From Hutch & A’ris
A bang on the door startled her upright, and she splashed water onto the woven rug on the ground where her new shoes waited. “What? What is it?” she asked, reaching for the towel that hung from a hook on the wall.
“Damn. I thought you might have drowned in there, guess not,” Hutch said through the thin wooden door. “Look, if you want to sleep in the wash basin, that’s totally fine with me. I’ll take the bed, but first I need to bathe. So get out.”
Earlier A’ris had exchanged one of her rings for coins to buy a room for the night. Though she loathed the thought of pretending to be tied to Hutch, she claimed him as her husband so as not to arouse suspicion. That meant one room. One tub. One bed.
“No amount of scrubbing will do you any service,” she muttered under her breath as she climbed out of the bath. The water made a sucking sound as it twirled in a funnel down the drain. What started as a milky white colored bath had turned into the sepia tone of desert clay. “Disgusting,” she said.
“What? What did you call me?” Hutch pounded on the door again.
“I wasn’t talking to you!”
He said something behind the door that she didn’t understand, and had just wrapped the towel around her when the door opened.
She screamed, and clutched the thin and worn fabric to her chest. “Get out!”
“No,” he said, as he leaned against the open doorframe.
Again, she screamed at him to leave, but he just shook his head and continued to fill up the only exit with his frame.
“How do you suppose I clear this space if you’re blocking me from leaving it?”
“You keep hollering at me, the neighbors will start to wonder about our little marriage. You know, problems in paradise.”
“Are you still upset about that? I told you it was for our best interests. If we arrived together and slept in separate rooms, it would draw all that extra attention we’re both rather keen to avoid.”
“I think you just want to see me with my shirt off,” he said with a wink.
A’ris scoffed, and clutched the towel tighter. “I assure you, that is not the case. Now move.” She pushed him aside, ignoring his laughing, and as he turned the water on for his own bath, she called over her shoulder, “Besides, I’ve seen what you have to offer, and it’s not that impressive.”
The door slammed shut and nothing was heard from that point forward but the sounds of water sloshing around in the tub. If Hutch wanted to tease her and offend her at every opportunity, A’ris was a big girl. She could play that game.
“And win,” she whispered into the small room.
– Copyright Trish Marie Dawson