"Yes, my love; quite right," Her lips flattened into a sinister line as she whispered, "just be a bit more careful after dark." It was then that he noticed the utter silence throughout the house; silence that could only be broken by the gentle scraping coming from above their heads.
Alexia could tell the rain had finally stopped by how much light shone through the window. She never would have moved to this miserable town if she had known it would rain so damn much. She opened one groggy eye in the direction of the blaring alarm clock and slapped the snooze button one more time. The body next to her stirred a bit as she draped her arm across her goose-bumped chest. That was the other thing she hated about the mountains: always 10 degrees colder than the rest of the bipolar-weather state. Not even the extra pay could be worth that much torture.
By the time she had actually gotten out of bed and made her way downstairs, Matt had already brewed a pot of coffee and poured himself a few cups.
"Morning, Lex." He said as he stared at the paper in front of him.
She grunted at him as she opened the refrigerator door. The following minutes passed in familiar routine; he would alternate between sugar and cream between each sip as she allowed the toaster to cook her bread to a burnt crisp as she topped a glass with orange juice and he finished reading the obituaries.
She would always think to herself that the life of the writer seemed so abstract and macabre. She would certainly never oppose to sitting around half naked while reading about how others died the most tragic and inspirational deaths. Whenever she voiced her opinion on the matter, he always replied with how she only thought that because she could never understand how he could spend hours on the computer without ever browsing through an archive of porn. She would always smile politely and tell him he lived in a quaint little fairytale before excusing herself to get dressed for work.
Another morning passed when Lex didn't even so much as glance at the picture frames that followed her up the stairs; mostly because the young blonde that was in them wasn't the same one that faced her in the mirror. Matt had always worried about her, more than anyone else ever had. She was lucky. No matter what, she was the lucky one. No matter how many times she told herself that, she still always found it a little hard to believe.
Lex stood and looked at herself in the mirror. A pair of skinny jeans and knee-high boots covered her legs as she pulled the green sweater down over her bruised torso. The scars were always there to remind her. She could hear the shower running; Matt's first one in three days. She turned a bit in the mirror, as she tried to admire herself the way she used to; the way Matt still did.
A slight blush had begun to rise up her checks when a girl appeared at the doorway; a girl with long and tangled black hair that framed her paled complexion. The blood drained from Lex's face as she turned toward the door in anger. The girl had disappeared but the doorbell rang loudly.
Skittles, Matt's Dalmatian-Yellow Lab mutt, bounded toward the front door from God-knows-where in the house. Lex followed the dog's lead when the doorbell rang again. People could be so damn impatient.
"Don't worry, she's friendly." Lex stated as she opened the door for the strange woman. "Is there anything I can help you with?"
The elderly woman smiled, which revealed a few holes from lost teeth, "I do believe so, dear. You see, my husband and I just moved in about a quarter of a mile up the hill with the children and we were hoping to meet some neighbors with kids. You know, for play dates and such."
Lex released her grip on the dog's collar and opened the door a bit more. "Please, come in. My husband should be out of the shower in just a moment and then I'm going to have to run to work but he might know of a few people nearby with a couple of children. Would you like anything? Coffee, water, orange juice?"
The woman followed her into the spacious kitchen and sat down at the counter island. "No thank you, dear. I was only going to stop by for a moment. Don't want to cause any trouble, certainly not make you late for work," After a moment she added, "Do you have any of your own?"
"Any what?" Skittles had begun to do laps around the kitchen, showing what Lex always referred to as her 'crack-addict' side.
"Children, dear. Do you have any children?"
"Oh, right. No, my husband and I don't have any children of our own." The water stopped running and the heavy sound of running dog up the stairs stopped the train of thought in Lex's head. "How old are your children, again?"
"35, 27, and 24; but I'm assuming you mean the kids you need play dates, huh? Those would be our grandchildren. My youngest just died and their good-for-nothing father left years ago. They're good kids though. Carmen, she's the oldest and she's eight- not that I approve of teen mothers, my daughter was an irresponsible whore when was younger but we got Carmen out of that deal. Then the first round of twins, Charles and Ashlee who just turned five are the just cutest things you'd ever seen. Brittani and Ruby were the second twins that are oh my, two now. I mean, they are such good kids and I have no idea how that happened what with a whore of a mother and an absent father but- oh my!"
Lex turned around and came face to face with only-dressed-in-boxers Matt. He bent down and kissed the top of Lex's head.
"I'm sorry. I usually have pants on when we have company," he stretched his hand over to the old woman, "Matt Crawford, and you are?"
"Jeanne Barber. My husband and I just moved in a bit up the road."
"Nice to meet you Mrs. Barber, it's always so wonderful to meet new people in this town. Have you been here long?"
"Call me Jeanne, dear. We just got here a few days ago and, as I was explaining to your wife here, I'm looking for other children around here to-"
Lex took a few steps back as she looked for her car keys. "If you'll excuse me, I'm afraid I have to go now," she exclaimed as she headed for the garage door, "but it was lovely to meet you, Jeanne!" The garage door slammed behind her as she started the car.