“Y’all gonna be okay while I’m gone?” Darlene asked her husband, Mick and her daughter, Jolene. She was heading off for the weekend to a Women’s Ministry retreat in Atlanta.
They both looked at her before Mick answered, “Yes, we gonna be okay. Don’t fuss so. It’s not like you ain’t been away before. We can take care of ourselves. Jolene’s gonna take good care of me, ain’t you, girl?”
Jolene’s answer was to blow a large bubble and then pop it. She was at the table putting nail-polish on her long fingernails while chewing gum. Her dyed blonde hair was pulled back in a ponytail making her look younger than eighteen. Long dark lashes framed big, bright blue eyes which narrowed now as she glanced at her step-father.
Darlene wasn’t convinced but, she just had to believe that they were going to be all right for the weekend. She knew that they didn’t particularly like each other. Jolene’s Dad died when she was three and until a year ago it was just the two of them. Then she met Mick at a friend’s barbecue and fell in love with him. He was a handsome man, tall, well built with jet black hair that covered the nape of his neck and he had the most amazing green eyes. He was in his mid-forties but looked at least ten years younger.
They got married a couple of months after they met. Mick tried to be a good Dad to Jolene but she no part of it. In the beginning they were like cats and dogs with each other but now they seemed to tolerate each other, although the animosity was still there. She had misgivings about leaving them alone but she was glad for the break.
The sound of a car horn, alerted her and galvanized her. “Loreen’s here,” she announced unnecessarily. “Well, you have enough food to last you until I come back on Sunday.” She went over to Jolene and hugged her. “You behave yourself, Missy.”
Jolene pursed her lips. “Ma, I ain’t a child, ya know.”
“Oh, I do wish you’d speak better than that. What I been sending you to school for?”
Mick chuckled. “She ain’t into book learnin’. She’s into boys. Why you think she’s paintin’ her nails?”
Jolene took up the open magazine on the table and threw it at him. It hit him on the shoulder. He turned and glared at her.
Darlene shook her head. “I’m gonna pray for y’all,” she said. “It’s high time that y’all bury the hatchet.” She went over to Mick and hugged him. They kissed and then she pulled away to grab her overnight bag. “See y’all on Sunday. Love y’all both.” And she was out of the room and the house. Minutes later came the sound of a car driving away. Silence, except for the television.
Jolene finished painting her nails and held them under the fan until they were dry. Then, she got up from the table and went over to the sofa where Mick was. Instead of sitting down next to him, she lowered herself slowly onto his lap. Smiling, she put her arms around his neck, her bare legs over his long ones. She felt his body respond. “You want to bury that hatchet now?” she asked coyly and saw his face flush.
“You’re a little tease, you know that?” he muttered under his breath before he put his arms around her and lowered his head to kiss her.
“All set for a nice Spirit filled weekend?” Loreen asked Darlene as they sailed down the long stretch of road. “I’ve been looking forward to it all week.
“Yes, I been looking forward to it for weeks, but I was worried about leaving Mick and Jolene alone cause of how things are between them.”
“Don’t worry about them. I’m sure they’ll be fine. Mick’s a no nonsense man. He’ll keep Jolene in line.”
“I hope they’re gonna be all right.”
“I’m sure about it. Now stop worrying.”
Darlene looked out of the window at the landscape and then, she exclaimed, “Oh no!”
“What’s the matter?”
“I forgot to tell Mick that I had a security camera installed yesterday because of all those recent break-ins.”
“You can always call and tell him when we get to the retreat this evening.”
Darlene shook her head. “No, it can wait until Sunday when I get home.” She felt better knowing that it the camera was there in the house. No one could tell that it was hidden behind the wall lamp in the living-room. Right now it was recording everything that was happening in there. So, she’d know if Jolene was giving Mick trouble or not. Jolene. She worried about her sometimes. I’m gonna say a special prayer for her and hope that one of these days, she’s gonna give her life to the Lord.