There’s a cozy-looking two story house in the village, where a cozy couple live. It’s conveniently a ten minute cycle from the garden center where Blossom Moonie works, but a mildly inconvenient car journey for her fiancée Phineas Furley who works in an office in the city. Blossom wishes he’d help the planet by getting a bus, but she says nothing. Sometimes Phineas doesn’t understand why they stay here: they are scraping by to meet costs, it’s an hour and a half away from the city center where things actually happen and there are cheaper flats elsewhere. But this was Blossom’s Granny’s house, and a place that is close to her heart and she wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. She can’t stand the noise and the pollution and she adores working in the garden center. She would be so lost among so many people in the city, she might disappear. Phineas knows this, so here Phineas stays.
Blossom and Phineas are still in bed, wide awake after some cozy morning sex. They chat about all sorts of things afterwards! The weather, Blossom’s progress with the garden (that was ‘her project’ as Phineas says, staying well inside.), work, politics, the environment. Blossom loves it when Phineas gets all passionate about issues. They reminisce about the dates they had over their three years together; when they first met at a wild university party, back when Blossom thought university was for her. How his aura shone golden yellow that night. The debates Phineas used to speak at back when he was in the debating club, his Ted Talk about the media and climate change, that he performed at the student union.
When Phineas proposed to her in the botanical gardens in the city- the most beautiful moment of Blossom’s life. Underneath a cherry tree with the biggest flowers she had ever seen. The sun shone down and reflected on his golden hair, twinkled in his brown eyes. They say down on a mat with a small picnic, when Blossom thought he was getting out the first sandwich, he had a black box in his hand. Opened it up, it had a ring with a little diamond in the middle. How it sparkled! How Blossom’s heart glowed for him that day, and every day since!
When they first moved in a year ago. Not long after Granny died, she had to claim it before any family tried to sell it off. They had a bunch of friends and family help them move in, a couple of the neighbors, too. The crazy housewarming party Phineas threw for his university friends- they had to clean up for two days after! How handsome Phineas was (and still is) even when he’s hung over and wearing his scabbiest t-shirt. They’ve had to fashion a spare bedroom out of their study with second hand furniture. Phineas said that they needed a lodger to meet the costs of the house, and had put out an ad online. Blossom had a notion of using that room to house a refugee but Phineas quickly snubbed that notion: how are they supposed to pay the rent if they can’t speak English? Blossom could have taught them, but once Phineas decides something there’s no trying to convince him otherwise. Besides, he is the more practical one out of the two of them.
Blossom purrs as he strokes her short black hair, cuddling into his warm hairy chest, not taking her eyes off him for a minute. “Phineas…” she asks him.
“Yes, petal?” he looks down at her. She is awfully kittenish sometimes.
“What do you think she’s like?” she asks as she twirls his blonde chest hair through her fingers.
“Erin, the lodger. She’s moving in today, right?”
“Yeah.” Phineas smiles. “She’s nice enough, we’ve spoken on Facebook a few times- you know, logistics and stuff. I think she’ll be a big help.”
Blossom knows Phineas means she’ll be meeting her costs and a good whack of the bills. He’s mentioned it a few times, along with her working at the Clematis Hotel, an affluent golfing resort near town. She’s still looking up at him, as he looks up at the ceiling. He seems contented.
“I just hope we all get along.” Blossom remarks. “I’d hate it if she didn’t like me.”
“There’s no reason why she wouldn’t like you, petal.” Phineas chuckles. “You’re a cute and likable person. Besides she’s not due for another hour… you think maybe we could squeeze in another round?”
Blossom adores when Phineas calls her cute. It’s like ‘beautiful’ except it suits her better. She climbs on top of him. They have nothing on but smiles. There’s a tingling butterfly feeling in her tummy. She wants the new lodger to like her. She leans in to kiss his golden skin. He runs his hand through her black hair. He sits up to wrap his arms fully around his love. Just as they start to get breathless again, there is a loud knock at the front door. They look at each other for a second, before Blossom reluctantly climbs off of him and shoves on some pajamas. She rushes down the stairs and opens the door. Her aura sparks red around her sculpted body and her Barbie blonde hair.
“You must be Erin!” Blossom beams. “I’m Blossom, Phineas’s partner.”
“Yes that’s me! Nice to meet you.” she grins, her bright white teeth showing. Her clothes are efficient looking silver. “Can I get in?”
“Sure!” Blossom smiles. “Do you want a hand with that box?”
“Thanks, but I’ll manage, really. They’re not that h-yeavy.” She says as she plods upstairs, hugging the box to her body.
Blossom looks outside and sees a dark skinned man with a mahogany ponytail and another blonde woman lugging boxes out of a car. They must be Erin’s friends or family. She goes out to the drive barefoot to introduce herself.
“Hey, can I take anything in?” Blossom asks.
The man introduces himself as Erin’s boyfriend Leo and the woman as Molly, Erin’s best friend, before offering Blossom the handle of a large pink plastic suitcase. As Blossom lugs it into the house, she notices that there are dandelions sprouting from the cracks in the driveway. She won’t weed them until more flowers have bloomed in her back garden- the bees need pit stops. Phineas emerges from the stairs with jeans and his favorite brown turtleneck jumper. As she heaves Erin’s suitcase up the stairs, she notices her saunter past her down the stairs to the car. Hm, she must be eager to get all her stuff unpacked, thinks Blossom, as she humphs the monstrosity up the last step.
She leaves the suitcase in the spare room, with a solitary cardboard box. There’s definitely more to come up.
Phineas bumps into Blossom as he enters the spare room, resembling some kind of pack horse holding two of those large pink suitcases and a silly red leather handbag strapped to his chest. Isn’t he so strong? Blossom swoons a little bit. Erin follows close behind hugging a cardboard box into her large bosoms, then dumping it on the sofa bed. Away Blossom goes, down the stairs to help offload more of Erin’s stuff. But there’s not much more to come, except for one box which Leo is bringing in. Or was it Neo? Blossom didn’t want to be rude by asking him to repeat himself. She shouts upstairs- anyone for tea? She hears a “Yeah put the kettle on” from Phineas, and scurries over to the kettle in the kitchen to fill it to capacity.
As it starts to bubble, Erin and Phineas come downstairs and sit down side by side.
“I’ll unpack everything later.” Erin giggled, flicking her long blonde hair. “Phew, such a sweat, carrying all this stuff.”
“Hey Erin” Blossom asks, “Did you want a cup of tea?”
“I don’t drink tea. Do you have coffee?”
“Yeah, sure I’ll just get you one.” Blossom smiles, as Leo (or Neo) comes through to the kitchen and sits across the table from Erin. She asks him what he takes- milk and no sugar. Right ho! His facial expression is a little like a storm cloud, his aura is a very light pastel blue- passive. She hands him the mug with a smile. She looks at Erin and Phineas sitting together. She catches Phineas glancing at her breasts for a brief minute. She can’t blame him, they’re difficult not to look at. A storm on Leo’s face rouses. Blossom can almost feel lightning- it wants to strike something.
“So are you feeling all settled in?” Blossom asks Erin.
“Oh yes, thank you.” She glances at Blossom briefly before looking at Phineas. “This coffee is lovely.” Her thick eyelashes flutter.
“Great.” Blossom looks down at the contents of her cup. Chamomile tea. She doesn’t want to think this, but part of her wishes that she’d dressed in something smarter. Or at least a little more revealing.
It’s a Monday in the cozy little house. The sun is shining this morning, and Blossom is outside in her pajamas in the back garden meditating underneath the apple tree. She is meditating for peace. Erin has been living here for three weeks now, and Blossom is trying everything to make her feel welcome. Erin’s aura is becoming redder and more aggressive. Blossom knows this doesn’t make her a bad person, just different. Every yin must have yang. It’s one of the reasons she and Phineas were so compatible. The birds are singing; distant cars are humming. She thinks about the work night out she has been invited to tonight. Her eyes are closed but she knows the sun is shining down upon her beautiful garden. The grass is bright green with little flecks of white and yellow of dandelions and daisies. She remembers playing here as a child, on the tyre swing, with kids from her the village. The snowdrops and daffodils grow in the fortress flowerbeds carved and fenced lovingly by Granny. The tulips and bluebells are due to bloom any day now, waiting to burst from their buds. Granny would be proud of this garden, Blossom smiles to herself, she has kept it well.
The little tinkling alarm she’s set on her mobile reminds her that it’s time to get ready for work. She gets up from her spot, lifts her towel. She can see Phineas having his toast and coffee from the kitchen window. She walks inside, and goes upstairs to get dressed. She sees Erin storm down the stairs in her work clothes- grey pencil skirt, black glossy high heels, white low-cut ruffly blouse, grey cardigan.
“Morning…” Erin sighs.
She stops in her tracks and watches her as she scuffles past her. She looks like she’s been crying, or angry or something. Her makeup is still flawless- how does she do that? She follows her as her high heels click on the hall lino, along to the kitchen. From the kitchen door, Erin can be seen boiling the kettle and sitting next to Phineas.
“What’s wrong?” he asks. Erin’s pink glossy lower lip quivers
“Me and Leo are finished.” She starts to break into a theatrical sob. “We’re over!” She wraps her arms around Phineas, clinging to him like a koala. “I don’t know what to do.”
Blossom comes in to finish making Erin’s coffee. In the state she’s in she’s probably forgotten about it. She reluctantly detaches from Phineas to take the mug from Blossom and cups it in her hand.
“What happened, Erin?” Blossom asks her.
“He just texted me! Been with me a year and he leaves me by text! It’s not going to work between us, he says, we’re too far apart, he says. Ha! It’s because I wouldn’t move in with him after a year together.” Erin sobs angrily. “Sorry, Leo for not being GOOD ENOUGH!”
She puts the mug down and puts her head on the desk suddenly. Phineas strokes her back for comfort. Blossom wishes there was something she could do.
“Do you need to take the day off? I can stay with you for a few hours, make sure you’re okay. We could walk and talk?” Blossom suggests. “I can make up those hours later on today, if I let my boss know.”
Erin raises her head and shakes it, looking at Phineas and Blossom, “Oh no please, I don’t want to be a bother. Really, you need to go to work.”
“It’s no hassle really, Erin.” Blossom smiles. “My manager is really flexible…”
Phineas looks at his watch, “Crap.” He pushes Erin off of him. “Erin, I need to go or I’ll be late for work. Call me if you need me.” He holds her face in his hands, and she lets him go. He dashes matter-of-factly out of the kitchen and to his car. Now only the kitchen fan can be heard, and of course, Erin gulping her coffee. She is avoiding eye contact with Blossom. Maybe she’s embarrassed for being as upset? Erin puts down the mug and jumps out the chair, tottering to get her handbag.
“Phinny!” she calls out, “Wait up, I need a lift to work!”
And now Blossom is in the kitchen alone. You’re very welcome, Erin, she thinks as she goes to the bedroom to get dressed for work.
Blossom comes back to the house after a whirlwind of a night out. She’s a little tired out after all the dancing and singing. There’s only so much of people Blossom can take before she needs to go back to her nest. Phineas would have been more than welcome, but he said he had to see his mother tonight. Erin is no doubt getting drunk with her friends tonight. So Blossom would be in the house alone.
She opens the door. Part of her is relieved to have some solitude, but she misses him. She’ll be happy when he tumbles in whenever he gets b-
What’s that noise?
The ceiling is thudding. Thud, thud, thud, thud, thud. Too rhythmic for an earthquake, not enough is shaking. A fast paced, faint squeak can be heard from upstairs.
“Ohhh Phinny. Ohh Phinny, fuck me harder, yes! Yes!”
Erin. Phineas. Erin and Phineas. Upstairs. In her bed.
Blossom’s handbag drops to the ground. She has so much emotion rushing in her body she cannot move. They can’t be… no they can’t be doing that. Betrayal. Anger. What should she do? Should she go upstairs, shout at them both? What could she shout? Get your hands of my man? How could you Phineas? Give Erin the satisfaction of being the victor, the successor? She is in so much pain right now, she can’t even scream as the tears roll down her cheeks. She wants to punish them. Yin and yang, no. More like survival of the fittest. Didn’t Blossom have enough stamina? Too small a pair of tits? Not pouty and polished enough? Blossom did have brains though, unlike Erin. Erin and Phineas didn’t even notice the door opened.
“Oh my god it’s so big inside me, holy shit ahhhh”
She goes out to the patio and sees that tall, spriggy dandelion and rips it out, then throws it onto the tarmac. Erin is a weed. She doesn’t even help the bees, she just ruins flowerbeds. She just takes nutrients from nicer flowers. Blossom goes and closes the door behind her, storms through the hall and out to the back garden. The garden is black in the night, she doesn’t even need a torch to find the shed. She gropes around until she finds a plastic watering can-like container. This’ll do. Back inside, weed killer, on the kitchen counter. Cocktail cabinet. It’s usually kept for parties. Make cocktails, sickly sweet. Grenadine, Absolute sours, fizzy pop, vodka. Erin does love getting drunk. Phineas will drink it because she is. He’ll follow that whore anywhere, Blossom thinks to herself, though she’s unsure where that thought came from. She reaches for the glasses. Tall glasses. The grunting, the thudding continues. Her hands shake as she mixes the drinks. Weed-killer first. Then grenadine. Shot glass of Sours Apple. Lemonade. Repeat. Blossom isn’t used to this kind of anger.
“Oh Phinny, come for me. Oh my god!”
Blossom freezes. She can hear them moan as they come together. The thudding stops. One longer squeak of the bed. Hide the weed killer.
“Wow, Erin.” She can hear Phineas pant. “That was fucking amazing. I mean, Blossom’s nice and all but god you can’t get that kind of sex from her.”
Blossom’s nice and all. Nice and all. Just nice. That’s all I ever was, wasn’t it, she thinks, nice and cute? Just a lovesick puppy. An unwanted, lovesick puppy. Her body wants to shut down. Maybe… maybe she should let it. Maybe she should take her life. Phineas would be so much happier without her hanging around. He’s obviously so much happier with her. She takes a glass and sits at the table. A sickly mixture. The glass shakes in her hand, little bits spill on her hands. Not that that’ll matter, not where she’s going. Maybe now she’ll finally have peace…
“Don’t do that Blossom.”
She hears a voice. “Who’s there?” she sniffs.
“You’re not ready to join me yet.” Her grandmother. Why am I hearing Granny? Blossom thinks.
“Granny?” Blossom cries into the air.
“And why are you giving up your house to those two anyway?” Granny asks.
She clutches the glass. She sobs to thin air, “I don’t deserve it. I don’t deserve to live. I’m nothing.”
Granny sighs frustratedly. “Blossom! Don’t deserve this house? This house was made for you! You are a beautiful, strong and kind woman and the world’s short of souls like you. You have so much to live for, and you’re willing to give it up for that lump?”
“But, Phineas is everything to me.”
“He’s not worthy of you. I want him out of our house. Do you hear me? Get them out. Especially the harlot. It’s for your own health, my dear.”
Blossom nods. She looks down at the tall glass. How would her family feel? It would tarnish Phineas and Erin to have her death on their conscience but was that worth it? It’d be in the local press, and most of all Granny would be spinning in her grave. What would Mum and Dad say? There’s potential. This is her house. She knows now. Be assertive. There’s shuffling coming from upstairs. Blossom empties the other glass down the sink before she goes to the door.
Footsteps pad down the stairs. Phineas. Then, not long after, Erin. She looks up at them. Phineas is smiling tenderly at her, as if nothing happened. He really didn’t hear her come in. Erin titters in that sickening tone she has. “Hey, petal how are you…?” Phineas leans over to kiss her. Blossom backs away.
“Don’t touch me.” Blossom tells him.
“What’s wrong, Blossom?” Erin smiles, beneficently.
“I heard everything.” Blossom’s eyes glare. If looks could kill.
Phineas’s face falls. “Heard what, Blossom?” he asks anyway.
Blossom scoffs. “How stupid do you think I am Phineas? You and Erin were fucking in our bed!”
Phineas laughs nervously. He knows he’s busted. He knows he’s in the wrong.
“It’s not what you think. It was a mistake, a wild mistake.” Phineas pleas. “I love you, only you…”
Erin scowls. “I’m a mistake?. Surely marrying THAT will be your mistake”. She indicates Blossom. “She’s away with the fairies and from what you’ve told me she can’t even give head.” She glares at Blossom. “Phinny needed the touch of a real woman. He told me himself. I’d thought you’d be a bit more sharing, considering how commy you are.”
For all Phineas’s experience in debates and arguments, he is stumped. He can’t find the words. Maybe Erin has said them for him…
“Get out.” Blossom fumes, fighting the urge to strangle her.
Erin scoffs, stomping out, muttering she’ll send someone to get her things, swings the front door open and bumps into Blossom hard on the way out. Phineas still stands, dumb as a post, with a face which is the picture of guilt and regret. But then, this could be an act. She cannot begin to trust him anymore. Who knows how long he was fucking her before she moved in? How arrogant can one man be?
“Both of you.” She declares, staring at Phineas.
“What do you mean, both of you?” he implores her.
“I want both of you out of my house.”
“But where will I go?” he cries. “I love you!”
“It’s not my problem, anymore. Get out.”
“But petal…” his lips quiver, “What about us?”
“GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!!” Blossom screams. Phineas scatters out the house like a spider.
She slams the door behind him and leans against it. There is an emptiness in the house without him here. She slides down and sits on the floor, cupping her face in her hands. She’s been cut off from all their memories. If one seeps through into her mind, she could crumble. Blossom cannot take him back after what he did to her.
She’ll have to get used to being totally solitary, a new life- will she ever find someone else? Will she learn to love herself? Who would want to love her? She can’t bear to think about it at the moment.
Her grandmother’s last words ring in her head “The future’s bright, darling.” She takes a surreal comfort in them right now. She gets up and goes to the kitchen to make a green tea.
Copyright 2017 by Jen Hughes. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission.
Featured Image By Norma Baillie