A thud on the roof woke Melissa from a light sleep. When she went to bed, she had looked forward to the predicted storm. The rumble of thunder and pounding rain always had a soothing effect on her. She got up to inspect the thud with some trepidation, however, aware that she was meant to be away on a business trip. Her groggy middle of the night mind feared something worse than a tree.
Of course, she knew that was ridiculous. Who would break into a house from the roof? She retrieved a flashlight from her nightstand drawer and grabbed the baseball bat in the laundry room for protection. Her ex-husband claimed that she lacked the ability to shoot someone because she was simply too nice, but that maybe she could scare off an intruder with the bat. She knew that pushing the panic button on her alarm console might be the best solution, provided she wasn’t in the middle of a life or death confrontation. Hands shaking, she crept to her front door.
As she tiptoed, the shrill ring of her cell phone made her jump out of her skin.
“Melissa? It’s me. When you get home from whatever stupid trip you’re on, I’ll be dead.”
“What?! Dan? I AM home. Where are you?!”
“What?! I’m on your roof. Did you see that dumbass Frank walking his dog just now? I think he called 911. Hang on. I’m coming down.”
This was all too much. Too much rain. Too much thunder. Too much drama. Too much Dan. Melissa sat on the floor, dizzy and shaking with anxiety. She heard more thumps, thuds and cursing before she heard pounding on her patio door. Instead of standing, she crawled toward that door and pulled herself up by the handle to let him in. As she opened the door, the momentum from his knocking propelled him into the kitchen and he fell in a sodden heap.
“Ohmigod! Dan? Dan! DAN!” Melissa screamed and got down next to him, afraid that he was unconscious or worse.
Rolling onto his back, Dan peeled open his eyes and slurred, “Melissa. I’m okay. Not okay. Why are you here? Just let me die. Don’t let them take me away.” He began to cry.
“I am not letting you die,” she said, sitting back on her heels and hearing for the first time a siren in the distance. “But I am getting you a towel and putting on a pot of coffee. And I might just let them take you away.”
The deafening siren stopped in front of Melissa’s house, confirming that their neighbor Frank had called 911. Melissa left Dan whimpering on the floor and got up to answer another pounding on a door. Her head pounded in time with the beating. Couldn’t they just have rung the doorbell?
“Ma’am, we got a call that there is a person, probably intoxicated, on your roof. Have you heard anything?”
She started to speak, but couldn’t find the shape of yes in her mouth. Dan needed help, probably a lot of help, but she could not bear to see him taken off by the police. She rubbed her temples and heard herself lying. “No, just the storm blowing things around. I’m fine.”
“Well, I hope you don’t mind if I take a look around your property a bit to make sure no one is here, then I’ll be on my way.”
She closed the door and leaned back against it, closing her eyes and sliding to the floor. She was about to drift off to sleep when she smelled coffee.
Two steaming cups sat in the center of the table. Dan had fallen asleep with his head on the table and a hand around one of the cups. Melissa kissed his still wet hair and lay down on a nearby sofa, praying this would all make sense in the daylight.
P. S. I welcome constructive criticism. Tell me what you liked and what you didn’t!