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Chocolate Sprinkles…

Excerpt from A FRIEND REQUEST by C L Gillmore
sequel novel to UNCOMMON BOND

I don’t know how long I slept sitting propped up against the wall, a couple of hours maybe, but I woke up to a knock at the door. Maybe it was the the apartment manager, with the extra key Ren and I asked for.

I got up, walked over to the door and opened it a few inches to see who was there.

“You know, Rose…you might want to look through the peep hole or keep the chain lock on or ask who’s at the door before you open it. Could be an ax murderer for all you know!”

Jake.

I quickly closed the door in his face and waited.

Another knock at the door.

“Who’s there?” I asked.

“An ax murderer. May I come in?” Jake replied cheerfully.

I opened the door and said, “Yes. Please come in. I’ve been expecting you!”

It had been a couple of weeks since I’d seen Jake. We saw each other at two more rehearsals over the past month, each time sharing tenderloins with lots of yellow mustard and conversation at Dixie’s. Lots of conversation.

For some reason, it was easy for me to talk to Jake. Maybe it was because he was a good listener. I never thought much about that, about being a good listener. But there is a difference in looking and nodding at someone when you’re talking to them, and really listening to what you’re saying.

Jake listened.

Jake remembered.

He walked through the door and announced, “I come bearing gifts,” and held a small, white bakery sack in one hand and a quart of chocolate milk in the other. “Figured with all the stuff you and Ren had going on, you missed donut day this morning,”

Donut Day.

Yes. He listened. He remembered. Amazing.

“You figured right.” I took the sack from his hand and peaked inside. “Oh my, glazed twists!”

I gave him a quick hug, embracing Jake, the donut bag and the chocolate milk.

“Thank you for remembering, Jake.”

“You’re welcome. Does this cancel out the ax I have hidden under my jacket?”

“Absolutely! But I may have to frisk you from now on before I let you in.”

“I have no problem with being frisked. Please feel free to frisk at will.”

Jake crammed his stocking hat and gloves into the pockets of his jacket and toed his shoes off. Then pretended to hang his jacket on an imaginary hook beside the door and let it fall to the ground.

“Thanks for hanging your jacket up.” I’ll find us a couple of glasses.”

“Welcome. We could drink out of the carton…share germs, no glasses to wash.”

“Pull up some carpet and make yourself comfortable. I’ll get those glasses. I’m a donut dunker. It’s really hard to dunk donuts in a milk carton. ”

“Should have figured that. You look like the dunker type.” He gave a low laugh.

I loved this—this dance, this electricity—whatever was going on between us. It started that first night at the rehearsal barn with Jake asking me, “Hey, you still with us?” and telling me to, “Take a breath.” And it was still going on.

Jake made me smile, made me laugh…made me want to trust.

As I came from the kitchen with one pink and one yellow Howdy Doody glass in each hand, I found Jake seated on the rug in one corner of the living room, donuts and napkins spread out like a picnic lunch. I guessed the two glazed twist donuts were for me and the two chocolate sprinkle donuts were his.

I sat down next to him and handed him the yellow Howdy Doody glass.

“Chocolate sprinkles, huh?”

“Yep. I’ve always been a chocolate sprinkle man.”

“Good to know. I’ll file that away somewhere for later.”

“Nice glasses.” Jake said as he turned and inspected the yellow characters and writing on the glass. “Haven’t seen these in awhile. I forgot Clarabell was embossed on the bottom. I think my mom still has a couple stashed away somewhere. Won’t let me or my brother touch them.”

“Oh, that’s hard to believe. I can’t imagine why she would do that,” I said sarcastically.

“Because my mother is a cruel woman. That’s why.”

“I’m sure she is. You probably come from a long line of cruel women.”

“As a matter of fact, I do.”

I set my glass down, opened the chocolate milk and began pouring.

I looked at Jake and said, “Say when.”

I poured until the glass was nearly full and about to spill over the top and thought…I’ll play your silly game. I’ve got plenty of napkins.

At the very last second, Jake grinned and calmly said, “When.”

I’ll bet he and is brother gave his mother a fit when they were little. Such a tease. The words ‘ornery shit’ immediately came to mind.

Jake sipped just enough milk off the top to keep it from running down the sides of the glass and then picked up the other glass and held it as I filled it, but only halfway.

“Chicken,” he said, handing the glass back to me.

“Ornery shit,” I said in return.

We settled back against the wall, next to one another…dunking donuts, sipping chocolate milk and occasionally thumbing milk mustaches off one another. It felt…comfortable. Yes, that was the word. Comfortable.

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