Thank God, Troy thinks as the rest of the day goes by without any more mishaps. Chasity cooks, cleans, and takes care of the children and Harry, leaving him time to run to one of his client’s houses and
get some work done. When it’s time, he picks up Asia from the bus stop, then heads home. He tries to tell her as much as possible about what happened that day, but there’s not enough time to say it all before getting home, so she misses out on a lot of important information. So, when she sees Chasity in the kitchen with a strained look on her face, she asks her what happened. Chasity tries to be as objective as possible when explaining the events of the day, and this makes her very apologetic for she thinks a lot of it is her fault, even though she’s tried to be friendly to Karla since their first meeting. Sighing and putting her hand on her friend’s shoulder, Asia says, “Chas, try not to worry about it so much because Karla’s been like this for as long as I’ve known her”. “What? You’re kidding me”, Chasity responds, not knowing what else to say. “Yeah”, Asia continues, “she has a lot of animosity inside of her that she refuses to acknowledge and deal with, so she often gets angry and confused”. “I feel so sorry for her and her son, too, so I’m gonna put this in God’s hands, and have the faith that He’s gonna take care of it, I have to because there’s so much more to deal with”, Chasity finishes, also sighing.
Nothing could have prepared Asia for this conflict between her best friend and her neighbor. Should she have seen it coming? She thinks,
as she listens to Chasity. She knows that Karla’s always been a nervous and unsettled person, and has shown jealous tendencies in the past, but she’s never come out like this before. The only conclusion that Asia can come up with is that Karla has totally lost it. She’s always been close to it, and it seems like it’s now happening because of Chasity. Asia saw Karla’s resentment towards Chasity the first time she introduced them. She remembers that even though Karla didn’t hide her disdain, Chasity still tried to be polite and non-judge-mental by letting the negative vibes slide off her. “Well”, Asia says, still trying to process all of it, “I’m glad that you’re handling it the way that you are because Karla and her son need a lot of prayer”. “I figured so”, Chasity replies back, “I’ve felt it from the very beginning, so this has been in my prayers along with many other things too”. Seeing that her friend is tired, Chasity first hugs Asia, and then makes her sit down in a dining room chair before continuing. “Girl, I’m not gonna get tired of telling you how grateful I am, and that I don’t want to be a burden to you and your family, so tell me exactly what you want me to do, and not to do”.
Before Asia can respond, all the children come running into the kitchen with Junior in the lead, thus ending the two women’s private conversation. “Whoa, whoa, whoa”, both say at the same time, slowing the children down, as Beary pushes past his brother and gets to hug his mother first, yelling, “mommy, mommy, you’re home!” Junior then joins him, “mom, we didn’t know you were home, when did you get here?” “I’ve been here in the kitchen talking to Ms. Chasity”, she responds, as she hugs them back. Caitlin and Jacob also greet her with big, bright, and happy smiles, and then they quietly stand on either side of their mother. “You two come and give me a hug too”, Asia says to Chasity’s kids, and without any hesitation, they go over and hug her. Chasity joins in by wrapping her huge arms around all of them, and this is how the men find them. “Well, well, well, what’s this?” Troy amusingly asks throwing up his arms, when he and Harry walk into the kitchen and see the women and children locked into a loving
embrace. This prompts both men to encircle the affectionate family bundle, and they all laugh with contentment.
The now enlarged family goes through the evening routine of dinner, bath, and bed. The Cromwells are settled into their basement retreat, and the Kings in the upstairs of the house when the siren signaling the curfew sounds. Afterwards, Troy finally gets the chance to explain to Asia the circumstances surrounding the reasons why he had to reveal the secret, emergency room to their house guests and Karla and Max. Beary had brought up going to the room during dinner, but Troy wouldn’t allow anyone to discuss it because he wants to privately talk to Asia about it. Chasity and Harry agree, but the children don’t understand why they can’t tell what happened. Asia is a little surprised that Chasity didn’t mention anything about it to her when they spoke earlier. Troy didn’t either and she wouldn’t have found out what occurred if Beary hadn’t said something, so she’s eagerly awaiting she and Troy’s bedtime. Alone in their room and settled into bed, he starts with, “Babe, you know that I had no choice but to have Junior take the women and children down to the room, it was for safety’s sake, I had no other choice”. “Well, Troy, you did what you felt you had to do, and it is, what it is!” She responds with a yawn, and continues, “I just hope that Chasity and Karla get along better than they have been”. “I think that’s gonna be one of our biggest problems”, and that’s all he’s able to get out before realizing that his wife has fallen asleep.
In one adult bed, Troy lovingly watches his wife as she begins to lightly snore and thinks he’s a lucky man, while in the other adult bed, a very heated discussion is taking place. Troy kisses Asia on the lips, and then falls asleep himself, as Harry begins to angrily question Chasity about what’s going on between she and Karla. “Chas, what the hell’s going on? Why are you and this woman having conflicts? What the hell’s the problem?” He asks all these questions in succession not giving Chasity a chance to answer. Trying not to arouse the kids, and bring too much attention towards their argument, and when finally given a chance to respond, Chasity grits her teeth and in a low voice,
growls, “Harry, you know I don’t harbor no ill will towards no one! Not even that woman, even though I felt her negative vibes towards not just me, but all of us, from the moment that Asia introduced us. So why are you making it seem like it’s my fault!” “I’m not saying it’s your fault, Chas, it’s just not a good thing no matter who’s fault it is. You yourself said you don’t want us to be a burden to Asia and her family”. “I know, you’re right. I’ve been praying on this and I have the faith that God’s gonna help see me through this”, she says with a deep sigh, turns over, closes her eyes, and goes to sleep signaling the end of the conversation. The next morning, only Troy gets ready for work for Asia doesn’t have to go in on Tuesdays, so she gets the boys ready for school. Chasity also gets her children ready for Asia will take all of them, and she can then get her kids registered. After taking care of the children, Asia and Chasity head to the Social Services office, where Chasity applies for public assistance. She hands in all the required paperwork that she used earlier to register the children, like their birth certificates, social security cards, baptismal records, immunizations, plus their previous W2 forms. She informs the clerk that she and her family are staying with the King family, so she uses Asia’s address to receive mail, and as proof that they are living in the area. Chasity feels that this is the least she can do. She’s also going to continue trying to change Karla’s negative perception about her, but in order to achieve this, she must get more information on Karla. So, she directs the conversation around Karla and her son. She makes several mental notations as Asia talks about her most disturbed neighbor, with hopes of making amends with Karla. She also wants to take advantage of she and her friend’s private time together to talk about the Mark of the Beast dreams, and she does. This is it! Chasity thinks, I’m finally getting the chance to speak to Asia about the dreams, so she switches the topic of the conversation, and asks in a very serious tone, “Asia, have you ever dreamt about the Big Foot creature before?” She asks this just as Asia comes up to a red light, which throws her off guard, making her slam hard on the brakes. Both women are jerked forward in their seats but held in place by their
seatbelts. Instinctively putting her hands on the dashboard, Chasity gasps, “Asia, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to get you upset. Maybe we can talk about this some other time”. Holding onto the steering wheel white knuckled, Asia responds, “No Chas, we need to talk about this now because this may be one of our only times alone, and because I have been dreaming about not just Big Foot, but also about the Mark of the Beast”. Spotting a McDonalds, she puts on her right turn signal and then pulls into its parking lot, “let’s get some coffee and talk about this, okay?” “Oh, girl, you’re not just an amazing friend, but an amazing person”, Chasity sincerely gushes as they park, get out and head towards the front doors knowing that another big moment is about to occur.
Once seated, and sipping on, and enjoying their coffee, both women begin talking at once, “well girl”, which makes them break out laughing, “you go first”, “no, you go first”. This helps to break the serious mood, and puts them a little at ease. “Okay”, Chasity finally says, “I’ll go first since I brought it up”. And it’s like Asia knew this conversation was going to take place, she knew it was inevitable since the first time Chasity called her right before her parent’s funeral. And as she settles in to listen to her good friend, the déjà vu sensation comes over her so strongly that her mind is flooded with nostalgia, and her heart flutters with renewed fear and excitement. It’s like they’re children again, and they’re back in the school’s gym, and she’s overwhelmed by Chasity’s knowledgeable words and demeanor. And she thinks, this woman knows what’s she’s talking about, just like she did as a child, and how did she get all this information? Asia sits there across from her friend listening, answering questions, nodding, and gasping, mesmerized by Chasity as they discuss the occurrences of their lives. The tables are then turned and it becomes Chasity’s turn to be mesmerized by Asia as she tells the story of what happened with Troy, and his co-workers, and the creature, and the specific details of her dreams. They compare and contrast information, and try to make sense of what is the significance of all the events.
One thing that Chasity is sure of is that no matter what has happened, and how the chain of events played themselves out, she and Asia were destined to connect and come back together again now as adults. She knows this was God’s plan from the very beginning when she first told Harry that they had to move out of the city. She knew that she wasn’t supposed to move with her brother to New Jersey, but here in Pennsylvania with Asia and her family. And talking to Asia about the dreams and everything else is now confirming her predictions. Her intuitions have never led her wrong in the past, and they’ve not led her wrong now. She’s contemplating these thoughts as Asia drives them back home, and she gets an Aha moment. The reason why their Mark of the Beast dreams are focused right now on a Big foot creature is because the Lord was trying to warn them of the danger of a creature roaming around in the Pocono woods. God protected Troy, and spared him from getting harmed, or even worse, killed. And now at least two of the beasts are dead, even though the officials aren’t sure how many more exist. The irony is she’s escaping and running from one threat to another. She ran from a multitude of problems in the city to these she has to face up here.
Well, Chasity continues to think, she hopes at least these problems aren’t as bad as the ones she left behind. She guesses it’s a trade off because she knows there are problems everywhere you go, even Asia said as much. No one has to be a genius to know this is a fact of life. Trouble exists everywhere, and right now, her biggest challenge to conquer is not even the Big Foot creature, but Karla and her animosity towards her. If she can relieve and change Karla’s feelings about her from bad to good, then she knows she’ll be taking a load off not just herself, but Asia too. So, this is what she’s going to concentrate on. She has to figure out a way to end Karla’s jealousy of she and Asia’s friendship. And once again, she has an Aha moment, on what she should do. As soon as the social services papers go through, and she receives the assistance she needs, Chasity will move out of Asia’s house. That’s it! She thinks. That should solve a lot of problems. If she can
put a little distance between she and Asia, she will also be distancing herself away from Karla, and taking a lot of strain off Asia and Troy. The only thing is that she doesn’t really know how she’s going to do this, but she knows that she must, no matter what it takes.
When Asia pulls into the driveway, Troy opens the front door, and waits to escort the women into the house. He greets Chasity, and kisses his wife on the lips, “how’d it go today?” He asks. “It went very well, Troy”, Chasity responds speaking first with a small smile. “Oh, that’s good”. Chasity continues, “where’s that big lug of mine?” Troy laughs, “he’s inside watching t. v.” Chasity goes into the living room, sees her husband on the couch, but does not join him. She just stands there for a few seconds intensely looking at him before saying, “how’re you feeling Harry?” Only then does Harry realize his wife’s there asking him a question which diverts his attention away from the program he’s watching and looks up at her, answering, “um, I’m doing okay”. “I’m glad, thank God”, she says, still standing. “How’d it go today?” he asks the same question Troy did, and gets the same answer. “Oh, it went very well”, she responds, and then turns and goes downstairs to their living quarters in the basement hoping he’ll follow behind her. But Harry doesn’t pick up on his wife’s wants, and goes back to watching his show. Asia passes him and says, “hey, Harry, how are you?” “Just fine, thanks for asking”. And she and Troy head to their bedroom and close the door for they always try to take as much advantage of their time alone without the kids to be together, play around, and make love. When several minutes go by and Harry doesn’t come downstairs, Chasity marches back to the living room and snarls, “Harry, do you think you can come downstairs so we can talk?” Not responding to her right away, and taking his time, he finally lifts his large bulk up off the couch, and follows his wife back downstairs dreading their conversation.
Once he’s settled into the lounge chair, Chasity takes a deep breath and begins, “Harry, we need to get ourselves together as fast as possible, so we can move out on our own”. “What are you talking about, Chas?”
he irritatingly asks, and continues, “I thought this is what you wanted, to move here with Asia and her family. We just got here, for Christ’s sake”. And he regrets that he didn’t first stop to think before speaking because he knows he shouldn’t have put the Lord’s name in vain, especially seeing the shocked look on his wife’s face. Chasity manages to keep her cool as she deeply sighs and continues talking, “the goal was to get out of the city and we did. But I don’t want to be a burden on Asia and her family and one way for us not to is to get our own place. I’m not sure how to do it up here, but whatever it takes, that’s what we’re gonna do. Also, God showed me this is the best way to stop Karla from being so jealous and get her off my back!” “I don’t know how that’s gonna get Karla off your back, but you’re right about us needing to get our own place. The only thing that I ask is let’s not rush into things. Let me first get better and stronger, so I can get a job to provide for us”. “Of course I want you to get better first, but we might be able to move out before you get a job if we can get assistance, and I think it’s faster and easier up here”, she says in her most patient voice, and continues, “and I’ve already filled out the necessary paperwork”. “Did you really?”, Harry asks with an uplifted eyebrow. “Yes I did, and I hope we receive it soon so we can help Troy and Asia out with expenses”. Chasity then turns away from him, and goes to the bathroom, signaling the end of the discussion. Harry once again lifts his large bulk up from the chair, climbs up the stairs, and goes back to the living room to continue watching t. v. thinking why does he always put up with his wife’s controlling attitude?
The same time that Chasity and Harry are once again having a heated discussion, Asia and Troy are making passionate love. When they are finished, Asia showers, puts on a sweat suit and heads to the kitchen to get dinner started. Troy also showers, and then gets dressed to pick the kids up from the bus stop. Chasity joins Asia in the kitchen to help as Harry remains on the couch watching t. v. Chasity hopes that Troy and Asia are not offended by Harry’s laziness, and that she can make up for his short comings. They aren’t offended by it, but it doesn’t
go unnoticed for when Troy returns with the children, Harry is still where he left him. And he doesn’t budge even when the kids say hello to him, and Troy joins the women to assist with the meal, and help the kids with their homework. He only moves when dinner is ready and it’s time to eat. This infuriates Chasity so much that she’s embarrassed by her husband’s obvious indolent attitude, and makes a notation in the back of her mind to confront him about later on.