Friday, July 25, 2014
Fiction Friday: Out of the Frying Pan
I girded my loins to talk to her one night after Michael had gone to bed.
"Bettany, we really have to talk about your plans for the future," I started. "You and Michael need to figure out a way to get your own place."
"Actually, I was going to talk to you about that," she smiled at me. "We're moving out next week."
"Wow! Welfare is sorted out then?"
"Not yet, but it will be. I'm moving in with a friend."
That was about the last thing I expected to hear. I hadn't met any of her friends and, honestly, didn't know when she'd have met anyone since she seemed to spend all her time at home.
"Someone you knew before coming to Toronto?"
"No, just this guy, Ben, I met at the park." My face must have betrayed my shock and concern because she continued, "He's okay -- not a perv or anything. Believe me: I know how to spot a creep a mile away. He's got a place on Morningside and was looking for someone to rent a room. I told him I'm not on welfare yet and won't be able to pay rent for a couple of months and he's okay with that since the room was just empty anyway."
Bettany and Michael were to share a bedroom, but, between you, me, and the wall, I didn't expect Bettany would stay in that room for long. There's one born every minute, I thought.
"He's probably hoping to start a relationship," I commented.
"Yah, I can tell he has a crush on me, but I told him that I'm not interested and he backed off. Anyway, it'll just be for a while, until I can get welfare sorted out." She looked at me squarely. "Don't worry. I can handle him." There was a challenge in her eyes.
I backed off.
"Well that's great. Let me know if you need help moving." I stood up and grabbed my mug, then went toward the kitchen, but stopped and turned around. "Look, Bettany, if things don't work out, or, you know, he's not what you thought, or your scared, or . . . whatever, you know you can come back here."
I desperately hoped it wouldn't come to that, but I didn't want to be responsible for her ending up in another abusive relationship.
Bettany stood up and walked toward me. There were tears pooling in her eyes.
"Carla, no one's ever been so nice to me. Thank you." And she gave me a warm hug. "I'll pay you back some day. I promise."
I went to bed with mixed feelings that night. On the one hand, I would finally have my place to myself again. On the other, I had a feeling it wouldn't last long.