Jen could often be just as sarcastic as Jacque, which at times caused them to be the best of friends and the worst.
Jacque headed downstairs to find her mom already in the kitchen, cooking up a storm. Lilly Pierce was not your average woman. She had a sketchy background growing up in a foster home, not knowing who her real parents were. She often had these “feelings” about things that were going to happen, and the scary thing was she was usually right. Jacque and her mom never really talked about it, though Jacque was beginning to show signs of a similar nature. Only Jacque didn’t know things, she could feel things – like others' emotions. It was very subtle at times. She might be in a room with her mom and, without Lilly ever saying anything, Jacque would know without a doubt her mother was sad or worried or confused. She didn’t know how she knew it, she just did. It wasn’t reliable, though, because she could go days without feeling another’s emotions. Jacque didn’t want to know things, or feel things; she just wanted to be normal.
As Jacque looked around the kitchen, she saw there was a pan of fried chicken on the stove and corn in a pot of boiling water. Her mom was steadily mixing a bowl of mashed potatoes, adding milk and butter as she saw fit.
“Hey, mom. How goes the southern meal making?” Jacque asked.
“I’m almost done, I just need to put some rolls in the oven. Would you mind getting them and putting them on a pan? They aren’t homemade, just those Hawaiian rolls, but they’re really good.”
“Yeah, I can do that.” Jacque bent down to grab a pan. “So, Sally, Jen and I were wondering if you needed help carrying all this over to the Henrys',” she said, trying to sound casual. Her mom looked at her questioningly and Jacque figured she hadn’t even come close to casual.
“Are you really wanting to help or is this just a perfect opportunity to meet the new exchange student? It is a guy, right?” Lily asked.
“Yes, he is a guy, and maybe we would like to see who he is. But we do also really want to help you. I don’t think you can carry all this over on your own,” Jacque answered.
“Well, I was going to ask you to help me anyway. And I thought you girls would be interested in meeting the new young man, especially since you and Trent split up.”
“Do not go there, Mom! This has nothing to do with him. It’s only natural to want to meet someone new, and especially since he’s not from our country,” Jacque stated firmly.
“Okay, okay, you don’t have to be defensive. I will be ready just as soon as those rolls are done warming. I’m going to call the Henrys now to make sure they're okay with us coming over in ten minutes.”
Jacque put the rolls on the pan in straight rows. As her mom was stepping out of the room to call the Henrys, she caught the briefest hint of worry coming off of her. It had been a while since she had picked anything up from her mom so it kind of made her take a step back. I wonder what she's worried about?
She headed back upstairs to see if the girls were done getting ready and to let them know the plan was in motion. Man, she felt ridiculous as she thought about how it sounded to have a “plan” to meet a guy, and not meet him like “hey, what’s up,” but meet him like, “hey, are you a weirdo or something?” What was her world coming to? Oh, well. Could be worse. She could be hearing voices...oh wait, she was. Well, crap.
Sally was done with her shower and doing her hair when she got upstairs. Sally could be very efficient when she needed to be, and she wasn’t one to be overly fussy about her looks. Of course, that could've been because she would be pretty even with a paper bag over her head. Her long coffee-colored hair was striking against her mocha-colored skin. She honestly didn’t look like a Sally. Whatever, Jacque thought. I didn’t pick her name.
Jen was still in the shower and Jacque could hear her singing Martina McBride’s “Independence Day.” She was belting it out proudly and tunelessly.
Jacque banged on the door and hollered, “Yeah, yeah, you’re strong, free and independent, we get it. Hurry up! We’re rolling out ten minutes ago!” Jen just sang louder. Jacque rolled her eyes and went back to her room.
“If she’s planning on blow drying that blond mess on her head then we’re leaving her here,” Jacque told Sally, looking over to see her shoving her feet into shoes.
“Well, I’m ready when you are, Sherlock. Let's go check hottie out,” Sally said with a wink.
“How lucky I am to have you, my dear Watson,” Jacque said, smiling.
Jen stepped into Jacque’s room fully clothed, hair up in a French twist.
“What’s taking you guys so long? I’ve been ready for two minutes,” Jen said with fake exasperation.
“Oh, a whole two minutes? How dare us make you wait. Please don’t have us flogged, your majesty,” Jacque retorted.
“It’s about time you realized who the queen is in this outfit,” Jen said, grinning.
“Girls, I’m ready if you all are!” they heard Jacque’s mom yell.
Well, here we go, Jacque thought. She felt in that moment that she was walking into the lion's den. Just what had she gotten herself into?
“I think I am officially going to be sick,” Jacque said with a slight moan.
“Take slow deep breaths. If you pass out while we’re over there, I once again tell you I will laugh my ass off,” Jen said.
“Man, you're just a ball of warm fuzzies, aren’t you?” Jacque said, glaring at Jen.
“I’m just saying,” Jen laughed.
Turning in a circle with arms out and palms turned up, Jacque said “How do I look? Is this shirt a little much?”
“No, I think it’s perfect. It makes a statement like, 'hey, I’m not scared of your little mind gibberish',” Sally encouraged.
“But I am scared of his mind gibberish. If it is really his mind gibberish and not something else entirely,” Jacque said, sounding forlorn.
“Oh, come on. Pull yourself together, man. He’s just a guy, okay? Nothing more and nothing less,” Jen stated with utter confidence.
The only thing was that Jacque didn’t believe mystery guy was just a guy. No, he was more, much more. She just didn’t know what yet. As they began to descend the stairs, a thought touched her mind, one that was not her own.
“Good morning, my Luna,” Jacque heard.