Jared knew they better go when Sal texted. Sal didn't say anything bad, but Jared's sister was there and why didn't they come to supper. Naturally, Jared felt he was between a rock and hard spot of some kind. He really wasn't sure how to react. Yet he knew he would be calm..maybe even silent.
Angel looked at him as if she didn't want to go. Of course, there was nothing in the fridge. They'd been changing everything around in his mother's apartment. Occasionally, Angel would go through a photo album, but much of it was junk and it was time to see it go.
Sincerely, Jared did respect Sal. If only he'd known him when he was younger. Why had it taken his mother so long to meet someone like Sal? Sure he was a bartender, but he had a lot of heart. And of course, there were his adventure stories to read and Jared felt as if he knew Sal better through the heroes he'd created.
"I think he just wants us over so he won't have to eat alone with Jody," Jared finally confided. "Besides, I haven't seen my little sister in a while...and well, she asked about you."
Naturally, Angel gave him the doe in the headlights look. Was he really sure this was a good idea?
"We can't avoid your father nor my family forever." Jared was ready to bite the bullet. And in a little bit, they were already smelling something wonderful in Sal's kitchen.
It was a fusion of Mexican and Chinese food. Stirfried and ready to be wrapped in a soft tortilla. Of course, Sal was the last to sit down. Always hurrying around to fetch whatever Angel might need for her salad or to drink. Jared thought Sal was just as bad with Jody. Of course, she gave Jared a quick smile that Sal was so much better than anyone in her family. Jared had seen that exact same expression of his mother's. God, he hoped Jody didn't become their mother.
Jared stared back even-lipped as if he appreciated Sal the most. Everyone just took advantage of the man. Of course, Jody was the only one drinking wine. Everyone else was drinking cold water.
Halfway through the meal, Andrew showed up.
"I was wondering if I was going to have to take her home." Jared looked at Jody's soon-to-be spouse with an indifferent expression. Perhaps, he did hate the college graduate who seemed to have everything handed to him, including scholarships and loads of opportunities.
"Huh?" It was as if Andrew didn't know what was up with Jody.
Jared gritted to keep from speaking. He watched Andrew take a seat next to Jody who of course waited on him as if he was the only man here.
Of course, Angel smiled at Andrew as if to keep the peace. "Glad you could make it," she said.
"Oh, I've been meaning to drop by," he started but then looked at Sal. "You know, to talk about the wedding. I'm just not sure how my people would feel about a wedding at the bar."
"Well, we could have the wedding part outside if you want and just have the reception inside," Sal spoke of an old oak tree. Word had it, it was once a hanging tree, but he thought folks just made up stories. Sal pointed out that the Omaha tribe had an encampment on what looked like a flat hill outback of his bar. "Back then they just wanted to get away as far as they could from the river. It kept flooding most of the town at that time." It was pretty much cornfields now.
Jared nodded. He enjoyed listening to the historical aspect of the bar's surroundings.
Jody thought having the wedding outside might be romantic, and then she looked at Angel. "What about you two? Are you gonna get married at the bar?" She smiled from ear to ear as if maybe if they married first then Andrew could see it didn't matter where they got married.