It seemed like every time Peter left, something bad happened. However, this time it was extra bad because Wendy’s parents left her an alarming voicemail while she slept the morning away.
“Sorry to worry you honey, but I’m afraid we have some not-so-good news,” her mother’s voice trailed away. “We’re having a bit of money trouble, and to make matters worse, your dad didn’t get the end of the year bonus he was waiting for.”
“We’re so sorry, sweetie. We can’t pay your rent this month… and rents in the foreseeable future.” Her father’s voice echoed with worry and pity. He was the one to motivate her and push her towards higher education when she thought staying home and working was a better option.
Wendy went a little numb in the brain as she listened to the rest of the voicemail while remembering why her parents thought this situation was ever a good idea in the first place.
“It’ll be perfect Wendy dear! We’ll pay the rent, while you can pay for expenses like food and your textbooks.” Her mother had had a sweet, naive smile on her face.
“We know you can do it, Wendy. Your library gig should be able to cover that with the amount of extra shifts you’ve been taking up,” her father had added supportively. “Just think about what a great example you’ll be setting for John and Michael; their big sis, all grown-up and independent.” Financial aid and scholarships let her go to college tuition-free, so agreeing to this arrangement didn’t seem half bad at the time.
Okay, just relax, she thought to herself. Her flatmates could probably help out; she believed they were on good terms, so Wendy couldn’t think of a reason why they would be opposed. She would pay them back; what could go wrong?
“Don’t even think that we don’t know that weird kid sneaks up to your room every night when you think we’re asleep. We’re not stupid,” Mara stated, her face displaying the annoyance she felt.
“Peter?” Wendy replied in disbelief. “He’s the reason you won’t help me out with rent. You never told me it was a problem before.” She began to get defensive but forced herself to keep at least some emotions at bay.
Staying with Jen and Mara had never been a permanent option for Wendy, but it was the best money could buy… and they were easy to live with. She got to know them in her sophomore year physics course, and when they mentioned a spare room for a reasonable price, Wendy was happy to accept their offer. She didn’t realize Peter’s visits were so bothersome.
Jen practically rolled her eyes. “Mara and I are looking into smaller places to live for senior year. We don’t have money to spare. Sorry Wendy.” Her ice-cold voice, along with Mara’s glare, sealed the deal. Wendy didn’t mean much to them at all.
“Peter, I need a favor.”