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PUBLISHED BY: L.L. Craft Publications
Paid By the Foot
Copyright © 2014 by Laura Lovecraft
I sat in front of Mr. William’s desk trying not to look as nervous as I felt. It had taken a lot for me to ask him for a loan, but the rent was due in two days and we were short five hundred dollars. The transmission had gone in the old Mazda Sarah and I shared and we both worked until all hours of the night. Because of that one of us always had to pick up the other as the buses didn’t run that late so we had to spend the thousand to fix it.
That had wiped out both of our meager savings accounts and neither of us were able to get any extra shifts at the restaurants we worked in. We had managed to scrape up three hundred which a year ago would have been fine because our land lord had always had a soft spot for college students who were doing the best they could to get by.
But George had retired to Florida leaving his jerk off son Jack the building. A lot of students rented from there as it was close to campus making it a gold mind and easy to rent so there was no fear of them ever having a place empty for long. Because of that, Jack held everyone to the exact terms of the lease, meaning rent was due the first. Rumor had it Jack had a let a couple of coeds slide, but they had to ‘earn’ the grace period.
Even if Sarah and I were into men there was no way in hell either of us would whore ourselves to anyone, let alone that sleaze. In fact, Jack pretty much embodied the reasons both of us had decided we’d had enough of guys before we had even finished high school. Nervous as I was I smiled at the memory of the night Sarah had slept over and had smuggled some wine from her house . After killing the bottle, we’d bitched about boys, wondered what women would be like and decided to find out with each other.
The only down side to that was Sarah’s parents, who had helped her financially in the past, had disowned her three months ago when she had gotten tired of sneaking around and confessed I was more than her long time best friend and current roommate. So no help was coming from that end. Sarah had just started a new job and couldn’t ask them for any help
My parents already paid for all my books and sent me two hundred dollars a month to help make ends meet and they didn’t have a lot themselves so I couldn’t possibly ask them for more. So with the first looming I’d had no choice but to approach Mr. Williams. I’d explained it all to him and offered to pay him back so much a week out of my pay and had been sitting here physically still, but mentally squirming, for the last couple of minutes while he mulled it over.
Finally he releases a long sigh, “Listen. I’m sorry Keri, but I just can’t do that.”
“Please, Mr. Williams?” I’d told myself I would only ask once, but that was because somewhere in the back of my mind I thought he would say yes. “I’ll pay you back! You know I will! I’ve worked here since I was sixteen and…”
“I know, Keri.” He leaned back in his chair, “You know I like you, you’ve been here for years, you never call out, you’ll work extra shifts, and you’re my go to girl when we have big events.”
“Well then you know you’ll get paid back.”
“Keri, you’re always struggling to get by now. If you have to pay me fifty dollars a week, you’re going to keep falling behind.”
“Well…how about I work and extra shift for free for a few weeks and we can call it even?”
“There are no more shifts to give and I can’t take one from another waiter or waitress.”
“Please?” Putting my head down, I pulled out my last resort and looking up at Mr. Williams through my long lashes, I widened my big blue eyes. “Our landlord’s a jerk and if we’re even one day late he’ll tell us to leave.”
I then added the final touch, pushing my lower lip out into a pout that Sarah always called unfair because it was so sad and adorable at the same time. Apparently my boss was unaffected.
“Keri, you don’t think other people have asked me? I employ a lot of students, I like giving them a job to help them out and admire that they work and study. But kids your age are always broke, so I made a policy not to do loans, I’ve said no to a lot of people before you with just as good reasons as you have.”
“I won’t tell anyone! I promise!”
“They’ve all said the same thing. I’m sorry hon, but I have to say no.”
“I….” my shoulders slumped in defeat, “I understand.”
“You know, Keri I was one of your references when you rented your place two years ago. You’ve never been late I’m sure they will let you slide a few days.”
“No,” I shook my head; “The new guy who runs it is a jerk. Lease says the first it better be the first.” I sighed, “Guess I’ll go home and start packing.”
“Now, that’s a little dramatic, don’t you think?” Mr. Williams laughed, “But worse case you move back with your folks.” He shrugged, “I don’t know why you go through the struggle of your own place when your parents are local. They pop in all the time, seems like you get along.”
“We do, but I like being on my own.”
No, I liked being with Sarah and although my parents had been more understanding about my lifestyle than hers, they weren’t comfortable enough to let her stay with us.
“On your own, but not alone.” He nodded knowingly, “Anyway I think you’re being a little harsh on your landlord, I’m sure he would work something out for two sweet young girls.”
“Maybe he will. Thanks anyway Mr. Williams.”
I turned to leave thinking that Jack would be more than willing to let us slide. Right down to our knees.
I leaned against the wall outside Vinnie’s and dialed Sarah.
“Hey, sexy!” she chirped. “You calling to give me good news?”
“Sorry, Sarah,” I sighed, “He said no.”
“Oh.” Sarah replied, “Well that kind of sucks.”
“A little more than kind of.” I told her trying not to sound as upset as I felt. “You know that jerk won’t cut us any slack.”
“Sure he will! Last time we thought we would be late he was nice enough to say we wouldn’t have to screw him we would just have to put on a show for him.”
“Hey, watch your much!” Sarah laughed, “Better yet let me watch that pretty mouth of yours.”
“How the hell can you be in such a good mood about this?”
“I’m always in a good mood.” She replied in her usually chipper tone that she’d had the entire time I’d known her and could get annoying at times. “That’s why we’re so good together! I’m always happy and you’re always worried, we balance out!”
“I thought we were good together because I can’t get enough of you and neither can you.” I grinned into the phone.
“Our mutual love of me is another thing we have in common. You coming home?”
“I have to swing by Brad’s for an hour I’m tutoring him this semester.”
“Okay, well listen, I…”
“Sarah what are we going to do?” This time I couldn’t help sounding upset. “If he asks us to leave, I’ll have to go live with my parents and where will you go?”
“We’ll be okay, Keri I…”
“Even if we scrape up the rent somehow we need to move to somewhere that’s a little nicer to the people that live there.”
“Well we’re moving up the list on the student subsidized housing.”