Peer Review by bride124 (United States)

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Bulletproof

By: theunnaturalsquare


FREE WRITING

My bulletproof vest would have never saved me from her bullet of words.
"I dunno, Terrance. You're a nice guy, but I don't like you that way. We can't do this anymore," Andria says to me. She walks off without another word, ponytail bobbing up and down.
    I gape after her, heartbroken. I don’t see her anymore, but that doesn’t matter. My life has been forever changed.
I get back into my patrol car and drive home gravely. Andria and I dated for nearly a year before I finally asked how she felt about me. It seemed to go well since she was laughing and seeming to be happy with me. Before Andria, I had dated, but we didn't connect like Andria and I had. Andria was one of the best people I knew. She made me a better person. She made me want to become a better person around everyone, not just around her. She made me care when I thought I couldn’t. But now I care, at the worst part of my life.
    I arrive at my house after a few minutes of driving on autopilot. My emotions don’t know how to handle this break-up. Usually, I would have initiated the break-up, but this time I didn't. I didn't because I didn't want to. I was happy. I was living. I was caring. I was happy, for once.
I park and lock my car, quickly hopping onto my porch. I berate myself for thinking about her again after I swore not to. Honestly, I feel like my life is falling apart, like these poor wooden steps.
    A small lady is sitting on one of my chairs I had set out on the porch. "Who're you?" I gruffly ask. She stands up, holding a bag in one hand. Another couple are by her feet
    "Your new housekeeper, or maid. My name's Abigail Raleigh," She says, extending a hand towards me.
    I hesitantly shake her small hand, looking into her blue eyes. Light, airy blue eyes. Like the sky on a bright summer day. We let go, my hand abruptly dropping by my side.
    "And I presume this is Terrance McGilder?" The lady-Abigail-says, startling me.
    I finally find my voice and say, "Ah. Yes..." I trail off, looking away from her and out at the horizon. It's getting dark and cloudy, with a crispness feel in the air. "You should come in, there's a storm coming," I say, pulling out a keyring from my pocket stuffed with things. I search through my keys until I find the right one. I'm still not used to this house and all of its quirks. I unlock the old wooden front door, being careful to avoid the chipping paint as I open it. I casually walk into the house, putting my keys back into my pocket, and a terrible stench wafts out. I cringe. Not the greatest first impression to give especially with a stranger. Abigail walks past me, with a determined look on her face, and to the kitchen. I follow after her.
     She has gotten a trash bag out and has started picking up garbage off of the floor by the time I get there. That was fast. "Is it always this bad?" Abigail says, placing a bag next to the other bags at the back door.
"Usually," I reply.
    She tries to open the back door. "Oh, wait," I say, stepping towards her, "It's jammed from the outside. I'll fix it." I walk out of the front door and outside to the door.
    A heavy box is in front of the door. Abigail is looking out the window at me. I bend over, pick up the box with a grunt, and place it by the steps. Abigail opens the door and carries trash bags out to my trash can. When she comes back for her second dump, I take the bags from her hands. "Let me help," I say, "It's my mess. I feel guilty having you pick it all up without help." Abigail takes back the bags from my hands. "It's what you hired me to do," she says, turning away. Releasing a sigh, I let her.
    I walk in and take a couple of trash bags from the large pile. I walk back out and toss them into the garbage bin. I walk back into the house. Abigail is standing there, motionless. She's staring at the large man in the kitchen doorway.
    "Who's she?" He growls out at me. He's glaring at Abigail, who's quivering where she stands.
    "Marvin, this is Abigail, who's going to help keep our house cleaner," I say, putting my hands on her shoulders. She shifts away from me while Marvin stumbles to the fridge.
    "Abigail, this is Marvin, my older brother," I say to her. She nods and grabs the last trash bags and runs out the door, shooting a worried glance at me.
    "Terrance! There's no food here! You told me you would go shopping today!" Marvin hollers, looking around at the barren kitchen.
    I nod. "Yes, but my paycheck isn't until Wednesday. I'm sure we have something to eat," I say reasonably. There probably is food, but Marvin is the definition of lazy. He won’t even try looking around until I’m gone.
    With a loud huff, Marvin slams the fridge shut and shuffles down the stairs to his room. Abigail walks back into the kitchen, looking shaken and pale.
    I walk over to the sink and turn on the water. It swirls around in the sink but doesn't go down the drain. I sigh and mess with the pipes underneath the sink.
    "I'm guessing you need water to start cleaning," I say, shaking a pipe. A loud gurgling sound comes from the sink.
    "Yes. And a few clean rags, with some soap," Abigail says from the middle of the kitchen.
    "All right. We should have some in the cabinet down the hall on your right," I tell her. I shake the pipe firmly one more time, and a louder gurgling sound comes from the sink. I stand up and look at the sink. Empty. I turn on the water and wash my hands, drying them on a slightly dirty rag.
    I turn around. Abigail's still standing there. "You okay?" I ask, searching her face. Her face is pale and worried. She turns away and says, "Where, exactly, again?" I sigh with relief. Maybe it's not Marvin that's freaking her out. Maybe it's just our situation. At least, I would hope so. Marvin probably doesn't want to leave anytime soon, which is a shame. "Follow me," I say, walking into the hall and towards the linen cabinet.
    I open it, and a strong pungent stench wafts out. I hear a quiet gagging noise behind me. I glance behind me and Abigail's face is twisted in pure disgust. I look back at the cabinet. It has a few moldy sandwiches, obviously once Marvin's food stash, tucked away, almost out of sight. The cleaning supplies were hiding it.
    I turn away, as Abigail grabs a pair of gloves. She looks inside them delicately, before putting them on. She grabs the stash and walks off to the kitchen, face still twisted in disgusted. I walk into my room. A mess. I think of poor Abigail cleaning the filthy kitchen and start picking my clothes up.
    As I pick up the clothes, I reflect back to when I got here. To when I met Abigail. Abigail was sitting on the only porch seat. 'I really need to get better outdoor seating,' I think. She was clutching two bags with white knuckles. Her face was tense and serious as her eyes looked off in the distance, daydreaming. Her auburn hair was loose, flying around in the wind, making her seem majestic and elegant. Her apparel looked old and worn, holes and rips all around fraying hems. Her shoes looked like they were falling apart.
    I put the large bundle of clothes in an old laundry basket and sit down on the bed. I suddenly remember with a flash. Abigail has more two bags. I get up and walk out the front door to the porch. I scan the horizon. It looks like it might rain. The clouds are dark and dense against the horizon. The wind is blowing hard into my face, making my eyes start to water.
    I grab her bags and walk into the house again. I walk into the guest room next to mine and place her bags onto the bed. The air is stale in the guest room, but better smelling than the rest of the house. I walk over to the window and open it a crack. This room is the cleanest, but the dustiest room in the entire house.
    I walk out of the room with a sigh. That will have to do. I don't want her near Marvin's filthy wastelands nor his old wasteland across the hall from my bedroom. I walk down the hall, curious about what Abigail's doing. Obviously cleaning, but cleaning what? Abigail's still in the kitchen, scrubbing the countertops. I lean against the doorframe, examining her work.
    The kitchen looked better than it had in a long while. Before, everything had at least one layer of grime, with stains and food drips on top of that. Now, the floor is clean, with most of the stains cleaned up. The countertops, up to where Abigail is, are now clean and shining. I glance at the clock. 11:47 P.M.
    I whistle approvingly and Abigail looks back at me. "Looks amazing," I say, "I have a room ready for you, whenever you're ready."
    Abigail sighs in relief and stops scrubbing. "That sounds amazing. Where is it?" she asks, rinsing then draping the filthy rag in the sink.
    "I'll show you," I reply, straightening. I walk into the hall, shooting a glance behind me to make sure Abigail's following. She was following, but sleepily. I lead her to the room next to mine, opening the door. "This is your room," I say.
    Abigail walks in a look of awe on her face. The room's plain, but pretty. The walls are plain white, and an antique dresser and bed frame. The covers are old quilts, made by a deceased grandmother. The walls have several nails placed in, but no pictures. An old cedar chest is placed at the foot of the bed.
    Abigail walks into the room and turns towards me. Her face was glowing with happiness. "Thank you," she says.
    I turned, and said, "You're welcome." I then walked into my room and collapsed on the bed, fully clothed. In a few seconds, I was deeply asleep.

--- Text Copyright 2019 © by Leigh Rachele Thrompt -

Message to Readers

Let me know if some grammar is incorrect. If you have an idea on how I could improve, please tell me! I'm always looking for improvement in my writing. I would appreciate anything.


Peer Review

The beginning paragraphs with the title. I was hooked with the first lines. With the first sentence, I knew that this will be filled with many emotions.


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Reviewer Comments

I would recommend trying to shorten the small talk or the unnecessary details. The little dialogue in the middle of the paragraph can be perceived as minimal and trivial. Thanks for creating this piece!