Chapter 3 - Judy and Gid

Judy sat by herself in the Papasan chair in the corner. She was alone in her seat, but not in her room...

"You gon' talk to me?"

Gideon was in her computer chair, leaning forward, and resting his arms on his knees. He looked like a police interrogator that way. He wasn't here to drill her for information, instead, he wanted to know that she was ok.

It's been a year since she graduated with a bachelor's degree in plant husbandry. It was something she believed she could still do even without her eyes. While she'd been there, she amazed her instructors with her incredible sense of smell. Without seeing the color, or the shape, or anything else for that matter, she'd been able to identify almost any kind of plant just by touching and smelling it.

Nick, on the other hand, was still finishing his last semester. She didn't know what to do, or how to get him back. It's been months since she'd been in the same room as him. When his mother died, she spoke to him only on the phone. He asked her not to come to the funeral.

"Judy?" Gideon was deeply concerned and for good reason.

Her downturned face popped up when he called her name, and she shook the distraction from her head. "Sorry Giddy."

He rubbed his chin. Thinking back on when Nick told her about his car accident, and how well things were going. He looked around the room before turning his attention back to Judy.

"He ain't worth the stress Judy. Fussin' an' worryin' over him ain't gonna get you nowhere."

"I know..." She was still spacing out.

Gideon groaned as he rose from the computer chair and pushed it back into the desk. He pulled his phone out of his pocket and checked the time. Twelve thirty-eight pm. "We gotta get you outa' this house. You need some fresh air."

"I'm alright."

"No, you ain't, now c'mon." He lumbered over to her and pulled her to her feet.

"Geez Giddy, that hurt a little..." She rubbed her elbow with a childish frown.

Gideon smirked and shook his head in amusement. She wasn't a tomboy like he figured she'd be when she got older. She could still be kind of girly if she wanted to be. He watched her pout and eventually try to drift off into space again. "No, you don't little lady."

Without warning her, he picked her up and threw her over his shoulder.

"Hey! Giddy!" She squirmed and hammered on his back trying to get him to put her down. "Knock it off!"

He ignored her. Cool as a cucumber, he lumbered down the stairs of her family home. As he emerged into the living room Stu was there to greet him with a chuckle.

"Easy Gid, Jude's delicate."

The television was on, and it looked like Stu was watching the afternoon news. The interior of the Hopps' family home was all wood slats. From the inside, it almost looked like a log house, but with flat walls instead of logs. The sofas were a typical floral cushion pattern, and there was an armoire in the corner filled with little ceramic figures and decorated plates. Vinyl wood floors reflected the light from the ceiling fan until you got to the kitchen, which was tile. The whole place wreaked of the outdoors... must be Stu's taste. The maroon curtains were closed to keep the heat out.

"Don't lie to me Mr. H..." Gideon stopped in the middle of the room with a big sly grin. He knew that Stu was messing with him.

"You caught me Gid, we don't call her "Jude the dude" for nothin'."

"This is humiliating!" Judy shrieked. "I'm getting mad Gideon!"

"Alright, alright, don't go gettin' yer' trousers in a knot..." With a sigh, he set her down and ruffled her ears around. She swatted them away and then felt around in front of her.

"Relax kiddo, I don't mean nothin' by- OOF!" While Gideon had been talking, Judy was able to locate his stomach and plant a solid punch right in the middle. Gideon stumbled back a few steps before landing hard on his rump. The figures and plates in the armoire rattled from the weight of his fall.

She pushed her ears out of her face and crossed her arms. It seemed that Gideon had been a little too late to save himself from her wrath. "That's what you get!"

Stu rubbed some of the sweat off of his eyebrow while Gideon tried to prop himself up on the floor. "Christ almighty... yer' a little firecracker ain'tcha'!?" He was groaning and coughing with pain, but he also wore a big grin. He stood up and rubbed his tender backside. "Sorry Judy, you ain't gotta hit me though..."

"If you were REALLY sorry you would go get my guide stick." Her impatience was clearly on display.

Gideon shook his head and shot a questioning look at her father, who simply shrugged and smiled. Gideon knelt down and picked her guide stick up off of the floor. He'd been holding it when she socked him in the gut. He held it out to her, and once she'd located it she wrenched it away from him and headed in the direction of the front door.

"Ey... where the hell're you goin'?" Gideon said.

"I'm going for a walk. You wanted me to go outside so I'm going outside."

Gideon looked to Judy's father again, but he could offer no advice. He leaned back in his recliner and turned his attention back towards the news. After a moment of Gideon still standing there, he motioned for him to "shoo" out of the way of the television.

The hand that wasn't waving her guide stick was planted on her hip as she walked as briskly as she could afford away from the house. It wasn't too long before Gideon came lumbering after her. "You wanna' slow down there, cherry bomb?"

She swung her stick around behind her trying to hit him, but he was far enough away to easily avoid it. He stopped and let her walk a little farther ahead of him before reluctantly pursuing her again. After they'd already walked a couple of farms away, Gideon decided all was clear to break the silence again.

"Y'know it ain't MY fault Nick sucks so much..." He sounded like a boy who was angry at his mother.

"Noone said anything about Nick..." She was frustrated and angry. She wondered, as she walked, why it always had to come back to Nick. "I don't need you to come with me Giddy."

"C'mon now..." Gideon understood the situation he was in, she was upset and he wasn't helping. So, he changed tactics. "I jus' want you to feel better kiddo."

"I feel perfect Giddy, thanks for your concern." She had no restraint.

Gideon scratched his head and got lost in thought as they walked along. She could say whatever she wants, she's upset because she's missing Nick. Gideon didn't really want to do the only option he could think of... but in the end, he had to do something.

"Ey Judy." He said it blatantly, he was trying to get her attention.

"What?" She stopped walking and waited for him to say whatever he wanted to. She wanted to be alone right now, and the faster she could get Gideon to leave the better.

"What if I bring Nick here?" He sighed.

She slowly turned around to face his direction, revealing just how easily her mood could be persuaded. She didn't necessarily look excited, but it certainly wasn't coming from a place of anger. "Really?"

Gideon was a little hurt by how easily the mere mention of Nick could turn her whole mood around. He wished he had that effect on her sometimes if nothing else it would make talking to her a lot easier.

"Yep... really." He seemed disheartened by the whole thing. At the least, he wasn't excited about dragging Nick around.

She started to look deep in thought. She must've been considering exactly what would happen if Gideon brought Nick here. After a moment of thought, she turned back around and started walking again. "No, leave him alone."

"What!?" Gideon was obviously confused, and a little annoyed.

"If he wanted to see me he would come on his own."

The hurt in her voice was clearly audible. She definitely DID want Nick to be here, but she was right about what she said. So, it was Gideon's turn to go back into the think tank. His "last option" had been shot down and now he had no backup plan.

They walked for awhile and said nothing. Gideon wasn't a hard thinker and he really wasn't good at coming up with things on the spot, but he couldn't leave Judy like this forever. She needed to be cheered up and sooner would be better than later. Then he finally had a plan... one that might not end up so well.

"You ever been to that botanical garden they got out there near the city?"

That came out of nowhere.

"Huh?" She was totally lost, what does that have to do with anything?

"Let's go there."

"What... like right now?"

"Yeah, why the hell not?"

"I don't know Giddy, it's getting kind of late." She was racking her brain trying to figure out how to get out of this. She honestly appreciated all of Gideon's concern, and how hard he was trying to cheer her up but she knew that it wouldn't work.

"You ain't got shit to lose so just get yer shit an' let's go!" Gideon seemed to have had quite enough of Judy's mood swings. He grabbed her by the arm and drug her along towards the Hopps' family home.

As she drug her feet through the gravel she cursed and swung at him, but Gideon was resolute in his plan. She wouldn't be punching her way out of this one.

"Giddy stop, I said no!" She was trying to wrench her arm out of his grip to little effect. She wasn't able to get him to let go, but he did stop.

"I'ma cheer you up if it kills me, so stop throwin' a tantrum an' just roll with it."

It was all he said before he continued to drag her along on his own personal agenda. It wasn't a coincidence that they would both be wondering what Nick would think about this at the very same moment...