Miranda balanced precariously in her wonderfully wild, high heel shoes as she crouched down to put an arm across her best friend’s shoulders. She tuned out the homey kitchen, the smell of soup, and the ticking of the clock which marked the seconds until Suzie’s son came home from middle-school, claiming his mother’s full attention.
“Face it Suzie-Woozie. It’s take me in or lose the house.”
She watched Suzie’s plain, make-up-deficient face for any sign of resignation. As soon as Suzie bit her lip, Miranda knew she’d won.
Yes! She couldn’t wait to move in. She looked around Suzie’s the bright, cozy kitchen with it’s yellow accents and polished-wood class and grinned.
Everything she’d said to Suzie was true. She liked the idea of being able to help Suzie keep the house while saving a little money. Giving up the ratty little studio apartment in Shanks Corners would be no hardship. She loved the idea of eating a good dinner every night without having to go to a restaurant for it.
But best of all would be the chance to break down the barriers around the mysterious and delicious Andrew Banks. With Marvelous Marvin’s help and the forced intimacy of living in close quarters together she had no doubt she’d get through to the man.
Who knows? Maybe this time her match making efforts between Suzie and Marvin would pay off.
“All right.” Suzie looked grim as she said it, as if she didn’t look forward to the kind of fun they’d had together in college. “You can rent one of my rooms. But only as long as you follow my rules.”
“Well of course.” Miranda straightened. It took her a minute to process what Suzie had said, beyond permission to move in. “Rules?” Her triumphant smile slipped. “What rules?”
“You’re not being reasonable, Suzie.”
“Miranda! No! Men!”
All Miranda’s hopes and schemes ground to a halt. Getting Andrew and Marvin to move into the other two bedrooms… well it wasn’t a deal breaker. Besides, she was sure to get Suzie to see reason once she’d moved in.
“All right, all right. No men.” Suzie walked to the opposite end of the kitchen table and sat down. “I don’t know why you have to get so worked up about it.”
Suzie clamped her mouth shut mutinously. The expression went nicely with sever hairstyle – plane brown hair pulled back into a ponytail. It gave Suzie a strong, girl-next-door wholesome look that would be perfect for a “Got Milk” ad campaigne. If only she would let Miranda touch her up with a little makeup and take some snapshots.
Later. At the moment she had bigger fish to fry.
“Does the ban on all men include Marvin? He’s your friend too. Surely you could let him come by now and then. I mean, he does anyway, doesn’t he?”
Suzie groaned. She rolled her eyes. She gave a frustrated huff. Then she gave in. “I don’t suppose we could keep him away. Vin can come.”
“Why can’t you call him Marvin?”
“He asked me to call him Vin, so I do. What’s wrong with Vin?”
“I just think Marvin is better. Think about it . ‘Marvelous Marvin’. Doesn’t it roll of the tongue?” Miranda waved her hand in the air, feeding the drama of the moment.
Suzie wasn’t having any of it. She got up and went to the stove, opened the door to the oven, and shoved in the loaf of bread dough she had shaped when Miranda arrived for their usual evening together. Miranda gave her a moment before starting in on her again.
“You know, Marvin’s lease has expired. He had to move to a sublet. When the student’s come back his sublet will run out.”
Suzie slammed the oven closed. She put her hand to her brow and sighed in exasperation. “Don’t tell me.”
“Why not? You can charge him double what you charge me. He won’t mind. Besides, it’ll give you something to live on. I mean what I pay will cover most of the mortgage so you won’t lose the house, but you still have to buy food and stuff, right?”
“Tell me this isn’t happening.”
“I don’t see why you have to be go glum about it. You should be thanking me for solving all your problems.”
Suzie laughed quietly. “All my problems? Not even close.” She gave the soup a stir. It smelled heavenly. “But it would solve some. Fine I’ll let Marvin rent one of my rooms, but no other men. I don’t want my son to see you traipsing around with one man after another. Marvin’s all right, but no other men.”
“Right. No other men,” Miranda agreed. “I’ll meet my dates elsewhere. I won’t bring any home.” Miranda mentally crossed her fingers. Bringing Andrew into the house didn’t count, did it? She didn’t intend to date him. Just marry him.
No need to say anything about it to Suzie now. It could be months before Miranda could convince him to move out of the hotel room and into the house. By then Suzie was sure to see reason. Besides, if she pushed too hard Suzie wouldn’t let her have any of the soup.