The Decision

It was decision time. They’d beaten around the bush for a while and tonight away from prying eyes and ears, they would either jump in the deep end together or forget it. Connie had risked the most by reaching out to Meredith first and so far Meredith hadn’t betrayed her. It was Meredith’s desperation that made her vulnerable.

Connie opened the front door when the bell rang.

“Hi. Come in.” Glancing up and down the dark street still wet from an afternoon rain, she took Meredith’s arm and guided her in hastily before closing and locking the door.

Meredith hung her own rain jacket on one of the wooden pegs by the front door. Moving into the living room, she sat down in a rigid straight back chair close to the fire.

Connie walked around to the sofa opposite her and sitting directly in its center, clasping her hands together tightly on her lap, looked directly at Meredith and said, “I didn’t think we should drink wine, well anything alcoholic tonight, but I made some decaf coffee. I’ll get us each a cup.”

When Connie handed her the cup, Meredith said, “If we get caught, my kids won’t have a mother and they already don’t have a father.”

“I know that.” Connie backed toward the sofa, sat down again and said, “But we won’t get caught.”

“Oh, we might.”

“Yes, we might.” Connie took a sip and grimaced slightly. “But the plan is pretty good and besides, no one will even look. They don’t care.”

“They’d care if they knew.”

Connie shot back, “Then, they’re too busy being self-important to even pay attention.”

Meredith gazed into the fire. “Will you do it anyway? Without me I mean?”

“I don’t see how I could.”

“Right.” Meredith was looking down. “It’s just that I really am an honest person.”

Connie leaned forward on the sofa. Holding Meredith’s gaze she said, “Well, who’s more honest than you? You know how hard you work for them. They don’t pay you for all that extra time you put in. Hell, you are always there, even on weekends.”

“True, I missed Josh’s baseball game again last week because of the emergency de jour. I keep hoping that if I work harder, they’ll see how much they need me; how much I’m worth.” Meredith’s voice faltered, her eyed filled, her chin quivered. She shook herself and went into the kitchen to get a second cup of coffee. Returning, she said, “But it still doesn’t belong to us.” She moved the chair closer to the fire and sat down.

“Well, it does sort of. You have to take care of yourself these days. It’s for sure no one else will,” Connie said; her back straightening. “Hey, I don’t have kids, but I still have trouble making ends meet these days so I don’t know how you do it. No raise for three years? Who are they kidding?”

With a deep breath Meredith looked at the fire. “Well anyway.” Taking a sip, she said quietly, “How do we decide who…?”

“It’s got to be different ones each time, but no more than a couple a month.” Connie’s eyes brightened.

“And they won’t know?”

“Why would they? We take their money sure, but they’ll get their stuff. You’ll see to that. The customers won’t be out anything; they won’t be harmed, Meredith.”

“So, then the money…”

“The money goes into the bank account we set up. We’ll put some business name on it so it all looks legitimate. In the books, it will just look like payments for supplies.”

The grandfather’s clock in the hall struck the hour and Meredith sighed and said. “OK, I’ll do it. We’ll go ahead. But not for me personally or anything; this is just because of my kids, you know? After all, my kids deserve to go to a good college too, don’t they.”

About Hana

Hello. I've gotten a rather late start with this class but I hope to catch up quickly. I live in Northern California, retired from the school system here and have become interested in writing. This web-site, its classes, and the support from classmates seems perfect. Here is to a wonderful experience for everyone!
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11 Responses to The Decision

  1. freckles says:

    Mystery, a dash of suspense and a boat load, of, I want more :) Great job Hana, you nailed it! I really liked this and gosh, how real is the scene is? Very real — as in how many women/men live day to day with pennies in their pockets, only wishing they had a few more — Boy, it feels like Meredith is going to do something she may feel guilty about, resulting in regret and who knows what else! Well done, indeed.

    • Hana says:

      Thanks Freckles. This was a tough assignment for me. I found it difficult not to add back-story or narration to clarify what was supposed to be happening. I had to re-edit a bunch of times. A good exercise though. Also, I sure learn a lot from reading everyone’s stories. It really helps to see how we all turn out such different and good stuff…

  2. prue says:

    It’s killin’ me. What are those two up to? I have to hang my head when you say you edit and rewrite a bunch of times. I’ve been lax in my homework and it shows. I hope this is a story that you are working on outside of this class.

    best
    Prue

    • Hana says:

      Ahhh, there is a little larceny in their hearts. And don’t hang your head, your posts are some I enjoy and learn from the most!

  3. Ginny says:

    Hi Hana,

    You are an excellent writer. The way you set the scene, put me right there.

    Ginny

    • Hana says:

      Thanks for those positive and energizing comments, Ginny. Some of the homework assignments come together better than others….not sure why. This one seemed a little off to me (boring). Wouldn’t you know. Goes to show you that you just have to keep going.

  4. Celestine says:

    A well crafted dialogue; concise and trim. No guessing who is speaking. Well done, Hana.

    • Hana says:

      oops, I posted this under Anna’s comment but meant it to be a response to you. Please forgive:

      Keeping things trimmer does make for a better piece. It is like thinning out seedlings in the veggie the garden though. I find if difficult to pull stuff out that’s trying to grow even though I know it helps the rest of the plants be healthier.

  5. Anna says:

    So good! I read right through it effortlessly. Dialogue was well thought out, descriptions were on point. It was easy to picture the entire scenario in my mind and by the end, when I caught onto what they were talking about, I wanted to read more. Well done!

    • Hana says:

      Keeping things trimmer does make for a better piece. It is like thinning out seedlings in the veggie the garden though. I find if difficult to pull stuff out that’s trying to grow even though I know it helps the rest of the plants be healthier.

  6. Hana says:

    Hi Anna. Thanks for the comment…my earlier response was actually to something that Celestine wrote. I’m surprised (and pleased) that the topic was so interesting to folks. I think it is kind of fascinating, myself.

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