After Hannah’s dad, Wally, left to go home, Beatrice told Eli, “After hearing you talk with my ex-husband, I know you have much more potential than everyone else thinks. However, I know that you need your medical coverage to pay for that medication. What would you say if I could get you a part-time job? That way, your social security checks can get bigger over time and you will eventually qualify for Medicare, which means better healthcare for you.”
“What do you have in mind, Miss Bea?”
“I could have you clean and maintain the ice cream machine at my job for $10 each shift, which would be about $10 for forty-five minutes. You would be on the payroll. That would be $40-60 a week before taxes are taken out.”
“That would be really neat. I always loved Chick-Fil-A ice cream. Back when my family was not so dysfunctional, we would get ice cream from there all the time. To me, it was so much better than the store-bought ice cream.”
“I just have to talk to the district manager but once that is done, you will be totally in charge of the ice cream machine.”
“Thank you so much, Miss Bea!”
“Just dress nicely and try to get along with everyone else.”
“Yes ma’am. What should I wear exactly?”
“Some sturdy pants and boots and a plain tee shirt, nothing offensive. And make sure your hair is neat and your face clean shaven.”
“But Eli would look so hot with some facial hair, mom,” Hannah protested.
“But my bosses want their employees to look neat and professional, Hannah,” Beatrice replied.
“My grandparents bought me some black work pants and heavy-duty boots for my birthday and I can buy some white tee shirts next time I go shopping. I’ll shave and apply my Aqua Velva before each shift.” Eli paused, then asked, “What will my schedule be like?”
“You will report to work during the last forty-five minutes of each shift I work.”
“And what exactly will be my duties?”
“Keeping an inventory of the ice cream mixture to make sure we never run out, pouring the ice cream mixture into the machine, running the cleaning cycles, and washing all removable parts. You will also be the one to call in a technician whenever the machine is not working properly, following my approval, of course.”
“I would be honored to do all of this and I thank you for getting me this job!”
“You’re a welcome young man. Just faithfully carry out your duties and treat my daughter right.”
“Of course, I will.”
Eli looked at the clock on his phone and realized it was almost Eight O’Clock PM.”
He then told Beatrice and Hannah, “I have to get home tonight and take my medicine, so I will call my Pappy to come to meet and pick me up. He shouldn’t be driving at night but this one time won’t hurt I would like for y’all to meet him.”
“Okay, call him up,” Beatrice said.
“I’m going to miss you, baby!” Hannah added in as she held on to Eli.
Eli called his grandparents’ landline phone, to which his grandmother answered, “H-yelllohh?!”
“MeeMaw, it’s me. I need Pappy to come to get me. I met a young lady in the mall today and we later went to her house. I would like for y’all to meet her and her mother.”
“Okay, Eli, we’re almost finished with supper, then we’re coming.”
“Is there anything else?”
“My girlfriend’s mother is getting me a part-time job.”
“Cleaning and maintaining the ice cream machine at the Chick-Fil-A where she works.”
“Oh, praise God! I know you have a mental problem and deserve help from the government, but that doesn’t mean you should be cooped up in my house waiting to collect a six hundred dollar check.”
“I’ll be getting $40-60 a week before taxes are taken out. Every shift my girlfriend’s mom works, I’ll also work the last forty-five minutes of that shift, doing what needs to be done for the ice cream machine. My girlfriend’s mom is also getting me a bus pass so I can go see them and go to work.”
“Sounds like you found a nice girl with a good family!”
“Oh, most definitely.”
“Now give me the address of their house and we will come to pick you up in a few minutes.”
“Okay, y’all be careful.”
Eli then gave his grandmother the address to his girlfriend’s mother’s house.
He then sat with Hannah on the sofa as they fired sweet but innocent kisses on each other’s faces.
Eli then held Hannah around her waist as she rested the back of her head on his chest.
Just as he began to play with Hannah’s hair, the doorbell rang.
Beatrice opened the door to Eli’s grandparents.
“Is Eli here? Do we have the right address?” Eli’s grandmother asked.
“Yes. Come on in.”
Eli’s grandpa then said, “I’m Wilson Mouton.”
“And I’m Darla Mouton.” His grandmother added in.
“I am Beatrice Bienville. Can I get y’all anything?” Beatrice replied.
“No ma’am we just had supper.”
They all walked to the living room where they saw Eli and Hannah sitting on the sofa holding hands.
Eli stood up and said, “MeeMaw, Pappy, this is my girlfriend Hannah Bienville.”
Hannah smiled and blushed at both of Eli’s grandparents.
“She’s a very pretty girl!” Pappy Wilson commented, then continued, “You have good taste.”
“How did y’all meet?” MeeMaw Darla asked.
Hannah then said, “I was shopping for some video game stuff and I saw Eli walking out of Radio Shack with his new scanner tuning in the mall security guards. He had the most mischievous look on his face while doing so and I thought he was so handsome, so we smiled at each other then I motioned for him to come over and talk to me.”
“And when I saw her smiling at me, I thought she was the cutest girl I had ever seen and once we started talking to her, I realized that she is very sweet, so when she asked for me to be her boyfriend, I was very honored. We then spent the rest of the day together.”
“I hope y’all didn’t ride in any vehicles when the storms were moving through today.” MeeMaw Darla said
“No ma’am, we were at the mall the whole time. The power was even knocked out but Eli had a flashlight on him and walked me through the dark mall to my mom’s job.”
“Eh! Didn’t I always tell you that it is very smart to carry a flashlight?!”
“You sure did, Pappy. And I always do carry one.”
“I think it is really cute how Eli is always prepared,” Hannah said as she giggled.
“Yes. He is a lot smarter than most would believe.” MeeMaw Darla commented.
“Well, that is why I want to give him a chance and have him do ice cream machine duty at my job,” Beatrice added in.
“We definitely appreciate you doing this for him,” Pappy Wilson said.
“Of course. I know that he and my daughter just met, but I see how happy he makes her and they are both special needs, so I think that they are the perfect couple!”
It was now almost dusk and Pappy Wilson said, “Well I hate to cut this short, but we need to be home before total darkness, but I am glad Eli met Hannah, and hopefully in the future, MeeMaw Darla and I can dance at y’all wedding!”
Hannah beamed and giggled with happiness.
Eli then gave her a reverent hug and a sweet good night kiss.
“Call me when you get home and when you are also about to go to bed.”
“Will do baby.”
They shared one more peck on the lips then Eli, along with his grandparents stepped inside their Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight and headed home.