She led him to the master bedroom. This room really reflected Enid’s personality. Pictures of her and Ed graced the walls and every available surface. Jasper balked once more.
“Do we have any neutral ground? If we make love in your room, I’ll feel like a child molester. If we make love in here, I’ll feel like a voyeur.”
“Picky, picky, picky.”
“I’m thinking of forestalling any performance issues.”
“I can’t imagine you having any of those,” Hana replied. “But okay. How about the guest room?” She opened a door to a gender neutral room done in blue and beige with a stripped coverlet and blue drapes.
“Yes. This room is perfect.”
“Good, because I’m not going anywhere else.”
Jasper shut the door, backing her toward the bed. “Only one place I wanna go.”
They made love in the gender neutral room with the lights on, laughing and enjoying their privacy. They’d contained themselves somewhat in the hotel, not wanting to disturb the neighbors. Here, the nearest house was a quarter of a block away. The lots sprawled along convoluted, spaghetti noodle streets.
They were just getting out of the shower when a knock came at the door. Hana peeped out the window and saw a cluster of ladies on the porch.
“Oh, shit, I forgot the welcoming committee!” She grabbed fresh clothing, throwing it on quickly. “Oh shit, oh shit!” Glad she hadn’t washed her hair, she pulled it out of the scrunchie, fluffed it and scurried out.
The ladies were still knocking several minutes later. When Hana opened the door, she nearly got tapped in the face.
“We’re looking for Enid, is she here?” the lady in front said.
“No. I’m her great-niece. My fiancé and I are here to close up the house.”
“Did Enid—pass?” another lady said, somewhat horrified.
They all bowed their heads in respect.
“Oh, no!” Hana giggled. “We’re moving her to New Mexico on a semi-permanent basis. The medical treatment she’s receiving there is helping her a great deal. We felt that a less transient atmosphere would be beneficial.
Jasper came up behind Hana, smiling. He put his hand on her hip. The ladies grinned up at him.
“Would you ladies like to come in?” he invited.
Hana glared at him as the women trooped in.
“What?” he gestured.
Hana’s gesture was less specific, but certainly showed her irritation. “I don’t have any refreshments. We haven’t been to the grocery store.”
“That’s all right, dear. We brought things.”
Each lady produced a covered dish or platter of cookies or tin of tea cakes. Hana extolled her delight and sent Jasper to make a pot of tea as penance. She knew her aunt would have all the fixings for that. It was up to Jasper to figure out how to put it together. She was somewhat surprised when he came back with a silver tea tray, a flowered pot, cups, sugar cubes and milk.
“I’m afraid the milk is canned and we don’t have lemon, but I found everything else.” He handed out cups and saucers to the ladies, then passed the milk and sugar.
Hana passed the cookies and cakes. They sat around the dining room table and talked for nearly an hour, bringing the women up to date on Enid and their many adventures in New Mexico.
“What an exciting time you’ve had,” the first woman said. “Is Enid better? I have been so worried, I’ve been praying every day for her.”
“I had Father Clark offer up Mass,” the second woman added.
Hana was visibly touched by their thoughtfulness. She had thought, when they arrived, that they were simply being nosy, but it wasn’t the case. They were genuinely concerned.
“I’ll make sure Auntie sends out cards. We’ve been so busy getting settled, we simply hadn’t thought. Thank you all for your kind concern.”
“And thanks for the food,” Jasper added as the ladies were leaving. “I just had a huge lunch, but I’m already hungry.”
“A big, strong man like you, it’s not surprising,” the first woman said. “We’ll keep you fed. Put some meat on you.” She winked, finding the excuse to pat Jasper on the ribs. Her eyes widened and she grinned, giving him a saucy wink. “Oh, aren’t you the fit one!”
“I shoe horses for a living,” he said.
“A farrier? Well, who’d have thought!”
“I’m just impressed as hell you know the right term. Most people call me a blacksmith.”
“Well, that’s just silly. I grew up on a ranch. I’ve known the difference since I was five.”
They finally bid farewell and Hana closed the door, leaning against it.
“And you thought they were going to be intrusive old busy bodies,” Jasper said with a smirk.
“You charmed them. They usually are just that, but with kind hearts. I wish I could remember their names!”
©2022 Dellani Oakes