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Perfect Love Story (Love 1) Natasha Madison 2022/8/3 13:48:40

“You wouldn’t dare bring out the big guns.” I point at her as she pulls out her phone and taps a couple of things. “You have three seconds to decide, or I’m calling Nanny, and she is going to be the one to get your ass up.” I look at her in shock—bringing Nanny in is a low blow, even for her. Nanny is our eighty-three-year-old grandmother who has seen enough of her own heartache to last a lifetime. She was married at twenty-two and widowed at thirty-two with three children and a debt bigger than Mount Everest. But she put on her big girl panties and thrived. Making her bigger than before. She never did remarry, and now she is the event coordinator for seniors living. She has a busier social calendar than Crystal and I combined.

“That is not fair,” I tell her as Nanny’s voice suddenly fills the quiet house.

“Knock, knock, knock,” she says from downstairs, and our wide eyes fly to each other. We scramble around the room, hiding the wine bottles under the bed. I rip the dirty shirt over my head, smelling myself as I do and almost gagging. I open a drawer and see a Tweety shirt I haven’t worn since I was sixteen years old. Trying to put it on my head, I get it stuck with only one arm in it. “Where are you girls?” We hear her walking downstairs, and I huff. Crystal runs to me, trying to help me put my other arm in.

“Why the fuck do you still have this shirt?” she whispers as she yells, “Upstairs, Nanny.” She grunts as we try to get the shirt past my boobs, but it stays stuck under my armpits.

I can’t move anymore “Fuck, try rolling it down,” I tell her while I work on one side, and she tries the other.

“This is almost like Cinderella’s stepsister with the big clown feet trying to squeeze into a dainty shoe,” Crystal says as she gets it almost over one boob before it just rolls back up.

“What in heavens are you two doing?” Nanny says from the doorway. Her perfectly coiffed white hair rests on the shoulders of her all-white outfit paired with a deep purple jacket and matching necklace and bracelets. “And what is that smell?” she says as she tries to discern where the smell could be coming from.

“That smell is Hailey,” Crystal points out as she walks away from me to give Nanny a hug. “She smells like horses.” Turning to me and smirking, she says, “Want to go out to lunch, Nanny?”

“Um. Only if that one showers.” She points at me, and I roll my eyes.

I smile at them. “That’s perfect because I don’t want to go out anyway. You two have fun.” I shoo them away with my hand.

“Hailey, you haven’t left the house since …” Nanny starts saying and then slowly stops talking. “It’s not healthy. I mean, honey, you look like …” She throws her hands up and then continues, “You look a mess. Your eyes are sunken in, and you have bags under them big enough for one of Marie Antoinette’s dresses.”

I fold my arms over my chest. “Yeah, well. I’m okay at home by myself.”

“You aren’t the only one who lost a husband,” Nanny says to me, catching me off guard.

“Actually, I didn’t lose a husband, according to every single letter that I have gotten after Eric’s death. I’m basically nothing to him. So I lost a friend,” I tell them angrily as a tear escapes my eye, and I brush it off, angry that I’m again wasting my energy on him. Every letter I’ve gotten from the time he died just reinforced that I was nothing to him. From the life insurance policy that got denied to the bank letter that froze our joint account. It has been one clusterfuck after another.

“Good. Now that we have that settled, get yourself in that shower and let’s go get something to eat.” She doesn’t give me a chance to answer. Instead, she turns around and walks to the stairs. “Oh and carry all those wine bottles shoved under the bed out to the recycle bin.” She doesn’t bother turning around to see our mouths open and then close again.

“I’ll get the bottles; you hit the shower. I would wash twice if I were you. And shave the pits because it isn’t appealing,” Crystal says as she gets down on her hands and knees to grab the bottles. When I get to the bathroom, I cut myself out of the shirt with a pair of scissors. I finally look up and see the shell of a woman I once was. My blue eyes are bleak, empty, dull. My long blond hair oily and stringy.

“Fuck you, Eric,” I say to the empty room while I shower and wash and shave. By the time I finish, I feel almost semi human. I try on a pair of jeans, but when they almost fall off, I opt for a black tank top with a cream and black maxi skirt.