Peter stood outside the dingy, two-story colonial that was covered in mildewed siding and topped by a rotting roof and wondered what the hell he’d agreed to. The house had been Abby’s idea from the beginning; an hour’s drive from the city, nestled on ten wooded acres, it was a handyman’s special. “Remember, I grew up in the country,” she had said when they sat in their downtown loft and discussed the idea.

a late aubade

Ryan’s day began like most days: early. He woke at four AM, which gave him a half an hour to talk to his subordinates in Texas before his daily conference call with the company’s officers. As a Junior VP of Sales for one of the largest oil companies in the world, his mornings were filled with conference calls. He slipped his earpiece on, rolled out of bed, and padded to the bathroom.