The Best House in Elmwood Estates
By: Dawn Debraal

Delores enjoyed the warm sun sitting poolside. She watched the light dancing on the water through half closed lids — the quiet moment broken by the sound of heavy equipment. Her eyes flew open, she hurried indoors to get Stanley's binoculars.

Standing at the border fence, she peeked through the spyglasses seeing the backhoe wiping out Betty Lou's pool three doors down.

"That bitch!" she hissed. Betty Lou asked way too many questions when Delores was building her new pool. She should have suspected she was phishing, and now less than a month after Delores' pool was completed, Betty Lou was ripping hers out.

Delores burned, not only was Betty Lou getting a new pool that was bigger than hers, but she was also getting a backyard makeover.

Delores had to find out. She took Silkie, her Yorkshire terrier, for a walk, stopping outside Betty Lou's house. The same pool company that installed her pool was working for Betty Lou and her snaky husband, Charles.

Delores felt betrayed. The least Betty Lou could have done was to use a different contractor.

"Oh, hello, Mrs. Koch. Thank you for the recommendation!"

"What?" Delores said but recovering nicely. "What a nice surprise to see you, Mr. Vick, I am so glad I could assure Betty Lou of your quality work. I must get Silkie home. It was nice to see you again." Delores turned the little dog around, beelining back to her house.

"That pergola is a great idea," Stan said as he looked through the binoculars into the Baker's backyard.

"Shut up, Stan! Why didn't we get a pergola?"

"I guess we didn't think about it. Do you want one now? We can get Mr. Vick back."

"No, then Betty Lou will think I am copying her, when it's the other way around!" Delores huffed, walking back inside. Betty Lou's new pool was another opportunity to show her up.

It started when Delores and Stan moved to Elmwood Estates. They chose the Delroy, Model Three, Chicago brick with ivory trim. It was a three-bedroom, three bath home. They added the sunporch option and two mature trees to the property. It was beautiful.

The house next door went up, and the one after that. None of them looked as lovely and established as Stan and Delores Koch's home.

Then Betty Lou and Charles Baker bought the lot three doors down. When Delores saw the footings, she suspected the Baker's might have purchased the Delroy Model Three. She was disappointed that a house so close to their own would look so much the same. Sure enough, Chicago brick and ivory trim, with a sunporch! It was almost identical to Stan and Delores' house, except the footprint was reversed.

Delores was livid. Why would Baker's do that when there were fifteen models to choose from and several variations of those models? Just as she feared, two mature trees were planted. Oh wait, the third tree, a Japanese maple, came a week later. It had to be special ordered.

Both homes had 2.5 children, a dog, and a cat. It seemed whatever Delores had; Betty Lou was bound and determined to have also.

They met for community cards at the clubhouse, Delores happened to mention she and Stan were getting a new pool. Betty Lou was so full of questions. Delores felt she finally had one over on Betty Lou. But a month after the Koch's new pool was completed, Betty Lou was having hers redone and adding a pergola to boot.

Delores looked outside, the Baker's dog Buddy, was walking down the sidewalk. He must have gotten out of the fence with all the construction workers going in and out. She picked up the phone to call Betty Lou, but then stopped herself. She stepped outside; instead, she shouted at the dog, he ran across the street, narrowly being missed by a car coming through the neighborhood.

Delores regretted doing that to Buddy. He was a sweet dog, but she wanted Betty Lou to suffer a little, just like Betty Lou was making Delores suffer. A short time later, the doorbell rang. It was Betty Lou. Delores sighed as she pulled the door open.

"Betty Lou, hello!"

"It's Buddy. He got out of the fence. Have you seen him?"

"No, I'm so sorry, I haven't. You know I would have called you if I had. Stan will be home in a short time. We'll help you look." Betty Lou looked relieved and kept walking, calling Buddy's name. Stan came home, he and Delores joined the search. Delores took Stan in the direction she had shooed the dog. A few blocks over, they saw him.

"Buddy! Come here, boy!" Delores called. The dog lifted his head and seemed relieved to be found by his neighbors. He let Stan snap on a leash.

Delores called Betty Lou to tell her the good news. They would be bringing Buddy home in a few minutes. Betty Lou threw open the door when they arrived at her house.

"Buddy! Oh, Buddy." She hugged the dog who licked her face. "How can I thank you?" Delores smiled, but her smile turned into a frown as she saw that tart Betty Lou, hugging Stan a little longer than she needed too. Delores wondered how long they had been doing that? She pulled Stan's arm.

"Come on husband let's get going. The kids will be home soon." Stan let Betty Lou go reluctantly and followed Delores, who was doing a slow burn all the way home.

Delores was quiet as she made dinner. She kept picturing Betty Lou all over her Stan. And why not? It appeared that Betty Lou liked everything Delores had. The same house, she bought the same kitchen backsplash, the pool, now she was after Stan. Delores was sure of it.

Stan left for work; the kids left for school the next morning. Delores was still mad. To burn off the energy she started in on her housework, still wearing her black nightie. Vacuuming, she heard the doorbell ring. Who could be at their house this time of the day? She peeked through the peephole. Charles Baker!

Delores pushed up her hair, tweaked her cheeks, licked her lips, opening the door slightly.

"Charles? What can I do for you? Did Buddy get away again?" Charles produced a sugar bowl.

"Can we borrow a cup of sugar?" Delores noticed it was the same special china she had. Very expensive. Betty Lou, that bitch, even stole her china pattern! She quickly recovered, hiding the disgusted look on her face.

"But of course, do come in. Sorry, the house is such a mess I was doing some deep cleaning." Delores padded back to the kitchen with Charles behind her. He set the sugar bowl on the countertop.

"I love these counters. Betty Lou said, you had some really nice granite." Their eyes locked. Delores poured the sugar in the bowl, replacing the lid. She licked her finger and picked up the few specks of sugar that had fallen on the countertop, and sensually put her finger back into her mouth.

A slow smile crept over Charles's face he was breathing hard. Delores knew she had him or could have him right then and there if she wanted. The tension in the kitchen was thick. Delores leaned forward, spilling her cleavage out over the sugar on the granite countertops. She couldn't help but think about Betty Lou and Stan. Betty Lou got whatever she wanted. What better way to get back at Betty Lou than to steal her husband?

Charles reached across the countertop knocking the sugar bowl to the floor as he pulled Delores toward him. There was heat, and there was passion.

Gasping for breath, Delores smoothed her nightie back down. She opened the china cabinet taking out her sugar bowl to replace the one shattered on the kitchen floor.

"Excuse me." She left Charles in the kitchen. Rummaging around in the garage, she found it, the box of rat poison. Delores poured it into the sugar bowl. After her romp with Charles, she had an idea of what life was like for Betty Lou. Betty Lou was one lucky woman. Delores shined up the sugar bowl coming back into the kitchen she poured real sugar on top of the rat poison. She approached Charles, handing over the beautifully patterned bowl. The whole situation had now become awkward.

"Here's your sugar."

"I can't take that bowl, that is yours."

"She'll never know, it's identical." Delores walked Charles to the front door, letting him out.

"When can I see you again?" Charles looked like a sad puppy. Delores rolled her eyes.

"This was a mistake. It should never have happened." Charles hung his head and left. Delores watched out the curtained side window as Charles walked home, her face flushed when she thought about what they had done in the heat of a moment. She would not soon forget that memory.

A week later, ambulances parked out in front of Baker's house. Delores ran down the sidewalk.

"What happened, can I help? I'm their neighbor." Two gurneys came out the bodies covered.

"We have a situation here. Do you know the dog's name?"

"Yes, it's Buddy."

"Is there any chance you can take the dog home until this is straightened out?"

"Of course, I can do that." Delores grabbed Buddy staring at the gurneys. In her mind she thought that Betty Lou must have reached the rat poison this morning. It was a shame that Charles had passed too, she hadn't expected that. The Baker's had been neighbors long enough for Delores to know Charles did not take sugar in his coffee.

Later that afternoon Delores lay next to the pool wearing a two-piece suit on her shapely body. She wondered what happened at the Baker house. There was a knock at the door, Delores answered quickly thinking it was someone coming to pick up the dog.

The officer who stood on the porch cleared his throat. Delores pulled her swim cover-up tighter to her body.

"Can I help you?" she said to the officer displaying his badge.

"Mrs. Koch, I am detective Thompson. I was on the scene this morning. There has been a murder-suicide at the Baker home."

"Charles killed Betty Lou. I can't believe it! They were such a nice couple." Delores was genuinely shocked.

"No ma'am, it was the other way around. Seems Betty Lou put rat poison in her sugar bowl. Betty Lou's fingerprints were all over it. Unfortunately, your husband, Stan, didn't survive the poisoning," said the detective.

"Why was Stan at Betty Lou's house, he was supposed to be at work?" Delores asked the officer.

Then it all came to her. Charles didn't put sugar in his coffee, but Stan did.

"Oh, my God. Betty Lou poisoned Stan? Why would she do that?" Delores swooned, but the officer caught her before she hit the floor.


If Charles kept his mouth shut, they could come out of this in good shape. The first thing Delores did was to pack up all her china and dispose of it along with the box of rat poison. Luckily it was garbage pick-up day. Such a shame, throwing those dishes away, she adored that pattern. Getting back to the house, Delores made preparations for Stan's burial. She called the lawyer who would handle everything, they told her.

The local news carried the story for over a week. The housewife who poisoned her lover and then killed herself. Delores, Charles and both of their children were the victims of Betty Lou and Stan's torrid affair

Charles Baker knew the truth about the sugar bowl but never said a thing to the police. He was convincingly shocked when the police contacted him, having no idea what Delores had done. Charles would protect Delores at all costs, he'd had his eye on her.

Meanwhile, Delores had her eye on an upgrade. Five-bedroom, five-bath home, a massive pool with two pergolas. The place was a showpiece. Between the life insurance, the sale of her house, and Charles' house, they could afford the new home. After a respectable mourning period, Delores hoped Charles and she could get married. If they did get married, Delores would get her favorite china pattern back, and be able to live in the best house in Elmwood Estates.

The End


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