Written by: CJ Ames (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The peace of knowing she was totally free from the restraints of her fathers grip was mind altering. Jody sat back in the seat she had taken on the bus and breathed in the fresh air as it rushed in from the windows. No more "I'm gonna tell Daddy" from Kelly or "Get dressed now Jody we have a meeting tonight" from her father even though one had been unplanned until that moment. It was finally over and Jody never wanted to go back there or see those people again as long as she lived or so she felt in those first few precious moments of freedom after the bus had pulled out and headed South.
A kindly older gentleman stopping by Jody a couple of hours later as the bus pulled out once more following a pit stop. Jody asking, "Yeah?"
"May I take this empty seat?" He asked as Jody shrugged and he sat down and offered his hand. "Jeremiah Rigby."
"Jody Watkins" She replied and looked to see a little girl in one of the seats a few rows in front of her and looking intently at Jeremiah.
"You look like Santa Claus mister" The Little Girl said, Jeremiah having a good laugh and giving the girl a gentle smile.
"So are you Santa clause?" Jody asked with a smirk.
"No actually I'm not, just a traveler like yourself" He commented. "Care to hear one of my tales to pass the time?"
"You know, 6 months ago I might have said no and told you to fuck off, but now I've really come to appreciation the freedom of saying yes. So why not."
"Charming and worldly" Jeremiah said as Jody grinned. "This story takes place back some 25 years ago..."
"You really wrestled a bear for money?" Jody asked in amazement after she had listened intently to Jeremiah's wild tale of exploring the Pacific Northwest in the 1950's.
"I did and would do it again if I had to, a man has to eat" He commented.
"No offense, but you're full of it" Jody said as Jeremiah laughed. "But you're one hell of a story teller."
"And tell me Jody Watkins what is your story?" Jeremiah asked.
"I've been a bad girl most of my life and some of it was even justified but now I'm thinking that those days are past me and I wanna try something new with my life and maybe...I dunno" Jody said.
"Now how do you mean bad girl?"
"Bad mouthing my mother, getting in trouble with the law, getting booted out of school" Jody said. "You name something stupid and I've done it. But after what I been through in the last several months all I want now is to see the girl I love and watch TV."
"And why is watching TV at the top of your list?" Jeremiah asked. Jody noting he purposely skipped her whole "girl I love" comment.
"See I made the mistake of leaving the girl I love and moving to California to be with my Dad about a few months ago" Jody said. "He turned out to be Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and Benny Hinn rolled into one and he really hated that I loved another girl. We just didn't get along."
"Why the sudden exit from the life of this special girl?"
"It all started with my Mom who hated me, I think, and she was killed by the cops when she tried to kill me and my girlfriend for being in love" Jody said. "So I moved in with Linsey, my girlfriend, and her Mom for a while and things were good. But one day out of the blue my Dad shows up, I had only ever seen one picture of him in my life and come to find out he wrote me every month of my life for fourteen years and my Mother never showed me any of the letters. She was cruel."
"And you really wanted the connection to your long lost father?" Jeremiah asked.
"Yeah, even though he hated the way I loved Linsey I just wanted to love him so bad and the idea of having a Mom again and brothers and sisters was just something I wanted really bad" Jody said. "Even more than being with Linsey. I made huge a mistake."
"You're young you are entitled to a few of those" Jeremiah said as Jody nodded. "I've made many in my life young one."
"Like wrestling that bear?"
"I don't know about that" He said. "But I've spent much of my life making up for the mistakes of my past."
"I just hope Linsey will forgive me and we can start again" Jody said. "I hurt her pretty bad when I left. I deserve every I told you so that she's gonna throw at me."
"If she loves you, truly loves you, she will forgive you" Jeremiah said. "A young heart is a wonderous thing with it's ability to heal from heartbreak."
"You're cool" Jody commented as Jeremiah smiled. "And I hope you're right."
"Do you plan on reconnecting with your father?"
"Noooooo" Jody said in a demanding voice. "Right now I hate him so much."
"Maybe consider the fact that he believes his stance as firmly as do you?" Jeremiah suggested.
"You mean like he believes being gay is bad as strong as I believe being gay, which I'm not, is not even important?" Jody asked.
"Yes in a way" Jeremiah said. "I just think you both may be letting your beliefs get the better of you."
"Whatever" Jody said with a shrug. "I know right now I'm glad to be free from that."
"I'm sure you are" Jeremiah said as the bus pulled into another rest-stop, Jody not realizing that her and Jeremiah had been talking for over 2 hours.
"I'm hungry" Jody said as her and Jeremiah stood. "Buy you a late dinner handsome?"
"Now young lady don't you start that flirting" Jeremiah said. "And as for the invite, no thank you, I'm really not much in the way of hungry."
"OK" Jody said in confusion as Jeremiah pulled his bag down from the over head and smiled one more time before simply tipping his weathered cap and making his exit. Jody having the funniest feeling that she had seen the last of the old man as he disappeared into the night.
"I'm hungry Jody!"
"Excuse me?" Jody asked as she looked back and saw the girl who had asked Jeremiah if he was Santa clause. She was now standing in the seat in front of Jody and grinning. Her mother seemingly being out cold.
"I said I hungry" She repeated.
"What's your name?"
"My name Haylie Ishamatsu" She said with a bright smile. "Did Santa Claus leave?"
"Yeah his reindeer were waiting" Jody said as the little girl laughed.
"Can I come eat wit you?"
"How about I go and get both of us something and bring it back?" Jody asked as the smile left Haylie's cute asian face.
"You won't come back" Haylie said.
"I promise I will, now what do you want?" Jody asked as she knelt down to Haylie's eye line and smiled at her.
"I want taco" Haylie said as she pointed to a sign just ahead of the now parked bus. "Big taco."
"You're Mom already told me you were a taco" Jody said as she poked Haylie in the ribs as she little girl covered her belly and laughed. "Back in a few minutes OK?"
"OK, Mommy is sleeping so I better stay here" Haylie said as her and Jody exchanged a goofy grin. Jody smiling and feeling the pressure of her previous life was already leaving as she exited the bus. Asking the bus driver with the name tag of Gerald Crosby, "How long we got?"
"Thirty minutes or so, don't go far?" He asked as Jody simply nodded and headed off to the Taco place that several of the other passengers had filtered into. Jody glanced at the menu and decided quickly what she wanted.
"Two Grande Taco's and two...a milk and a juice box" She told the clerk as he grinned. A cute smile Jody noticed as he took her money and gave her change back.
"You new around here?" He asked. "My names Todd."
"On the bus out front" Jody said as she smiled back.
"I meet a lot of people just passing through" He commented as Jody waited for her food. "A few girls are interested in...hanging out...you know me being one of the locals and all."
"You got a break huh?" Jody asked and thinking how unbelievably cute this boy was and the things that her and Linsey could have done to him and with him if they where both here. Realizing in that moment that her hormones had been put into storage essentially with her time in California with her Dad and this was seriously the first boy she'd gotten to flirt with while not being conscious of the numerous things she couldn't say. Todd making eyes at her as he took off his apron and handed her the food as they walked outside. "This looks good..."
"What was that for?" Jody asked after she had been cut off with a rather stiff kiss from this boy she hardly knew. He then kissed her again and this time it was a seriously good kiss. A couple of minutes passed as she made out with this boy. Both pulling away with the need for air over coming their desire. "Nice way to meet one of the locals."
"And you're by far the hottest one I've met, that tan is killer" He said as Jody smiled and saw him adjust his pants. Knowing he was sporting wood by now and in a way she was desperate to see it. But suddenly something began to occur to her, the many speeches her father had given her about respecting her body began to replay themselves inside of her head. Looking at Todd's smile and trying to suppress the 'speeches' she wasn't sure what to do in all honesty. But one thing made her mind up for her. The voice of Haylie.
"Jody...I hungry" Jody heard and looked back to see Haylie standing in the entrance to the bus beside Gerard the driver. "You coming?"
"GET OUT OF HERE YOU LITTLE RUG RAT" Todd screamed as Haylie got scared and ran back the few feet to the bus and disappeared inside. "Stupid kids, I swear I'm never having any."
"That was mean and rude" Jody said as she glared at Todd now.
"She'll get over it and besides I only got a ten minute break so..."
"You think I'm gonna fuck you?" Jody asked and realizing that for the first time she was actually turning down someone she was attracted too.
"Most girls do" He said with a smile. "I'm pretty big and I can guarantee that you'll be glad you did."
"Big?" Jody asked as he grinned and she fought the temptation that seemingly overcome here in those few moments. He was big too Jody found out as he unzipped his pants and showed her in vivid detail. But something more important, than the desire she felt, was Linsey, the girl she loved and how she might see this as Jody not really loving her. "I can't, I have a girlfriend."
"Hot, I love lesbians" Todd said. "Call her on the phone and she can listen and you can tell her what I'm doing to you. Could be fun."
Jody looked back at the bus and saw Haylie as she was watching closely until Jody caught her looking and then turned away with a hurt look. Which for some reason made Jody's heart melt and she wanted to do something to make that little girl smile and that something was suddenly much more important than what she wanted to do with this boy she just met. She also realized what other people might think if they found out what she was about to do. Especially her former family just two hours or so north. It wasn't the words of, James, her father or his mini-me son, Peter, that came to mind. But the words of the other male member of the household, J.R., who had once advised Jody, "If he don't love you or at least respect you what's the point? No one will respect you until you respect yourself and in turn respect the one you love by not doing something she wouldn't approve of."
"I have a girlfriend" Jody repeated. "And she wouldn't do this to me. So see ya."
"Oh come on" Todd grumbled as Jody picked up her food and walked off. Feeling a sense of pride at what she had just done as she boarded the bus again and saw Haylie turn away from her.
"I got you a Taco" Jody said as she sat down in the seat directly opposite Haylie.
"I not hungry, he scared me" Haylie said.
"He's a big dumby huh?"
"He yelled at me!"
"I told him we couldn't be friends because he was mean to you" Jody said as the woman beside Haylie stirred and rolled over and went back to sleep.
"SHHHHHHH" Haylie said with a finger over her mouth as Jody grinned. Handing Haylie one of the Tacos. Haylie tearing into it like a hungry wolf. "MMMMMMMMMM Tank EWWWWW."
"You're welcome" Jody said as Haylie gave her a huge smile and seemed so content as she sat there with her new friend and eating a late dinner. Haylie's Mom waking up suddenly and giving Jody a confused look.
"Hi, who are you?" She asked.
"Dat my fwiend" Haylie said with another mouth full of taco. "Dat Jody, she's friends with Santa Claus."
"Haylie Ishamatsu what did I tell you about telling stories?" Her Mom asked her.
"I am friends with him, well the guy sitting by me that looked a lot like him" Jody said. "You're daughter is sweet."
"Kira Ishamatsu" The Woman said as she smiled. "I hope she didn't bug you too much. I've been so exhausted the last few days I keep drifting off and she's friendly."
"She was just hungry" Jody said and thinking that Kira might be in the same shape. "UMMMMMM I can't finish this, you want it?"
"I'm gonna say yes" Kira said as Jody smiled and handed her the Taco as Haylie slipped out of the seat and hugged Jody around the neck.
"Mommy was hungry too" Haylie said as Jody lifted the young girl into her lap and smiled at her. "My Daddy took all Mommies money."
"Haylie hush" Kira said with a tired look as Haylie laid her head on Jody's shoulder. "She's only four and she talks too much."
"UMMMMMM you don't know me and I don't know you I realize that but..."
"My ex-husband tried to kill me when he found out I was leaving" Kira said. "He's a military man with a violent temper and I just couldn't take it anymore so I ran and come to find out he had emptied out my bank account. So with the money in my pocket we are trying to get as far away as possible."
"Where you want to get too?"
"Oklahoma City" Kira said.
"Granny pa live in dat place" Haylie announced as Jody instinctively put her arms around the little girl and hugged her. Thinking in those few quiet moments as she smiled at the little angel in her arms that she wanted kids some day. Something she had long ago decided against but now the desire was back or maybe it was never there before, she couldn't really tell. She thought about Linsey and how her father had preached a number of times on homosexuality and how it would be the end of mankind if were allowed to become 'normal' as he put it. Something to the effect that woman will turn to woman and men to men and with no babies being born the cycle of life would be damaged beyond repair.
"What about adoption?" Jody asked herself in response to her replaying of her father's rants behind the pulpit. Kira giving the young girl a confused look before Jody explained the entire sorted event in detail to the woman she barely knew. Waiting anxiously as Kira considered everything very carefully.
"Adoption is a possibility" Kira said. "Of course the experience is vastly different and babies are so hard to find."
"Is that little stinker asleep?" Kira asked as Jody looked down and found Haylie's eyes were closed and she was resting so peacefully. "I'll be, she doesn't do that to anyone, I mean anyone. She must really like you."
"We bonded over Tacos" Jody said as Kira laughed. "So you need some help?"
"I normally don't except charity but I'm so desperate to get away from that psycho ex of mine..." Kira said, trailing off as she sat back and began to cry softly. Jody moving into Haylie's former seat and not saying a word for a long moment as she listened. The bus filling back up over the next few moments and pulling back out onto the main road, without Jeremiah, Jody noted. Before long Jody had let her new seat back and fell asleep herself with Haylie still in her arms. A beam of light waking her sometime later, turning out to be the first beam of light from a new day. Jody's eyes adjusting to the brighter lights as she sat up and found that her new little friend was just then stirring. Haylie looking up and grinning, "Morning."
"You got food again Jody I'm hungry" Haylie asked with a hopeful smile.
"No I don't got food again you little piggy" Jody said as she tickled her, Haylie laughing and squirming. Some of the other passengers groaning at the sounds of the two playing. "You hungry though?"
"Uh huh belly empty again" Haylie said as Jody smiled. Noticing the bus was once again stopped and this time it looked to be a hotel of some sort just a few hundred feet away. Kira stirring beside the two and smiling as she saw Haylie still in Jody's arms. "Morning Mommy, Jody and me is hungry are you?"
"Yeah I am sweety" Kira said and looking noticeably more rested than just a few hours earlier. "I hate to ask..."
"Don't then, it'll make me happy to feed the little piggy" Jody said as Haylie grinned and slipped off Jody's lap and pulled her along as the threesome made their way to the hotel across the highway and towards the sign that read '$4.99 buffet, all you can eat'. It was definitely all you could eat too Jody noted as Kira and Haylie ate two full plates before going back for a third and then a fourth. Haylie sitting in Jody's lap the whole time despite the initial protests of her Mom. "Belly filled now?"
"All da way, tank ewww" Haylie commented as she finished the last piece of Bacon on her plate and rubbed her tummy. Kira looking for a moment at Haylie and Jody with a smile before she seemed to lock onto something behind the two. Her eyes going wide as she jumped up and ran around the table and snatched a paper out of the Courtesy rack and squealed with excitement. "What's good Mommy?"
"They indicted that psycho bastard husband of mine" Kira said with a huge smile. Showing Jody a picture on the front page of an Asian man being led away in handcuffs. "Don Chow you can kiss my...asian booty."
"Ha ha Mommy said booty" Haylie giggled.
"And you are bootyful" Jody said as Haylie laughed harder.
"Excuse me Ma'am can you tell me if there is an ATM around here?" Kira asked the nice waitress with the name of Leona.
"Corner of the main lobby just to the right of the bank of elevators" Leona said with a finger point.
"Suddenly things are looking a lot better" Kira said as we both smiled. Jody agreeing as she carried a giggling Haylie along in her arms as both followed Kira to the ATM.