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In the final part of Letting Go, will everyone get what they want?  Will it all work itself out?  Let’s see.  The right ending is in the eye of the beholder.  Or, in this case, the reader.  Thank you for stopping by.  Enjoy Part 3.

 

PART 3

 

ROMANA HAD HAD ENOUGH of Mary.  She wished Darren would have been more of a man about the divorce and dealing with Mary.  He should have killed her and taken her money.  It was not too late for him to redeem himself.  He needed to get some guts.  She was going to help him with that.  Someone had to show Mary she was not in charge.  Someone needed to put their foot down, Romana thought.

    

“I’m not going out there,” Romana said.  “We’re not going outside.”  She looked at Darren and then Mary.  “It’s snowing.  It’s twenty degrees out there.”  Darren swallowed.  He wanted to back her up.  “Tell her we’re not going.  She’s a crazy lunatic.  Let me scratch her eyes…”

 

“Romana,” Darren said.  “Calm down.  “We’re all adults.  Let’s be rational.  I’m sure we can come to an agreement that’s not so harsh.”  He looked toward Mary.  “We just have to cool down.”

 

Darren explained to Mary there was no need for her to humiliate him like that.  He told her she took off her clothes on her own.  Romana may have teased her.  But, she did not force her to do it.  He was sure Romana was sorry for doing that.

 

Mary ignored him.  Darren went on to explain why they should be civil to each other and why he and Romana were not going outside.  Mary picked up her keys and headed for the door.

 

“Alright,” Darren said.   He sighed and began to undress.  Romana held the blanket around herself.  Darren finished undressing and looked at Romana.

 

Romana rolled her eyes at Darren.  “No,” Romana said.  “I’m not doing it.  This is crazy.”

 

Darren wanted to tell Romana to shut up and drop the blanket.  It was her fault things had come to this.  She could not keep her big mouth shut.  She had to antagonize Mary.  He had told her Mary could be a problem sometimes.  She just needed to keep her mouth shut.  Now she was going to do what Mary told her.  They were going outside for a few minutes.  Sit in that cold ass snow.  Come back in.  Go into the basement.  Stay there for thirty minutes and then collect ten million.  In that order.  No debate.

 

“Drop the damn blanket,” Darren said.  Romana inhaled and dropped the blanket to the floor.  Darren looked at Mary.

 

Mary stared at them.  A smirk was on her face.  “Let’s go,” she said.  Her tone was casual.  “You’ll have three minutes.  The exact amount of time I gave you to tell Romana to come out of hiding.”  Mary opened the front door.  “Sit in the driveway so I can see you.”

 

Darren walked toward the door.  Romana followed him.  “She may not let us back in,” Romana said.  “Why don’t we strip her and force her naked skinny ass outside.  Then we’ll hold her down in the snow until she gives you your money?”

 

“Why don’t you shut up?” Darren said.

 

“Don’t talk to me that way,” Romana said.

 

Darren thought Romana was acting stupid.  Did she not think that he had already thought of torturing Mary?  Could she tell that Mary would probably die first before she gave him money?  Maybe being with Romana was not the brightest moment in his life.  He hesitated at the front door.  All that snow.  It must have been two feet of it already.  And it was still coming down.  Big flakes of it.

 

“Look,” Darren said, looking back at Mary.  “I made a mistake.  I’d like to work it out between us.”

 

“You piece of shit,” Romana said.

 

Mary looked at him, but said nothing.  Darren reached back for Romana’s hand.  Romana reluctantly gave it to him.  He squeezed it as they walked outside.  Snow crunched under their feet.  They heard the door lock behind them.

 

Mary watched them sit down in the driveway—huddled together.  It had not been thirty seconds.  They were shaking, uncontrollably.  Romana was so cute and ignorant.  It was not twenty degrees outside.  It was six.

 

Mary felt nothing for them as the seconds and then minutes ticked by.  They looked as if they were freezing to death.  Good.  That did make her feel better.  When three minutes were up she opened the front door.

 

Darren and Romana rushed inside.  Their teeth chattered.  Their bodies shook.  They rubbed their hands together.  Darren went for his clothes.  Romana headed for the bedroom to get her clothes.

 

“Wait a minute,” Mary said.  Romana mouth gaped open.  Darren’s mouth stayed open.  “You’re going to the basement.”  Darren and Romana complained that they needed to warm up first.  “I don’t think so.”  Romana told her she was done playing her game.  “You too, Darren?”

 

“Come on, Mary,” he pleaded.  “She’s learned her lesson.  She’ll even apologize.  Go ahead Romana.”

 

Romana exhaled loudly, moving around to get warm.  “I’m sorry,” Romana said.  Her voice cracked.  “Okay?”

 

“Get in the damn basement,” Mary said.  “Because you gave me that halfhearted apology, I’ll do you a favor.  You’ll stay there for ten minutes instead of thirty.  That’s the deal.  Take it or leave it.  And, you know I don’t bullshit.”  She said to Darren.

 

Darren stood there for a moment.  “Let’s finish this,” he said to Romana.  Romana did not move.  “Come on.”  Darren took Romana’s hand and led her to the stairs that went down into the basement.  Mary followed them.

 

“It’s cold,” Romana said while going down the stairs.  She whined—while her teeth chattered—about how cold it was.

 

In the basement, Darren told Romana it would be over soon.  Darren checked the thermostat.  “It’s fifteen degrees down here,” he said.

 

Romana looked around for something to wrap themselves in.  There was nothing in the basement.  It was unfinished.  The ceiling was high.  The floors were concrete.  They were freezing.

 

“You’re crazy,” Romana said to Mary.  “This is insane.  You’re going to kill us.”

 

“This is cold, Mary,” Darren said, shaking.  He had wrapped his arms around himself.

 

“You’re a bit dramatic, aren’t you?” Mary said to Romana.  Romana shivered.  “Do you want me to think about your offer or not?” Mary asked Darren.  Darren and Romana stood close.

 

Watching Darren and Romana stand together was all the answer Mary needed.  They deserved each other.  They would do anything for money.  She walked to the door and reached to the side and grabbed a handle.  Darren and Romana were trying to stay warm.  What she was doing did not register with them.  Mary pulled on the handle and slid a big wooden door closed.  She quickly locked it.

 

“Wait,” Darren said on the other side of the door.  “Don’t lock it.  If something happens to you, we can’t get out.”

 

“Open the door you crazy bitch!” Romana yelled.

 

Mary stepped back and looked at the big thick door.  The door was temporary.  The contractor had installed it to keep the cold inside the basement until it was finished.

 

Mary latched onto an idea Darren had given her.  If something happened to her they could not get out.  She put her hands over mouth.  It made her laugh.

 

Mary moved close to the door and looked through the small window.  “You parked your cars a street over,” Mary said.  “You didn’t want anyone to know you were coming.  They’re covered in snow now.  I saw them when I got here.  The other houses are empty.  Some aren’t fully developed.  Darren, did you tell Romana that?  I assume you did.  You two were planning some real alone time together.  Good thinking.  Our next-door neighbor is a mile away.  If they’re even up here.  I doubt they are.  No one knows you two are here.  Not even me.”

 

“Mary!”  Darren shouted.  “Mary!  Open this door.”  He waited and listened.  “Mary!  This basement is freezing.  You said the contractor told you there’s no heat in here.  The ducts aren’t connected.  It’s insulated from the rest of the house until it’s finished.  Heat can’t get in here.  It’s like being outside.  He told us that.  It’s twelve degrees now.  It’s getting colder.  We’ll freeze to death.  Open this door!  Right now.  I’m serious!”

 

“I’m serious too,” Mary said.  “You and your beauty queen could’ve easily gotten locked in the basement while hiding from me.  The idea is quite simple.  I found out you were coming up here alone.  Heavy snowfall was predicted.  I thought it would be romantic to be up here stuck, snowed in, in our winter house together with my wonderful husband.

 

When I got here I couldn’t find you and left.  All the while you were hiding in our unfinished basement with both doors closed.  The door to the basement and the door to the stairs of the basement lock easily.  You know that.  It’s happened before when the contractor was here.  No one can hear anything with both doors closed.  You know that, darling.”

 

Pounding came from the other side of the door.  Even pounding was not that loud.  The thick door absorbed a lot of shock and noise.  “Open the damn door, Mary!”  Darren yelled.  His voice was muffled.  Romana was also yelling and swearing.  They were both pounding on the door.  ‘We’ll die Mary.  Let us out.  We’ll die.”

 

“That’s the idea,” Mary said.  “Oh, cutie.  Shake your ass for Darren.  Maybe it’ll keep you both warm.  Better yet.  Give him the ride of his life.  Like you two have been doing in our bedroom for the last year.”

 

Romana pounded on the door and yelled, “Bitch!”

 

Mary walked up the stairs.  She paused at the top.  Could she hear them?  No.  She closed the door to the stairs and locked it.

 

Mary went throughout the house and picked up clothes and tidied up the place.  She remade the bed with fresh linen.  She put the used linen in the washer.  Then she made some tea, put her favorite Norah Jones CD in and turned out the lights.  She curled up on the couch and looked out the large window.  She was toasty with the heat on and a thin blanket around her.

 

The snow was beautiful.  It was coming down heavier than earlier.  Wow.  It felt like Christmas time.  How perfectly white everything was.  Mother Nature’s landscape, she thought.  How it purified everything.

 

The snow was really coming down hard.  It would be days before she could get back home if she did not leave in a few hours.

 

Well, as we can see, it’s good to be kind to the one you love.  Even when you’ve found a new love, be kind.  Or better yet, if the love you’re leaving behind is like Mary, don’t tell her, just leave.  That’s just a bit of advice.

Thank you for joining me in the short story Letting Go.  I appreciate your feedback.  Next week, we’ll take a new journey.  See you on Monday.

Have a great weekend.

Thanks,

Stephen Wallace