Baby Dreams

By: Nia Skye

Chapter 1 - Tasha

MICHELLE FLOPPED ON MY BED as soon as she walked in the room, dropping her enormous duffel bag on the carpet next to her. Her long, straight blonde hair fell over the side of the mattress in a silky curtain.

“Thanks for letting me stay over,” she sighed. “Life at Casa De Michelle was becoming unbearable.”

“Pshaw, you know you’re welcome here. Stay as long as you want,” I said, graciously sweeping my arm out as though my room was a prize you could win on a game show.

Michelle nodded pleasantly, but I knew she wouldn’t stay long. She basically liked to surf from friend’s house to friend’s house while trying to get enough money to move out of her parent’s condo. They were always fighting with each other or her. Yet, her job as assistant manager at the thrift store downtown didn’t pay well enough to get her more than a basement room in a flophouse yet.

“So what do you wanna do?” she asked, already bored.

I shrugged. “We could make something to eat, watch some reality TV… whatever you want.”

“We could look at apartments!” she suggested hopefully.

I sighed. “Michelle, you know I can’t leave. I like it here.”

“You like Mike,” she said with an evil grin, referring to my father’s co-worker. He was supposed to just be a temporary roommate after his divorce, while he was figuring out where he wanted to live. First he was just sort of quietly hanging around, then he and Dad started watching sports together and going out for beers. Now… Well it seemed like he had been here so long I was starting to get used to him or something.

But I didn’t like Michelle’s sassy tone, I can tell you that. She was always trying to get into trouble, and if she couldn’t get herself wrapped up in some drama, she was happy to drag me into the middle of her trainwreck, whether I wanted to or not.

She pushed herself up onto her elbows and wrinkled her little freckled nose at me. I rolled my eyes. “Well, of course I like him. But he needs somebody to take care of the house, too,” I said as I turned away, busily folding the half-basket of laundry on my desk.

“But you like him. You love him,” she sing-songed.

“Oh shut up,” I sighed, rolling my eyes as convincingly as I could.

Mike was a manager at my dad’s scrap metal firm. After his divorce, he had been staying with us in the guest room. Picking up the pieces, was what he always said. When my dad left for the Mexico for business, it was just us. I cooked for him, did his laundry, and kept the house nice. He came home from work every day like a proper man of the house.

And I guess if I’m being totally honest… at some point, I don’t know what happened. It felt right. It felt real. Of course I could never tell him, but in my mind this was the perfect life. A handsome man to make happy. A house to keep. What more could I ask for?

After I folded the laundry, I picked up Michelle’s bag off the floor and put it neatly on the nightstand. The top flopped open, revealing a stack of fluffy pink and red negligees.

“You looooove him,” she continued. “You want to take care of… his manly needs!”

I stared into the bag. What did she need all that sexy underwear for?

“You just keep your filthy mind off everybody’s manly needs, OK, Michelle?” I said archly. I slapped the top over her bag and balanced my hands on my hips to show her I meant business. “Now get your butt in the kitchen and help me set the table.”

Michelle rolled her eyes and made a gesture that was like locking her lips together with a key, then throwing that imaginary key over her shoulder. Well, we would just see about that. She’d never been famous for keeping her mouth closed. Sort of the opposite. I resolved to keep a close eye on her.


Chapter 2 - Mike

The smell of the chicken filled the car with a humid, greasy scent. I got the extra big bucket and all the fixings, thinking it would be nice to give Tasha a night off from cooking.

She was always doing something like that, reminding me what life was supposed to be like. She cooked delicious things. Colorful things. After the bland, beige decade with my ex-wife Linda I had almost forgotten food could even be colorful.

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