Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Christian smiled at Wilbur, as he ate a piece of bacon the next morning. Wilbur smiled back as well. His parents had seemed sad for awhile, but ever since they moved into this house, everyone seemed happy. He was happy himself. A nice lady had helped him do his math the other night...
Michelle smiled at Christian, her eyes falling on Moira, as she put a few more eggs on Wilbur’s plate. He said ‘thank you’ and Moira’s smile lit up the room. Maybe she was good for this family. Maybe she was good for Wilbur, Michelle thought.
She looked at her husband.
“Could you take Wilbur to school today? I want to make nice with the neighbors. I think I really messed up yesterday.” she said. Christian nodded.
“I think that’s an excellent idea. I also think that my idea from the other night, would fit right in.”
Moira noted that Michelle briefly scowled at his words. What was that about?
“I told you, I’m not interested in seeing you-know-who in this house.” Michelle responded.
“Who’s ‘you know who’?” Wilbur asked innocently.
“Your Aunt Julia.” Christian responded. Michelle’s mouth dropped open! How could he tell their son that?!
“Why don’t you want to see Aunt Julia, Mommy?” Wilbur asked. Moira feigned disinterest but her ears were perked.
“It’s a grown up thing.” Christian told his son. “Now go and get your books, okay?”
“Okay.” Wilbur said, forgetting about Aunt Julia. He had time to get his books and say goodbye to his other new friend.
His friend Tate.
Michelle folded her arms.
“Nice!” she snapped.
“What? You can explain why he can’t ever see Julia in his own home.”
“Oh, do you really want me to?” Michelle countered, just as the kitchen door opened and Constance walked in. Michelle’s lips tightened. She was now 100% sure that this bitch had just walked into the house yesterday!
“I hope I’m not interrupting anything,” Constance cooed, “but I dropped a ring in the basement yesterday. I was hoping to find it.”
Michelle turned and walked out of the kitchen. She opened the front door, slammed it behind her and began walking down the front walk. A nice stroll is what she needed right now...
Suddenly, Vivien Harmon was walking towards her.
“Hi, Michelle. Listen, I want to apologize for yesterday. Ben had no right to rush over here like that. I shouldn’t have said anything.”
Michelle waved a hand dismissively.
“It’s alright. Really.”
Vivien tilted her head.
“No. No it isn’t. You look like you’re about to blow.”
Suddenly, Christian and Wilbur came out of the house. Christian told Wilbur to wait for him in the car, then joined Michelle and Vivien out on the sidewalk. He eyed Vivien. She was cute.
“Michelle, who do we have here?”
Michelle half looked at Christian, before making the introduction.
“Christian, this is Vivien Harmon. Vivien, this is my husband, Christian.”
Vivien shook his hand. She had to admit, while she thought he was scum, he was very attractive scum!
“Vivien’s husband is a psychiatrist.” Michelle added.
“You know, now we HAVE to have a get together. Vivian, her husband, Constance and some friends of ours...”
“Yours. I have to get back inside. Constance is lurking around in the basement.” Michelle said snidely, turning to walk off. Christian stared after her for a moment, then turned back to Vivien.
“So...where is your home?”
“Oh across the street and over aways. You’d better get your son off to school. It looks like he’s waiting.” Vivien said. “It was nice meeting you.”
“Same here.” Christian replied, then watched as Vivien Harmon power walked off down the sidewalk. He then dragged his eyes off of her ass and looked at the house again. He should not leave things between himself and Michelle, this way. Not after they connected again the other night.
But he looked at his watch. He was already running late and he and Sean had a tummy tuck in an hour. Soothing his wife’s hurt feelings would have to wait.
When Michelle returned to the house and went to the basement, she no hide nor hair of Constance. Shaking her head angrily, she stomped back up the stairs and was about to walk into the living room when....
Ben Harmon was standing by the fireplace. He had a notebook in his hand.
“Moira let me in. We had an appointment, remember?” he asked carefully. Michelle blinked. That was right! When he came to the door the other day, they had made an appointment.
“Uh yes, sort of. I thought it was for later though? I have to do some shopping.”
“Oh, I’ll do it!” Constance called out. Michelle’s mouth dropped open! This bitch was STILL in her house???
“Did you find your ring?” Michelle asked coolly.
“No. I hate to say this, but your new housekeeper must have stolen it. Ben, didn’t Moira work for you at one time? I seem to recall she was trouble.” Constance said coyly.
Michelle looked at Ben and noted that he was giving Constance quite the dirty look! Michelle cleared her throat.
“I’ll ask Moira if she’s seen your ring. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an appointment.”
“With Dr. Harmon here? He is a wonderful psychiatrist. He helped my son Tate.”
Michelle lifted a brow, looking at Ben again.
“Really?” she asked. Ben folded his arms.
“Actually, Tate was beyond help.”
Constance scowled and Michelle sensed there was much more to this story than she was hearing. Ben grabbed Constance’s arm.
“I think you should go back over to YOUR house, Constance. Now!”
Constance shook him off, still grinning like a mad clown. She then looked at Michelle.
“I’m glad you’re getting help now, before it’s too late.”
Michelle was tempted to answer that so many ways, most of them impolite. But she watched as Ben practically pushed Constance out of the door, closed it, then returned to the living room.
“Alone. At last. Why don’t I sit here and you sit over there.” he suggested, making himself at home in a chair. Michelle reluctantly did as he said and sat in her assigned chair.
“Now, Michelle, why don’t we begin with your telling me something about yourself?”
Michelle just stared at Ben for a long moment. He smiled teasingly.
“I’ve stunned you with this question?”
“Well...there isn’t much to tell.”
“Well of course there is. I mean it’s not like you were born, you grew up and here you are, right? There’s a lot in between.”
Michelle could not help but smile at that assessment.
“I’m from Florida. I had plans to be a doctor and actually went to medical school. But then my father died and my mother couldn’t afford to foot the bill. So...I became an escort to pay for my education but ended up dropping out anyway.”
Ben’s eyes widened and he began writing.
“Oh yes. I worked under a Madam who actually fell in love with me, and kind of killed herself because we couldn’t be together.”
Ben would’ve NEVER guessed this much!
“So, you were a lesbian?”
“No, she was. Her feelings weren’t reciprocated. I got out of hooking when I married a much older man named Burt Landau.”
“Burt and I had sexual problems, because of his age and a penile implant he had put in. That was how I met Christian. He was the doctor that worked on Burt. I had an affair with him...” Michelle trailed off. Ben peered at her.
“I take it Burt died? I mean otherwise you wouldn’t be with Christian now.”
“Yes,” Michelle lied, “he died. Christian and I got together and it didn’t work out. I was left to run his plastic surgery firm when he moved here.”
“Okay, go back. I’m confused. You ran Christian’s plastic surgery business...so you went back to medical school?”
“No, I’m sorry! I have to fill in some blanks. Burt got the idea to buy the firm after his surgery. I ran it. I did nothing medical, just administration. Christian and his partner, Sean, ended up working for me.”
“Then Christian broke up with you and left?”
“Christian and Sean left. So did their anesthesiologist. The three of them are inseparable.”
“And that bothers you?” Ben noted. Michelle shrugged.
“Christian broke up with me because he said he couldn’t trust me. That I had too many secrets. But I could never shake the feeling that the three of them knew things that they’d never share with me. Julia is probably in the know as well.”
“Julia?” Ben asked.
“Sean’s wife and the mother of Christian’s son, Matt.” Michelle explained.
“So Christian was married to Julia before Sean?”
“No. They were never married and for the longest time, Sean thought that Matt was HIS son.”
“Okay, I understand. You’ve left out Wilbur. He’s about seven or eight?”
“Wilbur is eight and he isn’t Christian’s biological child. His birth mother died. His birth father and his wife died as well. Christian adopted Wilbur and I did as well, later on.”
“How did Christian come to adopt a child?”
“Uh...I believe he told me that he thought Wilbur was his, until he was born. Then he realized Gina, Wilbur’s mother, had tricked him. But Christian didn’t care. He loves Wilbur. That’s one thing about him that’s very sincere.”
“And Christian’s love for you?” Ben probed.
“I think Christian does the best he can. I think he loves me the only way he knows how. I think I thought I could change him. I also think I thought HE would change me. This house...this life here...it’s our last chance. If we can’t make a go of it here, in the suburbs, we probably never will.”
“Michelle, your life with your husband is NOT dependent on a house. Especially not this one.”
Michelle lifted a brow.
“You say that because of all the murders that happened here, right? Did you know any of the owners?”
Ben closed his notebook.
“I think our time is up today. I’d like to see you tomorrow, same time?”
Michelle stared at him for a moment, then shook her head.
“I don’t think so. I mean I can’t see how this could possibly help.” she said, standing up. Ben made it a point to stand up at the same time she did.
“Do you feel better than you did this morning?”
“A little, I guess.”
“Then it did help. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Ben repeated. Michelle shook her head.
“Ben. We’re neighbors.”
Michelle smiled at him.
“Fine. Ben, you must have other patients that need you more than I. Really, I’m fine. Christian and I just need to learn how to communicate better, that’s all.”
Ben decided not to push. He would return tonight and lull her into another appointment.
“If you’re sure?”
“I am, Ben. But thanks for listening to me today.”
Ben nodded and Michelle walked him out. Once the door closed, Michelle found herself thinking about Ben and Vivien. She realized that one of the reasons she didn’t want to see Dr. Ben Harmon again, was because she wasn’t completely convinced that he knew of what he spoke. Michelle had had the distinct impression, from Vivien, that all was not well between the psychiatrist and his wife. And until she knew for certain that Dr. Harmon himself, was not the reason for that rift, she felt it would be best if she didn’t see him professionally again.
“What do you mean, ‘you fucked the maid’?” Sean McNamara asked in disbelief. Him and Christian were sitting in their breakroom. Christian was spooning yogurt in his mouth.
“You heard me! I mean you should see the hot little bitch! She just looks at me like she wants to devour me or something! And Michelle of course didn’t want her there, for good reason. But the house IS big. There’s no way Michelle will be able to care for it on her own.”
Sean was quiet for a moment before speaking.
“So are you ever going to tell me what prompted this big move? I mean one moment Michelle and you were happy with Wilbur in an apartment, then you just up and move.”
There was no way in the hell Christian was going to admit that he fucked Julia, got caught by Michelle and now needed desperately to do something to keep Michelle. He had thought a big house, with renovation possibilities, was the key. But Michelle was still resentful of Julia, not that she didn’t have a right to be. But at the same time, Julia wanted to make things work with Sean. Meaning, she didn’t want him to know about her indiscretion. And if Julia and Michelle couldn’t get along. eventually Sean was going to wonder why.
“I thought with Wilbur getting older, it was about time. He needs to live in a house. Plus, Michelle and I are trying to start a family.”
Sean’s eyes widened!
“Jesus, Christian! You’re fucking the maid! Don’t bring a baby into this shit!”
“What shit? I told you the slut greets me with her legs open! It’s not my fault she’s some kind of sex maniac. You know she’s been running around saying she worked for the last five families, which mathematically, couldn’t be possible. But now I wonder if maybe she worked for like the last one and was fired?”
“For being a sex maniac?” Sean asked skeptically. He stood up and walked over to the counter to pour himself a cup of coffee. He sipped it, then spoke again.
“What is the story behind that house? I looked it up online. The back stories are really messed up.”
“Who knows? I mean from what I could tell, crazy people ended up buying it and killing one another in it. Michelle and I are going to buck tradition.”
“Not if you keep having sex with the maid.” Sean said wryly. Christian stood up.
“You have to see her, Sean. I want to put together a housewarming party for tomorrow night. Julia and you should come. You can meet some of the neighbors.”
Sean spoke carefully.
“And Michelle wants Julia and I there?”
“Yes...why are you asking?”
“Look, I made it clear when you two were together in Florida, that I didn’t like her. I mean she was part of that kidney ring that messed up Liz. I just didn’t think you could trust her. But I see the two of you are trying to make a go of it with Wilbur, so I want to get along with her. But....”
“Michelle doesn’t seem very open to it?” Christian asked. Sean nodded.
“She’ll come around. But right now the house and the neighbors, some which are a bit eccentric, are stressing her out. I think she’d feel better seeing some familiar faces.”
“Okay. I’ll talk to Julia and see what we have planned for tomorrow night.”
“If you have anything planned, cancel it! I need the two of you to be my eyes and ears to sum up the neighbors.” Christian told him.
Michelle decided to do some baking of her own, which was uncharacteristic of her. But she felt bad that Vivien had brought those cookies over and offered her own husband as a sounding board. And there was Constance. If she had to live next door to the woman, she might as well try and get along with her.
Realizing that she only knew where Constance lived for sure, Michelle picked up the plate of chocolate chip cookies she had baked, and was about to leave via the kitchen door, when the front doorbell rang. Sighing, Michelle set down the plate, her eyes on the lookout for Moira--who should have answered the damned door in the first place!
Michelle opened the door without looking out, to find a young girl outside, swaying on the porch! Blood was running down her legs!
“Help me!” she croaked, falling into the house. Michelle half caught her and began to scream for Moira! Moira appeared and frowned.
“Moira, call 911! I’ll get her over to the couch!”
“Don’t touch her, Mrs. Troy! She’s nothing but trouble!”
Michelle half glanced at the girl, who she had helped to a living room couch. She then hurried back out into the hallway!
“What are you talking about?! Can’t you see something is wrong with her? She needs medical attention!”
Moira folded her arms.
“Mrs. Troy, the little slut is a troublemaker. I believe the young woman’s name is Hayden and she tried to come between Ben and Vivien Harmon.”
Michelle gasped inadvertently! She then slowly backed away and walked back into the living room to find it empty! No one was there! And there was no blood anywhere around, even though ‘Hayden’ had been bleeding profusely. The blood had been running down her legs...like she had been miscarrying...
Moira slowly walked in and smirked with satisfaction.
“Home wrecking whore is gone. If you see Mrs. Harmon, I wouldn’t mention this to her. The very sight of Hayden still upsets her.”
Michelle said nothing as Moira left the living room. Michelle looked around, unable to figure out how Hayden could’ve left the house without her being seen. She took two deep breaths, went back into the kitchen and picked up the plate of cookies. She had the feeling that Constance Langdon would be the person to go to, to find out about the strange goings ons in their neighborhood.
“Cookies! You shouldn’t have, Michelle. I must watch my figure. But do come in.” Constance said graciously. Michelle smiled wanly and stepped inside. She sat down at the kitchen table, uninvited. Constance peered down at her.
“What is it? Is it Moira? The woman is a disgrace. I fired her.”
Hmmm, Michelle thought. She HAD been looking for references on Moira, and had been reluctant to ask Constance. But this sealed it. She was going to make Christian fire the woman.
“I’m glad you told me that. Maybe now Christian will listen to me and get rid of her.” Michelle groused. “I have to ask you something though: a woman was just in my house, in need of medical attention. Moira said that the woman’s name was ‘Hayden’ and that Dr. Harmon had an affair with her. Is that true?”
Constance raised a brow.
“What you really want to know is can a man who cheated on his wife, really be a good listener?”
Michelle didn’t answer that. When she thought about it, she had liked talking with Ben. Maybe she should’ve considered therapy years ago.
Or was it that she just liked talking to Ben?
Michelle pulled herself out of her thoughts and focused on Constance.
“Ben and Vivien just seem nice, that’s all. I hope they can work things out. And some wild teenager, running around miscarrying isn’t going to help things. I wonder if she went to someone else’s house? Or got herself to the ER? You know, I should warn Vivien. Where is her house exactly?”
Before Constance was forced to answer, Michelle’s cellphone rang. Michelle pulled it out of her pocket and looked at the Caller I.D..
Julia McNamara. God why?
Michelle sent the call to voicemail and stood up.
“I’ve taken up too much of your time. I just wanted to apologize for how I’ve been acting--hence the cookies.”
“You’re under strain. It can’t be easy being married to a man like Christian. He reminds me a lot of my late husband. He was a lot like him.” Constance said faintly.
“Like him in looks?”
“No dear. Demeanor. His eyes always wandered...strayed...”
Michelle didn’t respond to that. Probably because Constance’s assessment of Christian had more than a tinge of truth to it.
“Well, I should get going.” Michelle said and saw herself out of Constance’s house. Once outside, she pulled out her phone and listened to her voicemail from Julia.
“Michelle, it’s Julia McNamara. Sean told me about the housewarming party. Sean and I will come as long as you understand that Sean knows nothing about what happened between Christian and I. And it has to stay that way. So...”
Michelle stopped listening to the message. Clearly, Christian had already made plans without consulting her. She took a deep breath and told herself she could get through one night of looking at Julia McNamara’s face.