The solution to Leisl’s construction problem came wrapped in an opportunity.
When Cassidy came over to help Leisl install a tub in her new tiny house on wheels, Leisl expected nothing other than a functioning tub.
But Cassidy was huge, strong and adorable, all the things that Leisl most liked. The temptation to ask for more than construction help led Leisl to take a chance on the future.
By Meyari McFarland
Leisl frowned as she stared at the stack of wood, metal and assorted plumbing parts. Her brand new Japanese soaking tub was supposed to be the one indulgence of her house, deep enough for the water to come up to her chin, made of finely sanded wood that smelled like heaven. It was just lying there.
That Leisl had no idea how to put it together. She ran her fingers over the sturdy boards, satiny smooth and just waiting for her to make them into something wonderful. Leisl gnawed her lip until a bit of chapped skin came free. A second bite and blood bloomed in her mouth.
This was supposed to be easy. Everything she’d seen said that putting it together would be simple, a piece of cake. But the instructions meant absolutely nothing to her, not the pictures or the descriptions and come on! The wood wasn’t even cut to length.
Her tiny house echoed with the emptiness, even with the spray foam in and the tongue-and-groove up on the outer walls. Her kitchen and tiny living room were almost done, other than flooring, trim, getting the counter on and appliances in. The bathroom, though, that was a different problem. Leisl hadn’t even finished the stud walls there because she hadn’t gotten the tub in and now she couldn’t get the tub done.
Another thing that she’d thought she could handle but apparently couldn’t. Her tiny house on wheels had been the perfect solution to no money, school loans and no place to live. Get a trailer, build a tiny house, live in it instead of wasting what little money her day job brought in on rent.
Thankfully, Mom and Dad had helped her get one that was half done. She had a brand new trailer, just twenty feet long, eight feet wide. There was framing of an adorable little house, covered in cedar board and batten. The roof was metal and so solid that she’d never have to worry about leaks.
It was the inside that was the problem. Sure, Dad had helped her wire everything. He’d even gotten the plumbing roughed out. But putting in the rest was Leisl’s problem. Dad had work and Mom had never touched a power tool in her life. She could hear Mom banging around in the back yard, muttering as she pulled weeds and pruned the now-spent blueberry bushes so that they wouldn’t take over the world next year.
“I don’t think I can do this,” Leisl whispered.
She shook her head and pulled out her cell phone. Iris. Iris always had the best ideas. No matter what happened, Iris never slowed down, never stopped, rarely even stopped to look around to ask if whatever project she’d flung herself into was a good idea. Iris would know what to do or she’d know someone who could help Leisl figure it out.
“Hey baby!” Iris shouted. “What up?”
Booming music pushed the phone away from Leisl’s ear. She grinned and shook her head as she switched to speaker because no way was she trying to talk to Iris when she was blasting music in the background.
“Hey Iris,” Leisl said. “I need help. I got my tub but I can’t figure out how to put it together. You know anyone who could give me a hand?”
“Oh sure,” Iris said. The music suddenly cut out, leaving her voice to echo in Leisl’s bare little tiny house. “I’ll call Cassidy and have her come over. She’s awesome with all sorts of construction work. You’ll have to promise to feed her but I swear, she doesn’t eat like me. All the health food, all the time, that’s Cassidy. She runs marathons, can you believe it?”
“Wow,” Leisl said because agreeing with Iris was always the best way to get her to do something. “Do you think she can come over today?”
“Probably,” Iris said. “Hang on, I’ll ask.”
Leisl stared at her phone, blinking. Ask? Like Cassidy was right there or something? Iris usually didn’t let people stay with her. She was way too protective of her private space and her private time. But yeah, Leisl could hear Iris’ heels clicking on the floor there. A door opened, closed and then Iris bellowed ‘Cass!’ so loudly that Leisl nearly dropped her phone.
“What?” a voice shouted back.
“My friend Leisl needs help putting a Japanese soaking tub together,” Iris bellowed. “You wanna help out?”
“Fine,” Cassidy replied. “Where at?”
Leisl blinked and then giggled as Iris started rambling directions from her place to Leisl’s parents’ house. She started with the address and then started describing the fast food places along the way, the mall that was between there and here, and then huffed when Cassidy cut her off.
“You there?” Cassidy asked. Her voice was deep for a woman but confident, a little annoyed.
“Yeah, I’m here,” Leisl said, laughing. “It’s not hard to find. Go up Fourth past the mall and then turn on Archer. Look for the white house with a tiny house on wheels in the front yard, red roof. On the tiny, that is. My parents’ house has a green roof.”
“Okay, that should be easy to find,” Cassidy said. Her voice was higher this time, amused. “I’ll bring my tools. See you in a few minutes.”
She hung up rather than give the phone back to Iris so Leisl shrugged and pushed her phone back into her pocket again. A quick warning to Mom that they were about to have a guest and then Leisl set to work bringing in the flooring that she’d planned on for the main part of the tiny. She might not be able to fix the bathtub yet but she could definitely do the flooring.
It was really easy, just lay a line of glue and then snap the pieces of not-really-wood flooring into place. Dad had taught her how to do that already and Leisl liked to think that she could learn anything if given a chance. She’d helped Dad use this exact flooring to re-do Mom’s craft room floor and that’d been three times the size of the tiny.
There was a rhythm to it. Glue, snap, press, shift position. Leisl hummed as she worked, more than happy to be building her future even if it was a really, really small future. It was a start, at least.
Leisl jumped and nearly messed up placing the next piece of wood. She snapped it into place, pressed it down and then stepped to the door. Seriously, cleaning this place was going to be a snap. It was only two paces wide by about six paces long.
“Thanks for coming so quickly,” Leisl said as she opened the door.
“No problem,” Cassidy replied with a ready grin that made Leisl’s heart clench. “I was about done fixing Iris’ porch anyway. Good to have another project to work on, you know?”
Where Leisl was short, barely five foot tall, and so slender that people always asked her if she was eating enough, Cassidy was easily five ten with wide hips, barrel thighs and arms that looked like she lifted weights all the time. Their hair was another direct contrast, Leisl’s long and brown, Cassidy’s so short that it looked like fuzz on her head instead of actual hair. Her skin was dark, about the color of the tiny elm desk that Leisl had found for her house, but scattered with coppery freckles that dusted her cheeks, nose and then covered the curve of her bust where it peeked out of her tank top’s scoop neck.
“Hello?” Cassidy said, peering up at Leisl and grinning at the way Leisl blushed. “Okay, there you are. Disappeared on me for a second. Not used to striking people dumb.”
“I’m surprised you don’t get it all the time,” Leisl said and then groaned. “Oh God, forget I said that.”
Cassidy grinned wider as her cheeks went red enough to hide the freckles. “Nope, can’t do that. I can work on that tub for you. Iris said you’re actually planning on living in this thing?”
“Oh, yes, I am,” Leisl said. She stepped aside and let Cassidy in. “It’s a lot cheaper than paying for an apartment, you know?”
“I hear that,” Cassidy sighed. “Swear I’ll never get a place of my own the way things are going.”
She stared around the inside, taking in the stud wall that would divide Leisl’s bathroom from the kitchen, the many windows that made her tiny house seem larger, the loft over the kitchen and bathroom that would hold Leisl’s bed. After a moment she smiled and nodded as if she liked what she saw.
“Show me what you got?” Cassidy asked and hooked one thumb through the tool belt that Leisl was suddenly desperately jealous of. It easily held all her tools, hammer, screwdriver, all sorts of pouches.
“Right this way,” Leisl said. “It’s supposed to be simple to put together but I’m having a horrible time figuring out the instructions.”
Cassidy picked up the instructions, flipped through them, and then nodded so confidently that Leisl automatically relaxed. “Yeah, not a problem. This is super simple. You do much construction work before?”
Leisl sighed and then stared as Cassidy started sorting through the parts and assortment of wood as if she knew just from that flip through exactly what to do. “No, actually I’ve never done anything like this. I mean, I’ve helped Dad on a few things but that’s it. I want to, though. I mean, why not? At least this way I won’t have to depend on anyone else.”
She blushed as Cassidy stared at her admiringly. Leisl flapped a hand and then went back to putting down the flooring. Better not to get in Cassidy’s way and it was important to use the full tube of glue right way. It’d just go hard if she didn’t and that was a waste of money that Leisl really couldn’t afford.
It was strangely comfortable having Cassidy there, on the other side of her tiny, both of them working in silence. When she’d worked with Dad there’d always been the sense that the space was crowded with two people in it. Or maybe that was because Dad had had comments about everything Leisl did, even if she was doing it perfectly.
Cassidy didn’t do that. She barely even seemed aware of Leisl at all as she carefully measured, screwed slats onto support struts and then fitted the now-complete sides together to see if they’d work in the space over the drain.
“Will it fit?” Leisl asked.
“Pretty much perfect,” Cassidy said. “Gonna need your help to get everything fitted properly. Not a one person job.”
“Okay, give me a second to finish this last foot or two of flooring.”
It took about three minutes to get the last of the flooring in place. The surprising thing for Leisl was how finished it made the place look. A little bit of quarter round trim on the bottom of the walls and covers on the plugs and it’d be complete. Well, other than the kitchen which still had a ways to go and the bathroom, of course.
“You’re good at this,” Cassidy murmured as Leisl carefully edged into the bathroom, placing her feet so that she wouldn’t mess anything up.
“Being tiny?” Leisl said. She took one of the sides of the tub and helped position it above the base that Cassidy had already put in place over the drain.
“No, building things,” Cassidy said. She snorted when Leisl jerked in shock. “Seriously, the floor looks great. The walls look like a pro did them. Don’t care if you got help on the plumbing, it still looks great. I am envious of your hot water heater.”
“Well, endless hot water is a nice thing,” Leisl agreed as solemnly as she could when her cheeks were burning. The desire to giggle like she was twelve and had her first crush was overwhelming. “That’s definitely something to envy. Though I think I envy those arms.”
That made Cassidy duck her head and laugh quietly. She didn’t answer but her cheeks were red and she smiled as they quickly, so amazingly quickly given how confused Leisl had been by the instructions, put the bathtub together. In less than an hour the tub was solid as a rock and they’d fitted the fiberglass liner into it. Cassidy grinned as Leisl checked the drain and then nodded approval.
“I can’t believe it was that simple,” Leisl said. “I should be able to finish the walls in here and put in the sink tomorrow. That’s awesome. Thank you so much!”
“No problem,” Cassidy said.
She licked her lips and then rubbed the back of her neck. The callouses of her hand made little scritching sounds against the scruff of her hair. Leisl clenched her hands rather than reach out and rub too the way she wanted to.
“I ah, wouldn’t mind helping finish things off in here?” Cassidy suggested. “I mean, if you want a hand.”
“I’d rather take you out to dinner and then to bed,” Leisl said because if that wasn’t expressing interest then she didn’t know what flirting was. “I mean, yes, I’d love the help. Dad’s busy at work and Mom flat out said that she couldn’t tell one end of a screwdriver from another. It’s just… you’re gorgeous and I think I have a crush on you and why not ask, you know?”
Cassidy stared and stared as Leisl talked. By the end of it she laughed and put both of her hands over her face as if she wasn’t ever going to lower them again. It was so cute that Leisl giggled in delight. She tugged at Cassidy’s wrists, laughing in earnest at the way Cassidy whined.
“You’re so cute,” Leisl said.
“You are the cute one,” Cassidy replied, embarrassed and blushing and eyes shining with joy when Leisl finally managed to get her to drop her hands. “Seriously, Iris warned me about you, said you’re one of those fast women I should look out for.”
“As if Iris is one to talk,” Leisl huffed. “Seriously, she has a new girlfriend every week.”
“I know, right?” Cassidy groaned. She bit her lip and then very carefully, very gently, caught Leisl’s hand. “I’d, um, like that. Dinner at least. We can talk about bed, too.”
Leisl grinned as she stood on her tiptoes to press a feather quick kiss against Cassidy’s lips. They were just as rough as Leisl’s but tasted of bubblegum lip gloss. Cassidy’s blush widened to her ears, crept down her neck to her breasts.
“I know just the place,” Leisl said. “There’s this great Thai place up the street with the best food and private little booths. We can talk. And eat. And yeah. Who knows? Maybe there’ll be potential for more.”
Cassidy nodded, grinning as she squeezed Leisl’s fingers. “I hope there is. Lead the way, pretty girl. Lead the way.”
Find This Story:
On Kobo $2.99 ebook
On Smashwords $2.99 ebook
On Amazon $2.99 ebook
On CreateSpace $5.99 TBP
If you can’t afford to buy the story, please consider leaving a donation. All money received goes toward keeping me writing and posting these stories. Thank you very much!