The Heart of the Lienholder –
“Well, Ms. Krauss, you are three months behind on your mortgage, out of a job, and it looks like you can never catch up. Have you thought about selling before we foreclose? It would save your credit rating. I would hate to see it get ruined.”
Hayley, formerly Harrison, Krauss was twenty-nine and unemployed. That was sure. Many felt she brought it on herself. Well, himself, since she used to be a he. Controversy brought on by ‘her’ own, now dainty, hand. She needed new clothes, pills, and to pay for the ‘operation.’ The ‘B’ word brought it on ‘itself’ was how they felt about her actions. “Krauss and effect” became the sarcastic epithet most used about the poor fallen creature.
She nodded and wiped away tears.
“Can your family help?” Calvin asked, looking at her from across his desk.
“Are you kidding? They disowned me and threw me out. They want me crawling back to them saying they were right all along and see what a mess I have made of my life. Except now that I have fully transitioned, they will say I dug my own ‘hole,’ so live with it.” She looked to the window with disgust.
Calvin grimaced too. He knew she was right and that the ill fortune that befallen her was likely driven by the rage of those who despised her transformation. He had known Harrison in high school. They moved in different circles. Calvin liked chess and was known for his inventive challenges. Harrison was on the tennis team and was known for a tricky backhanded passing shot. The two got along.
“I’ll put it on the market. I will lose whatever equity I had in it, but you are right. Sell it and move on.”
“Hayley, can I say one thing?” She looked back to him wondering if she dared let him.
“I hope you realize that if it were in my power, I would give you the time. You really are a good risk. And I truly think of you as a woman of integrity. I believe you will make it.”
“Thanks Cal. I like that you haven’t been mean to me like the others. You never avoid eye contact or avoid saying hello to me. I really appreciate that.”
They shook hands and she stumbled out of the bank headed to the real estate office. She signed the listing and the house was put up for a short sale. It all went by so fast. Within a week, the house was in escrow with a company buying the home to rent it out. She began packing and arranging to have her stuff put in storage nearby.
The truly good thing about the sale was that it gave her time to look for a job. She found one at the local convenience market. She worked the late night shift. The money wasn’t great, but it paid the bills. It gave her enough for basic pills for her HRT too. And when medical kicked in, she would be covered with better choices.
About a week and a half before her house was to close, the company offered her a chance to rent her own place. And the amount wasn’t bad either. Below market. Lower than her mortgage, but not much higher than the one bedroom she was looking to rent nearby. She cheerfully accepted and made her first deposit.
Late Thursday night, as she started her shift, Calvin came in to buy some window washing fluid for his truck. “Oh, hi Hayley, I see you have a job. I am glad to see that things are getting better.”
“Thanks Calvin. It is very kind of you. How have you been doing?”
“Not bad. Mom’s been bugging me about finding someone as usual.”
“You never got married?”
“Nope. Had to pay off all those student loans first. And, I am not that much of a party animal. I don’t like clubbing.”
“That is too bad. I would think some gal would have caught you by now.”
“I guess I just haven’t met a real gal yet.” Calvin blushed. “So, how is the job working out?”
“I guess it is okay. I have an income. And, I have a place to live now. And it means I can walk to and from work.”
“Oh, where did you move to?”
“Right where I am. The new owners are renting it to me. They wanted time so they offered it to me for a year. At the end, they will raise the price. But, having a tenant who has already taken good care of it was appealing to them, so lucked out.”
“Excellent. So, you got the late night shift. Guess you aren’t dating either?”
“No. Like that is ever going to happen.”
“Well, how about breakfast then?”
“You asking me out on a date?”
“Sure, why not. What time do you get off?”
“I have to be at the bank at ten, so we could do a quick breakfast in the morning. And I can teach you chess.”
“I love it. See you in the morning.”
Calvin picked her up at seven on the dot. It became a regular date for the two of them. Hayley picked up on chess quickly and even started to beat Calvin. Calvin laughed. “Maybe you should teach me tennis so I can get revenge.”
“Oh, I don’t know. I think I would beat your butt in that too.” Hayley giggled.
Calvin looked her in the eyes, and a smile came over his face. “Hayley, I love you!”
Hayley was startled and didn’t know what to say. Calvin just leaned across the table and kissed her, and kissed her again, and the next time she kissed him.
They held hands as he walked her to her door. “I didn’t think anybody would ever love me.”
Calvin looked at her with a genuine concern in his face. “Hayley, does that include you?”
She looked down and frowned. “Hayley, you have to love yourself too, you know.”
She looked back up at him. “I am not running away, am I?” he said.
“I’m damaged. I can never have kids. I am a fake.” she lamented.
“No, you are not. We can adopt. And I am damaged too. Together we make a complete person.”
“Damaged, what do you mean?”
“I had the mumps when I went overseas in my sophomore year in college. My parents forgot to get me properly vaccinated. So, I am sterile. I can never father children.”
Hayley smiled, even though it was bad news, and said, “So, we really were made for each other?”
Calvin embraced her and said with tenderness in his voice, “We really were.”
At their wedding in April, Calvin gave her an early wedding gift. “Calvin, this is the deed to my house! I don’t understand!”
“Hayley, when you put it up on the market, I created a holding company to buy it. I have saved all the money you paid in rent. We will need it for the adoption fees.” Hayley broke down and cried. So did Calvin.
After their honeymoon, Mr. and Mrs. Calvin Hodds settled down, adopted four children, and lived happily ever after.
Sometimes true love is found in the heart of the lienholder too.
Copyright © 2017 by AuP reviner
[Author’s Note: Haylee V, got you first! ;) Thanks for NiCe story! Hugs – AuP ]
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