Breathless Secrets Introduction
Rose Garden Apartements Series
James tossed his book bag down onto the countertop, cringing when the entire counter tilted slightly under the weight of the books and school supplies. He’d have to fix that, he thought as he headed towards the tiny fridge. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything in the fridge and James sighed as he turned and leaned his back against the appliance.
“James?” a female voice called out.
His day wasn’t getting any better, he thought as his mother climbed the rickety steps of their mobile home.
“James? Are you…?” his mother stopped when she spotted him in the “kitchen” which was really just the space in between the bedrooms and the couch on the opposite end of the mobile home that they called “Home”.
“What’s up, mom?” he asked, grabbing his book bag, intending to go into his bedroom and…maybe climb out the window so he could head over to the warehouse. The manager there allowed him to sweep up the factory floors in exchange for a few bucks. He could grab some food for dinner with that money, because it was pretty obvious that his mother wasn’t going to bother buying any.
“James, I need you to put on your suit. The one that I bought you last year?”
James turned to look at his mother over his shoulder. “What for?”
Eleanor wasn’t looking at him, so James didn’t have to hide his hunger or frustration. She was too busy fluffing her hair and touching up her makeup in the mirror. “I met a guy, honey. He’s taking us out for dinner tonight.” She stopped fluffing her hair and turned to look down at James. “I want you to be on your best behavior tonight!” she told him sternly. “No more of that crap about how you disagree with one thing or another.”
James surveyed his mother, wondering why she wore such tight, low-cut clothing. “But Walter was wrong, Mom,” he replied, shifting the strap of his book bag slightly. “We don’t live in a democracy.”
Eleanor rolled her eyes, waving her hand in the air. “Just stop it!” she snapped. “Of course we live in a democracy! Everyone knows that!”
James shook his head. “The United States is a…”
“I don’t care!” she yelled, then visibly calmed herself. “Just…go change your clothes.” She brightened suddenly. “Aren’t you hungry? Wouldn’t you love to have a great big, juicy burger?”
Instantly, James’ mouth started watering. A burger, the bigger the better, caused his stomach to rumble as the hunger came back to the forefront of his consciousness. “I’ll go change,” he said, not bothering to finish explaining that the United States was a republic, not a democracy. He walked into his room, thinking about last month’s history lesson that had included Alexander Hamilton, George Mason and James Madison’s words. Their big argument had been whether the United States should be a pure democracy vs electing representatives to administer the government.
James loved history. He loved arguing too. But he also loved eating. And if his mother’s latest boyfriend was willing to buy him dinner, James would keep his mouth shut. He’d simply fill his mouth with food so that, whatever stupid comments this guy talked about, James couldn’t correct him.
She picked up another chip and dunked it into the salsa, trying to appear interested.
“You should have seen the look on the other guy’s face when I tipped over the boards!” Mike Minlow said, laughing so hard he was actually slapping his denim covered thigh.
Molly smiled, not sure she really understood the joke. “Was the other guy hurt?” she asked, wondering why her date would think that toppling a pile of two by four boards at a construction site would be funny. Especially when he’d tipped them over onto a co-worker. It seemed dangerous to her, but what did she know?
“Oh yeah,” Mike replied, his amusement waning and he lifted his empty mug of beer so that the waitress would bring him another. “He’s fine. I guess.” He shrugged. “Some of the other guys took him to the emergency room. The wimp complained about his ribs, but I think the dude was just faking it.”
Mentally, Molly sighed, wishing that her dinner companion had something more interesting to talk about other than wounding a co-worker. “So…what did you think of the…?”
“Hey, wanna hear another one?” Mike interrupted.
Molly stared across the table at Mike, wondering if there was anything more inside of his head besides silly pranks. She’d thought him so charming when he’d first asked her out. But now that she was getting to know him, she was starting to understand that…well, he was a bit of a one hit wonder.
So instead of trying to engage Mike in some intellectual conversation, she nibbled on the salty chips and sipped her club soda. She would have ordered a margarita for dinner, but she doubted Mike was going to slow down on the beer consumption. And there was no way she was getting in a car with him after the four, no, five beers he’d already guzzled. She’d either get his keys from him, or catch a cab back to her dorm. And if he decided that he was fine to drive home, she was definitely calling the police. Mike’s words weren’t slurred, but there was no way the guy could drink five…he finished his current beer and lifted the mug up, ordering a sixth…beers and be sober enough to drive home safely. He might think so, but Molly doubted that his decision making skills were up to snuff at the moment.
Until then, Molly would sit across from him and fantasize about the potential of meeting a man she could actually converse with. A man who didn’t interrupt her whenever she tried to talk. A man who cared about her opinion.
Was that just a fantasy? Were there men out in the world who respected a woman’s opinion? Who could truly hold a dialogue?