Blaine D. Arden

How Isa Met Jason

The Primrose Files


“So, who is he?”

Isa didn’t look at him. Instead, she fiddled with her drink. “I met him at Ellen’s.”

Seriously? “Ellen’s?” Connor cried out. “As in dating-anything-that-moves Ellen?”

Isa nodded, still not looking at him.

“You thought it was a good idea to set me up with another one of her friends?”

“He seemed quite nice when I met him a couple of weeks ago.”

Connor groaned. Isa was a good friend, his best friend, but a lousy judge of character. Her choice in boyfriends was terrible. Her matchmaking skills were even worse. For some reason, she thought he needed a boyfriend who was exactly like him, or rather, who she thought was exactly like him.


The conversation above is from Aliens, Smith and Jones inspired me in writing this little story. It started out as a throwaway line, the bit about Ellen, never to be mentioned again. So, this story shows a bit more about Isa and her history with Ellen. And maybe something else.


Isa rang the bell as she stared down at the bouquet of pink and red flowers. She never quite knew what to give Ellen for her birthday. The flowers were a cop out, really. Partly because she left it late to find a gift, again, but mostly because Isa refused to buy one of the tacky CDs Ellen always put on her list.

She wasn’t against giving a dear friend what she wanted, but those CDs appeared on the list after every break-up, and Isa wasn’t going to enable her. Still, flowers were on that list as well.

The door opened, and Ellen beamed at her. Her red curls framed her face in some sort of vintage bob, Ellen-style, fitting with the 20s style dress. “Oh, you brought me flowers,” Ellen gushed. Then she pouted. “No one else brought me flowers, you know. You always were the most attentive one.”

Ellen took the flowers from Isa and grabbed her hand with the other. “Come on in. We were just starting on the cake.”

The large open living space was filled with people lounging on the roomy sectionals and throw-pillows. Isa was greeted almost in unison as she followed to the kitchen area, where she was promptly hugged by Darius, Ellen’s husband.

“You look more gorgeous every time I see you,” He said as he handed her a plate with a generous piece of red velvet cake. He leaned closer and whispered, “Just a head’s up, there’s new blood swimming about, and he’s been staring at you since you walked in.”

Staring at Isa with Ellen around? She raised an eyebrow.

“Truthfully. Not even sure why Ellen invited him, she doesn’t seem all that interested in him.”

Nibbling her cake, Isa checked out the room. The only one who didn’t seem familiar was a curly blond across the room. Not bad looking at all.

That was the crux of these parties. The whole room full were exes deemed worthy of becoming friends, or new blood she was scoping out. Though for herself, not for others. Ellen wasn’t in the matchmaking business, yet some of her exes found lasting relationships among themselves. They were a weird but interesting group. Isa enjoyed hanging out with them, despite Connor’s judgemental reactions. He got aliens, but he couldn’t grasp their dynamics. She couldn’t really blame him, dating Niall had skewed his opinion of Ellen. Maybe it was time Isa told him that Ellen had never invited Niall again after he had dumped Connor.

Isa became a part of the group after dating Ellen so, so long ago, when Darius was still figuring out where he fit in the equation. He was Ellen’s primary. Everyone getting into a fling with Ellen knew that. It had been Darius, in fact, who had introduced Ellen to Isa, back when they were both temping for the same company.

She didn’t often fall for women, to be honest, but Ellen’s vibrance had swallowed her up, and they spent a lovely couple of months together.

Someone set an empty plate next to hers. It was the blond, smiling at Isa.

“Ellen is a crackin’ baker, isn’t she?” Smooth, Isa, very smooth.

The blond nodded, though, as if he were agreeing. “The hint of elderberry was a really nice touch.”

“Isn’t it?” Isa wiped her hand on her trousers and held it out. “Isa Griffin.”

“Jason Powell.”

“Enjoying the party?”

“Queer sort of group, isn’t it?” There was no judgement in his voice.

“And yet we all get along fine.” Aside from Ellen and Darius’ birthdays, there were the yearly get togethers, too. Everyone at least tried to be there. “We don’t bite, you know.”

Jason raised an eyebrow. “You don’t?”

Isa laughed.

They moved towards a corner of the room where a small sectional was free.

“So, Isa Griffin. Tell me something about yourself.”

That questions always made her pause. Her cover was solid, had been for years, yet, she’d never been completely comfortable with it. She was proud of what she did, of the work Primrose did, and it seemed silly to hide it. Still, the world wasn’t ready to learn aliens were among them. So, until then… “I’m a PA at a security company and in my free time I practice Tai Chi and dabble in painting.”

“Tai Chi. Interesting. Such a graceful sport. I’m more of a triathlete myself. I pull off the lycra-look very well,” he said with a wink.

“I’ve never much liked cycling in the rain,” Isa quipped. It was obvious he was hitting on her, but…she just wasn’t feeling it. “too chilly for me.”

Jason laughed. “It’s the lycra comment, right? Too much?”

“A bit,” she lied. Connor would have checked him out in a second, though. She wasn’t sure why she thought of Connor now, but Jason might be just what Connor needed. And nothing like Niall…or Zach, for that matter. “I have a friend who doesn’t mind a bit of mud, though.”

“Hmm. She’s not a wrestler, is she?”

“He, and no. He played rugby for a long time.”

Jason quirked an eyebrow again. “Not anymore?”

“He’s a colleague, and our doesn’t leave us much time off, I’m afraid.”

There was something in Jason’s eyes Isa couldn’t decipher, but it was gone when he blinked, and threw her a slow smile. “Colleague huh? Cute?”

“In a very neatly dressed and intelligent package.” What more could she say about Connor?

Jason’s smile widened. “That cute, huh? I might have to check him out myself.”

Yes! She could so make that happen. Connor was going to kill her, especially when he found out where she met Jason, but Connor needed something to take his mind off Zack. He didn’t pull off single very well, no matter what he said. “What about next week?”

“Am out of the country, then. Sorry. Will the week after work for him?”

Oh, she would make it work for him. “Perfect.” Isa settled back into her chair, and asked him about his job.


Cover for 'ALIENS, SMITH AND JONES' by Blaine D. Arden. Features a cosmic star-filled sky backdrop with two men in the foreground. The man on the left is dressed in a business suit, adjusting his cufflinks, and the man on the right is in casual attire, both standing against a blurred city nightscape. Below, the text 'A Primrose Files Novel'. Mockup cover with textured, crumpled paper background. At the top in purple text 'Coming... Some day'. Below, a torn paper effect reveals a dark cosmic background with the title 'ROBOTS, JACKSON AND MACALLISTAIR' in golden font with a slight reflection.  Mockup cover with textured, crumpled paper background. At the top, in purple text 'Coming... Some day'. Below, a torn paper effect reveals a cosmic scene with the title 'CYBORGS, KONRAD AND COPPERFIELD' in orange.
The Sea Serpent in Orkney The Start of a Friendship How Isa Met Jason Noah Makes Contact A Day in the Life of... Character Interview with Connor Smith Character Interview with Noah Jones Character Interview with Isa Griffin From the Desk of Connor Smith

How Isa Met Jason © 2018 Blaine D. Arden. All rights reserved