So Maine to Florida it turns out is not only a 8 hour trip after layovers, it also costs about 600 dollars for 2 tickets if you buy them the day of the trip. Gabrielle's credit card had more than enough for that, in fact it had quite a lot (I checked the balance). Even leaving immediately Lacey and I didn't get to Ft. Lauderdale airport until 1 pm Monday morning.
The flight didn't give us any time to talk however, since it was our first experience in public as the people we appear to be. When the TSA was looking at my ID I got nervous she would see right through it, but she just nodded. The body scan was even more unnerving than usual. I already felt weird enough as it is without the idea of someone looking at it with xray vision.
When we were on the ground in Florida we had to search long term parking before finding Gabrielle's car, which was a late model Chrysler Minivan complete with all sorts of kids stuff in the back. Fortunately the thing had GPS so finding my way to the Maltos suburban home was doable, although Miami traffic was awful.
When we pulled up the first thing Lacey said when she set eyes on the house was "Nice". And that described it perfectly. It wasn't a mansion but it couldnt have been more than 10 years old. The lawn was perfect as was every other lawn on the cul de sac. I fumbled around in my purse for a minute before I found the house keys. I fumble a lot with my purse actually. I know the stuff is in there but it gets lost and I have to dig for it. I think the fact that the stuff isn't mine is part of the problem.
On the inside the house was just as nice...sort of. It had 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms and a big living room with a giant TV which will be nice to watch sports on and what I think is expensive furniture. However, it was dirty. Not like hoarder dirty but you could tell someone hadn't cleaned in awhile. The dishwasher was full, there were piles of laundry, the bedrooms were a mess, except Wesley's because he'd been gone.
I went into the room that had the biggest bed and put my suitcase down. It was messy too, but not as messy as the rest of the house. It was Lavender, I think. A light purple. Technically neutral but still girly. The bed was a king sized, unmade with a lot of pillows.
The closet was a walk in but about 3/4ths of it was women's clothes. I dont know if Gabrielle is a clotheshorse or if this is normal. The male side was mostly suits and casual clothing but "my" side was full of dresses and blouses and some things I'll have to ask Lacey what the name of it is. I spent the next couple of hours unpacking and exploring as well as cleaning up a little bit.
Most stuff went in the hamper or closet, but some stuff from the suitcase. Like Gabi's underwear, went in the dresser. I paused to look at the top of it, which was full of photos. I picked up the one that had my body in a wedding dress. Clearly a much skinnier version with a little less weight but it was clearly Gabrielle. The man next to her was tanned with dark hair and big eyebrows. Her husband, Dustin. The man I would have to try to fool for the next year or so.
I was putting the suitcase away when I felt a pair of arms wrap around me and a kiss on my neck. I spun around quickly and let out a squeaky "eep". I found myself in the arms of Dustin. He didn't look like he did in the picture. He was balder and had a bit of a spare tire but it was clearly him.
"You scared me" I said nervously
"YOU scared ME being gone for so long. Wesley's missed a ton of school"
"He'll make it up, he's a bright kid" I said not knowing if it was true
"Lets hope so" he said, going in for a kiss which I awkwardly returned "What's for dinner?" he asked making it clear that that was my responsibility.
"Umm...I've had a long day and have no idea what's in the fridge, Can we just order Chinese?"
"Sure thing hun, just go to the grocery store tomorrow." he said as he sat down and opened his laptop.
When it was dinner time I got to meet Gabrielle's 9 year old daughter, Isabella, for the first time. She's a bit of a quiet kid, but she did what I told her, which was kind of cool. Getting used to being called Mommy is gonna be tough though.
When dinner was over I asked Lacey to help me do the dishes. She just smiled and said "Sorry, Mom, I've got a ton of homework to catch up on" Which was true, although having a college degree in her old life High School should be a snap for her.
I set forth doing the dishes myself, not just becuase they needed to be done but also I had an ulterior motive. I was trying to stall for time and go to bed as late as possible because I wanted Dustin to be asleep before me. I know I could have used the old "i have a headache" routine but it's pretty awkward for me to think about. I finished the dishes about 11 and peeked upstairs to hear the man snoring loudly. I got undressed down to my underwear and put on a tshirt and climbed slowly into bed.
The next morning I woke up alone. Apparently Dustin's schedule requires him to get up early and drive a long commute downtown. After a chaotic attempt to get the children ready for school I sat down on the couch and observed my domain.
I was now a housewife, and it was a house. I was in charge of everything that went on inside it. It could be worse, I could be thrust into a job I'm totally unprepared for, but it's still going to be hard work.
I spent the rest of the day getting the house clean and cooking some basic spaghetti for dinner. That's how the last few days have been. This life may be a little boring but routine will make it go faster.