Task at Hand

Devin
Children: Connor and Caitlin

Task at Hand

Rhett Kennedy
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Joined: 14 Jul 2016, 00:02

14 Jul 2016, 12:36 #1

Rhett was happy for the work he got. He hadn’t really expanded his business to construction workers here in Evergreen; most of his business still lay in Indianapolis, but there was no reason he couldn’t lay a few bricks here. Business would come. If you build it and all. So when word made it to him that a woman in one of the suburbs wanted to add on a master bathroom, Rhett had emphatically agreed, and made his way over. Monroe was left in daycare, a place she had emphatically told him over dinner last night was the ”Best place ever!” so there was, fortunately, no guilt associated with leaving his only child in the hands of total strangers. Oh, he’d had them all vetted, and met with them himself, more or less interrogating them with a gruff tone and insistence that his child was everything to him, and they better take good care of her.

Leaving Indianapolis, uprooting Monroe, had been one of the most nerve-wracking decisions he’d ever to make. Monroe had been happy in the city. Extremely so. And this? This was changing everything the girl had ever known, outside of her home in Iowa, and that was plagued with wrought iron skillets and a black and blue Daddy all the time. Not exactly the kind of world that Rhett wanted for his daughter. He had no regrets coming to Evergreen. Really. None. But what he did have was a watchful eye on his child, to make sure that everything was copacetic with her.

Today was just a consultation and an estimate, so he only brought the tools on his tool belt, and met the doorbell with a press of his finger.

When the door opened, Rhett wasn’t quite sure what to expect. But he wasn’t expecting this. Brown hair, doe eyes, and sex on legs. And all in the span of she has no fucking idea how beautiful she is. Unfortunately, Rhett’s type. Professionalism, however, was a trait he honored deeply, so he maintained it with an outstretched hand. ”You must be Devin. I’m Rhett Kennedy, here to check out the master bathroom.” After an invitation inside, he glanced around, taking in the exterior. It was nice. It was also clear that children lived here, as the place was veritably invaded by the tell-tale signs of little hands playing with little toys, little drawings up on the walls. His heart could have melted then.

”I can prob’ly find it on my own, but you wanna point me in the right direction so I don’t wind up seeing something I shouldn’t?” An unfortunate side effect of the job sometimes. He knew about more skeletons in closets than actual clothing. Still, he made his way to the bathroom and started simple: measuring. And Rhett was decidedly all business. He had to be, his attention squarely on the task at hand, so he wasn’t tempted to glance over at Devin’s legs, or her eyes, or imagine running fingers through her hair. No way in hell was he going to fuck himself over like that on the first day. He remained stoic, instead, measuring, taking notes, eyes settled anywhere but on her.
Sayds. <3
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Devin Moran
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Devin Moran
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Joined: 14 May 2010, 03:03

14 Jul 2016, 23:56 #2

This time there were no tears. There was no months spent on the couch. Devin called his number only to receive a pre-recorded message that the number had been disconnected. She went to where he had been staying and peeked in the window to find an emptily abandoned place. Bits of paper littered here or there, but everything else was gone. For all his words and reassurances, her now ex-husband turned out to be the bad guy he always thought he was. This time she picked herself up and got on with life. Devin Moran wasn’t going to be a victim… not any more. It had been eight months, half of it in a lawyer’s office to figure out the legality of her marital situation, and gaining sole custody of Connor and Caitie. He hadn’t even showed up to the court hearings. A little bit of Devin held hope he would just so she could tell him to go to hell. Part of her felt guilty for the thought but most of her felt justified. Just like that she was on a path of transformation.

The house had been repainted and once spring began she redid the landscaping in the yard (with a little help from her friends). Rooms were redecorated and items that she had been holding onto were finally donated or given away. All that was left was one box marked for Caitie and Connor for when they were old enough to have questions. It was put into a storage unit outside of town that housed the baby things and the old dining room table… really the only good thing Shane had left in his legacy besides their children. Devin had even gotten another job as an English teacher at the school. At least now she wouldn’t have to worry about any budget cuts ending in a pink slip for her. With the increase in her salary and the shop actually making some money, Devin had squirreled a little away to finally do something to the little blue house she had wanted the first time she stepped on one of Connor’s bath time toys... a master bath.

Yes, her queendom, the kitchen was in serious need of updating and expansion. It was next on her list once she had enough money. Right now she had enough to deal with. Two inquisitive toddlers running around was enough to keep one person busy. Don’t even get her started on her romantic life. A few blind dates here, an internet app there (thanks to younger brother Josh), and Devin was ready to put that area of her life on ice.

For now she was going to focus on herself and her kids. Of course life has other ideas by throwing things in the way. This obstacle came in the form of a tall, sandy-blonde, with a low gravelly voice. Rhett was not at all the slightly overweight, balding, middle-aged man Devin imagined would be coming to her home.

When she saw him walk by the big front window she went into a little bit of panic mode trying to straighten up the house a little bit. Haphazardly she threw toys in bins and shoes on the rack by the door as she made her way. Then she slightly chastised herself knowing she shouldn’t care what a perfectly good looking stranger thought of her house. But just in case she made sure there was nothing stuck in her teeth in the mirror.

Opening the door, Rhett Kenned,y of the internet flier she had found on google and numerous review sites, extended his hand and introduced himself. Devin gave a smile and a nod of her head being polite as usually. “Devin Moran… but you probably already guess that. Come in… sorry about the mess,” she motioned to the living room that wasn’t really a mess, only just a bit untidy. Stepping out of his way and closing the door once he made it in, Devin straightened one of the numerous pictures of her kids that was on the small credenza.

“The master is over this way,” she motioned down the hall leading him past the one and only bathroom in the house, and the two other bedrooms that housed the two most important things in her life. Caitie’s bedroom door was open showing off the soft lavender walls and the princess doll house in the corner, along with a mountain of stuffed animals from godfathers and godmothers and other relatives. Connor’s was now gray with blue and yellow accents and glow stars on the ceiling. He had recently decided he wanted to be an astronaut… or a Buzz Lightyear as he called them. Opening the door to her bedroom, Devin felt a little on show having a stranger in the one spot of the house that was solely hers. Any trace that she had been married had completely vanished except for the tan line on her ring finger. But even it was slowly starting to disappear. “The closet here,” she motioned to the wall closet that wasn’t very big, “I thought could be taken out to make the bedroom bigger. Maybe a little sitting area to read.” Hands fumbled in front of her as she talked about the ideas she had wondering if he was going to say they were stupid. Yes, she watched her fair share of HGTV but that didn’t mean she knew anything about actual home renovation “And then I thought maybe just adding on to that back wall the bathroom and a walk-in closet.”
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Rhett Kennedy
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Joined: 14 Jul 2016, 00:02

15 Jul 2016, 00:24 #3

As good as he was at reading people, Rhett had a couple of theories about this place. One, she was the maternal type who always wanted kids and went about it her own way… adoption, IVF, something that would allow for her to have the life of her dreams without having anyone impeding on her turf. The second, the more likely option, was that she’d been through some serious shit, and this renovation was the final step to alleviating all of the grief that took her to a purge-level of distraction. He scratched the scruff on his jaw as Devin described all of the ideas that she had for the space. Yes. She definitely had watched one too many home improvement shows.

“My recommendation,” he said, finally turning towards her, “is that you just tear down the bathroom and closet completely… add on more space. Lotta people are putting walk-in closets attached to the bathrooms now, but I like ‘em to be separate myself. I think it keeps the aesthetic cleaner. Long as you don’t mind me digging into the backyard some, I think I can probably give you what you’re looking for. I can even take what’s the closet right now… add a few more square feet to it. Give you a real cozy reading room.”

What Rhett knew was that this whole thing wouldn’t be cheap. Not by industry standards. But the woman had two young kids, and a life she was probably trying to tie up neatly with a bow. And anyway, Rhett was working alone at the moment. No labor to pay to his team. And, he thought, he had a pretty big reserve of materials back in Indianapolis. “I’ll just charge you for the materials,” he said, fingers tapping on the side of the bathroom door, absently. He conveniently didn’t mention that it would be far under even that.

He understood. At least, he thought he did. Rhett Kennedy had needed a life change, and he left everything he knew for it. He was laying his own home now, brick by brick, in a project that was overseen by Monroe, every step of the way. He thumbed his nose once, and motioned down the hallway. “I see you’ve got kids. I’ve got one, too. We’re redoing parts of our place, too… just moved in the other day. It can be a real pain in the ass -- excuse my French -- to deal with little ones when you’re renovating. I can toss in a playhouse for ‘em. My kid wants a new one anyway. It’ll keep them occupied when you need a second or five to yourself. If you’re fine with it, I’ll get a truck, bring it over sometime this week.”

The one thing in this moment that Rhett regretted… was looking at Devin. Really looking at her. He could see the weathering on her expression, he could sense the weight in her tone. But more than that, he could see how stunningly gorgeous she was, even dressed down -- especially dressed down -- and he wanted nothing more than to help her escape from whatever hell she was in. A distraction, at the very least.

Shit.

He should have left well enough alone. He shouldn’t have let himself look her in the eyes. He shouldn’t have given himself the freedom to think she was beautiful, even though she was. Rhett gave a wave of his hand as though dismissing the very thought of it, and tried, instead, “I’ll take the measurements in, take a glance around, and shoot you over a closer estimate so you can decide then.”
Sayds. <3
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Devin Moran
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Devin Moran
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Joined: 14 May 2010, 03:03

15 Jul 2016, 03:54 #4

Some people may have thought it idiotic that changing a house could change the person. Maybe it was. But in a way it was a fresh start. She couldn’t exactly go out and buy a new house or move away. Not without taking handouts and always feeling like she owed someone something. She may have walked through that front door dependent on a stranger, but every day now she walked through it just a bit more of her own person. If the whole ordeal had taught her anything about herself, it was that she was stronger than she knew. That was the Devin she wanted to be. If she looked in a mirror and physically saw the same woman, she could at least change the mirror she saw that woman in.

Arms wrapped around herself, hands holding elbows as she watched him study the space. Maybe this wouldn’t be a good fit. Maybe he was laughing inside about what a stupid job for his firm. Or maybe it was just her ideas that were stupid. She didn’t care though. What she wanted was some place in this house that she could escape to for a few minutes and just be Devin. Not mom. No the former Mrs. Moran. Not anything else but a girl getting lost in a book for a few minutes before reality came crashing back

“Right,” she nodded at his recommendation more looking at him than actually hearing what he was saying. Pulling her lower lip through her teeth she waited for the off the cuff proposal figure that would make her feel like she’d need to survive on ramen for the next year in order to afford it. Surely that was why her heart was doing a little flutter on every other beat. She was being stupid. He was here to work and that was it. And she was quitting that whole thing for a bit. Yes, it was all about the money.

“Don’t you… wait… what?” Devin asked a little confused taking a tentative step forward. He was the fourth contractor she had spoken to about this little project of hers. Most of them went into labor costs and permit fees and all the other odds and ends that inflated a bill. She was getting ready to try and haggle the price down a little bit until he said that. “I’m sorry it’s just… that seems a little… well less than the quote I was expecting to get. What about labor and all those other fees?” Either he was being a nice guy or he wanted something from her.

Then he brought up the kids and Devin wasn’t exactly sure if he was doing as an in or because he thought she was a charity case. “Welcome to Evergreen,” she offered him with a small smile as he said he had just moved in. “I feel like I’m on a hidden camera show now because you couldn’t possibly have just said you’re throwing in extra? You aren’t like the other contractors are you?” One of her eyes squinted as if she was studying him. Then her face relaxed as she really thought about his offer. “I can pay the normal things, you know. This just sounds too generous.” And it wasn’t because she thought he was looking down on her. No, Devin just always put others before her and if she was selfish it was only when she was pushed to the brink. If she accepted his offer right away, she felt like she was taking advantage of him.

Running a hand through her hair, Devin let him talk as he waved a hand. One of hers dropped to the top of her dresser, fingers tracing the edge. Then she gave a soft smile and a nod of her head. “Okay, Rhett Kennedy.”And if he wouldn’t accept her money for what she thought he should be paid, he better be ready to be drowned in baked goods and casseroles. “But on one condition. You’ll have to take home some cookies I baked yesterday for your son or daughter. No ands, ifs, or buts.”

Another smile and Devin was the one to stick out her hand this time. “Deal?”
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Rhett Kennedy
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17 Jul 2016, 03:37 #5

Rhett was not an escapist. It was stupid of him to think that, even if he was, it would make a tremendous difference if he was in one house rather than the other. No, he preferred to stand his ground and take disaster head on. The change of pace had been, rather, for Monroe. Monroe, who had taken to standing in the kitchen where she’d seen the worst of her mother’s attacks on her father and staring at the place where he’d been hit. Monroe, who occasionally checked drawers to make sure that there were knives in there that she could use to protect herself. Monroe, who needed a change more than anything.

And as soon as Rhett had driven away from the little house on the little street, everything in Monroe had lifted. His biggest fear hadn’t been that he would get hurt, or that broken bones wouldn’t heal when he was in the hospital. It was that his fucking bitch of an ex-wife would do something to Monroe before he was discharged and could get Child Protective Services on her ass. The fear of raising a happy and healthy little girl in a world that was plagued by abuse had been a pipe dream then.

Thankfully, it was becoming a reality now.

Devin stuttered in response, bringing him back from his own thoughts, almost balking at the quote that he gave her. He tried not to react too greatly to it. What he didn’t say was that it would be as much of a break for him as it would be for her. Rhett needed the work. He needed to keep his hands busy. He needed to loose himself on the world and dig into something that would make him feel like he was doing some good again. Sure, yes, he had his own house to attend to, but nothing said he couldn’t do two jobs at once. Besides, if he could give Devin some relief, then why the hell wouldn’t he?

Rhett shrugged at her question, scratching the scruff of his chin again. There was a scar that ran along his jaw, ugly and big, and though the hair there covered it, it was a gesture he’d developed out of small paranoia that someone would see and ask. He knew it was ironic, as it more or less drew more attention to himself, but hey, that was the price he paid. “Don’t worry about labor. It’s just me right now. My guys are in Indianapolis, and I might call ‘em down for some of the heavier lifting, but this project is mine.”

”You aren’t like other contractors are you?” she asked, and Rhett couldn’t help but smile. It was just slightly, about as much as he could do, the corners of his lips twitching up just slightly.

“Ma’am,” he said, plainly, “I’m not like a lot of other men, period.” The words hung in the air for a few moments before he sniffed once as though clearing his mind, and adding, “And it’s not generosity on my part. I’ve got my own stake in this, too. I’ve got a pretty big business elsewhere, but I’m looking to start it up here, in Evergreen. This is good for me. So if you like the job I do, just give me a good review somewhere, and tell the neighbors. It’s selfish, really. Good business.”

It wasn’t. Not really. Rhett didn’t need the business; he needed the distraction, and he needed the chance to do something good with his time. Devin demanded that he take home cookies, and well, shit. He’d have been hard pressed to deny her that. He nodded once, seeming a little gruff, and shifted his weight from one work boot to the other. Anything to keep his idle hands less than. Because, holy mother of God, a bit of hair had fallen from behind her ear, and Rhett wanted nothing more than to push it away.

“Daughter,” he qualified, though he couldn’t be quite sure why. “Monroe. Her mama’s favorite actress. Didn’t think about the whole name at the time.”
Sayds. <3
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Devin Moran
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Devin Moran
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Joined: 14 May 2010, 03:03

17 Jul 2016, 06:00 #6

Not all scars were visible. Funny how they didn’t know how similar they were. Devin couldn’t see the man standing in her bedroom offering her the first good break she had received in a while would be just as broken and put back together as she was. Somehow he seemed the type that when it came to hell or high water would tell both to bite it and still come out the hero. Where as she had crumbled and became a porcelain doll once again. The only difference was the second time, she didn’t break, and the porcelain was replaced with Kevlar. Because she couldn’t put Connor and Caitie through that again. She couldn’t give them hope only to have the real world come and snatch it. They were too young to learn that lesson. If she had her way, they never would.

Maybe Devin didn’t need rescuing anymore, but she was appreciative of Rhett’s offer. It had been a long time since something good happened in her favor. Just when she would begin to put her life back together another road block would show up. Could make someone afraid of living. She didn’t want to be that person where being cooped up was better than out there. Sometimes that meant putting herself out there and well… Devin wasn’t so sure she was quite ready for that a lot of the time.

Nodding her head again, her posture changed from that more guarded stance as if she was warding him off. She couldn’t believe that someone she had met all of five minutes ago would do something this nice. There was always something in it for the other person. At least that is what her marriage to Shane had taught her. Did he love her? It took her awhile to figure that maybe he did in some twisted way, but that maybe it was more the idea than the reality. Then there was Bradley where it always felt like he was trying to buy her affection. So maybe now she was a little suspicious of gifts that seemed too good to be true.

“Ma’am,” he said, plainly, “I’m not like a lot of other men, period.”

Did he… did he flirt with her? Had she been flirting with him? Oh god what if she had! Devin didn’t want to give him the wrong idea. Yes, he was handsome. Yes, if it had been any other day on any other week she’d entertain the thought and a little bit of fantasy. But right here and right now was not the time to do it. So as soon as her cheeks started to blush she tried to hide it with a turn and dip of her head causing hair to fall loose from behind her ear as the pretended to be fixing something on the dresser.

“Selfish?” she asked and shook her head causing more hair to fall loose. “I guess if it’s just as good for you then I’ll feel just a little less guilty.” The fingers of her right hand went to her left to rub a ring that was no longer there. Some days she didn’t notice the absence, on others it was too clear. The tell would probably always be with her. Another remnant of another life that would carry on into her new one.

Devin gave nod to the name part. She thought of Connor. Of who he’d be in another five years… another ten. He had his father’s middle name and she couldn’t but feel like that would be a weight he’d be battling for the rest of his life.

“It’s a beautiful name,” she said honestly turning back to him and pushing her hair behind her ear once again. “I thought too much about names. Stayed up for weeks worrying about it.” She laughed at that remembering her lists and the books and wanting to give her children something good right from the start. “Didn’t get easier for the second one… so fair warning.”
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