A/N I wrote this prologue a while back and then put it aside as I worked on my mystery Watcher. I kept coming back to it though, never really knowing where to take it next. I hated to get rid of it because it just seemed like a nice start to a story. So I decided on a slice of life tale and am taking it one day at a time, letting the story guide me as we go along. I do hope you like it, and I'd love to hear your reviews. As always, enjoy…..
A Slice Of Life
She sat alone in the small living room of the boarding house. It was early August and hot, so very hot. She wears a lightweight, sleeveless nightgown and her blonde hair is thrown up into a hasty bun, held together with an old pink ribbon. She submerges her swollen feet in a tub of what was, about twenty minutes ago, icy cold water. She lifts one foot out and looks at her bulging ankle. "Criminy", she thinks to herself, "they're as big as grapefruits!" She readjusts the wet wash cloth that sits on her forehead, the wind from the oscillating fan that sits on the coffee table cools it each time it blows across her face.
Her laptop sits forgotten on the small desk by the window that overlooks the street. She's found it hard to concentrate this past month. Between the never ending heat and her expanding girth, writing was the last thing she's felt like doing. "Just two more months" she thinks as she lifts the glass of ice tea that had been precariously perched on her stomach.
Her due date is around the early part of October, she chuckles at the coincidence of it being so close to Arnold's birthday. Secretly she hopes it comes on the 5th of the month. That's always been a hard time for Arnold, the anniversary of the last time he saw his parents. It's her hope that if that day is shared with an equally happy memory it will even things out and she won't have to watch him endure a pain that she can't take away. In reality, though, the date is not the important thing. What is important is the fact that they are finally, after a year of trying, even having this baby. They've chosen to go against the current norm and not find out the sex of the baby until it's delivered. They've read all the latest books on becoming parents and have even taken parenting classes at the local hospital.
They were starting to worry after the first six months of trying with no success. Not that she didn't enjoy the trying. Oh no, on the contrary actually. They say that it's the quiet ones you have to look out for and in Arnold's case this proved time and time again to be true. See, for as mild mannered and easy going as he was to those around him, in the bedroom he was, as Helga liked to put it, a beast, always meaning that in a VERY positive way. He gave her a run for her money and she was never disappointed. Even now, at seven months pregnant he found ways to keep his wife happy.
She was sitting with her eyes closed now, a lecherous smile on her face when she heard the front door open. The jingle of the keys as they hit the ceramic bowl on the entry way table let her know it was her personal Don Juan come home from work. "Where did the day go!" she thought. He looks for her as he walks through the house. Seeing her in the family room he walks in, hiding something behind his back. As he sits down next to her he gives her a deep kiss as he brings a beautiful bouquet of pink roses out from their hiding place.
"Happy anniversary my love!" He says with a huge smile on his face.
The very second the words come out of his mouth Helga slaps her forehead in dismay.
"Our anniversary! How could I forget? I'm so sorry!" She feels horrible forgetting the anniversary of the second happiest day of their lives. The first, of course, being the day they found out they were finally going to be parents.
"It's okay, babe, it's not like you don't have enough on your mind what with being pregnant and having that magazine deadline looming over you."
"They're so beautiful, I love them, and you." She says as she leans in for another kiss.
"Five years." Arnold says as he moves closer to her and puts an arm around her shoulders.
He thinks back to the day they became engaged. They were young, very young, and as most people thought very foolish, but they were insistent and with both being eighteen there really wasn't anyone that could stop them.
It was right after high school graduation. They had spent most of their senior year discussing colleges and long distance relationships and Helga would have none of it. "No way Jose!" she'd said. "I didn't spend almost sixteen years of my life pining away for you only to become separated after just a few short years of togetherness!"
Arnold was adamant that she was not going to blow her chance to further her education because of him, after all, her dad was footing the bill for any college she desired. He, on the other hand would have to make it through on grants and loans and he didn't feel right saddling her with his debt.
"That's baloney", she said in regards to the debt. "Whether we get married now or four years from now the bills will still be there so what does that matter, AND don't even think that I'm going to wait until the loans are paid off, that will take years."
Another point to consider was the fact that there was no way, even if he could afford it, that his grades were good enough for him to even be considered at one of the Ivy League schools her father was pushing for.
Not to be deterred, Helga had a comeback for that too. "Who cares what school I go to, a degree is a degree. It's not like I'm planning on being a doctor or something. All I need is a four year degree in English, which I can get anywhere."
And so it went, one by one Helga was able to shoot down every point anyone would try to make in hopes of getting the two to change their minds. Finally, after seeing it was no use, their families stopped fighting them and relented. At least, they said, the two were still going to college.
And so, on this day, five years ago, they tied the knot. It was a simple, courthouse affair. The only people in attendance were Gerald and Phoebe as best man and maid of honor and Arnold's grandparents. On Helga's side it was her parents, her sister, Olga and her husband Samuel Ainsley Dunsmuir, III, of the Boston Dunsmuir's to be precise. Helga always got a silent kick out of the fact that his initials spelled SAD, since, in her opinion that's what he was, one sad excuse of a brother-in-law.
After the ceremony the small group went back to the boarding house where half the neighborhood and most of their friends were waiting on the roof top for a surprise reception. The newly wedded couple was touched by the support of their friends. The party lasted long into the night and when it finally ended and everyone left, they spent their first night as man and wife in Arnold's bedroom. They laughed over the fact that Helga now no longer had to sneak up the fire escape to the top of the roof and climb in his window every time they wanted to be together.
It was only about a week after the wedding that they, much to Big Bob's chagrin, both shipped off to Washington State University, go Cougars! It not only had a good English department, it was quite liberal with its financial aid. They were able to get housing in a co-ed dorm for the first couple of years before moving into one of the universities' on-campus apartment housing. It was difficult juggling two schedules. Wanting to graduate in only four years and not the usual five or six most students took meant heavy workloads, but at least they were able to come home at night to each other and as far as Helga was concerned that's all that really mattered.
Upon graduation they moved back to Hillwood, degrees in hand, ready to take on the world. Helga went right to work on her writing career. She started by submitting poems and short stories to various magazines and online newspapers, finally landing a permanent position as a contributing author for a popular poetry magazine. It paid well and allowed her the freedom of working from home. In her spare time she is currently working on a romance novel geared towards the younger "tween" market. Drawing on experiences from her childhood, it's a novel about young love and never giving up with just enough of the supernatural to keep things interesting.
Arnold used his degree to obtain a part time position as the career counselor at none other than their old alma mater, Hillwood High. He works there three days a week leaving him the other two to manage things at the boarding house so his grandparents could finally live out the rest of their lives in leisure at Casa Paradiso, something his grandfather's wanted to do for years. In the summer months when school is out of session Arnold works for Big Bob at his electronics emporium. It's a job he detests but it helps provide a comfortable life for the two of them.
It is a simple life but one they wouldn't change for all the money in the world.