He let out a low whistle which got the old cabbie’s attention. Glancing out the window he agreed, “Ayup. Some guy was killed in that accident. A real shame too. He was said to be a promising up and coming athlete. Woulda been nice to have a Riverview boy make it to the big time.”
Jayden stared out the window at the car as they passed it. So they made good on their word. Jayden Wilson is dead. He closed his eyes and leaned his head against the window.
Exhausted Jayden leans his head back and closes his eyes. It was a long flight from Riverview. Feeling the taxi slow as it approached town, he sat up to take a better look at his new surroundings. The taxi pulled up to the park. Jayden flashes her with a grin and hands the driver some simoleans. “Thanks.”
He waved her off as she tried to give him his change. Her eyes light up at the generous tip, “Welcome to Sunnyvale!”
Now to find his contact and start the rest of his life. He stretched upon exiting the taxi, grabbed his small duffel slinging it over his shoulder, glancing both ways before trotting across the street to enter the park.
He strolled around the park, taking in the sights. He stopped near the small lake noting the clarity of the water, the fish swimming lazily and the sudden rumbling of his empty stomach. Rubbing his stomach idly he walked on spotting apple trees in the park. Plucking a few beautifully ripe red apples he threw some in his bag and bit in to one, enjoying the juice as it coated his parched throat.
The sun was slowly setting and still no sign of a contact.
He was standing looking around aimlessly as a figure approached. Startled out of his thoughts, he grins at the woman. “Hi. I’m… uh… Alex.”
The woman giggles self consciously, looking around him a bit, “Hi, I’m Judy?” He tilts his head looking at her, wondering why when she introduced herself it sounded more like a question than a response. She pointed behind him, “I’m sorry, you’re standing in front of the trashcan. Mind if I get past you?”
At this Jayden simply had to laugh. He hadn’t realized where he stood. “Of course! Sorry about that.” Stepping aside out of Judy’s way, he grinned at her sheepishly.
Judy threw her trash in to the receptacle and addressed Jayden once more with the same hesitation as before. “Are… are you new around here?” Her eyes widen as a deep blush rose to her cheeks, quickly she rambled on. “I mean, I haven’t seen you around town before and I realize I don’t know everyone but I do know a lot of people and I thought you looked more like you’re lost and if you are, maybe I know where you need to go and…”
Jayden held up a hand and chuckled. His ease and charm made her relax visibly, “I give! One question at a time, yes I am new to town. I just arrived and I’m waiting for someone.”
Judy’s blush deepened, lowering her eyes, she bit her lip. Jayden couldn’t help but grin at her reaction. He assumed she doesn’t get a lot of attention from ‘strange’ men. A large man both in height and stature approached the two. Jayden’s grin widened noting the stormy look in his eyes. This would be the husband of course. He extended his hand to the gentleman immediately and without hesitation, smoothly diffusing the situation. “Hello. I’m Alex. Judy here was kind enough to welcome a new comer as myself to the neighborhood.”
Judy’s blush deepened, Beau stopped short of blowing a gasket and looked at Alex’s hand. Shaking the offered hand, he mumbled a name and a half hearted greeting followed by an excuse to take his wife and leave.
Jayden breathed easier as soon as they were out of ear shot. “Smooth.” Jumping as his contact finally approached. “Relax, you’re in good hands.”
Jayden could not help but chuckle, “You look like a cliché.”
Simply rolling her eyes, she hands him a slip of paper. “As if I haven’t heard that one before. Here, this is the address to your land. It’s up to you now. Your life is in your hands. Do with it what you will, be a success, be a hermit, be the talk of the town.” She nods at the retreating backs of Judy and Beau, “be a Casanova. It’s your choice.”
Jayden stared at the slip of folded paper and tucked it in to his front pocket. “Thanks. So that’s it?”
“Yes, that’s it. Good luck.”
He shook his head slowly, “I’m only good at one thing. I’ve always been an athlete.”
She touched his arm briefly to get his attention, “Alex. No more basketball. They’ll find you. If you want to be an athlete fine… only you’ll have to pick a new sport.”
He blinked a few times, no more basketball? No more? It’s all he knew from the time he was big enough to hold a ball. Well there was that time in college when they tried to talk him in to soccer. “Do they have a soccer team?”
“You bet. You’ll do fine.” She pulled a small pad from her inside pocket, wrote something on it, tore the slip from the pad and handed it to him. “That is the address to the stadium and the name of the coach.” She looked around a bit nervously, “I have to go. I’ve been exposed for too long. Hang out at the park for a while, it would do you good to meet some of your neighbors.”
He looked at the new slip of paper in his hand and closed his fist around it. He had a shimmer of hope for the first time in weeks. When he looked up to thank her, she was gone.
His stomach rumbled. He sniffed the air. He could smell the meaty goodness everywhere. He wandered around the park. Nodding at some until a random woman handed him a plate. He raised an eyebrow and she laughed, “It’s good, I made it myself. Go on.”
“Thanks.” Setting his bag down, he dug in to his food, savoring each bite. Tri-tip. It was excellent. It wasn’t until he finished his meal that he raised his head, noting the park was emptying. He glanced at his watch noting the ‘late’ hour and looked around once more in amazement. Apparently this small town rolled up the carpet before midnight. He took his plate and tossed it in the trash, grabbing his bag holding his few meager possessions he headed for the road to look for this new plot of land of his.