Derrick guessed Christmas came early. He wasn't quite sure. Actually.
At least he wasn't rooming at the old grocery store.
He took a deep breath and went on with the dishes at the dishwasher in back. Yeap. He was out, but still wore an ankle bracelet and was living with Rossie.
He was pretty sure she felt stuck with him, even if she wouldn't admit it.
Maybe they weren't ready to talk yet. But he met his parole officer once a week.
He had a feeling Zane had a lot to do with him getting out before Christmas. He was thinking he wouldn't be out until March or so, but he wasn't second guessing anyone. He was thankful that Daisy's Dad hired him. He was at the diner while Rossie was at work.
If he wasn't cleaning up, he was watching, learning to cook. He stayed in the back for the most part. He knew he'd never be a waiter. But sometimes, he had to come out and clean tables.
It was while he was cleaning up, that he saw someone he knew.
"Jamie?" He smiled. "What are you doing out?"
"What?" Came back a squint as if he was disgusting for even asking a question.
Apparently, he was wrong.
"I..I just thought..I knew you." He looked back, clearly seeing a girl this time with a girl.
"Yeah, well...I get that sometimes." She glared at him. "Like I'm a criminal of some kind." She gave him a soured look, and she wasn't in any better humor with the blond girl, she was with.
Derrick didn't say anything more. He wanted this to be a good holiday. But he didn't really see how. Wasn't like his family was calling and Rossie was keeping silent. He went back to the dishes and tried his best not to make them clank. The noise hurt his ears.
"I just don't get it, sometimes." Sean snapped as she scooted in Effy to the back booth where they could be alone. It had been since August since they'd last talked. "Its like you just dropped off the face of the earth. You, could have called."
"I know." Effy's voice was small. She didn't know if she was as smitten with Sean as she thought she'd been.
She felt like she'd been walking on air for months. It was all so random, meeting Sean at the music festival. Of course, they were practically no name bands, but she'd danced with Sean and it was the best time she'd ever had in her life. They'd held hands and Sean's smile was infectious. They'd laughed and then kissed.
"Maybe..maybe this isn't what you want." Sean said barely above a breath.
"No, don't say that." Effy slightly fretted as she played with Sean's slinder fingers. If only Sean didn't smoke.
Effy bit the corner of her lip.
"I can't just..tell my Mom about you." Effy felt a lump lodge in her throat. She really felt she might be sick, thinking of how her mom would react if she knew her youngest daughter had a girlfriend.
"Why not?" Sean acted like it wasn't a big deal. Of course, she was kind of butch, but Effy had seen pictures of her when she was more so, than now. Now Sean had a job taking care of people who couldn't take care of themselves at a state home. She was a nurse usually on the grave yard shift.
"I guess.." Effy gritted.
A waitress came by and poured them some coffee.
Effy let out a sigh and told her about her brother who was engaged to a German guy. "She says its OK, but..she starts saying things that ..that I know she doesn't really think its OK..and..and..she'd be so mad at me."
Effy felt faint just thinking of all the scenarios with her mother. As it was, she got the brunt of all her mother's angst about Eli.
She wrapped her cold fingers around the warm mug. She didn't want to cut Sean off.
Sean put her arm on the booth behind Effy.
As always, Sean smelled as fresh as a lemon with a hint of jasmine. Effy edged closer, it was true, she'd never never felt safe with anyone like she did with Sean. Maybe Effy just wouldn't go home tonight.
The only mysteries Scott liked were the ones without commercials on NetFlix. As it was, Essie was one big mystery.
"My treat." She found the booth first at the new and improved diner.
Scott looked around, thinking it had been a pizza place at one time and then a South American place, but neither had survived even if it were a great location.
"You, don't have too." He looked at her pleasant face. "What's up?"
He had never seen her drive, but she got around. Still, she was sleeping on the couch at his place.
"Nothing really." She shook her head.
"I find that hard to believe, Essie." He grinned more waiting for the catch. Maybe she was going home. This was a good-bye dinner.
When the waiter came around he ordered the turkey sandwich special.
"I guess I'll have my Christmas dinner now." Scott sighed after he heard it came with cranberries and stuffing, topped with gravy.
"No Christmas dinner?" Essie's brow furrowed.
"I dunno. You'll probably be with your parents. I'll just veg out with some foreign films and that tank of popcorn someone gave me a work." He shrugged.
"Oh, well..I'm not going home." She told him.
"I thought only my parents didn't celebrate Christmas." She told him it was only a church celebration, but not at home.
"Well, I don't.." Now she was making this complex. "Maybe..you should just tell me..what's really going on?" He didn't want to talk about traditions because he didn't really have any.
"I am..going to find my own place." She told him. "My parents think its best..if..if I'm not there."
"What? Didn't you tell them about..you know..being pregnant?" He was serious now as he lunged slightly toward her across the table.
She shook her head, no.
That's when she told him about the Brother Caleb tale. The church was suffering. She didn't want to cause anymore trouble.
Scott felt himself fume with her troubles.
"They gave me some money." She was even lipped. "I..I just thought..you could help me, find a place."
"Yeah," Scott bit his bottom lip, as he nodded.
"But..maybe..maybe we could find a little Christmas tree..after we leave here." She smiled.
"I can't imagine where." He almost laughed.
"Don't they have those little lit trees at the grocery store?" Essie told him she remembered seeing them.
"Right." He rolled his eyes. He couldn't imagine a last minute Christmas. But then again, it might be fun to roam the isles of the place where he worked for those last minute Christmas gifts.