aradescent

Chapter 7

In Uncategorized on November 12, 2010 at 7:51 pm

“Jessa!” 

Jessica opened her eyes to find Justin standing over her.  She continued to stare at the ceiling, watching the ancient fan turn so slow it was no use to circulating the air around them.  The ceiling was decorated with floating tiles, poorly painted with a Sahara desert color.  It was at that moment Jessica realized what had happened.

She rose to a sitting position on the lush sofa in the front room of the funeral home.  Her hand brushed across a fake plant as she brought it to her face.

“Mommy you’re awake, I thought you went to visit daddy too!”  Delilah rushed to Jessica’s side.

Jessica wrapped her arms around the little girl and positioned her onto her lap.  “No honey.  Mommy is not going anywhere.”  She kissed Delilah’s forehead before releasing her back onto the ground.

Justin moved forward and helped her to her feet.  “Let me take you back to the house.” 

Jessica shook her head.  “We were going to get a hotel room.”  She was glad no one had asked her to return to the viewing room.  There was no way she could handle seeing her mother like that again.

The very thought that her body would be beneath the ground decaying was more than what Jessica could handle.  She wanted to just talk to her.  See her smile.  Tell her about the guy that she had met.  Hell, even hug her.

“Don’t be ridiculous.  You can stay with me.  That way I can just leave my house Sunday morning and not have to find your hotel before taking you to the airport.”

Jessica didn’t argue, instead helped get Delilah into Justin’s car.  The leather seats were hot against her jeaned legs and the seatbelt even worse as she buckled it across her chest.  Her tiny SUV was larger than Justin’s car and the viewing made it seem even smaller.  She felt suffocated as she took a deep breath in and released it. 

She had never seen Justin’s home, knowing he had only moved out of their mother’s house a month before she took off to California.

His home was a cream-colored brick, two bedroom, with a garage.  The yard screamed neglected with dry, dead grass and one tree allowing shade to cover half of the roof.  It was apparent he still didn’t have a long-term girlfriend.  Her older brother was somehow taking silent tips from her about dating anyone. 

His last girlfriend had been a petite girl by the name of Sally. Jessica thought she had an adorable name to match her personality.  Sally was quiet but treated Justin very well.  Jessica remember becoming upset when she heard they had split up sometime last year.  Since then Justin hadn’t held a steady relationship.

Delilah was fast asleep in the backseat when Jessica pulled open the back door, suspecting it was mostly from the plane ride earlier, she tried to wake her up.  She hated to do that but she found out when Delilah was age four she was able to take a thirty minute nap and run around until one a.m.  Since then Jessica had promised herself she would limit Delilah’s nap times.

As she was carrying Delilah into the house, her tiny arms dangling down her back, she felt her cell phone vibrate against the tip of her thigh. 

“Crap.”  It was nearly a whisper but one that was loud enough to make Justin throw a one-eyebrow arch in her direction.

“Problems?”  He asked finding his house key and inserting it into the lock.

Jessica tilted her head and threw a look back his way.  “Just a little one.”

She wasn’t sure who was calling and it wasn’t that she cared in the slightest, it was just that she was holding a very heavy child who didn’t want to wake up even though she had made one attempt already.

Justin opened the door and took Delilah from Jessica, sitting her down on the couch. 

“Wake up Deli.”  Justin said sweetly. 

Sometimes she wondered how great of a father Justin would be.  Judging by the way he was with Delilah Jessica didn’t need to wonder.  Justin had been the male figure Delilah needed in her life.  Jessica held a small hope he wouldn’t be the only one. 

Delilah rubbed her eyes and groaned in annoyance.  She fell back onto the couch, smothering a pillow over her face.  “It’s a weekend!”

Justin laughed.  “I know that but if you don’t wake up now you’ll be up all night.”

Delilah said something inaudible and turned her body toward the back cushions of the couch.

Jessica watched her and smiled.  She certainly had her daddy’s attitude when it came to waking her up when she didn’t want to.

“No I won’t.”  You could barely hear her protests.

Jessica dug her cell phone out of her pocket, knowing whoever had called hung up by now. 

Flipping it open she found a number across the caller ID that she didn’t recognize.  She tossed it onto the couch at Delilah’s feet and decided she would return the call later.  She had other things to get together and worry about.  She tapped the bottom of Delilah’s shoes.

“Come on sleepy bug.  Get up.  It’s only five o’ clock.”

Delilah sat up, slamming both feet onto Justin’s carpet.  She stalked out of the living room and into Justin’s kitchen.

Jessica shrugged picking her cell phone up and fishing through the calls.  Not one call from Monica and she couldn’t shake the curiosity of who had called. 

“You okay?”  Justin asked his eyes intensely focused on Jessica.  He walked to his kitchen and pulled open the refrigerator noticing Delilah stuffing her mouth full of potato chips.

Jessica ran a hand over her forehead, attempting to brush the few strands of hair that had released themselves from her pony tail. 

“Yeah.  I’m fine.”

“Want some tea or something?”

Jessica nodded and joined them in the kitchen.

“I can’t understand why people say that they are fine when in reality fine is just another way of saying leave me the fuck alone.”  Justin pulled out two glasses and filled them with ice.

“Justin!”

Justin gave Delilah a quick glance and she shrugged. 

“What?”

Jessica rolled her eyes and sat beside Delilah at the table.

“That’s not what I meant by that.  It’s more of a ‘I don’t want to talk about it word.’  Besides, it’d be nice if you didn’t curse in front of her.”

Justin laughed and handed her a glass of tea.  “It’s not like she’ll repeat me.  She knows well enough not to repeat anything I say.  She’s a good girl.  Isn’t that right?”  Justin gave Delilah a playful push.

It was Delilah’s turn to roll her eyes.

“So, is pizza okay for dinner?”  Justin offered.

“Still haven’t learned to cook huh?”

Justin downed the last of his tea.  “I didn’t figure I needed to since I live alone and all.”

“At thirty years old when do you think that’s going to change?” 

“What the cooking part or the living alone part?”

“Both.” 

“I might learn to cook by the time I’m thirty-five and the living alone will probably be forever.”  Justin rinsed out his cup and stuck it in the dishwasher.  “The way I see it as long as I clean up after myself that is all that matters.”

Jessica couldn’t argue with that.  Most men she knew still had their moms doing their laundry.  Justin was borderline neat freak.  Besides his decent looks that was the only thing he had going for him.  No, her brother was a nice guy.  He just couldn’t get his act together.  Maybe he still wished he had Sally in his life and was waiting for her to come back.  She wasn’t sure the details of the split, but Jessica knew that Sally had been head over heels in love so whatever happened probably had more to do with Justin screwing up.

“Pizza is fine.  I don’t suppose you would have any groceries for me to try to cook something anyway.”

Jessica finished her tea as well and handed her glass to Justin.  Delilah had already taken off to another room, most likely the den area where Justin had video games. 

Jessica returned back to the living room and sat on the couch, helping herself to Justin’s remote.  She flipped through the channels and sighed.  Justin still hadn’t gotten cable and only two channels were available.  The news which was depressing and a channel that showed the Friday night local football game.  She couldn’t believe it was this late.

She picked up her phone once again as she listened to Justin on the phone in the background. 

‘Screw it!’ She thought and began dialing the number.

“Hello.” 

“Hi, I had a missed call from this number.  This is Jessica Wiler.”

“Jessica Wiler huh?  Well Jessica this is Cade.”

Jessica felt her throat tighten up and her stomach turn a three-sixty.  “Cade.”  She almost stammered but caught herself.

“I just wanted to know how you were doing.  I was concerned about you when you didn’t call me.”

Jessica smiled to herself.  “I don’t have your number.”

“Monica didn’t give it to you?””No, she didn’t.  I guess I can save it now and stalk you later.”  She was only joking, trying to lighten up the mood and unravel the nerves she had developed the second he told her who he was.

She really wanted him.  Wanted him here with her now. 

To her relief Cade laughed on the other end.  “So, I was thinking when you aren’t busy maybe we could go out again?”

Jessica bit her lip and entertained the thought.  “Or maybe we could stay in because I’m such a horrible date, and I’ll embarrass you in public.”

“You need to be a little easier on yourself.  There’s nothing you did that I haven’t seen before.”

Feeling a little better Jessica lightened up.  “Really?”

“No, not really.  You are actually the first date I’ve ever had to spill their food AND drink on me.”

Jessica slapped her forehead to which Justin threw her an odd look as if to say, ‘what the hell are you doing?’

She shook her head quickly and wrinkled her nose.

“Silence.  Hmm.  Don’t worry it’s not a bad thing, I thought it was very cute how nervous you were.”

Jessica wished he was standing in front of her.  She wanted to read his expression, or see if she could.  The other blind dates she  had she had been able to read them instantly.  All of them wishing they had a chance with her.  Cade?  He was another story.  Not only could she not read him, she had no clue whether or not he was interested in her.  But, this conversation was a good start on deciding.

“Cute wasn’t the impression I was going for so apparently I have failed myself.”  Jessica tried to joke, hoping to add a little twinge of flirtation to her tone.

“Well maybe cute is the only word I can think of at the moment, but in light of it spilling a drink on me isn’t going to levitate above cute.”

“Then I’ll have to say yes to your dinner date.  Or lunch date.  Whatever one.”

“Okay then.  Since I can’t wait would Monday be okay?  A lunch date of course.  I wouldn’t want to keep you out too late with work and all.”

“Doesn’t matter.  I’ll do most of my editing at home and I won’t go back to work until I have another shoot.  So far Diana hasn’t sent me an email so I’m guessing she doesn’t have anything for me yet.”

Jessica loved her job.  One wedding gave her plenty of money to last an entire month.  She didn’t know how but apparently in bigger cities people pay a ton of money for wedding pictures.  And her last wedding was one of the bigger ones since the bride wanted so many copies.  She remembered Monica’s laptop.  It was in the trunk of Justin’s car.  She would have to get it out to edit the pictures, or some of them.  There would be no way her body was touching sleep tonight.  The horrible image of her mother lying in the funeral home was touching at her memory. 

“Excellent.  I will call you when I take my lunch break.  I have a meeting regarding a child support case so when I get finished with that client I’ll call you.”

“Okay sounds good.”

“Call you Monday.  Try not to have too tough of a weekend and if you want you can call me tomorrow after the funeral.  You know, if you need to talk.”

“Thanks Cade.  That means a lot.”

“Bye Jessica.”

“Bye.”

Jessica snapped her phone shut.  That reminded her, she really needed to get a new phone.

CHAPTER 8>>>

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