Jenny's Mom

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Featured Review on this writing by charlamaye

Danny, who considers himself the ultimate entrepreneur in a world of inner city gangs, has the beautiful girlfriend Jenny. The narrator, Spencer, learns about life with the help of her mother. A coming of age tale.

Danny was an entrepreneur. He liked to tell us that all of the time. The rest of us in the neighborhood were just kids, or guys, or sometimes “young men.” But Danny truly believed that he was somehow special, someone who was going to go to the top, to be another Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos. And he loved the word, “entrepreneur.” Of course, his business enterprises were really just small time drug deals, mostly just some pot that he would buy in one location and distribute out to other locations, raking in some penny-ante profits, and always adding a strut to his step when he made any money at all. It’s a wonder that the cops hadn’t caught up with him long before they eventually did.

And Danny believed that he needed to dress the part. He had satin shirts, always with paisley patterns or something like that, always in dark colors, and he wore them under a little black waist coat. His jeans were black skinny jeans from some fancy shop at the mall, and he wore black boats with pointy toes. His hair he always kept slicked back, and he carried a comb to keep it back tucked behind his ears. When you looked at his face he wasn’t all that handsome, with kind of a weak chin and eyes that were a little too close together. But he used those dark eyes to hold you tight with their intensity, daring you to disagree with him, and of course, he would always remind you that he was somehow better, because he was an entrepreneur.

The rest of us were content to be a group of misfits. We had a gang of sorts, just the five of us who were about the same age, in our late teens, and lived in the same general area. We were all white, and maybe we felt a need to make ourselves into a gang so as not to feel threatened by the other gangs, many of which were more violent, that surrounded and infiltrated our neighborhood. We called ourselves the Beale Street gang, even though there wasn’t a street called Beale Street anywhere near our neighborhood, maybe not even in our whole city. It just sounded so cool because it was a really famous street from somewhere, and it didn’t sound like a boy band, because we weren’t that kind of gang. Tony was the leader of the gang. He was nineteen, one of the oldest, actually quite good-looking. Unlike Danny, none of us had fancy clothes, dressing in a hodgepodge of t-shirts that our moms had found at Goodwill, and jeans that had holes in them in all the wrong places.

At sixteen I was the youngest in the gang, and was frequently reminded to that. On one hand it was a pain to be always the youngest, but it was also something of an honor, because it was decided that anyone younger than me would be just too young to hang with us. All of us, except Tanner, came from a single mom household, which meant that we were all dirt poor, and Davis was the only one who even had a smart phone, or at least a legitimate one that actually worked. Tanner had a mom and a dad in his household, but there were also five kids and even though both of his parents worked, he was just as poor as the rest of us. All of our moms were smart enough to make sure that we had enough food, and frugal enough to tell us that we didn’t need things like cell phones or video games. And of course always telling us to stay out of trouble.

It kind of sounds like we should have been impressed by someone like Danny, him being an entrepreneur dressed all fancy, but we weren’t. He was living in the same Section Eight housing as the rest of us with only a few extras, such as the clothes and a decent cell phone. He was always using those two assets to “make deals,” of which he always spoke vaguely, trying to make us think he were a real estate mogul, when actually it was just a few ounces of pot here and there.

Still, Danny did have one thing that was truly impressive, and that was Jenny, his girlfriend. She was beautiful, with long black hair that went almost to her waist, the olive complexion of a pure Italian-American, and dark eyes that always shone  with youthful energy. The high cheekbones, solid chin and a perfectly-sized nose gave her face that people just wanted to stare at all day. Her skin was perfect, everywhere it showed and she liked to show it, exposing her middle and her shoulders with string-strap midriff tops in bright colors and hip-hugging tight jeans. Apparently she fell for Danny’s whole entrepreneur pretension, because she seemed to be totally and exclusively Danny’s girl.

However, she did like to tease us. We would all be hanging out together, sitting on a stoop and just shooting the shit, doing basically not much of anything. Then Jenny would come sashaying up the street in tight jeans and shoes that had a heel. She would smile at all of us and nod, do the hair flip, and then knowing that we were watching her ass, move those hips with extra flair as she walked away. It just didn’t seem fair that God would make something that beautiful and then let her belong only to Danny, who we all pretty much agreed was actually an asshole.

At night, alone in my room with the sound of Mom’s TV playing out in the living room, I would allow myself masturbation fantasies about Jenny, touching that soft skin, sliding off that shirt and the bra, which I was sure would be a lacey one right from Victoria’s Secret. I’m sure all the other guys were doing the same, although anything more than just a comment about how hot she was just seemed to be sacrilegious.

We weren’t the kind of gang who had guns nor the did any of the “rumble” stuff that you see in the old movies. (Although I shouldn’t be mentioning that about the guns, because in the neighborhood we lived in it’s best to have the other, more violent, real gangs think that you just might.) We did however have a small treasury, that we could “invest” in the occasional pot deal or spend on any expense that we might agree was gang related. There were supposed to be dues to support that treasury, but no one ever had enough money to pay theirs, so that was kind of moot. Still, we managed to have a little cash that Davis managed for us.

Danny knew that we had that money, and he came to us one day with a “business proposition.” Of course he made it sound like we were in some fancy office with a big wood meeting table, and that we were talking about millions of dollars, until of our measly two hundred and thirty-something. We had been sitting out on our regular stoop, debating what we should do with a lazy summer afternoon, or if we should even do anything, because it was already getting hot and none of our places had any air conditioning. In fact, it was so hot that Tanner had already ditched the t-shirt and was sitting there bare-chested and all pale, looking more like a scrawny high school kid than the hunky model that he was probably thinking he looked like.

Anyway, a business such as ours was always conducted in private, and we knew the way to get into the back of the old candle shop that had gone out of business nearly as soon as it had opened a couple of years before. The door lock on the alley door didn’t really lock, but no one cared too much since there wasn’t anything in there but a few old candles and a lot of wax spilled in dark rivers of color.  The smell was still there, always there, a waxy conglomeration of all the different scents they had offered when they were in business, none of which anyone could identify individually any more.

All the guys sat up on the counters, trying to look cool even though we kind of looked like little kids since our feet couldn’t touch the floor from the countertops, and there weren’t any chairs. Danny’s “proposition” was simple. He had run into a “cash flow impediment.” He said that if we would simply allow him usage of our “funds” for a few hours, we would be given a share in the profits.

Now, Danny was always an asshole because of the way he was so full of himself and walking around talking about being an entrepreneur, but we didn’t have any reason to distrust him. After all, there were five of us, and he was smaller than three of the guys. Anyone of us could take him down a few notches with a good beating if there was a need for such things. So we voted, and it was decided to approve the transaction.

We had Danny stay with us while Davis went and got the money from the cache, a location which only he and Tony knew about, and the deal was done. We went back to hanging out, feeling pretty good about being in the class of businessmen who let their money do the work while they sat on their butt. Unfortunately, Danny came back a few hours later and said that the deal had fallen through, but he was returning every cent of our cash, which we all watched him count out to Davis in the back of the candle shop. That’s the way it goes sometimes, and no one really felt bad about it.

We all just stayed kind of quiet about the whole thing, telling Danny that it was okay, that he understood that even for a real entrepreneur deals fell through.

Later that day Roxie came by in her shorts and halter top, smelling like cheap perfume and cigarettes. Roxie was Tanner’s girlfriend, as much as any of us had girlfriends. She kissed him as soon as she came up to him and started hanging onto him while he acted annoyed about it, just because he found it embarrassing. I suspected that he really liked the attention. She was flat-chested, didn’t have any hips and the dark roots of bleached hair were always showing, so she didn’t have nearly the kind of class that Jenny emanated. But she was cool and did seem to fit in as one of us. Also, she was the only girl who came around, so it added class to the gang, even if Roxie seemed to have so little class herself.

“You know,” she mentioned in among all of her chatter (Girls seemed to chatter a lot so it was probably a good thing that more of them didn’t come around.), “Danny has some really good weed for sale over on Kremer Street. You could buy me some if you was really nice.”

Tanner told her that he wasn’t going to buy her any weed because he didn’t have any money and besides she should be trying to get a job or something, but at the same time we were all looking at each other. We knew we had been used.

It wasn’t like he had actually stolen anything from us. We had gotten our money back, but we knew he had used it to front for the deal and hadn’t cut us in on the profits. It hardly called for beating Danny up or anything, but Tony said that we definitely he had to send a message if we were going to keep it from happening again.

Just like the rest of us, Danny didn’t really have that many things, but we knew of the things that he did have the most precious was Jenny. And it’s not like any of us would have ever thought about hurting Jenny. You don’t spray paint your colors onto a Rembrandt. Tony said that the key was to make her a little less “his.” And he had a plan.

Using some of the gang’s cash Tony bought a bottle of Southern Comfort at the liquor store. He could do that because he knew the guy who would sell to him, even though everyone in the neighborhood knew that none of use was twenty-one. And we knew that Danny would be busy with his deal for the rest of the evening, and that then he would probably go out and celebrate before coming to see Jenny.

So all of us slipped over to Jenny’s house, and Jenny’s mom let us in to see her. It was to be my job to keep Jenny’s mom busy in the kitchen while the guys “talked” to Jenny in the living room, that was just around the corner from the kitchen. Of course that was how it was going to be. Being the youngest I was always given the job of being the look-out, never the participant in anything. I did catch a glimpse of Jenny and she was as hot as always, her bra straps showing she was wearing a black bra under the flowered thin-strap blouse.

But all I got was a glimpse because they rushed her on into the living room, where I’m sure they opened the booze right away, Tony telling her that it was really good and that they had come over just because they wanted to share it with a really fine girl.

I was to stay in the kitchen, with Jenny’s mom, and it wasn’t a bad place to be, because it smelled of onion and garlic and homemade lasagna. She cut me a piece of the lasagna which was covered on the old stove, and had me sit down at the table with her. I told her “Thank-you, Mrs. Rossi.”

She smiled, thought about it for a minute, and asked me to call her Greta instead. For a mom-age person, Jenny’s mom was beautiful. Of course she was much rounder than her daughter, some might even say plump, but she had a face that was an older echo of Jenny, with crow’s feet added around the eyes, and the extra roundness of her weight. Her skin had that same smooth olive color that made Jenny so amazing, and her black hair was also long, but she had it in a braid and I could see the streaks of gray in it. She asked me about school, and about my mom’s job, and about what I was going to do after high school, and she thought it was cool that I wanted to go to college.

In the other room I could hear Jenny giggling from the alcohol and some music had started playing, a soft jazz station, probably on Davis’s cell phone, not the kind of stuff we would’ve listened to normally. I asked Greta where she was from and she told me that she had moved there from New York and that he parents had both emigrated from Italy. All of which was kind of cool, but I was actually very curious about what was going on in the other room. I downed my coffee quickly and asked if I could get myself another cup, and when she said yes, it let me walk to that end of the kitchen where I could peek around the corner to see what was going in the living room.

Jenny was dancing with Tanner, and then I saw her kiss him, long and slow. Davis was holding a phone, recording a video of the whole thing, but I could see that it wasn’t his phone, so it must have been Jenny’s. I stayed there for a little longer, and saw Tony “cut-in” on the dance, taking Tanner’s place. Jenny paused for a second to take a swig of the Southern Comfort bottle that was now down a third, and then she pressed herself into Tony and continued the dance. Right before I walked back to my seat at the table I saw her start to kiss Tony.

When I returned to my seat Greta had a questioning look on her face, like she thought I would tell her something of what I had seen going on in the living room. Instead I asked her about Italy, and she told me that her parents had taken her there when she a teenager, a little younger than Jenny, and that she wished that she could take Jenny but that was way more money than a single mom working at the grocery store would ever have. I had my hand on the table and as she talked she laid her hand on top of mine.  The warmth of her skin sent goose bumps up my back, but I reminded myself that it was just a mom thing.

She started to describe the hills, the villas and the sunshine that she remembered, but I could tell she was really listening to what was going on in the living room. She stopped talking and then said, “I have to check. You know I am the mom.”

I thought it was probably supposed to be my job to keep her from doing that, but it wasn’t like I could really tell her not to walk through her own kitchen. Also, she was probably bigger and stronger than me, even if she was a woman pushing fifty, so I wasn’t going to be able to just physically hold her back.

I watched as she walked to where I had been standing and stood there looking for just a little while, before coming back to the table. I wondered who was dancing with Jenny now, and if she was still kissing one of the guys.

When Mrs. Rossi came back to the table she didn’t sit down. Instead she held out a hand, and when I gave her mine she pulled me to my feet. “Dance with me,” she whispered.

I didn’t really know anything about dancing, but she pulled me in close to her and I was instantly melting into the warmth of her body. We began a gentle sway to the faint music leaking in from the living room. She was holding my right hand with her left, and her other hand was up between my shoulder blades. Acting only on instinct I put my other hand around her waist and into the small of her back. She was so big that only my fingertips reached to the center of her back.

And as weird as it all seemed, me dancing with this woman who was at least as old as my mom, it was really nice. The softness of her breasts against my chest seemed to warm me all the way to my toes. I wasn’t sure what to turn on in my brain, so I simply quit thinking and let myself enjoy. Then she stopped the movement and used her left hand to bring my face to hers and she kissed me. It was a gentle, strong full-on-the-lips kiss. Nothing like the little pecks on the cheek that my mom would give me from time to time. And the kiss went on and on. Then I felt her tongue trace my lips,  and when I opened them she even pushed it into my mouth enough to brush it against my front teeth. I told myself I should be scared, or ashamed, but I wasn’t.

Then she stopped, and sat down hard in her chair, looking off into the distance. There were tears in those dark eyes, and I stood there, not knowing what to do. She even started to sob a little bit, and that’s I knew that I needed to tell her that it was okay, that somehow, I don’t know how, I understood. I held out my hand and pulled her back to her feet, into our dance pose, but then I just had to kiss her, with everything I was I wanted to kiss her, and I did, even doing the same little trick with my tongue. We stood there for minutes like that, kissing and touching each other’s faces, our bodies tight against each other.

Of course it was enough to cause a stirring in my parts down below, but that didn’t seem to be the point of all of this at all. It was something more profound, as if we were each pulling some deep pain from each other and allowing it to escape and the great nothingness of the kitchen. I began to cry a bit too, although I still don’t know why.

In the other room the music stopped, and we knew that was our clue. We quickly returned to our seats and I looked down at my half-finished lasagna, she at her coffee. Words seemed inadequate for the moment.

I heard Tony say, “Be sure and show that to Danny,” as he came out of the living room followed by the other three guys. “Come on, Spence,” he said to me, “we’re leaving.”

I was the last one out the door, which gave me a chance to exchange a smile with Greta, a thank you for a gift so profound. The guys were all bouncing and happy, and told me how they had all danced with Jenny and everyone of them had kissed her several times, and a couple of them even French kissed her, and how Danny was going to really regret what he did once he got the message and saw the video Jenny kissing all of us. I was much more somber, trying to sort out the significance of what had just happened to me. I just didn’t have much to say about any of it.

After that my world seemed different. Of course I never told the guys, or anybody else, about kissing Mrs. Rossi, or even that we were on a first-name basis. They would have given me so much shit about her being an old woman, and how I would never get anything better if I was willing to “settle” for that. I didn’t tell anyone, but that day gave me so much more confidence in my schoolwork and in the dating life that I would start into a little after that. Forever and ever it would always give me something to smile about.

Danny never did get the message. All four of the guys had kissed Jenny that day, and it was all recorded on her phone. But she never showed him the video. She told Roxie to tell us that Danny would probably have tried to kill one or all of us, and there had been enough killing and other violent shit in the neighborhood. Of course, she didn’t exactly fight any of the guys off, so she might have been in just as much trouble as any of us.

At the end of the summer Mom moved us away from that neighborhood, to a little two bedroom bungalow clear on the other side of town. She said that it was to get me into a better school, but I know that she had worried about the gang I was hanging with there in the old neighborhood. When you’re a kid you just go along with that stuff, and in retrospect it was probably for the best.

We did go back to the old neighborhood for the Christmas Bazaar at the church in late November, and when I was cutting around the back of the booths on my way to the restroom I saw Jenny and Tony together. She was sitting in his lap, and they were making out so intensely that they didn’t even see me walking by five feet away. I ran into Roxie who was working one of the booths selling candles. She told me her mom was re-opening the old candle shop, and that Tony and Jenny were now engaged and that Jenny had started college at the community college. So cool.

I looked everywhere but didn’t see her, because if I could have, I would have gladly kissed Greta again, and again and again.

 

 


Submitted: May 07, 2022

© Copyright 2022 JE Dolan. All rights reserved.

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charlamaye

Excellent job (-:

Sun, May 8th, 2022 2:33am

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Reply

Thank you very much.

Sun, May 8th, 2022 5:55am

charlamaye

You're welcome

Sun, May 8th, 2022 6:01pm

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