When Charles and Laura returned home Sunday evening, they were dog-tired. They slept early by seven that night and did not wake up until noon. Laura took a sick leave from work that day and lay in bed for her feet ached terribly.
Charles’ shoulders and feet ached but unlike Laura, he was in high spirits; partly because his studio apartment though really tiny in size had felt empty without her, so he was glad Laura had moved back in with him. The second reason was the fact that Saturday night had been the best night of his life. He was worried about woohooing, since it was his first time he might be horrible, that something might go wrong, that it would feel weird. But it did not! It was in fact, incredible. He felt incredible and couldn’t stop thinking how electrifying the whole experience had been for him. He smiled despite his aching muscles and cooked, cleaned the house, washed the dishes and did the laundry all by himself.
That evening he received a call from Mr. Wickham, the contractor who was in charge of supervising the construction of their house in Willow Creek.
He informed Charles that his house was halfway through and asked him to visit the site the next day. When Charles narrated the whole conversation to Laura, she did not seem excited, just the reaction Charles had expected of her.
His faint smile disappeared completely. “Could you at least accompany me to the site?” he asked before resuming his work.
Laura nodded and that brought back a smile on his face.
The next day, Laura decided to join Charles directly from work. She had a stressful day and was in no mood to travel all the way to boring Willow Creek. However it was only a half hour drive from the police department where she worked. She was also very curious to know what the house looked like since she had shown absolutely no interest in planning its layout. The truth was she really didn’t care about the house as much as Charles did. So it came as a surprise to her, that the moment she set her eyes on it, she fell in love with it almost instantly. It was like love at first sight.
There was something about the house, she couldn’t tell what, that made her smile and her heart flutter. The house wasn’t anything grand; just a modest one storey family home.
The house, from the outside looked like a little cottage, with stairs leading to a tiny porch big enough to accommodate two chairs.
The house made her feel oddly nostalgic and she couldn’t tell why.
And then she remembered, this house looked exactly like her grandma’s cottage in the countryside where she would go every summer. She would play on the swings in the backyard all morning, and spend the afternoons reading in the rocking chair on the front porch, in the evenings she would play chess or go fishing with her grandpa only to be welcomed by her grandma’s delicious apple pies for dinner. Even now, as she stood outside, the familiar aroma of pancakes tickled her nostrils and she couldn’t help but giggle like a little girl.
asked Charles with enthusiasm.
Laura realized she had been smiling a little more than necessary and tried hiding her excitement.
But before Laura had a chance to protest, they were interrupted by Mr. Wickham.
“We’re not married.” Laura chuckled awkwardly.
“Very well. Follow me. Let me give you a tour of your beautiful dream home!” He turned around swiftly and climbed up the porch. Opening the front door, he stood outside and gestured the two to enter in.
Laura looked around the house. The interiors were still unfinished, she could tell and many rooms were still to be partitioned with walls.
Right at the entrance was a staircase that led up to the first floor and Laura grew curious to know what the upstairs looked like.
But they followed the contractor as he moved to the right.
Moving forwards, he said,
…A fire-place over there….
Moving to the left he said,
…And if you follow me,” he said moving towards the staircase,
….Now, if you will follow me please,” he walked past the staircase towards the back door and opening it, he gestured,
…Oh! and as you can see, the backyard is large enough to grow a garden or add monkey bars for your children-”
“We’re not married,” Charles reminded him.
“Very well. Oh! And we installed the windows today. I hope you like the one’s we’ve selected for your house. I must admit, there’s still a lot of work left. We still have to build walls and partition the rooms upstairs as well as downstairs.” He moved inside the house, “and we also have to attach a few doors here… and here and there” he pointed in all directions as he gave his report. “Basically the shell is ready for now.” He pulled out a checklist, “aaaand… we’re also left with the flooring, plumbing, lighting, and… wallpapers or… is it paint?”
“Paint.” said Charles.
“Got it.” He scribbled something in his notepad and looking up, he gave them a wide smile. “Excellent!” he exclaimed, as if complimenting his own work and patting himself on the back.
Laura was genuinely impressed. She could actually picture the entire house, furnished and ready for them to move in. “Can we go upstairs?” she asked.
The contractor nodded and the three climbed up the stairs.
Once they reached the first floor, Mr. Wickham began again,
“Beautiful!” Laura applauded excitedly.
“Sounds perfect!” Laura’s eyes glittered and from the corner of her eye, she saw a smile appear on Charles’ face.