Suzie sat at the desk in the little alcove of her office. Sunlight poured through the windows in the rounded walls making the small office warm and inviting. She could see traffic pass, when she chose to look through the windows. Instead she stared at the checkbook which sat on the desk along with a pile of bills. She tried to ignore the thumping and bumping from the rooms overhead by focusing on the bills she could now pay. It wasn’t working. She dropped her head into her hands and closed her eyes.
She should never have allowed Miranda to move in, let alone Vin too. First month’s rent, last month’s rent, and deposits from them had allowed her to catch up on the mortgage payments, but Lord knew if it would be worth it. She wasn’t sure how she was going to feed them. Well, she would cross that bridge when the food ran out.
“Mom?” Ben put his hand on her shoulder and gave her a gentle nudge. “Is Vin moving into two bedrooms?”
“He’s putting boxes in both the other bedrooms. I mean besides the one Miranda took. Or he was. Now Vin and Miranda are arguing.”
Suzie shoved her chair back, making it scrape across the hardwood floor. She’d worry about the floor later. Right now she needed to find out what was going on with her new room mates.
Ben followed her up the stairs to the second floor. No need to hunt the combatants down, Vin and Miranda faced off in the widening of the upstairs hall at the top of the staircase.
“I need the space.” Miranda waved her arms for emphasis. Face flushed and eyes flashing, she looked thoroughly pissed off.
“I’ll bet,” Vin snarled. “Your shoes alone would fill my room.”
“You think my shoes would fill THAT room?” She pointed to the doorway behind Suzie, the one to the room between the bathroom at the back of the house and Suzie’s room at the front. “It’s the biggest room in the house.”
“No,” Vin said with forced patience. “MY room.” He pointed to the one across from the bathroom.
“Well then why are you putting stuff in that room?”
“It’s Drew’s. He’s moving in too.”
“Oh!” Miranda did a little cheerleader hop of enthusiasm. “You should have said so! So, I guess I’m in….” She looked around the hall, her eyes stopping at each doorway in turn. “Still in that one.” She sounded disappointed as she looked at the middle room wedged between Ben’s and Vin’s. “The one with a lovely view of the neighbor’s wall.”
“Let me get this right,” Vin said through tight lips. “You’ll give up the big room for Drew without a fuss, but you wouldn’t give it up for me?” Vin’s eyes narrowed. Though his wide face had a boyish charm under the tousled hair, he looked quite menacing. Suzie took a step back from the two of them.
Vin glanced at her, apparently noticing her for the first time.
“Suzie.” He put his back to Miranda and nodded a curt greeting to Suzie. One hand went to his back pocket. He drew a check out of his wallet and handed it to her. “This is for Drew’s room.”
Miranda pushed between Suzie and Ben to enter the largest room. Ignoring her, Suzie glanced at the check. It was from Drew and carried enough digits to make her jaw drop. “That isn’t what I’m charging.”
“No. It’s half of what he would pay if he stayed where he is now. He can afford it.”
With this much money Suzie could get some new school clothes for Ben as well as caviar for everyone in the house every day this month. She folded the check and put it in the back pocket of her jeans. “Thanks.”
“She doesn’t have to be so gleeful.” Vin sounded heart sick.
Uh oh. He still wasn’t over her. Suzie bit her lower lip. If he still cared after all Miranda had put him through, and Miranda was going to go after Drew in front of him, then life in the house could turn into a regular soap opera. She wasn’t at all sure the money would be worth watching Vin get hurt. If only Miranda would see what was right in front of her, rather than chasing men all over town.
“Vin.” Suzie put a hand out to him, wanting to re-assure him that everything would work out, whether it would or not.
With a stubborn set to his mouth, Vin shoved his way to the stairs, headed off for another load, no doubt. Suzie let her hand drop.
“I knew you would fix everything,” Ben said proudly, looking on her with admiration.
“I didn’t do anything.”
“But they stopped arguing. You should have heard them go at it before you got here. All you had to do was stand there and they worked it out. It’s like magic.” Ben grinned.
Suzie groaned. She wasn’t at all sure it was good for her son to see the grown ups around him carrying on. But there wasn’t much she could do about it now. If she tried to kick them out, she’d have to return the money, money she’d already spent.
It didn’t help to have Ben whistle a happy tune as he saunter off to his own room.