Part 5

by CM Towns

   Monday came and went for the James household. For the parents there was work. Mari got up after seven, dropped Lucita at pre-school and Sally at El Camino community college, and from there she had a long day at the alt-modeling agency she worked for. She had to book talent and ended up driving to a shoot to fill in for a missing photographer. After which she returned to the agencies small office and started working on developing film. Diego was at work at 5 that morning and off in the afternoon. He picked up Lucita and the two went to the park.
   The other girls had full days. First Sally and Jessie got up and did some exercising and light jogging. From there Jessie got ready and left for school. It was an uneventful day with classes and hanging with friends. Afterward she dropped Michie off at her home and then Blake at his, who she hung with for a few hours. He played her some bits he recorded from the weekend session of tracking drums. A little after that explained to her why Cyclops was the most complex and well crafted of the X-Men characters all while Jessie flipped through his gigantic Invisibles comic book omnibus. For Sally, after her morning workout with Jessie and being dropped off by Mari, she took her one class of the day, went to the large Torrance library for a few hours to do homework and research, and than from there made her way to the mall to buy some personal items, and finally back home in mid afternoon.
   They rest of the day into the night included family dinner Sally cooked. Jessie and her dad watched Monday night wrestling. Sally watched Lucita in her room while she read a book, and Mari caught up on some of her shows in her and Diego’s room.
   Tuesday was different. While Mari and Jessie’s day was somewhat similar to the previous day Diego was off from his stock job and slept in. He would be up in the afternoon and have to go into his second job as a tattoo artist. Sally had no classes so she spent the morning reading, even watching some television before picking up Lucita from pre-school and returning home to watch her. By the time Jessie got home they found they had visitors.
   “Reed, Araminta-what the hell are you guys doing here?” Jessie asked seeing them in the living room with her little sister.

   “Its Franks night to cook. So I wanted some good food,” Reed said as he played video games. Araminta agreed with Reed while she watched both the game and Lucita with her coloring book.
   “Franks really that bad?” asked Jessie.
   “His stuff is usually just plain. Reed wanted an excuse to come over,” Araminta said.
   “Whats yours?”
   “There’s no other girls at the clubhouse.”
   “Well, Reed, its my one night to cook,” Jessie said.
   “I know. Cook spaghetti,” he said.
   Jessie opened her mouth to explain she was doing hamburgers and then shut it. Jessie finally said, “Fine. We eat around 7.”
   “I remember. 6:30 on Mondays and Sundays. 7 on Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday you get food. Friday and Saturday fend for yourselves,” Reed listed.
   “Its like you do live here,” Jessie said before walking away.
   As the day ticked into evening the whole family was gathered at the table to dig into the food.
   “Its sweet that your team-I mean cousins came to visit,” Mari said.
   “I don’t know why we keep trying to keep secrets. Its not like Lucita doesn’t know,” Diego said before whispering, “Or everyone else in our immediate family.”
   “I keep good secrets,” Lucita said.
   “Yes you do,” Mari said to her youngest before pointing to Reed and asking, “So Reed, you like coming over here and hanging out with us?”
   “Yep,” he said between bites.
   “Its because Jessie mothers you right?”
   “I don’t mother him,” Jessie objected.
   “Reed, how would you relate to your teammates?” Mari asked.
   “Jessie’s mom. Sally’s her sister. I guess Elijah’s dad. Frank and Araminta are brother and sister. Antoine is the Uncle who like-runs the family business,” he explained.
   “Aaaah. I have a grandson,” Mari taunted her daughter with a big smile. Jessie just shook her head.
   “Finally some boys. I thought for sure every time you got pregnant it would be a boy, seeing as your mom popped out three,” Diego said.
   “You want to try and have a boy?” Mari questioned him.
   “God no! I’m done with children. I didn’t even want any in the first place,” he shot back.
   “I love you too, dad,” Jessie twitted.
   “I love you too!” Lucita jumped in proudly.
   “We all love you Lucita,” Sally said with a smile.
   Araminta was laughing throughout this. She then said, “This is another reason I like coming here. Watching Jessie be reduced to a teenager. When she’s with the team its hard to think of her as being only a couple years older than me,” she explained.
   “The only real adult at this table is Sally,” affirmed Diego.
   “Thank you for the compliment,” Sally said.
   “So you two leaving after dinner?” asked Diego.
   “Probably not a good idea. Its bad to be using that teleporter so much. They might as well stay the night,” Sally suggested.
   “I call the couch!” Araminta shouted.
   “What? Where will I sleep?” wondered Reed.
   “On the floor?” Araminta offered.
   “You and Jessie have shared a bed a couple times,” Sally said.
   “Totally mothering Reed,” Mari commented.
   “He has trouble sleeping. I mean, Sally was the same way for a little while,” Jessie said.
   “I wonder where my daughter gets this maternal quality?” asked Diego. Mari took a piece of garlic bread and tossed it at him. Diego ducked and popped back with, “I’m joking. Damn.”
   “You better be or I’ll make you pay,” Mari threatened with her fork.
   “Can you take your flirting elsewhere? Please?” Jessie said.
   “I knew Reed hated sleeping away from a TV but does he get a lot of nightmares?” Araminta inquired.
   “No. Those nightmares were from just after we found the lab and rescued Elijah,” answered Reed.
   “Enough sad talk, you guys did good on Monday,” Jessie said.
   “Agreed. In fact-Professor contacted me earlier with information on the criminals,” Sally started.
   “Is it going to lead to another case file?” asked Jessie.
   “No it will not. It is open and shut. Still some issues with who is selling robots but that is not on our radar as of now,” Sally answered.,br>
   “Good, you guys need longer breaks between these big cases,” Mari said.
   “How’s that sword of yours? I saw some pictures of it-bad ass,” Diego commented.
   “Totally bad ass!” Lucita agreed.
   “Lucita!” Mari said. She looked down at her spaghetti.
   “It’s okay. I don’t really know how to use a sword. It’s very… Interesting. Seeing these two handle it,” Araminta said.
   “Its a katana blade for me. Only when I’m powered up though,” Jessie said.
   “Mines is similar to what you call a fencing sword,” Sally said.
   “Turns out our girl had some sword lessons back home,” Jessie said.
   “Not a lot. I was not very good. Still, I remember most the fundamentals so I’ll help Araminta when I can,” Sally said.
   “That’ll be good,” Jessie said.
   “Hows things with that boy?” Mari asked Araminta.
   “We’re just friendly. I don’t think he sees me as his type,” answered Araminta.
   “Jessie’s boyfriend sounds nothing like her type and they’re together,” Mari pointed out.
   “Hey, hey, hey,” Diego interrupted. “Lets get off all that business and talk about something that I find important.”
   “Whats that?” Mari inquired.
   “Street Fighter,” Diego said before looking to Reed and continuing, “I’ve been working my combos, you’re going down punk!”
   “Whatever dude. I’ll beat you at SF easy and than I’ll whup you at any other game,” was Reed’s retort.
   Mari face palmed at their back and forth video game trash talk.