Stacey was at work when FedEx delivered the overnight letter informing Riana that she’d won $500,000. She squealed with joy, grateful that Stacey wasn’t home.
Then she ran upstairs to update her journal and to email other friends with the news. It took her forever to type just a few sentences because her mind was spinning in a whirlwind of excitement over the numerous possibilities and opportunities in which she now had in the palm of her hand. The only negative was that it could take a few months to actually receive the check.
She heard Stacey enter the house a few hours later and her heart thumped with both excitement and dread. She reached for her congratulatory letter and started to charge down the stairs.
But instinct stopped her, and she thought better of it. She turned around and ran back upstairs.
What should she do?
Footsteps on the stairs.
“Yeah, I’m here,” Riana said, frantically glancing around her. She shoved the envelope under the mattress just as Stacey appeared in the doorway.
“Oh, not much. Just tidying up.”
Shit! Her journal entry was visible on her large computer screen blabbing all about her wonderful winnings hence her escape from Staceyville. She hoped Stacey wouldn’t step into the room far enough and see it before she could close the window. She casually stepped over to the computer and tried to distract Stacey with questions about her day. “How was work?” she asked, as she clicked on the toolbar and brought the sweepstakes page to the forefront.
“Same as usual,” Stacey replied, stepping into the room and looking at her computer. “Anything good today?”
“Same as usual. Big prizes, small prizes, and some in between.”
“Still waiting to hear back from a couple of places. I’m already getting sick of the false promises and the waiting game that I may just end up taking your advice and stay put for a while, as lazy as that may sound.”
“No, no, not at all. That would be great,” Stacey said, lips brushing hers. “You can still do what you want with the job, I mean, but it’s nice to hear that you’re thinking of staying put. In fact, I won’t have it any other way,” Stacey finished as she pulled her closer for a longer, more sensual kiss.
Stacey left Riana a moment later to wonder just what she meant by saying she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Well, I sure will, you overbearing, selfish, possibly murderous pest.
Later on, she emailed Jessie rather than called her, so she wouldn’t have to worry about Stacey overhearing her. She told Jessie the good news and waited until 9:00, which was when she usually checked her email.
Jessie’s reply was full of the shock and happiness she expected.
“Have you told Stacey?” Jessie asked.
“No way. Something says I should keep this one from her, and I trust my gut to know what’s best.”
“I’m so glad to hear this. Had you said you were going to tell her, I’d be trying to talk you out of it, trust me. She’s getting way too obsessive lately.”
“That’s nothing. Wait till I tell you that she may have had a hand in killing her husband and daughter.”
“Oh, please tell me you’re kidding! Then again, I know you wouldn’t joke about something like that.”
“She was probably just saying that to keep me around, but I’m too afraid to confront her about it.”
“Don’t confront her! Go to the police.”
“Have you forgotten? She is the police. And the rest of her kind would just laugh me off without any proof. I would need proof. I can’t just go to them on a hunch or less than that. All I really have is her statement.”
“I see what you mean,” Jessie said.
“Are you up for a good cut of the money for helping me get out of here?” asked Riana.
“I don’t need a cut of it, good or not, but yes, I’m all for helping you. Any ideas yet?”
“Are you kidding? I’m still reeling with shock! A million possibilities are flying through my mind faster than I can really grasp them. A half a mil gives me so many options I didn’t have before or think I ever would. My mind is flipping all kinds of possibilities around.”
“I would be one major babbling fool. It must be hard for you to keep quiet about it. I know I’d want to tell the whole world. It’d be so damn exciting for sure.”
“Well, I’ve told you and my journal.”
“Just make sure she can’t find it.”
“It’s online. I haven’t bothered with my word processor or anything else that isn’t out there in cyberspace for only me to know about and others who use the site. I don’t use my real name, and Stacey’s not the least bit computer savvy. She constantly asks for help. She basically only uses it for her banking needs, news and weather.”
“Yeah, she doesn’t seem to be the kind to be into writing from what you’ve told me,” said Jessie.
“Writing is like singing. It’s either in you or it isn’t, and it ain’t in Stacey. If you live with someone, you’ll know if writing or singing is in them, trust me.”
“I’m just so happy for you! Are you going to secretly disappear, or tell her where you’re going?”
“I think the best way to go about this is to just quietly disappear. I just feel that I’d be better off if she didn’t know where I went because she may bug me there.”
“I agree. I think you’re doing the right thing. When you find a place, we’ll get you out of there when she’s at work.”
“You’re a lifesaver! I think it may be easier if I got an existing house, rather than had a manufactured home built and hauled onto a piece of land. That way I wouldn’t have to be out as much raising her suspicions. You have to work the same time she does, so I couldn’t have you carting me around every time I needed to go out. Having a house built would mean I’d have to be in and out a lot, and probably on the phone a lot too, where she could overhear my side of the conversation. Plus, it would take longer that way.”
“I see what you’re saying. And because you don’t drive it may not be wise to venture too far outside of the city. There are enough large properties on the outskirts that would be close enough to bus lines and you’d still have your bike. If you go too far out, you’d be on your bike for hours just to go to the store.”
“Yeah, I know. I’m going to start looking at things right now and hopefully set up an appointment to check something out soon enough. If it’s not a place I can get to easily enough on my own, I’ll try to schedule an appointment for later in the day, and we’ll just tell Stacey we’re going shopping or something.”
“Sounds great! Let me know when you find something.”
Riana was just about to check out some real estate on the outskirts of the city when Stacey entered the room.