Nicola Nichols

A Perfect Loss

It's a perfect life, but
something important is missing. Ruby is just beginning to understand that
what's missing from her perfect marriage is spice. When the brother of their
next door neighbor shows up, home for a visit from construction work, he doesn't fit in with their suburban lifestyle. He's sweaty, hot, built, and doesn't care about much of anything. His brother doesn't think much of him,
thinks he is a perfect loss--he's wasted his opportunities. But Ruby finds a lot to like. Nick shows his appreciation in every hot and unprotected way imaginable. Several of them she's never tried before.

Excerpt ~~~~~

While sitting by her pool on a sunny Sunday afternoon, sipping a gin and tonic and chatting with her husband
Scott and their neighbors, Jackie and Gerald, Ruby's favorite word came
bubbling to the surface.

“Perfect,” she said. When
Jackie looked at her, she grinned. “Everything about this life is perfect.”

“I suppose it is,” her friend

Scott stood at the grill,
cooking burgers and talking with Gerald about a baseball game while she and
Jackie relaxed in the chaise lounge chairs. Scott was handsome and attentive
and she’d made their house into exactly the kind of place she'd always dreamed
about. They had a big mortgage, but they didn't really have any money worries.
Scott's job paid well, and she taught high school, which didn't pay so well,
but let her enjoy her summers, just lazing around the pool, reading and generally indulging herself.

So why was she so dissatisfied? That was the question that had bothered her for some time, yet
she couldn’t find any cracks in the perfection.

“Gerald's little brother,
Nick, is coming to stay for a while,” Jackie said.

You couldn't mistake the unsettled tone in her voice. “You don't like him?”

Jackie’s face took on an odd
shift. “It isn’t that I don’t like him, just that he's a rough sort. I feel
awkward around him is all.”

The look on her face didn’t
quite fit with the idea of being put off by him. There was something else.

“Some people you can say are
losers,” Gerald put in. “They fail at everything they try. With Nick… he’s just
a loss.”

“A loss?” Scott found that

«To himself and everyone. He could be almost anything, do something great, but he chooses to work in construction, traveling around to jobs. And he’s just a worker, not even a foreman.”

Ruby tried to picture their
disappointment. Nick was a perfect loss.

The thought intrigued her,
the idea of someone content with little was curious. Everyone she knew wanted

“How long will he be here?”

Jackie shrugged and sipped
her drink holding the glass so that it hid her expression. “Who knows? He's
between jobs and said he needs a few days to sort things out.”

Jackie’s attempt to conceal
her thoughts wasn’t lost on Gerald. Rudy smiled at Jackie. “That’s not too
long. I imagine you can survive a few days.”

Jackie raised her sunglasses. “That all depends on him.”
19 printed pages
Original publication



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