Dripping clumps of mud from my boots land on the granite slab of a tabletop in my father’s office with a thud. Each one creates a sticky lump of brownish black, leaving behind a rotten stench. I helped Micheal work cows this morning, so the manure mixed in with the mud on my boots is unmistakable. I kick back with my hands interlocked behind my neck, and then wiggle my shoulders some so that I can sink deeper into the plush velvet of the chair I’m relaxing in. I give my left heel a firm tap, allowing it to shake loose of some more sludge for my father to clean up once I leave.
Suzanne, the new maid, isn’t near as efficient as Maria was. A part of me thinks that Maria’s murder was an eye oppener for my father. Especially during weeks like this, when he has the mansion to himself. Suzanne is gone on vacation to visit her family, and my Mother’s flight back from Paris was delayed. She’s expected home anytime, has been for a few days to be precise, yet no one has heard a word from her.
Likely, she’s held up in a bit more populated portion of Montana, shopping and indulging in all of the worldly luxuries that money can buy before making her way back home to the country lifestyle that they both seem to hate so much. Apparently the scenery of a map-less farm town alone doesn’t hold the worth to them that they thought it would. Neither of my parents will admit to their mistakes though, so they spend as much time away as possible and they pretend to make face while they’re here.
“Chloe, must you really track that crud all over the house?” Father asks.
“Why yes, my good sir, I most certainly must.” I mock, sweeping an open palm through the air as if to accentuate my teasing.
He only huffs and rolls his eyes before slamming his book shut and placing it ever so carefully at the corner of his desk. He lines the book exactly one inch from the mahogany edging. His well manicured fingers press against it’s binding for good measure. With a heavy sigh his shoulders drop allowing Michael and I a clear view of the aging skin along his neck line.
Michael straightens his back and fidgets with the hem of his button down. I look toward the floor to notice Michael’s toes are curled nervously in his socks. Of course, Michael took his boots off at the door. I smile, and give the heel of my other foot a good tap on the table. If Michael refuses to help me make a poop mess in my father’s office, I’ll make a big enough one for the both of us. It is only fair, after all.
“Chloe,” he says and then clears his throat. “In all of your twenty years, you’ve never once came to my office to chat about the weather.”
“Nope,” I retort quickly.
“Is there anything I can help you with?”
My father stares at me, refusing to give Michael even an ounce of recognition. His glossy, very tired eyes have no nonsense written all over them. I return the glare in full force. I’d turned down his offer to build us an equally as impractical of a house as this one after Michael and I eloped, settling for a bite sized cottage on the opposite side of town. I’ve also declined my father’s countless attempts to drag me along on their most recent family vacations. One’s that purposely excluded Michael.
My stomach moves under my shirt, revealing the ever growing bump that I’ve managed to keep concealed for over six months now. Michael coughs into a balled fist. He noticed the movement, and reaches over to steal one of my hands from behind my neck. I sit up, give the palm of my love a gentle squeeze and adjust my loose shirt to hide it better. Luckily I’m tall, and have carried this baby in a very concealable manner. My father didn’t notice a thing, his non-blinking eyes still burning a hole through my own. Just as Michael opens his mouth to share the news, a loud slam echoes through the air.
“Heeelllloooo?” a high in pitch hollar follows the slam. “Anyone here?”
I turn to stop Michael from spilling the beans, taking note of the sweat beads dripping from his upper lip and hairline alike. I chuckle and shake my head. Unbelievable, I think, he can rescue his love from the clutches of a serial killer, yet he can’t say the word ‘baby’ out loud to her father without dressing up like a wanna be rich clown and losing a couple pounds of sweat from the pores of his face.
My father stands, then rubs his palms down the front of his shirt to iron away the non-existing wrinkles in it’s fabric. Michael follows suit before swallowing his spit with an obviously uncomfortable bob of his adams apple.
“I’m sure she’ll need help with her baggage,” father mumbles, holding a palm out as in invitation for us to leave his office.
Michael and I comply, myself in a hurry to escape my father’s glare, and Michael relieved at prolonging the inevitable task of sharing our news.
Sure enough, mother has an entourage at her heels. Four men in their early thirties, hired to be at her beck and call from the airport home, hustle in and out of the entrance. The baggage that they carry is large and in charge. One box after another is stacked neatly in the corner until two vehicles full is emptied. The largest of the men waits patiently by the door for his tip. She makes him wait, purposefully putting on a show for them.
“Chloe, my darling. Oh, how I’ve missed you.” She beams.
I roll my eyes, and allow her to kiss both my cheeks.
She then turns to Michael. “Matt, I see you have taken good care of my daughter while I’ve been gone. Feeding her well, no doubt. What have you put on in the last year my sweet? Ten, maybe twenty pounds?” Her smile doesn’t falter, and the insult only bounces back.
Michael chokes on his spit, shocked at her tenacity. “She…” he begins to defend his wife from her insults, but I cut him off.
“Mother, his name is Michael!”
“Ohhhh, yes, yes, of course, my sweet.” She fishes a stack of cash from her clutch and hands it over to the man by the door. He hurries out to join his colleagues with a bounce in his step, utterly careless of her show and very eager to escape her persauna. She turns abruptly back to me with a hand on her hip, long nails digging into the silk of her blouse.
“Well, what is it you need then Chloe?”
Father mozies to her side, placing one hand formally behind his back and the other on the small of hers. I look back and forth at the two, glaring from beneath lowered brows.
“Chloe,” Michael chooses his words carefully. “Maybe we should let your mom unpack before we tell them.”
“No need,” I snap.
“Well then,” father says, “if it’s money you want, then just ask. You know we’ll give you however much you need.”
I chuckle to myself and shake my head, unbelievable.
“Yes, dear.” Mother opens her clutch again, fetching whatever dollar amount she has handy to send me on my way. “We’ll be leaving again in a couple of weeks. London has been calling my name for months now.”
“How long?” I ask.
“Excuse me?” mom says with a confused lift of her brow.
“How long will you be in London?”
“Oh, it’s hard to say.” She says, flashing around and counting a fat wad of cash a few inches in front of our faces. “Nine months, maybe ten.”
I’m due in less than four.
“We don’t want your money.” I snap. “I guess our news can also wait.”
I grab Michael by the hand and start pulling him toward the door. He hesitates staring deeply into my eyes, willing me to let them in on our growing family. I refuse, knowing full well that he’ll come back on his own.
HOPE YOU ENJOYED THE SCENE!! This month, I used the characters from Sketch. For the prompt of Prodigal Return the Cosistories blog joined in as well for a very engaging, must read scene! As well as Kristin from Life Lessons From Around the Dinner Table blog, who’s character Micheal has a very permanent place in my heart! Go check them out!! For August, I’ll be posting the prompt within the next few days so stay tuned!!
To read more of Chloe and Michael you can find Sketch here:
When local girl Misty is found dead in an underground bunker, the town is thrown into a whirlwind of panic and speculation. Times are tough, but the spaced-out farmer community pulls together as one, trying to uncover who’s guilty.
Thrown smack in the middle of the chaos is a group of teens: local troublemakers, but with good hearts. Although they’re innocent, the local law enforcers believe otherwise, and the true killer is lurking far too close for comfort.
Will the four be able to uncover the truth before one of them pays the price for Misty’s death?
HERE IS HOW THE MONTHLY WIP WRITING CHALLENGE WORKS:
As the initiator: Every month I’ll give a real time circumstance, hang out spot, or every day situation. I’ll post the exact scene/challenge the first week of every month.
As an Author/challenge joiner: All you need to do is use the characters from your WIP (work in progress), or even a published works, and plug them into the given scene for a short story style post. It can be funny, serious, deadly, really just whatever you want as long as it’s true to your characters (as in, what they would actually do in this situation)!! It’s a fun way to be creative with those personalities that you as their creator love so much. It’s also a fun way to introduce them to the world and your blogs, without giving away your plots and twists… Just pure ‘meet my characters, and get to know their personalities’ separate from their book.
How we work together as Authors and the Initiator: I’ll do my own scene/challenge post on the very last day of the month (that way I can be sure to link in every joiner, and you can do your posts at your own leisure). Write your scene’s anytime you wish, at any point of the month. All that I need is your final challenge post link. You can give it to me in any comment, or even link me into your post so that it’ll pop in my newsfeeds! So simple!