This friend has fallen on hard times and wants to stay with your protagonist a few days. As your protagonist and friend sit in the kitchen, the friend reminisces about the old days…and stirs up trouble by recalling some unhappy teen moments, too.
A loud knocking roused Deidre from a great erotic dream. Darn! Usually she had one of one of those worrisome dreams where she arrived late somewhere in her pajamas.
She’d had a late night shift in her manager position at the restaurant and was sleeping in on this Saturday morning. What a night! Their head chef Henri had announced his resignation and had walked out on them without a backward glance. He had always been a temperamental type but she didn’t know it had been that bad.
“Okay, I’m coming,” she muttered and yawned as she stumbled to the door.
Opening the door, she came face to face with a familiar but somewhat older looking face. All she could do was stare as if she was seeing a ghost.
“Hi Dede,” the man said, using her nickname from high school days.
“Martin, is that really you? I thought you moved up North,” she said, incredulous. She took a good look at him. He’d filled out a lot in fifteen years from when he was seventeen. His hairline had receded and there were dark circles under his eyes as if he hadn’t slept well, but he still retained that boyish look she remembered as much as she’d tried to forget.
She must look a sight in her baggy pajamas with her ratty bed hair, puffy eyes and no makeup.
“You look great, Dede,” he said. “Can I come in?”
“What? Oh, sure,” she said opening the door wider to let him in. She noticed he had a big knapsack with him.
He sat down at the kitchen table with a weary sigh and dumped his pack on the floor.
“Would you like coffee?” she asked as she put a K-cup into the coffee maker and waited for it to heat up.
“Love some,” he answered looking around her apartment.
“So what brings you here after all this time?” Deidre asked handing him a coffee. “I put in cream and sugar. That’s how you used to take it, right?”
“Yes. Good memory,” he said. He took a sip and swallowed. “I need a place to crash for a few days. I just got laid off my chef job when the lodge up in Timmins where I was working went out of business. Also Elise told me she’d found someone else and kicked me out of the house. Not the best week I’ve ever had.” He pulled the saddest face he could manage and shrugged. “But what can you do? That’s life, eh?”
“How did you know where to find me?” Deidre asked.
“I got in touch with your parents,” he said. “They were reluctant to tell me anything at first.”
“Not surprising,” Deidre said. “You broke my heart that summer.”
“I’m so sorry about that. I was immature and stupid. Still am, according to Elise.”
“I heard you and Elise got married and that you had a girl.”
“Sarah’s great,” he said smiling. He’d always had a wonderful smile, Deidre thought. That was one of the things she’d first liked about him.
“Why did you come here? Surely you have other friends you’re closer to who would have taken you in?”
“I wanted to see you again. I never stopped thinking about you all these years,” Martin said.
“Sorry I made such a mess of things. Getting Elise pregnant was not something I’m proud of. I do love my daughter though, even if Elise and I never had much of a relationship.”
“I have an idea,” Deidre said, jumping to her feet in excitement. “I manage the Northern Lights Restaurant. Our chef just quit. Are you available?”
“I don’t believe my luck. That would be perfect,” Martin said, his face brightening. “For once my timing is good.”
“I’ll let you stay here a few days until you find your own place. You can sleep on the couch,” she continued. Take things slow she thought. Even if she was interested, she didn’t want him to know just yet. She’d been burnt once already.
“I’m so grateful to you, Dede. I’ll never forget this.” His face lit up with that smile that used to mesmerize her and turn her legs to jelly. It still had an effect on her but she would take it slow and be cautious this time. She wasn’t that foolish teen any longer.
“Here’s to new beginnings, Martin,” Deidre said, clinking her coffee cup with his.