Sunday, April 21, 2013

Chapter 2.10-The Entire Town's Enjoyment

          Several days later, and still flying high after her date with Ned, Layla had added to her dance routine. She now wore eye-wateringly bright pajamas! Actually, she had bought the pajamas after Cyrus had walked in on her. Sally had helped her pick them out the same shopping trip when she got a dress to wear for her date with Ned. Might as well be a little more decent in case it happened again, right?

          And now, she danced before bed too. What better way to work out and get herself all tired (and sweaty) than by dancing.

          Also, she could roll her shoulders now and totally thought she was one crunk dancer.

          The firefly’s lit themselves in a rainbow of hues at night while she was able to star gaze from her living room too. The music may have been upbeat, but Layla’s thoughts were mellow and calm.

          Trying to get a better view, (they were cruising through an asteroid field and the shooting stars tonight were amazing,) she slowly inched her way forward. No one could see her anyway.

          Oh, now this song was a new favorite. Sally had fiddled with the dials of the rented car and had introduced a lot of newer music to Layla. Really, the trip with her cousin had been far more fun than she had anticipated. Sally hadn’t rattled every single second and had respected Layla’s privacy in their shared hotel room even. When it came to Sally, you couldn’t expect a whole lot more than that.

          When her front door flew open, Layla was pleasantly surprised to see Aunt Estella come in. She’d had some questions about her garden. Spring was almost over, and she’d planted her garden almost a week ago. Shouldn’t she be getting food off of the plants by now? Why, the apple tree was still little more than a twig!

          “Hey, Aunt Estella!” Layla greeted her cheerfully. “It’s kind of late, but I’m glad you dropped by I’ve got a few-”

          “-Just what do you think you are doing?” Estella interrupted her niece, slamming the door behind her.

          “Dancing?” She answered tentatively. Judging by Aunt Estella’s face this was not the correct answer. Dammit, she quit taking quizzes when she graduated!

          “Dancing? With the lights inside blazing with no curtains on the windows and in yer underwear in front of those windows at night?”

          “Oh, this isn’t my underwear. These are my new pajamas!”

          “It looks close enough to underwear when half the town is watching you through the windows!”


          “Yes,” Estella’s eyes were thunderous though she hadn’t raised her voice a decibel. “There is a group of citizens of this town gathered on a barn roof ta watch the shooting stars who can see yer every move.”

          Suddenly feeling very violated, Layla raised her arms to cover herself, glancing at the windows.

          “I will turn all the lights off, and will meet you in yer bedroom when I’ve finished.”

          True to her word, Estella went around turning off all the lights that had previously been on throughout the home. Locking the front and back doors as a finishing touch she finally went to find Layla’s bedroom.

          “How that girl ever expects to find a man to marry her when she can’t remember to get curtains fer her own home,” Estella muttered as she walked. She had a bone or two to pick with her niece, and a well-earned warning to deliver for Layla's own good.

          “Silas had sidled up to Shad and the two were giggling like mad, passing their binoculars back and forth. Shad’s father took the binoculars and wouldn’t give ‘em back to ‘is own boy. This started to cause a ruckus. So then most of the folk up there turned their own lenses in the same direction and what do we all see? We see my niece, whom we’ve been trying to treat as one of our own, traipsin’ and bouncin’ around, boobs a-jigglin’, head bobbin’ like you were plum outta yer mind. I’ll manage to smooth it over w’the ladies somehow, but yer Uncle Trigger is hard put to wash the minds of all the menfolk who witnessed it.”

          “I’d moved too close to the windows on accident. I’d forgotten that when I get too close-”

          Sighing in frustration Estella cut Layla off. “Honey Girl! There was no ‘too close to the windows’ about it! With the lights ablaze and as bright as yer underwear is with all of us on a barn roof with binoculars to do some star gazin’… Ya can’t behave like this!”

          “I’m an adult and can behave however I want to in my own home!”

          Estella shook her head, lips pursed. “This isn’t about you feelin’ like you’re an adult! If you don’t care a fig about everyone seein’ you in your underthings that’s on yer own head. But half the town saw Ned Hale kissin’ you t’other day. Then Sally tells us how Ignacio Guerra is on after you as well! Your reputation is on the line with that kind of behavior!”

          “What Ned and I do is nobody else’s business. And I have nothing to do with Ignacio Guerra.”

          “ ‘Nothing to do with Ignacio Guerra’ she says!” Estella threw her hands in the air. “You are aware that his family is your next door neighbors? Step stools exist that make a man tall enough to see over a fence Honey Girl. And he’s not above using whatever means he can to get a girl in bed. Yer just temptin’ -”

          “I cannot stand Ignacio. And no matter what he does-”

          “-Oh, so Ned won’t care that yer putting yourself on display? His girlfriend dancing near nude fer the entire town’s enjoyment on the eve of his campaign fer Mayor? Don’t think he’ll care about that? Especially when he's runnin' against-”

          “-Ned is a friend,” Layla was seeing where Estella might be headed and was now hurt that what she as saying was true. “He is nothing more than a friend. We’ve never discussed being in an exclusive relationship and if I’m a detriment to his campaign I’ll step aside. It’s that easy.”    

          “But half the town has already witnessed the two of you in the park being very cozy! The only thing these people will think is that you’re easy! And as Ignacio’s name has already been bandied about along with yours-”

          “I’ve already told you, there is nothing between Ignacio and myself. There will never be anything between the two-“

          “Half the women in town have said that! Look at Melly Pelly who I'm sure said the same and now she’s got-”

          “I’m not going to talk about Ignacio. Or Ned either for that matter.”

          Estella pursed her lips, and stood for a moment.

          “The problem, Layla, is that stepping aside is no longer easy. Being an actual adult? Is not easy. Being an adult up is about being responsible, fer yerself, fer yer neighbors, fer yer home. It’s about caring, and taking good care, of yerself, yer neighbors, and yer home. Right now? Yer not taking care of yourself or your neighbors or your home. You’re play actin’ like you’re a grown up. It’s time you took responsibility for yer actions before ya hurt yerself, or worse: hurt someone else. You’ve got a cousin who thinks the sun rises and the moon sets with you. Sally looks up to you like she’s never looked up to anyone before. And she’s going to emulate you. You want to have a good time dancin’ around and bein’ happy? Then you do that. But do it in a way that you don’t hurt yerself nor others when you do it. And do it fer someone else, do it fer Sally. Think of someone else fer a change.”

          Ducking her chin further, Layla refused to look up or say another word. It was like listening to Anthony all over again. Another speech about how selfish she was. Then why did this one feel so different?

          “I’ll leave ya now,” Aunt Estella turned, pausing in the doorway. “Goodnight, Laydee.”

          And she went out of the house, closing the front door softly behind her as she went. Once she heard the click of the door latch, Layla got up and turned off the light. Laying back on top of her bed clothes she stared at the ceiling in the dark. When the sun came up the next morning, she was still there.

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

         I hated writing this one. I really did. I've even put off posting it though it's been written for over a week. And I didn't like writing it because everything Estella said was both incredibly blunt and completely true. But it's still not a lot of fun to give a character a rebuke.
          I based Estella's ideals off of those that half the aging population of the tiny farming community my grandparents live in, with a tiny bit of that which goes on in the small town my parents live in. And I realize that the combination is a bit extreme in how old fashioned it is. It also really doesn't reflect my own views, so take it as simply what Estella believes.

         There are also a ton of hints as to what is going on in the background in all of that, and also a hint as to a 'habit' of the town. And I'm not talking 'peeping toms' either. lol If you guess it this early on I'll give you cookies. =D And I have a wicked personal recipe for chocolate chip cookies, too.


  1. A town habit...? Uh... I've not heard of any town habits that involve sitting on barn rooves with binoculars. Maybe UFO hunting? :p
    Cookie recipe anyway? I'll... Uh... Give you my famous... Lasagne recipe? Shepards pie? I dunno. Chicken pie?

    Anyway, like, line 3? The one about Layla thinking she was a crunk dancer? I. Died.
    I've not heard the word 'crunk' in so long, made me laugh SO MUCH!

    I don't think Estella was too harsh. It all made perfect sense, and needed to be said before Layla became a complete cock-tease. I LOVE her PJs though, LOVELOVELOVE! I don't have PJs. I don't sleep naked, I just sleep in old clothes because... well.. I dunno. I just do. My sister buys new clothes, and wears them only to bed. That way she looks like she's actually got up when she has a 'I'm hungover' pajama day. Weirdo.

    I half want Ned to find out, just to see what he'd say, but I also don't because he's way too sweet to be hurt like that.
    And, Ignacio peeping over her fence? *shudders* Oh, he's way too close for my liking. I wouldn't be surprised if he snuck glances in her bedroom windows while she changed. What a creep! And now we know, from Estella, that he's do anything to bed a woman... Just, ew. Grosses me out, even if he is hot.

    1. Looking back... Is 'rooves' a word? It doesn't look right. I pluraled it the same as I would 'hoof', which becomes 'hooves', but now I wonder if roof becomes roofs? :| Any help is much appreciated.

    2. I think it's "roofs" =) I hadn't heard 'crunk' in a long time either, lol. Iggy doesn't give me the creeps though, I rather like him as a snake! ooh now I suddenly want to listen to Paula Abdul.

    3. Nah. Ignacio isn't the type to be a peeping tom. She's safe there, really. And this will sound really weird, but he has standards and that one is a bit low for him. Ha! Though I swear if you read all the other stuff about him it does make sense (look at how others- not Estella or Layla- have responded to him.)

      Um. Roofs. lol. And it was a star gazing party. We used to do it a lot. Climb on someone's roof with the excuse that the 15 feet higher we were made it easier to look through the trees. But that's not really a 'habit' so much as a hobby.

      After that, you accidentally got really close in there to what it is up in your original comment. But it's very obviously an accident so no dice. lol. ;)

      I couldn't help but use 'crunk!' That shoulder roll! So funny.

  2. Crunk?? That's a term I haven't heard in awhile, lol.

    Yes, yes, Aunt Estella...curtains are totally why a man marries a woman :D

    Habit of the town? ::scratches head:: I guess I don't getta cookie =( So Melly Pelly's got a bun from Iggy? Wasn't she that nag in the first chapter?

    But Aunt Estella is right on many things, Layla is playacting at being an adult; actions carry responsibility. She's gotten a little too wrapped up in the notion that she can do whatever she wants, and hasn't realized that yet.

    1. She was trying to imply that Layla hadn't made her house frilly and feminine. lol. It's totally what my grandma would have said. Ha!

      Melly Pelly was indeed the nag in the first chapter. Good catch!

      Layla is getting to where she's going to start stepping on people if I don't rein her in a bit. She's finally getting that confidence Phedra preached to her about, only she's abusing it a bit too.

  3. Estella kind of reminds me of mr grandmother, who once referred to a boyfriend of my mother's as being like an 'unmade bed.' It was like the worst offense...
    Anyway, I feel kind of bad for Layla that what brought the lecture on was pajama dancing...I guess I can't get my head around seeing it as this huge deal, though in the context of this town, I understand it. All Layla needs is some curtains, fixes the whole problem. =D
    But still, Estella is right about Layla playacting as an adult. And if she thinks she and Ned are 'just friends'...well, obviously Ned was thinking something else, and if Layla were honest with herself, she'd know it. She doesn't have the excuse she had with Anthony, that arrangement of pretending to be a couple. Now if she leads Ned on, it's all on her.

    1. You want to insult my grandma? Go stay the night and don't remake your bed the second you get up. Totally get that.

      She's going to get curtains. Though she'll never close them. lol. Just like she'll most likely never remember to lock her doors.

      Layla really thinks what is going on with Ned is a game. She's just out for fun in the whole bit. Anytime someone makes it more serious she doesn't want to play anymore. Hence why she immediately recategorized what was going on in her defense. No matter really though, since Ned is already in pretty deep.

  4. I think Layla needed that telling off from Estella, she needed to realise that her actions were impacting on other people.

    As for the town habit? Well they obviously have a gossip habit, but that's fairly standard for small communities! Other than that, were they hoping to encounter some aliens while stargazing?

    1. Oh, she absolutely needs to start thinking of others and how her actions impact them. It's kind of why I went ahead and did this. Everyone is constantly telling her that her actions have consequences. And she'll even dwell on them before finally throwing caution to the wind and doing what she wants anyway.

      That's close! But the town habit is just a little more than that. Hoping for a close encounter- LOL! Though I guess that is pretty true to life too! Ha!

  5. Well, I do agree that Layla needs to take some responsibilities for her actions. But being taken to task for dancing in her pajamas? That's a little intense. Then again, I live in a big old city. I can imagine life is much different in a small town. And I think Layla needs to accept that. Or get out.

    1. And the problem there is she'll never leave since she's the one who convinced herself that she needed fewer people around and so a small town was just what she wanted. It's a lot different. It's amazingly different. Summers spent in Granola taught me that the hard way. The people in places that never change take everything personally, even if it has no bearing on themselves or their lives. I think Estella is looking at it from a 'moral corruption' standpoint. Incredibly old fashioned and most likely only whispered with a frown any more, but Layla needed a good rebuke so that she'll calm down a little bit. So I picked that one. Else I'm afraid Aunt Estella would never have been galvanized into action.

  6. "Old-fashioned" or not, it's true. You dance around in your skivies, and people will at the very least tease you. Sometimes, I think the world needs a good deal dose more of "old-fashioned." But then, the stuff I write doesn't often reflect that, hehe.
    Estella coming in like that was something that Layla needed. She did it because she cared. I had a grandmother just like that. At the time, her lectures were as annoying as hell, but she did it all out of love because she cared what would become of us. She had a bumpy start in a rushed adulthood, and she didn't want any of that happening to us. Layla does need to see that just because she's casual that that doesn't mean that everyone else is. At the very least, she needs to explain it to Ned, but I think her pride and vanity won't let her.
    Small towns have long memories.

    1. Exactly! Most of this was to show she cared about Layla. And 'rushed adulthood' is perfect! In so many more ways than here, too. Layla flew the coop without knowing who she was or how to survive. Being an adult is something you learn. Having a teacher who cares can make things a lot better.

      She doesn't care enough about Ned to tell him anything about this, unfortunately. Even worse? I'm not positive he'd understand but about half of the impact.

      Very very long memories. lol.