© by Betty Harmon
“No, no, no! Not Country Music! Anything but that!” Meghan cringed as she was serenaded awake with the sounds of the local country station on a radio that sounded as though it was right next to her head. She tried to drown out the sound by holding her pillow tightly over her head. That didn’t work so she added the covers. That didn’t work either. Finally Meghan gave up, removed the covers and pillow from her head and rolled over on her back, glaring at the ceiling while she pushed tangled brown hair away from her face. Early morning sunlight reflected through a prism hanging in the window and bathed the ceiling with dancing lights.
“Why country music?” Meghan asked the ceiling in a grumpy voice. “Why can’t she play Santana or Van Morrison? Couldn’t she at least wake me with ‘Sweet Leaf’ by Black Sabbath? Anything but Randy Travis!”
Realizing that the ceiling was not going to answer her, Meghan sat up with a ‘hurrumph’ and glared at her disheveled appearance in the dresser mirror. She promised her reflection that one of the first things she would bring from her apartment was her own stereo set with earphones. She groaned again when Randy Travis was replaced with The Dixie Chicks and headed for the adjoining bathroom, deciding to drown out the offending music with the shower.
About twenty minutes later Meghan emerged from the steamy bathroom still toweling her damp hair and dressed in clean jeans and a sweater she had left at her parents’ house for emergencies. To Meghan’s relief, the country music had been replaced by the local news and weather. The smell of coffee, bacon, and eggs enticed her to the kitchen. There she found Fiona busy at the stove. Freckles had planted himself at Fiona’s feet. When Meghan entered the kitchen he looked her way, thumped his tail in greeting and then went back to watching Fiona’s every move. He cocked his head to one side, perked his ears up as much as a beagle can perk his ears and gave a little whine.
“Stop begging, Freckles,” Fiona answered the hopeful dog’s whine. “I’ve already given you some bacon and your dog food is in your dish. You are not going to starve to death.” Hearing a chuckle behind her, Fiona turned and grinned at Meghan. “Good morning,” she greeted Meghan. “I heard you in the shower so I started some breakfast for you. I hope you like bacon and eggs. The coffeepot is on the counter there. I got a mug out for you, and there’s cream and sugar if you like it.”
Meghan headed for the lifesaving appliance. She poured coffee into the waiting mug and took a sip, closing her eyes to savor every drop of the precious liquid.
“I see you take your coffee black,” Fiona said. “I hope it’s strong enough.”
“It’s wonderful. Thanks,” Meghan replied continuing to drink slowly. “Good morning.”
“Good morning.” Fiona said again and grinned. “I see you are not a morning person. Go sit down. Breakfast is almost ready, no thanks to Freckles who wanted to eat your share.” Giving Freckles a mock glare she gathered up a small platter filled with bacon, scrambled eggs, and toast and carried it to the table with Freckles following as though attached to her ankles.
Meghan could see two places already set in the cozy breakfast nook. Feeling slightly guilty about the work Fiona had done on breakfast, as well as her thoughts on Fiona’s choice of music, Meghan took the platter from Fiona and set it on the table. Fiona grabbed a carton of orange juice from the fridge and then both women sat down at the table.
“Thanks for making me breakfast,” Meghan said as she began to fill her plate with the fragrant food. She was not generally a ‘breakfast person,’ but the smell of this food was making her stomach growl. “Since you were kind enough to cook, I’ll clean up the kitchen before I leave for work.” Meghan couldn’t believe she was saying those words. She hated washing dishes and generally avoided it until her small apartment kitchen looked like a disaster area.
“Hey, thanks.” Fiona replied. “I love to cook, but I really hate doing dishes. I’ve managed to keep up with the cleaning since I have been cooking for just me…and of course Freckles here,” Freckles cocked his head even more at the sound of his name, “But I really hate dishwashing.”
Meghan inwardly groaned. Two people living in the same house who hated washing dishes. This didn’t sound good. Taking a bite of the delicious food in front of her made Meghan think again. Perhaps dishwashing was worth the cost of food like this. She might even manage to endure country music. Just then the local DJ decided it was time for a Garth Brooks number. Well, maybe with the help of earplugs.