Where There's Hope(10)

By: Marianne Rice


The road ended at what could be a cul-de-sac if there was more of a neighborhood. The home on the left appeared lived in with bright, full yellow mums decorating the front porch of the colonial style home. There didn’t appear to be any type of farm animals or crops behind the house, just rolling hills bordered by woods.

To the right stood the clapboard brown gambrel she recognized from the photos.

“The house kinda looks like a barn,” Delaney said as she stepped out of the SUV.

“There isn’t a garage or a barn, which is what most homeowners are looking for. The house was built in the eighties and hasn’t been updated since.”

Hope didn’t care. It had a roof. It had two bedrooms—three, actually—and was affordable. She got out of the vehicle and reached out for Delaney, taking her hand. “You ready, sunshine?”

“Yeah. Let’s go.” Delaney ran ahead, pulling Hope behind her.

Laughing, she jogged faster to keep up. Melissa let them in and Delaney let go of Hope’s hand, running through the house.

“It kinda smells, but it’s cool. Look at this huge window!”

Hope followed her daughter into the living room. It was a good size, running from the front of the house to the back. She didn’t have any furniture to fill it, and that would put a dent in her savings. Too bad yard sales were few and far between right now.

At the backside of the living room, a large picture window looked out to the open field of the back yard. A lot of mowing, but she wouldn’t have to think about that until the spring.

As if reading her mind, Melissa pointed to the back. “It’s not exactly grass, more of a field. The owners let the Hendersons at the end of the road come and hay it once a month in the spring and fall.”

“Let them?”

“It’s a win-win. The Hendersons make hay, however that works, with a tractor-type machine. I don’t know the technical terms. All I know is they take care of the lawn, but they wait until it grows to a certain length and then hay it. For the horses. The horses come over to graze as well. To, you know, fertilize the lawn and keep the grass short. They have a deal. It’s in the paperwork.”

“Okay.” Taking care of the outside wasn’t something she wanted to think about right now anyway.

“Mom, the kitchen is cool,” Delaney called from the other room. Hope hadn’t even realized she’d slipped away again.

Hope walked past a small half-bath, which was across from a door that presumably led to a basement, and into the kitchen. The vinyl flooring was dated with its brown and oranges, as was the orange Formica countertop. The appliances seemed fairly new. White and not the yellow and green that were common in the eighties.

“Like I said,” Melissa opened the oven door, “it needs some work, but the appliances are in good working order. They were all replaced five years ago. They’ll need to be cleaned, as will the cabinets, floors, etcetera.”

“Can we see the bedrooms?” Delaney didn’t wait for a reply and jogged through the adjoining dining room and up the stairs.

Melissa and Hope followed. At the top of the stairs was a full bathroom. Not too small, not too big. Perfect for their needs. To the right was the master bedroom. It was the biggest room she’d ever seen, running from the front to the back of the house, similar to the living room. There were two closet doors on the front end and had large windows at the other that looked over the backfield.

“My twin bed and Wal-Mart dresser are going to look severely underdressed in this room.”

“It’s a good size, isn’t it?” Melissa opened the walk-in closets, and Hope gasped.

“I don’t have enough clothes to fill a quarter of this closet.” The second closet was just as big. His and hers. She’d use his as storage space. Or maybe put a desk in there and use it as an office. Although, there was plenty room in the bedroom for a desk, filing cabinet, and a complete bedroom set.

“These closets are epic. Can I have this room?”

If Delaney really wanted it, Hope wouldn’t mind. It was the perfect space for sleepovers.

“There are two more bedrooms. You can choose which one you want.” Melissa led Delaney to the hall where there were two more rooms. The one on the right had a view of the back as well. Its walls were painted a bright cheery yellow and let in a lot of sunlight.

“This is cool.” Delaney left to check out the other bedroom. The third room was larger, but only had one small window on the side of the house. There was more closet space and more floor space, but was darker. Granted, the blue walls didn’t do much to lighten it.

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