This is part 1 of a contest entry for Emily Daniels' contest. Enjoy! Oh, and the short story is based off of the picture at the end.
"Come on in, Miss Merrick," I insist, gesturing toward the hall. The middle aged lady stomps her red heels and the door mat, and steps inside.
"What a lovely home you have," she says in a silvery voice, as I take her coat, and place it neatly on the coat rack.
"Thank you, that's so sweet of you, just make yourself at home," I reply. "Well, the living room's here to the left," I explain, and give her a dazzling smile, as I gesture toward the living room.
We walk in together, and I seat myself on the small couch, smoothing out my already smoothed out dress. She seats herself on the lilac coloured love seat, and crosses her shapely legs.
"Now that we're seated, shall we start the interview?" I ask politely. She nods, and I place a small recorder on the tiny coffee table between us. "Well, you can just start by explaining how you got into what you're doing, just a bit of a back story." I press the little 'start recording' button.
"Well, it all started a summer twenty three years ago. I was at a very low point in my life. I hadn't gotten into the college I'd dreamed of my entire upbringing, I had just moved to a new town, where I didn't know a soul. Most importantly, my parents had just gone through an ugly divorce." She looks down at her folded hands, as if contemplating on what to say next.
"Then, it struck me. Just like that!" She snaps her manicured fingers, and smiles at me. "It was like a lightning bolt on a sunny day," she adds.
"I had always dreamed about making this world a better place, ever since I watched my dad do all of that charity work back in Tennessee. Now I had the perfect idea. I couldn't wait to get started." She uncrosses, and then crosses her legs again, as if just talking about the memory has made her feel restless.
"That must have felt like such an epiphany!" I beam, well aware of the fact that I sound a whole lot more excited than I feel. "Now, could you please explain to me, what is it that you actually do? Try to explain it as detailed as possible," I say slowly.
"I help couples – help them out of their boring lives, to get out of that rut we all dread. I know, I know, you are probably thinking to yourself: 'What is this lady babbling on about?' Now, before you certify me as a hopeless lunatic, let me explain: I drive across the country, from door to door, and I leave notes in people's mail boxes," she says, then smiles, giving her story a dramatic pause. "On each note, there's a list of challenges. Then, I sign the note with 'The Couple Challenger'," she makes little quotation marks in the air. "Everyone needs to get out of their comfort zone once in a while, you know?" She looks at me to see if I agree. I nod courtly.
"Of course, I'm aware that most people just overlook the note, throw the piece of paper away, and go on with their day as usual. My hope is, that there are those rare, brave individuals who dare to take the challenge I've handed them, take that once in a lifetime opportunity, and save their relationship." Miss Merrick is glowing now, her entire appearance has lit up, and she's grinning from ear to ear. I must admit, she has an effect on me. Her smile resembles a ray of bright light, and it's incredibly intoxicating. I just sit there, staring at the recorder.
"Maybe the stress has gotten to you, maybe you've been married for twenty years, or maybe your other half's proposal seems as if it'll never come, either way, it's never too late to grab a great opportunitylike that." I'm speechless, I simply don't know what to reply. "Is there anything else you'd want to know?" she asks, looking at me, almost in pity.
"No, I think I have everything, thank you so much for your time, Miss Merrick!" I snap out of stare-at-recorder-land, and press the little 'stop' button.
I walk her out to the hall, and hand her her coat back. "It was a pleasure interviewing you, it really was," I smile.
She smiles modestly, and replies: "It was a pleasure being interviewed, thank you for having me." I return her thank you with another silly smile.
"I have something for you," she adds, and starts looking around in her massive handbag.
"You do?" I ask pointlessly, and stare at the crimson envelope she's handed me. Immediately curious, I start tearing it open, but she stops me.
She places her hand on the envelope. "Wait until your boyfriend's home, it's a challenge," she winks, her blue eyes sparkling with excitement.
"Oh," I reply, feeling slightly offended, but I try not to show it. We say our good bye's, and I watch her walk all the way to her light blue, vintage bug, her heels making an annoying clicking sound with each and every step. When the sound of the engine finally has faded out, I walk back inside, and close the door with a slam.
Did she think that Adam and I needed a challenge? That's completely idiotic! I mean, I haven't told her anything of importance. The only thing I told her was that I had a boyfriend, that we live together, and have been a couple for almost five years. So, did she just assume that we needed this?
I walk into the kitchen, and lay the envelope on the marble counter, and snort loudly to myself.
I can't wait until Adam sees this, he's going to have such a laugh ...
Well, what do you think?
The picture doesn't 'show up' too much in the first part, but it will in the second! Promise!