After the movie, Charlene checks on them, gives Diego permission to kiss Janet, and leaves.
They kissed for more than five minutes. The door opened again and it was the next projectionist.
“Sorry, man. Lock the door next time.”
“Oh, true. Well, do something, huh?”
“We’re just kissing, Roy. No biggie.”
“Don’t wanna throw off your groove, man. Okay, so we set up for the next run?”
“Yeah. Oh, there’s a bad spot at the end of the second reel.” He explained the problem as he grabbed his things.
Janet and Diego left with their arms around one another. Several of their friends were in the lobby playing pinball. They greeted them as they walked past.
“Oh, Mom invited you to Sunday dinner, and I just remembered,” he said, smacking his forehead. “Can you come?”
“Can I borrow a phone?”
“Call from my house.”
His house was about five minutes away. She called her mother. The phone rang quite a long time. Finally, Sookie answered sounding very apprehensive.
“Sook, what’s up? Is Mom there?”
“Janet you need to get home,” she whispered.
“What’s wrong? Are you okay? Is Mom hurt?”
“I dunno. You need to come. Please?”
“I’m on my way. Are you in danger?”
“No. Just please hurry.”
“Go in your room and lock the door. I’m on my way.” Janet hung up, terrified.
“I need to get home. Now. Something’s wrong. Sookie wouldn’t tell me.”
Diego was all ready leading her to the door. Carlos joined them, carrying a first aid kit.
“In case someone’s hurt.”
Carlos clamored in the back and Janet rode up front. A strange car with Texas plates sat in the driveway. The front door was locked, all the lights were on with no one in the living room.
Janet tried to unlock the door but her hands shook too much. Carlos took her key, opening the door. She ran to Sookie’s room, hammering on the door.
“It’s me, Janet. Are you okay?”
Sookie opened the door, peering out with big, dark eyes.
“Honey? What’s wrong?”
“I don’t know. Some man came here about noon. He and Mama talked a long time and argued some. Then they went in her room and haven’t come out. And I thought she was screaming…. She won’t answer the door. I’m scared, Janet!”
Strange noises were, indeed, coming from the master bedroom. The men exchanged a look. Janet took Sookie downstairs to her room, which fortunately wasn’t directly under the master bedroom, and turned on the TV extra loud. She found the men in the kitchen making coffee and blushing.
“Is that what I think it is?” Janet asked Diego.
He blushed even more, nodding.
“Your mom’s got a boyfriend?” Carlos asked.
“I didn’t think so. She hasn’t really seen anyone since she broke up with Sookie’s dad. And she never had a man here before. Not even Braden.”
“Janet, I’m hungry,” Sookie said from the basement.
“We’ll fix something,” she called. “You better call your mom,” she told Diego.
“Get Sookie, we’ll leave a note,” Carlos said. “She shouldn’t be here.”
Mrs. Hernandez was fine with two extra people for dinner instead of one. She’d fixed enough food for an army, so there was plenty. After dinner, Janet and Ramona cleaned up with the help of Diego and Carlos. Their twin sisters entertained Sookie, who was only a few months younger and in the same grade.
“So, Mom’s got a man! How cool!” Ramona said.
“It’s weird,” Janet snapped. “It’s not like her. She’s never like this.”
“The right man can make you do dumb stuff,” Ramona said, tossing her head.
“What do you know about it?” Carlos asked. “You’ve dated about as much as Janet.”
©2020 Dellani Oakes