Linda Maye Adams

Writing in Public, Story 6, Scene 5


5

Randy cut across the lobby to the front desk, cradling Molly.  The little dog’s tail whipped against his chest with excitement.  He wondered what she smelled in here.  There had to be a million smells, brought in by the people passing through.

The front desk clerk, Erin, finished typing on her keyboard with a click of long, sparkly nails.  She grinned up at him from behind the glow of the computer screen.  She had one of those smiles that dragged him on in and made his day better.  She was red-haired and had a sprinkle of freckles across her cheeks.

“Morning, Randy,” she said.  “Who’s that sexy lady with you?”

Molly’s tail wagged even harder.  Randy wasn’t sure if Molly actually understand the words, or just thought everyone was talking about her.

“Vain dog,” he told her.  She wagged her tail again.  Randy lifted her up so Erin could pet her.

As Erin scratched Molly’s chin, she asked, “Have you seen the new Chandler?”

Nikki.  Warmth flooded into Randy.  He pushed that aside, fast.  His family and the Chandlers weren’t supposed to mix.  He’d already done more than he should have when he ran into by the house.

“That’s your fault,” he told Molly.  Sometimes he thought she was smarter than she acted.  She gave him an innocent look, black button eyes blinking.

Erin squeezed his hand.  “She’s already got a boyfriend.  Brian Donaldson.  That’s him.”

Randy glanced over, just in time to see Nikki stalk out of the lobby, trembling with anger.  The automatic door didn’t slam, but sigh closed, like a disappointing ending to her departure.  Brian watched her leave, not at all concerned, then returned his attention to his Iphone like he and Nikki hadn’t just fought.

“He strutted in here this morning, boasting about selling the house, like he could do what he damn well pleased with it,” Erin said.

Randy wondered how much influence Brian had over Nikki.  The Chandler house was the talk of the town because it was the last of the original seven houses.  They were all still there, lined up in a row, but time had taken them.  New owners had remodeled, sometimes horrifically, destroying the integrity of the houses.  One tore a beautiful set of stairs out, and another removed the stained glass from an entraceway and installed a wet bar.

Brian already sounded like one of those who finds out that his grandmother’s Bakelite is worth a few bucks and wants to sell it off.

“You should talk to her,” Erin said.  “Let her see Molly.  No one can resist that sweet face.”

Molly’s tail thumped against his chest again.

But all he could say was, “You know what my father will say.”

The two families had once been friends, but that had been a long time ago.  The only thing holding them together was that house.  The last one.

“Maybe it’s about time someone changed that,” Erin said.

Randy rested his back against the counter, ignoring Molly’s pink tongue licking at his collar.  If he got involved, it would cause a rift in his family.  His father was always so sure he was right and everyone else was wrong.  But what was wrong was what Brian was doing to Nikki.

He was already moving for the door when he realized he’d made his decision.  He hoped it was the right one.

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