Take a Chance on Me

By: Jane Porter


“But isn’t that normal? Kids rebel. It’s part of growing up.”

“They do, yes, absolutely, but my late husband was a former military man, and he expected his son to follow orders. Only Patrick didn’t follow anyone’s orders, not unless they made sense to him, and the more Donald tried to discipline Patrick, the more Patrick resented his father. And then they had a huge fight over a girl Patrick was dating. Donald didn’t approve of her, and Patrick was told that we wouldn’t help him with college if he didn’t stop seeing her. Patrick didn’t, and Donald threw him out, a month before his high school graduation.”

“What happened then?”

“Patrick graduated, and left for the West Coast, where he went to school on an ROTC scholarship, and he came home only one more time, and then never again.”

Bette sighed. “It was a mess, and heartbreaking.”

“Especially if he was your only child.”

“I was constantly in the middle of those two, and so it was something of a relief when Patrick went away to school, but in some ways it was even worse when he never returned after that first visit.”

“Did you not see him then?”

“I’d go see him in California, but Don wouldn’t go with me.”

“So you were always in the middle.”

Bette’s eyes filled with tears. “Patrick died a year after Don in a skiing accident. It was just one of those freaks accidents.”

“I remember that.”

Bette nodded. “And now I have this chance with my grandson, and while I don’t want to leave Marietta, I don’t want to risk losing out on this chance to know him better, and have him in my life.”

“I completely understand that.”

“He doesn’t understand Montana, though. He thinks our winters are too long and harsh. He worries about me being here all alone.”

“You can’t blame him, not if he’s a Californian. But you’re also far from alone.”

“I know, and that’s why I want you to help me when he comes to visit this weekend. I want you to show him around Marietta. Give him a tour of the area… let him see the Marietta we know and love.”

“Me?”

“You’re young and pretty—”

“This is a very bad idea.”

“He’ll love you.”

“I don’t want him to love me. I want him to love you. And I want him to support your desire to remain in Marietta for as long as you wish to be here.” Amanda’s gaze met Bette’s. “You do want to still be here, don’t you? Or, are you maybe ready for a move to Northern California?”

“Marietta is home,” Bette answered firmly. “This is where I want to be.”

“You could always come back here for visits—”

“And leave all my friends? Leave my bridge group? And my birthday group? The girls and I have been together for over fifty years!”

Amanda smiled, because she knew Bette’s bridge club and birthday club and the ‘girls’ were all in their eighties as well. “You do have great friends here.”

“Exactly! I just need a little help convincing him that Marietta, Montana is where I belong.”

Mandy gave Bette a long look. “Just know that I won’t be part of your matchmaker schemes.”

“I wouldn’t!”

“You have. Several times.”

“Well, I promised you I wouldn’t interfere, and I haven’t again, have I?”

“No. And that’s good, because I’ve never been happier, nor have I ever worked harder. The last thing I want, or need, is a man. He’d only complicate everything—” She broke off, her brow creasing. “What did you say his name was?”

“Tyler Justice.”

So not Ty James, Mandy thought. But just to be on the safe side, she had to ask. “Does he ever go by Ty? Or Ty James?”

“Well, his middle name is James, and I suppose people might call him Ty. His parents called him Tyler, and I’ve only ever called him Tyler.” Bette paused. “Why do you ask?”

“Do you have a picture of him?”

“I do somewhere. Not here.”

“Not on your iPhone?”

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