"Alrighty Mrs. Jenson. Just take these here pills before you go to sleep." I say to the white haired elder whose bedside I'm standing next to. Looking at me with cloudy eyes, she lifts a thin, frail arm at me. a
"Marilyn?" She says confusedly, once again not realizing who I am once again.
"No. Not Marilyn, Mrs. Jenson." I respond gently.
I take her hand in mind, and face her palm up, placing her prescribed pills in her hand.
"Can you take those for me?" I ask.
"Where have you been Marilyn?" She inquires again. The sorrow in her words pulls at my heartstrings.
"I was away, but I'm here now, mom. Can you please take those pills?" I play along, participating with her delirium.
She looks at me then, her hand trembling slightly, but draws her hand to her chest.
"You won't be going anywhere will you?" She eyes me hopefully, waiting on my response.
"No, mom. I came here to visit you. Now take your pills and go to bed." I smile, taking the glass of water by her bedside table and holding it out. She takes it from me and swallows her pills one by one, sipping her water. Finished she holds the cup out to me with a gentle smile.
"There now. Ready for bed?"
"I suppose. Promise you'll be here in the morning?"
"Of course. Now time for night night."
She gets comfortable in her bed and turns over on her side, sighing contently.
"I'm so glad you're here, Marilyn."
"And I'm glad to be here."
I stroke her fine, wispy head to ease her, before stepping away. I turning the lights off on my way out, and silently close the door. I lean against the door, letting out my breath. I know that as I leave the room, so does this "Marilyn." By morning Mrs. Jenson won't remember Marilyn and as everyday passes she remembers less and less of herself.
"Ellie! Leave!" Jora says as she walks down the hallway. She is coming in for work as I am leaving. She works the evening shift.
"I was just about to get ready to go." I say with a laugh, standing upright and walking up to her.
"I'm sure." She says sarcastically, rolling her eyes for good measure. "Not working more overtime?"
"No...tommrow." I say sheepishly.
"Do you secretly live here...I feel like one day I'm going to open a closet and see you camping out there."
"I do have a life after work you know!"
"Certainly. So, tell me, Miss. Viva La Vida, what are your plans for tonight then?"
"Well..." I pause then, not sure how to answer her, seeing as I don't have anything planned. On my calendar, the square marked "Friday" is vacant. Occasionally I go out with Jora for lunch or meet up with a few friends for midday hang outs, walks, or movie nights. But my night life, well that could use a little work.
"Exactly! Typical Elsa!" Jora threw her hands up in the air. She is always one for the dramatic.
"Look, Jora. There's nothing wrong with wanting to spend an evening at home. I'm worn out."
"I never said there was anything wrong with that. Though, for you Ellie, every evening you spend is at home."
"Not true! I hung out with you and the girls for your twenty-sixth birthday! Remember?" I say, crossing my arms, annoyed with Jora's judgement of me.
"That was like a month ago."
I think about it and shrug.
"Anywho, all I'm saying Ellie is that you should do something a little more fun. A little more daring. There's a lot life has to offer. You're still young, and your breasts are still perky!"
I burst out laughing at that. I am quickly shushed by another counselor who is stepping out of one of the residence's rooms. I apologize between chuckles and turn my attention back to Jora.
"Well how about next time you're off we go to Haven?" I ask, knowing that is one of Jora's favorite bars.
"Sure. But I think I'm going to have to stay with virgin drinks."
"Why is that?" I question, raising my eye brows. Jora is not one to say no to liquor.
"Well, a baby certainly makes you have make different choices." She says with a grin.
I'm still uncertain of what she's referring to, until she places her hand to her belly and rubs. My eyes snap from her stomach to her face and I let out a squeal.
"Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Jora! You're pregnant?" I say, clapping my hands.
"Yeah. I'm a month and two weeks."
"That's wonderful. I'm so happy for you, Jor." I say pulling her in for a hug.
"Not too hard. I'm fragile." She says jokingly as she steps back.
"Wow. You're going to be a mom."
"I know. Me! Pray for my kid, Ellie. They're going to need it.
"So have you told Howie yet?"
"Mmm yes. I don't know." She said casting her eyes downward. "He took it...well!" She shouted, and waved her hand in front of my face. "We're engaged!"
I still her hand and look at the diamond ring that's stationed on her finger.
"Look at that sparkle!" She laughs.
"He's been planning to marry you all along. The baby just sealed the deal."
"Well it's about time and now he gets two for the price of one." She says, rubbing her nonexistent baby bun.
"I'm happy for you, Jora." I say, holding her hands in my own.
"I expect you to be at my wedding...walking ahead of me in a long gown."
"Seriously? Are you asking me to be a bridesmaid?"
"Yep! I have to do something to get you off your heiny and into the real world! Sheesh."
"What an honor, Jor. So much to take in."
"You can say that again. Maybe by then you'll have a sweet young thang on your arm."
"Maybe." I shrug.
"But that "maybe" sure won't become a reality if you don't try, El."
I nod in agreement, knowing that I don't make it easy for guys to reel me in.
"Now, shoo. I know I'm cutting into your precious Law and Order time."
"That you are. Have a good night, Jor. Congratulations. Call me when you can so we can talk!"
"Thanks honey buns. Have a good night." She says before walking off.
I stand here momentarily, before going in the opposite direction, towards the stairs. I climb down to the first floor of the house, and head to the closet, where me and the fellow employees store our belongings. I pass through the house, saying goodbye and head out the front door to my car. I don't get the car started immediately though. Rather, I sit in my seat and think about everything Jora's just unloaded on me. Pregnancy? Marriage? I mean it's not really unexpected. Jora has been dating Howie for nearly five years now. It was about time that they get hitched but a baby too? It's like God just decided to send them a package labeled "Fufillment." Where's mine?
I lay my hand against the steering wheel. Then again, I can't blame God. I haven't really been making myself the most available woman in Pennslyvania being that I hardly talk to men and my evenings out usually means I'm going to get Chinese at the local take out join near where I work. It's not that I don't want to have a connection with someone but I've never been the best at the whole dating scene. And flirting? Forget about it. I've resolved myself to living a life full of S.V.U marathons in my Snuggie while eating pork fried rice. Not a terrible fate though. I've getting used to my life, but then Jora comes in and her turn of events, well it has me thinking.
I huff and straighten myself out, which makes my back twinge. Being up on my feet all day has made my back ache. I have to take something to relieve that. "What do I have at home?" I think to myself. I think I may have used my last Advil a couple of weeks ago. My medicine cabinet has been running dry lately...and come to think of it, so has my fridge. I guess I should make a quick run to the market to pick up some things. I buckle my seat belt, and start up the car. It's thirty past eight, and if I hustle my patootie, I can catch the Sound of Music that'll be playing at nine. I veer out of the parking space and onto the road, leaving the quaint residential area of Allentown. In fifteen minutes or so I reach Ali's Mini Market, and pull into the parking lot.
The tell-tale bell rings as I open the door to the little shoppe. It's not very populated at the moment, having only a couple of shoppers roaming the aisles. I grab a basket and make my way to the medicine aisle. Lulling music plays in the background as I mull over the choices, but I go with good ole extra strength Advil. Now that that's over and done with, I guess I'll pick up a few other necessities. I prowl, grabbing a half-gallon of milk, instant oatmeal, ham and wheat bread. I look into my basket and think to myself that I'll need a couple more ingredients to make dinner tonight. I haven't had a had a good meal in a while...being that I've been working overtime so I've been making extra stops to Chang's and Pizza Bono. I can make a couple of dishes for myself and others when I put my mind to it. I've been recording a couple of Rachel Ray segments and I think I could get something down in thirty minutes or less. Then again...it is late and my back hurts. It'll be much easier just to warm something up in the microwave. I ponder my decisions and though I would like to be a five star chef, I have all the time in the world for that.
I go over to the frozen food section at the back of the market. I move down the row until I get to the place I'm looking for - the microwave dinners, where you can have fine cuisine in just five minutes. There are a variety of options to choose from. I narrow down my choices to Lean Cuisine, but still, should I go with the roasted turkey or the lasagna? Dilemmas. Dilemmas. This was supposed to be easier than cooking
I'm staring at the two meals in my hands, noting that the covers make both dinners look delectable, but I'm sure it's going to be disappointing once I get it out of the box. I sigh, and decide that I might just have to flip a coin or something to get things rolling here. I'm just about to find a quarter to toss but I'm startled by a voice that spoke from behind me.
"Now I've always been a big fan of turkey, but from the looks of it, that lasagna does look quite hearty and filling - I mean as filling as a TV dinner can be."
My heart quickens and I spin around to face this stranger. The air literally escapes me as I look at him. Standing a few inches away from me is one of the most attractive men I've seen in a while. He's towering over me, a roguish grin on his face. Whoever he is, his whole aura simply radiates male. Whatever reply I was thinking of has quickly vanished.
"W-what?" I sputter, unintelligently.
"I'm speaking about those." He says, pointing to the dinners that I'm still holding. I'm surprised that they didn't fall out of my hands.
"Oh. Oh. Ya. The lasagna does look good." I say with an uneasy chuckle. Who is this dude, and why is he taking such an interest in my food?
"Glad you agree. But, I mean, why choose these?" He asks me. "The kitchen's of the best restaurants are open tonight."
"Ah, well, I just felt like staying in tonight. And these, well, these are easy to fix up." I say shrugging.
'Well done, Elsa! Way to make yourself sound like a stick in the mud.' I internally berate myself.
"True." He agrees. "I mean you could go home, pop that in the microwave and curl up in front of the TV." He pauses for a moment before continuing. "Or you could put those back and go have dinner at a fabulous restaurant."
"I-I-I suppose..." I sputter. "I mean if I had the opportunity."
"Understandable. Well then, it was nice meet you..." He waits for me to fill in the blank.
"Oh. I'm Elsa."
I stick one of the dinners underneath my arm so that I can shake hands with the stranger. He returns my gesture, his whole hand practically engulfing mine. He shakes firmly and gives my hand a light squeeze before drawing it away.
"I'm Darren. I'll be going now. So long." He bows his head slightly before turning on his heel, hands in pockets, strolling off.
'What in the world?' I think to myself as I ogle his retreating form (and his plump behind).
At a lost for words I turn around and look at my two selections again. For some reason, now they don't look very appetizing. But I go with the lasagna. I am heading towards the register when I pause mid step. '
I spin around quickly, my hand over my heart as I stare in the eyes of Darren again.
"Oh I didn't mean to freak you out. I was just wondering - you know how I was saying you should go on and have a gourmet meal tonight?"
I nod my head slowly.
"What if I told you that that opportunity was presenting itself to you right now?"
"I would ask you to elaborate."
"What I'm saying is that I'd like to take you out for a night on the town. You could set that microwave meal aside, and tonight, enjoy some fine wining and dining by none other than me."
"Well in that case I would call you crazy!"
I can't help but crack a laugh at the look that crosses his face.
"No tricks up my sleeves, or any secrete covert plan. I would just like to take a beautiful woman out for dinner."
"I'm very flattered but I don't think so." I reply.
"Oh. I can't say that I don't feel disappointed but I can take no for an answer. So long again, then." He nods his head and offers me a wave before departing.
For the second time I am perplexed, but I can sense the blood that's rushed to my cheeks. It's been a while I've talked to a guy like that. I shake my head slightly, still unable to wrap my head around this strange situation.
'Why did you say no?' A shrill voice chastises me in the back of my head.
I mean, who wouldn't say no? As good looking as Darren was, he was a complete stranger, and perhaps even slightly off his rocker.
'Or the man of your dreams...'
The chance of that being so is really really slim. He's probably some cocky dude looking to get his rocks off and it wouldn't be with me tonight. Tired of standing about I begin to walk out the aisle. I don't get far when a person taps me on my shoulder, causing me to nearly jump out of my skin. Looking left I see my persistent admirer.
"You again!" I gasp, astonished.
"Me again." He shrugs.
"I'm beginning to get the feeling that I'm being harassed."
"Such a strong word! I prefer the term pursued."
"Lovely." I say, dryly.
"Look Elsa, I lied - I can't take no for an answer, especially in your case. I'd really like to treat you."
"You've caught my eye. The rest is history."
"I can't possibly get into a car with a man that I barely -"
"Who mentioned anything like that? I was thinking more along the lines of I drive and you follow me to the restaurant I had in mind."
I stare at him wide eyed, for it is a better option, but I'm still uneasy.
"That's fine and all but I'm not dressed for the night at all." I reply, pointing to the loose blouse, and dress pants I have on now - my typical work getup. He on the other hand looked delectable in his sweater vest, dress pants, and polished shoes - high end clothing that molded his form.
"As long as you're clothed it should be fine. I mean you could go around unclothed - I wouldn't be too put off." He grins.
I blink twice before laughing in merriment, bemused at his daring.
"You're very charming but..I-I just don't know."
"I understand your hesitation, but please, I'll make it worth your while. We'll sit, eat, drink, and make pleasant conversation. After that you don't ever have to talk to me again if that's what you decide. I'm not talking marriage here."
"I guess not but..." My voice trails away as I picture the engagement ring that Jora had flashed to me earlier. It jars my mind and reminds me that while everyone was moving forward, I remain stuck in a rut. I realize that I wasn't going to get any farther if I didn't try to go anywhere.
"As they say, 'What's the worst that could happen?'"
He looked at me expectantly, dark eyes glistening.
"I suppose it's been a while since I've had a gourmet meal."
"I wouldn't mind eating out with you."
"You've just made my night" He bows.
"Don't count your chickens. We're not in the restaurant yet."
"In that case maybe we should get going."
He waits by the exit as I pay for my things and I notice that he bought nothing. "Maybe I distracted him that much." I say internally as I follow him out of the market and to my car, I bite my lip, nervousness and anticipation chewing away at my insides. ~
Hello there once again my lovely fans and followers! Welcome to my newest story, "What's the Worst That Could Happen?" For all those from the past, much thanks for sticking around, but greetings to my new comers.
What do you think of the introduction? Any thoughts on Darren and Elsa? Keep the comments coming. This is just the beginning!
P.S: Fun Tid Bits
I wrote this story maybe three years ago? Long before Frozen came around! I was doing the name "Elsa" before it became cool ;) No but really, I conjured this up back when I wrote on Buzzle, but I was waiting to publish it at the right time to devote the time it deserves.
For anyone interested, Darren is played by model Lucas Barbosa Gil - a male model and Mister Brazil World 2007 from Votuporanga, an inner city of Sao Paolo, Brazil. While our lovely Elsa, is Deborah Ayorinde, a U.K born actress, from London. I hunted for the right image for these characters and here they are. Yes, I try to introduce diverse characters. This is not an interracial story - it's just a story with people who happen not to be Caucasian. If you can't handle that, then vamoose.