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Birch House - Chapters 3

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Well, I have a new story started, a friend of cool content helping me edit, and a ton of nervous energy. I always get a little nervous when I start a new story, and worse so, when I post the first few chapters! Please watch for the Point of View IDs (--- Becca ---) littered throughout the story. It's a first person work told from several points of view. I think this may be a long one so enjoy and let me know what you think!

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Birch House

Chapter 1

 

--- Becca ---

 

“I’m not parking this far away from the house everyday.” My husband grumbled.

“Yeah, this is kinda retarded. If we buy it, you won’t have to.” I agreed flipping my bangs out of my face the jewelry on my wrist clinking together like a wind chime.

“We’ll just drive up there and park next time, but we’ll need to get some gravel brought in and make a real lane out of this grownup driveway. We should do a circular drive and make sure Ann’s got a place to park too.” He said calculating volumes in his head.

“We’re not pissing off the Finn’s Trent. We’ll park down here by the road until they tell us it’s ok, or we buy it.” I asserted.

“All right… All right Babe.” Trent caved not wanting to upset the sellers either.

 

   That’s how Trent was though, always planning ahead. He could see things coming before they got to us, and still find creative ways to bitch about it even if he already had a plan to deal with it. I loved trent with all my heart, but his attitude could be an acquired taste. I had been with Trent since I was a little girl… first as a friend and eventually his wife.

 

   Trent’s offered me his hand getting out of my car, and I paused to pull my black lace covered skirt back down where it belonged. Stockings are great and all, but the silky lining of my skirt let it ride way up when I got in the car. I may like showing some cleavage and making sure my tattoos are visible, but I didn’t intend to flash my lack of panties to the world. I love teasing Trent, so normally that’s a good thing, but our realtor sure didn’t need to see my lady fur!

 

   Regardless of Trent’s attitude problems, I loved him. Not to mention the short walk up the tree lined lane was beautiful this time of year and was doing wonders for both our attitudes. The little forest guarded the edge of the property from view blocking us from our potential neighbors. In fact, it felt like the house was carved out of a small but wild grove of trees. Even the chill in the air because of fall’s cooler temperatures couldn’t mess with my mood.

   

“God I hope we can close this deal. This place fucking rocks.” I squealed clinging to Trent. My hopes rose with each step closer to my would-be-house. My head swiveled admiring the small forest and the well kept yard.

 

   It was the fifth time we’d wandered up that path, and I was starting to feel like I was coming home. I wanted that house so badly, but the amount of debt we were talking about was Hella scary for me.

 

   Owning a home was going to be an exciting new chapter in our lives. I mean, I was still driving the car my parents bought me when I turned sixteen for fuck’s sake! The only credit I had was a hundred dollar Victoria Secret card! Big spender I was not.

 

Mom would be so proud of me. I wish she were here to see this with me. Drunk ass old fool! I thought sparing an unkind thought for my dad too.

 

   Ashley, our realtor, had shown us this property all five times we’d visited. Each time she looked amazing, and she didn’t let me down that day either dressed in a brilliant blue business suit that day. I remember it matched her lovely eyes. The realtor greeted us with bright smiles hugging me tightly like a long lost friend. I admired her for her sense of style even if it was different than mine, but I’ll be damned if she didn’t catch me staring.

 

“The house is nice too. My firm has sold this house a total of six times you know! This will be the second time that I have found Birch House a new family. She’s just an amazing place.” Ashley said over her shoulder as we toured the house taking my attention from her legs.

 

“I still don’t understand the turnover.” Trent implied blind to her appeal.

 

“This house, at its age, in this condition, and at this price point has always been a great deal. She’s always been a great first house or last house depending on your stage of life. Remember, six times over that many years isn’t so alarming.” She said sticking to her tour confidently dismissing his question handling Trents skepticism like a boss.

 

“It looks like everything in here is new!” Trent said getting his first at the like-new old house.

 

   I realized she’d given this tour a million times before, and it added a layer of nervous energy to the walkthrough. Her cleavage was distracting me more than Trent, and I bet she dressed up to show off her assets as a tactic too. I shook my head clearing out the unproductive thoughts feeling a bit like a dude at Hooters hoping the waitress really meant all those kind words.

 

   I was ready to make an offer, well… mostly. We had our co-signer and our funding all worked out. We were ready to finalize on our latest offer, assuming the property had been improved like the Finn’s had promised. I shook off my uncertainty causing the chain on my ear piercings to make dainty metallic noises that only I could hear.

 

   Personally, I thought Trent had a good point, but maybe I was biased? Why would the house have had so many owners? It’s was nerve wracking going into debt like that, and I just needed to be sure. It felt terrifying and exciting at the same time like that time I went bungee jumping. Making a bad deal and going into over a hundred thousand dollars worth of debt was dragging my excitement to the shitter.

 

   The house seemed big enough to me... maybe it was just rich-lady-reasons? I sure as hell didn’t any of those! I wasn’t certain why it was only a good house to start or end one’s life, but I bet she had a speech prepared for the question so I just let it go.

 

   There were like a million rooms at Birch House. I bet a big family could live here for a good long time, decades even. The listing had it at about eighty years old. Three, maybe four owners seemed reasonable to me, not four before our realtor’s firm and six more after!

 

   Ashley skimmed her notes flipping through the thick stack of paper on her clipboard. The current owners had met us here the second time she showed us the place. I couldn’t believe it had only been a few weeks ago. Trent and I had discussed the things we’d like to do to the house to really make it our own after our first visit.

 

   It was going to be hard to complete our list since we didn’t have a lot of cash left for improvements. When the Finn’s had asked, it had seemed like a strange question. A question answered cautiously because we were eager to make a good impression. So, we literally gave them a copy of our list hoping for the best.

 

   They’d talked to us for quite a while when we met them. The Finn’s stayed so long it began to feel like a job interview! They’d asked what improvements could be made that would help us. Things they could do that would make the house more attractive and let us pay for the improvements over the term of the loan.

 

   The Finns freakin awesome! They were clearly still deeply in love with each other and Birch House. That was no small accomplishment after having been married over ten years. We guessed they were in their mid to late thirties at the time.

 

   They said they were only moving because Mr. Finn had been asked to head up an office for his company in another state. They said that they absolutely loved the house and honestly hated to leave it. That made more sense to us. It seemed like a good reason to move, but we still felt uneasy after the interview. We had the sense that the whole deal was too good to be true.

 

   We still had two months on Trent’s lease and weren’t too worried about finding a place to rent, so we had the time to be patient about our house hunting. His landlord even offered to go monthly on our rent at the end of the lease, so we had that option too. He wasn’t thrilled when we put in our notice.

 

“Good tenants like you kids are hard to find.” Carl had told us reading our letter of intent.

 

    Good? Ha! We were the best tenants! We Phillip’s are handy. We’d tackled small home improvement tasks and simply ask off a bit of rent when our landlord was happy with the results. The first few times we’d had to get any upgrades approved, but it didn’t take long to make a good impression. The bathroom tile and marble countertops had made him so happy he’d paid for the supplies and given us rent for free that month.

 

   We weren’t afraid of a little elbow grease. In fact, we enjoyed working to make a house a home. Trent’s mom called it nesting. Unfortunately, money was going to be short for a while. It always is after you buy your first home. His mother had warned us, and it turned out she was clairvoyant about our potential lack of cash.

 

   There were more out of pocket expenses than we were expecting. We intended to make the repairs to Birch House on our own, and  in our own time. Our realtor had insisted on asking about improvements saying, “you never know.” Then the Finn’s turned around and asked us themselves. We felt much better about being asked than doing the asking ourselves.

 

“We’ve asked to meet with all the potential buyers you know. We’ve decided we are backing your offer. Honestly, the Missus just loves you two. Birch House was our first home and we just love it. Is there anything we can do to help you?” Marshall Finn had asked.

 

   Turns out the list we’d made at home was just what the doctor ordered. Trent’s forthought helped us out again, but his ego suffered from the triumph. The improvements were part of Trent’s property evaluation process. God, he was so organized it was obnoxious!

 

   Our fantasies gave us some goals to work toward and a future to dream of. In the end, the Finns had the list and we left it with them to think it over.

 

“I can’t believe they did all this in two weeks!” I said trailing my black tipped fingers over the new stove while glancing around at the refurbished cabinets.

 

“Well, they must be heavily invested in unloading this place, or they just really liked you two and were prepared to help you out. I think what really motivated them was when you said you’d have to take a renter for the upstairs.” Our realtor commented as she walked.

 

“Rebecca look! They pulled the carpet off the stairs and refinished the old floors! They had to have had people working 24x7 to pull all this off. It’s not like it was in bad shape before, but this… It’s amazing.” Trent’s eyes roamed around the house absorbing details in a state of wonder.

 

“I know. I mean we may want to paint, and I’d eventually like marble on the counters in the bathroom here too, maybe the kitchen. You know how I am about my marble! But, this… is UNREAL. It looks like a brand new house in here!” I gushed bouncing on my toes.

 

“I noticed the shingles were replaced on the way up here. Did they mention any water damage?” Trent asked.

“Uh… I have a note here that there was a small leak in the attic. The inspector’s report says there was only discolored sheetrock which has been replaced as well. This is an amazing deal. Brand new roof, that’s a ten thousand dollar value added back.” Ashley insisted redirecting Trent. The woman was amazing! Her word wizardry would leave you eating your own words with confidence. Un...Fucking...Real...

 

“Well, I wouldn’t feel right countering lower than the asking price now. This place is worth way more than they have it up for.” I told them both, my heart investing deeply. “Awe Trent, look they left that rod iron frame up I liked so much. Honey, I just LOVE this place!” I said it and knew I was all in at that point.

 

   Our realtor probably felt her commission check weighing down her purse after my blabbermouth. The two story house was priced to move at one-hundred twenty thousand, but with these improvements it was worth around one-eighty easy. The Finns had gone way above and beyond for us.

 

“Well, you can’t go wrong with Birch House. It always sells fast! Owners seem to stay a while or get out in under ten years. Then they move on to something bigger and better if they leave. Maybe it’s good luck?” Ashley shrugged having sussed out my love of the supernatural and superstitious.

 

“There’s only one weird thing. The owners almost always want to meet the buyers before they accept an offer.” She noted certain that this deal was sealed. “But, you guys already nailed that, so I can’t imagine them not signing right away.”

 

“I just want to run around in the yard barefoot and I don’t know… pounce on the couch for a good nap in the sun. These windows are insane! There’s not a smudge on them anywhere. They let in so much light!” I fussed to Trent tugging at his shirt begging him with my eyes.

 

Hell, the grass looks as lush and fluffy as the carpet!

 

“Ashley, you know we are just going to offer their asking price right? See if they will cover the closing costs for us, and we’ll be able to afford the paint right away. If not, we’ll take it anyway and paint in a few months.” Trent tells the realtor confident he’s getting a good deal the confidence sexily wafting off of him.

 

“Oh Trent! Really! God, I really don’t want to leave now. This new carpet probably sleeps better than our bed!” I said bending to rub my hands through the pile on the livingroom floor. I was so wrapped up in the feel of that luxurious carpet that I forgot about my short little skirt. I mooned Ashley with my stocking covered pany-free ass, but she never commented. Girl wanted that commision check!

 

“Ann is going to love it here. She’s always wanted a dog and there’s so much room! I guess we better look over the upstairs and I’ll run through the attic before you call them Ashley. Due diligence and all.” Trent said bounding up the stairs with the hardwood he’d fallen in love with.

 

   I stood up and headed over to the only picture still hanging in the house. The current owners had already moved out, and other than their couch and a bed left in a guest room downstairs there wasn’t much left in the house.

 

We really could move in right away, I muse running my finger over the rod iron frame.

 

   The same saying hangs in both our parent’s house and Trent’s mom’s place. ‘Love makes a house a Home’ they read. I loved this house already, but that wall hanging really endeared it to me. I was feeling a connection to the house and we hadn’t even signed for it yet!

 

   I moved through the living room running my hand along the oak trim framing the doorway.

 

I’ve always loved that quote, I thought leaving the room getting a tactile feel for the place.

 

“Ashley, I’ve never lived anywhere that had an official laundry room before! Trent loves that the hot water heater is in there and accessible too. This place is fucking awesome!” I couldn’t praise Birch House enough! We both knew where I stood.

 

“It is. This is my favorite property. I’d live here myself, but the house is never on the market when I’m looking. Each owner puts their stamp on it of course, but it just seems to add to it’s ambiance not take away. Owners have moved walls or changed things around to suit their tastes, but it always feels so... Homey in here.” Our realtor smiled.

 

“Everything checks out up there Becca. There’s even more impossible renovations upstairs! Ann may want to paint, but there isn’t much reason to do anything else. They even got the sink and some cabinets in the third room. Hell, there’s room for one of your Exes up there too babe.” Trent joked.

 

“Just be glad I like that girl so much. You really did a number on her. The poor thing.” I slapped at Trent giving him a hard time on a stale joke.

 

“Rebecca Phillips! I was like fifteen er something! That was friggin years ago! I didn’t even know we were going steady. I had no idea going to the movies with Wendy was cheating on her! Cut me some slack! We are all adults and friends, best friends even! I don’t think of her as an Ex!” Trent looked tired of the old one sided argument, but I thought it was funny and so did Ann. He was still sensitive about it though.

 

“Then don’t joke about it if you can’t take it. Ann can. You can’t, ya cheater!” I teased Trent even more.

 

“I’d never cheat on you.” He whispered pulling me to him. “You don’t think that do you?” He asked.

 

Ashley cleared her throat, “Becca, you had better be one hundred percent sure. Buying a house, married or not, has legal obligations that follow you even if Trent doesn’t. I can’t make your offer unless I’m sure you’re sure. I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night, even if my job is to sell the house and move on.”

 

“Oh Trent! Your stupid jokes have scared Ash. Go measure something or look at man stuff!” I huffed at him swatting him on the ass dismissing him so the Big Girls could talk.

 

   His shoulders told me that he didn't’ appreciate that very much, but Trent ambled outside grumbling about girls being confusing. I watched him walking across the covered front porch and disappear from my view. We waited  long enough to be sure he was truly out of earshot. I waited more for Ashley’s sake than for my own privacy.

 

“Ash, you are totally safe making this offer. Trent may be gone a lot, but I see his checks. I know when he’s gone, how long he’s paid for, and I have ways of accounting for his time. The lady that does payroll showed me, Barb. We were at a company picnic and I told her I was uncomfortable with all the weird hours cause truthfully, I’m a little insecure and needy. I’m sure he worries about all those hot young college guys when I’m at class too.” I admit.

 

“Oh, I know what you mean. I’ve been married for years and have zero reasons not to trust my husband, but it’s just so rampant, the cheating. I get worked up sometimes.” She reassured me shrugging her shoulders.

 

“He never really cheated on Ann either. She just felt that way at the time. Neither one of them had dated before, and didn’t know any of the rules. It was hard for her for like two weeks then she was over it, and that was literally years ago.

 

If you ever meet her just know Trent didn’t make her the way she is. She’s just a timid little thing and I love her to death. Trent does too, but we love her in a sisterly way. She’s older than both of us, and we’ve all been good friends since we were in diapers.” I assured her.

 

“Ok, well I feel a bit better. Backstories always help a sale, ya know! Go let the heartbreaker and bring him in the house. Just remember. Everyone loves Birch House. It always feels like Home in here. Don’t be the first ones in like eighty years to bring bad things to this place.” I could feel Ashley’s love for the house and the warning in her threatening tone.

 

   Her deep care for the place anchored my feelings. Love grew in my own heart too. I was in love with my future first home! This house would be our Home. I was absolutely confident that Birch House would meet our needs and maybe even see the pitter patter of little feet bounding around. Trent and I walked hand in hand back down the lane to our car talking so fast we had trouble keeping up with each other.

 

Birch House

Chapter 2

 

   Trent and I brought Ann to Birch House four days later.

 

--- Ann ---

 

I’m buying a flipping-stinking house! Daddy is going to be so proud! I said to myself while getting out of my jeep. I can’t believe I’m buying a frigging house! I shivered in excitement.

 

“OMG! Girl! I can’t wait to show you OUR new place!” Becca yelled getting out of my jeep. She ran around my jeep bounding over to get me. Her silver bracelets and rings clinking against each other making her sound like a wind chime.

“I know sweety. Look, calm down a bit. You’re spazzing!” I laughed hugging her lightly. I placed my hands on her shoulders to hold her to the ground.

She looked at me with her large chocolate colored eyes opened widely, “I’m sorry… I just never bought a house before.”

“That’s ok hun! Me neither! I’m excited too. Point those puppy dog eyes somewhere else! I really need a place anyway, like tomorrow!” I noted worried more about my own circumstances than buying a house. In fact, buying that house with my best friends was an answer to a prayer.

 

“Ann, I’m so glad you’ll be moving in with me. Really I am. Not even kidding! I was going to be so fucking lonely! Trent’s driving would do me in I’m sure of it. You’ll get the entire upstairs to yourself so you can hide from me. You’ll have like everything up there. It’ll be your own apartment or something. OH. MY. GOD. I’m fucking freaking out.” Excitement spilled from Becca while she shook her hands animatedly grabbing at my elbows.

 

“So they accepted the offer then?” I asked her taking her hands.

 

“Yeah, the Finns accepted at their original asking price, like right away. Trent is freaking out too! He says it’s a steal! He’s prolly gonna be on the phone all day.” My friend babbled while tugging at my arms pulling me toward the house.

“I’m sorta afraid it’s too good to be true.” I admitted looking down at her.

 

    For the millionth time, I pondered how badly that piercing in her nose must have hurt. She has a tiny silver ring in her septum that just hangs low enough to have a bit of movement. The dainty little diamond high in her left nostril fits tightly against her skin and barely catches the light. Becca was always modifying herself, but I liked her nose the best.  

 

   Me? I’m a big wuss. I don’t like pain. I have one set of ear piercings to her many and nothing else pierced to her many other piercings. I have it on good authority Becca’s face isn’t the only location with non-biological holes! Just the thought of her pierced flower gave me a serious physical shiver.

 

No way in a hairy dolphin will I ever get my lady bits pierced! I promised myself after that stray thought filtered through my mind.

 

“Yeah, I can’t shake that feeling either… Only just a tiny bit though! They even paid the closing costs and shit. We are moving in on the down payment only, that’s nuts! We can cover that together no problem! You’re amazing by the way! Have I told you that today? We couldn’t do this without you.” Becca says turning around swiftly and stretching up to kiss my cheek meaning I had to bend down cause she pulled me to her.

 

   I loved Becca, but I’m a very introverted person. Hugs were the most contact Becca and I had shared and those were infrequent bro-hug type thingies. My childhood was sort of difficult. My parents were great, but my health wasn’t. I ostracized myself from the outside world and only went out when I had to. Trying to date my neighbor Trent had been Mom’s idea. I over invested and it sort of crushed my will to date for a while.

 

   Mom’s therapist (I refused to call her my own) said I have a social anxiety disorder. I thought I just like being alone, but I don’t have a Doctorate in what other people think so I got ignored. The kiss was new for us. I didn’t know what to do with it, but my hand drifted up to my face touching the trace of heat her lips had left.

 

“You know, I only have a few days before I have to be out of my apartment. It stinks that I’ll have to move twice.” I complained.

“Ah. You’ll only be a couch bum for a couple days. Maybe a couple weeks tops. We are happy to have you.” Becca reminded me of her offer to let me bunk on their couch at Trent’s apartment.

“Uh... I decided to stay at the La Quinta Becks. They have a suite and I booked it for seven days. They gave me a good rate, and I’m not hurting for money. Besides, I don’t want to squash the newlywed vibe you two have going on.”  I told her following her up to the house.

“Awe, really? That’s no fun!” She huffed.

“We’ll be all up in each other’s business before you know it. I’m excited. I’ll get more room for about the same money with this house. This move is a no-brainer for me babe.” I said looking down at her. “I may have bought it without you guys if I’d have been brave enough.”

“I’m sorry they sold your building, but I’m not sorry to move in with my best friend!” Becca laughed hugging me tightly resting her head on my chest.

“Your tall today.” Becca commented looking down at my hikers then back up at my face.

“I’m always tall, and your always short!” I giggled and took a turn dragging her a few steps toward our new home.

 

   Becca took the lead guiding me around the backside of the house. She was a touchy-feely chick, but today she was a bit over the top. She’d always been that way, and it had been hard for me since I was a pre-teen. I’d dealt with the touching because I trusted her though. She was my first real friend after we’d moved when I was eight.

 

   I trusted Becca to get a good feel for the house just like I trusted Trent’s handi-maness to determine if the house was sound.

 

The Lord knows I couldn’t do either! I giggled to myself. You have a certain set of skills… and house buying isn’t one of them. I thought in my best Liam Neeson impression.

 

   I hate getting out of the house, and college was just torture for me. My freshman year they made me live in the dorms! With people! I’d fallen into a light depression that year, but I had pushed through my problems and gotten my degree. I don’t really like to be touched, looked at, talked to… Fine. I’m a hermit.

 

   Dating was was even worse than living with strangers! It’s not that I enjoyed being alone, but guys just didn’t understand when I needed time alone. I just never really clicked with any of them. They couldn’t give me my alone time. Eventually, I gave up on dating altogether.

 

   I worked from home, shopped from home, ate at home, and gamed from home. I had a few friends and a truly lovely family. I just didn’t feel the need to get involved with humanity beyond that.

 

“Look! Look!” Becca shouted as we rounded the house treading on a newer looking stone path.

“Oh My stars!” Was all I could say. It was beautiful and I was left standing there dumbfounded.

 

   The back of the house looked very different from the pictures that Becca had shown me. There was a patio off the back door maybe three feet or so off the ground accounting for the grade of the hill. That wasn’t the only change though.

 

   Four humongous pillars rose from the patio on each of it’s corners. They were supporting another deck. I looked up at the bottom of the upper deck… my deck?

 

   There were two new decks, an upper and a lower, off the back of the house! I followed Becca, well got dragged by her, up a beautiful set of stairs. The dark wood had a tinge of red in the stain and was finished immaculately. The handrail was so smooth that when I ran my hand along it, I had no fear of splinters.

 

“B...Becca! Do I really have my own outside access?!?” I stuttered in disbelief.

“Yeah, Trent put that on the improvement list right at the top just for the hell of it. Look at this shit! They actually had it done!” Becca gushed literally jumping up and down.

“I… I can’t believe it. It’s… so perfect.” I gaped reaching out to touch my own door.

“Girl, just wait till we go inside! I don't’ have this key, but look it’s like a real balcony up here!” She giggled turning around to look at the yard.

 

   She drug me back around to the front door, but I had a hard time leaving my deck because it was cute and the view was amazing. I was already imaging watching the sunset out here. It looked like I’d have to see the first floor before I had the chance to see my floor though.

 

   The Finns had really put in a lot of effort for us, for me. I couldn’t believe all the work that had been done. It was nothing short of amazing. I was that much closer to a new dog. I was thrilled.

 

   All the woods in the house were all rich and dark where the walls were a complimentary lighter color. I was sure my little spaz of a friend would end up repainting a few rooms because her tastes are… her own?

 

“Becks I’m pretty happy right now. I’m just so glad you and Trent finally have your own place, well you know mostly your own. I feel like I’m invading though, but I promise I’m like a recluse or something! I won’t mess with your newlywed vibe.” I told her trying to get her to slow down.

 

“Pish! Trent will be on the road a lot, most of the week really. He may start taking some overnight runs or sleeping in his truck. They pay a crazy wad of cash for those two-day runs. We have my car, but he wants to get a bike for running back and forth to work. With you here, I won’t be alone when he’s off being the Man of the House!” Becca said growling in a low voice.

 

“Trent could use some butching up ya know. Those truckers are going to eat alive with that metro head of hair and total lack of man-beard. He looks like a teenage boy… If he carried a hipster bag, they’d probably beat the poop out of him on the spot.” I laughed.

 

“Hey! That’s MY metro-man you’re mouthing there.” Becca put up a token defense of her husband, but lacking in real conviction.

 

   She drew up to her full height, which unfortunately for her was just shorter than your average girl. It always makes me giggle when she gets her back up and I still have to look down at her. She looked at me with death in her eyes and then broke laughing hysterically.  She hugged me in our shared excitement as we headed upstairs together. It was time to see my floor!

 

   There was a small landing upstairs and then a weird shaped hallway. I couldn’t see from one end of the floor to the other, but I’d noticed that in the pictures before. I was already figuring out how to divide up the rooms to create a full house on the second floor. I wanted a nice bedroom suite and there was a beautiful humongous master bedroom suite on this floor on the east wall.

 

   I wanted an office, guest room, and a pretend kitchen/dining room. Then I’d have a full apartment on this floor, but this house wasn’t built with that in mind. It did have a dedicated bathroom on this floor that could be a guest bathroom, so that was nice. There was plenty of rooms for the other stuff I wanted to do and I’d get around to it all eventually.

 

“Look it! They put in an outside door on the landing!” She said her platinum hair and purple braids bouncing off her shoulders. The purple braids were tipped with silver skull-face hair ties.

“I see. This is super amazing Becks! I can’t believe this. It’s almost like this floor has been remade into a real apartment. I’ll be able to take out a dog and not bother you!” I stood there shocked all over again excitement building.

“I know! We’ll love your dog, but I’m glad you can do that out your own door. Just… you know walk it away from the porch a ways.” Becca admitted.

“I promise Becks. I’ll do the poop bags and everything.” I agreed.

“We told the Finns that we couldn’t afford the place all on our own. Ashley let on like they thought we had to get a renter. I thought she’d look our financial paperwork closer than that.” Becca told me shrugging like it was the realtor’s loss.

“So... She knows I’m a co-signer right? I mean I’m covering most of the down payment and all the taxes.” I asked.

“I guess, I’m sure she does by now at least. Worst case, she’ll find out at the closing won’t she?” Becca laughed.

“It’ll be nice to meet the Finns at least the once.” I admitted.

“Let me show ya the rest, there’s more.” Becca’s silver bracelets clacked together as she clapped her hands bounding off once again.

 

   Rebecca Phillips is my best friend, but she was just coming out of her goth phase. I was thrilled for that! Goth was preceded by a punk phase, and I for one would love to see the end of all the leather and silver buckles.

 

   The punk stuff came after her stab at grunge in her senior year. Japanese culture influenced most of High School before the grunge phase. The entertaining part of my besty is that none of the phases were ever totally left behind. They all left a mark on her eclectic sense of style.

 

   I bought her several of those noisey bracelets over the last few years. The purple streaks in her hair were left over from our junior year when two toned hair was her thing. Well, at least the punk and goth phases shared a lot of the same clothes! Goth just added a ton of dark makeup to the mix, at least that’s for the most part how it worked for Becca.

 

I don’t know, there may be a few more piercings these days. I giggled to myself looking at her. Strangely, I found myself doing it much more frequently than I used too. I refocused on my wind chime sounding friend and the tour she was giving.

 

   It turned out one of the room’s had been upgraded just for me! There were some basic cabinets making a bar against one wall. They had installed a small overhead cabinet on one end and a fridge on the opposite wall. It immediately reminded me of a workplace break room.

 

The only stuff I’ll have to do downstairs is oven stuff and my laundry! I notice unable to fight back my own sniffles suddenly overwhelmed by the Finns’ thoughtfulness.

 

“Good gracious Becca, this place is amazing! I can’t get around how perfect this house is. I can’t believe they even got a fridge up here. It’s ridiculous!” I gush.

“I know! Trent keeps coming over here looking for flaws. Poor guy has a bit of a glass-half-empty complex. It can be hard to keep him happy.” She giggled her hand resting on my arm.

 

-----

 

   I’m a few years older than Trent who was a few years older than Becca’s twenty. Twenty-four wasn’t ancient or anything, but I was the college grad with a few years of working and life under my belt. I would always be the oldest in our house. I loved Becca, but we’d never lived together, and I certainly didn’t have the upper hand in relationship edicate. I had few relationships and even fewer long term friends.

 

Was all this touching normal? I asked myself trying to fight off the sense of invaded space she was stirring up.

 

   That day though, we both gushed and giggled about moving into our new house. We talked a lot about the new appliances and discussed colors for our walls. The owners were going to leave the couch and one bed in the guest bedroom downstairs until we closed, then it’d be a flurry to get all our crappy furniture in that beautiful house.

 

-----

 

   All the banking was done, so we were ready when Closing Day came around a few weeks later. All we had to was sign on the dotted lines. We were filled with nervous energy while Trent remained aloof standing with his arms crossed through most of the meeting.

 

   It was terrifying and thrilling at the same time. Admittedly, I could afford the house on my own, and I wouldn’t have co-signed with my friends if that weren’t the case. Plan for the worst case scenario!

 

   Dad was worried life would smack me and leave me in a lurch so I never got in over my head. I planned to squirrel away the difference that the Phillips would be covering so I had my budget worked out for worst case. Plus I needed to rebuild my savings after the down payment.

 

   Becca and I crashed on the downstairs couch as the sun was setting the evening after we closed on the house. Trent had to leave running his first night load. So, we were alone to celebrate in our new house. The view was amazing through the full windows on the west side of the house. We were nestled in watching the oranges and reds while she sipped a beer and I nursed at a sweet tea.

 

   Becca, being so short, could only lean her head against my shoulder, but it was comfortable and so was the silence in the room. She took a pull off her beer and looked up at me with her big chocolate brown eyes.

 

She whispered, “I couldn’t do this with anyone else ya know.”

“I know Becks. I get it. You don’t have to tell me. Seriously, it’s not charity. You guys really bailed me out here. If you can stand me for a couple years, you’ll be out of school and you won’t need me any more.” I pat her leg letting her know I wouldn’t intrude forever.

 

   Her body language changed immediately. She sort of shrank in on herself and sat up separating herself from me. A shadow crossed her face and her hands quickly covered her eyes. Soft sobs wracked her body and her pale shoulders bobbed keeping time with the crying.

 

“Shit Ann. I’m sorry.” She sniffed. “I didn’t mean it like that. I meant, you are literally the only reason we can get this place!”

“Oh Becks…” I started honestly confused.

 

Becca cut me off, “No, it took both our credit ratings and you as a cosigner. I just meant please, please, please put up with us for a few years before your life sweeps you out of town. I’ll be ready to help with the bills then. Part-time just doesn’t cover much. Maybe I’ll be ready to let you go by then too.”

 

   I turn to do something I have never done before, something that had never occured to me before. I kissed the top of her head.

 

Poor thing, I thought as she tugged me into a side hug burrowing into me. I’m never going to want to leave. I don’t want to get swept away with life or my carrier. I thought to myself not finding the words or the will to say anything.

 

   Becca was one of the coolest outgoing people I knew, but she seemed so fragile right then. One day I’d find out what had her so worried, but on that day I attributed it to the stress of debt and moving.

 

“Sorry Becca. I get it. I guess I thought this might be long term thing. You know ‘Crazy Aunt Ann’ living upstairs taking care of your kids in the evenings so you two could do stuff together. I don’t know what I was thinking. Of course, I’ll stay long enough for you to finish school… long enough you won’t need me.” I whispered.

 

“Shit! Damn! Ah Hell Annie. That’s N-O-T what I meant. You better bet your ass that you’ll be crazy Aunt Ann! We may need one of those rooms eventually. Trent wants to ruin my body with at least two kids. There’s only the one spare room down here unless we give up our office.” Becca rushed.

 

“Sorry. I just… Well… Poop. Becks they are tearing down my building! I can’t catch a break anywhere. I thought you were telling me I wasn’t going to be welcome in a few years. I… it’s... I’m sorry.” I sniffed.

“Such a potty mouth on such a pretty face.” Becca joked turning my words against me over my pseudo cussing.

 

   She got up on her knees and returned my kiss leaving my face uncomfortably close to her cleavage. I sprung up and drug her to the master bedroom on the second floor. My bedroom had a beautiful attached bathroom. It looked like my bedroom was a bit bigger than theirs and i secretly loved that. Buying the whole floor for half the house payment was a steal for me, but I wanted to cheer Becca up.

 

“Your’s and Trent’s room is almost as big as his whole apartment. Plus, it’s on the opposite side of my outside entrance.” I pointed out.

“Yeah, it’s a big fucking upgrade from my dorm room!” She bursted out laughing.

“This is a huge upgrade for me too! Potty mouth.” I asserted.

 

We moved to what I thought would be my guest room, “Well, the second room downstairs could be the boy’s room. You don’t want those yard apes too close to your room though. Too much rough housing in there. Then you’d have the kid’s bathroom, and then girls room up here if we had to. You know in the future.”

 

“Or you could keep your office if I have two boys or two girls. Since you live up there, you’d have to take care of em if I put any spillover kids upstairs. Maybe we could put that baby monitor receiver in your room!” She teased.

“You’re breastfeeding aren’t you!” I blanched looking mortified. No way I wanted to get up at night!

“Hell, I don’t know! That’s at least after college and the first year of work or so!” Her face scrunched.

“I have to wait like three FLIPPING years to live vicariously through your motherhood!” I mock panicked.

“OMG! You’re going to have to get a handle on that fucking mouth before you burn my poor baby’s ears off with your verbal filth!” Becca teased me.

“Why I never! My momma would probably spank me to this day if she caught me talking like you! Those poor babies!” I giggled.

 

   We broke off in a fit of laughter. Becca hugged closely to me as we walked back into her room hip to thigh. It was a big impressive room too. I really liked her room, but it was the view I was in love with even if my room was a bit bigger. I was truly happy for her and thrilled to be sharing the house with her. She ran a hand down my hair and stepped away from me taking my hand again.

 

   More touchy-feely boundaries were broken that day than in both of my previous dating relationships! I didn’t know what to do. I already loved Becca, but I didn’t see other people behaving like this with their friends. Course, one has to leave the house to see other people...

 

Going to have to hit the internet for some research. I’m not sure if I should be offended or not. Still, it’s nice to be this close to someone. I decided.  

 

“God we can do anything in here! It’s so huge!” She said sounding like she was in a bit of a weird mood. “I could fit my whole dorm room in here fridge and microwave and everything!” Becca pointed out.

“I won’t have an oven upstairs, but I don’t cook much so that wouldn’t be a problem!” I said getting truly excited.

“Well, you’ll be eating downstairs with the family anytime I cook.” Becca asserted.

“Bah you cook all the time! I’m going to wear out my welcome!” I worried.

“Honey, you can’t wear out your welcome. You know why? It’s because your family, and I love you!” She reminded me.

“I don’t wanna mess up the whole newlywed humping like rabid bunnies vibe you two have.” I giggled.

 

   We left Birch House in a good mood having spent some time in it dreaming of our futures. We headed over to Becca and Trent’s place and grabbed the boxes Trent had brought home for packing. It was enough boxes to move a whole house of people. Becca ran into PIzza Hut for a hot and ready pizza on our way to my hotel.

 

   The Packing had started.  

 

“Ok, Let’s pack this shit!” She giggled grabbing a piece of ham off the top of our pizza.

“Oh I give up! Wish I had something to shove in your mouth so you wouldn’t foul up my air!” I said laughing at her potty mouth.

“I’m sure I’ll spontaneously stop cursing as soon as the house is packed with diapers and pacifiers… Till then, Fuck Off!” She cackled at herself. “Let’s watch a movie or something while we pack.”  

 

 

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Woo! DnP is back with a new story!

Normally I would Like your chapters, but I already used up all my reactions today. :( hope you understand.

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Wow.  Complex, well written, and intriguing start... so many ways to go from here.  Looking forward to reading more and more in this one.

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Birch House

Chapter 3

 

--- Becca ---

 

“Come on Babe. It’s fine. Come here. Come on...” Trent tried to sooth me from the doorway of the bathroom not finding the courage to come any closer.

“I just need to stay here, over here by the toilet and the trash can. I’ll be fine in a little while. It’s just a fuck ton of money. It’s thirty years Trent!” I yelled at him freaking out about the loan.

 

This is so not my finest moment. Why couldn’t I have freaked out earlier with Ann. This is so humiliating! Just get inside the door and some kind of panic attack swamps me. I’m such a fucking pussy. I could see that I was freaking out, but couldn’t do anything to stop it. This would have been so much less embarrassing if I’d have flipped out with her.

 

   When you really think about it, I didn’t have much to be upset over. The price for the house was great. The house itself was awesome. The Finn’s had even been excited to meet Ann. I would have a hard time being in a more awesome situation. Still, it was emotionally daunting for me.  

 

   Now, my best friend was in debt on a house right along with me. I felt miserable. I was terrified of the debt and the length of time I’d be in it, and I felt terribly guilty about Ann too. Somehow I was taking responsibility for her house debt in my mind. Even though she could afford both payments, I can’t help feeling like we are taking advantage her.

 

She can afford it. She can afford it.” I whispered a chant to myself.

“What’s that?” He asked me not able to hear my whispers.

“Nothing Trent.” I drew out his name in exasperation. “Just give me a goddamn minute or two here! I’m losing my shit. Let me fucking lose it, or pull it back together or whatever! I’ll be fine in a bit.” I told him near to hyperventilating.

“I just… I want to… Aren’t I supposed to fix it.” He said looking worried.

 

“Maybe, but not this time. I’m just freaking out about decades and hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt! Trent, I have thirty-two dollars and seventeen cents in my checking account and four hundred in savings. I owe nearly one-hundred fifty thousand dollars! To top it off, I have the earning potential of a grade school kid with a paper route!  Go to our tiny-ass living room and give me some breathing space before I go ape shit on you!” I blurted out. My fears welled up, and I was afraid the pizza I’d shared with Ann was rising up right behind them.

 

“Alright… Fine. Fine. But you don’t owe it alone. I mean I owe it too. So does Ann.” Trent tried to help failing miserably only magnifying my fears.

 

“I know! I even know she could do this all on her own. I know this is less money for her and more room, but I still feel like I trapped her into something or that we begged or some shit. Who the fuck does that? She’s my best friend! She’s still paying on that Jeep for crying out loud!” I sniffled again.

 

“None of that is rational Babe. You know why you shouldn’t feel this way.” Trent pointed out softly reaching out to me.

 

“If you fucking know I’m not being rational, why the hell would you think it would be a good idea to tell me I’m being irrational? Seems like that would be a chapter covered in the dumbass’s guide to women! You might as well have fucking asked me if I’m bleeding! … Ya know Down There.” I bellowed feeling belittled and attacked for my feelings.

 

“I didn’t… That’s not what I meant. I’m sorry I… FUCK! I’m calling mom.” Trent stormed off toward the living room like I’d asked before he stuck his foot in his mouth again.

“I’d fucking call my mom for a warm-fuzzy, but she’s DEAD!” My anger grew out of control spirling off my fears.

 

   I turned finally chucking the acid riddled contents of my stomach all over the inside of my toilet.

 

Why couldn’t he just leave like I asked? I whined upset because I hadn’t wanted to be mean and I knew that’s where my mood was. I had a lot of venom inside me. Sometimes it’s impossible for me to hold my tongue.

 

   A little later after I had calmed down and sanitized the bathroom and my face, I put on my big girl panties and Stood up.

 

“I'M SORRY!” We both yelled out as loud as we could at about the same time, but I still couldn’t move from the toilet. Getting sick always made me weak and standing brought back the nausea.

 

   I’d crossed a line and lashed out at the one person who should have my back. He did try, I suppose. Suddenly, I felt him behind me not talking just rubbing my back while I began to feel like total shit.

 

   It was as if our mutual apology was permission to approach me, but I was still a bit out of it from the panic attack and getting sick and the guilt. I could hear him texting away on his phone and a miracle happened.

 

   Ann was suddenly there.

 

   I looked up from the toilet where I had been resting my head as my best friend in the whole world walked in. Ann is just so… I don’t know.... Willowy? I wasn’t sure how tall she really was, but Trent was six foot tall and she was taller than him. Oh my god her legs! I don’t even know how she finds pants, they just go on and on for...ev...er... !

 

“Oh Becks. What’s wrong girl?” She asked resting her impossibly high ass on the sink next to me while Trent retreated from the bathroom.

“I don’t know… Hey, how tall are you?” I asked her happy to change the subject.

“Last I checked I’m 6’3” tall. What a weird question…” She left if open for me to respond.

“Not that weird from down here.” I chuckled.  

“Rebecca Phillips! What am I doing here?” Ann barked at me with a crooked smile.

 

“Hell, I don’t know, but I do... ya know? I mean, I know everyone does this. They buy houses and shit. I’ve never had good stuff, ya know, only gifts. Even my car is just the first one my parents bought me. It’s just so much money. I never have any money. This house is more than I can think about.” I panted feeling the helplessness rise again a new panic attack sneaking up.

 

“Trent, when she bought that car… it took three days for her to hold down food. Money’s hard for her and that wasn’t even her own money! Just be here. Keep reminding her she’s not in this alone, and that you’ll be there with her.” Ann told Trent. “That’s what she really wants right now. Assurances she won’t end up in some kind of money jail.”

 

“I did. I will too. Over and over till she tells me to shut up!” He promises. “course she tells me to shut up all the time.”

“Good. Now, Becca Phillips. We’re ok. We’re cool. You’re cool. I’d tell ya to breath, but I’d pass on that considering your location… WaHaHaHa!” My best friend laughed at me.

 

“Oh shit yeah… huh…” I laughed too. Why wasn’t that bothering me?

“Ok, freak out over right? Get in the shower. Clean up. Then you two can come and help me pack up my hotel room!” Ann drafted us cheerfully putting her hands in her lap.

“You’re just keeping me busy!” I huffed.

“And free labor… Dont’ forget the free labor.” Ann reminded me smiling angelically.

 

   Free labor indeed.

 

   I knew better than to get into my car that night, but I did it anyway cause I loved her. I knew we’d end up pulling an all nighter, but we were going to help each other move anyway. I still felt bamboozled somehow. Turnabout's fair play, I guess.

 

   I let it go and settled in to help. We had most of the night left anyway. Trent, Ann, and I packed up her entire hotel room and got everything to our house before midnight. It was two AM or so before we had the rest from her stuff from her storage building.

 

   We’d moved her bed out of storage last strapping the boxspring and mattress to the top of her car. Sorry! Jeep. Trent had a load going out mid-afternoon for work and would be gone overnight so he passed out on the couch the Finns’ had left. I’d taken a few days off of school and had nowhere to be, but moving my bestie. So, Ann and I piled up in her bed a respectful distance from each other, and passed out. I knew she didn’t like to be touched.

 

--- Ann ---

 

Good Grief my toes are cold. I thought pulling my legs up forming a ball.

 

   I’m a tummy sleeper most nights. So I have my natural height, the length of my feet, and my arms under my pillow to contend with. Laying out straight on my bed left parts of me hanging off. Normally, I sleep stretched out diagonally it’s the only way I can sleep on a standard bed and not hang off, but I couldn’t. I kept bumping into something forcing me to tuck my feet back under me. I’d bumped into something warm and person-y, something not tiny and furry like the puppy I’d been dreaming of.

 

Ooo… that’s warm. I snuggled down toward the warmth.

 

   I’ve never been a morning person, and I didn’t start that morning either. For whatever reason, my biological clock was tuned to stay up late and fight the mornings like an archvillain. I’d wake up enough to move around and check the time before passing right back out. If you talk to me during the sort-of-awake phase of my mornings, I’ll have no idea what you were talking about later.

 

   I rolled and pushed and moved until I was at an angle to that squishy warmth and laid the soles of my feet across it snuggling my butt closer too. I kneaded my toes into the warmth sighing happily as the numbness began to fade. My fists balled up and crossed daintily underneath my chin while sleep tugged at me. I wiggled once more and fell gently back to sleep.

 

   Life didn’t cooperate and neither did my warmth. It turns out my temporary bedmate was a thing of nasty despicable nightmares. Becca is a horrible, terrible, no good very bad Morning Person! I know… Gasp, right? Morning People are like pungent unicorns with no horn! They’re disgusting and unnecessary!

 

   Just as I’d drifted back to sleep my bed bounced as an entirely alert Becca flopped onto my mattress and lay back against my stomach using me as a pillow. She reached over and stroked my waist length dirty blonde hair.

 

“GRAH! I hate you.” I pouted into my pillow.

“Don’t want to hear it bitch. Your icecube toes on my ass will get me outta bed every damn time!” She chipperly giggled.

 

“You know this would be the shit with a bit of pink in your bangs and on the tips of your hair. Maybe about six inches and a couple inches on your bangs and your whispies. Ooo… Maybe a lighter blue or a darker purple like mine.” She mused aloud while thumbing her fingers through my hair.

 

“Muh no morn… argh… cooooh fffff eeeee” I moaned like a zombie pining for brains.

“What the hell did you say? I think i heard a coffee in there somewhere. You’re useless in the mornings aren’t ya?” She teased.

 

   So, I did what any normal human being would do… I rolled over covered my head with a pillow and moaned for her to go away. I even pointed at the door, but Becca just laughed and swatted my tush.

 

“We moved you last night. Today is my turn. Trent is gone and I’m going to need all the help I can get, or I’ll go home get distracted playing Ocarina of Time until I pass out in the floor chewing on beef jerky!” Becca giggled and lay down across me. “A.D.D. is a bitch, but I’m self aware.”

 

“Son of a Biscuit! Ge orf Muh!” I grumbled and then uncharacteristically slammed my fist into the bed.

“Ooo… You’re not just NOT a morning person your like Anti-Morning-Person! How fun!” She laughed trying to get herself killed.

“OUT!” I huffed.

“Nope.” She continued to giggle.

 

So the bad part about good friends is the lack of personal space and boundaries?!? And unsolicited bottom whacks? I lamented. You know… I don’t think anyone but my parents has ever done that.

 

“Give me the key to my floor and then fall down the stairs after locking the door…” I tapered off surprised at my own harshness.

“Ha! Good one. Didn’t know you had that in ya!” Becca laughed reaching back and smacking my tush again.

 

   Becca rolled me over face up and placed a kiss on my forehead that woke me up much faster than the coffee would have. I felt loved on my head while my tushie felt more abused that it had in decades! I hadn’t felt like this since I was younger, back before I took the handsoff stand-alone stance against the world.

 

   Becca finally left my bedroom, but I could still feel her lips on my skin. A warm oval on my forehead channeling daylight into my soul. Becca and I have been friends for a long, long time. Even when we were young and and she was too little for me to really hang out with, we’d still been friends and I had played with her. She was a neighbor and we had something in common at the time. Becca’s acceptance meant the world to me.

 

“You’ll be a beautiful ray of sunshine in no time. Scoot. Shower. Coffee. Move my shit! You’ll be making me a better person soon enough!” She had stopped in the hallway for one last barb.

 

   She huffed back into my room and pushed my hips and my butt until one leg rolled off the bed thunking painfully against the hardwood floor. Then she stood up and pulled me up by my arms. I trundled down the hall like a two year old coming down from a sugar high. I’m used to an egregious nine hours of sleep and this inadequate five and a half wasn’t going to cut it! Not without copious amount of caffeinated bean-tea.

 

   Fortunately the hallway was carpeted otherwise my toes might have frozen off! We’d laid down without checking the thermostat the night before. It hadn’t been to bad in bed next to Becca, but I was freezing my girls off out from under the covers. I rubbed my palms across my chest trying to thaw out the tips of my chest.

 

“Geez, quit fondling yourself woman! Get in the shower and warm those tits up!” Becca said swatting at my butt… again!

“I’m not! I wouldn’t do that in front of you. Would you lay off the locker room tushie play. I’m sensitive...” I said in reflex turning sideways to protect the now tender flesh.

“OH MY GOD! You just admitted you masterbate you dirty girl!” Becca teased.

“Grah! I’m not awake enough for this conversation! Leave me alone you… poop.” I fussed and slammed the bathroom door in her face to her massive enjoyment.

 

   She didn’t leave me alone though. Nope, she waited until I was in the shower and then came back with a towel from one of my boxes. Instead of leaving the towel and heading out, she dropped loudly on the toilet. She sighed heavily dropping her head to her knees. She pulled them up onto the toilet lid.

 

“What’s wrong Becks?” I asked finding some of my normal mood in the heat of the shower.

“Nothing! Fuck I don’t know… Something? It feels weird moving in here without Trent. I mean we’ve been married over a year. He should be here ya know?” She opened up.

 

“I think I get it. You know me and relationships… But, I watched Mom and Dad. It wasn’t always smooth, but she works so hard to make him happy and he treats Mom like a princess. Course they still fight all the time. Stil, I’ve always thought of them as happy, and they say they are.” I shrugged in the shower making short work of washing my hair cause I very much felt like my personal space had been invaded.

 

“I don’t know. I guess I just thought he’d be here moving in with me not my girlfriend.” I peeked  out in time to see Becca brush a tear from her eye.

“Look, I’m no expert or anything, but as long as you both love eachother… I promise it will work out and I will be here for ya.” I vowed.

“Oh, I know you will. You’ve always been there for me. You’re the best friend ever!” She sniffled.

 

“I TRY Becca. But, I suck at relationship stuff. I’ve been close to you since before you started school. I know you like I don’t know anyone else. I’ve known Trent as long just not as well. You two are literally the only human beings on the planet I’d room with and I keep dreaming about getting a puppy, but that’s it no one else.” I remind her.

 

“Oh Sweety. You’re not some horrible untouchable thing. You’re gorgeous, you’re kind, you’re super empathetic, and you’re just... awesome. I love being around you. Just knowing you’ll be upstairs will help me when I’m lonely.” Becca promised.

 

“You mean a lot to me Becks. I’m happy to be here. Remember YOU’RE helping me out more than I’ll ever be able to help you out. This place is amazing. The Phillip’s house will be full of love, happiness, diapers, and little feet!” I told her knowing she wanted a couple kids.

 

“Oh, I can’t wait. I gotta finish school first though. It’s a promise to me. Plus, we’ll be past that three year window.” She told me.

“What window?” I asked her.

 

“Something like twenty percent of marriages end in divorce in the first three years and it bumps to thirty at five years. My parents didn’t last the three and neither did either of my grandparents. Hell, your parents are the only ones I know who are still married from my childhood.” Becca explained.

 

“Look, Daddy taught me one thing about marriage that I truly understand. It’s not about feelings, It’s about effort. He said all relationships are work and sacrifice. We measure that in time Punkin.” I quoted him.

 

“Your dad is pretty awesome. I’ve always had a bit of a crush on him.” She admitted.

“I know.” I laughed. “I miss them so much, but I’m as glad to be on my own as I’m sure they are to run around the house naked.” I laughed.

“What!?!” Becca asked brightening her mood and leaning forward.

 

“Dad said I was welcome to stay at the house while I finished my bachelor’s, but I was to move out and fly solo as soon as I graduated cause they wanted to walk around the house naked.” I giggled.

 

“Your parents still fuck? How often?” Becca asked impressed and curious.

“Cheese and Crackers your mouth!” I huffed, “Hand me that towel.”

“Sorry make love or whatever.” She air quoted handing me the towel.

 

   I dried off behind the tinted shower curtain and said, “I don’t know. I didn’t ask. You know how my childhood went. I was a late bloomer to those thoughts despite my body’s plans. I didn’t think about it till after ALL THAT.” I waved my hands encompassing most of my childhood. “Trent was my first shot at a relationship and I blew that miserably.”

 

“Eh, you were young… maybe not as young as I was, but young anyway. Look, you had a lot of… shit, going on.” She defended me.

“I know. Lord have mercy do I know.” I sighed into the towel drying my face.

“Trent would have never worked out for you anyway. You’re too sweet, and I love him… But, he’s a bit of a social dumbass. Worse he’s one who thinks he’s God’s Gift.” She giggled.

 

“That’s the only thing about him that has ever worried me. You know, when you two started dating I was just sure he’d blow it with that attitude, but your sharp mouth just cuts right through it. He’s good to you, and I love that. He’s proved himself, but I get why you want to wait. Plus, having that degree is a good idea anyway. You’re metal and everything, but I just don’t see you with a wrench and grease everywhere!” I snorted a laugh thinking about Becca in overalls and car grease.

 

“Oh, yeah! Totally not. I mean… maybe sawdust or grout, but never car grease! Besides, it was you or Trent for me. No one else would put up with my shit!” She laughed.

 

That’s not true! You’re kind and smart and handy and awesome!” I thought in rebuke.

 

   I looked down at my own hands. They were a few shades darker than transparent, but not by a lot. My makeup was just one shade darker than the lightest they made. My long slender fingers were tipped in a french style with pale pink tips and clear coating on the rest. My hands didn’t see a lot of manual labor, still don’t.

 

   I do my own nails, and I do them frequently. They are fiberglassed and polish-coated at all times because they are brittle and like to break. My long dirty blonde hair was draped over my shoulder while I looked over the shower curtain at the bathroom mirror reflecting my friend. Sometimes being tall was handy… other times you learn things.

 

   Like, tall people shouldn’t wear hats because door frames, ceiling fans and shelves can hide themselves in that blindspot.

 

-----

 

“Looks like a break room don’t it?” I told Becca eating my bowl of Lucky Charms about twenty minutes later.

 

“I guess it does sort of look like one. You should put a small table and a couple chairs in that big ass room of yours. Then you’ll have a real dining space for everyday and when you have company. I’ll have a place to eat too. Then neither of us will feel like we have to be back at our desks in thirty minutes.” Becca deadpanned.

 

“It’s true.” I giggled thinking about how the room made me feel. Her idea was a good one.

 

I could make my room more like my old hotel suite. Maybe I could even fit a couch in there with the table, bed, and move the dresser to the closet. Then I’d have a lounge space seperate from my break room. It could be more storage and small food prep. Then my bedroom would be like a studio apartment and my ‘office’ would just be down the hall. That’d free up a room up here. I pondered.

 

“Help me get the trailer hitch pinned on the Jeep. We’ll get a U-haul and maybe you can call some muscle in to help us? Maybe have them meet us over at your’s and Trent’s place?” I suggested slurping the milk from my bowl.

 

“Sounds good. God knows you’re good for nothing but reaching the high shit! You have the upper body strength of a twelve year old!” She teased.

“Maybe we can do a workout room if I can free up one of the bedrooms upstairs. I’ve been meaning to get in shape.” I planned.

“Shit that’d be perfect. Then I’d have some place to store Trents weights and shit. He’ll never use them now, but I can’t just throw them out. Maybe we can use a few of them?” She asked.

“Wanna start working out together?” I asked.

 

“Look, I’m just doing twelve hours next semester so we can nail down this house thing. I work like twenty hours a week. Hell yeah I’ll work out with ya! I’ll have plenty of time to kill. Ooo, can we put a TV in there so we don’t get bored while we are walking, or jumping rope, or whatever people do when they workout?” She begged.

 

   I loved it when Becca begged. It was nearly impossible to tell her no. It was like looking at a brown eyed animal with sad eyes. Pets have our numbers and Becca had mine. To be fair though, Becca’s puppy dog eyes would turn even the hardest heart to mush!

 

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