Jeanette peaked out her kitchen window. Bartram was still there, staring at the back of her house. Her bedroom window to be precise. It was one o'clock. He had been there for over three hours. She wanted to know what he was up to.
She had never had a real conversation with Bartram. The last time they had said more than hello to each other was at Trina and Robert's funeral. That conversation was awkward. It was mostly she that spoke, grievingly retelling of the accident that claimed two of her family's lives. She recalled Bart stating that he hoped that they put the drunk driver away for life. She had agreed, but the man responsible for destroying her family had ended up receiving a two year sentence and was back on the streets before Bobby had graduated high school.
She thought back years earlier to when she and Robert would socialize with Bart and Julie. Even back then Bart and Jeanette did not really talk. He would talk mostly to Robert, and she would engage Julie in conversation. She couldn't recall Bart speaking to her on anything other than the weather or commenting on the local restaurants' meals. Any personal information she knew about Bart was learned from her husband or from Julie. She was friendly with all her other neighbors. Well, the female neighbors, she corrected herself. She suddenly felt bad for not being more neighborly to Bart and the other men in her subdivision. Jeanette laughed at the idea of approaching the husbands for friendly conversation. The wives would think she was on the make and she would end up with no one talking with her. She may get an unwanted late night visit by one of the husbands who misinterpreted her friendliness. She knew she would keep her status quo as is. But Bart wasn't married and what would be the harm in her approaching him for a talk?
Jeanette went in her bedroom and stood facing her closed curtains. She took a deep breath and opened the curtains wide. She saw Bart jump back at her sudden appearance. She feigned surprise, then smiled and waved. He returned her wave and Jeanette slid open the window.
"Whatcha doin', Bart?" she asked loudly, maintaining her friendly smile.
"Uh..." Bartram unable to think fast for an answer.
"Sorry if I startled you."
"Oh, that's okay," he said as he regained his composure. "I must have been daydreaming."
Jeanette decided she would not let on she knew he had spent many hours staring at her window. She would pretend as if everything was normal. That she hadn't a clue to Bart's recent voyeurism. She would let him off the spot and change the subject. "Bart, do you like home made lasagna?"
"I guess so. I can't remember if I ever had it made from scratch."
"Well, I was thinking of making it and if I follow the recipe, there will be too much for one person. Would you like to share dinner with me?"
She could tell Bart was surprised by her invitation. She hadn't thought it out, but it seemed like a good idea as she spoke it. Having Bart over for dinner would be the neighborly thing to do and she might be able to find out what was causing his behavior the past two days. A brief thought about her safety was discarded as fast as it arrived. She never felt any discomfort with his company before. Why should she feel it now? Yes, having Bart over would be a good thing on many levels. She could satisfy her curiosity, be a good neighbor, and forgo another night of solitude.
Bartram finally replied, "Dinner would be nice. What time do you want me over?"
"How does six sound?"
"Sounds good. I'll be there." And with those words said, Bart gave a smile and walked back to his house. She watched him disappear from her sight. She had wanted to talk with him more, but she would have to wait until six o'clock. In the meantime she had better start making lasagna. She hoped she had all the ingredients.