Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Won't Last Long


Won't Last Long by Heidi Joy Tretheway

Melina’s a tough cookie. She’s clawed her way up the ladder in a marketing firm and put her small-town Midwest upbringing behind her. Now she’s moving from her decrepit studio to an apartment in the carriage house of an old Craftsman home. Melina’s not your typical Chick Lit heroine—she’s frosty, feisty and obsessed with her image. But in Won’t Last Long, the façade she’s built is about to come crashing down.
The movers were startlingly efficient, wrapping Melina’s walnut dresser and removing boxes of clothes, cosmetics and shoes. They tipped the fourth and final wardrobe box, fastened it to a hand truck and wheeled it out the door and up the ramp of the moving van.
Melina surveyed what was left: a few dry cleaning hangers, bits of lint clinging to the stained carpet, a yellowing shower curtain, and an ugly plastic soap holder next to the perennially dripping faucet.
The apartment appeared much shabbier without Melina’s clothes and accessories to give the place some style. As usual, Melina wasn’t sentimental. She was on to the next stage in her life, prepared to use her best assets—her looks, quick wit and killer instinct—to take advantage of the next opportunity.
One of her favorite phrases summed it up: “You snooze, you lose.”
Walking down the steps toward her car with a final box of breakables in her hands, Melina congratulated herself for scoring a deep discount on rent from the old lady in exchange for a few gardening chores and a ride to the grocery store now and then.
“Melina! What’s up?” A sandy-haired man in his thirties huffed down the stairs toward Melina. She knew she couldn’t get to her car in time to avoid her neighbor, who also worked as the apartment’s part-time handyman. Regretfully, Melina slowed her pace.
“Raymond,” she said with a bit of a sneer, “how lovely to see you.”
“I saw two guys coming out of your apartment with boxes and I almost called the cops.” He pointed to the moving van. “Lucky for you I asked them for ID to show they were legit.”
“Yes, lucky for me,” Melina said drily, crossing the parking lot toward her car, Raymond in her wake. She balanced the small box on her hip as she dug into her designer jeans pocket for car keys.
Raymond made a move to help her with the box but she stopped him with a glare. “I’m moving, Ray. I found a new place and I’m moving today.”
His face fell. Melina ran hot and cold with him, sometimes pouring on the charm to gain his help jump-starting her car or scraping ice off it in the winter, sometimes cutting him with a snide comment as she refused repeated offers for a date. Melina didn’t see anything wrong with twisting Ray’s eagerness to her own advantage.
“Well, now I’m not gonna see you as much, but maybe that means we can finally have dinner?”
Melina’s car chirped as she unlocked the coupe, popped open the door and laid the box on her passenger seat. She turned to face Raymond, leaning on the edge of her doorframe as if it were a shield to block his advances.
She could no longer give her standard excuse: “You don’t shit where you eat, Ray.” Meaning: you don’t date neighbors, because that can get complicated. She never explained which part of the phrase applied to dating him.
“Ray, we’re not going to have dinner. I’m never going out to dinner with you. You’re just not my idea of a good time.”
Raymond recoiled as if slapped, and he shoved his hands in his jacket pockets. His eyes jumped sideways to the movers, already in their truck, waiting to follow Melina to her new place.
“Well, do you at least want to keep in touch? You could give me your phone number. You know, for old time’s sake?” His mouth turned up in a grin, hope still lighting his face.
Melina’s eyes hardened. Back home, Raymond would have been fine, a regular guy who’d join her father’s bowling league and make himself useful doing projects her mother assigned. He was friendly and decent-looking, but Melina didn’t see herself with anyone like Ray.
She would choose a man with polish and spark, someone who could command a boardroom or an army. Someone to steer a yacht and sling back martinis, someone who could appreciate and afford the finer things. Someone who made Melina look more successful.
The next step toward the life Melina intended was luring the right man, and she had no intention of letting an average handyman like Raymond cloud that crystal-clear vision.
“No,” Melina said, an edge in her voice and ice in her expression. “I’m leaving you and this dump behind.”

Author bio: 
Heidi Joy lives in Happy Valley off Sunnyside Road. She swears she did not make that up.

Heidi’s obsessed with storytelling. Her career includes marketing, journalism, and a delicious few years as a food columnist. Media passes took her backstage with several rock bands, where she learned that sometimes a wardrobe malfunction is exactly what the rock star intends.

You’ll most often find Heidi Joy with her husband and two small kids cooking, fishing, exploring the Northwest, and building epic forts in their living room.

She loves to hear from readers via messages at
Find Heidi here:
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