In music class, Janet is awarded the lead on their new song. The teacher assigns them to come up with parts for the accompaniment.
“This gets better and better! We’re going to blow them away! Tomorrow, have your parts decided and tab written so we can put the pieces together.”
“Tomorrow? Mr. C.!” The students complained.
“Okay, by Friday.”
That got a more enthusiastic response. The bell rang and they headed toward the door. Diego caught up with the girls outside the door.
“I didn’t know you could sing like that,” he said to Janet. “That was so cool.”
“Thanks. I love to sing.”
“Me too. Sets me free,” he said quietly with a shy grin.
Janet swallowed hard, blinking back the sudden flood of tears that overwhelmed her. That was exactly what she thought too.
“You should come over today, and I can show you how to tab your vocals,” Diego told her and Bunny.
“I can’t. I have to watch my little sister,” Janet said. “But you and Ramona can come over for dinner and we can. Trina and Bunny too, if you want.”
“I’m working tonight,” Trina said. “Maybe this weekend?”
“Yeah, we could do that. Bunny?”
“Can’t. Already have homework in algebra, can you believe? It’s gonna take me hours.”
“We can come,” Diego said, raising an eyebrow at Ramona.
“Yeah, if we can take some time so genius girl can help me with my biology homework.”
“Of course. I told you I’d help. Sorry I can’t help with algebra, Bun. Not my thing.”
“I know. I’ll figure it out eventually.”
“What time should we come over?” Ramona asked.
“Six. I have to go to the store and shop for groceries before Sookie gets home.”
“I’ll give you a ride. We can drop by and get groceries on the way home, and just hang out.”
“Really? That would help so much. Thanks.”
Diego’s friends were irritated that they had to hitch rides with others, but took it in good grace, because it was his sister. When they saw Janet, they understood even more clearly. A great many lustful thoughts walked out the door that afternoon.
They made a quick stop at the grocery store and Janet bought the things she needed for the next few days. She’d taken over cooking when she was twelve. Her mother wasn’t a very good cook, her meals often inedible. Janet had a talent for it and enjoyed planning meals. Sookie was forced to clean up, something she hated, but their mother had, for once, sided with Janet.
Sookie rode home with their neighbor who had a son her age. He rode with Janet’s mom in the morning. They were just pulling into the driveway when Janet arrived.
“Hi, Mrs. Thompson. We had to stop at the store.”
“No problem. I picked the kids up and took them for an ice cream. I hope that’s okay.”
“That’s great. Thanks.” She turned to her sister. “Did you remember to thank Mrs. Thompson?”
“Yes, duh!” She smiled at Mrs. Thompson. “Thanks again, Mrs. T. The ice cream was delicious.”
“Bye, Sookie. See you tomorrow, sweetie.” She pulled out of the driveway and headed three doors down.
“Who are you?” Sookie demanded of Diego. “You her boyfriend?”
“I’m Ramona’s brother,” he replied, smiling. He held out his hand to shake hers. “I’ve heard a lot about you, Sookie.”
The little girl eyed his hand distastefully. “Yeah. I bet. She lies a lot.” She tossed her dark braids over her shoulder and went in the house.
“That’s your sister?” Diego couldn’t get over the difference between the two girls.
“Unfortunately. Oh, and I wouldn’t hold out your hand near her again. She bites.”
Diego shoved his hands in his pockets. He went to the trunk of the car and lifted out the groceries. He got all but two bags. The girls took those and followed him in the kitchen.
“What’s for supper?” Ramona asked. “Your fabulous spaghetti? Lasagna?”
“Scarborough Fair Casserole.”
“Yeah! I love that!”
“Why you call it that?” Diego asked.
“I use parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme to season it.”
“Fun.” He smiled as he unpacked the bags. “Can I help?”
“Can you peel potatoes?”
“Give me something hard, huh? Of course I can.”
She handed him a peeler, knife and potatoes. He set about peeling and cutting them setting them up for mashed potatoes. Ramona browned the hamburger meat and Janet combined the other ingredients. When everything was ready, she topped it with mashed potatoes and cheese before popping it in the oven.
©2020 Dellani Oakes
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