Gang Relations Part 2
Disclaimers: See part1
Zan got home a little after midnight. Mrs. Jacobson stopped her, she had lived in this building for forty-seven years. Mrs. Jacobson was having a hard time, her husband had died eight months ago and she hadnt received her insurance check yet. She was seven months in arrears, but Zan liked the old Jewish lady, who cooked her chicken soup when she was sick.
"Zan dear, here is my back rent. I have been waiting all day to give it to you. Thank you for waiting. You could have thrown an old lady out on the street," Mrs. Jacobson said.
"No, I couldnt then, who would give me soup? So your insurance check came in?"
"Yes, but it was only half what I expected. They said it was an old policy and that scaling had made it only worth $75,000 and not a $150,000."
"Mrs. Jacobson, that dont sound right. You got a copy of youse policy? I wanna have somebody look at it."
"Okay dear, but the man was a lawyer."
"Even more reason to get a second opinion."
The little old lady went into her apartment and emerged with her policy and handed it to Zan. The elderly woman grabbed Zans hand and said, "Youre a sweet girl. Thank you."
Zan didnt like to be touched, but certain people could get away with it. Mrs. Jacobson was one of those people. So, she replied, "We have to stick together. Were family, right?"
"Yes dear," the elderly woman said with tears in her eyes.
Thirty-five hundred bucks with the money I won at poker. I just need two gs. My luck was changin, she thought, In more ways than one.
When she got to her apartment she found a pot of minestrone soup at the door. Everybodys tryin to feed me tonight. Im still stuffed from Bries, as she picked up the pot, Thisll make a good breakfast.
Zan went into her apartment and put the pot of soup on the stove, and thought, Imagine Brie willin to cosign a loan for me. Shes too trustin. Hell, if she knew the real me, shed be runnin from me.
Zan suddenly became overcome with anxiety when she thought about losing the green-eyed beauty. Breathe, Zan, she thought, She said she was interested. She just wanted to take it slow. You just have to keep her interested.
How can I keep such a woman interested? Shes got everythin. I got this place, she mentally sigh with dispair.
Zan started hyperventilating again. Calm down, she is interested. Do sumtin nice for her. What can I do? Ill send her flowers. Mrs. Jacobson will know about stuff like that. Ill talk to her in the mornin. Shell help me.
With the beginning of a plan, Zan was able to go to sleep. Her usual nightmares were replaced by dreams of green eyes and scarlet golden locks.
A smiling Marge greeted Brie, and Marge looked like she had swallowed Tweety. So Brie bit and asked, "Why are smiling like that?"
"Look in your office."
On the table was a dozen long stemmed yellow roses in a golden vase. Brie dropped her brief case onto her office sofa and attacked the card, which said:
Something to keep you interested.
How about lunch? Ill call to confirm.
Marge couldnt wait, "Okay, Brie, come out with it. Who is it? Whats her name?"
"How do you know its a she," Brie asked with indignation?
Marge responded with a patronizing smile, "Brie, I lived with you for over a year. I know youre gay."
"I could have switched teams," she said incredulously.
Marge gave her a sigh and a stare. So Brie confessed, "You're right Im gay."
"Stop stalling, who Brie," asked her best friend while waving her arms in exasperation.
Brie surrender and said while avoiding making eye contact, "Remember the girl that rescued me from the gang-bangers."
"I thought you said she was the leader and just a kid," Marge said with surprise in her voice.
Brie retorted, "Shes nineteen and they just live in her apartment building."
"Well, I want details," Marge cajoled as she sat down.
Brie smelled the roses and said, "She shouldnt have wasted her money. Shes saving to renovate a restaurant/bar in the basement of her building."
The black woman advised, "Brie could she be after your money."
Brie defended her new friend, "I offered to give her the money she needed. She wouldnt even let me cosign a loan for her. Marge, this could be the one. I know she a little rough around the edges. But shes not as hard as she thinks she is. Shes actually quite sweet," Brie knew she was babbling so she stopped.
"Calm down Brie and tell your Aunt Marge all the sordid details," she said with a wicked grin.
Zan called at 10:30. She had wanted to call earlier, but Mrs. Jacobson said 10:30 was the best time to call. She was quite nervous. All sorts of question ran through her head. What if she didnt like flowers? What if she was allergic? Should I have gotten red roses or maybe candy? On the third ring she heard, "Brie Cainteoirs desk. Marge Jackson speaking. May I help you?"
Zan nervously inquired with a deep breath, "Can I speak to Brie? This is Alexandra Agair."
Marge replied professionally, "Hold please."
Marge pressed the intercom and said, "Brie, Alexandra Agair on line two."
Brie irritably said, "I was hoping it was Zan. I dont know anybody named Alexandra Agair. Put her through."
Bries line became active and she competently said, "Brie Cainteoir, May I help you?"
A familiar voice asked nervously, "Did you like the flowers?"
"Zan," Bries voice lit up, much to the pleasure of the young woman on the other end of the line, "I loved them. But you shouldnt have wasted your money."
"I dont think I wasted my money," Zan said with concern, maybe I did get the wrong kind, "I thought they were good flowers."
Brie almost burst into laughter. She realized that Zan thought she didnt get quality flowers. So she said, "No thats not what I mean, Zan. I love yellow roses. Theyre beautiful. What I meant was you were saving that money for your business."
Zan spirits picked up and her voice sounded relieved when she said, "You liked them?"
"I loved them, but save your money. I just want your time, not your money," Brie replied with a smile that Zan could hear over the phone.
Zan was much encouraged. So, she asked, "How about lunch? Theres a deli around the corner from your building. It has good Ruebens."
Brie replied instantly, "What time?"
Zan hadnt expected the question and improvised, "12:00"
Brie chuckled as she heard the hesitation and responded, "Go for the traditional. I like that. You want to meet there or here?"
Zan picked up her helmet and said, "I can pick you up out front."
Brie excited accepted, "Thats great. See you at Twelve."
Brie looked at her watch and thought, Over an hour. Man. This going to be a long morning.
Zan also looked at her watch and mentally calculated the time and distances. She made a decision and grabbed her spare helmet and went to see a friend.
Marge burst into the room and asked, "That was her right?"
Brie smiled and answered, "Yes, it was and were going to lunch at the deli. She likes Ruebens."
Marge knew Bries fondness for food and said, "Girl after your own heart, huh."
Brie joked with a self-satisfied grin, "If she likes cheese burgers, were made for each other."
Marge place her hands together in a begging symbol and pleaded, "Can I come down and meet her?"
Brie sighed and relented, "Okay, mom, but dont scare her."
"Moi," Marge asked with false indignation.
"Dont call Julio to scare her either. I know you two. You think I cant care of myself. Im over twenty-one and can take care of myself," Brie warned her well-meaning friend.
Zan was waiting on her Harley when Brie came out. Zan had an extra helmet in her hand. It had Brie spray painted on it. Marge smiled and thought, Nice touch. A romantic, just what Brie needs, I hope it works out.
Marge was very concerned about Brie. Her last relationship had ended badly. Brie had dated one girl all through college. Then Brie found out that the girl was playing the field and only dating Brie for her money. That was over a year ago. Brie hadnt interested in anyone since. So, Marge wanted Zan to be the real thing almost as much as Brie.
Brie practically skipped to the helmet. She hugged the tall dark woman and kissed her on the cheek and said, "Oh, Zan, its great. You couldnt have gotten me a better gift."
Marge could see Zans chest puff out. Marge thought, She had been holding her breath. She was nervous. Zan had put a lot of hope in that gift. Marge was giving this girl high marks for effort any way.
"Zan, this is my Administrative Assistant and best friend and my only real family, Marge Jackson," Brie said by way of introduction. Mentally, willing her to be nice.
Zan held out her big hand and said, "We talked on the phone. Nice to meet ya."
Marge marveled at the restrained strength in her grip. This was a strong woman. Marge replied only loud enough for Zan to hear, "Youre doing great. She likes stuffed bunnies and ice cream."
Zan smiled and mouthed, "Thanks."
Brie broke in and said, "No fair whispering."
"We better go before the place fills up," Zan said.
Brie said, "Okay, but no more whispering."
Marge said her good-byes and rushed to her desk to call Walter, her husband. They were going to have guests Sunday, she just decided.
Zan was pleased and her mind was really churning, Everything was going great. Marge, Bries friend, had really given her strength to ask her out tonight. Now, where to ask her? Think. Dancing, theres that place in the Village that I heard Crystal and her date raving about. The Fuzzy Navel, thats the name of the place.'
Zan found a spot and parked her bike in the alley between the deli and a novelty store. She opened the door for Brie and pulled out her chair. Brie was all smiles, when Zan went to order their Ruebens. Zan brought back two bottles of orange and the slip for the sandwiches.
"What cha doin tonight?" Zan apprehensively asked.
"What do you have in mind?"
"Well, Ive got a couple of girl friends that said this club in the Village called the Fuzzy Navel is a good place. They say the music is good and that the dance floor is not that crowded. I thought dinner and then dancin?"
"What time and where do you want meet?"
"Ill pick you up at seven."
"Ill be ready. Theyre calling forty-two. Thats you."
"Oh, yeah, right."
Brie watched the beautiful, but shy teenager go to get the sandwiches. Then it occurred to her that Zan was under twenty-one, she couldnt go clubbing. She figured Zan must have forgotten. So she decided to remind her.
When Zan got back, Brie said, "Zan, honey, youre not twenty-one yet. They wont let you in the club."
Zan smiled and said, "Dont worry. I have it covered. But we could do something else."
Brie thought for a second, Fake ID. I think a movie is better anyway.
So Brie said, "Zan, I dont want to get you into trouble. So how about going to dinner and a movie? We can go dancing another time."
Zan thought, Oh man, I fucked up, I was talkin about doin sumtin illegal that could get her in trouble. Oh man, I wasnt thinkin She must think, Im a total fuck up.
Zan started to hyperventilate, again. Brie became quite concerned and said, "Zan, breathe evenly. Take a deep breath. Calm down. What happened?"
"Im so sorry. I screwed it all up. It was goin so good. Im stupid," Zan stammered while looking intently at her hands as she wrung them.
Brie reached out and took the upset teens hands and said, "Calm down, Zan. Youre not screwing up anything. Youre trying too hard. And youre not stupid. Id love dinner and a movie. I wouldnt mind just watching television with you, as long as its with you. I want your time remember? Zan, you dont have to try so hard. I really like you."
Brie excitedly related the events of her lunch to her best friend, "Marge, you should have seen her. She was trying so hard. Every little thing was so important to her. I felt so special. She held the door for me. She pulled out my chair. It was so sweet."
Marge sighed and said with a fresh insight, "Brie, romance novels. This is a teenager remember? Youre probably her first serious relationship. Shes going by the book, romance novels. The next steps probably walking on the beach and watching the sunrise."
Brie chided, "Marge, Im only three years older than she is."
"Yes, youve had a serious relationship before. You have more experience. Plus your wealth is probably intimidating her a bit. She probably thinks, What can I give her that she already doesnt have? How can I show her how much she means to me when she got so much already. Look the flowers, the helmet, dinner and dancing. Theyre all designed to impress you in a way she thinks you want to be impressed."
"Youre right. I have to talk to her. I told her all I want is her time."
"Maybe, you have to show her what you mean."
"Youre right. Ill start tonight. Ill invite her on a picnic in Central Park. Ill borrow Max from my sister and Ill bring the frisbee."
"Good start. I got another step. Invite her to Sunday brunch at my house. I talked to Walter. Come at eleven oclock thats after church. Well barbecue some ribs and some burgers. Well even put cheese on them."
"Oh thanks, Marge. She got you with the helmet right?"
"Right, she was holding her breath in anticipation. She had put so much into that simple gift. Yeah, she got me with it."
Brie was getting ready to go home, when she remembered her conversation with Zan about her elderly tenant. So, she buzzed Marge with her final instructions, before she went home. Marge came into the office with her memo pad.
Brie indifferently said, "Marge, one more thing before you go home. Zan asked me to read this policy. She tells me that an elderly woman in her apartment building received a $75,000 check, but that the policy says its worth $150,000. I thought we might have legal look at it."
Marge made a note in her pad and said, "Sure, Ill take it over. They probably wont get to it until Monday or Tuesday.
Brie instructed, "I want the report by lunchtime Monday."
Marge didnt what Brie to get in trouble for doing a personal task with department resources, so she interjected with some anxiety, "But Brie, this is not our department."
Brie countered, "I beg to differ. Consumer fraud comes under this departments jurisdiction."
Marge conceded the point and replied, "Okay, but we should report our findings to the Insurance Commission."
"Well see how bad it is. There may be nothing there," Brie didnt want to comment without all the facts.
Zan picked Brie up in front of her apartment at 6:56. She was dressed in her best black leather pants and black cotton tee shirt that showed behind her black leather biker jacket. Brie was dressed in a designer lavender pantsuit with a brown bomber jacket; she knew she would be riding on the back of a Harley.
Zan had a surprise for Brie, she hoped she liked. Her bike cruised easily through the streets to her building. Zan said, "This my buildin. I wanna show you sumtin"
Zan lead her down some stairs into a dimly lit restaurant/bar. The place was clean and freshly painted. The restaurant position of the room had fourteen tables with four chairs at each table. Along one wall were four partitioned booths. The bar was an old style mahogany bar with solid barstools fastened by metal plates to the floor.
Behind the bar and over four shelves ran a mirror the full length of bar. The shelves were empty, but were obviously for glassware and serving bottles. Sticking up behind the bar were three old-style handles for drawing beer on tap. The place was stark with little in the way of decoration, but it was obvious in excellent condition and fully renovated.
Zan grabbed Bries hand and led her to the kitchen, which was freshly tiled. The grill, stove, ovens and refrigerators were not new, but they were polished and clean. The sinks looked new and pots hung from hooks everywhere. Stacks of plates lined shelves that hung over the serving area.
A small elderly woman was cooking something at one of the stoves. Zan said with a smile, "Brie, this is my family. This is Mrs. Jacobson. Shes the lady I told you about."
"Come here, children and kiss an old Jewish lady," she ordered as she held out her arms.
Zan went to her and hugged her uncomfortably and kissed her on the cheek. Brie copied her with much more enthusiasm, however. Brie said, "It is so nice to meet you. Zan has told me so much about you. In fact, you are the only other person she has ever talked about."
"Thats my Zan. Let me look at you. So, you are the girl that has made my Zan so happy. Good. Zan needs some happy in her life."
"I intend to give her all the happy she can handle."
Zan blushed to her toes and decided to change the subject, "That smells great. Were hungry, is it ready?"
"Fifteen more minutes, Zan. Then it will be ready to serve."
Zan sat Brie in her favorite booth that had two place settings and went into the kitchen. She came back with a champagne bucket with a bottle of wine incased in ice. I hope you like this wine. Marge picked it out. I dont know much about wines. She said this was your favorite."
Brie looked at the label and was shocked. She said, "Zan, this is expensive wine. We have to talk."
Zan looked panicked and stood up, "What did I do wrong this time?"
Brie smiled and said, "Nothing, Baby, sit down. You didnt do anything wrong. We just need to get a few things straight thats all. If you want to know, you are scoring big time points."
Relief washed over Zans face as she sat down across from Brie. Brie took a deep breath and plunged forward, "Zan, I know you know Im wealthy. I know you are not. So, you dont have to compete with my money. I loved the roses, the helmet and the wine. But you cant keep spending your money on me.
You said you needed your money for your business. Though except for decorating, it looks like every thing is done."
"Oh, the place is ready to open. I need the money for liquor, food stuff, some glassware, you know, stuff like that. Im close. In fact, I thought I wasnt going have the money until I was twenty-one. So I could wait. But now, I need someone to run the bar that is old enough to get a liquor license."
"Oh, I see. By the way, nice try, but I havent forgotten the original subject. I dont need things. Believe me I can buy all the things I want. I need your time. I need you. That is something that I cannot buy."
"I understand. I guess you dont what this then," she asked as she opened her jacket and pulled out a two-foot tall lavender bunny with floppy ears?
"Or these," she asked as she reached into her pocket and pulled out two little lavender bunnies that look like the babies of the bigger bunny.
Bries eyes lit up and a smile exploded on her lips. She picked up the larger bunny and hugged to her cheek. She looked at Zan and said, "What am I going to do with you? Okay, Ill add these to list of things, Im overlooking."
Zan gave her a half grin and said, "You serve the wine. Ill get dinner."
Brie was sipping her wine, when Zan came in carrying a tray with a serving bowl full of soup and two large soup bowls. She placed the tray on a nearby table and put the serving bowl in the middle of the table and placed a bowl on each of their place mats. Zan said, "I hope you like matzo ball."
"Real matzo ball soup?" Brie said, as she unwrapped her silverware.
"Yeah, kosher, too," added the smiling teen.
"This is delicious," Brie said as she spooned more soup into her mouth.
Zan beamed and nudged her to greater consumption by saying, "Eat up, theres plenty and we dont want to hurt Mrs. Jacobson feelings. She also has stuffed cabbage with sweet and sour sauce. I also saw an orange honey cake."
Brie wiped her mouth and chin and smiled, "Ooooo, that sounds good."
Zan volunteered, "Mrs. Jacobsons the best damn straight cook I ever met."
"Straight cook," inquired the curious blonde?
Zan shook her head and replied, "Yeah, the best food I ever ate was cooked by my buddy Pauls boyfriend, Carl."
Brie laughed and said, "Boy does that reinforce a stereotype."
The dark teen raised an eyebrow and reassured her by saying, "Its true. Of course, I dont eat at many places."
Brie ate another spoonful of the soup and responded, "Well, if Paul can cook better than this then I gotta try his cooking," Brie said as she started on her second bowl of soup.
Zan corrected her by saying, "Carls the cook and I think I can arrange it. Carl is going to be my chef when I open my restaurant."
Brie timidly tasted the stuffed cabbage. She had never eaten it before and it didnt smell very good. Zan gave her a half grin. Her eyes lit up and she started to dig into the cabbage rolls with its tasty sauce. Brie beamed, "This is better than the soup."
Zan was feeling very pleased with herself.
Then Brie asked, "You called Mrs. Jacobson your family. Wheres your real family, Zan?"
Brie saw Zans face become very dark and brooding. So she said, "Im sorry, if its too painful. Ill change the subject."
Zan closed her eyes and shook her head and said, "No, my mother disappeared when I was a little girl. I dont know much about it, but you can ask Sergeant Martinez. He was the investigating officer. My Dad died four years ago during the riots. He was trying to save this place."
Brie took the teens hands and said sympathetically, "Im sorry, Zan. Have you been on your own since you were fifteen?"
Zan sighed, "Well, I had Mr. and Mrs. Jacobson and the Warriors."
"I thought they just lived here," said Brie as she raised an eyebrow.
Zan corrected her, "I said they crashed here. But you should know I used to be their leader. In fact, they still think Im their leader. But I havent been hanging with em, since I started fixing up this place, a little over three years ago."
"Youve been working on this place for over three years," asked Brie incredulously?
Zan smiled and waved her hand and replied, "Yeah, mostly just elbow grease. But Ive put every dime I could scrap together in to this place. I wanna make it just like Athair wanted it."
Brie accessed her mental database and said with a smile, "Athair, that Gaelic for father."
Zan brightened and asked, "You know Gaelic?"
Brie shrugged and answered, "A little, my grandmother insisted we learn the basic. My name is Gaelic."
Zan nodded as she swallowed some wine and said, "I know it means speaker."
Brie asked with interest, "You know Gaelic?"
Zan said as she poured more wine for both of them, "A little my papa knew seven different Gaelic dialects. He could speak eleven languages. He read Latin and Greek. He would sit and translate stories from a book he had that was written in Greek. I dont remember any of them or what they were about. I was a little girl, then."
Brie smiled as she saw the reaction of the teen when she talked about her father and uttered, "Your father sounds like he was a wonderful man."
Zan lamented, "He was and I miss him."
"I know, Baby, I know," Brie said as reached out took Zans hand.
Then, Brie noticed her watch and said excitedly, "Zan, its after ten oclock, were too late to go to the movies."
Zan got up and went into the kitchen momentarily and came back with two slices of cake on small plates and said, "No were not. My buddy, Paul, said we could meet him and Carl at his house at 11:30. They always go the midnight show. They said its a good movie, The Rocky Horror Picture Show."
"Zan, have you ever been to a midnight showing of Rocky Horror?"
"No, have you? We can do something else."
"No-no-no-no, this is going to be fun," Brie said with a devilish smile, "Trust me."
Continue to Part 3
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