Ode to Joy - Chapter 5

Now that was a long time to wait. I bet you didn't think I was coming back!! Guess who!
I held my hands out to Yo-yo as she hummed off tune. Nat glanced at me with a sad smile. "She'll be just fine."
"It's not her I’m worried about," I grumbled and scratched my arm. I pulled Yo-yo towards the sliding door, looking at the floor. So this is what mom means by ‘weird’. Where the hell was she anyway? Tinsel had come long ago. Any minute now he was going to be part of the Stony's logbook.

I wondered if he’ll top, what happened to mom’s last gathering. "Dear, please slow down, Candi is coming." She clucked, bending over showing her half on gray old-lady pants to the barbecue. My eye raked the yard; no one was watching. And it was going to stay like that. I really didn't care if she was winded; she had to get out of the way. And who's Candi?

"Jenny?" I turned to face Glory. Goddamn Glory.
She glanced curiously to Yo-yo. "Why is that woman half-naked?" Of course it would be Gloria. I gritted my teeth.

"She's my grandma Glory, and she had an accident. Turn around and walk away." I growled. She looked at Nat and back at me. I saw it.
Pity. She stood behind Nat and helped usher in Yo-yo. I sat her down on a paisley colored couch by the side of my piano room. As she sank into the wrong folds of the light blue couch, her hyper, almost delusional smile faded.

"Jenny, I am so sorry. I always thought you were on the odd side but I didn't know..." Glory mumbled.
"Go to the bathroom. Down the hall to the right, if you see the kitchen you've got to go four steps back. There's a cabinet in the bathroom. Towels. Possibly a pair of pants." I bit out.

Glory nodded and walked out. Nat stood to the side, rocking on his heels. "What?" I spat. Tell me something wonderful.
"There’s nothing to say." He said, meeting my eyes. There was something powerful in those amber green eyes: empathy. I dropped his gaze.
"Could you help Glory?" I whispered staring at the floor. I watched his flip-flops glide out, heard the door click. I lifted my head and stared at Yo-yo. Her old skilled hands worked on a piece of thread off the blanket on the couch. The thin, green string wrapped around her hands, and created a whole new tapestry on her.

"Yo-yo?" Her eyes avoided my gaze.
"I'm sorry Jenny. Sometimes I just can't remember." She stopped working the thread. "I must have scared hell out of you."
Guilt ripped through me. It's not like she choose to become old, she lifted her gaze to mine. Mom's eyes; only there were smile lines surrounding them. "I should have looked for Mary-May. I... I didn't want you to know how bad it was." Her eyes brimmed over. I crossed the room and held her as she spoke. "I'm just getting old hon. Don't worry 'bout me."

"It's my business to worry Yo-yo." I whispered. I helped her up and walked her to the bathroom by my piano room. I cleaned her up and took one of my bigger skirts for her to wear. She rested on the couch in the room. She didn't feel up to a party right then.


Nat’s POV

Fingering the powder blue towels on the rack, I knew by now she had sent me on a wild goose chase to just get sometime alone with her grandma. The bathroom was too clean not to find anything there.

The hand towels I was fingering was perfectly aligned; the soaps on the porcelain sink were alphabetized. No pair of pants anywhere. I sighed as I watched Glory rifle through the cabinet again.

"Like whoa! She has the same perfume I used to have!" She turned to face me. "So sorry you had to see that. But it doesn’t surprise me. Everyone in Jenny’s family is a little… off." She said waving her manicured nails to make her point.

I nodded as if I agreed. "Have you been friends long?" I ventured.
"Well, no, but the nose knows…" She said vaguely. "I’ve only ever met her during dinners, galas, that kind of thing. My dad’s chief architect is her mom, so we see a lot of each other."
"Huh, well I’m new here. I’m staying with my aunt so that I can finish school here." Her sky blue eyes glinted.

"Oh… Jenny’s public school?" She asked with distaste. I fake cringed. She chuckled. "Then where?"
"Altus Levos Private School. Do you know it?" I asked, glancing at the door.
"Know it? I go there! Since daddy moved here, I’ve been attending high school there. It rocks. I’m in my final year sadly." She said crossing her slender arms across her chest.

"I’m a senior too. Just got in on scholarship." The door clinked and Jenny appeared in the bathroom, a cold smile on her face.
"Am I interrupting something?" She sweetly asked, her arms crossed.
"We were just talking about our school, Altus Levos. You go to a public school, right?"

I hate it when she does that. "Harrow High. It’s not that bad. I'm graduating this year."
I saw Glory’s perfect eyebrows shot up. "Aren’t you fifteen?"
She grinned. Her pride was palpable. "Yep." Their heads snapped back to me when I started clapping.
"Bravo! What are you a genius?" I breathed. Then I remembered. "How’s your grandma?"

"She’s ok. She’s napping now." She mumbled. "Hey, you guys can go now… I think the fireworks are coming on soon."
I got off the toilet and patted myself. But she had already disappeared.
Glory shrugged and looped her arm in mine. "I hate how dramatic she can get. Come on, we’ll miss the fireworks!"


Jenny’s POV

I ran outside. Why? I’m not really sure. If Glory and Nat wanted to get together, so be it. They can have their stupid preppy private school, and their perfect smiles and model’s bodies. I was huffing so bad, I didn’t notice Stony following me to the corridor by the sliding door.

He grabbed my arm and whirled me around. "Where’s your mum?" He growled.
"I... I don’t know St... dad." I whispered back. His grip tightens and his eyes narrowed.
"Like hell you don’t know. What, is she and... and Tin-Man going about?" He seethed. Then he smiled. "Her party couldn’t end without her."

My blood pulse raced. "Wh... what?"
"Have you seen the dessert platter?" He let go of my hand and licked his lips. "Watermelon and honeydew, and don’t forget the cake!" He smirked at me. "She needs to ask Tin-Man to cut it up."

He glided away, pride in every step of what he had done.
"Mom?" I screamed in the house. "Mom!" I said charging into my piano room. In the twilight, she sat curled up with Yo-yo on the couch, whispering with her. Her head shot up at my entry, and my sob-filled voice.
"Jo-Lee, what’s wrong?"
"Stony... I mean dad! He’s throwing a prank outside!" The only thing faster than mom at that moment was a rocket taking off. She was out of the door before I even blinked, Yo-yo staring silent, a frown on her face.


Mary-May raced out of the piano room, looking for her husband and desperately hoping he hadn’t gotten far. She saw him and slammed right into him as the fireworks went off.

And the entire dessert platter. Tinsel and several other sweet tooth were covered from head to toe in cream analgise, melon and cake. That’s when Mary-May fell on her knees and broke down and cried.

Stony materialized from the hallway, the fake shock fooling everyone but her. As her guests helped the injured, she keeled by the beach over-looking the sea and cried as the white and amber firecrackers went off and off and off.


The party ended really quick after that. Tinsel was shaking at rage, blaming mom’s cousins, and mom’s cousins blamed Tinsel and his friends. No one had peace that night. Isa even stayed late to clear up the mess.

But there was one bit of joy in this whole mess. Nat asked me out to his church the next day when I was cleaning him up. Which isn’t so bad... and Stony left with the guests which was even better.

No yelling, no heated slaps, no make-up sex for mom. But she didn’t see like that. She was a wreck after he left. She set up and came in the spacious living room downstairs and waited for his return.

It is times like this that I understand why she can be so easily abused and used. She just wants it too much.
Should I Continue?
Published: 2/19/2013
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