The Spare Bedroom, Part 1

“I’m not crazy about the idea of your allowing a complete stranger to stay in your spare bedroom,” Paige admitted as she placed her wine glass on the coaster and waved a piece of paper at her host.

Becky smiled and refilled her best friend’s glass.

“Relax, Paige,” Becky replied in her most reassuring voice.  “This is Lightning Bug Junction, not New York City.  The frightening things you imagine might befall me, don’t happen here.”

That earned her a raised eyebrow and a knowing look, which caused Becky to sigh.

“Fine,” she admitted.  “But they definitely don’t happen to the same person twice in less than a month.”

Becky smiled and took a long sip of her wine.  They were both attractive women in their early forties, who were often mistaken for sisters because they not only looked alike, but also had similar tastes in fashion.  Becky was a redhead, while Paige was a brunette.

fiction, serial, The Spare Bedroom, Modern Philosopher“The only thing I do like about this ad,” Paige confessed as she placed the piece of paper on the table, “is that it says: For more information, call Becky Riley…”

Becky smiled and her beautiful face lit up like a Christmas tree.  “I thought you’d like that.  I certainly wasn’t going to keep using his last name after all this…”

Paige raised her glass in a toast to that sentiment, and then swallowed a huge gulp of wine.

“I always hated your married name,” she announced, which was not any sort of a revelation.  “Rebecca van Patten always made you sound like Eurotrash.  Like you were constantly sipping champagne on private jets as you circled the globe looking for new groups of people to oppress.”

Becky laughed out loud and almost spilled her wine.  She put down her glass and continued to laugh.

“I needed that.  Thank you.  I’m not sure I’ve laughed since…”

Becky’s voice trailed off, and she turned to stare dreamily out the window that looked into the backyard.

“It’s okay to be sad, honey,” Paige assured her.  “And angry.  And confused.  That’s why I don’t want you to rush into making a big decision like renting out the extra room.”

Becky turned back to her best friend.  The smile was gone, and replaced by a serious look that betrayed a bitter anger that she was desperately trying to hide from the outside world.

“Maybe you haven’t heard, but I’m a little hard up for cash these days,” she remarked as she forced a strained smile onto her face before she rushed to wipe away the tear that was about to begin its descent down her left cheek.

Paige did not like to see her oldest and closest friend like this.  She wanted nothing more than to assure her that all would be well, but she couldn’t.

Not because of what he’d done.

flash fiction, The Spare Bedroom, Modern Philosopher“What I don’t get is why after embezzling over a million dollars from his company, and running off with his assistant who is ridiculously too young for him, he found it necessary to drain your joint bank account,” Paige growled.  “I always thought he was an asshole, Becks, but he didn’t have to go to such lengths to prove I’ve been right about him this whole time…”

Becky shrugged and then started to cry.  The tears came way too quickly this time for her to even bother to try to stop them.

Paige quickly made her way over to the couch to sit next to her.  Becky immediately rested her head on Paige’s shoulder and closed her eyes.

“How could I be totally oblivious to the fact that the man I married was capable of such horrible things?” she whimpered as she tried to wipe away some of the tears.

“I’m surprised the jackass didn’t stop to burn down the diner on his way out of the country!” Paige declared as he wrapped a comforting arm around her friend.

Becky snorted.  The sound was some sort of bizarre laughter and bawling hybrid.

“He probably crunched the numbers, and calculated that the insurance money from a fire would allow me to start over and avoid abject poverty,” she mumbled.

Paige had to smile at Becky’s wise ass comment in the face of such adversity.

“Well, you’re not as destitute as Jake might wish you to be,” Paige pointed out.  “He had no access to the business account, so the diner is fine as are all the funds.  In addition, your best friend is the manager of the bank that holds the mortgage on this house, so that amazing woman has the ability to grant you a hardship waiver on your payments.”

Becky sniffled and slowly raised her head off Paige’s shoulder.

“The bank manager is awesome, and I’m lucky to have her in my life,” she said with a smile.

Paige reached out to wipe away Becky’s tears.

“Everything is going to be okay,” Paige promised.  “You said that business is really picking up at the diner as our fellow townspeople rally to support you.”

“Lightning Bug Junction power!” Becky tried to sound enthusiastic.

“We’re going to get you through this, Becks,” Paige vowed.  “There’s no way in hell I’m going to let that bastard ruin you.”

“It’s times like this when I’m very grateful that you’ve always hated the man I chose to marry,” Becky quipped.  “Thanks for loving me even when you hated Jake.”

“My pleasure,” Paige replied.  “So does this mean you’re not going to rent out the room?”

Becky reached out and grabbed the piece of paper from the table.  She quickly re-read the few lines under the heading SPARE BEDROOM FOR RENT.

“Nah, I think I’m still going to do it.  I mean, what could possibly go wrong?”

They both laughed and reached for the bottle of wine in unison.




About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
This entry was posted in Humor and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to The Spare Bedroom, Part 1

  1. kristianw84 says:

    I’m so excited to see where this goes!!

    • Austin says:

      So am I! Much like The Vanishing Corpse, I have no idea where the story is going!!!

      • kristianw84 says:

        I love that! It’s fun to see where the story takes you. From a writers standpoint as well as a readers!

      • Austin says:

        I’m just glad I came up with a town name. That took ages. I was about to call it Firefly Junction, but when I Googled that, I discovered a book with that name!

      • kristianw84 says:

        I like Lightning Bug Junction. It makes the place sound rural for some reason, and charming.

        Firefly Junction is good too, which is why it’s already taken. I hate when that happens! I had to delete an entire scene from my story because I remembered the exact same thing happened in an episode of Friends. 🤦‍♀️ It was so good, too… 😔

      • Austin says:

        The name made me think of the movie Doc Hollywood for some reason. I was just picturing a quaint, peaceful town where only good things happen…

  2. davidprosser says:

    Uh-Oh Austin, be gentle, Becky’s already had a hard time.

  3. markbialczak says:

    Thank you for this new start with great characters and fantastic possibilities down the storyline, Austin!

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