Tuesday morning, Mary thought it would be a brilliant idea to get the ladies of Courtyard Lane together for breakfast. Well, the ladies meaning Asia and Leah. If asked, her excuse for not inviting Eliza would be she thought she was at work, and if she wasn’t, she figured Eliza would be busy with the twins. The fact is, she wasn’t invited, and Mary didn’t feel one ounce of regret.
She did have one concern though. She wasn’t sure if Asia would want to hang out with Leah. She was a lovely girl, no doubt, but Asia still hadn’t gone out of her way to get to know her like she had with Mary. At the HOA meetings, she was cordial. Asia never told Mary how she felt about her, but she knew. It was very un-Asia-like to not be friendly. But, to her surprise and delight, Asia agreed to come, and Mary was stoked. Still, she remained cautious…especially with the conversation that ensued when they were seated.
“So, Leah! Are you dating anyone? You’re so beautiful, I’m sure you’re driving all the guys crazy!”
Mary was unsure if Leah knew why Asia remained so distant or not, but she handled the question well enough.
“You’re sweet! But, no, I’m not seeing anyone right now. I mean, I’m open to a relationship, but I’m not, like, out there, you know? I just want to focus on my work right now.”
Asia grinned. “That’s good! You do that. Get your aspirations out of the way so when you have kids, you’ll have all the time in the world for them.”
From what Mary knew about Asia, there were many truths in her statement. Hopefully that meant she was coming around.
Breakfast was successful. There was no more awkwardness or passive aggression. Afterward, they went to Mary’s house, sat by the pool, and talked.
“Oh, Leah, I meant to tell you. Remember the art show I was organizing?”
“You probably noticed it never happened. I’m sorry.”
“It’s ok, Mary. I’m just glad you thought of me!”
“I really am sorry to get your hopes up. My job has been so volatile lately!”
Asia raised an eyebrow. “Oh? What’s been happening?”
“The mayor, that’s what.”
Leah groaned. “I don’t really like that man. He’s trying to regulate the sales at the flea market! If he’s successful, he’ll put a cap on how much profit someone can make. That’ll be troublesome for what I do.”
Mary’s heart sank. As if she weren’t conflicted enough, someone else gave her yet another reason to feel bad for how hard she worked to get him reelected. She wasn’t a councilperson or some other elected official. She just worked there. But, it was terrible that she knew these things now. So many people did not approve of him, and there was nothing she could do about it. Except maybe run for an office herself, but that would never happen.
“I’m sorry, Leah. I hope it doesn’t come to that.”
Mary didn’t mind the conversation and was glad they were able to freely share like that. She doubted they could do that if Eliza were present. But, she didn’t want the sullen feelings to ruin their afternoon and quickly changed the subject.
“Oh! I’ve been thinking about something, and now that we’re all mostly here…I think we should volunteer together!”
“The neighborhood! Wouldn’t it be wonderful to do something good together? Besides, Eliza will probably think it’s a nice way to make our neighborhood attractive.”
The trio giggled and began talking about Eliza and the way she wants to control the neighborhood.
“I’ll bring it up at the next meeting.”
Leah looked hopeful. “I hope she says yes. It’s such a great idea! But, if she doesn’t, the three of us–and your husband too, Asia–we can always do it.”
Asia’s smile faltered just a tiny bit. “Yes, of course. It’s always great to have a man around, right?”