Disclaimer: The characters in this story do not belong to me. No copyright infringement is intended.
BACKSTORY: Michelle Landau and Christian Troy have chosen to make a go of it, again, after Michelle moves to L.A. and the two run into each other once more. They marry and become parents to little Wilbur, but trouble hits almost immediately, when Christian sleeps with Julia and Michelle catches them red handed.
Six months later, Christian wants a baby and Michelle doesn’t think it’s a very good idea, since she is still ambivilant about how she feels about him. Christian decides that buying a house might spur Michelle into wanting a family...and save their marriage.
Unfortunately, the ‘murder house’ that Ben and Vivien Harmon lived in has had another tragedy. On Halloween night, Hayden, Ben’s little teeny bopper mistress, did indeed kill Vivien. And Ben was too late in saving her, since he was overcome by fumes in a slight fire. Daughter Violet survived(since she was out with Tate) and moved back to the East Coast.
And now the house is back on the market...this time at a cost of 90% less than any of the other homes in the community. Christian, who doesn’t believe in ghosts, thinks it’s a find. Michelle is not so sure, but agrees to go along with it, just to make it appear as if she’s trying in her new marriage.
As the story opens, Michelle is home alone, since Christian is at his and Sean McNamara’s plastic surgery firm. The couple is unaware of the former residents names or what they look like...
Michelle flinched every time she looked at that crazy looking mural! Who the hell would paint something like that anyway? Pigs sitting around eating dinner? Why? Was the artist high or something?
She dragged her eyes away from the atrocity, thinking about what kind of paint would be strong enough to cover it up, when her doorbell rang. Michelle looked wistfully at all the unpacking she had yet to do, before walking to the door and opening it.
A woman with long, feathered hair stood there, holding out a plate of chocolate chip cookies.
“Hello. I’m your neighbor from across the street and down aways.” the woman said, pointing towards no house in particular. “I’m Vivien Harmon.”
“Oh...hello, come in. I’m Michelle Troy.” Michelle said, moving aside so that Vivien could walk in. Michelle closed the door and when she turned to face Vivien, she noted the woman looked fascinated by the house.
“I take it you knew the other people that lived here?” Michelle asked. Vivien tore her eyes off a spot on the wall and looked at her.
“A little. What did the realtor tell you?”
“Not much. Just that it was some kind of drama. A cheating husband and his mistress sort of thing.”
“So the realtor didn’t discuss names or anything like that?” Vivien asked carefully.
“No. Actually, the realtor was a client of my husband’s. He’s a plastic surgeon. For a breast augmentation, tummy tuck and chin lift, she gave him 90% off of this house.”
“Wow!” Vivien exclaimed, thinking that if she herself got her hands on that bitch realtor, Marcie...
Michelle reached out and took the plate of cookies from Vivien, thanking her. Vivien followed her towards the kitchen.
“Have you met any of the other neigbors?” Vivien asked, settling into a chair.
“No. You’re the first.” Michelle said. Vivien tilted her head.
“How long have your husband and you been married?”
“A little over six months.” Michelle said quietly, turning to look in the refrigerator. There was milk here somewhere.
“Wow,” Vivien said again, “my husband and I lived in an apartment for a good number of years, before buying our first house back out East.”
Michelle poured Vivien a glass of milk and handed it to her.
“Well, let’s just say that this house is not all about just owning a home.”
Vivien paused before sipping her milk. Michelle sat down and began talking.
“So tell me about some of the neighbors? Who lives over on the right?”
“Oh that’s Constance. Constance Langdon. She’s nosy so I’m sure you’ll be seeing her by the end of the day.” Vivien said.
“A nosy neighbor. Just what I need.” Michelle sighed. Vivien peered at her.
“Michelle, I’m sorry, if I’m interrupting something...”
“No! No, what I mean is that I’m sure ‘Contance’ will be finding out soon enough that Christian and I have our problems.”
“Christian is your husband?”
“Yes.” Michelle said, picking up another cookie. “I shouldn’t be eating this. If all goes as planned, I’ll be fat soon enough.”
Vivien was quiet for a moment before speaking.
“Michelle, I know you don’t know me. But I have to say this: I get the impression that this house is not just a place to live for you. I get the feeling it’s also, hopefully, going to help your marriage? If I’m out of line just tell me.”
Michelle stared at her.
“No, you’re not wrong. Am I that obvious?”
“No but I’ve been there. And I have to say if you’re hoping this house will help the things going wrong in your marriage, don’t. It will never help. If anything it will make things worse.”
Michelle was about to say something, when Vivien stood up.
“I’ve said too much already. Listen, Michelle, my husband is a psychiatrist. He works out of our home. If you or Christian ever need to talk, I’ll send him over.”
Michelle just nodded, then watched as Vivien left the kitchen and walked out the house. Good God! She would have to learn to adopt a better poker face! It was almost as if Vivien could read exactly what was wrong with her and Christian.
Not that Christian thought anything was wrong. He just thought she needed time to forgive him for Julia. With that thought, Michelle covered the cookies in foil and left the kitchen to resume unpacking.
About twenty minutes later, the doorbell rang again. Michelle had just unwrapped a porcelin bird to put on the fireplace mantle, when she heard it. Yawning briefly, she walked down the hallway, to the door and opened it.
A dark haired man, wearing a black shirt and slacks stood there.
“Yes?” Michelle asked.
“Michelle Troy? I’m Ben Harmon. Vivien’s husband. She said you might be in need of my services.”
Michelle didn’t know whether to cuss him out, or wait until she saw Vivien again and cuss HER out!
“Uh...no, Dr. Harmon, I’m afraid your wife may have gotten the wrong idea. Everything is fine. Really.”
“Mrs. Troy, I know what my wife did was a bit off putting, but she meant well. I’m not trolling for clients. I’m just letting you know that if you ever need to talk, I’m here.”
Michelle still didn’t especially like his offer or how it came about. But she nodded.
“Okay. Well thank you.” she said and closed the door. Oh God! She could not have the neighbors thinking that she or Christian needed psychological help already!
It was just as she closed the door, that a loud noise startled her! Frowning, Michelle thought she had imagined it, when she heard it again! And this time, it was coming from the basement.
Michelle clenched her teeth, walked over to the basement door, opened it and slowly descended the stairs, hoping she had been wrong about hearing anything. But the sound became more pronounced and soon, Michelle realized she was hearing the noise from a washer--something she herself had not gotten around to using.
She rounded a corner and stopped short. A red-headed, older woman, with a cloudy eye, was folding clothes--Wilbur’s clothes.
“Uh...excuse me?” was all Michelle could think to ask. The woman smiled patiently at her.
“I’m Moira O’Hara. I am the housekeeper.”
“Uh, a housekeeper comes with this home?”
“I was the housekeeper for the last five families that lived here.”
Michelle looked her over, not quite understanding the conversation. Where in the hell had this woman come from? She had not used the front door, that was for damned sure! And when had she collected her son’s clothing and brought it down here?
“Okay, Moira, you have to go.”
Michelle’s eyes widened, as ‘Moira’(if that was indeed her real name) threw down the laundry basket!
“Did you hear me? I have worked for the last five families! I would work for free!”
“Why?” Michelle asked, just as someone else’s voice scared the shit out of her!
“Moira, dear, she doesn’t need a housekeeper. You should go.”
Michelle jumped and turned to face an older woman with blonde hair. She had a ‘Blanche Dubois’ quality about her. Or at least that was Michelle’s impression of her. The woman walked past Michelle and over to Moira.
“I’m Constance Langdon I live next door. Moira actually worked for me as well at one point. The poor thing keeps losing her job...you know, because everyone keeps getting killed.” Constance said, grinning at Michelle like a mad clown.
Michelle didn’t like Moira, or Constance, who had just walked into her house! She didn’t like Vivien’s shrink husband coming over to analyze her because of his wife’s big mouth! And she had just decided that she, Christan and Wilbur, were not going to be staying here.
“I want you BOTH to leave! Now! Go!”
Constance was still grinning at her.
“Now that is so unneighborly. You act as if I just ‘walked’ into your house. You left the door open when you spoke to Dr. Harmon. I didn’t realize someone in this house was in need of psychiatric help?”
“Bitch, I’m just going to say this ONCE MORE: LEAVE!”
That was Christian’s voice. Michelle turned and hurried back up the stairs and into her husband’s arms!
“Michelle, what is it? Wilbur was supposed to be picked up an hour ago. The school called me.”
Michelle frowned, then looked at her watch. No. It was not possible.
“Michelle?” Christian asked again.
“Christian, it was like 1:00 in the afternoon when I went down in that basement. Now it says...”
“It’s almost four. Are you feeling alright?” Christian asked, touching her face for signs of a fever. But Michelle shook him off.
“I’m fine. Really. Is Wilbur upstairs?”
“He’s in the kitchen. I’m going to assume those cookies you baked are the reason you forgot about him?” Christian said in a teasing tone.
Michelle peeked into the kitchen and saw Wilbur eating Viviene’s cookies. She then pulled Christian into the hallway.
“Christian, there is a crazy woman in the basement, that claims she wants to be our maid! I don’t know how she got in here! Worse yet, some bitch that claims she lives next door, joined us down there, saying I left the front door open when I did not! They’re still down there!”
“Okay! Okay! Calm down! First of all, the door was open when Wilbur and I came in.”
“Probably because the neighbor left it open! I did not leave the front door open!”
“Maybe the wind blew it open. Now who are these women you’re talking about?”
“One is dressed in a housekeeper’s uniform and the other is a blonde woman, that sounds kind of southern. Christian, just get them out of here!”
“Okay, okay. I’ll be right back.” Christian soothed her, kissing her quickly before heading towards the basement. Privately, he was worried. He didn’t really expect to find anyone down in this basement. What he thought was that someone had come by here, filled her in on some of the past murders and now his wife was spooked. That was all.
But Christian was the one surprised, when he found a hot looking, twenty something red headed maid, and an older woman standing by the washer and dryer. Constance looked him over appreciatively--as did the maid.
“Mr. Troy? I’m Constance Langdon, your next door neighbor. I’m sorry if I scared your wife. I was just trying to tell her that Moira here, used to work for me and is an EXCELLENT housekeeper.”
Moira smiled seductively at Christian, then raised her dress uniform to reveal a lack of underwear. Constance sighed, looking Christian over again, before walking past him towards the stairs.
“I’ll apologize to your wife. You two have at it.” she said in a sing song voice. Christian half looked back at Constance, before focusing in on Moira. He walked up to her.
“You’re the maid?” he asked, closing the space between them.
“I am now.” she answered in a low voice.
Michelle never saw Constance come up from the basement, as she was busy asking Wilbur about his day at school.
“It was alright,” Wilbur answered carefully, “but I don’t like my math teacher. And I don’t like math.”
“Well, why don’t you give him...”
“It’s a lady, Mom.”
“I’m sorry. Why don’t you give her a chance, okay?”
Wilbur nodded and bit into another cookie. Michelle was about to limit his intake, when she heard a loud noise coming from the basement! She walked away from her son and towards the basement door. She knew she shouldn’t have left Christian alone with those two crazy bitches...
“Christian?” Michelle asked from the top of the stairs. “Is everything okay? Are they gone?”
Christian tried to keep his voice level, as he pounded into Moira, who saw on top of the washing machine. Her legs were wrapped around his waist.
“Everything. Is. Fine. Let’s. Give. Moira. A. Try!” Christian almost growled, as he contonued to gyrate around inside the hot maid.
What? Michelle was about to walk down the stairs, when she realized Wilbur was speaking to someone. She turned and walked back into the kitchen, to find Constance sitting with Wilbur. Michelle looked back towards the basement door. Wasn’t she down there with Christian and Moira?
“Your son is just so handsome. I never got your name?” Constance said, twirling her pearl necklace.
Michelle looked back towards the basement once more, then spoke.
“It’s Michelle. Michelle Troy.”
Christian and Moira straightened their clothes afterwards. Moira smoothed the front of her dress.
“I think we should discuss pay.”
“I think you should fuck off!” Christian replied. “You offered to work for my wife for free. That’s your pay. And fucking me whenever I want. Are we clear?”
Moira gave him a dirty look.
“Good. Now I have to convince my wife that you’re worth keeping. Somehow I don’t think the same method of ‘persuasion’ you used on me is going to work on her.” Christian said. He then turned and walked away from her and up the basement steps.
Moments later, Vivien appeared in the basement with Moira.
“You should be ashamed of yourself!”
Moira, who still looked old to Vivien, began to cry!
“Don’t you see I’m trapped?! We’re all trapped! It’s this house!”
“The house makes you act like a slut? My husband wasn’t crazy, was he?”
Moira gave her a hard look.
“No. He wasn’t. The house makes me act like a slut. Just like it makes you act like a sanctimonious bitch. Now if you’ll excuse me: I have a real reason to be seen here. You don’t.”
And with that, Moira picked up the laundry basket of clothes and headed up the stairs. As soon as the door closed, Ben appeared. He could see his wife was upset.
“Nice husband Michelle has! They won’t make it here. We can’t let what happened to us, happen to them.”
Ben reached out to touch his wife’s shoulder, but she flinched and moved away. Even in death, Vivien was still angry with him.
“What’s happening to Michelle and Christian is not the same situation, Viv. He’s...he clearly isn’t committed to being married.”
Viviene looked at him as if he were crazy!
“Which makes him different from you, how?”
“I made a mistake. One that you couldn’t forgive me for. I can see that Christian Troy, and mistakes, go hand in hand. And frankly, I resent your comparing me to him.”
“He screws anything that walks.”
“And I do too?”
“We’re playing roles in this stupid house as ghosts, Ben! I’m the bitter wife and yes, you’ll probably end up sleeping with Moira, Constance or someone, even now.”
Ben couldn’t believe she would say that to him. He stared after her even as she left him. He turned away and stared at the telltale washer and dryer. Michelle Troy had not been open to his offier of therapy. Ben knew it had not been presented in the best light, and before he had watched Christian and Moira have sex down here, he would’ve assumed that Michelle wouldn’t be taking him up on his offer.
But he could see the Troy marriage was failing fast. And he had no doubt he would be back in his chair, listening to Mrs. Troy explain just what was going on between her husband and herself.
Christian kissed Wilbur, before putting his blankets on him, and leaving him in his room for the night. Dressed in a black silk robe, that he discarded as soon as he entered his and Michelle’s room, he idly wondered how in the hell Moira could’ve really worked for the last ‘five families’ that lived in this house, when she couldn’t be any older than 25?
She probably hadn’t.
Michelle sat in front of her vanity and applied shea butter to her legs. She had reluctantly agreed to keep Moira, since she wanted work for free. Why? Who WANTS to work for free? Especially as a maid? It was a shame she couldn’t get some references...
Hadn’t Constance said Moira worked for her at one time? Then again, Michelle didn’t consider her a good source of information. She still thoiught that Constance just walked up in here! And seeing her near Wilbur like that, gave her the creeps. Not to mention when Christian and Moira came up from the basement, Constance was all over Christian, as if she hadn’t had a man of her own in decades.
Maybe she should ask Vivien? Then again, Vivien blabbed the little she had gotten out of her, to her shrink husband. No. With the internet these days, Michelle was sure she could find out something on her own.
She looked over at Christian, who was now lying naked on their bed, staring at her expectantly. Michelle looked away. She wasn’t in the mood. The whole sequence of events today had rattled her.
“You know,” Michelle said, “I think I’m going to read a little. I’ll go downstairs so that I don’t disturb you.”
“Read? Come on, Michelle! That’s your worst excuse yet for putting me off.”
Michelle stood up, tightening her robe.
“I’m sorry. I’m just not up to anything tonight.”
Michelle gave him a look thick with disbelief!
“I’m sorry, did you not see how upset I was today? A crazy assed woman shows up already doing our son’s laundry, in our basement! She broke in and you hire her on anyway! Then that steel magnolia from next door breaks in here...not to mention...”
Christian stood up and walked over to her. He rested his hands on her shoulders.
“Is there something you’re not telling me?”
Michelle bit her lip, then spoke.
“There were two other neighbors. A married couple. They were also kind of nosy. I just think we should sell this house and leave.”
“Michelle! We’ve been here like one day! Look, how about we throw a party for these ‘nosy neighbors’? A housewarming, so to speak. I’ll invite Sean and Julia and they can access what’s going on.”
Michelle moved away from him.
“So you’d believe them but not me?”
“I don’t want to see Julia’s face in this house, ever, in my lifetime. And Sean hates me.”
“Sean does not hate you! But he does think that we rushed into things here. Look, honey, Julia and I have history and we’re Matt’s parents. I made a mistake. Julia had just come from visiting Matt in prison after he had been raped in there. We just lost it....I love you. I love Wilbur. Giving up on this house is like giving up on us. Are you giving up on us, Michelle?”
Michelle shook her head, and in that moment, she suddenly felt more in love with her husband, than she ever had been before. Christian kissed her tenatively, then deepened the kiss, while removing her robe and pulling her towards the bed. Michelle did not know if this house did have some kind of strange power. All she knew was that for the first time since she had caught Christian and Julia in their bed, in their old apartment, Michelle was taking an ardent interest in making love with her husband. She slid slowly up and down his rigid flesh, then changed her rhythm to a vigorous to and fro movement, until they were both left in wonder of heir passion.
Christian had known this house was the key to repairing his broken relationship with his wife. It was broken no longer. Michelle had come back to him, giving herself to him and this marriage. He secretly hoped that they had created a child tonight.
It was 2 a.m. when something awoke Michelle. She didn’t know what it was, nor would she remember it in the morning, as she moved out of Christian’s embrace and got up naked, from their bed. She left their room in a trance.
She slowly walked down the stairs and into the living room, where an equally naked, Ben Harmon waited for her. He moved toward her, pulled her into his arms and kissed her gently, before letting her go.
“We’re going to talk, here, tomorrow.” was all he said to her. But what he had kept to himself when he had argued with Vivien earlier, was how connected he had felt to Michelle Troy, from the moment he had laid eyes on her. It would be impossible for him to keep from making love to her. This, he was sure of.