'everything's okay' voice, she told them she was tired and was going to bed early. But she still held the plastic bag that contained the vodka before she went up to bed.

Kyra and Jake watched her ascend the stairs, slowly and then looked towards the kitchen table where their mom had placed the bags of food.

"Was that vodka she had in that bag?" The innocent young boy's face said it all. He was concerned for his mother and didn't understand why she was so depressed. He was ten, but understood enough of the situation between his mother and father to know things were not good.

"Yeah.." Kyra confesses, not covering for her adult mother anymore. A ten year old shouldn't know what vodka looked like. She answers his silent question, "She'll be okay, Jake. Comewatcher can watch a movie while we eat." Kyra is too busy deciding if her own words of her mother are true, to worry about what the boy thought at the moment. As Jake expresses his excitement, Kyra makes a move.

"Jake, you pick the movie. I'll be back in a minute." Krya knocks on the door, but doesn't wait for her mother to give permission to enter.

"Mom?" The young girl questions. Not getting a response, she edges into the room, finding her forty five year old mom sitting against the headboard on the bed, holding the bottle of vodka. She was staring off into space, eight hundred thousand miles away from her daughter and everything else that used to mean the world to her.

"Mom? Hello..?" She moves to the left side of the bed, noting the bottle was already a fourth empty. Growing frustrated Kyra practically yells, "Mom!"

Reba jumps in the bed, looking at the source of her interruption. "Oh, Kyra. What is it?" Her words are only somewhat slurred, as she's learned to handle her alcohol. But her daughter knows she's somewhere else.

"Nothing...I just-wanted to make sure you were okay?" There was nothing Kyra wanted more than to chew out her own mother, throw a full on temper tantrum right here, in her mother's bedroom. But, the second she had walked into that room, she knew she couldn't be the one to do that. So, she formed her anger into genuine concern.

"Ohh, honey I'm fine!" Reba sniffs back the running nose, and any tear stains are wiped from her eyes. She sounds happier, but anyone who knew her would know it's a front.

"Are you sure, Mom?"

"Yes, I'm okay." Reba pats her girl's arm reassuringly. In all seriousness, she tells her daughter, "Thank you for looking out for me, Kyra. This hasn't been easy for me or for you kids either, but you've really come through for me. And I promise this whole thing won't last much longer. I just need to, ah, pull myself together."

"You're welcome." Her façade is one of pity for her mother as she pats the older Hart woman's hand, and then edges towards the bedroom door.

"Kyra?" Stopping as she reaches the open door, she turns her innocent 15 year old body to her mother. "I love you. And tell Jake I love him too…" Reba has one simple request that puts hope in her middle child's heart.

"Sure Mom. I love you, too." The younger redhead shakes her head sadly as she silently closes her mother's door, leaving the older redhead to her thoughts of depression, with an odd mix of hope.

End of Chapter 10

Thanks for reading, y'all! Hope you're enjoying: so special shout out to me new readers! Hang with me: I'm planning great things for this story, but I wanna hear what you want to see out of it. Hope everyone has a great Labor Day weekend! Oh and Roll Tide y'all!

Romans 5:3-4
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope
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