“I admit it’s a tall order, but we really just want something that has privacy and access to amenities. I know it sounds contradictory – wanting to be close to everything and far away at the same time – but there has to be something out there.”
They bumped along in the back of the realtor’s white SUV. The realtor, Sarah, was older than the couple she had chauffeured across the county for three weekends in a row. She knew she was growing tense, showing tension, and she didn’t care. They had looked at fifteen houses and none of them had clicked for The Man. His wife had been quiet the whole time, mousy little thing. Hadn’t said more than two words in all of their visits. Far more appropriate behavior, Sarah thought.
Obstinate man needs to be taught a les—
Sarah cut the thought off. Business, she reminded herself. Keep it professional inside and out.
“I have one last place to show you but you’re going to have to get more specific with me about what you need or I might not be able to help you.”
It was a statement loaded with meaning, Sarah knew. She was effectively the only realtor in the valley, a hot new area on the far outskirts of town. A lot of properties were opening up and with recent development nearby, it was becoming a more attractive place. She had sealed up her business before the boom and there was no one else in the area that residents trusted to sell their property. If someone wanted to live in the valley, they had to go through Sarah.
“As I said, we value our privacy.”
Oy, thought Sarah. Commission be damned.
It had been a nightmare working with these two. One house had a great interior for their interests, they said, but the back yard was too exposed to the neighbors. Another had exposed beams that he liked, but the back yard was at too sharp an angle. For what? she asked. No answer.
The last one had a perfect back yard, but “the basement didn’t have enough separate storage rooms,” he said. The fuck?
She turned into the short driveway and pulled up to the house. It was old, needed paint and repairs, but the bones were good and it was listed cheap. Sarah knew that the seller was motivated and would go even lower. She hoped she could just push them on the value, shine light on the hope of renovations, and get them off her call sheet.
– – –
They hated it. The house actually seemed to make him mad. On their way out to the car he cut the silence, whirling in his place, and glaring into Sarah. “I know there are more houses out there. I know what I am looking for is available SOMEWHERE. I have friends in this area who have exactly what I’m looking for and they keep telling me that there’s more out here. Why aren’t you showing me what I want?”
“Because you won’t TELL me what you want! I need information and if you’re going to be this fucking recalcitrant then you can find your own damn house.”
“Listen you –”
Before he could finish, the mousey woman reached up and grabbed his arm, her face thick with anxiety. “Please.”
Before she could say more, he whirled around and smacked her with the back of his hand. She fell into the dirt, her sundress falling up over her ass. Sarah was startled, not used to seeing such violence, not at work anyway. Her eyes quickly darted to the woman, to her exposed flesh. To the caning marks along her buttocks and thighs. To the large black triskelion tattoo; the long number tattooed beneath it.
Everyone froze. The mouse moved first, pulling her skirt down and looking first at her man, and then at Sarah. The man just stared at Sarah, surprised at what he had done and obviously horrified that she had seen it. His lips flailed as he stuttered to think up an explanation. His inexperience beamed out of his eyes like headlights.
For fuck sake, thought Sarah.
“IF you just want a nice quiet place where you have lots of indoor and outdoor options for stringing up and beating your wife in privacy, you should have fucking told me. We could have saved a lot of time.”
Sarah walked to the car. Neither of them moved.
“Well? Get in!”
Fifteen minutes later she was showing them a small cottage – probably too small for them – but it had a large patio with beams over the top, a nice back yard with trees and low limbs. The basement dungeon was already done up in hardwood paneling, with one leather accent wall. It belonged to an old man she knew from her play group who wanted to sell it after his husband passed away. After the headache they had given Sarah, she knew he would be happy to jack up the price a grand or so.
And looking at the two young people talking excitedly in the back yard, she knew they would pay it.