Different Sides of The Family Room (Niki talks to Simon)

Chapter 19

I fumed in the car while Simon loaded Maddie into his. He knows me well enough to realize how furious I am, but neither of us wants to have an argument in front of our daughter, or in the driveway where the neighbors will hear. So I smiled with gritted teeth while waving to Maddie as they drove off to school. In the kitchen, I ignored the dirty dishes in the sink and the piled up garbage in the wastebasket. Throwing my tote bag on the table, I grabbed my cell phone from it, texted SOS! and waited for Raquel to call.


“Oh no, he did not!” was the first thing out of Raquel’s mouth after telling her about the near collision with the trailer, truck, and jet skis.

“Oh yes he did,” I chimed.

“And Simon cancelled the Coronado trip? We made all kinds of plans anticipating having Maddie for the weekend. Our kids will be so disappointed that she’s not coming.  Niki, what are you going to do?”

“He must have put us nearly $40,000 in debt. I still can’t believe he’d spend that kind of money without talking to me first.  He can’t keep them. I think we have twenty-four hours to change our minds about the purchase contract.”


What, Raquel?”

“Niki, I’m sorry, but there’s no grace period on new automobile contracts once you drive off the lot. I don’t know about the jet skis, but I’m pretty sure the truck is yours.”

I could feel panic coming on.

“Don’t panic Niki. I’ll talk to Grant. He’s a sharp lawyer. Maybe he knows a way out of this.”


At dinner, the only words Simon and I speak are in response to Maddie’s chattering. The tension frizzles through the air, dispersing the aroma of meatloaf and potatoes. After clearing the table, I put a brownie and a small scoop of ice cream in a bowl, handing it to Maddie to take to her room along with a DVD movie. I explained to her that Daddy and I have some grown up business to talk about.


Simon and I face each other from different sides of the family room. He starts.

“So, I get it. The jet skis were a bad idea. I’ll drive the rig back tomorrow and return it.”

“It’s a bigger problem than that, Simon. There’s no return policy for trucks or the jet skis. They belong to us. And so does the debt.”

“Niki, the dealer said …”

“Simon, I talked with Grant this afternoon. Once they left the lot, they became ours. That’s the law.”

Simon contemplated this news silently. “Well, I’ll drive them back tomorrow, and see what the dealer says.”

“Grant suggests asking the dealer to consider keeping them on the lot, and reselling them for us. We’d take a loss, but not the entire amount,” I instructed.

“You’re sure you don’t want to see if we like them first, Niki?”

“No, Simon. I don’t,” my voice was icy. I couldn’t bring myself to say the rest of the words.

Just then, Maddie came into the room. “Are you guys fighting?”

“No, honey, Mom and Dad are having a discussion. Go back to your room.”

“Can we keep the jet skis?”

“No honey, they’re going back.” You need to go back to your room and get ready for bed.”

“I hate it when you fight,” she grumbled, and rolled her eyes at me before trudging to her room.

Why am I the bad guy?

Return Policy (Niki comes home to a surprise)

Chapter 18

After recognizing that the baby’s ET tube was blocked, and having the nurse gonads to pull the tube, I drove home from the hospital feeling victorious. Dr. Polk’s words, “Good job,” played over and over in my head, but they weren’t loud enough to calm my stomach when I thought about Corey, and the silent treatment he gave me earlier in the same shift. I hoped he would eventually understand, and forgive me.

Pulling into the driveway, I slammed on the brakes to avoid hitting the back end of a trailer hitched to a large truck in the place where I usually park. On the trailer perched a pair of brand-new jet skis.

With the car engine still running I wondered, “What the hell? Where did that come from?”

The front door opened, and Simon strode to my car wearing a gigantic grin. “What do ya think, Nik?” Surprised?”

“I think shocked is a better word.  Simon, what are they?”

“They’re jet skis.”

“I know they’re jet skis, I meant, what are they doing in our driveway?”

“I wanted to surprise you. Happy anniversary, Niki!”

I needed a moment to take it in.

“This is an anniversary present? For me? Simon, I don’t understand.”

“I know you don’t, Niki, that’s part of the surprise. The dealer offered a package deal, and I got a rad price on all of it. It includes everything we need to go down to the marina, launch, and spend a day on the ocean, shredding waves. It’ll be a blast! And with the truck, we can haul them everywhere; try different places. We’ll spend your weekends off having fun together.”

“Simon, we’ve never rode jet skis.  We’ve never even talked about them. This must cost tens of thousands of dollars. We just paid off our debts. We should start saving a down payment on a house, and for Maddie’s college fund. I thought we agreed going to Coronado for a weekend was our anniversary gift. We can’t afford this.”

“I know, I know, that’s why I cancelled the reservations for Coronado. The money we save will off set some of the cost.”

“What do you mean, you cancelled the reservations for Coronado? I’ve been looking forward to it for months. Why didn’t you talk to me first? You can’t just spend this kind of money without consulting me!  What are you thinking?”

“I think jet skiing together will be a lot of fun. It’s something we can do together. It will be good for us Niki.”

I opened my mouth to say something, but just then Maddie ran out of the house, yelling, “Surprise! Happy anniversary, Mom! Dad says if I wear a life vest, I can ride on his with him. This is so cool!”

I sat speechless, wondering where I would find street parking for my car, and what is the return policy on jet skis.

And husbands.