Marriage Of Convenience

By: Cher Etan

Sheila had class, Peter had school; their mother was a nurse at the local hospital but she was probably working or sleeping…there just wasn’t anyone who was free to watch her mother all day. And what with the looming hospital bills, Leila didn’t think she’d be able to employ a full time nurse.

Leila took a deep breath. She had to be Scarlett on this one and think about it tomorrow. Right now she was injured, she had to get back to work and she couldn’t leave her mother alone. She limped to the door and opened it. As soon as she did, Mathews was there, hand on her arm.

“Where are we going?” he asked.

Leila sighed and pointed at the door across from them, “There.”

Mathews released her arm and patted it, indicating she should stay where she was. He walked to the opposite door and knocked. Carlyle opened the door with a smile on his face. Obviously he was expecting someone else; his face fell significantly when he saw the six foot one Nordic male standing politely in front of him.

“Er…” he said.

“Hey Carlyle,” Leila called from her doorway.

Carlyle’s smile returned at full wattage, “Hey Leila! How are you?”

“I’m good, how are you?”

“Great. What’s up?”

“I have a favor to ask,” Leila said.

“Hit me,” Carlyle replied sliding past Mathews and closing his door and then coming toward her.

“Could you possibly stay with my mother this afternoon? She’s not feeling too well and I have to go back to work.”

“Sure thing doll, not a problem.”

Leila sighed with relief. “I owe you one Carlyle”, she said gratefully.

“Ah, fuggedaboutit,” he said strolling into the apartment and immediately running into Jonathon. “Hey dude,” he said and his eyes slid to Leila for an explanation.

“This is Jonathon, and Mathews, they kind of hit me with their car,” she said wryly.

Carlyle’s face instantly frowned with concern, “What? When?”

“Just now actually,” Leila said sheepishly.

“Get out. Are you okay?” Carlyle asked coming forward to touch her arm.

“I’m fine. A little banged up. Nothing some whiskey won’t cure,” she said.

“I’ll have it waiting for you when you get home,” he promised with a light pat on her shoulder.


Mathews and Jonathon insisted on driving her back to work after she’d cleaned up, wrapped her ankle in a bandage and changed her clothes. They insisted on taking her bike with them to be repaired, promising to have it back to her by the end of the next day.

“That guy Carlyle…is he your boyfriend?” Jonathon inquired.

Leila just fixed him with a look but did not deign to reply. As they stopped in front of the office building housing her office, Leila tensed, wondering if they would insist on escorting her to her desk. But Mathews just let her out of the car and saluted her as she limped into the foyer. She waved at them, heaving a sigh of relief when they drove away. Talk about persistent…

“Leila! Your 2pm has been waiting for half an hour,” her assistant said standing up to meet her.

“Oh, where is she?” Leila asked.

“Conference room,” Martha said.

“Okay then. Back to work,” Leila said collecting her file and limping away.


Leila decided to get herself checked at the local clinic before going home. Her leg was sprained and she was advised to stick to sensible shoes for the next few weeks. Her arm did not need stitches just some gentian violet. They gave her some antibiotics just in case and turned her loose.

Carlyle was waiting with the whiskey as promised and her mother was feeling well enough to sit up in the living room and watch TV without losing her breath. The oxygen tank was next to her just in case but according to Carlyle they’d had a great afternoon. The lingering smell of pot permeated the apartment and Leila studied her mother and Carlyle suspiciously. Had they been smoking the stuff? And how would that affect her mother’s chest. Still, her mother was smiling for the first time since she collapsed so she wasn’t sweating it too hard.

She downed the first glass of whiskey and then lay back and put her feet up. Carlyle had been kind enough to whip up a casserole, so dinner was taken care of. They sat around shooting the breeze, eating and drinking. Carlyle told them about life on the road and how much sex he allegedly had with fangirls looking for access to the band. Raychelle called bullshit but Leila was willing to take him at his word. After all what did it hurt if he was exaggerating a little. No females were hurt in the making of his yarns so…


“Mom, I think I’ve found her,” Jonathon said when he spoke to his mother on the phone later that night.

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