A Mail-Order Husband

Logan stopped by just before sunset to see if I had provisions for the storm.

“I know you are a Yank, but this is your first storm in how many years?”

“At least eight,” I replied.

“That’s what I thought. Figured I should be a good neighbor and make sure you had everything you needed before it gets too nasty out.”

“Actually, I think we are good.” Cue shadow moving across Logan’s eyes.

“Soup’s on!” Ethan bellowed from the kitchen.

“Oh. Well… as long as you are taken care of…” Logan said turning for the door.

Reaching for Logan’s arm I said, “Come on in and eat, unless you already have. I need a break from all of this business talk.”

“So…business. Ethan is a client then?” Logan asked as he took off his coat.

“No! He’s a Russian mail-order husband.”

“Okay, I’m just going to shut up now.”

As we walked into the kitchen, I began the introductions:

“Ethan Gatte, Logan Branfield; Logan, Ethan. Ethan flew up for the day to go over a deal. Logan and I went to school together, he lives next door.”

“In the boat house? Great structure,” Ethan said reaching out his hand.

“Thanks. So I’m guessing your flight got cancelled, huh?” Logan said as they shook hands. “Didn’t anyone tell you there are no quick trips to Brighton this time of year? If the weather doesn’t get you on the way, it will surely get you on the way out.”

“I’m learning,” Ethan replied. “The hard way.”

“So, what’s for dinner?” Logan asked.

“I made stew,” I replied proudly.

“You made stew? With the power out?” Logan puzzled.

“60 year old gas stove. It never quits,” I grinned.

We all filled bowls and headed for the parlor, by far the warmest room in the house. Before long Emma appeared in the hall, stomping her boots and shaking snow from her hair.

“I knew you would have food! I have half a jar of Nutella, a moldy wedge of brie and a stale baguette, but I left them at home. I did bring a bottle of Jameson. Where are your glasses?”

Emma poured everyone a glass of whiskey before getting herself a bowl of stew. It wasn't long before we’d finished with dinner and started playing Monopoly.

“Emma, didn’t you break up with a guy once because he didn’t like Monopoly?” I baited.

“That wasn’t the only or even major reason. And anyway, he didn’t just not like it, he flat out refused to play under any circumstances. There is something un-American about someone who won’t play the most inherently capitalist game ever mass marketed,” Emma ranted.

“Hear! Hear!” Ethan chimed in.

“You seriously held it against him that he wouldn’t play a board game?” Logan asked.

“Hell yes I did! It was the nail in that self-important putz’s coffin. This jerk actually took back a Valentine’s Day gift when I dumped him. Who does THAT!?”

“He must have been a Yankee,” Ethan interjected.

“Actually, he was born & raised in Atlanta.”

“I need his name and address,” Ethan said handing over a piece of paper & pencil from the desk. “My friends and I need to pay him a little visit. We can’t have guys like that tarnishing the world’s perception of “Southern Gentlemen”. It’s hard enough being single without having to do damage control for other’s misdeeds.”

“No kidding! I wish I had learned how to be the “bad boy”, life would be much more fun,” Logan added.

“You forget we knew you in high school,” Emma grinned. “You were ‘that guy’ back then.”

“I was young and selfish. I reformed all on my own though,” Logan replied.

“And that is the only reason we tolerate you now,” Emma joked. “I mean seriously This, how many years did you harbor a secret crush our boatman?”

“Enough, but Jr. High doesn’t count,” I blushed. “I think it’s time to cut you off missy!”

“You had a crush on me?” Logan asked.

“Yes. A secret one. I had hoped it would stay that way, EMMA! It was years ago, and part of growing up is having a crush on a jock.”

“You wrote him a poem!” Emma teased. “You sent it with one of those insipid ‘Candy Grams’ for Valentine’s Day.

‘I love you so

though you don’t know…’

‘your smile to me

is like a fireworks show’ Logan continued.

“That was you?”

“That was 7th grade,” I said staring at the game board.

“So… how about this weather?” Ethan asked, sending us all into fits of laughter.

“Emma?”

“Yes, This?”

“How did you plan on getting home?” I asked.

“To be honest, I hadn’t thought past getting myself here and fed,” she said woozily. “Thanks for that, by the way. Guess I will take the Towpath back.”

“No you won’t,” Logan declared. “I have a guest room with your name on it.”

"You promise? I mean I always wanted to stay in a hotel with an ‘Emma Suite’. Well, let's get a move on,” Emma said practically rolling off the couch. "It takes plenty of sleep to keep my mind sharp and I am so tiresome when I am dull."

"Yes ma'am,!" Logan saluted. "I'll just help clear up."

"No need. Somebody needs to earn his keep," I said nodding towards Ethan.

"Yes missus. Right away missus," Ethan chirped in a slight cockney as he began to stack the bowls and glasses.