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An unpublished work by Morven. As a work in progress, the title and much else is subject to change.

It's the present day and the present time (late 2010/early 2011, to be specific). Victoria Williams' wife and domme Sandra passed away from metastasized breast cancer just over a year ago. She was 44; Victoria is now 28. They married during the brief period of sunlight in which same-sex marriage was legal in California; Sandra was already badly ill at that time. She left everything she had to Victoria, which included a small house in Huntington Beach, California; an old-fashioned beach house, no larger than many apartments, with a small garage off the alley at the back, a tiny bit of garden, and ... the world's longest list of deferred maintenance. Sandra's life insurance covered the remaining mortgage and other owed money, but there's nothing else left to fix things.

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They never lived there as a couple; Sandra lived in an apartment in West Hollywood and rented the house out. Probate court has finally settled everything, and Victoria has the keys, finally. There's no way she could sell, in the current market, and she couldn't bear to part with something of Sandra's, anyway, so she resolves to move in and fix the place up.

She's in there about a week before the water heater dies, and she realizes that her own income is not going to be enough to fix things up. it's also lonely and too quiet, there — too easy to brood and allow depression to take hold.

A solution offers itself, of course; the house has two bedrooms and she only needs one. So, off to find someone to rent that room she goes.

Prospective tenant after prospective tenant are hilariously bad, and Victoria's about to give up when she gets a call from Annabel Santos. She's also a widow, which is one good point; they'll at least understand the loss. Unfortunately, she's just the kind of woman Victoria loathes; spoiled, blonde, who's had an easy life all her life; rich parents, and then married to a guy with money and ambition to keep her in the lifestyle she's accustomed to.

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And who, it seems, let that ambition go too far. His company crashed and burned with the recession, and the Feds were soon swooping in, making charges of fraud and worse. Everything the couple had was seized, as the fruits of ill-gotten gains, and is likely to be sold off to recompense the victims as much as it can. Annabel's husband found an out, in the form of a loaded pistol.

Both of them are desperate, so Annabel and Victoria come to an arrangement to rent the room. Both have few illusions about liking the other, but they figure that they can have enough manners not to clash too much.

... and if you can't spot the signs of a romance already, you're utterly tone-deaf to them.

Not that it's going to be easy or simple, of course.

Tropes used in this include::

  • Betty and Veronica: to Greg, that's Annabel and Victoria respectively. Very differing women, but each as appealing as the other. Annabel is the Betty, the one who's led a more conventional life, enjoyed more socially acceptable things; meanwhile, Victoria's the Veronica, the riskier option, the girl you don't bring home to Mom. Not, perhaps, in the most conventional way that works out, but still the case.
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  • Casual Kink: Victoria.
  • Polyamory: For everyone involved; it's the only logical solution when you have a Love Triangle with three people all of whom love the other two, after all.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Victoria is a slightly unconventional Red, full of fire, passion and impatience; Annabel, of course, is the blue, the colder-seeming, more calculated one.
  • Romancing the Widow: Since both Victoria and Annabel are widows, this obviously happens; both between the two of them and with Greg, Annabel's old high school friend.
  • Safe, Sane, and Consensual: Victoria has submissive needs but keeps this firmly in mind.
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