For Marissa Laborde, it seemed an eternity until Thursday; that was the soonest the plumber would come to fix the shower on the first floor. It had been broken for three weeks she reminded herself; two more days wouldn’t be all that bad. If this had happened six months ago, Marissa would have had to try and fix it herself. The tradesmen where just now starting to get reestablished after the last hurricane had taken its toll.
She heaved a heavy sigh as she walked up the narrow staircase to the second floor, carrying her shower tote, clothes and towel. She could have taken the grand staircase in the front of the house, it had better lighting and more even stair spacing, but this one was closer to her room. She always felt a little out of place using the grand staircase. This wasn’t her house; she only lived here and took care of it, only seemed fitting that she should live in the servant’s wing and use the adjoining stairs. She was glad she didn’t have to rush; Marissa was on the afternoon shift at the coffee shop where she worked. Her boss, Kira, had been kind enough to move her hours today (only after she had promised her two free tickets to the next ghost walk that was featuring the house). The ghost walks brought in okay money, and it was free advertising for the private tours she gave of the house. But why, she asked herself not for the first time, did they have to start so late at night?
She laughed to herself, only at night would this house seem creepy. Now, in the bright morning sun, it was warm and inviting.
This was the closest thing to feeling at home that she had, in a very long time. That dumpy, overpriced, little basement apartment she’d been living in before the hurricane, had not been a home, more like a hole. And it was a hole now, the neighborhood she had been living in was completely destroyed, every building in the block bulldozed.
She’d gone back, after the flood waters had gone down, to see if she could retrieve anything; took one look at the building and turned right back around, leaving that part of her life behind her.
She finished rinsing her hair and shut off the water. She would have loved to stand under the hot spray for a few more minutes, but that would have been a waste of hot water. A moment after the water was off a cold breeze washed over her instantly driving way the heat of the shower. “Damn, I must have for gotten to latch the door again,” Marissa mumbled to herself as she opened the curtain and reached for her towel.
Said towel was being offered to her by a young man, “No, it was latched.”
Marissa froze, the preverbal deer in the headlights, for half a breath, then did what no deer could, let lose a toe-curing scream.
Down in the entry, three sets of ears were on the receiving end of that scream, “Sounds like Jason found the caretaker,” the youngest one said with a giggle.
“Maybe we should have sent a note saying we would be arriving.” A well-dressed woman said pointedly to the man next to her.
“And why is that? This is our house, we can come and go as we please.” The man replied.
The woman shook her head amused, “Come, we should go see if Jason needs any help scraping the poor woman off the ceiling.”
The yelling and cursing grew in intensity as they made their way to the grand staircase. “That young lady sure has an imaginative use of French, English and Creole swear words.”
“If you would just let me explain-“ the young man said holding his hands out in front of himself and dodging out of the way of a swinging plunger.
“Ya cun just save yur explanations fer the police. Tressin’, B & E, peepin an..an Uh don’ know what else, but somen’ bad.” Marissa swung the plunger again.
“It is not breaking and entry if you own the house.” Marissa stopped mid-swing and finally took notice of the three individuals standing behind the man from the bathroom.
“I said it is not breaking and entry if you own the house in question, in which we do. I am Wyatt Havenward, this is my wife, Shirea, our daughter Fransine, and you appear to be aquatinted with our son Jason.”