Sunday, July 22, 2018

Divine Life #4

Jeremy saw a minivan pull up to the corner in front of his house and the headlights turn off. Jeremy threw on a hoodie and went downstairs, out the door. Frank was sitting in the front seat and Emily was in the back where Jeremy would sit.

“Emily, right?” Jeremy asked, pointing at her.

“Yeah,” she answered.

“Emily’s joining us tonight. Hope that’s okay,” Nathan said from the driver’s seat.

“This is such a stupid idea,” Frank said quietly to Nathan.

“It’s fine,” Nathan growled. He started the van and drove off. He drove all the way down Lincoln Street and then across the river. He took the first right and headed west. He then took the first right again, heading back toward the river. The whole drive the four of them were quiet. The only noise came from the radio.

The house was a dilapidated frame house with no glass in the windows. It had been ravaged by the weather and, since it was in the middle of the field in the river bottoms, it clearly had been damaged by floods as well.

Nathan parked along a nearly washed out road next to a driveway that had been repeatedly plowed over. Everyone got out of the van. Jeremy looked out toward the house in the middle of the field.

“Know anything about it?” Jeremy asked.

“Built in the 1890s, abandoned around the time of the Great Depression. The land is owned by the same people who own that house,” Nathan pointed to a mid-century ranch house several yards away near the main road.

The four started walking down the plowed-over driveway. Nathan had handed out two flashlights to Emily and Jeremy and kept one for himself. He had his on but it was a starry night so there was plenty of light. They arrived at the house and Nathan turned and shined the flashlight in Jeremy’s face.

“We’re gonna split up,” he said. “Frank and I will go upstairs. You and Emily will remain downstairs.”

“And where will Shaggy and Scooby go?” Jeremy mocked.

“Har, har,” Nathan said. “Try not to die. We’ll be upstairs.”

Upstairs, Nathan and Frank wandered in and out of the bedrooms, taking care with each of their steps. “Why are you trying to set Emily and Jeremy up?” Frank asked.

“I think they’d be good together. And Emily needs to be around a good influence and have less...Graham time. Even if it’s only as friends, it’s better than what she’s getting now.”

“I swear, you two should just date,” said Frank.

“We’d make a terrible couple,” Nathan replied. “We’re too different.”

“Again. You two should just date.”

Downstairs, Jeremy opened the door to a closet and then closed it rather loudly. Emily jumped. “Can you not slam doors?”


“How are you liking Ransomville?” Emily asked.

“It’s fine. No complaints.”

“Aren’t you from Kansas City? Why’d you’re parents move here?”

“They both grew up in small towns and wanted my sister and me and I to experience small-town life. I think they mainly wanted a break from the city.”

“I don’t have to move to a big city. Just something bigger than 1,600 people. I hate it here.”

“It can’t be that bad.”

“Try living here for 15 years and you’ll feel differently. Everyone knows your business. That’s what I hate the most. You go down on Aaron Barnes and three days later everyone is talking about it,” she complained, using a real world example.

Jeremy looked at Emily, amazed she revealed something like that. “Well, I do think stuff like that gets around. It just takes longer in a bigger school. In a big school you may not even hear anything until it’s well after the fact.”

“I don’t know why I came along with Nathan on this,” Emily sighed with a small laugh in her throat.

“Yeah, this is kind of stupid,” Jeremy agreed. He heard Nathan and Frank coming down the stairs. “I have an idea. Head back outside,” Jeremy got quiet.

As they left, Jeremy slammed the door closed. “Jesus Christ!” Nathan shouted from inside the house. Jeremy and Emily began cracking up.

Nathan stormed out. “What the hell?” he huffed.

“Emily and I are ready to go,” Jeremy smiled.

Nathan stared at Jeremy then growled and began chasing after him.

Nathan pulled into the gas station parking lot and all of them got out. Jeremy and Frank immediately went to the restroom. “Sorry your plan didn’t work out,” Emily said to Nathan.

“What plan?” Nathan nervously questioned. “I didn’t come up with a plan to get you and Jeremy together.”

“Really? Because we both thought that’s what you were trying to do.”

“Maybe. A little.”

“I appreciate it and Jeremy is a nice guy but I should stay away from relationships right now. He’s going to make a great friend though.”

“Well, I’m glad you at least got along,” Nathan said. “Sorry I tried to set you up. I know people don’t usually like being set up.”

“I certainly don’t,” Jeremy came up behind Nathan. “I prefer to just accidentally stumble into a relationship that way no one really knows if we’re dating or not--even us.”

“I’m sorry tonight was kind of boring,” Nathan apologized. “I’ll try to do better at picking houses in the future.”

Jeremy returned home. As he began to go upstairs, a voice spoke. “Where have you been?”

“Jesus, Maggie, I thought you were Mom or Dad,” he caught his breath. “I thought they caught me.”

“Nope. Just me. Where were you?”

“Out with Nathan. We were...I guess you’d call it ghost hunting but we were pretty bad at it. I mean, we had absolutely no P.K.E. Meters.”

“What about proton packs and ghost traps?”

Jeremy shook his head.

“You were bad at it.”

“What are you doing up?”

“Getting a drink. Do you like being here?”

“What do you…?”

“Ransomville. Do you like being here in Ransomville?”

“It’s okay. I don’t have any problems with it right now.”

“Me neither. I actually kind of like it.”

“I do, too. I’ve met some people I really like--Nathan, Chloe.”

“Same here,” Maggie smiled.

“We can’t let Mom and Dad know,” they both said.

“I’ll see you in the morning,” Jeremy yawned and continued up the stairs.

“Oh, and just so you know, Mom and Dad totally know you left,” Maggie said.