PLAYING HOUSE – Chapter Three


I’ve never regretted a decision as much as I regret this. I’ve been with Erica for nearly a year, and within just four weeks of living with her, I’ve realised that she’s potentially the worst person in New York.

I took the leap to move out and buy a new apartment for us in East Village, and now I’m spending most of my nights on an uncomfortable couch.

Slamming cabinet doors in the kitchen, mumbling away to herself. I know what’s coming – a new day, a new argument. “Why can’t you just charge her the full rent?” She erupts. 

I roll my eyes as I collapse onto the couch, my pillow and blanket still here – becoming a permanent feature in my own living room. “Why would I charge her full price when it’s already paid for?”

“You could be making a profit,” she groans as she comes around the sofa and stands before me with her hands on her hips.

“Why would I want to? The flat is paid for – what she pays covers the utilities and building fees. I don’t need to make a profit,” I say, running a hand through my dark hair. 

Erica storms off, and I hear the bedroom door slam. Tantrumming again. I pull my phone out and unblock Alice from my contacts.

Caden: Don’t worry about the rent – I’m not putting it up.

Alice: So you’re talking to me now?

That stings. I get off the couch and head into my office, shutting the door quietly behind me and dial.


Not even a Hello. “Alice, I’m sorry…”

“Sorry that you haven’t spoken to me in the past month, or sorry that your girlfriend just tried to up my rent by 221%?” She says – her voice is harsh, harsher than I’ve ever heard it, reminding me that we’ve never actually had a fight.

“She blocked you on my phone after our last conversation…” I mutter. “And I wouldn’t let her do that to you, I hope you know that.”

“Yeah, right…” Alice mutters.

I sigh as I look out onto the New York skyline. This apartment was supposed to be an upgrade, but I’ve never been so unhappy. “I miss you.”

“Don’t,” she blurts.


She sighs, and I hear the TV go silent. “You’re not allowed to miss me. I’ve not gone anywhere, you have.”

Alice is right. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t’ve left.”

After a long silence, she asks, “do you regret moving in with her? Or moving out of our apartment?” 

I frown, my brows pulling together. Living with Alice, with Erica around constantly, wasn’t working. All Erica did was complain about Alice, and Alice just took it. She never once allowed an argument to happen… I thought moving out would let Erica return to how she used to be – calm and kind. But, in reality, Erica is the argumentative woman who’s been around for the past few months. The caring version was her during the honeymoon period of our relationship.

“Well?” She asks.

“I regret moving in with her,” I mutter. “But I’m not talking about this month, I’m talking about the last three… I shouldn’t’ve let her stay over so often.”

She exhales. “You wish you’d banged her and kicked her out like you did with the others?”

The others. In the five years I’ve known Alice, she’s never been one to comment on my dating history – or lack thereof. Hookups were regular until I started seeing Erica. The difference with Erica was that I didn’t bring her home for the first couple of months, and I couldn’t stay over because of her job. I was the hookup… “I’m sorry.”

“Can you stop apologising and do something about it, instead?” She groans before the line goes dead. 

She hung up on me. I redial and get her voicemail. “Hey, this is Alice Collins. Please leave your name and message after the tone.” Her cheery voice makes my chest ache.

Beep. “Alice, I don’t know what you want me to do, I don’t know how to fix this. Please, I need your help…” I end the call and sit down at my desk. What the hell am I supposed to do? 

Want to read the rest now? Playing House is now available, in full, on my store!

PLAYING HOUSE is now available, in full, as an eBook for just 99p!
Available to read online for free and downloadable for 99p.
Available from Theodora’s Emporium and Amazon.

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