Autumn's Wind

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Chapter 42: Jason's Heart
(by NativeRose, added on 8 May 2006 11:23 PM)

Jason Hanson had returned to his hotel several hours earlier in the day. He felt restless; he had been thinking too much. What was all this talk about
God? He couldn't believe his sixteen-year-old daughter's faith in an invisible God. She knew she was in for a long, hard road, but she wasn't afraid to
die. She thought God would give her the strength to get through it all. If his terminally ill daughter could speak of these things so calmly...well, what
right had he to run out like that? He had acted so much like a child, unlike his teenage daughter. After she had finished her speech about God and how
she wasn't afraid to die, he had left the room without saying a word. He didn't know what to say, but he didn't want Autumn and Lynne to see his doubt.
He knew Autumn would try to explain it to him; she so desperately wanted him to understand her God, but Lynne...well, she would use it to bring him down.
Autumn wanted her God to help him get through this, but Lynne would tell him how weak he was. Autumn would encourage Jason to ask God to help him carry
that burden, and Lynne would tell him that he was the burden. She would shower her recriminations upon him. How could he be expected to stand under such
pressure? He tried to avoid the hospital for that reason alone. It wasn't fair for Lynne to prevent him from supporting his daughter in the only way he
could. No, it wasn't entirely Lynne's fault. Jason certainly wasn't perfect; he had made his share of mistakes. Still...Lynne had been unfaithful to him.
Jason remembered the day of his discovery so clearly; he would never forget it.

Jason Hansen went away on a business trip, and he was gone for four days. Lynne made sure she had his schedule figured out, paying particular attention
to his departure and arrival times. Jason was able to grab an earlier flight out, and he was anxious to get home to his family. During the time away from
his wife and daughter, he realized what his work was doing to them. Still...he couldn't believe what he found when he returned to his home. All of his
excuses and justifications disappeared in the face of... Lynne was with another man! He was in her bed with...Jason couldn't think. He saw the events as
blurry images through his shocked, and therefore sluggish, mind. He couldn't really be seeing this!
"Jason!" Lynne exclaimed, fear and anger clearly visible on her face and in her voice.
"Get out of here!" he roared at the stranger, who looked back at him defiantly. Then...Jason went for his gun. He was standing in the doorway, pointing
the gun at the man's head when...
"No!" Autumn's voice penetrated the fog and burning anger within Jason. How could he shoot this, that freak couldn't be called a person. How
could he shoot that thing as his daughter watched. She was only thirteen when everything took place.

When Jason got the explanation later, Lynne simply said she was looking for love. She didn't think Jason loved her anymore, and she justified her actions
by telling him she was sure he was seeing another woman.
"What evidence do you have against me?" Jason raved. "After all, your actions serve as proof--"
"No," Lynne tried to deny her involvement with that man, but she knew she wouldn't fool him. Jason was right, the proof was there, before his eyes. Lynne
could handle Jason's wrath, but her daughter would be so ashamed! What would Autumn do? How could she ever respect her parents again? Jason left the house,
furiously slamming the door behind him, leaving Lynne to her bitter thoughts.

Jason knew he wasn't the perfect father. Who was perfect anyway? No, he thought, that's just an excuse. He had always been driven by success. He wanted
more things, more money, and he thought that would give him more time with his family. Still...that was just another excuse. The truth was, Jason and Lynne
had never been happy together. They had been too young...but there was the baby to think of. Jason and Lynne had married only for Autumn. Sure, they were
convinced at the time that they loved each other, but they had been only eighteen.

Jason knew Lynne wasnít entirely to blame. He often worked just to get out of the house. Lynne was always mixed up in alcohol, drowning her problems in a bottle. Still, she often hurled her accusations at him in her drunken rage, and when he would confront her later, she couldnít remember what happened. She accused him of lying, and suggested that he was looking for a reason to divorce her. Was that when it started? Was that when she went to find that loser, whom he now knew to be named Mike?
Jason didnít blame Autumn for resenting him. She had every right to do that, he often left her with her mother to escape the pain. He would rush to his office and hide behind papers and files so he wouldnítí have to deal with his problems at home. Lynneís problems got worse when he started working more, which only made him want to leave more often. Soon it got to the point when Jason was never home. He felt such shame for leaving Autumn there, a defenseless child in the midst of her motherís alcohol...and the anger. In the end, it was Lynne who filed for divorce. She said she wanted her freedom, to do what, he didnít know. Then, then Jason left. He couldnít stand to look at Autumn, to see the pain in her eyes. He knew he was partially to blame. Jason hadnít done a blasted thing to get her out of that mess.

Jasonís thoughts returned to the present. He still stood, looking out the window in his hotel room, pondering the past. Lynne had sure changed. Had it started with Autumnís cancer? That would be so sad, if it took her childís terminal illness to get her to clean up her act. Maybe it began after he left, since Lynne was Autumnís sole support. Sure, Jason sent the child support payments along, but he couldnít be there to provide emotional support. He didnít even know if she would want him to. He wouldnít blame her if she absolutely despised him...but no, he couldnít think like that. He had seen such excitement in Autumnís eyes when he appeared in her hospital room earlier that day. Jason decided he wouldn't let Lynne keep him from his daughter.

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