EXCELLENT FRIENDS

EXCELLENT FRIENDS

A Story by Jynter
"

A quick burst of fun.

"

EXCELLENT FRIENDS

 

Charcoal streaks scarred the dying lavender sky and the chill of dusk invaded the patio. Arranging her wispy fingers into a half clasp over her lap, Jennifer Armstrong willed the night not to arrive. Poised upon the puffy silver cushion of the lounge chair, she remembered just how much she hated this. The ending of summer. Each night would become colder than the last and the beautiful greens would fade. Harsh winds would replace the pleasant simooms. She hated this.

Then winter. Her poor bones would freeze for months. A pristine white that would look luxurious on a picture postcard would kill her yard in an avalanche. The snow would creep into her shoes and slice beneath her collar like an icy spider. Biting and digging at her soft skin. Oh how she hated the awful weather that was to come.

She sometimes wondered what she was still doing in Omaha. Her mother was gone, nearly three years now. Jenny could easilly sell the attractive yellow frame home and transfer out to LA. It doesn't snow in southern California. There was absolutely no reason, no reason at all, not to flee. Her mother was gone.

Hands trembling now, she hugged herself and tried to sink down and disappear into the lime green sun dress. Body shaking. Pain lancing under her eyes. Mom. Why did people have to die? Why did people like her have to die? Jenny struggled for a breath that did not want to come.

A voice burst over the silence and she stiffened. "Jenny."

Amelia, sweet Amy. The best friend in the whole wide world. She, Jenny would miss if she ever ran away from here. Emails and phone calls could never replace her wide pink grin and those thoughtful green eyes that knew Jennifer so well. Amy described herself as fiftyish but she carried the heart of an unfettered teenager inside her breast.

Scraping a limp hand over her stringy blonde hair, Jenny looked up. Blue eyes blinking slowly. A tiny, "Hi."

"What are you doing?" Amy is wearing a docent flat gray dress, an androgenous uniform. She's come from the real estate office where she patiently nurtured a flock of young salespeople. "Aren't you cold out here?" A gleam of understanding flashed inside Amy's eyes as she moved from the grass onto the cement. "Are you okay?"

"Just tired I guess," Jenny fibbed. Then a surender, "I was thinking about Mom."

Amy tried to push past the moment, "I rang the doorbell twenty times."

A smile flitted over Jenny's face. "I can't hear from out here."

"I know."

"I'm sorry, I was thinking about winter coming and- maybe getting out of here and . . ."

"I know."

A giant sigh and Jenny pushed her mawdlin mood back where it belonged. "I suppose you want to take me to dinner."

"That will be the day. When I pick up a check."

"You did last week."

"Are you sure?" Amy went to the patio door and slid it aside. "Was I drinking? I'm going to have one. You want?" She moved inside the house.

Jenny called after her, "No. Yes. A screwdriver." Her eyes went to the shadows around the bushes at the very back of the yard. Amy, thank god for Amy. When things got too dark and lonely there was her friend, her bright light in the shadow. The twenty years that separated them and Jenny's lack of education and refinement meant nothing. They were more like sisters, Amy was the sister that Jenny had never had.

Jenny followed into the house. She shut the door and drew the sweeping green curtain closed. Letting herself down on the recliner, she switched on the broad azure lamp on the end table. Amy said from the kitchen, "You know I would not mind, hm, would you mind?"

"What?"

"Well, there's this silly thing on. About the pyramids. The history channel. Would you mind terribly. I'll order in. What do you think?"

"Oh, you don't have to buy dinner. I just said that. It's my turn anyway."

Her tight fitting skirt swished over her thighs as Amy came with the drinks. She nearly handed Jenny her Bloody Mary, then smiled and switched their drinks around. "You did pay for lunch. Wedensday."

"Did I?" Amusement hung in Jenny's voice. She waited until Amy had herself arranged on the brown sofa and then added, "Where was that?" It had been a quick salad and sandwich at the diner around the corner from the Walmart where Jenny worked in the electronics department.

"Oh stop."

"That doesn't count."

"Do you know what." Amy crinkled her nose wryly. "I have a coupon for Di Finio's. In my drawer at home."

"Di Finio's sounds good." Jenny adored having an Italien restaurant in the neighborhood that delivered. And Di Finio's garlic bread was absolutely scrumptious. Her mouth watered just thinking about it.

"I didn't bring it."

"Save it. I'll buy."

"We'll see. It's early anyway."

Jenny sipped her drink. "How are the children?"

"Robert." Her eyebrows raised and Amy flashed a dismissive look. "I'm going to have to do something."

"Oh, he's so cute. Don't fire him. Please."

"He spends half the day mooning over his girlfriend and the other half promising me-"

"Girlfriend?"

"-He will sell a home."

"He has a girlfriend?" Suddenly Robert's lively blue eyes and charming smile seemed very uninspiring and Jenny criticized, "If he can't do the job he has no business being there." He was far too skinny too. "You'll have to let him go."

"Of course he has a girlfriend. They all do."

"He flirted with me."

"Me also," Amy teased. "That's why he's still there."

"Does he really? You're not just-?"

"The ex. A reconciliation. Don't you just hate that."

"Yes." Jenny suddenly hated reconciliations, like splinters under fingernails.

"And now he talks constantly on the phone, to her. Pretending he's calling clients. Well, unless he can sell her a house he has to go."

"A big house," Jenny agreed with a grin. "At least fourteen, no, twenty-four hundred square feet."

"That would be . . ." Amy began laughing softly.

"I can't believe you let him get back with that hussy. You knew I liked him."

"I have never met the hussy. But I am certain she has a moustache and warts. Several large facial warts."

"That's not going to cheer me up. To get beaten out by someone like that."

Amy swirled her drink. "I see what you mean." Her eyes gleamed with amusement.

"He's too skinny anyway. I don't like thin men."

"No?"

"Not after this." No, Jenny would most definitely never speak to a thin man again as long as she lived.

"He could sell," Amy said thoughtfully. "Robert's just not motivated somehow. I don't know."

"Are we still talking about him? He's out! I want you to fire him the first thing tomorrow morning."

"You are vindictive, aren't you."

"Not at all," corrected Jenny.

"What would you call it?"

"Realistic. It's for his own good. If he can't sell houses he will do much better for himself somewhere else. Somewhere like Orange Julius."

"You know." Amy's voice became light. "You really should. Have someone." She caught Jenny's gaze. "I mean, this isn't really doing much good for you, is it?"

Not sure what Amy meant, Jenny leaned forward a bit. "Because I'm alone?"

"Me. If you haven't noticed we have a regular Friday night date. Like tonight and we're not even going out. You need a boyfriend, Jenny."

"Maybe. I have Steve." Her last boyfriend was somewhere on the east coast. A very nice intelectual with dreamy brown eyes that was on the road traveling for the Corps of Engineers. They may very well settle down together someday, he'd said. Jenny had held onto that for weeks but then the visits became less frequent. And stopped. Not even a phone call in more than a month. Steve was finally gone, she knew it in her heart. Damn, it hurt to even think about Steve. No, she didn't need a another boyfriend. She needed a psychiatrist.

"Steve is an a*s."

"How long will I miss that a*s?"

"Until you find someone else, my dear."

Jenny flicked the switch and stopped feeling bad about Steve. She could do at least that now. It got easier every time. "Maybe I'm getting pickier as I get older."

"Is that it?"

She made a pickle face and moaned, "No-oooo."

Amy's laugh was truly amazing. She couldn't stop for several seconds. "Oh Jenny. I like you."

"Thank you, Amy. You really . . . Keep me sane sometimes."

Amy raised her glass with twinkling jade eyes. After downing the last of her drink she asked, "Ready?" She shifted up from the sofa.

"No. Unlike some people, I am not a lush."

"I have a very high pressure job."

While Amy made her drink Jenny fetched the remote from the coffee table and turned on the television. "What time is it on?"

"Seven? I think seven o'clock."

It was only half past six. "Bring me my phone. Please. On the counter. We will order up a feast." The history channel was doing something about Hitler, which Jenny found revolting. She didn't even like to think about wars or that sort of thing. She changed it to CNN and lowered the sound.

"I hate to burst your bubble," Amy said as she returned. "I think I'll have only a salad." A hand slapped her thigh. "Don thinks I'm getting hippy. Or hippo, as the case may be." Don was Amy's erstwhile financee, but they were back seeing one another again.

"He said that?"

"He had better not!"

"Then we are ordering you a number three with extra extra marinara."

"No. Salad. Garlic bread. And good company will sustain me."

"You are not stealing half of my calzone. I'll tell you that right now."

"When have I ever?"

"Amy."

A big sigh and Amy reluctantly agreed, "All right. But one day you, my dear girl, will have hips as big as mine and you will rue this day, when you were so selfish."

"It's not selfish. I'm telling you to get something."

"No. Just order me a salad with Russian dressing."

"I would." Jenny glanced around. "But someone apparently forgot the phone."

"Yes." Amy smiled sweetly. "Someone did."

It was impossible to walk straight, Jenny was giggling so hard. But she somehow made it to the kitchen and back. When she was in the recliner again she gave Amy the sincerest look that she could possibly muster. Thank you, it said, You are my very excellent friend, Amy. And she most certainly was.

© 2011 Jynter


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I like this very much! Such a well written story! The characters are crisp, and instantly likeable. One minor critique is this..... I want to read more about Jenny, and Amy! You draw the reader in amazingly well. I feel this would be a brilliant first chapter or prologue to a larger novel! (Please consider the possibility!) Very nicely written, Keep up the good work!
Kindest regards ~ Ds

Posted 9 Years Ago



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Added on March 8, 2011
Last Updated on March 8, 2011

Author

Jynter
Jynter

U.S. Virgin Islands



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