Julep was determined to spend Sunday in the most relaxing way possible. She wanted to spend some time in the park, maybe swim some laps in the pool, and most certainly get up to some mischief.
She didn’t get very far from home before she spotted a moss covered log and knew that it was the prime spot for frogs to be found. Never one to be squeamish, she thought she’d catch one and take it home. She could use the company.
Just as she was about to reach her hand in she saw some people on her front porch. Curious to see what they wanted, she headed back. Froggy would have to wait until later.
* * *
Kamryn was the first to introduce herself. While she didn’t live as close as Ivy, she always loved meeting new neighbors.
“I spotted mint furniture when your stuff was going in…I had to meet the person that seemed to love the color as much as me,” she said with a giggle.
Julep smiled and fished her keys out of her pocket. “Yeah, its kinda been a thing all my life. My mom had a serious love for Mint Julep’s….probably the reason I’m here today, actually. They used the color mint in my nursery and its just been that way ever since. I died my hair as soon as I was old enough. Its my one splurge.” She opened the door and led the girls inside, motioning them to the table. “Would you like something to drink? Water, juice…”
“Mint Julep,” Ivy suggested.
Julep smiled. “I’m sorry, none on hand at the moment.” Or ever again, she thought to herself. Refusing to jump on the train of thought now speeding through her head, she poured everyone some ice tea from the fridge and made sure her smile was in place before turning around.
Sensing that she might have hit a soft spot, Ivy changed the subject. “What brings you to town?”
“Well, I graduated college and, by some stroke of luck, saw that there was an opening at a science lab nearby. The benefits and money looked great and I could not pass it up.”
“I’m really glad that you bought this place. I’ve been wishing that someone would move in and breathe some life into the garden out back. I have a bit of a love for the great outdoors and just hated seeing them empty.”
Across the table, Kamryn snorted around her fruitcake.
“A bit of a love? Ivy, you practically have your feet planted in potting soil. Seriously Julep, if you ever need horticulture help, Ivy is your girl. Her entire garden is full of award winners.”
Julep glanced at Ivy who was no blushing ear to ear. “I’ll keep that in mind. I’ve never been one for gardening, but with you nearby maybe I can learn a few things. I’d love to grow my own fruits and vegetables. Being vegetarian is really important to me and I can only imagine how great it would taste from my own garden.”
Ivy excitedly grabbed Julep’s hands. “Your vegetarian too? Oh thank God I’m not the only one anymore! I’ve got some seeds to get you started. Let me know when you are ready to tackle the planters.”
Hearing a chime from her computer letting her know she had a new email, she rose from the table. “Thank you, I will! Sorry guys, I need to check this. I start my new job tomorrow and they were supposed to send me some final information.”
Kamryn put down her fork. “So….working at the science lab, huh? I have a serious question for you.”
“I’ve always wondered…do the guys that work there have scientifically enhanced…”
Her sentence was interrupted by Ivy choking on her fruitcake. Julep, on the other hand, had never felt her cheeks so hot and new they were most likely a lovely shade of rose.
“Uh…I think they have better things to do?” Oh I am so out of my depth here, Julep thought.
* * *
A short time later the girls said their goodbyes and promised to get together soon. Julep smiled and felt like she may have just found two of the most awesome, and awesomely different, friends.
She took a quick bathroom break and allowed herself a moment to think about the moment earlier. She knew that if she just ignored it, it would come back to haunt her later. Her mother would have loved these girls…most likely would have enjoyed scandalous conversation with Kamryn more than gardening tips with Ivy.
I miss you Mom.
*Ding, Dong* “Seriously?”
One look at this neighbor and Julep thought it would be a short conversation. Clearly, their interests were startlingly different.
“Hello…can I help you?”
The woman put her hair behind her ear and smiled. “Hi. I’m Briella. This is really awkward…but, can I use you phone? My cell is dead. I’ll stand on the porch. I know how this looks.” She turned her eyes to the floor. “I’m sorry.” She turned to go and Julep put out her hand to stop her.
“Briella? Its ok, you can come in. Its getting chilly outside.” She handed Briella the phone and shut the door behind her, keeping the brisk air at bay. “Is everything ok?”
“I feel like an idiot. I was out with some friends at the lounge and when they saw that I wasn’t interested in the ‘refreshments’ they were providing they told me I could find my own way home. I don’t even live here! How do I get myself into these messes?”
And just like that Julep felt like a complete jerk. She had also found herself in crappy situations and what this girl needed was a real friend. “Do you need a ride somewhere?”
“Oh, no, that’s ok. I just need to call my brother. I’ll have to go through the ‘I told you so’ speech, but I can deal with that. Won’t be the first time.”
For the second time that day, Julep poured some tea for her guest and Briella made that phone call. She knew that it would take half an hour or so before Briella’s ride would pick her up. “Briella, I’ve got tv, a computer, heck – I even have a chess board if you’d be interested in a game.”
Briella smiled. “I’d like that. I have to warn you though…I’m pretty good.”
Just as the brother arrived, Julep realized her butt had just been handed to her. “You weren’t kidding. Any time you want to come back and teach me a few things, I’ll be here.”
Later that night Julep thought back on her day. The entire day was nothing like she had imagined it to be…and she was glad.