Things to do in Freehold

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Chapter Eighteen:

Jacob Mackenzie (Evening of September 9, 1994)

“Hey Adeline,” I said, trying to keep my cool as her captivating eyes gazed up at me from the bottom stoop. It’s funny, really, even after hearing what Brian had to say about her, she still managed to leave me breathless. “So, um, what brings you here?”

“Just getting Pat home, safely, that’s all,” she explained as she watched Patrick falter into the house. “Cool lil’ bro’ you got there.”

“Yeah, he’s alright,” I murmured. “What happened there, by the way?”

“Some rugged boy named Tony and his buddies. I guess he and Pat are classmates and Pat kind of pissed the dude off earlier at school,” she answered.

Before anything else could be discussed, Ma had busted through the door behind me, asking what had happened to Pat, just assuming I knew. I told her that it was kids from school, but I think she ignored me. Her attention was focused somewhere else: Adeline. “Oh, hello?” she said.

“Right, um, Ma, this is―” I began to introduce the two before Adeline had mercifully interrupted.

“You must be Mrs. Mackenzie,” Adeline had gone in for a polite handshake. “I’m Adeline, Adeline Grace.”

Ma didn’t say much after that. She didn’t even return the poor girl’s handshake. I think she may have gotten caught off guard by the last name, Grace. “Dinner’s almost ready,” she lied as she went back inside. Although, I could still feel her watching us from one of the windows.

“I don’t think your mom likes me very much,” Adeline noted, now on the second of the three stoops.

“She just doesn’t know you,” I responded, leaning on the pearly white beam beside me, making an effort to seem relaxed around her.

“As opposed to you?” she replied, darting me down.

“Touche, but I’d like to know you. What are you doing tomorrow night?” I asked.

“Probably hanging out with friends, why?” she answered.

“Mind if I tag along? I am, after all, still new to town. Maybe you can show me around to all your favorite spots,” I explained.

Adeline hesitated. “I don’t know, Mackenzie. I don’t think my friends are your kind of crowd.”

“How do you know? They might be,” I commented.

“Alright, that’s fair,” she surrendered. “Pick me up around eight then. My house is just a couple of blocks down, at the very end of the cul de sac,” Adeline pointed in the direction of her street. “If you get lost by chance, I’m sure your mom will have no problem showing you the way.”

“Alright, see you then,” I graciously waved goodbye as I backed my way up to into the door and watched her walk away. I then headed inside and it was there that I did my little dance of victory. Thank God, no one was in the living room at the time to witness it. Although, I was taken a little bit back to that last thing that she said. “Your mom will have no problem showing you the way”? What the hell is that supposed to mean?

Nevertheless, I had made my way into the kitchen, feeling on top of the world. However, when I noticed the distressed look upon Ma’s face, I began to grow both suspicious and confused. Ma, although stubborn and militant, she had never been the stuck-up or judgmental type. She’d always despise people like that; the ones who thought of themselves as gods compared to the rest of us, all because their lives were scandal-free. Adeline, though, apparently had made quite the impression on Ma, without even saying more than two sentences to her. What did she know that I didn’t? I wondered.

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