🙂 Tuesday = #Blogbattle
#BlogBattle is a weekly short story challenge using a single word for inspiration. Hosted by the talented Rachael Ritchey. Feel free to join in, or click here to read the current week’s stories and vote for your favorites.
This is a story that I started as part of a writing exercise created by the illustrious Candice Coates. The original was just a thought, hope this revised edition is an improvement.
This week’s word: Derelict
Addison takes the Lasagna out of the oven, puts in the garlic bread and sets the timer. She pulls the salad out of the fridge, sets it on the table a few steps away. She thinks to herself, oh what I wouldn’t give for a large kitchen. Being that she loves to cook, a couple of times a month, she prepares dinner and invites her friend Bryce. They have known each other since Junior High; both of their families are really good friends. There have never been any romantic feelings between them; they simply enjoy each other’s company. Both have demanding jobs during the week, and this is how they like to spend their Saturday evenings, together, two friends breaking bread and catching up.
Just then there’s a knock at the door. Addison walks to the door and opens it. Bryce comes in carrying a bottle of wine, and what looks to be a bakery box. He hands her the wine. “Ohhh what’s in the box?” She inquires.
“Just you wait and see, I may even share. The traffic is horrendous in this city.”
“I tell you every time, take the train. You never listen.”
“I don’t take trains. Besides I have an F150 pickup, it can handle anything.”
“Except traffic, obviously.” She says under her breath, but Bryce doesn’t hear her.
The timer goes off, she removes the garlic bread and plates the food, while Bryce pours the wine.
Dinner conversation flows easily between these two friends. Filling each other in about their jobs; hers a Financial Advisor, his, the owner of a construction company. When they are done, Bryce clears away the dishes, and brings two plates and the bakery box to the table. “I’ll be nice and share, you sound like you’ve had some kind of week.”
He opens the box to reveal a decadent Black Forest Cake, cuts them each a slice, and smiles at her reaction as he sets her slice in front of her. He knows this is her favorite. “Enjoy.”
They savor the first few bites without a word. Bryce breaks the silence by asking, “So. Why is your job stresses you out so much? That’s not like you, you love your job.”
She nods her head and replies, “I do. It’s just that lately, I’m getting tired of this whole big city life. See, you played it smart, you found a place outside the city to live and commute. Me? I had to have it all, the high power job, the fancy clothes, and the expensive apartment. I felt like I outgrew our small town and needed to expand my horizons. But now, I think I might miss it.”
“So what are you going to do?”
“Funny you should ask. I actually wanted to talk to you about that.”
“Okay, spill it.”
“My cousin Sharon let me know that my parent’s house is being auctioned. I think I might want to buy it.”
“What? How long has it been empty? What kind of shape is it in?”
“What I know for sure is that my sister sold it to a guy who rented it out, before he let it go into foreclosure. I don’t have all the details yet, she is going to send me that information, and said she could get me in there to see it. Soooo…that’s where you come in. Would you go with me to look at it?”
“You know I will. But what if it needs a lot of work? How will you get it done?”
She rests her chin on her hand, and just looks at him with a slight smile, batting her eyes at him.
“Addy!!” he chides.
“Please Bryce? Just look at it with me. If it’s a lot of work, I’m willing to do it, but I need you to help me. I have tons of vacation time racked up. I plan to use it, to work on the house and find another job. I need a change, and a project I am passionate about. My folks loved that house, they always wanted one of us to have it. I never really wanted it, so that is why I let my sister have it. But now…I just have to get it back.”
Bryce lets out an exasperated sigh, “You know I’d do anything for you Addy.”
With a huge smile Addison says, “Thank you so much, can we go see it tomorrow?”
Reluctantly he says, “Yes. But I get to take the cake home with me.”
“Deal. You’re the best.” She gets up and gives him a hug.
“So I’ve been told,” he says with a laugh.
~ ♦ ~
The next morning Bryce and Addison make the hour long drive back to their hometown. With some new developments, the landscape has changed, but the feel is still the same. It feels like home.
There’s a realtor already there waiting for them, talking on her phone. She waves to them as she finishes her call.
Addison gets out of the car. She stops in front of the house and just stares at it, it’s worse than she thought it would be. Her only thought, how can anyone allow a home to lay derelict for so long?
She forces her legs to move forward. “Hello, Addison, I’m Megan, I’m good friends with Sharon. You ready to take a look?”
“Hi Megan, this is my friend Bryce, nice to meet you. Would it be possible for us to take a look by ourselves?”
“Sure, go right ahead.”
Bryce and Addison enter the house. So much of it is familiar, but yet different. The house is not only dirty, but there are still a few household items lying around, as if someone needed to leave in a hurry. Everywhere she looks, it is in need of repair. Bryce looks at it differently he points out all the good, as they move from room to room.
They approach the last room, Addison inquires, “So you’re saying that it’s not beyond repair?”
“Yes, in my opinion, the structure is good, it just looks really bad. It won’t be easy or quick, but it can be done. I’m up for the challenge if you are. Let’s see what this room looks like.”
She rests her hand on his chest to stop him from moving forward. “That was my room, if you don’t mind, I’d like to go in there alone.”
“I know, take your time, I’ll go look around some more.”
The door whispers on its hinges as her fingers gently push it open, her stomach leaps as the light from the window washes over the scene inside the room. It is completely empty. She had forgotten just how much sunlight poured into this room at this time of day. Once she steps over the threshold, it’s as if all the memories that were contained within these walls came out to greet her.
Closing her eyes, she hears the joyful laughter of a little girl playing with her Fischer Price schoolhouse, and the conversations between her Barbie Dolls. She hears music playing; the one constant in this room, only the tempo and rhythm changing to fit the mood or year. She heard telephone conversations that left her broken hearted, and a lifelong memory of first love lost. She felt the soft, fluffy fur of the golden retriever nuzzled against her, enveloping her with unconditional love as his cool, wet, nose brushed against her cheek as he licked away her tears. She pictures the walls covered in posters of her would-be boyfriend; a young John Stamos. She heard giggles and squeals of teenage girls, and felt the affect of sleepless nights as hopes and dreams were shared until the sun came up. She felt her mom’s warm embrace and heard her always encouraging words, “don’t let anyone dull your sparkle…believe in yourself…you can do anything you set your mind to.” These words spoken in love always eliminating any disappointment she felt within herself.
As if her mother was there, encouraging here again, she felt a peace and calm, knowing this was the right thing to do. Her parents loved this home, it was the only one they had ever known. She could make it a home of her own, yet honor their memory as well. She opens her eyes, and quickly walks out of her bedroom.
She finds Bryce looking around in the kitchen. When he sees her he asks, “So?”
Without saying a word, she nods her head yes. Her face is overtaken by a content smile, and a hint of a tear rests in the corner of her eye.
“Ok then, let’s do this” Bryce enthusiastically says, as he drapes his arm over her shoulders and leads her back outside.
She walks up to Megan and says, “I’ll take it.”
“Excellent!! It has a lot of potential, and with some work and a little TLC it can be a beautiful place you can call home.” Megan replies with her well-trained enthusiasm.
With a wistful smile, Addison agrees, “I already do.”
© 2016 Carrie Ann
Check out Candice’s Blog here.