Once and Again
Gardenia

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Gardenia

Later that evening, Karen's mini-van is cruising down a slushy street, with Katie and Jessie giggling their heads off in the back seat. I hate teenage girls when they're like that. But anyway, Jessie's all into whispering to Katie behind her hand and letting Karen know that she's not one of them. Karen adjusts the rearview mirror and tries to engage them by asking if Jessie can expect a lot more homework in the eleventh grade. Jessie thinks her mom is such a dink. She rolls her eyes and shoves her sucker in her mouth with disdain, mortified that Katie even has to answer such a lame question. Katie says you get used to the work pretty fast. Jessie immediately claps her hand to Katie's ear to do more whispering and giggling. Karen asks what's so funny, not realizing that she's hopelessly contaminated with Lame-Ass Mom cooties. Jessie tells her it's private, as if she should know better. Karen tries again, asking about some boy she saw when she picked them up. She remembers him from Jessie's public school and remarks that he's so handsome. She wonders when it was that she last saw him. Jessie can't believe how totally clueless her mother is. "Oh, my gosh, when he was just a little nerd? And he's still a little nerd. Just taller. And he's into explosives." Karen clutches her pearls and wonders if his parents know. In an undeclared run for the record, Jessie rolls her eyes one more time, and says that she meant in movies. Katie laughs, and the two of them disappear behind Jessie's hand again. They laugh, and Karen asks, "What?" "Mom, it's nothing. God!" Jessie mutters with disgust. How rude. Living with Grace appears to be having its effect. Katie points out her house, and Karen eases the car up to the curb. Katie politely thanks Karen for the ride and says goodbye.

Now that they're alone, Jessie climbs into the front seat. She asks if Karen knew that Billie Holiday always wore a gardenia in her hair. Karen says she did. Jessie's a little surprised she knows who Billie Holiday is. Surprised and a little disappointed, since it means that Lady Day isn't just her little secret with Katie. Jessie asks if Karen has any of Billie's albums. "Somewhere. Unless your dad took them. He did steal my yodeling collection." Heh. Jessie's not sure whether Karen is kidding. She admits that she doesn't know what kind of music Karen likes. Karen, a little hurt, says she loves music. "Yeah, but you never listen to it," Jessie points out. Well, she's got Karen there. They're quiet a few seconds, as Karen thinks of a way to break the news about Eli. She asks if Jessie knew that Eli got fired. Jessie admits, "Sort of," and stares out the passenger window. Karen looks straight ahead and says that the two of them had a fight, and that she said some things; she doesn't think she's "ever been that angry before." Jessie asks what Karen said. Karen keeps her eyes on the road. She says she may have mentioned something about kicking Eli out, and starts launching into an explanation. Jessie's like, hold up a minute, here. She can't believe Karen is kicking Eli out. Karen says she doesn't know what will happen, and that they'll have to see. "Mom, you can't just kick my brother out. I don't believe you!" Jessie shrieks. Karen gets stern, fast. She barks, "I cannot deal with this right now. It probably will be okay, but please just let it be." Karen's breathing hard, and Jessie just stares at her. After a few seconds, she quietly agrees to leave it alone.

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Once and Again

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