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Wait Chapter Twelve: Overwhelmed with Guilt

Mandy woke up with her heart beating fast. Yet another nightmare had plagued her sleep. If it continued, she was going to have to see a doctor who specialized in sleep issues. This one, however, had every right to be considered a nightmare, not just a weird dream.

“It was freezing out,” Mandy wrote in her dream journal. “I was wearing a black hoodie, black skinny jeans, and my black Converse. In fact, my entire outfit, including my nails and eyeshadow were black. I was standing on one of the old shipping piers near Jeremy’s condo. I don’t know what I was doing there. I could hear the rush of the salt water below the dock. From the amount of spray hitting me, I had to be standing dangerously close to the edge. I turned my head, my hair sliding back across my face. Someone was calling out my name. “Mandy!’ the voice yelled at me. “Mandy, don’t do this!” My vision cleared and I could see who was talking to me. It was Jeremy. He took a few steps toward me. “Mandy, whatever is wrong, we can talk this out together. We can get you help.” I took a few steps toward the end of the pier. “No,” I told him as I could see my uncles, fear written all over their faces, standing a few feet behind him. “I can’t go back. I won’t go back.” I took a step back and felt the air beneath my foot. I leaned backward and fell off the pier and into the frigid water. The last thing I remember is opening my mouth and passing out.” Mandy shook her head. Was she trying to commit suicide in her dream? That was something she had never planned on doing. Even with her depression, she had always loved life. No, if God decided to plague her dreams with visions of the future, she was going to want to rip her brain out so she wouldn’t have to see them anymore. She got ready for another day of school. It was the beginning of finals and she had to focus herself on that, not what her mind was doing to her. She left to wait in the lobby for Jeremy before her uncles came out of their bedrooms. “We have to tell her,” Jack told Chris. “We are responsible for her father’s death. She needs to know we never intended anything to happen to him and that it was a complete accident.” Chris sighed and rubbed his head. “Ok, fine. We’ll tell her tonight before we head into work. I have been overwhelmed with as much guilt as you have about this.”

Mandy sat at a computer library, putting the finishing touches on her Life report. She read over it one more time, made any final changes, and printed it off. She put the report in her binder. She had taken most of her finals that day, since the teachers wanted all of the seniors to have a pretty easy week before graduation. She decided to drop the report off at Mr. Lombardi’s room, since he had declared that report to be their final for his class. After she gave her report to Mr. Lombardi, she walked to her locker and got her backpack. Jeremy had planned on taking her somewhere after his final soccer practice of the season, so she had stayed in the library after school to finish her report. She walked to the front of the school and waited for Jeremy to come out of the gym. He saw her and quietly walked up behind her. He kissed her on the cheek, making her blush and smile. She turned and kissed him on his cheek. Now, Jeremy was the one blushing. She had never kissed him before. Mandy wasn’t even sure why she had done that. But it made her feel better. He wrapped her into his arms and just held her tight. He really wished he could just propose and marry her right now. But he knew he couldn’t. “Ready for me to take you to a secret location?” Jeremy asked her. “What are you, my kidnapper?” she asked. “Just kidding. I’m ready for the big surprise.” Jeremy opened the car door for Mandy and helped her inside. When he got in his seat, he told Mandy, “It’s not really a surprise. I just want to know what to get you for your birthday.” Mandy nodded. “So you’re taking me to a store to help you know what I want, instead of going through Alex to get info on me.” Jeremy gained a look of panic on his face. Did she know he was going to propose? The look was wiped away when Mandy told him that she was just kidding. “You probably call her to find out what I want, since I always tell her everything, including my ring size. She told me she wanted us to get new purity rings together. I knew she needed my left ring size for it.” Jeremy nodded. “She doesn’t know,” he thought. “I have to blindfold you until we get there, ok?” he asked. Mandy nodded and Jeremy tied the blindfold around her eyes. He could see the huge smile on her face. He started the car and drove away to his surprise place.

Jeremy drove into the parking lot and shut off the car. He got out, opened Mandy’s car door for her, helped her out of the car, and walked toward the building. He stood in front of the store and untied Mandy’s blindfold. “You can open your eyes now,” he told her. Mandy opened them and nearly screamed. They were standing in front of Jared Macyelle’s Jewelry store. It was the most world-renowned and exquisite jewelry store in the whole city. “Let’s go inside,” Jeremy said, taking Mandy’s hand and leading her inside the store.

“Oh, Jeremy! You shouldn’t have taken me here!” Mandy told him as they walked past the displays. “I should have,” he told her, kissing on the cheek. He was acting like he wasn’t going anywhere in particular, while he was actually heading toward the engagement rings section. Mandy spotted a locket in a display case and went over to look at it. It was silver and shaped like a heart. Jeremy read the description. “You can put two pictures in it, and inscribe some words on both sides.” Mandy just stared at the locket. “It is so beautiful,” she said. Jeremy made a mental note to also buy that for her with his own money. They moved on, occasionally looking at other pieces until they reached the ring section. “I think it is high time I replaced that ring of yours with a new one,” Jeremy explained. “But I like my old one,” Mandy replied, looking at the ring. “You can keep that one and hang it on a chain around your neck. I really want to get you a new one that you will have picked out yourself,” he told her. Mandy smiled and kissed him on the cheek again. “Sure,” she said. She started to scan the cases, looking at each ring carefully before moving onto the next. After looking at 15 rings, Mandy stopped and stared at one that had caught her eye. It was white gold, with a single large diamond in the center. On the edge of the ring were many small red diamonds. You could put an inscription on the inside of the ring. “That is perfect,” Mandy said, pointing at the ring. “I would want this as my engagement ring.” Jeremy took a quick look at Mandy’s face. She was in awe and absolutely mesmerized by the ring. “I’m going to go look at some other rings over there,” Mandy said, letting go of Jeremy's hand and walking over to a different display case. As soon as she was out of earshot, Jeremy quickly spoke to the salesman. “I would like that ring in a size 6, please,” he said. The salesman nodded. “A gift for her birthday?” he asked Jeremy. Jeremy began to blush. “N-n-no, actually,” he stuttered. “I plan on proposing to her since we have been dating for two years now. I just can't picture life without her.” He let his gaze wander over to Mandy, who was examining other pieces of jewelry. He turned back to the salesman. “You better keep her around forever if you love her this much at this age,” he said. He left to get the ring. Meanwhile, Jeremy walked over to Mandy. “See anything else you would like?” he asked in a British accent. Mandy laughed. “Yes, actually” she replied, pointing to a similar locket as the one they had seen earlier. “It looks exactly like the locket my dad gave my mom for when I was born.” Jeremy flagged a different attendant down to where they were standing. “What can you tell me about that locket?” The attendant looked down. “Oh yes, this is a locket that someone gave us about 16 years ago. I can't remember who brought it in.” He took it out of the display case and flipped it over. “Let's see... Oh, here it is. The necklace was bought on June 15th, 1992 by a husband for his expecting wife. He brought it back in July of that same year. He said his wife had died a few days after giving birth to his daughter. It was put on display so anyone could have a similar one made.” “Who bought it?” Jeremy asked. “A Mark Watson,” the man replied. “He said his daughter's name was Mandy.” Mandy's jaw dropped. Jeremy noticed tears welling up in her eyes. “Is it...?” Jeremy asked. Mandy could only nod. “That's the locket my dad gave my mom when I was born,” she said, holding back the tears. The man took one look at Mandy and said, “You're Mandy? The man told me that if his daughter ever came in here, I was to give it to her, free of charge.” Mandy looked up and let a few tears fall. “Thank you,” she told him. The man removed the original box from the display case and handed the locket to Jeremy. Mandy lifted her curls off of the back of her neck as Jeremy put the locket on. The salesman handed Mandy the box and nodded, walking off to help another customer. Jeremy walked around to face Mandy and wiped the few remaining tears off her face. “I never thought I would be able to find it,” Mandy said. Jeremy pulled her into a hug. He looked up and saw the other sales attendant hold up a bag containing the engagement ring. “Keep looking,” Jeremy told her. He walked back and took the bag from the salesman, hiding it inside his jacket pocket. He handed the man the money Chris and Jack had given him. The man counted the money and wished Jeremy a good day. He walked back over to Mandy, who had been looking in a mirror farther down the row, gazing at the locket. “Let's go,” he told Mandy. They walked out of the building and back to Jeremy's car, driving off into the sunny afternoon.





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