By Joseph Logsdon
Lizbeth Rosemary was a very prideful woman. Despite her helplessness, Lizbeth refused to accept help, even when she desperately needed it. To many people, Lizbeth would seem like a fool, but popularity was the last thing that Lizbeth wanted. After many years of struggling financially, Lizbeth found a cheap and modest apartment. For the first time in many years, Lizbeth had found a home.
One dark afternoon, Lizbeth was visited by her sister. Amy Rosemary was known to be a loose woman, so loose that women were afraid to let their husbands near her. Lizbeth wanted to denounce her sister, but she could never bring herself to betray a member of her own family. Like a snake, Amy slithered across the room and placed her soft skin on the delicate sofa.
"Hi, Liz, how are you doing?" Amy asked.
"Oh, I'm doing just fine. It's been a long time, hasn't it?"
"Yeah, a very long time, so long that I almost forgot to send you a birthday card," Amy laughed.
"So, what have you been doing?" Lizbeth asked.
"Nothing, really, just taking it one day at a time. I was going to marry Chad, but, at the last minute, he canceled the wedding."
"That's awful, why did he do that?"
"I don't know, I guess he found out about my reputation. I told him that I had changed, but he wouldn't listen to me. Liz, help me, before it's too late. I don't know what to do, I really don't. They say that I need experience to work, but if I can't get a job, how am I supposed to get experience? This country, despite what they tell you, is fucking stupid!"
"You're right, the country is a mess, but we can't do anything about it. I know you think that I can help you, and believe me, I want to, but that just isn't in the cards. I'm your sister, not a guardian angel."
"Don't you get it? I have nothing to offer, not even my body. Sure, men used to be all over me, but that time has passed. Listen, I'm not asking for any money, I just want to crash here for a few days. Can I do that?"
"If you promise to stay sober and clean, you can stay."
"I promise," Amy stated.
For the next few days, Amy stayed with her sister. Things were getting better for the two women, but that changed as the week came to an end. One morning, the landlord suddenly entered the apartment. He was a small, unattractive man. Lizbeth knew that he had a chip on his shoulder, and that chip made him harsh and unforgiving.
"Ms. Rosemary, in case you haven't noticed, the rent was due a week ago. Why haven't you paid it?"
"Mr. Hall, I've been supporting my sister. You see, she just recently lost her job and she needed a place to stay. Every month, I barely make enough to eat and pay the rent. Amy has doubled my expenses, and I'm not ashamed to say that. Please, Mr. Hall, could you lower the rent, at least for the time being?"
"I will never lower the rent, not even if you had two lazy sisters to support! Now, either you kick your sister out, or I'll kick you out! I'm tired of sluts like you, who take advantage of good, decent people. If I were doing my duty, I would've kicked you out years ago!"
"Mr. Hall, in the name of God, will you please lower the rent," Lizbeth pleaded.
"I don't believe in God, never did. The way I see it, if there were a God, he surely didn't know what the fuck he was doing. If God exists, that means I have no freedom. Every moment, I must keep myself pure, otherwise, I'm going to burn for all eternity. Do you know how silly that sounds?"
"How do you know that God doesn't exist?"
"Technically, I don't, I just know that I would rather rely on facts, instead of speculation," Hall huffed.
"Well, to me, it looks like you have no imagination," Amy replied.
"Sister, imagination is for suckers. At the end of the day, I'm only interested in making money."
"We could give you something better than money," Lizbeth stated as she reluctantly touched Hall's chest.
"Honey, when you find something that is better than money, call me," he laughed.
"Come on, you look like you could use a good fuck," Lizbeth replied as she fought to keep her apartment.
"I need your money more," Mr. Hall stated.
"Liz, it's obvious that he isn't interested," Amy whispered.
"I know that," Lizbeth replied.
"If you aren't out of here by the end of the week, I'm calling the police," Mr. Hall threatened as he left the apartment.
"I can't believe that I offered to sleep with him. It seems, at least to me, that when times get tough, you will do some despicable things," Lizbeth sighed.
"What are we going to do?" Amy asked.
"I don't know, I just don't know," Lizbeth answered.
Several days later, Hall visited Lizbeth as she was getting ready for bed.
"Is your sister around?" Hall asked.
"Why? Did you want to talk to her?"
"Actually, I wanted to talk to you," he answered.
"Mr. Hall, I'm very tired. Can this wait until morning?"
"I wish it could," he replied.
"What is it?"
"Well, I've been thinking about what you said."
"What do you mean?"
"I'll lower the rent," Hall answered.
"Because, even though I didn't seem interested, I wanted you badly, Lizbeth. I thought my love for money could never be tamed, but you managed to conquer it. Now, I'm down on my knees, begging for your love," Hall stated as he pulled out a diamond ring.
"Mr. Hall," Lizbeth sighed as she stared at the ring.
"Call me Fredrick."
"It's beautiful, Fredrick," she whimpered as she took the ring from his hand.
"I'm old, Lizbeth, so old that I worry about dying alone. If you accept me, I will make you happy, at least, I will try," he sighed.
"What about my sister?" Lizbeth asked.
"Your sister, unfortunately, can't stay in my apartment," he answered.
"She's a whore, that's why. I'm sorry, but I can't allow a tramp like her to destroy the reputation of my business. This offer is for you, not for her," he stated.
"Fuck you!" Lizbeth shouted as she walked away.
Several days later, Lizbeth returned home after a long day of work. To her amazement, Amy and Fredrick Hall were kissing as light entered the room. At first, Lizbeth didn't want to believe it, but, ultimately, she had to accept the fact that she had been betrayed.
"What's going on?" Lizbeth asked.
"I'm glad you could make it," Fredrick Hall laughed as he lit a cigarette.
"Amy, what are you doing?"
"I'm protecting myself, nothing more," Amy answered as she licked Fredrick's neck.
"You see, Lizbeth, you failed to pass the test," he laughed.
"Test? What test?"
"Instead of proposing to just one of you, I proposed to both of you. If one of you turned me down, I could always ask the other sister," he laughed.
"You said that you hated Amy," Lizbeth cried.
"I had to test your loyalty, so I decided to give you a choice. Either you choose me, or you choose your flesh and blood. In your case, you chose your sister. In your sister's case, she chose me. She passed the test, and you, sadly, did not."
"Amy, is that true?" Lizbeth asked.
"Yes, Liz, it's true," she answered.
"Why did you do it?"
"Like you said, when times get tough, you do despicable things," she answered.
"Now, get out of my apartment," Fredrick commanded.