"Someone's clearly doing the Walk of Shame," Devon remarked, peeking out at the house across the road from the window of the master bedroom."
"Some woman across the road. She just walked into number twelve. I don't think she lives there, maybe she's visiting a friend, but she definitely looks like she hasn't been home since last night."
Devon stared at number twelve Cranberry Close, with its white porch and red brickwork, for more signs of human activity to report upon. Soon, though, he noticed his audience had fallen very silent.
"Well what," Paul answered, refusing to take his attention away from his phone.
"What do you think she got up to?"
Devon sighed dramatically, walking back to get into bed.
"The woman across the road!"
Paul broke his gaze from his phone, looked at Devon, and saw a man who was excited at the possibilities of a story developing in his imagination.
"Dev, I'll tell you the same thing I would've said in our last place: I could not care less about the neighbors. That's your job."
Devon pouted at his partner, leaning towards Paul.
"Why do you have to kill my fun for neighborhood gossip?"
"Because," replied Paul, "you're as bad as that old woman who used to live in... wait, did you say twelve?"
"Yep." Devon nodded, getting excited with his newly-engaged audience.
"Isn't that where your soulmate gossip queen used to live?"
"I don't appreciate the comparison," Devon scolded, "but yes. Hence why it was all the more juicy."
Paul raised an eyebrow, looked away from Devon, and put his attention back to his phone.
"You're worse than a woman."
"Dammit, I almost had you converted to sharing my hobby with me!"
"Keeping an eye on who's screwing who, or who's stealing trash, is not my idea of a hobby."
"First," Devon claimed, "it's who's screwing whom. Get your grammar right. Second, it's only a bit of fun, but it's weird to see activity across the road now, when the house has been so quiet these last two months. Like, who's the random woman of the night, and who let her in, if the old lady is six feet under?"
Paul shrugged his shoulders, pretending to be uninterested, but slowly getting sucked into Devon's narrative.
"Dunno... didn't she have a daughter or something?"
"Yeah, I forgot about that. We never saw her before, though. Don't think she visited her mom while she was alive... anyway, what are you doing?"
Paul showed his phone screen towards Devon, who was now trying to cuddle up to his husband.
"Flights to Vancouver. I wanna spend Thanksgiving with my folks this year."
"Canadian Thanksgiving or American Thanksgiving?"
"Canadian! Why would we spend American Thanksgiving in Canada, when they celebrate it a month earlier than you guys?"
"Than us, babe," Devon corrected. "You're an American citizen too."
"Yeah, but Canadian first. Anyway, can we go for a few days? Thursday to Monday, or something?"
Devon shrugged. "Sure, don't see why not." He loved visiting the countryside around Vancouver, and would jump at any chance for a skiing weekend in Whistler, but Paul's family were definitely not going to be as fun. A dying mother, a functioning alcoholic for a father, and a spoiled brat for a sister. A family visit across the northern border usually meant that Devon would join Paul's father at the local bar for a few beers as often as possible, just to escape the house. Still, considering how close Paul was to his mother, he knew he couldn't say no to the prospect of such a trip.
"Mom asked how you were keeping last night," Paul announced, as he selected the flights from San Francisco to Vancouver, along with his credit card details.
"Really? That's actually a big step," Devon replied. "We've only been married two years. You'd think she'd at least hold out ignoring my existence for another year at least."
Paul looked at Devon with a look that instantly communicated the fact that his joke was a little too close to the bone.
"Sorry, too far."
"No, you're right. I know it hurts you, but that was progress in my eyes. She's Irish Catholic, they're not a fan of the gays."
"You know where else has loads of Irish Catholics," asked Devon. "Ireland, and they voted to legalize gay marriage by public vote a couple of years back. I'm pretty sure many of those were your mom's age, too."
Paul looked down at his chest, like a child would in front of a disappointed parent. Devon felt sorry for opening his mouth yet again, but being treated like he didn't exist led to him not feeling warm towards Paul's mother, regardless of her excuses.
He got back out of bed, grabbed his navy dressing gown, and tied the belt around his waist.
"I'm going downstairs to make us some coffee. Will I bring up breakfast in bed?"
"No, I think I'll treat us to some food downtown, after coffee and a morning workout."
"A workout? On a Sunday? Will I get the gym bags ready?"
Paul raised an eyebrow and smirked.
"I didn't say the workout had to be outside of the bedroom."
"Ah, now that's different! Okay, I'll get the coffee started; hopefully it'll still be warm by the time we're finished."
"Hopefully not," Paul joked.
Devon went down to the kitchen and turned on the coffee machine, just as his phone started vibrating. The number on his screen wasn't saved into his phone, but he recognized it nonetheless.
"Unusual of you to ring," Devon said, quietly.
"I had texted you a few times," the voice replied, "but no answer. Not like you to ignore me."
"It's been busy here, I haven't had a chance to get away."
"Oh yeah? So, is Daddy ignoring his little boy now? Or should I just cut the crap and find someone who wants to be Daddy?"
Devon tried to stop himself from getting angry, because he knew he'd raise his voice too loud.
"That's not fair. I wanna be there, it's just too damn difficult right now."
"Come over tomorrow evening. 6 PM. You know you're needed here."
"I know, I'll be there. I promise."
"You better," said the voice. "Because it's been too long now, and my patience is wearing pretty thin here. See you then."
The call ended without Devon having a chance to respond. He clenched his fists; not out of anger, but concern.
He needed to make yet another excuse.
YOU ARE READING
Cranberry Close: Scandals in SuburbiaGeneral Fiction
When Ellen moves back into her childhood home after her failed marriage, she doesn't realize that her life is about to turn upside down, and she hasn't escaped the drama just yet. She's not the only one, though; many of her neighbors on Cranberry Cl...