Tag Archive | Brand New Day

Brand New Day by Dellani Oakes – Part 27

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.”

“Doesn’t lock.”

“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.”

“Sure.”

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.”

“Thanks.”

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

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Brand New Day by Dellani Oakes – Part 26

Janet and Diego almost kiss, when Charlene walks in to check on them.

“Nope and I’ve still got my pants on.”

“So you do! Good boy!”

“Did you need anything else?”

“Nope. I’m happy.”

“Fantastic.” He turned her around and shut the door behind her.

He’d barely gotten rid of her and was moving in for a kiss when someone else walked in. One of the girls from the concession stand brought Janet a soda, another came in with a box of Sugar Babies.

“Is this some sort of conspiracy?” he asked the girl with the Sugar Babies.

“Conspiracy?”

“You know, to keep me from kissing my girlfriend?”

“Oh, no you go right ahead.” She sat on the hassock, watching the movie from one of the small windows.

“With you here?”

“Don’t mind me.”

“Are you our self-appointed chaperon?”

“Nope. Charlene sent me in. I’m on break.” She popped a Sugar Baby in her mouth and offered one to Janet.

“We don’t need a chaperon. I’m not gonna do anything! Are all the women determined to keep me from getting a kiss?”

“Go ahead. I’ll ignore you.”

“Suddenly, I’m not as happy as I was ten minutes ago.”

“Funny how that happens,” the girl said, eating another Sugar Baby.

Janet couldn’t help laughing. Diego looked so disgusted and disappointed.

“Wishing your best friend’s mom didn’t work with you?”

“Regretting I ever got her the job, yeah.”

“That’s what happens when your best friend is a horny bastard, and you have a similar reputation,” the girl said. “And no, I didn’t sleep with him and we never dated,” she told Janet. “It’s unfortunate, because I think he’d be delicious. But our boss is pretty picky about employees dating.”

“And Charlene is pretty picky about enforcing it,” Diego said in disgust.

“So mistreated,” Janet said, patting his thigh.

He stared at her hand on his thigh and sighed. He was even more discouraged when he realized that her hand that close to his zipper and he didn’t even feel a tingle.

“Dammit,” he muttered.

The film drew to a close and the audience clapped. The house lights came up and they exited the theatre. The Sugar Babies girl got up to sweep the theatre. Diego figured someone else would come in to keep an eye on them, and he wasn’t wrong. Charlene came back in.

“Everything good up here?”

“Peachy,” Diego grunted as he set the film to rewind. “We weren’t doing anything, you know. All I wanted was a kiss.”

“That may be all you figured on getting, but it’s not all you want,” Charlene said. “I have a husband and six boys, four of whom are over twelve. I know how you think, and what your capable of. Which is why I have six boys,” she said in an aside to Janet.

“Is it too much to ask for five minutes of privacy to get one damn kiss? I haven’t seen her since this morning. I just wanted a kiss!”

He sounded so despondent, Charlene took pity on him. She patted his cheek. “But no funny business!”

“How? You’ve scared my gonads into submission,” he complained.

Charlene left, shutting the door behind her.

“I couldn’t even turn on a light right now,” Diego complained.

Janet took pity on him, too. She walked up behind him, hugging him around the waist. He fidgeted until he was facing her.

“Can I get that kiss now?” he whimpered

“Please. I’ve been contemplating withdrawal.”

“Me too,” he mumbled as his lips met hers.

©2020 Dellani Oakes

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Brand New Day by Dellani Oakes – Part 25

Diego takes Janet and Ilene out to breakfast, while Sookie is in Sunday School.

They drove back to the church and Ilene picked up Sookie. Diego drove Janet home, waiting for her as she changed for work. He also had to go to work, but not for an hour.

“When are you off?”

“I get off at four. We close early Sundays.”

“Damn, I’m not off until six.”

“It takes about an hour to clean up and shut down. How about I walk over to the theatre and wait for you?”

“That would be great! Actually, you can come to the booth and keep me company.”

“That would be greater,” she agreed.

He gave her a short kiss and headed home to change.

Janet’s shift went well and she enjoyed her walk to the theatre. The girl at the ticket booth was expecting her and showed her to the projection booth door. Tapping quietly, she waited for Diego to answer before she went back downstairs.

“Hi,” he said quietly.

“Hi.”

“Come on in.” He gestured to the small room with the huge projectors.

Two chairs, a small table and a hassock were the only furniture in the room. He had a soda cup and half a bag of popcorn on the table. He invited her to sit in the chair furthest from the projector.

“Movie’s almost over, got about thirty minutes. How was your shift?”

“Not bad, busy. I like it busy, I don’t get bored.”

He nodded. “We have quite a crowd today. New movie opened.”

“What is it?”

He chuckled. “You know, I have no idea? I’ve been busy cleaning up. We aren’t the neatest bunch. I’m usually the only one who picks up cause, it gets on my nerves after a while.”

“You did a good job. I’m impressed.”

“You’d be even more impressed if you’d seen it before I started. I literally just sat down.”

“Thank you.” She gave him a quick kiss.

Diego moved the table and scooted his chair closer to hers. “I think I deserve a better kiss than that. After all this hard work.”

Janet leaned forward, lips parted, waiting for him. He put his left arm around the back of her chair, moving toward her. The projector made a funny noise.

“Shit!”

He stood so suddenly, Janet lost her balance. She caught herself before she clipped her chin on his chair. Diego worked at the projector a moment and got the film back on track. It had jumped the sprockets.

“I’ll need to leave the guys a note about that. We got damaged film.”

“That’s not good.”

“No. And I don’t want to get blamed for it.” He made a note and posted it on a small bulletin board.

“How many of you are there?”

“Six of us. We all work part time, odd hours. Interesting bunch of guys.”

“How long have you worked here?”

“Couple years. I started as the guy who empties trash. I like this better. I can usually get some studying in, unless there’s a problem.”

She started to ask him another question, but he shushed her.

“Babe, I didn’t invite you up here to talk.”

Janet giggled, clapping her hand over her mouth. “Oh, gosh! Can they hear me?”

“No, it’s soundproofed. We can hear the film because of a speaker. We have to listen so we know when it’s over or if there’s anything wrong with the sound.”

He moved closer, making his approach once more. His lips were barely touching hers when someone came in the door. It was Raul’s mother, Charlene.

“Hi, Janet. The girls told me you were here, so I came up to say hi.”

“Admit it, you came up to see if I was being a bad boy.”

“That too. Were you?”

“Was the door locked?”

“That door doesn’t lock from the inside.”

©2020 Dellani Oakes

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Brand New Day by Dellani Oakes – Part 24

Janet’s solo at church goes really well. She spots Diego with her family, and it makes her more brave.

The minister launched into his sermon, speaking less time than he usually did. His words were stirring and inspiring, as he spoke of the love God had for his people. What eyes had been dry after the song, weren’t after he finished.

The service eventually wound to a close and the congregation stood for the final hymn. Instead of preparing to walk out, the choir stood, setting their folders on their seats. The music began suddenly, startling the congregation. The organist had moved to the piano. Choir members pulled out tambourines, wood blocks and one of the tenors sported a guitar. They stood up front, singing, playing and dancing to Give Me That Old Time Religion.

The minister stood at the podium, clapping and singing with them as the congregation joined in. Four of the men formed a quartet, taking the lead on the verses. The women sang a soaring harmony around them, shaking their tambourines. Everyone left the church smiling.

After the congregation left, the choir filed out. When Janet came out of the choir room, her mother, sister and Diego were waiting for her. Even Sookie was smiling and hopping up and down excitedly.

“That was so cool!” she said over and over. “You were so good, Janet!”

“Thanks, squirt. I’m glad you liked it.”

Her mother also congratulated her, then walked Sookie to Sunday school. Diego took her hands.

“You were amazing. Totally blew my mind when you started to sing.”

“Thank you. I didn’t know you were coming. I thought you had to go to Mass, don’t you have to sing or serve?”

“I talked my way out of it. I told Father the woman I love was singing for God, and I had to go hear her. It was beautiful, Janet.” He took a step closer, lowering his voice. “If I didn’t love you already, I would have fallen for you the second you started to sing.”

Several of the young men from choir knew Diego well. They came up, thumping him on the back.

“Hey, buddy. What you doing here?” one of them asked.

“Slumming. What you think? I came to hear my lady sing.”

“You’re dating?” The bass who’d helped her up the steps looked disappointed.

“Yeah. Got a problem with that?”

“No. Kind of wish…. Never mind. Janet, you get tired of him, I’ll be your rebound guy.”

She giggled, patting his arm. “Thanks. I think I’ll keep him a little while.”

“Just so you know….”

Diego put his arm around her shoulders. “Enough of that. You’ll make me forget we’re in church.” He was only partially kidding. “Come on, babe. I’m taking you and your mom to breakfast.”

“We ate.”

“Well, I didn’t. So you can drink coffee and I’ll eat.” He kissed her cheek as he put his arm around her neck.

They met her mother by the side door downstairs and went to a nearby diner. Diego ate a huge breakfast while Janet and her mother had coffee and pie.

“I’m surprised you’re so hungry,” Ilene said.

“You forget, Catholics don’t eat before church. I’m starving. I’ve been up since six.”

“Why so early?” Janet asked him.

“I had to help my dad fix some stuff. He doesn’t sleep much since he hurt his back, so he’s up at odd hours. Which means I’m up at odd hours to keep an eye on him, so he won’t hurt himself more.”

“How’s he doing?” Ilene asked kindly.

“He has good days and bad days. Today was a good day.” He smiled.

“I’m glad. I’ve been meaning to call, I just stay so busy….”

“My folks know that, Ms. Yarkowsky. You’ve got your hands full.”

©2020 Dellani Oakes

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Brand New Day by Dellani Oakes – Part 23

Janet’s mother asks her about her date, happy that Janet had a good time. She finds herself thinking about Evander.

One thing Janet didn’t know was that she was still married to Janet’s father. She’d dated a few men, but none of them had ever been for her what Evander was; husband, lover, friend. He did for her what she saw Diego did for Janet. He filled in those little holes in her soul that had been gaping ever since.

She went in her room, shutting the door. For a time, she cried. Then she picked up the phone and made a call. The phone rang three times before a man’s voice answered.

“Hi,” she said, the tears threatening to fall again. “It’s me…. Can we talk?”

Sunday morning, Janet and her family headed to church for the early service. The high school choir was singing and she had the solo. Nervous, she walked back and forth across the end of the choir room. The wide window overlooked the parking lot two stories below. She rolled her neck and shook her arms, trying to relax.

The choir director walked in, smiling. She clapped her hands as she approached the piano. It was time for warm-ups. She played a chord and they began. Janet relaxed into the routine as they continued to sing. By the time warm-ups were over, she was feeling a little better.

They practiced their hymns and it was time to line up to go in. They processed from the rear of the church, so they had to go into the fellowship hall in the basement and come up the back stairs. Janet carried her folder, keeping to herself, not talking with her friends like she usually did.

Bunny came up beside her. “Are you okay?”

“No. I feel like throwing up.”

“You’ve done this a hundred times.”

“Not a cappella.”

“So? You’ve got perfect pitch. You’ll be fine. If it was me doing it, I’d panic. I can’t stay on pitch like you. You’re going to be great.”

“I wish I didn’t have half the service to worry about it. I want to get in and get it over with.”

“Swear to God, Janet. If you don’t calm down, I’ll clobber you.” Bunny teasingly punched her friend on the shoulder before rushing to take her place.

Janet followed, stepping into her spot in line as the organ began. The minister walked in first. He was followed by the lay minister. The choir came in next, in section order, tallest to shortest. Janet was last because she was a soloist and had to step out of the pew to stand beside the organ.

The service went by in a blur. Janet hardly paid any attention to it, waiting for her solo. Before she knew it, the director nodded to her. She stood, taking her place between the lectern and the organ. The director played her note very softly and Janet began to sing. The first note was faltering, but it added a warble to her voice that made it even prettier. It was then she glanced at the front row. Diego sat there beside her mother and sister, smiling encouragingly. He gave her a thumb’s up. Janet felt a surge of courage and her voice grew stronger.

“What wondrous love is this, oh my soul, oh my soul? What wondrous love is this, oh my soul?”

She sang the first verse alone. On the chorus, the choir joined her, singing in eight part harmony, their voices blending into an intricate tapestry behind her. The song finished in silence. The quiet was interrupted by a unified sigh by everyone in the congregation. Sniffles and nose blowing followed.

The minister, lost in the music, took his time standing. Janet walked back to her seat. One of the young men in the bass section stepped forward to help her up the steps. He smiled, mouthing “Good job,” before sitting down.

“I believe that was the best this choir’s ever sung,” the minister said. “And I know it’s not customary to applaud, but in this instance, I don’t think God would mind.” He started clapping.

The entire congregation joined in. The director signaled them to stand and take a bow. They did so, sitting once more as the applause faded.

“I wish my message today were half as good as that song. I believe the lyrics say it all, What wondrous love is this.

©2020 Dellani Oakes

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