Rm w/a Vu(11)

By: A. D. Ryan

After jotting down the address and directions, I hang up the phone and hold the paper in my hands like it’s my lifeline to…something. I’m not sure what it is, but there was something about his voice—his energy, even over the phone—that appealed to me. I laugh at myself, because it’s clearly ridiculous; for all I know, he could be some sixty-seven-year-old bald dude who walks around in his boxers and a sweat-stained tank top…

“Ewwww,” I groan to myself as the possibility of that being a reality actually sets in. “He could be some sixty-seven-year-old bald dude who walks around in his boxers and a sweat-stained tank top.”

I’m just about to call back and tell him that something came up and I’ll reschedule later if the room is still available, when the front door opens and my dad calls out, “Honey, I’m home for dinner!”

While I hope to God that there’s no sexual innuendo haloing his statement, I’m finding it hard to believe. It’s when I hear my mom’s giggle from the kitchen just beneath my room that I toss my phone back on my mattress and declare aloud, “I’ll take my chances with the old guy.”

Chapter 4

“So, how much is it?” Mom asks as she watches me rifle through the few clothes I had been able to stuff into my bag when leaving the dorm last week.

My hands stop moving over the hangers in my closet. “I kind of forgot to ask, actually.”

Mom laughs. “Shouldn’t that be the first thing you find out?” she teases lightly.

She’s right, of course, and I try to remember why I hadn’t even thought to ask. The sound of his voice suddenly invades my head, and I find myself feeling funny again. I have to tell myself that I’m acting ridiculous, because I’ve never even met the man. I easily chalk it up to a lack of sleep and my excitement over the prospect of moving out. Shockingly, it wasn’t because of my parents’ “carnal interludes” for once.

While I had briefly thought that the man could be an old bald guy, the more I lay in bed thinking about it, the more my mind imagined him the opposite. I like it better that way; it’s way less creepy.

Don’t get me wrong; I still gave my mom the address when telling her about the place because no matter how pretty this guy might be, people are still kind of crazy nowadays. I watch the news and am the daughter of a Phoenix police officer…I know things.

“And the woman you’ll be renting from? She seemed nice?” I freeze as I reach for my brown v-neck shirt, unable to meet her gaze. It’s true; I may have withheld a thing or two. “Juliette?” She drags out my name, using the tone that mothers use when they know you’re keeping something from them. It’s like a superpower.

“The, uh…landlord seems great,” I tell her quickly. I’m a little terrified to tell her that this person is a guy. While my mother is a pretty open-minded person, she’s also very loose-lipped. If she were to tell my dad, well, he’d activate the GPS I know is in the cell phone they bought me for my last birthday and have me followed. Cop, remember?

I know it’s stupid and irresponsible to keep this from them, but I still don’t even know if I’m taking the place. Why upset them—well, mostly Dad—if it doesn’t work out?

With a laugh, I pull my shirt down over my face and turn to Mom. “Definitely not someone in the boyfriend-stealing market…not that it’s really a concern since I don’t plan on having one for quite a while.”

Mom rolls her eyes, probably because she doesn’t believe I can refrain from having a boyfriend. Well, I’ve got news for her; I went without almost all the way through high school…I could so do it again. I’ll show her.

“Do you want me to come with you? Your father is working all day, so I would be happy to tag along,” she offers.

I admit, it’s probably not a bad idea, but that whole “her telling dad I went to look at a place that some guy was renting through the classifieds” thing keeps me from accepting. Not wanting to hurt her feelings, I try to quickly work out how to let her down easily; I know she likely just wants us to spend the day together.