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The Boss’s Proposal

By:Amanda Horton



The Boss’s Proposal

Lily Day’s breath became labored as she looked at the notice that hung on her bookstore’s glass door. Large red letters were scrolled across the top of the page, screaming at her. Her gaze was iron, and her body was buzzing. Lily felt as though she was going to fly apart from the inside out. EVICTION NOTICE

Her chestnut brown hair thrashed in the wind, hitting her peachy skin and getting caught in her umber eyes. Her delicate hand met her thin, pink-lipped mouth as a tight gasp escaped her violently. She felt her breath get caught in her chest, and refused to allow her to breathe. She could hear her own devastation.

She had fought so hard for this store. She had worked every day since high school to buy it, and now, here it was, about to be taken from her. Taken like a security blanket from a reluctant child with a misunderstood parent. The loss cut her deep. She was at a loss for a reaction, and also for words.

She had known that her rent had gotten a bit behind, but she could not have guessed that it had gotten to this point. She had emptied all of her accounts, sure that sales would pick up. After all, the store had only been open for a few months. She thought the sales had been impressive and had hoped her landlord would understand and give her some extra time to pay rent. No business owner was successful in their first year, at least, that’s what every magazine and article that she had read had said. Didn’t they understand that?

She felt as though she was being taken on by a power much too powerful for her. An entity that was much larger and greater than she could hope to be. She felt like a child on a playground being bullied. Helpless.

Lily did the first thing that she could have thought to do; she called her sister, Holly Day. Holly had been there for Lily since she was born. After their mother died, Holly had taken over the family. She was the only person who would have been able to do it anyways. Their father quickly fell into a deep pit of alcohol and verbal abuse, and Holly did all that she could to shield Lily from the pain that entailed for the two of them.

Lily thought back to those late nights where Holly held her tightly as she cried while their father screamed in the living room, complaining about his life and their bank account. Holly would sing Lily lullabies that their mother had taught them. She would rock her and tell her stories about how one day it would be all right. That’s what this bookstore meant; it was her all right. It was her happiness that she had been deprived of for so long.

Holly had also invested all her savings in the bookstore so Lily was scared to see her reaction. She began to sweat as the other line rang. She remembered the day that her sister had emptied out her savings account with a smile, happy to help her sister. Holly’s husband James had been resistant to the entire idea. Lily understood why, but a small amount of her resented him for it.

After Holly got married to James, Lily felt truly alone. Holly was busy being a newlywed and planning for children, and their father was little more than a ghost that occasionally needed bailed out of jail or bill money.

“Lily?” The mellifluous voice on the other line asked.

Her sister’s sweet and kind voice had Lily erupt in tears that refused to stop.

“Honey, what’s wrong?”

Her words were comforting and loving, just as they had always been. Rain began to pour, and Lily worked her key in the door with a shaking hand as she grabbed the now wet and curling piece of paper.

“My shop…they want to take it.” Lily choked out, her words stuttering.

“Be right there.” There wasn’t a trace of annoyance or anger in her sister’s voice, something she was thankful for.

Lily fell into the nearest chair as she dropped her heavy head in her hands. Her heart throbbed and her throat clenched. She didn’t have too much time to fall into a nadir of despair as Holly came running in. She had Lily’s nephew, Bryce, sitting on her hip, the three year old in the same miserable state that Lily was in. She must have woken him up earlier than his usual time.

Lily imagined her sister waking up Bryce and dressing him quickly as she put him in his car seat, and listened to him wail as she drove all the way down to the store in the wind and the rain. She hated herself for it.

Holly handed her sister her God Child, who seemed to calm down in the arms of despondent company. He began to play with her owl-figure locket, bringing a smile to Lily’s face.

Her nephew had brought her joy. She was so excited when Holly had called her, telling Lily that the countless attempts of Inv-tro Fertilization had finally worked, and she was pregnant. Since then, Bryce had been dear to both of their hearts. For Holly, he was a prayer come true, for Lily, he was the person that had made her sister happiest. When Holly told her that she was Bryce’s God Mother, it blew her away.

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