By JD Rockel
Ella turned Jerry’s face towards hers and said, “OK Jerr, spill it. Tell us everything about your brother before we reach our stop.”
Jerry stammered a bit but quickly came to his senses. “His name is John. He’s about a year and a half older than me and is in the next grade up at school.”
“Our school? He goes to our school?” Rosa never heard Ella be so bold and focused before.
“Yes, he goes to our school.”
“Why didn’t you tell me about him? I thought we had an honest relationship.”
“We do. I just never thought of him to be important in our relationship. Why didn’t you tell me about Rosa?”
“Don’t change the subject, Jerry Weston.”
Ella closed her eyes and took a deep breath. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Looking and sounding much calmer, Ella asked, “Does he have a girlfriend?”
“No, he doesn’t. He says he’s too focused on his schoolwork to have a girlfriend.”
“Hmm, that sounds like what you have said, Rosa. I think John and Rosa should meet one another. Doesn’t that sound like a great idea Jerr?”
They were getting very close to their stop. There was no time to waste.
Ella repeated herself, a little more firmly, “Doesn’t that sound like a great idea Jerr, for Rosa and John to meet one another?”
“Yeah, that sounds great.”
“OK, you talk to your brother, and I’ll come up with something for us to do. I’ll text you with my plan and you can make sure John is available. I’m sure Rosa will be available and is excited to meet John.”
“Ella…”, Rosa started to say.
“Oh look, here’s our stop. Gotta go. Thanks, Jerr. Love you.”
Ella and Rosa got up from their seats and walked to the front of the school bus.
Rosa was dumbfounded by what just happened. They stepped off the bus and as it pulled away Rosa grabbed her sister by the arm and spun her around.
“Ella, what are you doing? I don’t want to meet Jerry’s brother.”
“How do you know you don’t want to meet him until you meet him? It sounds like you two have a lot in common.”
“A lot in common? You don’t know anything about him. How can we have a lot in common?”
“Jerr said John is focused on school, and you are focused on school. You two need each other to help focus on school when you two don’t feel like being focused on school.”
“I have no idea what you just said, but it does make sense. Please, please let me be involved with your plan. I don’t want to be completely blindsided by this blind date.”
“It’ll be OK, sis. Trust me. And of course, you will be involved. We’re twins, remember?”
Jerry stepped off the bus completely dazed. As he walked up the driveway it hit him, she said ‘Love you’ to me. Now, what do I do?
Jerry knew that first he had to talk to his brother. He walked into the house and found John at the dining room table working on what appeared to be a big project. Their dad was nowhere to be seen.
“Hey John, where’s Dad?”
“He had an emergency repair. Didn’t think it would take long. He’s been gone about an hour now.”
“Oh, OK. Um, you got a minute? I mean, I see you’re working, and I don’t want to break your concentration or anything.”
“No problem, Jerry. What’s up.”
“Well, I told you about Ella, that I’ve been seeing her for a while now and I really like her.”
“Yeah, everything you’ve said about her sounds great. You thinkin’ of proposing or something?”
“No, NO! Nothing like that. It’s just that I found out tonight that she has a sister, in the same grade as me. Ella thought it might be nice for you and Rosa to meet.”
“Yeah, her name is Rosa.”
“OK. Why would Ella think I should meet Rosa? Is she looking for someone?”
“Honestly, I don’t think so.”
“Then why would I want to meet her?”
“Well,” Jerry tried to think fast, “Ella thinks you two would like each other, I guess.”
“Let’s start over, Jerry. What all did you tell Ella about me?”
“Well actually, I told them both because they were together on the bus coming home. I told them you are my brother, and you are about a year and a half older than me, and you don’t have a girlfriend because you are focused on school.”
“That’s all true, I guess. But why does Ella think I should meet, who is it, Rosa?”
“I’m not sure John. All I can say is it will give me points with Ella if you will take the time to meet her.”
“Well… OK. When?”
“I don’t know. I’m sure I’ll find out soon. Maybe even tonight.”
“Wow! Thanks for the warning, I guess.”
“We need someplace to go where we can have some time to get to know one another and our parents don’t have to be around.” Ella and Rosa were in their bedroom. Ella was scheming and Rosa was trying to do homework. Rosa had wanted to address the issue of Ella and Jerry in the tumbling mats. But too much was happening too fast. I need to think this through before I confront her.
“What do you think about mini golf, Rosa?”
“Mini golf. Come on and work with me. This is important.”
“So’s schoolwork. Let me focus.”
“NO! This is more important. You can do your schoolwork once we get this date figured out.”
“Date? I’m meeting John, not dating John.”
“Well, it’s a date for Jerry and me. So, if you’re along it’s technically a double date.”
“You said mini golf? It’s November. It’ll be too cold.”
“No, it won’t. I checked the forecast, and it will be warm on Saturday. Yes, mini golf.” Ella had been searching with her school laptop. “Plus, mini golf is a safe, family activity.”
“OK. That’s fine, Ella. I know there’s mini golf on Appleton Avenue off Lannon Road,” Rosa offered, trying to help. “That’s not far away.”
“There’s also nothing to eat within walking distance, Rosa. I’m looking for a home run here.”
“Interesting choice of words when planning a date, Ella.”
“Whatever… Here’s one with a bowling alley, burger place, and restaurant all within walking distance.”
“Yeah? Where is that?”
“In Richfield on Holy Hill Road just off I-41.”
“That’s not bad at all. I think I know the one you’re talking about. Isn’t the Paul Bunyan restaurant nearby?”
“Yup, that’s it.”
“Ooh, the Paul Bunyan is nice. That’s not much of a walk.”
“And the burger place and bowling alley are even closer.”
“Don’t settle yet, Ella. You’re doing great. Keep looking. This could become a school project if you tweak it right.”
“A school project? I doubt that, but good thought.”
Rosa was fully distracted now. “Isn’t there a place on Capital Drive out near Pewaukee?”
“Let me see… Yes, here it is. Looks challenging on the satellite view. But not as nice as Timber Park. Wait, there’s a Culver’s there, about the same distance as Timber’s. Ooh, ooh, there’s rock wall climbing there too.”
“NO! No rock climbing, Ella.”
“Oh, come on, it would be fun.”
“I’d fall off the wall and break my neck.”
“They have harnesses and a rope that slows your fall, I mean descent.”
“Still, the answer is no. Plus that’s a long drive.”
“More time to be close together in the car.”
“Stop it, Ella. My vote is for Timber Park. When are you planning to do this?”
“This Saturday. Any problem with that?”
“I guess not.”
“Great, I’ll work on transportation.”
Rochelle picked up her cell phone and started texting Jerry.
Ella… Got a plan.
Ella… You guys avail Sat?
Jerry… This Sat?
Ella… Yes, this Sat… mini golf.
Jerry… lemme check
. . .
Jerry… John says OK
Ella… Can your dad drive?
Jerry… Dunno, he just got home
. . .
Jerry… Yup, what time?
Jerry… lemme check
. . .
Ella… Timber Park on Holy Hill off 41
Jerry… Lunch there too?
. . .
Ella… Awesome… luv u
Jerry… luv u 2