No ‘Moore’ Mess- Chapter Fifteen (Serial Version)

Chapter Fifteen- Mary Moore Meets The Future Mrs. Jackie Neeley

“Dave, is that you?”

“If it isn’t Little Jackie.”

It was Jackie’s estranged older brother, Dave Neeley. Dave had been out drinking and skirt-chasing with some former high school friends. He was searching for a little night time companionship when he stumbled upon Jackie. He saw Mary as she raced to her taxi.

“I noticed you still have a way of making the women run away from you.”

Jackie wished he would have gone with Mary to the hospital. There before Jackie stood her sibling, Dave. The two had never gotten along. Dave teased Jackie constantly while they were growing up. She hated it and him.

“Been a long time.”

“Not long enough.”

The late movie at the local theater was letting out. There was little chance that Dave would be dumb enough to physically attack Jackie in front of witnesses.

“I saw that woman kissing and loving on you. Boy, she looked kinda familiar. I can’t quite place her, but I’m sure I will.”

Jackie shifted and squirmed. She let out a deep sigh. Dave caught her, but she figured Dave knew nothing about her engagement. Jackie played it off as no big deal. That was her first mistake.

“So what?”

“Funny, she certainly didn’t look like that pretty little fiancée of yours.”

“How did you know about that?”

“I saw it in the newspaper a couple of weeks ago, the society page. Popular, aren’t we, Little Jackie?”

“Something like that.”

When Lauren’s father found out about the pregnancy, he made a beeline to the press to make sure Jackie was right by his daughter even if the baby was via a clinic. Jackie’s wealth made her an easy target for the local media.

It was the whole reason Jackie had gone to Mary’s ring shop. People wondered how they could be engaged “without a ring,” but that problem would have to wait. Jackie had to deal with her least favorite person.

Jackie spent his entire childhood trading insults with Dave. He often got the best of his younger sister. This time Jackie was ready to fire back. That was her second mistake.

“You can read? I had no idea. It’s a miracle. Dumb Old Dave can read.”

“Watch your mouth, Little Jackie.”

“I wonder what she would think about your friend?”

Dave’s life was tough. He had been married four times. He was on and off unemployment and welfare on multiple occasions. Times were always tough for him.

“And what’s that supposed to mean? Is that a threat?”

“You take it as you like. You’re the one sitting in the hot seat.”

Jackie slumped, and she shook her head. She knew what transpired with Mary was wrong. There was going to be a price to pay for her indiscretions. That was Jackie’s third mistake.

“I see.”

“I hope so. It would be a shame for that fiancée of yours to get a phone call.”

“A phone call?”

“Yes. She might be interested to know what you are up to with your new friend.”

“You A-hole.”


“Sorry, Dave.”

“That’s better. How much do you have on you?”


“Duh! Life ain’t free and neither is my silence.”

Jackie took out her wallet, and she flipped through it. Jackie knew it was never going to be enough for her money-grubbing brother. Dave put a finger and shook his potato-shaped head.

“A couple hundred?”

“That’s not going to be nearly enough to keep this big mouth shut.”

“How much do you want?”


“Done. Not a word to anyone about what you saw here tonight. Got it?”

“Got it. And now for the cash Little Jackie.”

The pair went to a nearby ATM and Jackie withdrew the money. They walked back to the open street. Jackie shoved the stack of bills into Dave’s outstretched hand.

“Take it. And let this be the last time.”

“Thanks, Little Jackie. A pleasure doing business with you, dear sister.”

Dave gestured to some trashy-looking hookers standing on the street corner. They came quickly to him. Dave flashed his cash and the three of them caught a taxi to parts unknown.

Jackie knew once Dave’s misbegotten windfall ran out, he would be back for more. Her dear older brother would never keep his mouth shut about what he saw. She had to tell Lauren the truth.

Jackie hoped she would forgive her, but Jackie’s absolution would have to wait. It was late, and she went home. The next day Jackie went over to Lauren’s house. She was busy leafing through a bridal magazine. Lauren was surprised to see Jackie.

“You usually call first. What’s up?”

“Sorry about that. My cellphone’s dead or broken.”

That was a lie. The truth was Jackie didn’t want to chicken out telling Lauren the truth about last night with her ex-wife. Lauren was oblivious to his crisis of conscience.

“There’s an outlet over there if you want to try and charge it, sweetheart.”

“Thanks. Maybe later.”

“Okay. But what do you think about this color for your tuxedo?”

Lauren opened the magazine and pointed to a dark olive green, double breasted suit. Jackie’s mind wandered. Lauren saw she was not paying attention to her would-be-bride.

“Are you listening to me?”

“That’s a nice one. Whatever you want, honey.”

Lauren had not known Jackie as long as Mary had, but she realized something was tormenting her future wife. She closed the magazine and looked at Jackie. Lauren offered her lover a fresh strawberry doughnut.

“Do you want to talk about it?”

Jackie’s shoulders sank, and she let out a long sigh. She closed her eyes, and Jackie swallowed hard. She put her uneaten pastry down, and Jackie sat in the chair next to her future bride.

“Not really. But I suppose.”

“You suppose what?”

“There’s no choice.”

Lauren’s cheerful expression turned dower. Jackie knew there was no turning back now. It was time to clear her conscience. Jackie let it all out for Lauren to hear.

“I bumped into an old friend yesterday.”

“That’s all?”

“Not exactly. It was a woman.”

Lauren laughed. She knew Jackie had many girls over the years. Jackie annoyed her numerous times during the early days of their relationship recounting her past mistakes in relationships. She assumed this was one more bitter old flame.

“Did one of your old jilted lovers give you some trouble, you bad girl?”

Jackie could no longer beat around the bush. She blurted out the truth without even thinking. Lauren was not amused.

“It was Mary.”

“Your ex-wife Mary?”


Jackie blubbered for several minutes to Lauren how she ran into Mary at the jewelry store by accident. For old times’ sake, she met her for coffee after work. Mary had suggested they go to karaoke, and liquor got the better of them.

“But I swear. Nothing happened beyond some innocent flirting.”

“Is that the truth?”

Lauren was no fool. She knew more took place between Jackie and Mary for her to be coming to her with this. But Lauren let that pass.


“And you don’t still carry a torch for your ex-wife, right?”

Jackie looked Lauren square in the eyes, and with all her heart, Jackie told her how she truly felt. It was the most honest Jackie had ever been with a woman in her life. It felt good to be so straightforward.

“No, I did for years think of Mary. That affected my relationships with other women. But I have learned from my mistakes. I will not return to the miserable excuse for a partner I used to be.”

Lauren stood. She stared into Jackie’s eyes. She yearned for a glimpse into her soul. And after a minute, Lauren spoke.

“I believe you.”

“Thank you, Lauren.”

“But if you ever see or contact Mary again, we are done and I will end you. You get me?”

“Yes, my love.”

“No, I am your wife.”

The pair shared a deep kiss. It was followed by some passionate lovemaking between the two. Lauren was a kind and gentle soul. She loved Jackie, but it didn’t stop her from getting one more lighthearted jab at Jackie.

“That was great.”


“You weren’t too bad yourself, Jackie.”


“Kidding. Where’s this fantastic ring that caused all this drama? It must be something special.”

“It is. I almost forgot.”

Jackie jumped out of bed. She ran buck naked into the living room. She opened her briefcase to get the ring out. But the ring was gone.

She frantically searched her briefcase and pockets. It was not there. She was screwed. Jackie had no idea what she was going to tell Lauren.

“Are you making that ring in there?”

“Sorry, I’m coming.”

Lauren got bored of waiting and came out of the bedroom. She saw Jackie on her hands and knees. Lauren put her hands on her hips.

“What are you doing down there?”

“Nothing. Just forget it. I must have left the ring at my apartment.”

“No problem. Let’s go get it. Just let me throw some clothes on.”

Jackie panicked. She thought fast. Jackie told a little white lie. She hoped Lauren would forgive her later.

“I want this to be a memorable event. Why don’t you give me a few days to plan a special evening for us?”

“Really, it is okay. Let’s go now.”

“I insist. It will give me the chance to make up for all the trouble I caused.”

It took a little haggling and another round of passionate lovemaking, but Lauren finally conceded. Jackie solved one problem, but there was another. Her ex-wife was a jewel thief.

Jackie thought about calling Mary straight away, but he remembered Lauren’s warning. She was pissed to lose the ring more than the money. It was a beautiful ring. Lauren would love it. That is if Jackie got it from Mary.

She figured her ex-wife thought she deserved something extra after what Jackie had done to her years ago. Jackie could not blame her, but she could not understand why Mary carried on with her at the coffee-house and karaoke bar. Mary was more than willing to sleep with Jackie. It was a lot to do to steal a ring.

Several days passed. Jackie was getting up for the day when there was a knock at his door. She was in no mood for visitors.

“I don’t need no fruit loop religious nut today. Okay?”

The local church was notorious for early morning visits to “the houses of unbelievers and heathens.” Jackie shooed them away many times over the years. The knock at the door was incessant. Jackie gave up, and she opened the door. But Jackie wished she had not.

“I said, I don’t need — ”

“It’s you.”

“How’s it going?”

“Mary, I’m fine. But you shouldn’t be here. You have to go.”

Mary was confused. The last time they were together they were all over each other. And now, Jackie wanted her to leave.

“What’s up with your crappy attitude, babe?”

“Nothing. But you have to go.”

“Not until you tell me what happened.”

“I told Lauren. Everything.”

Mary paced as she stared at her pink and white tennis shoes. She looked at her ex-wife. Jackie knew Mary was disheartened to hear the truth.

“But what about us?”

“I’m sorry. But there is no us, Mary. There is only Lauren and me. That’s it.”

The ‘Moore’ anger smoldered and swelled inside of Mary. She smacked Jackie across the face. Jackie stumbled, but Mary was not done.

“You were going to screw me and leave me? Again. Nice.”

Jackie got quiet. That was not her intention at the time. She was confused by her feelings that night while drunk. In the light of sobriety, Jackie realized she was in love with Lauren.

“That night was a mistake, almost a big mistake.”

“A mistake?”

“You know, like the mistake you made in swiping my ring. You’re a thief.”

Mary turned several shades of red. She punched Jackie in the chest. Jackie fell backward from the impact.

“I have made missteps in my life. You are among them. But I’m not a thief.”

“You are! There is no ring in the box. You played me Mary. Shame on you.”

Mary pushed Jackie again. Her body convulsed with a rage Jackie never saw before in her life. Jackie took a step back from Mary to be safe.

“I didn’t steal your ring.”

“Look, it’s fine. But if you needed money, you could have asked me. If I could have it back, that would be great.”

“For the last time, I didn’t take your ring. Damnit!”

“You did.”

Jackie and Mary were consumed by their quarrel. They didn’t notice someone running up the stairs. The man stopped at the top of the staircase.

“What do we have here?”

The voice startled the angry pair. Jackie and Mary stopped arguing. They turned toward the figure. And they froze.

“Dave, what do you want? I sure don’t have time for your crap today.”

Dave rubbed his fingers together as he gave Jackie a glance. Dave let out a loud snort, and he shook his head. He raised a finger and pointed it at Jackie and Mary. And Dave mocked the pair.

“You’re screwing a woman again behind your future wife’s back. You’re a cold-hearted cheater Little Jackie. For shame.”

“You would know all about that, wouldn’t you Dave?”

Jackie had not forgotten what Dave did with her second wife. Dave held out his palm for his cash, but Jackie gave him the bad news. There would be no more money for Dave today.

“Lauren knows.”

“You’re lying. The Little Jackie I know would never have the backbone to tell the truth, especially to your future wife.”

“Trust me the wife knows.”

Everyone froze. Dave’s jaw dropped, and Mary put her fist down. Lauren stepped forward between Jackie and Mary. Things got tense.

“Whoa! What a reunion we have going on here.”

“This is not what it looks like. Honey, I — ”

“Lauren, Jackie and I, there’s nothing going on here.”

“This keeps getting better and better. You, your fiancé, and your one night stand together at your apartment no less.”

“I’m not a one night stand.”

Dave stopped. Until now, he had not had a good look at the woman. It dawned on him who the woman was standing before him. He could not believe it.

“Oh my God! Mary?”

“Yes, Dave, it’s me.”

“Wow! I know what she can do to a man. I’m outta here.”

Dave knew the pain Mary’s ‘Moore’ anger could inflict on a body. Years ago, Dave made one too many fat jokes at a Fourth of July party. Mary knocked out his two front teeth. He wanted no part of a rematch with his former sister-in-law.

Dave made a beeline down the stairs and drove away his old beat up grey truck. The present and former lovers stood face to face with each other for the first time.

“Hello. My name is Mary.”

“I am aware of who you are Mary Moore. Jackie, what is she doing here?”

Jackie paced and shuffled. She looked at her brown penny loafers, and she let out a slow sigh. She was resigned to her fate when Mary jumped in to save her.

“I came to meet Jackie. She had no idea I was coming. Honest, this is all one big misunderstanding. Really it is.”

“Is that true, Jackie?”

Jackie nodded. Lauren turned to confront a would-be homewrecker. She pulled no punches where Mary was concerned

“And what do you want with my wife?”

“I thought — ”

“Whatever you thought you had better think again. Honey, that’s my woman.”

“I know.”

“Let’s hope so. Because, just so you know, you are not the only female who can get angry. All right?”

“Okay, Lauren. And just so you know, I didn’t steal your ring.”

“I know. That’s why I’m here.”

Lauren came to Jackie’s apartment to tell him the police had found her ring. Jackie could not believe it.

“They found it?”

“The police were called to Mary’s jewelry store to investigate a theft. When they reviewed the surveillance footage the detectives discovered an employee swiping merchandise from unsuspecting customers, including you.”

It turned out the new employee Dee had a wonderful sense of fashion and sticky fingers. The young girl was arrested later the next day at a pawn shop as she tried to sell the stolen items. When the police confronted her, Dee admitted everything.

“Mary, I’m so sorry.”

“Save it. I told you I am not a thief.”

“And Lauren, I’m sorry for all of this mess. Truly, I am.”

“Me too, Lauren. Best of luck to you and Jackie and your baby.”

“Thank you. You have a good life, Mary. And you’ll forgive me if I say I hope we never meet again.”

There was nothing left to say. Jackie was a changed woman for the better, and Mary was tired of being angry. It was time to move on from the past. And she did.

“You take care, Jackie.”

“You too, Mary.”

Lauren and Jackie celebrated the birth of their baby later in the year. They had a long and successful marriage. Truly Mary was happy for Jackie if not a little envious of her luck.

No ‘Moore’ Mess- Chapter Sixteen (Serial Version) Chapter Sixteen- Mary Moore Says Goodbye To Her Old Life



Craig is a #writer, #editor, #betareader & #blogger. 2000+ #blog posts & seven #ebooks including #shortstories “The Tempo of Tempura” and “Carl Crapper.”

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Craig Hoffman

Craig is a #writer, #editor, #betareader & #blogger. 2000+ #blog posts & seven #ebooks including #shortstories “The Tempo of Tempura” and “Carl Crapper.”