“This Way to the Egress” con’t

Another bus. Hardly what he wanted to hear, but he nodded. Both of her reasons were solid, and he’d have plenty of time to talk to her later.

They caught the bus, well on time, and rode in silence. He was too tired to try, and she seemed willing to respect that. “Here.” She jogged him out of a doze he hadn’t let himself slip into, and he jerked awake in surprise. With a belly full of food, and the calming fact that she had shown up and seemed to be much that she claimed, he was fading fast.

He’d been steeling himself for bad, but the neighborhood they exited into was not as harsh as he’d been fearing. It wore an air of pushed to the edge, but still clinging on. Once it had been a good neighborhood, filled with post war single family homes, now the air was tinged with desperation, but it was not outwardly squalid. But still hardly the place she should be living…alone.

“We’re going to be coming in your door.” She stated, moving to the side of the house. “You have the back of the house.”

“Right.” He said, climbing the small flight of steps behind her. The door opened into a good sized den, with two couches, dimly lit by a single lamp left on.

“Your living room.” She identified, and he blinked in amazement. This was his? She had to be kidding, right? “Your bedroom, the bath is attached to it.” She opened the door on the right, and indeed, that was a bedroom. A large enough bedroom, with a double bed. The air smelled of…air. No cigarette smoke. No vomit. Nothing dirty at all. The tiny bathroom smelled of bleach and cleaners, but it was still all his. A sink, a toilet, a corner shower. “Kitchen and laundry is through here.” She noted, walking past a desolate little cubby with a tiny table in it and into the kitchen. Again, big enough, clean enough. “There you go.” She said, and he nodded. That meant that the two left hand doors, one from the den, and one from the kitchen, must lead into her side. “Get some sleep. We’ll get the little details ironed out when you’re not swaying on your feet.”

And that was about the best idea he’d heard in a long time. “Oh, Naomi.” He murmured, half turning his back while he peeled off four hundred dollars from his stash. “Thank you again.” He pressed the money into her hands, and turned, headed straight for that bed. He was asleep before he hit the mattress, still fully dressed.



Naomi sat at the table in her side of the house, thumbs on her temples, staring at the pattern of the tablecloth. Just when it looked like she couldn’t be crazier, she was proven wrong. She’d seen a picture of Elias… a tiny, fuzzy one…before. And it had done him absolutely no justice. She’d just opened up her house to perhaps the finest piece of jailbait that she’d ever rested eyes on. He was gorgeous. She could swim in those eyes, drown in them.

What now? She couldn’t send him back. There was no back to send him to. Both of his brothers were using, he’d made that clear. He couldn’t go home, and now she understood that more than ever. He was more than attractive enough to be trouble, even if he was the world’s most perfect angel, where he was from. And she sensed, under the yes ma’am, no ma’am, thank you again, Naomi exterior that he was working so hard on that Elias Barlow was strong willed. Stubborn, good looking…of course he’d been shown the door.

And…her eyes dropped on the money he’d pushed into her grasp…she needed a roommate to help make ends meet. The meal tonight had been her first real one in days. With four hundred in cash, she could finally buy groceries. Real food. “Fine, Elias.” She told the room, ruefully. “You can stay.”

Like there was any real question of that. She’d let the opportunity go that morning when he’d texted her to ask, and she just had to accept it. She locked both of the doors that linked to his side of the house securely, took a bath, and went to bed herself.


She woke early, feeling the very difference in the house. It was probably just her imagination, but she had always felt it when someone else was here. But judging by the exhaustion he’d breathed last night, he would sleep for hours more…enough time for a quick trip to get food.



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Tony
    Aug 29, 2013 @ 19:24:07

    Ah, it could still go in so many directions. 🙂


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