Weeks passed and my uncle told me he needed to discuss something with me. I didn’t like the sound of that.
“So, Bernadette and I are pregnant,” Uncle Darius announced like he’d taken the pregnancy test himself.
“I didn’t know guys could get preggers. Congrats, Uncle,” I joked, trying to laugh off the feeling like I’d just jumped out of our 18 story window. What the hell? Not more babies!
Bernadette said, “Not be mean, sweetie, but we both feel it’s time you found a place of your own. We know how much you don’t like children. But you have time. I’m not due for seven months.”
Shooting an acusatory look at my uncle, I said, “I thought you two weren’t going to have kids.”
“It was a happy accident!” Bernadette cried.
“Yeah, we weren’t going to but things have changed. I’m pretty stoked about it actually,” Uncle Darius said with goofy parental stars in his eyes.
Well, I knew living with them wouldn’t last forever. I’d been putting it off for too long. Time to grow up and get a place of my own. But where?
That afternoon, I babysat my little brother. No way in hell was I going to live with my dad. And with Mom pregnant, too, I was stuck.
That’s when Brooke had an amazing idea. The sisterhood needed a place to stay–Brooke was barely hanging on by a thread with the threat from her Bridgeport family, Domina was living with her grandmother (who was constantly on her about getting a boyfriend and settling down), Kate was living with her ex boyfriend and his girlfriend (very awkward, yeah, but when rent’s so high in the city, you deal), and Copper and Reese wanted to move in together.
So, Brooke said why don’t we all find a place together. There was this old haunted mansion at the edge of the city right beside an underpass. It was loud as hell due to the traffic above, but the rent was doable with all six of us chipping in. It had five bedrooms and a dark basement that we turned into our secret gaming/meeting room.
So fast forward a few weeks and we were all settled in like six plump ticks embedded in an armpit.
Domina sat next to me with a smirk on her face. Uh oh. Something was up.
All six of us got a long so well, I couldn’t believe our luck. There was just one little yuck in the middle of our cozy yum. That was my bff’s LARPing character, Elara Shadowalker. Normally, a game character would be no big deal, but Brooke loved not only to get into “character”, she was literally the embodiment of that character whenever she’d don the witch dress and elven boots.
And, um, Domina and Elara hated each other.
I braced myself. “Brooke is sweetly playing on her computer. No Elara in sight!”
“Okay…but you do realize we have rent due this month. Has anyone answered your ad for a roommate?”
Reese and Copper were leaving town for a semester while Copper went to a culinary school overseas. They couldn’t afford to double pay so I offered to find a replacement roomie while they were gone.
Me and my big mouth.
“What happened to that old lady I interviewed yesterday?” I asked.
She lifted the side of her mouth. “She has a 31 year old grandson who lives with her.”
“You mean Zack wasn’t her dog? She told me she’d pay a pet deposit for him.”
“Clever old bird, I’ll give her that. She was trying to skirt our ‘no men’ policy so she could sign a contract and hope we wouldn’t balk. I told her it was a nice try when I gave her the big kick in the ass out the door.”
I shook my head. The next time I got a bright idea, I was going to scotch tape my mouth shut.
The following evening after work, Domina came bouncing in. “Good news, everyone! Ship Creese will make the payment after all. Copper’s class was rescheduled to spring. We can officially stop searching for a replacement roommate!”
She stopped short when she noticed Reese and Copper sitting with us. “Oh, I guess you know already.”
Copper nodded. “Yeah, but there’s a problem, Domina. Someone answered the ad and is coming over.”
“What? That sucks…um…Lex?” Domina winced. “You’re going to have to let her down. Sorry.”
My stomach leaped. The one thing I hated worse than meeting strangers was dealing with confrontation. After what’d happened to me in high school with Emery Straud, I avoided it at all costs. “Why me?”
“Your idea, sweets,” Dom said, winking playfully.
Kate added, “I’ll have to agree with Dom on this one.”
That’s what I got by rooming with a bunch of introverts.
Just then Brooke’s LARPing character, Elara, entered the room. Everyone froze. When the evil dominatrix showed up, we all turned into these sniveling minions, lapping at her feet at whatever ridiculous thought would come out of her mouth.
It was pathetic.
But I loved Brooke, so I put up with it.
“How may I be of assistance?” Elara asked.
“Oh, good God, she’s going to help again,” Domina said, rolling her eyes. “Yeah, like that turned out so well last time. Our neighbors now greet us with their middle finger.”
“As I plainly stated when that unfortunate melee happened, it was not my fault. They put their garbage can on OUR side of the street. What was I supposed to do? Simply ignore that fact?”
“Yeah, well, throwing their garbage in their yard wasn’t exactly my first choice…”
Before they started ripping each other’s hair out, I interjected, “Listen, I’ll deal with the lady, okay? No need to fight.”
My phone gave a welcome chime notifying me that my favorite WooTuber had just posted. A welcome distraction from roommate problems.
After I’d followed the Heartthrobs, I noticed James Sanderson (the lead singer) had a twin sister, Jenny, who liked to vlog about fashion and cosmetics. She was so hysterical, I was hooked from the first video.
But before I could put my ear buds in to stream, Elara asked, “Aren’t you going to answer the door, Alexis?”
Damn. Have to see you later, Jenny, dear, I thought to myself, blowing a kiss at my phone.
Steeling myself to let this poor lady down, I opened the door.
Then I choked on my heart.
“Hello. I called about your room for rent earlier?”
Jenny FREAKING Sanderson!!!!
Next chapter Wednesday, June 13th