I Burned Down His House
Trying not to feel like a loser that I have Joey’s number memorized, I dial, hoping like hell he picks up. It has to be in the incredibly early hours of morning, so there is every chance, if he hasn’t come home yet, it’s because he’s out with someone and won’t answer.
After five, drawn-out, torturous rings, he finally picks up.
“What?” he grumbles. I can’t tell if I woke him up, or if he’s just annoyed to be disturbed.
“Hey, Joey, it’s Teagan—”
I pause, annoyed I’m so forgettable he can’t remember who he gave his house key to! “Teagan Bevon, the woman who lives next door?”
“Oh … Oh!” There is finally recognition in his voice. “Right. Look, Teags”—he sounds so distracted I don’t think he even noticed he gave me a nickname—“I’m kinda busy—”
“—so I’ll just see you later—”
“Wait!” I cry out, afraid I will hear the dial tone any second.
“Actually, you probably won’t see me later. I’m going to be—”
“I BURNED YOUR HOUSE DOWN!” I scream into the phone and am finally met with silence. “Joey?” I whisper, fearful he already hung up.
“Can you repeat that for me?” he finally gasps out.
“I …” Now I feel nervous. “I … umm … I accidently”—I use too much emphasis on the word, making me sound extra guilty—“burned down your house.”
“Are you okay?”
My heart skips a beat. I just told this man that I burned down his house and his first thought is if I’m okay?
“Some smoke inhalation, but nothing serious. I’m so sorry about your things—”
“How about Karma?”
“Karma got out fine. She’s with the Glovers,” So … maybe she’s not okay. The almost ninety-year-old couple may not be quite at the same speed as Karma.
As he sighs in relief, my hands begin to shake again.
“Joey, I’m so sorry.”