Moving on

-just a little anti-arcine piece i wanted to do. enjoy. rated t for references to naughty things. one-shot.

Francine and Arthur kissed. It was their 10th anniversary. They'd been together 15 years. They were always happy. Their kids did well in school. All was perfect. They had a perfect life in a perfect town—perfection. Arthur nuzzled Francine. She squeezed back.

"I had a good time today, Arthur. This was our best anniversary yet. What made you go to that restaurant?" Francine questioned. "It looked nice. It's new, but I thought you'd like it. I've never seen so many cultural dishes in one place," Arthur said. Francine nodded, "Sue Ellen and her husband did a great job when they opened that restaurant. We should take the kids in a few weeks for Eliza's birthday."

Arthur agreed. They went through their usual anniversary routine. The next morning Francine cooked breakfast. She stared at the eggs as they cooked. Arthur felt nervous. He hid behind the morning paper. The kids didn't notice. They grabbed their lunches and went to school. Arthur tried to talk to Francine when they were gone.

"Why didn't you enjoy it last night?" Arthur asked. "I got there. You haven't lost your touch," Francine replied. Arthur shook his head, "You faked it." "No, Arthur, I didn't. You're going to be late for work. Go, get," Francine hissed. Arthur left for work. He didn't have time to argue with Francine.

Arthur went pale in traffic: He'd fought with Francine. They'd never fought before. She only faked it a few times before. She told Arthur she was tired. She wanted to make him happy. She let him express his urges. He appreciated her for that. He thought about it. Those times weren't as good. They were recent times, within the last year.

Arthur sighed. Francine must be falling out of love with him. He was doing something wrong. He must've disobeyed her. He must've forgotten something. He must've something, but he didn't know what.

At Arthur's job, he realized he'd left a file at home. He needed it for a meeting. His boss let him go home to get it. He stepped inside and saw Francine's clothes on the floor. A man's clothes were there too. He followed the clothes to the guest bedroom. He opened the door. Francine was on top of Binky. He was tied to the bed with a gag in his mouth. Arthur dropped his briefcase and ran.

"Arthur, wait!" Francine yelled. Arthur kept running. Francine chased him. He went upstairs and grabbed his folder from his desk. Francine grabbed him, "Please, baby, I can explain. Please, Arthur, speak to me!"

"I want a divorce," Arthur muttered. He tried to brush past her. Francine was sobbing, "Please, I can explain everything. Arthur, I need you. You can't leave me." "You shouldn't have cheated. I knew something was wrong. You've done this for a while. I don't want to be with you anymore. You're not worth it to me or the kids. Why him, too? He doesn't even have a job."

"He does too have a job. He's the owner of his own company," Francine argued. "See, you care about him more than me. I've been at my firm for six years and you still don't know what I do." "You're a broker?" Francine guessed. Arthur scowled, "I'm not a broker. I'm a real estate agent. Right now I'm late for work. After work, I'm taking the kids to my mother's house. You shouldn't have them. What if they saw wait you were doing? What would they think?"

"They'll never know. They'll only know if you go through with this," Francine cried. "We'll talk about it. I'll untie Binky and make him never come back." "Do whatever makes you happy. I'm done," Arthur said. He tried to push past her again. Francine stood in the way. Arthur tried to get past her gently. Francine fought him.

It was sudden. Francine pushed Arthur's shoulders. He lost his balance. His head cracked against the dresser. He fell. He didn't get up. Francine checked his pulse. It was faint then it wasn't there anymore. Francine gasped. She had to cover this up.

Francine remembered the neighbor's house. They were having a tree cut down. A wood chipper was still in the backyard. Francine put on some clothes and dragged Arthur's body into the backyard. She lifted him into the machine and turned it on. Arthur's body splattered into the pool. Francine pulled the cover over it.

Francine went home to shower. She cleaned the bathroom afterwards. She got ready for the kids to come home. She baked a cake. It was waiting when the kids got home. They ate their cake and talked about their day. Francine nodded. The kids asked when their dad would be home. Francine said he'd be working late. She didn't know what she'd say later. Business trip? Vacation? She didn't know.

Then Francine remembered Binky. She told the kids to go to their room to do their homework. They protested but finally agreed. Francine moved into the guest bedroom and untied Binky.

"I was wondering when you'd come back. Did you two have fun up there?" Binky laughed. "What?" Francine asked. She was confused. "It sounded like you had a nice time, multiple rooms too. The last married woman I slept with divorced her husband, but those weren't the sounds of divorce to me, if you know what I mean," he winked. "I don't know what you mean."

"You two were having sex. Just admit it," Binky grinned. He pulled on his clothes. Francine blushed, "Yes, all the rooms. Our anniversary was yesterday. I wasn't into it. He saw what we did and liked it. I dominated him. Then I made a nice snack for the kids—" "Yeah, about that, can I have a piece?" he asked. "No, get out!" Francine demanded.

Binky was dressed now. Francine snuck him out of the house. Binky drove away. Francine was about to step inside when the tree service's truck pulled up. Francine moved into her house and slammed the door. A few minutes later, she heard them discuss the blood. Then they saw blood around the pool. Cops were called. Francine waited in her room. She knew she was busted.

Cops came to the door. One of the kids answered. They found Francine. She had to see them. They asked her who she saw around the equipment. She said she didn't know. They were talking to someone across the street. Francine noticed it was Sue Ellen. She didn't realize that's who bought the house; they hadn't met their new neighbors yet. Francine went pale as Sue Ellen pointed to Francine's house.

"You sure you didn't see nothing?" the cop asked. Francine nodded, "I didn't see anything."

The cops left but the story was top news. Reporters came by. The owners of the house were interviewed. They didn't know what was going on. Francine watched nervously. She was waiting to get caught but she didn't want anyone to know. She remembered Sue Ellen pointing at her house. She wondered what Sue Ellen said.

The news wasn't pointing fingers. They didn't even know who the blood belonged to. Francine wondered how long it would take them to find out. She wanted to look it up online but remembered they could catch her that way. She decided she'd go to the library the next morning.

Francine stepped outside. The kids left on the bus a few minutes before. Across the street, Sue Ellen waved to her kids. She then crossed the street. Francine checked her mail. She tried not to look at her.

"Hey, I was wondering where Arthur was. He forgot his jacket at the restaurant," Sue Ellen said. "Oh, he's on a business trip. I can take it for him," Francine offered. "No, it's fine. I wanted to talk to you two but you left pretty quickly. I heard from a waiter that it was your anniversary. How long have you been together?"

"I've gotta go," Francine muttered. "Oh it's just a quick question. Why are you so jumpy?" Sue Ellen asked. She giggled. Her laughter made Francine angry. "Why do you care so damn much? I've got things to do. Go away," Francine growled. She got in her car. Sue Ellen stood on the sidewalk. She was watching Francine. She was confused. Francine was usually so nice.

Francine was pissed. She cranked the car. She looked back. Sue Ellen was crossing the street. She wasn't watching. Francine backed up her car. She faced Sue Ellen. She floored it.

Sue Ellen's body thumped over the hood. A passing cop saw the accident. Francine played the part. She sobbed and screamed, "I thought I was pressing the brake! Somebody help!" The cops comforted her. Sue Ellen was dead. They comforted Francine instead. They believed her. But they had to question her so they took her to the station.

While Francine waited, she knew something was up. A detective walked in. He asked where her husband was. Francine told them a business trip. They didn't believe her. His car was at home and he hadn't been to work. She said he'd taken a car service. They still didn't believe her.

"I'm telling the truth!" Francine cried. "Are you?" they asked. They slammed a file on the table. The blood test was back. It matched Arthur's DNA. "How did you get that from him?" Francine demanded. "He participated in a case once before, remember?" the cop asked. Francine sighed. She remembered. A man who looked like Arthur committed a crime so he offered his DNA to prove it wasn't him. Francine sighed. She'd been busted.

Eliza was 18 now. She got the keys to their old house and went inside. Everything was covered but still the same way they left it. She walked through the house. She could barely remember it. She could barely remember her parents either. She hadn't spoken to her mother since her arrest. She advised her siblings to cut ties too; they did.

Eliza entered her dad's office. Francine's picture was on the wall, a wedding picture. Eliza scowled. She looked away. She went to her father's desk. A drawer was slightly open. Eliza pulled it open. A false bottom was there but moved. Eliza pulled it up. Inside was a journal. Eliza opened it. A picture of Sue Ellen fell out.

Eliza was confused until she read the journal. Arthur tried to make things perfect for Francine. He thought she wanted their marriage. Francine was pregnant with Eliza and they both felt obligated. But he loved Sue Ellen. He'd been seeing her for years. They were finally getting comfortable with their respective married lives.

The journal ended there. Eliza scowled. Her mother must've known about their relationship. She killed them both out of spite. The lawyers never found out but that's what Eliza thought.

The doorbell rang. It was out of tune. Eliza stepped downstairs. Mr. Barnes was at the door. She opened the door. He laughed nervously, "Hi, um…kid," he stammered. "It's Eliza. What do you want, Mr. Barnes?" Eliza asked. "I left something here years ago. I want it back." "How did you know I was here?" Eliza questioned. Binky shook his head. Eliza sighed heavily. Years living with her aunt DW made her strong, "That's not my problem. I'm packing everything up next week and selling the house. Whatever you left here will be packed and sold along with it. I need the money for college."

"Please, it's embarrassing. If you just—" Binky begged. He tried to push past. Eliza slammed the door shut. She latched it. Binky shook the door but it wouldn't budge. "I won't leave without it! It's in the guest bedroom!" he yelled. Eliza scoffed. She moved into the guest bedroom. The furniture was covered in dust. It was the only untouched room in the house, the only one not covered in sheets.

On the floor was a gag. Eliza saw them in pictures at school. She was embarrassed to see one in person. She found rope too. Eliza felt herself getting sick. She picked up the objects and went to the living room. She threw them out the window.

"Here's your disgusting crap, Mr. Barnes! When did you break in here anyway?" Eliza yelled. Binky blushed, "I never broke in. I left this here years ago." "You were never in our house! Go away before I call the cops!" Eliza demanded. "I know you don't want to hear it, kid. It was your mom, that sick bitch. She answered my ad online. I wasn't the only one. I'm glad she never told you and I'm sorry I'm telling you now."

"My mom was sick, but you're worse for wanting that stuff back. Go away before I call the police," Eliza said. She shut the window. Binky drove away. Eliza sighed and sat in the dining room. Her old backpack was on the floor. The backpacks of her siblings were hanging on the wall. She sighed heavily. She regretted coming back now.

The doorbell rang again. Eliza groaned and peeked out the window. It was the neighbor whose pool her mom ruined with her dad's body. Eliza felt nervous talking to her around town. But she opened the door anyway. The woman smiled and pressed a plate of cookies into her hands. Eliza thanked her.

"I saw him here the day it happened. I saw him come over before we left. Third time only," the woman whispered. "There were others, many others, but your dad was fairly chaste. He loved another, but he was obligated to you. If she hadn't hurt him, he would've protected you. I just know it."

"Thanks," Eliza murmured. "I know it's hard. Just pack up and leave, get on with your life," the neighbor said. "Don't forget what happened, but don't let it stop you from living out your dreams either." "I know, thanks for the cookies, goodbye," Eliza said quickly. She closed the door and sank to the floor. She nibbled a cookie while she sobbed.

"Why are you telling us this, Eliza?" her sister asked. She was 14; her brother was 16. They both looked at her like she was crazy. Eliza shrugged, "I don't know why I told you. I figured if I knew, you should too." "What do you know?" DW asked. Eliza shook her head.

"Nothing, Aunt DW," her sister said. "Eliza was just telling us about the house. She's selling it." "Good, that place needs a new family. I wanted to sell it but the bank wouldn't let you. Arthur's will was too strong. Even Catherine couldn't crack it and she's a lawyer." "Aunt Catherine, mom's sister?" Eliza asked. DW nodded, "She always wanted that house to go after everything. Her sister ruined her reputation."

"Is that why she didn't represent Mom very well?" Eliza's brother questioned. "Mom was guilty, Brain. She deserved to go to prison," Eliza said coldly. "Your sister's right, Bri. Francine deserved it and she knew it." "But I thought it was all an accident, that she was grieving—"

"You shouldn't watch those shows, Brian," DW sighed. "Eliza, don't tell them anything else. He'd finally stopped asking me questions." "Sorry, but they needed to know some things." "Nothing is that important," DW argued. "Mom and Dad were both having affairs. They needed to know," Eliza replied. DW shrugged, "You're all kids. It doesn't matter what your parents did. They were adults." "I'm an adult now. I needed to know," Eliza countered.

"Just get out," DW demanded. Eliza left. Outside, her aunt Kate approached with her kids. She saw Eliza's grim expression. She coaxed the kids inside and followed Eliza to her car. Eliza told her what happened. Kate smiled, "DW was just jealous. She and James didn't work out. Arthur and Francine worked despite the flaws. It disgusted her. She didn't know what I knew."

"What did you know?" Eliza asked. Kate grinned, "Arthur and Francine did love each other despite the dysfunction. Francine's love was fading but Arthur's was getting stronger. Francine killed Sue Ellen because she was guilty, not because of the affairs. The police never discovered the affairs and no one was left to mention them. It's best to forget, move on with your life. It didn't concern you."

"It didn't but I wanted details," Eliza said. Kate nodded, "I understand. But move on now. And forget about DW too. She's happy to be rid of you but she does love you…a little." "She made me strong but yeah, I'm happy to be leaving." "Take the dirt with you; never bring it back," Kate said. Eliza nodded.

Eliza drove off. She packed up the house the next week and sold everything. The money helped her go to college. She went a few hours away. She lived on campus. She forgot about her aunts. She wrote to her siblings. But they were never close.

Eliza tried to forget the drama. Whatever happened with her parents didn't matter. Elwood City had forgotten the drama too. Everyone had moved on. Now it was her turn.

-end