Authors: Lisa Djahed
Tags: #Mystery: Cozy - Humor - Florida
|Lisa Djahed - Bee Stanis 01- The Foolish Stepmom|
|Bee Stanis |
|Lisa Djahed (2014)|
|Tags:||Mystery: Cozy - Humor - Florida|
Mystery: Cozy - Humor - Floridattt
The Foolish Stepmom
By Lisa Djahed
The Foolish Stepmom
Copyright 2014 © Lisa Djahed
Published by Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except in the case of a reviewer, who may quote brief passages embodied in critical articles or in a review.
Trademarked names appear throughout this book. Rather than use a trademark symbol with every occurrence of a trademarked name, names are used in an editorial fashion, with no intention of infringement of the respective owner’s trademark.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
This work is published courtesy of Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. The author wishes to express her thanks to Amazon for making direct publishing a viable option. Please enjoy and consider submitting a review.
Cover design by: Lisa Djahed
Cover art provided by: depositphotos.com
For my little muffin head,
for growing up with me,
about the hose.
And for my divas,
It began with lice. And ended with murder. That was my afternoon last Sunday. The thing about lice is how utterly awful they are to kill. The thing about murder is that it is never easy. On anyone, least
of all the murderer.
At least that’s my take on it. When I saw the police handcuffing our next door neighbor’s son, Jesse, taking him in for questioning, I cried. I was holding a lice comb and a towel and I dropped both and wanted to rush to his side. He saw me and was crying too.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. As I said, first it began with lice. My name is Elizabeth Stanis, I’m a stepmom to two girls who are semilovely and married to their dad, Ben -who is in fact, lovely. We’ve been together for three years. Three long years. Stepmom time isn’t like normal time. It’s like dog years. So to say that I’ve been a stepmom for three years is actually more like 18 or so, it feels that way sometimes. I’m definitely not one of those you marry the prince and live happily ever after kind of girls. It just ain’t how it is.
So to the lice.
This would be round three. Three times they’ve spent the weekend at their mom’s
(they visit EOW-that is every other weekend for you non-custody type folks) and three times in as many months they’ve come home with lice. I mean, come on people. How hard is it to figure this out. I had my suspicions. So when we got home I
made them pour their clothes right into the washer with the backpacks included. Ideally I wanted them out of everything before they entered our house but I think Child Protective Services doesn’t look too kindly on hosing down your kids naked on the side lawn. It’s not like its 40 degrees out or anything- we live in sunny Florida where its 70 degrees ten months of the year. But at least we got them into the shower. And dang-nabbit, there they were, those dreaded nits on Yaz’s hair. Yaz, or Yasmin, is Ben’s younger daughter. The more pliable, sweeter, not so poisoned by divorce-hatred kid. Also the one that listens, sometimes. She’s eleven and barely so.
“Did your mom treat your hair?”
“Yes, but she didn’t leave it on as long as you do.”
“Did she wash the sheets?”
“Maybe, I dunno.”
And that’s what I was doing when Ben yelled and when I heard the sirens.
“There’s an ambulance coming,” he paused, “I think it’s pulling up to Drew’s.” Drew was our long time next door neighbor.
“It’s not Jesse is it?” Jesse was Drew’s oldest son
“No, I see Jesse out front.”
Ben’s had this house for six years. And for the last few years, Drew has had quite the hard run, after his wife, Bev, left him for her personal trainer. AND stuck him with three home-schooled children. Now there ain’t nothing wrong with home schooling, IF the child is actually learning something. But poor Drew. He essentially found out that after his wife left she hadn’t been “teaching” for about three years. Each kid was having such a hard time
He had finally gotten fed up enough to send both the younger boys up north to his parents. Which was probably the smartest thing poor Drew has done in the last year
And soon enough, Ben was yelling out updates, fire trucks, police, ambulance were all next door and Ben was trying to find out what was going on. Me, I’ll admit, I looked a few times, listened for
updates from Ben but was already half way through Yaz’s RID treatment and nothing was going to stop me.
And that’s when I heard Ben. Or should I say, heard the lack of noise from our front porch. I wrapped
Yaz’s head up and decided it was
time to stop my own personal war and see what was happening next door.
Just then Ben walked towards our front porch, head hung low. I knew,
from the look on his face, the way his eyes set lower, that something serious, probably much more important than lice, was going on.
“Baby, it is Drew. He’s dead.”
“He’s dead. Drew’s dead.”
“Oh my god. How?”
“They won’t say.”
And Ben hugged me. Like you do when you see something bad. Like our life matters kind of hug. Appreciate what you have kind of thing. It felt good to be in his arms. It always had. He has these shoulders and upper arms that are just so strong. Much stronger than they should be for someone who never works out. We stood there holding each other for eons.
“I’m going over there to be with Jesse,” he said slyly. I knew he had a good heart, my Ben has the best heart and he was truly concerned for the kid we had known for so long, but also he was just plain curious. If Ben was anything, he was a gossip. I knew I should drop everything and run over there too. But I knew Ben, I knew he’d want to “handle” the situation and
cause I am who I am, I wanted to give him the space to do that. To handle things. I found that the more I allowed him space to do that the more he stepped up to do it .
So I went in to tackle the final stage of the lice annihilation.
Yaz was done which meant only one thing: Julie. My dreaded stepchild.14 going on 32. Attitude that got up and walked and talked before she was awake. I could hear her in the shower and just knew she’d want to 11do” the treatment herself. It always surprised me, to have two girls so very
different. Maybe it was the age, or the age difference was compounded by the divide of the divorce. Watching your dad and mom break up, in an ugly way, at the age of 8 is way different from age 5. I suppose for
her too, for Julie, my time in her life is like dog years too. In that way we are the same, sentenced to time served together. Because I love her dad, she loves her dad. She resents the heck out of me. it is in her blood. We have our moments, of sunshine and dancing daisies but mostly we have daggers. And that is hard work, day in and day out. That book title,
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
, G-A-R-B-A-G-E. I mean I could guarantee
the guy who wrote it, DID NOT have a teen stepdaughter. It is all small stuff and it is all awful. Geesh, the way I sound you’d think I hated her. But I really don’t. I love what Julie will become. It is just a long road until we are there. And until she forgives me for barging in on her life.
Just then I heard Ben yell out for me. I left the Rid, the comb and a clean towel on the toilet where she’s
“Honey, the police want to ask us some questions.”
I went out front, we have a small screened in porch that Ben uses as a smoking room and to spy on the neighbors. Standing right outside in the wafting evening sun was a plump, stereotypical looking Irish cop. Or at least I thought he was Irish until he greeted me with his
“Hello mam, I’m Officer Nunez.”
“Nunez,” I bursted out, dang that no-filter-in-brain thing. Good thing he chuckled.
“Yeah, don’t tell anyone but I’m Columbian by birth, so I’m bilingual, most people don’t expect it of me.” And my estimation of Mr. Copper went right up.
Clever, funny, bilingual. Not bad for Palm Bay
“We need to ask you some questions about the people next door.”
“What happened?” I piped in, I wanted to see what Mr. Policeman’s explanation was.
“Well we can’t discuss the details, but the father Drew Jones, was found dead, we’re not sure the cause of death but it looks like overdose, it maybe suicide, we don’t know.”
“How long have you lived here?” he asked with his pad out. “Me, three, him six.”
“Do you know the Jones’?” Scratch
scratch went his pen.
“Yes, as neighbors do. We’re closest to the son, Jesse, is he ok?” In my popping out and in to check on both the lice and the situation, I had seen a very drawn looking Jesse at one point sitting in the bay of the ambulance. I just couldn’t believe this was happening.
“Yes, he’s fine, the paramedics checked him out. We need to figure out what was happening over there today. If we could just stay focused…Did either of you see anyone coming or going from their house
up, because we had in fact seen several cars come and go. It was nothing new. Ever since last year when Jesse got into trouble (for dealing and growing pot) and was on house arrest, there were upteen number of people coming and going. Even though Jesse was a troubled kid, as in the kind that gets into “official” trouble, I couldn’t help but like him. He was polite to me, helpful, always respectful. When you live next door to someone, a kid, someone who is motherless, you notice these things. The way he always brought my garbage pails up from the curb for me, the way he’d “find” an excuse to come over if he smelled something good cooking. When you live with someone who hates you, Ms. Julie, it was easy to look elsewhere for kindness and thoughtfulness and for me, Jesse was it. It was so hard to see him this last year turn into one of those “hard” punk kids. I just didn’t buy it. Lost, yes he was a lost boy, lost in the wilderness of teen boyhood that insists you be tough, but bad to the core, not Jesse. I
always developed nicknames for people, it is kind of my thing, and Jesse was always my little muffin head or LMH for short. When he was being his “punk” kid self, I called him little shit head, or LSH. There were two people inside him, the muffin head and the shit head. Both of them I had true affection for.
“Taylor and her mom were here, some kid named
Stimpy, and the big kid across the street, honey, what’s his name?” Ben always looked to me for pertinent information.
“Floyd, the big kid.”
As he was writing Officer Krumpke (that was my new nickname for him -from West Side Story) was nodding, as in agreement.
“Oh yes, we know Taylor, and Floyd.” As in, yes, the Palm Bay Police were more than acquainted with the local band of ruffians and rogues. Taylor was notorious in these parts, for a girl of 15 she’s gotten in and/or caused the majority of ALL incidents in our little corner of suburbia. Floyd was another of the lost boys, there were a small generation of
them in our neighborhood, boys (and girls) who had dropped out of high school at age 14-15 and not returned. Spent their days getting in or causing trouble. At last count, I came up with a list of
fifteen of them. That is a lot of kids, with way too much time on their hands. For such a quiet little suburban paradise, we had our troubles that was for sure. When the weather is an eternal 70 degrees I’ve noticed it is hard for people to want to change. I mean, coming from New England, the seasons change you, they literally make you change, clothes, gear, what you do and how you do it. When there are no seasons, except one cold front in January that dips into 50 degrees, there is no reason for that change. Florida causes permanent vacation brain. That’s my take on it. You have to fight to want to work, to want to change. If you don’t, you lay around causing some kind of trouble.
“But who is
Stimpy?” he asked looking into his notebook.
“I think that’s what they call him, tall white/blond kid, lanky- older” added Ben. This time it was me nodding in agreement.
“Drives a white truck, kind of beat up.”
“And Pam came by later this afternoon too, right honey?” “Pam?” The officer asked scratching.
“Pam is Drew’s girlfriend” I added
“What’s going to happen to
Jesse, is his mom coming?” asked Julie, she was standing in the front porch with her hair wrapped up and only a towel on. How is it that teen girls are so self-conscious except when it comes to flashing their skin.
“Get inside now
!” piped Ben in quite the stern voice.
“Sorry, that was our daughter, what is going to happen with Jesse?” Poor cop, we kept interrupting him with questions. Plus, I didn’t hold out much hope that his mom would actually show up, but I couldn’t imagine that they’d let a kid on house arrest stay in a house with no supervision, age eighteen or not.
“We haven’t been able to get a hold of her, do you have any numbers for her, where we might reach her?” Officer Krumpke asked.
“No, we don’t do we hone
y?” I asked Ben this time. “No,” he
“If you don’t mind me asking, do you know the mom well?” you
could tell this was the question he wanted to ask from the beginning, about why the mom wasn’t around. Technically her and Drew weren’t even divorced yet, she kept holding out for a better settlement.
“Not really, she left around the time I moved in, I’ve just seen her come back and forth to pick up Jesse sometimes and to get stuff from the house, ” I added.
“Was it a contentious breakup?” Officer Krumpke was definitely scratching away now.
Ben laughed and I couldn’t help but smile slyly. Sneaking around with
a Yz half your age hunk-a-doo behind your husband’s back for YEARS, NOT home schooling your kids.
was pretty bad as break ups go,” I couldn’t help but chuckle. Ben added to my comment, “she was dating this guy, who was younger and Drew was pretty broken up by it all.” I liked when we completed each other sentences.
“Do you think Drew was upset enough to take his own life?” asked the officer with a tone that was respectfully quiet.
“See that’s thing officer, Drew seemed so much better these last few months, he was going out again, seeing this woman -Pam, right honey,” Ben asked me.