The doorbell rang when Amy thought it would. About a day and a half had passed since she last talked to Charlie on the phone. She had just finished feeding her little pumpkins their favorite dinner of penny eggs (eggs scrambled with "pennies" of sliced hot dog) and toast "cookies" (where the kids got to cut their toast into cookie-cutter shapes.)
Ferguson was about to bite his white-toast gingerbread man when the doorbell rang. "Charlie!" he said. But before he could climb down from his chair, one look from Amy told him he was not allowed to move. Amy wanted to make the first impression alone.
She wore the kimono and the new bra. Hair and makeup were both 9 out of 10. She had even lost 1.6 pounds in the last 36 hours - the Nutella jar had been left untouched and a virgin box of Wheat Thins had yet to lose its maidenhead. Which was as much an indication of her improved mood as anything.
So it was with confidence that she swung open the front door.
Her spirits fell and went splat like sopping wet towel dropped from a great height. She saw Ed, the real estate salesman, and two strangers standing in front of her.
"Amy, so good to see you," said Ed. He leaned in to kiss her, but she stepped back leaving him
puckering in mid-air. "Let me introduce Quentin and Pearl."
Quentin, a pre-maturely balding 30-something guy, stared at his comfortable yet stylish shoes. Pearl, who had been tilting her head to glimpse inside the house, straightened and offered an insincere smile. She wore very small oblong sunglasses. She peered over them at Amy's breasts and then tilted to Amy's face. Pearl was short.
Amy crossed her arms. She said nothing.
"I wanted to call," explained Ed, offering his hand, which Amy didn't take. "But Quentin and Pearl insisted."
"He insisted," said Pearl, indicating the fork-tongued Ed. "He said your were desperate to sell. Are you desperate?" Her eyes flitted to Amy's boobs and back up again.
"Desperate in a very patient way," said Ed. "I mean, like all good sellers, Amy, you're motivated. But I know you won't consider an offer that's not market-worthy. Absolutely market-worthy. That's why Quentin and Pearl are here."
There was a silence. Pearl said something under her voice and retreated a few steps to make a mobile phone call. Quentin held his ground, showing his bald pate to Amy as he continued to stare at his shoes. Their black leather glowed in the late afternoon light with a muted, buttery luster.
"So," said Ed, "would it inconvenience you too much if we had a quick look around the place. Don't worry. You don't have to clean up. Quentin and Pearl like to see a place lived-in."
Amy gestured for them both to back up. Then she reached down and picked up the mat just beyond the threshold. It had "Welcome" painted in faded letters on it. She flipped it over in one motion. A cloud of dust rose. When it settled, Ed, Pearl and Quentin read the far brighter message on the obverse.
Quentin, who's point of view was ideally placed to appreciate the message, burst out laughing.
It said: "F*** OFF." It was one of those stupid things that Bart used to bring back from his road trips. At the time he had given it to Amy, she'd thought it was another example of his incredibly bad taste. Now, she realized even Bart had a clue sometimes.
Ed finally got the hint. "Maybe another time? Quentin and Pearl are very serious buyers. And I don't think they mind me telling you, their finance is already pre-approved."
Amy's arms crossed on her chest again. Pearl huffed and puffed and said she was going. But Quentin looked up from his shoes and straight into Amy's eyes. "I think I have to make the holes for the shoelace a bit bigger," he said.
She couldn't help smiling.
"He's a shoemaker," said Ed. He whispered loudly as if Quentin wasn't there. "Designs shoes for the Hollywood stars. Organic leather. Hand-made. A thousand bucks each." Ed laughed. "Each shoe, that is. Can you believe it?"
Quentin smiled. "They're great shoes." He spoke to Amy, who noticed he had very kind brown eyes. "I do a plaster cast of each foot, Then I design the shoe together with a reflexologist so you get a foot massage while you walk. I call them Qools. With a Q."
Ed saw that Amy's arms were no longer crossed and she was listening. "So maybe we could have a look now. Just five minutes."
However, Quentin was already walking away in his great shoes. "C'mon, Ed," he said over his shoulder. "She's expecting company. And it aint us."
Amy stood and watched as Ed opened car doors for Pearl and Quentin. Ed was about to slip into the driver's seat when he stopped, pulled out a business card from his pocket, scribbled something on the back, and stuck it in Amy's mail box.
Amy closed the front door and discovered all three of her children were waiting for her in the living room. Carmen was holding Bartlette.
Ferguson said, "What does the doormat say?"
"Could that man make some shoes for me?" said Carmen. "I want a foot message when I walk, too. They could be princess shoes."
Baby Barlette just gurgled and cooed.
(more to come)
For those who are new here, A is for Amy & Adonis is a serial internet novella which tells the story of the romantic redemption of Amy Franklin. The aim is to provide a fun and fast read with characters you can connect to emotionally. And, as you probably noticed, it's all free.
The chapters are short. So it's easy to catch up.
READ EARLIER POSTS (just click on the one you want)--
Nota Bene -- All the chapters will be archived on Huffpost so people will be able to catch up with the story no matter how late they come to the novella.
I have decided to post two chapters a week. So, if you like what you read here, stay tuned with Huffpost email alerts or follow me on Twitter. --Steven
Follow Steven Crandell on Twitter: www.twitter.com/stevencrandell