Jake woke up on Saturday to the smell of bacon and maple syrup coming from downstairs. He figured his mom must have left some bacon and eggos in the microwave for him in the kitchen.
Jake stumbled downstairs to see his mom, Mary Green, standing in the kitchen flipping pancakes.
“Mom?” Jake asked.
“Morning, sweetie,” Mary replied with a smile. Mary’s skin was a lot paler than Jake’s and was a little taller, but for the most part, they looked a lot alike. Their hair was even the same color and around the same length. Though, Mary always styled her hair, compared to Jake's constant mop. She always wore jeans and a tank top when she wasn’t in scrubs. She looked to be in her early 30s, but was closer to 40.
“What are you doing?” Jake asked.
“What’s it look like?”
“I mean, what are you doing home?” Jake asked as he sat at the table. The table shook a bit. A relic from his grandparents that his parents never bothered to replace. Stains from meals decades ago were etched into the wood.
“You’re never home on Saturdays.”
“I got put on call, so instead of picking up extra hours, I figured I’d hang out with a great guy,” she said as she patted Jake on the head. “And I will be meeting that great guy on our date tonight.”
“You? A date?” Jake replied.
“Don’t act so shocked.” Mary placed a plate of pancakes in front of Jake. “But it’s not til tonight, so until then I want to hang out with an alright guy.”
"How can I not be shocked? It's been like three years since you dated anyone. Not since that weird real estate agent, who always took his shoes and socks off whenever he'd come over."
"That's not that weird, Jake."
"Yeah, but our floor is always dirty, so when he crossed his legs you could see the dirt stuck to his feet. It was gross."
"Our floor is not dirty. Maybe, the inside of his socks were dirty."
“So...is it the mailman?” Jake asked through chews. “The one that gives you the copies of FlixVid Blurays that no one claims.”
“That is none of your business,” replied Mary, while pointing a spatula at Jake. “But I am a sucker for a free copy of 27 Dresses.”
Mary sat down next to Jake and put her hand on his shoulder. “Look, I know I haven’t been home much. It’s just been rough with your dad’s life insurance running out, and-”
“Mom, you don’t have to explain yourself,” Jake replied. “It’s cool. I don’t need my mom hanging out with me all the time anyway. I’m not a loser,” he said with a slight grin.
“Yes, you are,” Mary replied. She stood up, and kissed Jake on the head.
Jake and Mary both looked at one another, wondering if the other had been expecting someone.
“Your date sure is early,” said Jake.
Mary walked to the door as Jake took another bite of his pancake.
She opened it, and the same disheveled man from earlier was standing in the doorway. While reaching for the syrup, Jake noticed the man at the door.
“Hey!” Jake screamed, spewing beige pancake chunks all over the floor. “I told you I was going to call the cops if you came back.
Jake stepped between the man and Mary. Jake had never been in a fight, but if there was one person in the world for which he would fight a small, bearded man, it was Mary.
Mary put her hand on Jake’s back. “Jake,” she said calmly.
Jake noticed a small hand crawl around from behind the man’s legs. The man stepped to the side to reveal a small blonde girl with dark brown eyes, almost black.