Entrant in the 2020 YPRL Booklovers Festival Flash Fiction Competition.
She put the rusty car in park, opened the door and swung her feet out as she slung the worn straps of her handbag over her shoulder. Shaking her hair out to cover the old bag straps, she took a deep breath, threw her shoulders back, and strode purposefully towards the front door. She smiled back at the real estate agent waiting on the porch.
“Back again! I take that to mean you’re interested?”
“Oh, yes,” she said. “I have to have it.”
The agent laughed, not realising how serious she was.
Her black heels clicked over the shiny floorboard as she crossed the lounge to the kitchen. She ran a perfectly manicured red nail over the grey marble bench top, looking longingly at the duck-egg blue walls and bay windows. She had to have this house.
As she stepped towards the laundry, her phone rang. “I’m so sorry, I have to take this: it’s my doctor.” “That’s no problem, I’ll just step outside a moment.”
She turned her back to the agent, and answered the call. She fell silent, nodding wordlessly, although Dr Hartman obviously couldn’t see her.
“Do you understand what I’m telling you Rachel? You only have twenty four hours… I’m so sorry I had to tell you like this, but there simply wasn’t time… Rachel…?”
“Yes. Yes, thank you Dr Hartman, I understand, I have to go…”
She slid the phone back into her bag and made her way to the front door.
“Thank you, Marcie. I’ll be in touch.”
“Oh, Mrs Calloway, I’ve just come off the phone with the vendor. They’ve just received an offer, and have given me twenty four hours to take any others to them before they accept it… Mrs Calloway?”
She didn’t hear; she was already at her car.
She drove, fast, all the way home. Then she drank the fancy wine she’d been saving, the whole bottle, and fell asleep on the couch.
– – –
She woke to the vibration of her phone. Eight missed calls. She answered: Dr Hartman. With the little vial she needed to ensure her survival. She jumped up, threw on her shoes and grabbed her keys – she only had three hours and the clinic was almost two hours away. She threw the car into reverse and flew down the driveway. The phone rang again just as she approached the freeway. Marcie. The house. Shit.
“Mrs Calloway, I’ve been trying to reach you all morning. The vendors are ready to accept the offer and I hadn’t heard from you. If you still want it, I need a figure, and I need you at the house in the next hour to sign the contracts. Mrs Calloway? Are you there?”
She had to have that house. It had to be signed back under her name, even if she’d never live in it again. She swerved out of the freeway entrance lane, spinning the car in a very illegal turn across four lanes, and sped towards the house.
“Marcie, tell them $1.2 million. I’ll be there in 45 minutes.”