Saturday, January 2, 2021

Is she pretty?

 Jay didn't want to have any regrets about the holidays. As far as he was concerned, it was best each to his own. Yet, he knew his younger sister Jody was a mess and no one could really help her.

"Let's hope she doesn't turn in to mom," Jared said over the phone.

"Don't say that," Jay snapped back. "That'll never happen."

They'd learned their mom was seeing someone younger and a co-worker of their step-dads. "She's higher than kite these days," were Jared's very words. After all, he worked with the woman.

"Not surprised," Jay said. Even he was a little down these days. He and Amanda didn't even share Christmas presents. They'd done nothing. It was as if the holiday didn't even exist. She said she was OK with it, but he could sense this was not true. She was in a slump of some sort. He didn't dare want to tell her about his mother.

"And what did you do for Christmas?" Jay asked.

"Oh, nothing much," Jared said, but Sal made ham and turkey and then delivered dinners to Jody and even their mother.

"Well, I could have used some of that," Jay shot back. "Why wasn't I on the list?"

"You didn't call. You sounded as if you wanted to be left alone," Jared barked back as if he didn't really care what his brother wanted.

"And you're still at Sal's?" Jay found that kind of funny. He didn't know his brother could stay that long anywhere. Wasn't he a roaming cowboy of some sort?

"Uh-huh?"

"And what might be keeping you there, dear brother?" There had to be a female involved, somewhere. Obviously, she was taking the bait with him. Jay smirked then, wondering what kind of Christmas miracle it was.

"Sal's daughter is here." It was plain and simple.

"I see. Obviously, she knows nothing about you," Jay found himself laughing. He was alone. Amanda went to her mother's for the weekend. "Should I come over and tell her the truth."

"Don't!" Jay knew he'd hit a nerve.

"Oh, so are you being good this new year?" Jay kept smiling.

"Yeah, of course, I am," Jared said, but Jay doubted it. His little brother always loved a challenge when it came to women.

"Well, you better behave yourself," Jay said he had his eyes on him now.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

oh, why not

 When Jody got the call from her mom about the arrival of Sal's daughter, Jody only laughed. What was her mother expecting her to do?

"You could show her around," her mom said. "I don't even know where she's from. Actually, I haven't met her but your brother said she was at Sal's."

"Oh," Jody nodded. Actually, these days she had fewer hours at the office. She knew she was supposed to stay in. Andrew would want her to stay home, but she liked to have something to do. "I'll be right over." 

She had some snacks she needed to get rid of. Too many carbs were in the apartment at the moment and she'd bust out of that wedding dress before she ever found one at this rate. If Angel didn't eat it, Jared would. That guy never gained an ounce. So she left Andrew all to his lonesome on the computer. She doubted he even knew she was gone.

"Well, Christmas is coming," Jody said soon enough when she got to Sal's. "I hear you have a guest."

She'd gotten soaps, shampoos, and body lotion at the drug store, all for Angel.

"It looks like Christmas is here," he smiled back and let her in, but then asked how did her mother know.

"I don't know, she just called me," Jody shrugged and found Sal's daughter in the kitchen drying dishes. She introduced herself and told both of them that her mom wanted her to show Angel around town.

"She just got here," Sal said as if she must be tired.

"Well, if not today, maybe sometime soon," Jody smiled as she got out the tin of pretzels she'd dipped in melted chocolate chips that Andrew snarled his nose up and shooed away when she had them at home. She'd worked so hard on the treat and he told her never to make those again.

"You are right, I really don't know this town," Angel told her. She took a bite of the dipped pretzels with red, white, and green sprinkles included.

"You made these?" She crunched on a mouthful and told her they were delicious.

"My boyfriend...I mean..my fiance doesn't like for me to make stuff like this, but I have some time off and didn't want to waste all my pretzels with cheese dip." Jody shrugged.

"That sounds good too." Her smile was open and Jody was happy to meet someone who might as well be family.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Winging it

 Jared kept smiling not sure where any of this was going, but he'd slept with someone, and he'd never slept better. 

At first, he thought he knew how he could handle it, but she was crying and so...well, a guy has got to do what a guy's got to do. He held her close and she must have thought she was dreaming because he thought he was for a time. 

It was possibly the best time he'd ever had in bed without having sex. Honestly, it was a crazy feeling. Oh, he knew of her, but he didn't really know her. He knew she was Sal's daughter and he shouldn't have been there, but it was just meant to be. He thought now.

Of course, he'd sneaked out early and didn't want to cause any issues. He'd promised himself he'd be good. He'd show them he would know his place and he'd be his mom's right-hand man, too. Maybe he could be Sal's, right-hand man.

But he did wonder where he'd be spending the night. He could see it all changing.

He was finally used to being at Sal's. It felt like home. He'd never even felt that when he was at his house. There was a lot more fear then than anyone would ever admit. Oh, he never got hurt, but he knew how his mom's husband could be. Not even she would admit the abuse.

It would start with an argument, but first, his step-dad was a little drunk and Jay could just look at him and a fight might break out. He didn't want to think about those days. And he felt kind of sad at the thought of living with his mom, who yelled a whole lot more than she would ever admit. 

The thought of it made Jared all the more restless.

And now he'd met Angel. His face tensed. He hoped Sal wouldn't yell at him. He wanted Sal to be OK. But he knew he wasn't good enough for Angel. There was a lot he didn't even know about her, but he wanted to know her.

Right now, he needed work and a lot of it, or he might be walking the streets, again.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Is it too late, too late to open up?

 "What are you doing here so early?" Fan awoke to the smell of bacon and coffee. Someone had breakfast waiting and the vacuum was on.

"Just tidying up," Jared's smile was quick. 

"Did something  happen between you and Sal?" She asked as she got her coffee and poked a fork in her fried egg, which didn't run. He remembered she didn't like her eggs runny but she wasn't a fan of scrambled eggs either.

"No," he shook his head. "His daughter is here, I thought he might not want me around."

"Sal's got a daughter?" She looked shocked. Why didn't she know this? She was always talking about her kids, but she'd never left much room for him to mention his own.

"You didn't know?" Jared festered a perturbed look as if maybe she wasn't Sal's best friend. He was.

She ate her breakfast and he put the wet clothes in the dryer.

"Are you on something?" She asked a few minutes later. He was working so steady. Not prodding along like at the Senior Center. He didn't really warm up until two in the afternoon to do his little dance number with the old crowd.

"What? No." He looked at her as if she was the one out of her mind. Not him.

"I think you're up to something," Fan could sense it. He never really got busy with anything unless he wanted something in return. Out of all of her boys, he was the laziest. Jay was the one who always had a handle on the household and Jamie always did what was asked of him. They were neat and careful with their toys. While even at a young age, Jared could care less what happened to his stuff. Sometimes, he tore things up on purpose and would want Jay to fix it. He was the one who loved to curse and took pleasure in every naughty word in his vocabulary.

Unfortunately, she'd been the same way growing up. They were a lot of like. She wished something could make her want to do housework. Just what had happened to him.


Friday, December 11, 2020

It's the most beautiful time of the year

 Sal couldn't believe his eyes. He smiled as soon as he saw Angel in the kitchen making coffee. Sal hugged her. She fell into his embrace like she always did. Suddenly, she was all of four to him, but his daughter was now a grownup.

"When did you get here?" He asked, wondering why he hadn't heard a thing last night.

"Early morning," she told him and brought him a cup of coffee.

"It's so good to see you," Sal kept smiling, even if she looked a little tired as if she might need to go back to bed. 

Meanwhile, he would cook for her. He'd make all her favorites.

"Are you up for some waffles?" He didn't drink his coffee long he went to get out the waffle iron to warm and got out the eggs and bacon.

"Oh, Dad, you really shouldn't," she grinned with a shrug. 

"I know you've missed them as much as I have," Sal said he never made waffles unless she was here. Of course, he took a quick look around and didn't see a sign of Jared anywhere.

He wasn't quite sure he was ready to explain the roommate. Sal took his time getting the bacon on and whipping up the waffle batter which he knew by memory.

"Dad, is there anything you can't cook?" Angel asked as she watched from the kitchen bar sipping her coffee.

"I am not the best baker," he told her. "I leave that for you. I've missed your chocolate chip cookies."

"Well, I'll have to take care of that," Angel promised. "I'll get right on it." She talked of having a vacation. 

"I doubt you know what one of those are," He looked back at her thinking he wished she could take a cruise, but that was out of the question.

"It's about time, don't you think?" She looked at him as if he needed to agree with her.

"I guess," he nodded and went back to breakfast on the stove. He was making her sunny side eggs and bacon along with a couple of waffles. "How have you been?"

"It's..it has had..it's moments." She looked down at her coffee and pressed her lips tight. 

He thought she looked too thin. She was still so hard to read. He always thought she was happy growing up, but he wasn't certain of it. He knew they did have happy times, but maybe not enough of them.

"Wish we could go to New York City," he said handing the platter of food to her. He got the butter and syrup from the fridge.

"New York City?" She laughed.

"Yes, the perfect place for Christmas." He smiled back as if he really wanted to make it happen.

"Oh, Dad, there is a pandemic you know," she shrugged. "It might be different this year."

"Perhaps," Sal sighed and poured himself another cup of coffee. He'd made himself fried eggs and toast. "But..if we could, I wish we could travel." They'd never really traveled. There were only visits like this.

"I just..I just want to stay here..." She looked at him from across the kitchen bar. "With you."

"An old guy like me?" He chuckled.

"You're not that old," she made him feel that his laughter was addictive.

"Oh, but I feel so old, Angel."

"Well, I guess I'll find out if it's true or not," Angel pursed her lips. "I'm staying."

"And you'll get tired of me quick," he laughed, thinking what in the world was he going to do with Jared.