Perhaps my title is a bit melodramatic, but I thought it fun! This came out of a conversation with Elizabeth Adams and we were giggling at something I did once. I won’t go into specifics, but you get a little short out of it. It’s a bit silly, but I hope you enjoy it 🙂
Elizabeth winced and rubbed her temples in the hopes the slight pounding behind her eyes wouldn’t explode into a full-blown headache. This always happened when her husband’s Aunt Catherine came to visit. She never failed to spend the entire week complaining about the mattress in her room, how tiny and poorly designed their home was (Seriously! 3,500 square feet?), and how their town in Maine was “provincial.” Why did she even come? As far as Elizabeth was concerned, Aunt Catherine could have stayed in her Boston mansion! Then she wouldn’t drive Elizabeth to drink the entire contents of their wine cabinet in 5 days! She had a bit of help from William, but the majority was consumed by her as her poor head demonstrated. Aunt Catherine brought her own wine. She only drank semi-sweet.
“Mom?” Elizabeth carefully turned her head to Ella, her thirteen-year-old daughter. “Am I going to have to live with Aunt Catherine if I go to college in Boston?” Ella had grand plans of going to Harvard one day, and William had made the colossal mistake of mentioning it to his aunt.
“Of course, not. You know your father never sold the house after your Aunt Georgie finished her Ph.D last year.” He had rented the property to some students so it generated an income, but they saw no reason to sell the place when Ella would probably be using it soon enough. “We’ve talked about the house often enough in front of you. Why would you worry about that now?”
“Didn’t you hear how often she talked about it this weekend?”
Elizabeth shrank a bit as she opened the cabinet by the sink and rifled through for the acetaminophen. Unless Aunt Catherine spoke to her, she tried to tune her out as much as possible. She really needed to stop doing that! “I’m sorry, Sweetie. I must’ve missed it.”
“Probably because she’d made comments about teaching me the manners you never did in the sentence before.”
Elizabeth rolled her eyes but kept her mouth shut. Yeah, that was probably why. She popped the lid to the blessed pain reliever and swallowed two.
“I feel sorry for Dad right now.”
“Why’s that?” Other than the comments that he could’ve married better than her, William was rarely the brunt of his aunt’s complaints and tirades.
“Have you seen him outside?”
She followed Ella to the living room where her daughter pulled back the curtain. “She refused to let the driver from the car service touch her luggage. Dad and Tyler hauled most of it out to the car, but she insisted Dad load it. So far, she’s said he hasn’t done it right and made him take it out and do it again.”
Ten-year-old Tyler’s face was beet red and he was obviously sweating. Poor guy. She’d have to do something nice for him later. He didn’t deserve this.
Elizabeth frowned and counted the bags around William’s feet. “That can’t be all of her luggage.” She took off in the direction of the room Aunt Catherine used whenever she visited. The room was large for a guest bedroom and had a queen-sized sleigh bed with a top of the line mattress William insisted upon, but what drew Elizabeth’s attention was not the unmade bed or the overwhelming odour of Aunt Catherine’s perfume that assailed her sinuses, but the stack of shopping receipts left in a pile on the dresser. She suppressed a growl.
“She always does that,” said Ella in a quiet voice.
“I know. She’s done it since before you were born. When your great uncle was alive, he would pile coins up here. He didn’t leave those.”
Elizabeth’s foot started to tap as her eyes rested on one suitcase, laying open nearby. She couldn’t. She shouldn’t. Her heart gave a pang as she grabbed the pile of trash, lifted several items of clothing, and shoved the receipts under, tucking the clothes so they appeared undisturbed.
“Mom!” Ella covered her mouth as she giggled. “I can’t believe you just did that.”
Instead of removing them, Elizabeth zipped the suitcase and gave the handle to her daughter. “Take this to the car. I’ll get the rest.” She picked up the last two bags and followed her daughter out to the car. As soon as she left them, she hightailed it back inside and poured herself a cup of coffee in the hopes the caffeine would hurry along the pain relievers.
A half-hour later, her husband, son, and daughter all trailed into the kitchen, dishevelled and sweaty. “She’s gone,” said William. He poured himself a cup of coffee and sat beside her at the breakfast bar. “I suspect we have six months before she comes again.”
“Are you going to tell him what you did?” Ella wore a lop-sided grin, a hand on her hip.
He frowned and caught Elizabeth’s eye. “What did you do?”
With a sigh, Elizabeth told him about the receipts. He shook his head and propped his chin in his hand. “That was rather passive aggressive of you.”
She shrugged as she swallowed a sip of coffee. “Consider it sixteen years of repressed frustration finally escaping.”
He chuckled and wrapped an arm around her. “If she calls to complain, you’re taking it.”
Elizabeth grimaced. That was one consequence she hadn’t considered—not that Aunt Catherine ever called her. Hopefully, she wouldn’t take the time. Oh well, even if the impossible woman was angry, Elizabeth had at least six months before she had to see her again. She needed to start stocking up on wine now. She would need it!