Word Count 716
Note to reader:
This short story was written March 31, 2005 and posted to the Lancer Yahoo groups. It was inspired by the monthly list of holidays and observances that another member posted to the groups. I made some revisions in March and April 2014 prior to uploading to the Lancer FanFiction group on Facebook.
Please forgive my lack of character names in this tale. When I originally wrote it, I couldn’t make up my mind who I wanted to be the main POV character, so I chose not to name any of the male characters. I still couldn’t come to a decision while I was making my latest revisions. Therefore I’m leaving it up to my readers to determine who is who among the men.
The corner of a crumpled blanket dangled over the edge of the bed, and soiled clothes from the day before still lay in a heap on the floor. Obviously, none of the women had not been in the room all day.
A mussed bed was nothing to fuss over, though. He had slept in worse. The clothes didn’t matter, either. There was still a clean shirt and pair of pants in his wardrobe. What he needed most was something to take away the growling in his stomach.
Even before he passed through the arched doorway into the dining area of the parlor, he knew something wasn’t right. No pleasing aromas tickled his nose, and no sound of laughter or chatter of voices met his ears. Only the chiming of the grandfather clock told him that he was neither too early nor too late for the evening meal.
Three forlorn looking men stood in front of the fireplace. He walked closer to see why they were all scowling in the direction of the sofa.
Teresa O’Brien lay with her head propped against a pillow on the arm of the couch and her legs stretched out in a comfortable manner. When he stopped nearby and gazed down on her, she failed to look up from the book in her hands.
“Are you sick?” Worry hitched his voice.
She merely shook her head.
“What’s wrong, then? Where’s supper?” he asked. Getting no answer, he scowled and looked at the other men.
Two of the men shrugged. The third let out a huff and said, “It’s the seventh of April.”
His belly rumbled loudly. “The seventh of April? What’s that got to do with anything?”
The young man on the left jabbed a finger at Teresa. “She says it’s a holiday.”
His brows puckered tighter together. April Fool’s Day had come and gone. If this was some kind of joke, it was more than a little late. “What holiday?” he said.
The shortest of the three answered. “Some new holiday just for women.”
He scratched his chin. Who had ever heard of such a thing? Indeed, a holiday just for women! What sort of fool did they take him for, anyway?
“Uh, huh,” he harrumphed. Receiving a sympathetic nod from the man in the middle, he crossed his arms and jutted out his chin. “So . . . what’s it called?”
The other men spoke in unison. “Better ask her.”
Teresa appeared to be lost in the pages of her book. He tipped his head and blinked his eyes upon reading the title. The Great Room Bookshelf? What sort of book was that?
She glanced up and smiled. The warmth in her eyes soothed his irritable mood but did nothing to fill the hollow beneath his ribs.
He gazed at her with hope-filled eyes. “They’re putting me on, aren’t they?”
“No,” she sweetly replied. “It’s true. Today is a holiday for women only.”
His hopes plummeted and he scowled. “Then that’s why you didn’t make my bed or pick up my dirty clothes, and why you aren’t cooking supper.”
She gave him a faint smile and a nod of her head.
He wiggled his fingers against his elbows–arms still wrapped across his chest. “So what do you lady’s call today . . . besides a holiday?”
“Can’t you guess?”
Guess? Of course he couldn’t, so he shook his head.
She hitched one shoulder. “It’s No Housework Day! What else would it be called?”
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