“Soooo friend. How do you know my mom? And if you think I’m going to buy that friend lie you’ve got another thing coming.” Detrex asked taking on his most imposing stance. He was tall, lean and fit with a muscular upper body gained from years as the swim team’s star athlete.
Jace looked him over with a smirk polar opposite of intimidated somewhere along the lines of smug or proud.
“If you think I’m just a lover then you have another thing coming.”
Detrex froze for a beat.
“You want the long or short of it?” he asked.
“How about the accurate account?” Detrex tried to reply coolly but his discomfort was obvious.
Jace put his hands behind his head muttering meaningless words under his breath.
“It was winter, some twenty or so years ago…” he paused in his story to glance that Detrex who was still in what he hoped was an intimidating stance. “At ease soldier.”
Detrex gave him annoyed look.
“Your mother and I worked at the same pizza parlor, it was a good job but in the winter we would get snowed in and would have to climb in and out through the roof.
“Are you expecting me to believe you are my mother’s age?” Detrex asked, as he said this he could see in Jace’s face many weathered wrinkles hidden around his strong jaw and eyes. Jace no longer looked be a young twenty but closer to the thirty, at most a very well kept thirty-nine. Detrex hardly knew how he’d managed to mistake him for twenty before.Unless he had...no that was impossible no one aged this fast.
“Well yes, that was the point.” Jace replied before continuing with his story.
“When it snowed really badly we’d have to climb on top of the stove and escape through the sky roof. We'd try to stop the snow from piling up outside our door but that was always a losing battle.
“Then your mother left. She was only hired part time because she was going to school but she got an internship and she couldn’t be expected to turn it down. The end.” Jace said rubbing a hand over his tired eyes.
“No.” Detrex said. “That’s not the end.”
Jace smiled secretively.
“That’s all your mother wants you to know, since she is the one who stayed and will continue to stay I think we should respect that.” He sighed closing his eyes.
Detrex felt like persisting his argument, Jace’s words only provoking his curiosity rather than satisfying it.
“Then what does she want you to explain?” Detrex asked.
“Why I’m here I presume.”
“Exactly.” Rebecca said emerging from the kitchen with a large mug of steaming tea. “You’re the only person I know who actually likes this stuff.” She said smiling as she handed Jace the cup.
He caught a glimpse of her smile and began to chuckle.
“So I’m guessing this is the bag from the swap meet?”
“You mean the hippie stand.” Rebecca corrected.
“Twenty years in the making.” Jace smiled, taking a sip of the tea before sputtering into laughter, Rebecca began laughing too.
“Good times.” Jace mused.
“Yeah.” Rebecca echoed sadly taking the seat next to him. “Good times.”
“So out with the worst.” She said tapping his knee.
Jace took a gulp of his tea and spent a very long time savoring the taste or avoiding the question.
“Two is a company three is a crowd.” Jace hinted.
“Every storyteller needs an audience, and I think he’s old enough to know.”
“Everything?” Jace asked with a note of hope in his voice.
“Most things.” Rebecca warned.
Detrex rolled his eyes, feeling more like a child in this moment than he had in five years.
“What is with all the secrets? Who is he?” Detrex demanded
“Let’s just say, my family business isn’t running a pizza parlor and things are pretty hellish.”