Home > Plight

Plight
Author: K.M. Golland

Danielle:

You did all of that for me? I’m utterly speechless, lol.

Jokes aside, Elliot, that’s wonderful. Really wonderful. Sounds like all your hard work has paid off. Good on you.

 

 

Am I ready to tie the knot? NO! Living the happy single life. What about you? Married? Kids?

Elliot:

I promise you’ll live a happy married life, too. And, no, of course I’m not married. How can I marry you if I’m already betrothed to another?

 

 

Kids? No. Although, we probably should’ve discussed whether we wanted any twenty-two years ago.

By that stage, his quirkiness had started to morph into you-can-stop-with-the-whole-marriage-bullshit. It was overkill. Weird. Then again, Elliot had always been, flamboyant, eccentric and overly dramatic. As kids, that was kinda cool. As an adult, not so much.

Danielle:

You’re not going to hold me to this ‘oral contractual agreement’, right? I mean … I digested the engagement ring, lol, so the agreement must be void.

 

 

At the very least, I expected an LOL back — my joke was funny — but I didn’t get one. Not even a laughing tears emoji.

Elliot:

The digestion of your engagement ring does not void our contract. The ring is merely decorative symbolism.

 

* * *

 

Danielle:

Oh. Really? Well, be warned; I can’t cook, and I have expensive taste.

 

 

I’ll admit, even though I’d been playing along with him, I was a tad creeped out so left the conversation as it was. It was now forty-eight hours later, and there was a little red number two attached to his Messenger bubblehead picture on my inbox list — a bold, annoying, hard to ignore, red, figurative apple of sorts. But I didn’t click on it. Clicking on it meant that he would see I’d read it, and it was common courtesy to reply to a message if you’d read it. Then again, failing to reply was a clear indication that you were deliberately ignoring it or just far too busy. Maybe I should do that?

Tucking my tiny stick figure legs to my side, I snuggled into my roommate Chris’ giant beanbag. It was Thursday night and he was out of town. He played football for the Essendon Bombers and this week’s game was being played in Sydney.

We lived in Melbourne.

I liked it when the team played their away games interstate. It meant I got uninterrupted me time on my favourite beanbag with my favourite blankey and non-human — my pug, Dudley.

I was the Essendon Bomber’s merchandise store manager, which was how I met Chris. He was infamous for being the team’s manwhore — their player player. When some of his teammates felt compelled to conduct an intervention — aka Operation Chris Castration — he begged me to room with him because, in his words, it would stop his “whorish ways” if he lived with a chick he “couldn’t fuck”.

Well, we did fuck.

But only once.

And we don’t talk about it because it had been wrong on so many levels. For starters, Chris is not my type. He’s far too cocky and slutty, and lazy, and annoying. But man, he can cook. And, strangely enough, our rooming together just worked. I kept things tidy and prevented him from bringing disposable women home, and he kept me fed.

Win win.

Tapping on Elliot’s Facebook profile pic followed by the photos section, I picked up my mug of chai and took a sip. It was freezing outside, being winter and all, and because Chris had conveniently forgotten to replenish our woodpile, it wasn’t a hell of a lot warmer inside either. I was going to hurt him when he returned on Saturday. Actually, I was going to hide his protein powder first, and then I was going to hurt him.

I cradled my mug to my chest, the warmth providing a very small reprieve from the chill in the air, but what also defrosted the sting was the hot, older version of Elliot that I was currently studying on my phone, and, sadly, it was the only uploaded picture he had.

To say he’d changed considerably since I’d last seen him was an understatement. Gone was his scraggly jet-black hair and typical sprinkling of teenage boy acne, instead, replaced with a short but sophistically styled cut that was still as dark as the ace of spades. And his skin was perfect, albeit lightly cast in a five o’clock shadow of beard and mo regrowth.

I smiled and patted my lap for Dudley to jump upon. He’d just finished his dinner and was licking his chops like a happy little maniac.

“Come and meet Lots, Dudley. Lots is all kinds of hots!” I laughed and hugged my four-legged child, too slow to dodge his wayward meaty-smelling tongue. “Ew! Dudley, stop.”

He settled into his favourite spot, between my butt and my feet, and harrumphed a part snort, part growl.

“What? Are you jealous? Don’t be. You’re still the love of my life. I promise … even if your breath is about as welcoming as an abattoir.” I gently pulled him into my arms. “Come here. Check out Lots for yourself.”

Reaching around Dudley, I positioned the phone so that we could both see the screen.

Ice-blue eyes stared back at us; ice-blue eyes that had always had the ability to mesmerize me for the smallest of seconds. They were definitely something that hadn’t changed since childhood. They were also the very first thing I’d noticed about Elliot Parker the day he moved in next door. I remember thinking to my five-year-old self that he was some kind of secret mystical being, like a giant elf sent to mingle with humankind for the purpose of reporting back to the Elf King.

Those eyes had not been of this world, and they still weren’t.

Unable to ignore the obtrusive Messenger red number two any longer, I tapped on Elliot’s bubblehead icon.

The first message was in response to my expensive taste and expectation of an elaborate engagement ring, but it was the second message that had been sent a day later that piqued my curiosity.

Elliot:

I earn enough money to cater for that expensive taste, so don’t worry. ;)

 

 

Elliot:

Have I freaked you out? Sorry. Maybe I should explain so that it doesn’t look as if I’ve been stalking you for the past seventeen years, because I haven’t. I just want to make that clear.

Do you remember the community garden built by both our mothers in memory of Mr Hillier? Well, the local council have issued a demolition notice for the site on the grounds that it was not adequately maintained. I lodged an objection and was granted a temporary suspension notice provided the site meets regulations within 60 days of the issue date.

When Mum mentioned that you and Mrs Cunningham were to be involved in the reconstruction of the new garden, I felt compelled to look you up. That’s when I noticed the date and remembered our pact.

 

 

Again, what the actual fuck?

Firstly, this was the first I’d heard about my participation in what sounded like a huge project. Thanks, Mum. Secondly, I couldn’t believe the council wanted to demolish our garden. That news hurt my heart. They couldn’t tear it down. It was special. And, thirdly, his winky face emoji was the first sign that he hadn’t lost his ability to joke around.

At least I hoped he hadn’t.

As I was about to type a reply to that effect, my phone started dancing within my hand, my mother’s picture staring me in the face.

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