Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Day's End (01/01/14)
TITLE: It Wasn't The Butler
By Sara Harricharan
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There was only so much pointless drivel he could handle on a daily basis before his head refused to cooperate and his heart yearned to work on something more satisfying.
“I’m home, babe,” he called out into the dimly lit kitchen. A foil-covered bowl rested on the warming spot on their stovetop. Hhe cracked a smile at the familiar scent of cheese-baked pasta. It was comfort food for both of them and an indulgence for winter.
The fact that his darling wife had spooned his portion of the lovely dinner into the red ceramic bowl, meant that she had the twin to it and was likely in the middle of work, fork in hand. He crossed the kitchen and set his workbag just inside the door of his home office and backtracked for the dinner his stomach now clamored for.
“Marcus?” Jamie stood in the doorway, her fuzzy socks pulled up to her knees, her hair in a messy topknot, sporting two ballpoint pens and a pink post-it-note. “Hey babe.” She flicked the kitchen lights on and set her bowl on the counter. “I made it with goldfish crumbs this time.” She went to poke at his bowl and for the usual welcome that was part of their routine.
“Smells good.” He paused in washing up for the hug and a kiss and accepted the clean kitchen towel for his wet hands. “Made your deadline?”
She wrinkled her nose. “Barely. I’m brain dead because of it.” She shuddered. “If I never see pink and blue in the same little polka dot scheme again, I’ll die happy.”
He chuckled. “Better than my day. They let two people go this afternoon.” He sighed. “I’m still not sure what they did.”
Jamie shrugged and held out his bowl of baked mac n’ cheese. “Puzzle over it later. Food. Eat. Then the story. I’m dying for the next chapter.”
He smiled and took the bowl. They made their way to the den and he took the right side of the couch, while she pulled out the sofa throw. He fiddled with the remote for the sound system and she snuggled into his side, draping the blanket over both of them. Marcus smiled, wrapping an arm around her before balancing his dinner bowl. He tapped the play button and waited.
A moment later, his deep voice filled the room, gushing through the surround sound speakers as the audiobook began to play from chapter seventeen.
Marcus took his time chewing the first few mouthfuls before he realized the narrative had skipped ahead to a scene he didn’t remember hearing as yet. “Jamie, did you skip without me?”
Her lips twitched. “Couldn’t help it. That was a terrible place to leave off last night and there was no way I could focus on a client while thinking that some creature could be lurking the closets, just waiting for a chance to-”
“It’s a story!” He protested. “And you chose it.”
“It’s your story. You already know how it ends. I don’t.” She fought to keep from laughing at the expression on his face. “You did good. I didn’t think it was the brother-in-law. I thought it was the father-in-law. Seemed like he had a better motive.”
Marcus shrugged. “He did at first, then I realized he was supposed to be at the hospital during the flood scene and that only left the lawyer, the pastor and the brother-in-law.”
Jamie hit the pause button on the remote, twisting around to look up at him. “Luck of the draw? Really? It would have been scarier if it was the father-in-law,” she said. “He was truly evil. Not scary or terrifying, just plain ol’ evil.”
He chuckled. “Shall I write you a sequel then?”
“Yes! And have him arrested.” Her brow furrowed. “Unless he’s dead. Did you kill him off?”
Marcus immediately stuffed his mouth. “There’s nine more chapters, just hit play.”
She eyed him suspiciously, but set the audiobook back to play, rewinding for the missed minutes. “If he’s dead, it’s sandwiches for lunch tomorrow. No mac n’cheese.”
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