**Author’s Note** I am going to be giving you all a glimpse of my new Ebook over the next few weeks and I would love your input and FEEDBACK! Thank ya’ll so much!**
Chapter One: Town and Country Mobile Home
Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy a double-wide at the Town and Country Mobile Home Park with a great big fire pit in the back yard. Mae and Trenton picked it out partly because they wanted to live without the stresses of the city, and partly because they just liked trailer parks – and the people who lived in them. It’s inevitable that the residents eventually develop a close sense of camaraderie after living behind paper-thin walls within twelve feet of each other. There are few secrets, lots of gossip, and the occasional block party down at the fire pit.
Since Trenton was a chef, the neighbors mostly expected him to provide some sort of exotic kebab or a new kind of corn dog. Mae was really good with logistics and made sure the tables and pot luck containers were arranged logically and kept the food line moving in the right direction. She also made sure that Rob and Maggie weren’t sitting too close to Randy and Darlene (Rob’s truck ran over Darlene’s gazing ball and he won’t replace it). Mae made sure that she and Trenton sat near Steve and Ruth, though. Ever since moving in, Mae and Ruth bonded like sisters.
One morning the trailer park sisters lounged in their lawn chairs watching the Stanton kids dig holes in Debbie Wheelock’s flower patch across the street.
“Bet you one peach cobbler that Debbie melts into a sobbing, incoherent puddle when she sees that.” Mae took a sip of her iced tea and whispered, “She’s close to that time, you know.”
“Oh yeah?” Ruth raised her chin and scrutinized the damage the boys were doing. “I’ll see your peach cobbler and raise you a breakfast casserole that she goes on a red-faced rampage. Remember what she did to Chuck last month?”
Mae choked on her tea. “Holy crap, who could forget. She stabbed his tire with a paring knife just because his wheel was turned into their trailer skirt. One little skid mark, and she totally lost it.”
“My Steve has a temper but nothing like that. I mean, we fight sometimes, but then,” she leaned closer to Mae, “the making up is awesome. The man knows how to make romance, for sure.”
They laughed and sipped their tea, and Mae sighed. “I wish Trenton would get a little more romantic. I don’t mean that he’s not, it’s just that he plays around a lot. It’s fun and everything, but sometimes I wish he’d get down and dirty seriously romantic. You know, just sweep me off my feet kind of thing.”
“Trouble in paradise?”
“Nah. Nothing like that – we’re great. Maybe I’ve just been watching too much Hallmark channel.” They laughed while across the street, the boys made mud pies and decorated them with Debbie’s violets.
“Mae and Trenton have hit the doldrums,” Ruth said.
Steve’s eyes appeared over his newspaper, and he raised his eyebrows. “They’re having problems?”
“Not problems, exactly, just a dry patch. They’ll be fine. Mae just feels like she’s being a little neglected and needs some special treatment.” Ruth grinned and batted her eyelashes at Steve. “You know. Like women do sometimes.”
Steve lowered his eyes and worried about his friends.
“…so Ruth said Mae and Trenton are having marital problems, and I’m kinda worried.” Steve grunted as he hefted a sack of cement into the mixer at work.
Chuck frowned. “Aw, not them. They’re the nicest couple I know… present company excepted.”
Steve grinned. “Yep. I know how to keep my woman happy.”
“You think maybe Trenton lost interest? Maybe even seeing someone else?”
“He wouldn’t,” said Steve.
The two men nodded, but the worry lines on their foreheads folded a little deeper.
Chuck’s fork was in his hand even before Debbie laid out his plate of spaghetti and meatballs. “I’m starved, thanks, Hon.” He slurped some steaming pasta. “This is great.”
Debbie glared across the table, waiting for him to eat so she could tell him to find out who ruined her violet patch and take out some trailer park justice; an eye for an eye.
“I also got some bad news about Mae and Trenton. They’re having some trouble. If it’s bad enough, they might get a divorce, even.”
“No! Are you sure?”
“Yeah. seems Mae has just gotten bored and Trenton is looking elsewhere.”
Debbie forgot about her violets. “Sweetie, I’m not really hungry. I’m going for a walk. Don’t worry about the dishes; I’ll get them when I get back.”
She took off her apron, grabbed her cigarettes and lighter and flitted out the door.
Maggie had just put her dinner dishes away when a loud rapping on her door startled her. She wasn’t expecting anyone, and had a good mind to remind whoever it was that good manners never go out of style.
Debbie stood outside Maggie’s door and banged on it again. The wooden plaque decorated with a filigree of vines and roses surrounding the name, “Stanton” did a jig in time with Debbie’s knocking.
“I just had to come see you. I’ve got a prayer request that just cannot wait.” Debbie stepped up and into the door, right across Maggie, and into the living room.
Maggie quickly followed. ‘Prayer request’ was a code that meant there was some juicy gossip to share ‘out of concern’ for someone. “Oh dear. Have a seat, I’ll get us some sweet tea.”
She set about, placing coasters on the coffee table and serving tall glasses of sweet tea with ice, garnished with a sprig of mint from her own window box. “Tell me all about it; what can I do?”
“Well, it looks like Mae and Trenton are going to get a divorce. I just thought you’d like to keep them in your prayers.” Debbie grabbed her glass and chugged.
Maggie raised her glass with a pinkie in the air. “I will surely pray for her! And Trenton, of course. I’m sure it’s mostly his fault anyway, make a joke of things so much.”
Debbie leaned closer. “I heard he’s seeing another woman.”
Maggie let out a huge gasp then regained her poise and slammed her mouth shut. She took a dainty sip of tea. “Oh dear. Poor Mae. I have an idea. Go get Chuck, I’ll grab Rob, and we’ll set up something special for her and Trenton. You know, a sexy, romantic evening with no interruptions.”
“That’s it! See you in a bit.”
The sun had just set when Trenton came home to see the fire pit behind his trailer decked out in Christmas lights. A stunning bonfire danced in the pit, and his patio table wore a full dress-dinner outfit including a checkered tablecloth, two lit candles, and a small basket in the middle holding a loaf of Bunny Bread and a bottle of Purple Cowboy wine, the “Tenacious Red” one.
He walked in the trailer and saw Mae laying on the couch. “Hey,” he shook her by the shoulder, “what did you do that to the fire pit for? Did I forget our anniversary or something?”
Mae rose and rubbed her eyes. “What are you talking about?”
Trenton went to the window and pointed outside. Mae took a look then ran outside. Trenton changed out of his chef’s tunic into a comfy, flannel shirt and followed.
“What… is this even our house?” Mae made an uncomfortable laugh.
Chuck walked up and bowed. “Will the lady and gentleman please follow me? Your table is ready.” He swept an open hand toward the patio table. He led the way and pulled out a lawn chair for Mae. The couple looked at each other and shrugged then sat down.
“Don’t worry, buddy, we got your back,” Chuck whispered to Trenton, patted him on the shoulder and walked away.
Maggie slipped in next to Mae. “Hey, Sweetie. We all love ya, and we won’t let anything come between y’all.” She picked up the wine bottle, pulled out the cork and offered it to Trenton.
He shrugged, sniffed the cork and nodded. He gave a confused glance to Mae as Maggie poured the wine, made an awkward curtsy and left.
Debbie walked up and lay a platter of spaghetti and meatballs in front of the perplexed couple. She put one of her finest Chinet dinner plates in front of Trenton and glared at him with hell fire in her eyes. She turned to Mae and with a sympathetic look, placed her plate. “I swear, Darlin’. If he don’t treat you right, you let me know. I’m here for you.”
Debbie dished up the spaghetti with a flourish as long as the pasta. “I hope y’all don’t mind; this was me and Chuck’s dinner, so I had to reheat it. It’s really good though; I used sausage in the meatballs tonight. Enjoy!”
When Debbie left, Mae and Trenton looked at each other for a moment then burst out laughing.
“What are we supposed to do now?” Chuck asked and reached for the Parmesan.
“I think we’re supposed to eat?” Mae looked around and saw Chuck, Debbie, Steve, and Maggie peeking around the corner of their trailer. “Or put on a show for our hosts?” She stood up and hollered. “Y’all get out here right now!”
The four friends timidly stepped over to the table.
“What in the Sam Hill are y’all doing to us?”
Maggie cleared her throat and cast a guilty look at Debbie who gave one to Chuck who passed it along to Steve who hung his head and glanced at his wife, Ruth.
Ruth looked at Mae with eyes full of love. “You two mean so much to us. We love you both so much, and we don’t want to lose either one of you. We, all of us, thought a romantic, candlelight dinner would help, so here we are.”
Steve said, “Yeah, Trenton, you are always there for us, and Mae, you make the neighborhood potlucks the best in the county.”
“And if you go gallavantin’ off with someone else, so help me…” Debbie shut up and winced when Chuck pinched her arm.
“What she means is, this place wouldn’t be the same without you, and just wanted to help you find that love that got you two together in the first place.”
The group nodded with sad, concerned faces.
Trenton laughed. “You thought me and Mae—”
“—were going to break up?” Mae finished. She looked at Trenton, and he at her. They burst out laughing again. “You silly, wonderful people.”
Trenton waved the group over. “Come here, ya’ll.” He lined them up and paced in front of them like a general to his troops. “I want you to know I would fight to the death for this woman.”
Behind him, Mae yelled, “Me too! For you, that is!”
He continued. “You idiots have acted very…” he paused and stroked his beard, “…sweetly.” He laughed. “You’re crazy, you know that? That’s why we love y’all too.”
Mae came up and gathered everyone together. “Group hug!”
After the hugging and a little crying, Trenton said, “Okay, who’s got the beer?”
Steve raised his hand and ran across the street.
Mae looked at the women and said, “Who’s got some tortilla chips and salsa sitting around?”
Maggie smiled and ran home.
The conversations and friendship around the fire pit that night was the best they’d had in a long time. You see, money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy beer and chips. And when you combine those with good friends and a double-wide in Owensboro, it’s all priceless.
That’s all for now, folks! Remember, the good stuff goes in my book! I have a few more chapter’s being released to you first, exclusively. We got run in’s with a bank robber, sex, (a TON of sex,) and way more fun stuff! Tell me what you think in the comments section of my blog!