Jen and Christin Update.

For anyone who has noticed, (all three of you) Christin and I have been out of commission for a few weeks. I am FINALLY all moved in my new place. Moving sucks, the pay off is pretty spectacular. It is not the move we originally wanted, it is the move we needed.

The same time we were moving, Christin and her family went to Eastern Washington to visit her family. While there, Christin had a bad case of allergies, which turned out to not be allergies. Every time I spoke with her on the phone, it sounded as if I was talking to a 70-year-old woman who smokes a pack a day.

For now, I will leave you with some pointers on how to make “Moving Day” as easy as possible.

• If you need boxes, check out Wal-Mart, or your local schools. Both places seem to have an abundance supply. Also, make sure you know how to properly tape a box….because believe it or not, you may be told how to properly do so.

• If you have pets, I would recommend moving them first. Set up a “safe area” in your new place with a few of their favorite toys, and a familiar blanket (for the scent.) Do not move them last…..like we did. They will be pretty pissed off. Just trust me on this one.

• If you are a sentimental – yet logical – borderline hoarder, do not trust your husband and /or kids when they tell you “Don’t worry, we got everything!”

• Apparently, we do not need bed frames for the beds. (See above)

• Unpack the kitchen first. If you wait too long, someone else will do it and make the God awful mistake of putting the coffee pot furthest away from the fridge. If  you find yourself in this situation, my advice is to wait three days before putting the coffee pot in its proper place. For some reason, if you move things around, directly after “someone” has set it up, well, they kind of get offended.

• If you find yourself needing a “moving break” but do not want to look like a wimp when everyone else is working their ass off, just text a close family member and / or friend. “I need you to call me in five minutes with a fake emergency.” This has also served me well when political debates are going on.

• You know the treadmill you had at your old place? You know, the one that made a pretty amazing coat rack? Well, the thing is, once you convince your husband and kids that you indeed want to take it with you to the new place, they will be counting down the days until you use it, just waiting to say “I KNEW YOU WOULD NOT USE IT.”

• There is nothing wrong with doing a Christmas theme in your second bathroom. No matter what anyone tells you, it is completely practical. If they do not let up, threaten to bring out your Christmas dinnerware. That will shut them up.

• Most importantly, enjoy the process. Waking up for the first time in your new home only happens once. You do not have to have everything unpacked at once…….unless of course it is Christmas motif.

moving

 

Only the Good Die Young (Part 7)

“Jordan, it’s Jennifer…..Christin’s friend.”

“Hey, Jen…….I know who are are……what’s up?”

“Well……so…….here’s the thing. Everything is okay but…..”

“What’s wrong?”

“Okay, everything is okay, but Christin was robbed tonight. Physically she is okay, just a few scrapes on her knees, but she is pretty upset, and asked me to call you….the police are on…”

“I’m on my way.”
……

Thirty minutes later  the police were gone, assuring us that they would keep us updated. Jordan found his place safely beside Christin on our sofa. Alphonso, believe it or not, was actually helpful. I told him I would burn his Vogue magazines in a bonfire if he even had a thought of offering the police officers a drink.

I went into “Fix it” mode. I am a fixer. Always have been, always will be. As I am listening to Christin repeat the story to Jordan, I took a step back, this was their moment, their time, I was thinking ahead. Writing down a mental list…….She needs a new social security card, we have to report this to our landlord, we need new locks, the DMV. Christin will need to get to the DMV as soon as possible. I can make phone calls for her, I am a fixer, this is something I am actually good at. Hell, maybe now she would agree to letting me get a dog…..a guard dog!

Jordan stayed over that night. Both him and Christin crashed in the living room while Vinnie and I took Christin’s room. I do not believe anyone (aside from Alphonso and Vinnie) had any sleep that night.

……

Two weeks later. Sunday afternoon. Jordan and Ryan were over. Alphonso, passed out on the sofa, with an excited Vinnie crawling all over him. The four of us were enjoying a mimosa and bagels with cream cheese. Ryan and I had eased into a comfortable relationship. It was good. Dare I say we had established a safe connection. Both of us fully aware of the reality. The phone rang.

“This is officer Hamilton, may I speak with Christin Crider.”

They had found her purse. Everything was accounted for, except the $800.00 in cash from her paycheck. Christin had already canceled her debit card while putting in a new request for a social security card. Everyone was able to relax a little bit. We were struggling financially, but we were all okay.

Jordan wanted to take Christin out to celebrate. I kinda think he just wanted some one on one time with her, which is totally understandable. They were going to head down to Redondo, while Ryan and I stayed back and had a movie day……with Alphonso still passed out.

As soon as Vinnie went down for his nap, I put in one of my favorite movies of all time. “Goodfellas.” I honestly do not understand how no one has ever seen this movie, yet here I was with Ryan, who had never seen it. I can seriously recite the entire movie word for word.

I made the popcorn. I threw a blanket over Alphonso while making myself comfortable on the sofa. I LOVE this movie, and I love it more watching it with people who have never seen it. If you know the movie, you know the scene. Joe Pesci asking Ray Liotta

“Funny how? I mean, funny like I’m a clown? I amuse you? I make you laugh? I’m here to fuckin’ amuse you? How da fuck am I funny? What da fuck is so funny about me? Tell me. Tell me what’s funny.”

I was dying. Love that scene. I kept looking over at Ryan, just waiting for him to laugh. Waiting for him to find the same amusement as I did in only the best movie ever.

I got nothing.

“Seriously, why aren’t you laughing right now?”

I gave him a playful slap on his arm.

“Hey Jen……can I talk to you for a second?”

“Yeah….sure……do you want me to rewind it?”

“Maybe we can pause it for a minute?”

“Okay but you will miss it, see, Tommy is giving Henry shit, it’s all in fun, but he is kinda testing him and seriously this is one of the best scenes ever.”

I looked over at Ryan and well, I could already tell he was not into it.

“I like you, I think we have a good thing here…….without being overly dramatic, have you ever thought about…..you know.”

And now I am lost. Is he talking about the movie, because this was not in there.

“Yeah, you annoy the hell out of me, but we work together, you know like Henry and Karen….excpet I would never marry you, because, well, because I know how you are.”

I do not know what it was. Maybe it went over my head, maybe he did not know Henry and Karen, but Ryan had this blank look on his face.

Out of no where, he reached his hand behind my head, gently playing with my hair, slowly he leaned in. I had no idea what was happening. Somehow he scooted me closer, not too slow but not too fast. Softly, gently, his lips met mine. His hand still playing with my hair while the other was safely on the back of the sofa. I was caught by surprise, yet caught by feeling right. This was somehow okay…in the moment.

Only in the moment.

Before I knew it, I was caught up in the embrace. I don’t know why, I was taken off guard. My defenses were down. I was watching my favorite movie ever…….and then, Alphonso wakes up. Slowly, he gets up from his spot on the floor. He caught Ryan and I during the kiss. We jumped back, caught off guard.

Alphonso looks around.

“I need a smoke….also, Christin owes me twenty bucks. I knew it was only a matter of time before you bitches would suck face.”

fork

Only the Good Die Young (Part 6)

Jen and Alphonso were working late tonight. I had some errands to run, bills to pay and what not. I made a quick stop at Starbucks, grabbing my coveted caramel Frappuccino. I was doing the low carb diet, but not tonight, Jen didn’t need to know about that though. I once asked her to help me cut the carbs out and she took that invitation and ran with it. She was always checking my room, making sure I didn’t have any chocolate stashed somewhere. I quickly learned never to ask Jen for anything unless I really wanted it.

Driving down Pac Highway, slurping my frappe, listening to a little Mary J. Blige, I was in my zone. The last few months hadn’t been easy with my car being stolen but for now at least I had a car while waiting on my insurance stuff to go through. With my payroll check in hand, I rolled up to the check cashing place. Quickly rifling through my purse, making sure I had my license handy. Glancing around before I got out because I knew the neighborhood wasn’t the best. Hell, it was one of the worst on this side of the state.

A few minutes later, I walk back out with my cash in my purse and purse tucked closely to my side. I unlocked the car door and the next thing I remember is feeling like someone was behind me. Quickly turning around, I caught a glimpse of a tall guy…….. or was it two guys? Hitting the ground the hard, my purse and keys left my hands.

My keys. Where are my keys? My mace was on my key chain. Is that gun? I think that’s a gun on his belt! Adrenaline ran through my body like a lit fuse. My knees ached. My head pounded. Instinctively, I put my hands up to cover my face and head. They never said a word as they ran away into the darkness of night with my purse, while I laid on the cold pavement with my hands covering my face for at least 5 minutes, not certain if it was safe to get up or not.

“Are you okay?” I looked up to see an older lady walking her dog, looking down at me. “Someone—-my purse!! They took my purse!!” “My key, where’s my —“

“It’s right here young lady” she said, picking my keys up off the ground.

I quickly got up and grabbed the keys out of her hand. “I got to go!” I jumped in the car, nearly hitting the women. I couldn’t breathe. “Breath Christin Breathe!” I said out loud to myself. I was going 70 mph, weaving through traffic, trying to get home. My thoughts were racing. Call the police. Oh, my God, they have my name, address and social security number. My money! Breathe! My tires squealed into the parking garage. I ran up the three flights to the apartment. As I swung the front door open and saw Jen sitting with Alphonso, a sound escaped my mouth that I can’t even explain. “Call the police!!”

“What is going on?! What happened to you?!”

“I was—they threw me to the ground and—took my purse!” Jen sat me down on the couch. “You have to breathe…tell us what happened!”

“They know where I live!”

“Who does? Who did this?”

“I don’t know! Some guys—they threw me down!”

“You’re bleeding!” Jen said, with panic in her voice.

I looked down and my knees were bloodied and swollen. Alphonso grabbed the phone and dialed 911. “My roommate needs police! She needs help!” “No, I’m not sure what happened. No. Yes. Yes.” “What is our address?”, Alphonso asked looking over at us.

Really? We’ve lived in this apartment for a year and the fool still didn’t know the address. “The cops are on the way”

Feeling violated, I couldn’t stop the tears running down my face. My fear of someone knowing where I lived and having all my personal information was daunting. I had no control, no power. Powerless. Defeated. Weak. I hated feeling weak. Empty and battered.

“Jen, can you call Jordan?” I asked, after my 4th attempt of “getting it together”. A moment later there was a knock at the door. “We got a call—What happened here tonight” asked, the female police officer.

I recalled my story to the officers, as much as I could remember. They assured me they would do everything they could, which didn’t make me feel any better. Leaving me with a card with a case number and a phone number—just in case. In case of what? They come back to murder me? Yeah, officer thanks. I will let you know when someone comes to my house to finish me off. Thanks.

I could hear Jen on the phone in the bedroom, talking to Jordan. “She’s talking to the police now. You need to get over here—she’s pretty banged up” Alphonso grabbed some ice packs, placing them on my knees. He then did what he does best in stressful situations. “Does anyone want a drink?”

After a night like this, I needed a strong one. Little did I know, there would be more nights ahead where Alphonso’s bartending skills would be absolutely necessary.

fork

Only the Good Die Young (Part 5)

New plan!

An opportunity presented itself to Christin that was too good to pass up. A friend of hers was selling a beater car for an exceptional price. Between Christin, Alphonso and myself we had no car. We made it work, however if one of us actually had a car, well, life would be easier.

Christin and I postponed our move for another two weeks so  she could take advantage of this opportunity and buy a car. I mean really, in the grand scheme of things, what is another two weeks?

Friday night. Alphonso and I did not get off until 7pm. Christin was off running errands, being that she was the only one of us who worked a normal 7-4 work schedule. Alphonso and I would make the 10 minute walk from work to Vinnie’s daycare, then the two-minute walk from the daycare to our apartment. Christin would then meet up with us later, while we figured out dinner plans.

This was the week Alphonso was on his Vegan phase, Christin was still doing low carb, and my diet consisted of coffee and chocolate. Dinner plans should be interesting.

Vinnie was content drinking his bottle, sleep  just around the corner,  while Alphonso was trying a new makeup look on me, Coldplay’s “Yellow” filled the room with a peaceful contentment.

And then, just like that, the contentment changed to panic.

Christin comes barreling through the front door. Screaming, crying, shaking., disheveled.

“Call the police! Call the police!”

In unison, Alphonso and I did what we do best. Worked together as a team.

Alphonso grabbed a somewhat sleeping Vinnie and took him safely to the bedroom. I rushed out of my chair and went to Christin.

“What’s happening, what’s wrong?!?!”

“Jen, call the police, call the police, I need the police! Now…do something….I need the police!”

Alphonso comes from the bedroom.

“What the fuck happened?”

“Call the police!”

I guided Christin to the sofa, Alphonso grabs the phone.

“Christin, talk to me, what happened? Alphonso, get her something to drink.”

“An alcoholic beverage or what?”

“A goddamn glass of water!”

“Christin, talk to us!”

“It was bad, I need the police, we have to call the police.”

“Alphonso call the police!”

He immediately dials 911.

“We need police assistance, my roommate just came home. She is not herself, we do not know what happened, she is crying, asking us to call the police……………Jen, what’s our address?”

“Are you kidding me right now?! Look at the mail that’s on the counter…….Christin, the police are coming, what happened, talk to us, what do we need to do?”

In about twenty minutes, we would have our answers.

fork

Only the Good Die Young (Part 4)

The next month went by pretty fast. Christin and I found a place. Alphonso took the news as expected, drama queen at best, toddler at his worst.

“Alphonso we have some news.”

“Oh my god is someone dead.”

“No.”

“You bitches bought me Vogue and a pack of smokes, what is going on?”

“Well, Christin and I are officially giving your our 30 day notice! Yay!”

“You guys are moving out?”

“Yes! Yay! Aren’t you proud of us for being grown ups?”

“It’s because I’m fat, isn’t it?”

“No no. It’s because you are poor, but don’t you worry we will help you find roommates.”

(End scene. Alphonso goes to pout in his room)

……

Moving day was quickly approaching. For reasons that I rather not get into ie: “I told you so” Christin and I mutually agreed that the best thing to do was give ourselves a little more time to move.

“Jen, you know Ryan is right, we need just a little bit longer to find a place and save.”

“Fine…..but this was OUR idea, not his.”

Jordan would make more frequent visits to our apartment. Slowly, things were progressing nicely with him and Christin. He was a nice guy. Hell, he would even tolerate Alphonso’s “Sex and the City” movie nights, even after Alphonso calling him “The Black Aidan.”

It was nice to see Christin in a relationship she could actually enjoy. Jordan would take her out every Friday, Christin would cook (well, she would attempt to) every Saturday, and on the few occasions where she messed up dinner, Jordan paid for takeout. Everything just seemed “easy” with them.

“Chris, what do you feel like doing tonight.”

“There’s a new movie I want to see.”

“Dinner first or afterwards?”

“After.”

None of that “Oh I don’t know, what ever you feel like doing” crap.

Ryan and I actually started to tolerate each other. Come to find out he had a daughter a year older than Vinnie. We would get the kids together for a playdate here and there while getting to know each other. Most importantly, I enjoyed the banter with him.

“You know your shirt does not match don’t you?”

“You know I don’t care don’t you?”

“Yes, I gathered that”

“It’s funny how you are giving me fashion advice while you have holes in your jeans and…..is that  pizza sauce on your shirt?”

“IT’S THE STYLE AND I WAS HUNGRY!”

……

It was a Friday night. Christin and Jordan were doing their thing, while Alphonso, Ryan, and me were just chilling at the apartment. Christin calls and invites us to Denny’s for some late night munchies. With Vinnie safely asleep I called my friend Jasmine who lived right upstairs and asked her if she would come listen out for Vinnie. I would be an hour tops.

The five of us meet up at Denny’s. Coincidentally there happened to be some work people there as well. A bunch of Samoans who worked the late shift were grubbing down on well, on everything. The only one I recognized was this guy name Joe. We gave each other a polite nod of the head and that was it. Meanwhile, Alphonso had found his crew. Not work people, people from his nail salon. Of course.

I am not sure exactly how it happened, but Alphonso invited his crew back to our apartment for some after dinner drinks. See, I would not have to put up with this when Christin and I had our own place.

Allow me to set the scene. Christin and Jordan took their place by the front door, as there was nowhere else for them to sit. I kept my place in the hallway entrance. Vinnie was in Christin’s room sleeping and I did not want anyone to wake him up. Ryan was with me, and offered to get rid of some of these people, these questionable people. Alphonso was in the kitchen, martini in hand, doing his rendition of Lady Marmalade.

A cute young girl who Alphonso just met at Denny’s (yet invited her into our home) approached Ryan.

“Are you two together?”

She was clearly giving me the look over. I did not like this one.

“We are friends.”

Geez, he could not just tell her we were? For no other reason than to get rid of her?

“I have a job in an hour, I’m good for 30 if you want to go?”

What the hell was she talking about?

I am just curious if anyone reading this, from that sentence alone “I have a job in an hour, I’m good for 30 if you want to go.” Do you guys know what that means? Because I clearly was the only person who did not get it. Come to find out our little friend was a prostitute. Not even kidding. She just finished a “job” when Alphonso met her at Denny’s and, I guess because prostitution offers flexibility (in more ways that one) she had a good 30 minutes to kill and wanted to offer her services to Ryan in the bathroom.

Are you freaking kidding me?

“Oh hell no this is not happening, get rid of her.”

I found Christin, whispered in her ear that we have a whore in our apartment who just offered to do some sort of sexual act to Ryan in the bathroom, with my son sleeping in the next room over, and we have got to shut it down now.

Christin gave Jordan the rundown and within seconds everyone was gone.

“Alphonso, how in the hell could you invite a prostitute back to our home?”

“It’s not like I asked for her resume before the invite.”

“THIS IS WHY I NEED MY OWN PLACE!”

“Jen, a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do.”

……

fork

 

 

Only the Good Die Young (Part 3)

As I was doing some more packing, one of my beloved cats jumped into a box that I had stupidly stacked a little too high. Both the box and cat fell down on me. I have the bruise to prove it in a less than flattering place, but I will spare you the image. I am on the floor, making sure the damn cat was okay, while throwing everything back in the box for a second time. “How do I get myself into these situations?”

……

Many years ago, before Joe, before the kids, Christin and I found ourselves in a very similar situation. There was a brief period in time where we were on the outs with Alphonso. Naturally, it was not anything Christin and I did. Alphonso was just being a douche for a brief period in his life. Christin and I woke up one Saturday, both of us having the same day off. Doing retail work, that was definitely a rarity. Over breakfast that consisted of coffee and Tylenol, we had the brilliant idea of “Let’s just find our own place.” The logic being  was Alphonso could keep the apartment, have all his colorful friends move in with him, and Christin and I would start over in a two bedroom that we know we could afford between the two of us. We both did a quick survey of our belongings, trying to do a mental count on how many trips we could do our quick move in. The only big thing that may be a problem to move was her bed. At this point I had been sleeping on the floor. I was totally willing to say good-bye to my couch cushions, while slamming down a twenty at the local Goodwill.

Just like that our plan was set into place.

In the span of twenty minutes Christin and I decided we were going to move out. Next up, we had to find a place. I mean how hard could that be? We were living in a somewhat hip and up and coming city. There were apartments all over the place. Of course with Christin being the only one with a car we would have to find a place within walking distance to work. Something affordable because we worked retail, that should say enough. We both went to our respective rooms to get ready for the day. Christin to her bedroom and well, I was already in the livingroom so I did not have far to go. I could hear her R&B music blasting from her bathroom. Lauryn Hill or something like that. The fact the Christin and I had two totally different taste in music told me we were off to a great start. I threw some Michelle Branch into my old worn down cd player (because that’s one of Christin’s favorites) and started getting ready for our new adventure. Finding a new place to live!

……

By the time I returned with coffee from our local gas station right down the street, Jordan was already there. Jordan was a new guy Christin was slowly starting to get to know. I liked this guy. He was always a gentleman with Christin. Every time he came over, he would give her a gentle kiss on her cheek. He never made her pay when he took her out (unlike some of her previous suitors) and most importantly he made her laugh. Her laugh, her high-pitched almost screaming shrill could make a cat go crazy, but that is how you knew you had her.

“Hi Jordan! Did Christin tell you our new plan?”

“Uh, she did, are you sure you guys know what you are getting into?”

“Duh, it’s the perfect fix. I am just surprised we did not think of it sooner.”

As I made my way to the kitchen, I see a complete stranger washing our dirty dishes. With the strangers back to me, I turned to Christin and Jordan and mouthed “Who is this person?”

Jordan stood up, while Christin gathered her purse. “Jen, this is Ryan, he’s an old friend who will be tagging along with us today if that’s cool?”

Great. I hate new people.

This Ryan character turned towards me, and just gave a quick nod of his head, while washing the dishes.

“Christin, can I talk to you real quick in your room……I need to, ummm, borrow a shirt.”

The look she gave Jordan did not escape me.

“Why does this new person have to come along?”

“I don’t know, Jordan said he may be able to help.”

“Is he the apartment manager of a complex?”

“No, he works at Boeing with Jordan.”

“Then how in the hell can he help?!”

……

Just like that, the four of us were off. We took Jordan’s car, and I made Christin sit in the back seat with me. First up was this cute little complex right off of Pac. Hwy. Not too much further of a walk/drive from where we already lived. The 500.00 deposit along with the 40.00 application fee (per person) was enough to turn us away. Just a little bump in the road. We did not account for the deposit fee in this little plan of ours. The second, third, and fourth complex pretty much ended with the same result.

Somehow when I was not paying attention, Christin was now in the front seat next to Jordan, and Ryan was in the backseat. I was so not in the mood to make small talk. I was on a mission. We had to find an apartment ASAP or Christin and I would be stuck covering Alphonso’s portion of the rent……again.

I grabbed my notebook and pen from my purse and started working the numbers. There had to be a way for us to afford the deposit, application fee, and first months rent. There just had to be, we had a plan!

“I think you added that wrong.”

I looked over and Ryan  just happened to be reading over my shoulder.

“No, I did not add it wrong.”

“You did not carry the one, you should use a calculator.”

“Well actually I prefer doing longhand because you never know what kind of mistakes you can make with a calculator.”

“Except you made a mistake doing long hand.”

“No, look, 9+5=15, then you carry the one, and see, there ya go.”

“9+5 is 14.”

“No it’s not.”

“Why would I lie?”

“I do not think you are intentionally lying, I just think you are wrong……Christin, do something!”

“Jen, 9+5 is 14.”

I may have heard a snicker from Ryan.

……

We decided to stop to get some lunch. I do not know about anyone else, but the stress was making me hungry, and between you and me, I kinda felt Christin was not totally into this. Just from the perspective of me being in the backseat, I think she was spending a little too much time listening to Jordan’s stories and not enough time on our mission……finding a new place!

Denny’s was pretty crowded. We were quickly packed like sardines into a booth that claimed to sit four, but the reality was anything but that. I glanced up from my menu, noticed that Jordan had his arm gently wrapped around Christin, while they were sharing a menu. It was both cute and disgusting. Maybe I needed to be a little bit more patient. Clearly Christin is happy, and we all know it has been awhile since she had an actual nice guy interested in her. So, fine. I will try to bring it down a notch.

“Are you ready to order?”

Our lovely waitress whose name tag stated in a big bold font, “Becky”, looked as if she would rather be any other place than at our table.

“Can you come back to me, I am still looking.”

I could not decide between a burger or chicken tenders. They both looked good and I was pretty hungry, and…

“I’ll have the chicken friend steak, eggs sunny side up, toast as the side”

“The steak and eggs, scrambled, side of pancakes.”

“Chicken tender salad with ranch as the dressing, no bread.”

Oh that’s right, Christin was doing her low carb thing again.

“Are you ready now?”

I could tell by Becky’s tone she may have been annoyed.

“I’ll have the cheese burger and fries.”

“How do you want your burger?”

“What?”

“Pink, a little pink, or no pink?”

“Oh, a little pink.”

“What kind of cheese?”

“I’m sorry?”

“American, swiss, cheddar.”

“American, that’s fine.”

“What kind of fries?”

“Okay seriously? French fries, how many different options do you have for french fries?”

“Seasoned, sweet potato, we also have onion rings.”

“Regular french fries, the kind you have pictured here in this picture. You did not spend this much time on everyone else’s order!!!!”

Pretty safe to say someone is going to now spit in my food.

Christin, Jordan and Ryan were now looking at me, all wide-eyed and such. So, maybe I was a little bit rude, but come on. All I wanted was a burger and fries!

Lunch conversation was fairly, well, predictable. I listened to Jordan’s stories of how he builds airplanes, or something like that. Christin was telling the guys about her job, and Ryan apparently had some sort of office job. I was not really paying that much attention, I was too busy working the numbers, trying to find a solution we had to be missing.

“Christin, what if we applied for a pay-day loan, what do you think? We would have the money for a deposit.”

“That’s not a good idea.”

I looked to my left, where the unsolicited advice came from. Ryan. See, this is why I do not like new people. I do not know this guy well enough for him to be inserting his opinion on something he knows nothing about.

“Jen, I have to agree, a pay-day loan will just keep taking money from our check until we are able to pay it back and the interest rates are crazy.”

“Yeah, but maybe if we could pay the loan off in time then we wont get hit with the…”

“She’s right. You’re just going to screw yourselves with the interest rates.”

And now I had hit my limit. I turned to Ryan, while making an exaggerated effort of throwing my notebook and pen on the table.

“So here’s the thing, I do not need to be told what wont work, I need to be told what will work, and no offense Ryan, but you do not know our situation, and if we do not do this now, then Christin and I will just be stuck another month paying for Alphonso, who you do not even know but trust when I say he is so not dependable, unless it has to do with the new Marc Jacobs bag, then he is all up on that, and we cannot keep on enabling, what’s that saying, give a man a fish he eats for a day, teach a man to fish, he eats longer…….you know that saying…….we have to do something, and even though you have your little fancy job at Boeing, Christin and I do not have that, we are pay check to pay check and I have my kid to think about and…..”

“You have a kid?”

“Jen, let’s go to the restroom.”

I knew her tone, she was worried I would say something I may regret. She may have been worried I would say something to embarrass her in front of Jordan. At this point, she may have been right.

“Umm, yes I have a kid, is that okay with you or would you like to also give me parenting advice along with my living situation?”

“Are you ready for dessert?”

Good Ole Becky.

“Just the check please.”

“Is this all on one or separate?”

Jordan spoke up before I could protest.

“One check please.”

Digging in my wallet I pulled out 15.00 in cash, should be enough to cover my burger and tip. I gave it to Christin. She gave it back.

“How old is you kid?”

“Ummm, he is, ummmm, he is…”

“He is just over a year…..we will be right back.”

Where was she going? I want to go too. She can’t leave me here at this table with Mr Know-it all.

“Jordan wants to order a pie to go.”

“But you do not eat pie, it has carbs!”

……

As soon as Christin and Jordan left to go order some so-called pie, I quickly took Christin’s place in the booth. I had my notebook, I had my pen, I had my third refill on diet coke, I was good to go! I am a fixer, I can do this, I can find a way.

“Do you mind if I give you some advice?”

I glance up from my notebook, Ryan was just sitting there all “chill” like, like he just had the answers to everything.

“Yes, I do mind but thank you for the offer.”

“Between your deposits, application fees and the cost of moving, renting a truck or whatever you guys plan on doing, it would make more sense for you guys to stay where you are for another month, give your friend your 30 day notice, that way when June comes around, the money that you would be putting towards rent can now be put towards your new place. You guys just need a little more time.”

“But we do not have time.”

“But you do.”

“Nope, not really.”

“What will be different waiting an extra month, how will that be different from now?”

And I had enough. I mean I guess Ryan meant well, but I felt he was just shooting me down. I had a plan and here he was this new person who I just met hours before coming in and telling me what I was doing wrong. I do not do well with that. I gathered up my belongings without a word.

At the exact second I stood up from the table, Becky, was seating a table of ten right next to us. A female from that table and myself, happened to…..what word am I looking for……collide. Both of us backs were to each other, so I am getting up, she is trying to sit and well, there ya go. Everything after that happened pretty fast.

“Oh I’m sorry.”

“Watch yourself Bitch.”

“Okay, seriously?”

“You best be paying attention.”

“Paying attention to what, I just apologized!”

“If you were paying attention you would not have to apologize.”

“Well this day just gets better and better.”

Ryan was up from the table, Christin and Jordan made their way back just as the lovely lady next to me was slurring her words.

“Jen, what’s happening.” Christin was worried, scared.

“Bro, take her to the car”

From what I gathered Ryan was telling Jordan to tak Christin to the car? Sure….take my wing man away from me!

“You sure? You got this” Jordan was already on his way out with Christin.

Got what? What is happening here?!?!

“I think you were after my man.”

“Seriously, the lovely gentleman over there who is wearing a Tupac shirt that is about five sizes too big? I am good.”

“You wanna go?”

“Go where? What is happening?”

Ryan was at my side, hand on my back which was a little too close to comfort to me, he guided me to the exit while whispering to me “Jen, they are tweaking we need to go.”

To this day I have no idea what tweaking means, although I believe it has something to do with being high on drugs.

“Yeah Bitch that’s what I thought.”

So here is the thing about me. I do not know how to fight. Would not have the slightest clue what to do if some girl started to pull her hair up while taking her earings off. Maybe just stand there and look cute? Hell if I know. For whatever reason, adrenaline, cockiness, confidence, I felt that perhaps I could have the last world.

“Tell your man to lay off on the grand slams and take his money to get you guys sober.”

The words just escaped my mouth…..and before I knew it, Christin, Jordan, Ryan and me were back in the car…….and poor Becky never got a tip.

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Only the Good Die Young. (Part 2)

I had no other choice than to shake his hand. Jen did the same.

“So, I saw you guys struggling out here and saw that you had a little one. Don’t worry, I’m not some crazy axe murderer, I just want to get you guys home safe.”

Once again, Jen and I exchanged glances. We were weary of this guy. Given our past, who wouldn’t be?

“Yeah that’s fine. We just live right up there,” Jen said, pointing in the direction of our apartment.

So now not only were we getting into a stranger’s car and now, said stranger knows where we live. Still hesitant, I stood back, watching Jen and Jordan load up the groceries in the back of his car. I put my load in and slowly got in the front seat as Jen and Vinnie got in the back. I quickly looked around the car, making sure there wasn’t any rope, tape or a gun to be found. I had seen my fair share of murder mysteries, I knew what to look for. I didn’t put my seatbelt on, just in case I had to make a quick exit. Clearly, that wouldn’t even be an option at this point because I couldn’t leave Jen and Vinnie. What did we get ourselves into?

“So, I have to ask: Why are you walking down the highway?”

“It’s a long story” I said quickly, not wanting to engage in conversation with a possible serial killer.

“Her car got stolen” Jen said, with no hesitation.

“Damn, that sucks. How long ago did it get stolen?”

“A few days ago,” I said, really wishing this guy would stop asking us question and just get us home.

“It’s not the first time it was stolen. She also had it stolen when she lived down in Cali.”

Jen just couldn’t stop. Next, she would tell him my social security number and probably tell him where I work. Did she want me to die? Finally, our apartment came into view and my rattled nerves settled a bit. Jordan pulled into the parking spot and started to get out.

“It’s fine. I think we got it. Thank-you for the ride.” I said, wanting for this day to be over already.

“I can grab some bags and help you guys up…it’s not a problem”

I looked over at Jen and she shrugged her shoulders.

“Ok, yeah that’s fine.”

We made it up the 3 flights of stairs. Exhausted, I flopped on the couch. Jen took Vinnie to the room to lay him down but not before she mouthed to me “Ask him if he wants a drink of water” I rolled my eyes at her. Something she was used to.

“Jordan, would you like some water or something” I said, less than enthusiastic.

“No, Im good but thank you” Unexpectedly, he sat down on the chair across from me.

I was not in the mood for conversation. My legs hurt, my hands permanently disfigured from the bags and my back felt like it had been hit with a hammer.

“So, I don’t think we have officially met. I didn’t get your name.”

“I’m Christin and I really appreciate the ride. It’s been a really long – “

Jordan cut me off.

“I get it. What kind of guy picks up strangers off the side of the road, right?”

He read my mind.

“Well, yeah. Do you pick up strangers on the side of the road often?”

“Honestly, I wouldn’t have but I saw the baby and felt bad for you guys.”

“Well, we made it home safe and sound. It’s getting late and I have work in the morning.”

“So where do you work?”

I didn’t know whether to tell him or not. Chances are if I didn’t, Jen would.

“Wal-Mart”

“That’s cool. I work down the road at Boeing.”

“Boeing, huh. How long have you been there?”

“Almost 6 years. My dad got me the job. He’s been there for over 30 years.”

“6 years? How old are you?”

“How old do I look?”

“I would say maybe like 22 or 23”

“26, but you know what they say.”. Black don’t crack.”

That made me laugh, maybe a little too hard. He smiled.

“You have a really nice smile”

“Thanks”, I said, embarrassed at the compliment.

The next 2 hours flew by. We talked about nothing and everything at once. I couldn’t get over what a gentleman he really was. Whether it was genuine or not would remain to be seen.

“Are you guys still talking?” Jen asked as she came out of the room.

“Yeah, Christin wouldn’t let me leave” Jordan said, with a grin on his face.

“Whatever” I said, rolling my eyes.

Jordan got up.

“I have to go, I have to be to work at 5am”

I got up to show him to the door. Jen was lingering in the kitchen, keeping a close eye on things.

“It was really nice to meet you, Christin. You too Jen.”

“Thanks again for the ride.” I said, while walking him out.

“So, would it be okay for me to ask for your number and maybe call you sometime?”

Well, chances are if he didn’t murder me by now, it wasn’t going to happen at all. Plus, he had a good job and manners, something I hadn’t seen much of lately.

“Sure” I gave him my number and he gave me a hug in return.

I walked back in to find Jen with her ear at the door and her eyes in the peep hole.

“Tell me everything”

Jen made herself and I a vodka and coke, we sat down and I filled her in.

“He seems like a really nice guy” I said. Jen wasn’t convinced. Probably because I said that about every jerk I had ever met. I wasn’t really convinced either.

……

Oddly enough, as I was wondering around the store parking lot, looking for my Jeep with the pink sticker on the back, I wasn’t convinced I would be able to give up chocolate either. And then it hit me. I had parked on the other side of the store. Quickly, I made my way to the other side of the parking and there it was: MY JEEP. My car wasn’t stolen today, thankfully. However, I never did get my car back when it was stolen about 16 years ago but what I did find unexpectedly, was on the side of the highway in the form of a genuinely, nice guy.

 

Christin

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