Saturday, September 20, 2008

Chapter 18: Angelica Sees A Ghost

Sat, October 31, 2074 12:30 pm: Tellerman Farm- Middlebourne, Pleasantview


"Mom, there's a really freak'n sweet car in the driveway," Felicity said, nearly pressing her face against the glass to get a better look.

"Well who is it? Is it Mr. Tellerman?" Angelica picked up a basket of fresh laundry and carted it into the master bedroom. Felicity squinted hard into the distance.

"No, it's someone else. Tall guy, blond hair, dark skin, late thirties. Oh crap, I think he just saw me," Felicity giggled, ducking below the windowsill.


"Serves you right for spying on people through windows," Angelica tisked. The visitor in question was rounding the corner when Angelica flung open the door. Her family had been living at Tellerman Farm for less than two weeks and in that time, there had been no shortage of straight-laced men coming by with unusual requests. Mr. Tellerman's business associates, as they called themselves. Angelica was smart enough not to ask about what sort of business.


The man that ascended Angelica's front porch was immaculately groomed and lightly misted with an imported after-shave. He seemed to be the sort of guy who spent more money on haircuts and manicures than she did. To top it off, he had a very shrewd look about him that Angelica did not like at all. She could just picture him sat up in some boardroom bribing police officers, ordering murders, organizing huge drug deals...

"Mrs. Bennett?"


"Yes?" Angelica raised her head to meet his eye level. She was determined not to appear intimidated. This guy probably ruled over the lot of them, every businessman that had ever passed through her door.

"Good afternoon. I'm Troy Tellerman-Caliente. We spoke over the phone yesterday," he said. Angelica allowed her shoulders to relax into a slump. She had completely forgotten. In her own defense, there was absolutely no family resemblance between him and her employer. But judging by the car, he was very likely who he claimed to be.

"Of course. Do come in, Mr. Caliente," Angelica said, making room for his entrance.


"Thank you," he said. "I'm sorry to burst in on you like this. I tried to call beforehand but the line was busy."

"Oh it's no trouble at all. I was just putting away some laundry." Angelica softly closed the door while Mr. Caliente took a look around.

"It's... Wow, it looks exactly the same in here," he marveled, leaning over to peer into the kitchen. "My mother would have been very pleased with you. She loved this little house so."

"Well, we like it just fine too. Can I offer you something to drink? Coffee? Tea? Water?"


"No, thank you, that's quite alright." Angelica thought that he had a charming smile. She was happy to have somehow coaxed it out of him. And of course he didn't want anything to drink. He probably had some busty, 19-year-old personal assistant sitting in his car, prim as you please, mixing him a highball while she waited. Angelica was distracted from her inane imaginings when the alarm clock went off in her son's bedroom. It was shrill and deafening even from the hallway.

"Oh for the love of-" Angelica whined. She then took a deep breath before bellowing, "Seth!" There followed a series of frenzied thumping sounds from the second floor and the ultimate cessation of that hideous alarm. Angelica turned to Mr. Caliente.


"He's a late riser on the weekends," she apologized.

"No need to make excuses for him, I was a kid once." There was that smile again. Angelica wiped her detergent-soiled hands on her skirt.


"Well, I don't suppose you came out here to listen to me yammer on about when my son decides to start his day," Angelica twittered. Mr. Caliente drummed his fingers at his sides.

"You must think me dreadfully sentimental to be doing this," he said. Angelica did think so but she also thought that it was one of the most agreeable character flaws that a man could have.

"It don't matter what I think," she said with a shrug. "Is there anything you wanted to see in particular?"


"I would like to visit the pond, if you don't mind," he said quietly, searching her eyes. Maybe he expected her to ask him why.

"Whatever you like suits me well and good. I'll just escort you around back. I know you can find your own way but I don't suppose it would be polite for me to just send you off."

"That is very kind of you, Mrs. Bennett."


"Here we are," Angelica said cheerily. Her daughter was still in the den when they entered. Felicity's face paled at the sight of their guest. He extended his hand to her.

"I'm J. L.'s brother, Troy Roan Tellerman-Caliente." Felicity shook his hand, her expression oddly glazed.

"Felicity Stephanie Bennett," she croaked. The poor girl looked as though she was going to faint dead away. Angelica couldn't tell whether it was from the shame of having been caught watching him earlier or from the way that her voice broke when she introduced herself or if it was from something else altogether.

"Charmed," he said with a gentle and dignified nod of his head.


"Felicity is fifteen," Angelica said off-handedly. "She just started her sophomore year this term." Mr. Caliente turned to face Angelica.


"Is that so? I have a son the exact same age." Felicity was staring at their guest with rapt attention.


"Did you hear that, Lissy? This handsome man has a son your age," Angelica teased.


"Mom," Felicity squealed. She was completely mortified. It was priceless.


"Well I'm going to get back to the house work," Angelica declared. "It was real nice meeting you, Mr. Caliente."

"And you likewise," he replied. Before heading out of the back door, he turned to Felicity and winked. Her cheeks crimsoned. When he was safely out of earshot, Felicity turned on her mother.


"Just because we're residents now does not mean that you can go around suggesting stuff like that to people like him," Felicity huffed.

"Darling, I didn't suggest a thing to him. I was talking to you," Angelica said, merrily spinning on her heels to leave. Maybe it wasn't right to imply that her Townie-born daughter could potentially be interested in his blue-blooded son but Angelica never wasted an opportunity to embarrass her children.


In the bedroom, Angelica went back to folding her sheets. This was her favorite chore. She loved the smell and the caress of fresh laundry. She loved the meditative process of folding.

Her work finally completed, Angelica stared blankly at the blue gingham curtains dressing the window in front of her. She traced a path along the pattern with her fingers. What was he doing out there? She hadn't thought much of it when he had first called to ask if he could come say good-bye to the place but what did that really entail?


Angelica reached tentatively for the curtain. Could it hurt to look?


Outside, Mr. Caliente stood on the little wooden bridge at the center of the pond, leaning casually against the railing. He was gaping off into the distance, maybe at the mountains or the millet barn. He had probably spent much of his boyhood in that very spot, talking and laughing with his mother. Just then, he buried his head underneath his arms as though shielding himself from falling debris. He seemed to be more ghost than man. Feeling that she was intruding, Angelica let go of the curtain.


This was what good-bye entailed. Whatever it was that he longed to have back, he was trying to convince himself that he never needed anyway.


  1. Alright, finally caught up! Love this story. Very original, packed with suspense, good photography. I especially like the social structure you've set up here. I'll be a faithful reader!

  2. Thanks Beverly! :)

    Hmmm Maybe I'll actually have the next chapter up tomorrow.

  3. That look on Felicity's face was indeed priceless. Mom!!!! :-D

  4. Haha I love Felicity! Is Troy talking about Laurie? Cause that's too bad for that girl if he is! Troy is already got his eyes on Cully!

  5. Yeah, he was talking about Laurie. But he was just making small talk, not suggesting that Laurie and Felicity hook up. :p

  6. Hmmm - wonder what Troy is being angsty about back at the pond...

  7. It's been a year but Troy is still in mourning for his mother.

    Janet Lydia Tellerman

  8. I love the last line of this chapter!

  9. Thanks, Jasper! Troy certainly is going through some changes and in the midst of all her silliness, Angelica does have a certain wisdom about her.