Jimmy was so engrossed into what Eric said, that he didn’t feel the presence standing behind him.
Eric: Ah! Jimmy!
Eric: You have a visitor.
Jimmy: Look I admit that I could’ve handle things better but this is my space. You and Bob….I feel violated that.
Eliza: Honestly we didn’t mean to. We just wanted to welcome you to the neighborhood.
Jimmy: And you know what, I appreciate your intentions and what you were trying to do.
Eliza: does that mean you forgive us and will invite us in
Was she being serious? There was no way on this green (extremely green) earth Jimmy was going to invite this woman into his house. Not after hearing what she expressed to Navah.
Jimmy: To be quite honest, I rarely if ever invite people over. I’m not your “invite people over” kind of man. I’m…I’m a loner.
Eliza: A loner?
Eliza: But you have someone here
Jimmy: But I know him, he’s my friend
Jimmy became beside himself when Eliza frowned and her eyes downcast. He pondered on what it meant.
Eliza: we could be friends
A choking laugh erupted out of Jimmy. He patted his chest as he looked at Eliza.
Eliza: Yes, is there anything wrong with that
Jimmy (baffled): um…I…ah….I don’t know
Eliza: I think we can be friends. You live right across the street from us and given your…your…your situation
Jimmy: Situation? What are you talking about?
Eliza: Please, I…I…I don’t mean any harm but you practically live outside. This town is known for thieves. When you are gone anyone could walk in here
Jimmy (chuckles): Like you did
Eliza (looks guilty): Yes like I did…but look I’m sorry about that and I would like to make an amends
Jimmy: it is okay, really, I’m going to let it go. I understand you were only trying to be neighborly
Eliza: I really was…. I would like for us to be friends. I can help you. Since you have no walls, doors, or windows, I can be your lookout guy
Jimmy: my lookout guy?
Eliza was really throwing him for a loop.
Jimmy: Why? It’s not needed
Eliza: It is needed. What do you think happens when you are not home?
As much as he hated to admit it, Eliza did have a point. He did not have anything to protect himself or his stuff from possible intruders. All he had was his blind trust that when he got home everything would be intact. He didn’t think anyone would take anything as he didn’t have much that was of value. Then again he had the stove that had a good price tag on it. It cost him a pretty penny. When he really thought about it, Eliza was right. Jimmy was living out in the open and anyone could walk right through and he wouldn’t know.
Even so he didn’t want Eliza Pancake being his watch dog…he didn’t trust her.
Her niceties was stirring but it didn’t help to sway his reservations.
Jimmy: I appreciate you wanting to be on the lookout for me but I really don’t want you doing that. I’m okay. Most times I am home and if I do go out it’s to jog around the block and back. I spend most of my times here.
Eliza walked away and Jimmy stood there weighing his reservations against his neighbor’s peace offering. Her demeanor came off as if she was truly sincere but it was hard for Jimmy to decode if it was all genuine. There was no denying that he did hear her talking to Navah about him, and she did confess that she had a mission. Through mere speculation, it did seem obvious to him that whatever she was scheming might involve him. Or, she was planning something that didn’t involve him and someone else was her target. Either way, Eliza was planning something and as far as Jimmy was concerned she was not to be trusted.
Later on in the evening, Jimmy went to the Solar Flare to clear his head. He wasn’t depressed or sad but he did have a few things weighing on him. He was worried about Eric and how he would handle this “baby” situation between his wife and mother. Then were was Eliza and her peace offering. She wanted to be friends but Jimmy couldn’t get rid of the nagging feeling he had towards her. Her visit had him worried as to what she was up to.
As much as it bothered him, there really wasn’t much he could do about it. He just had to be cautious and spend less time out.
Walking through the club, Jimmy decided to shift his mind and enjoy the music pumping through the floor and bouncing off the walls. People were dancing, drinking, flirting and having the time of their life. The atmosphere had that partying feel to it that Jimmy surprisingly appreciated. Usually he would be running for the exit but tonight felt different.
Even Eric, who was having a bleak moment earlier on, was getting down. He nodded to Jimmy and swayed his body skilfully to the rhythm of the music.
Mara was also there and, she still had that sad look in her eyes but she did dance. She nodded her head but barely moved to the music. Jimmy was of the mind to go over and dance with her, perhaps make her smile but he didn’t. This was actually their second time meeting with each other. From the last time since Jimmy saw Mara, he had managed to keep in touch with her.
A new found bond developed between them and it was quite scary to see how things were going. In most of his life growing up Jimmy didn’t have a girlfriend. He didn’t fool around the female species because his main focus was on completing his business degree. There was only one person whoever got that close to him. Her name was still etched in his memory and her face haunted him as he looked at Mara. She was truly reaching that part in him that he fought to keep buried forever.
While he thought of Mara, he sat down and enjoyed his (usual) bowl of chips. He bobbed his head to the electrifying music while taking in his surroundings. Jimmy wasn’t a fan of loud music but today was the exception. The pumping beat vibrated in his body and the sounds poured into his ears causing his body to react. As he sat there reveling in his environment, a woman came and sat beside him. She initiated a friendly conversation, and Jimmy, cordially, obliged her.
During their conversation, the woman mostly talked about herself, and Jimmy didn’t mind. It kept him safe from having to talk about himself.
Woman: I live with my husband, Donavon. He is an amazing man and I love him. I want to give him lots and lots and lots of children.
Jimmy: wow you are a generous wife
Woman: Well my husband is generous. He works hard and makes sure the family is taken care of
Jimmy: what does he do?
Woman: why do you want to know?
Jimmy: Just making conversation
Woman: are you a cop?
Jimmy: What? No! Why would you ask me that?
Woman: the cops have been known to frequent this place a lot. My friend told me she heard through her cousin that the SPI hired some new rookies to spy out the townies.
Jimmy thought to himself that this woman could not be for real.
Jimmy: I don’t know anything about that.
Woman: Maybe you do. I am no fool, I know you are new to this town. The people here rarely leave and new people rarely show up. And if they are new it is likely a relative of someone. You don’t look like anyone I know.
Jimmy: Well I am new, but I’ve been here for just about a month now.
Woman: Really? What is it that you do?
Stumped! Jimmy was stumped and he could not think of a single word to help him thwart of the crazy woman. She was looking at him with crazy eyes and she leaned in close inspecting his face. For all he knew she herself could be a cop.
A tense sensation pulsed in the back of Jimmy’s neck. His blood started to boil and that same feeling he always fought to keep at bay was brewing beneath the surface. While he struggled, he saw in the corner of his eye, that Mara came and sat down. She was looking in his direction and he prayed in his heart that she would rescue him.
Woman: come on tell me what you do?
Jimmy: I’m a very private man. I don’t like to talk about my business
Woman: fine then tell me your name
Jimmy: Tell me yours
The woman released an animalistic growl and shot up from off the seat. She turned, served Jimmy with a threatening glare and stomped away.
Immediately Mara chuckled and shook her head.
Mara: That was intense
Jimmy: No kidding? I thought she would wack me over the head
Mara: Nah, I don’t think so.
Jimmy: are you serious? Did you not see the way she looked at me?
Mara (chuckles): She likes you
Mara: Trust me, she does
Jimmy: where in our conversation did you perceive that?
Mara: Aurora does not talk to a lot of people. She’s like you; a recluse. She keeps to herself and when she does get out, everyone stays away from her.
Jimmy: What is she doing in a place like this?
Mara: what is it that you seek for here when you know there are people?
Jimmy: Food and drinks
Mara: Bingo! They have drinks here, and everyone knows that Aurora loves her drinks
Jimmy: So that’s her name
Mara: Don’t tell anyone I told you that, she would come hunt for me
Jimmy: I ‘am not one to talk peoples business. I don’t even share my own
Mara (chuckles) Anyway just be careful. The next time you do see her….cross the street!
Both Mara and Jimmy chuckled.
Hearing Mara laugh, lifted Jimmy’s spirits. It tickled his entire being and touched his heart. In that moment Jimmy was grateful to even be in her presence. Her warmth was contagious- he could literally feel it pulsing all around him. If he wasn’t thinking clearly, he would raise his hands to touch her velvet smooth skin. Let his hand linger and absorb the warmth emanating from them.
Swallowing his temptation Jimmy grinned and merely bopped his head to the music.
Jimmy: I hope that is the last time I have a run in with her. I already have to deal with another possible nut
Mara: Someone else like Aurora? Who is that?
Jimmy: A neighbor who lives across the street from me.
Mara did not say another word. Her body immediately became stiff and she returned a odd stare at Jimmy. She continued to look at him, and he slightly leaned back feeling a bit uncomfortable. It was then he recognized that same look Mara had the day he met her on the path. He really didn’t want to push her to open up but it was really bothering him.
Jimmy: I am not the type of man to be nosy or poke into people’s problems but are you okay
Mara nods her head slowly but doesn’t say anything
Jimmy: are you sure because I feel that something is bothering you.
Jimmy felt really weird as he repeated the same words that left Miss Lewis’ mouth.
It made him feel like a hypocrite as he remembered how Miss Lewis was with Eric. He really didn’t want to push Mara but it was getting to him how troubled she was. Figuring she wasn’t going to say anything he decided to let it go. As he was about to get up and get a drink he felt Mara’s hand clamp down on his.
Mara: you need to be really careful
Mara: Be careful
Jimmy: I don’t understand, what are you referring to
Mara: You said that you have a neighbor who is as nutty as Aurora.
Instantly, Jimmy said her name without even thinking.
Before Mara could respond Eric came and joined them.
Eric: hey you two why aren’t you on the dance floor
Feeling like he was caught, Jimmy nervously chuckled
Mara: Hey Eric, how are you?
Eric: I’m feeling good
Jimmy: I’m glad to hear that
Mara: How is the wife?
At the mention of his wife, Eric shared a quick look with Jimmy as he answered
Eric: she’s okay
Mara: Why didn’t you bring her with you tonight?
Eric: It’s a work week and our daughter needed help with an assignment
Mara: Oh ok, and how is Olivia
Eric: my baby is good, but giving her mother and I, a run for our money
Mara, Eric, and Jimmy laughed together
Jimmy: Children will do that to you
Mara: children are a blessing
Eric: A costly one
Jimmy and Eric shared another look as they laughed.
Mara: Come on guys they are not that bad
Eric: you don’t even have children
Mara: Yet! I don’t have children yet!
Eric: when you will have them you will change your tune about children being a blessing
While they were talking someone else came and joined them. She got in on the conversation.
Woman: They are, and I for one can’t wait to have them.
Mara: They are so precious
Eric: Don’t get me wrong, I love my daughter. She means the world to me but taking care of her basic needs like food, clothes shelter and other expenses, is challenging. When she gets older, there will be other costs. Her going off to college will cost us a lot of money.
Woman: which is why you must save up now
Jimmy was about to put in his two cents but decided to listen. He wanted to hear and see where this discussion would lead.
Mara: saving is essential to everything
Woman: right now, I’m saving my money so that when I do have a family, I can take care of them
Mara: so are you single?
Woman: I am
Eric: What is your name by the way?
Woman: Katrina Caliente
Eric: And what is it that you do
Katrina: I’m an entertainer
Eric: Wow, an entertainer! In what?
Eric: Music? That means you are going to have a schedule that requires most of your time…..like children.
Katrina (chuckles): Yes which is why I’m looking to having children now. I want to enjoy motherhood before my career takes off.
Jimmy: Isn’t it the other way around? You go to school, get a good job, making lots of money then have children?
Katrina: It is the traditional way but I feel the work I’ll put in won’t give me that wiggle room.
Jimmy: I think having children won’t give you that wiggle room.
Katrina: I take it you are the kind of man that doesn’t want children.
Mara and Eric turned, and planted an expected stare on Jimmy.
Stumped once again, Jimmy couldn’t answer because if he were honest with himself he didn’t know if he really wanted children or a family.
Perhaps it was best he said not a word and listened instead.