Day 171 – The Third Party

Word count: 781

The bus was hectic that evening; full of laden shoppers, businessmen with briefcases; teenagers with bubblegum and iPod; and exhausted workers returning from a long eight hour day. Rain pattered against the windows like machine gun fire. A howling wind lashed around the bus, swaying it from side to side as it plunged through deep puddles and tore around sharp bends.
Up on the top deck, at the back corner and huddled in her book, sat Elaine. Her eyelids were barely open as she read the words on the page slowly. In actually fact, she was not concentrating at all on the book. The point that she had lost interest was quite a few pages back and the book now served only to ensure that she did not look too awkward whilst alone on the bi-daily commute to and from work. Elaine was not the type to sit still and take in the views out the window; she always felt the need to do something, even if it was fidgeting or pretending to read a book.
It was not long until her stop now. After a hectic day that seemed to drag on for an eternity, she simply yearned for comfort food, her favourite pajamas and for there not to be another issue with her house. Elaine rented a house with two other people, Jo and Kirk. Though she did not really know Kirk that well, she had known Jo as an acquaintance for many years. Things were going well so far in the first two months of living together.
Elaine pressed the stop button and got up from her seat, stuffing her book back into her handbag as she made her way down the stairs. It stank of damp body odour downstairs. It was not pleasant. As the bus slowed to a halt, she scrambled through the thick net of passengers and surfaced into the dreadful evening.
Within seconds of being outside, she was drenched and by the time the bus pulled out water was dripping from her nose. Such was the time of year though, early November. It was already nigh pitch black and it was only quarter past six. Elaine secured her belongings and shuffled through the minefield of puddles with soaking wet shoes.
The hall light was on when she reached the little terraced house with the red door that she called her home. A warm feeling inside her buzzed with contentment when she thought that there might be someone else home. Elaine had previously lived in a house full of strangers who lived separate lives to her and never mingled. Elaine was not fussed on her own space, but craved a little company now and then.
After fiddling with the keys in the dodgy lock, she opened the door to see Jo sitting on the stairs with an envelope in her hands.
“Hi Jo!” Elaine smiled, throwing her coat on the hook as fast she could.
Jo grunted, not letting her eyes lift from the letter.
“Everything alright?” Elaine pursued, derobing further until she exposed a drier set of clothes.
“Uhm, I’m not quite sure. It’s hard to say.”
“Oh, sorry none of my business I suppose….” Elaine felt a lump in her throat that told her she had over stepped the mark and made to go into the kitchen to cook her dinner.
It was a slight mess in here again. For the moment it did not really bother her that much; she just wanted to grab something quick and collapse on the sofa. As she opened up the fridge – which stank of something weird – she heard Jo hop off the stairs and come into the kitchen.
“There’s this letter, Elaine. I’m not sure what to make of it.”
“Why, what’s it about?” Elaine extracted some celery and humous from the fridge.
“Well, you know how we’ve been getting our landlady’s mail since we moved in?”
“You didn’t – did you?”
“I was really intrigued! I thought just one!”
“What did you open – a bank statement?”
“No, something…. A bit better…” Jo circled the kitchen, reading the letter over again.
“Well go on then,” Elaine snapped the celery sticks, washed them and prepared to dip.
“Well, and I’ve read it over a few times now… But this letter… It’s from some company and it basically implies that our landlady has inherited… quite a sum of money…”
“Really? How much?”
“I’ve checked the number of digits and I think it’s right…”
“Bloody hell, how much is it?”
“Twelve million, four hundred and fifty seven thousand, eight hundred and eleven pounds.”
Elaine dropped the humous, her mouth gaping like a cavern.

~ by S.G. Mark on March 26, 2012.

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