Chapter 4I woke up to birds chirping outside. For a second, I thought I was back at home, then I realized I was in room 73 at Emily’s...house?...I guess.... I got up and got ready as fast as I could. I put the little plaque in my pocket then I checked the time. 6:45. I was a pretty early riser. I pulled out my newest notebook from my backpack and I sat down on the bed. I had a little time to write before breakfast. I had kept a diary ever since I was eight and it took up quite a few notebooks. I wrote a lot about my life, but since my life wasn’t all that interesting, I also wrote short stories in the notebooks. I heard a knock on the door and I quickly glanced at the clock. 8:27 already?
“Patricia are you awake yet? You're going to miss breakfast!”
“I’ll be there in a second Emily!” I called as I quickly put my notebooks away. I made sure I had everything with me that I would need for the day and I picked up the number 73 key. I opened the door and smiled at Emily.
“Good morning,” she said.
“Good morning to you too,” I replied as I locked to door.
We raced down into the kitchen and I instantly smelled the delicious scent of pancakes and bacon wafting from the stove.
“Yum,” Emily and I said at the same time.
Emily’s mom looked up from her cooking and said, “well good morning girls. We were starting to wonder if we would have to go wake you up ourselves.” We laughed and sat down to eat our breakfast. Everyone was already sitting down and eating.
My mom said, “Patricia, we are going to leave to go bowling soon and after that I’ll be going home. Are sure you’ve got everything you need for the week?”
“Yes mother,” I said with annoyance in my voice.
“I’ll miss you.”
“Uh-huh,” was my reply.
When breakfast was over, Acario, Emily and I started to walk down the gravel driveway. We didn’t speak much and it was actually a bit awkward. When we got to the bottom of the hill, I noticed a significantly smaller building across the street. The style and color of the building reminded me a lot of the motel except for the fact that the motel was kept up well and this building was overgrown with ivy.
“Emily?” I asked, stopping where I was.
“Hmm?” she looked a little bit relieved that the silence was over.
“What’s that building?”
“Umm... I think it used to be a church, but for whatever reason it is closed down now.”
“O,” I answered, not really sure what else to say. We continued on and eventually the scattered houses and buildings grew a bit closer together and we reached the library. When we peeked in the window, at first we weren’t sure if it was open because it seemed so dark inside. When we pushed open the door and stepped inside, I was very surprised by the amount of books that were crammed into such a small room. The ceiling was very tall and bookshelves stretched all the way up to the top.
“May I help you?” The voice came from a young man who appeared to be the
librarian as he was the only person in the library.
“Yeah,” Emily said, “My parents bought the motel recently. We were wondering if you had any books about Jasper Jones. Or you could just tell us about him. We think he had something to do with the motel.”
“Jasper Jones? I don’t think I’ve heard of him before and I know most of the books in the library, although I’ve only been here a short time. The old librarian died about a year ago and when I graduated from college, the town offered me this job. I’m sorry, but you came to the wrong place. You should try going to the general store. The woman who runs it grew up in the town and she knew everybody. I’m Bartleby, by the way.”
“Well thanks for your help,” I said as we left.
The general store was right next to the library which was convenient for us. Emily pushed open the door, which had one of those annoying little bells on it that let the people at the store know someone new just entered. She stepped inside and I was about to follow when I noticed Acario staring off in the distance, in the direction away from the store.
“Acario? You coming?” I asked.
“What? Oh yeah. I just thought I saw...well never mind.” He held the door open for me and I walked in to find Emily speaking with a rather elderly woman.
“These are my Friends Patricia and Acario.” Emily looked reluctant to introduce Acario as her friend.”
“Hello,” the woman said, “welcome to Briarville. My name is Mary Jean and my husband and I have been running the store since 1968.”
“Nice to meet you,” I said shaking her hand. Acario just stood there awkwardly as he really wasn’t a people person, if I didn’t mention that already.
“Your friend Emily tells me her parents bought the Jones’ Motel,” Mary Jean said.
“The Jones’ motel?” Emily asked while raising her eyebrows.
“Well it will always be the Jones’ Motel to me, even if that isn’t what it is really called nowadays,” was her reply.
“Um,” I said, “The librarian told us that you know a lot about Briarville and we were wondering if you could tell us who Jasper Jones was.”
“The librarian eh? I don’t trust that man one bit, but he sent you to the right place. Have a seat will you.” She gestured to a worn out couch at the back of the store. The three of us sat down and I will say it was a bit of a tight fit for three to sit on that couch. I was in the middle. Mary Jean pulled us a rocking chair from the back corner of the room and she too sat down.
“Jasper Jones was a great man. I knew him well, died young, he did. Sometimes I think perhaps he was lucky. He most definitely lived his life to the fullest.”
“Was he the founder of the motel?” Emily interrupted.
“Not exactly,” she replied without even a hint of annoyance. “His father moved here from France in 1937. They lived here for a couple years, then his father, Mr. Jones as I always called him, built the motel in 1940. Their family didn’t have very much money, but thanks to the many parties and celebrations they hosted, the Jones quickly became rich.
Now Jasper Jones, he was my best friend since he moved here. Once, he asked me to marry him, but I declined because I had my eyes set on another man. When his father became older, he gave the motel to him. By that time Jasper had married another woman. She was very pretty, but she wasn’t from here. I got the feeling that he never really loved her. They had a nice family for a while, they had one son and one daughter. Sadly, when the the children were older and the son had a son of his own, he passed away, leaving the already widowed daughter to raise his son. They still live in the town in that mansion yonder,” Mary Jean finished with a sigh.
“You mean the creepy one with the ivy growing everywhere and the statues in the yard?” asked Emily rudely.
“Emily!” I nudged her, wondering if she had already been to the house because Acario and I hadn’t even seen it.
“Yes that would be the one,” the old woman said with an amused smile revealing her oddly enough, straight teeth. The son, Keene, is about your age. I imagine he gets very lonely out here with only his aunt to talk to. You may want to pay him a visit. Now if you don’t mind, my dears, I have inventory to take.” She got up from the rocking chair and disappeared into the room in the back of the store.
“We’re not really going to that mansion are we?” asked Emily.
“I think we should,” I said. “I mean, if Keene is the only other person in this town that is your age, then don’t you want to meet him?”
“No way,” Emily said. “He sounds like a loser.”
“Come on! You can’t be serious. You’ve never even met him,” I said.
“What do you think, Acario?” Emily looked at him as if daring him to say yes. Challenging him to make her angry.
“Umm...” Acario looked from Emily to me and not looking at Emily he said, “I’m with Patricia. I think we should go. I mean,” he hesitated, “we’re only here for the rest of the week and we have nothing else to do so...” He trailed off.
“It’s settled,” I said.
“Are you kidding me?” said Emily.
“If you don’t want to go, we can go without you,” I said while walking toward the door.
Emily was silent then said, “Fine. I’ll go with you, but I’m still against it. I have a bad feeling about that house.”