A Short Story on the Website of
the Red Dirt Writers Society

Abi's Best Friend
by Harriet Morgan (Feb 2008)

Grant bent his lanky frame over the suitcase on the bed, just as his wife entered their brightly lit bedroom.

“Boy, it’s going to be a beautiful day,” Abi remarked as she turned toward the window. After a short moment of reflection, she stated, “That sunshine sure is nice for a change.” Another short pause before she continued, “Are you about ready to go?” She finally turned to look at her husband.

As he nodded his head in answer, some of his dark, wavy hair fell over his forehead.

Abi thought again how Grant was the epitome of “tall, dark, and handsome.” She still could hardly believe that he had chosen her. She pulled her rambling thoughts back and stated, “You’ll be home Wednesday evening, right?”

“Yep. I’ll be home before you have time to miss me,” he grinned mischievously, as he used his knee to push the overloaded suitcase closed.

“I’ll miss you alright, but I have some projects that I want to work on, and that will keep me busy.” After a thoughtful moment, “I would like to invite Patty over for dinner Friday night.”

“Why on earth do you want to invite ‘The Wicked Witch’ over, Abi?”

“Grant! You shouldn’t call her that! She really isn’t that bad.”

“Well, that’s a matter of opinion, Sweetheart. How do you explain all of the things that have happened when she’s around?”

“What things are you talking about, Josh?”

“Well, let’s see. For starters, there was the car wreck that killed Chuck.”

“Grant, that was an accident, and Patty grieved more than anyone over it. I think she really liked Chuck.”

“She doesn’t like anyone but herself, Abi. I know that Chuck was crazy about Patty, though. In fact, that’s why he was driving her car instead of me. You or I could have been in that car, and one of us might have been killed.”

Abi shuddered at the memory from ten years earlier. It was true that Chuck Barton, the big, blue-eyed, blond, star tackle of the high school football team and Grant’s best friend, had been head over heals about Patty Wilson. Patty had actually asked Abi to drive her car to the repair shop, suggesting that Grant could follow her in his car. When Grant had told Abi that he would drive, and she could drive his car, Chuck had stepped up and said, “You two stay in Grant’s car. I’ll drive Patty’s old car to the shop, and you can follow me.”

Even now it was hard to believe that Chuck, with his big, infectious grin, was gone. A stray tear fell on Abi’s cheek. She absentmindedly wiped it away while shaking her head to make that horrible mental picture go away. Her short, curly, hair bobbed around her face as Josh reached out to caress her cheek with the back of his hand.

He lovingly responded, “I’m sorry, Honey. I shouldn’t have brought that up again. I know you loved Chuck as much as I did.” Then he folded his lovely wife in his arms.

They sat quietly on the bed rocking for some time before Abi, pulled back a little and whispered, “I would still like to invite Patty over on Friday.”

Grant looked into those trusting brown eyes of the woman he loved so dearly, kissed the top of her honey colored curls, and relented, at the same time remembering the heartache he and Abi had shared when they lost their baby. Again, Patty had been present. Another accident that she grieved over. Yeah, right!, he thought.

. . . . .


Patty sat at her dressing table brushing her long, black hair the recommended 100 strokes, as she did every evening before retiring for the night. Although to anyone watching she might appear to be looking at her beautiful face, her thoughts were a million miles away - well two miles  away anyway, across town at Abi and Grant Culbertson‘s house. I wonder why Abi invited me to dinner Friday night? I haven’t been to their house in a couple of years. Yes, just about two years. When Abi lost their baby. Her tight smile changed the previous attractive reflection into something very like the wicked witch to which Grant had referred. That was my finest moment! Having Abi help me move that heavy chest and then dropping it on her was pure genius! The laugh that passed her lovely lips was chillingly evil.

“Ah, this trip down memory lane is exhilarating,” she actually spoke aloud although there was no one else in the house. Her rambling recollections continued.

That little goody, goody, Abi, trusts everyone and believes anything she’s told. That makes it easy for me, of course. She doesn’t even deserve to have Grant. He needs someone like me who can help him get ahead in this world. What does he see in her, anyway?

She is so stupid. I tried to get rid of her before Prom by cooking up that story of a fender bender after school and how I needed to get my car to the shop. Then I pretended to be too distraught to drive so Duane was going to drive me home. I would have died if Grant had driven the car for her and been hurt. That idiot, Chuck, should have stayed out of it. Oh well, good riddance to bad rubbish!

It was funny to see how sick Abi got the day she and I went out to lunch together. She thought she just had a little food poisoning. I guess that’s what she had alright, food poisoning, courtesy of me and my poison!

Now I must make a plan. I wonder if I can come up with something to get rid of her for good. Possibly dinner Friday would be a good time. Maybe poison again. We’ll see. I know in the final analysis, Grant will thank me for getting him out of that marriage. Besides my connections, I have plenty of money for both of us now that Mother and Daddy are gone.

. . . . .


Friday had been another beautiful, sunny day, as Abi ran errands in preparation for her dinner. She hoped Grant would be able to see how silly he was to be suspicious of Patty. After all, Patty had been Abi’s best friend since they started high school. It seemed only right to share the news with her husband and her best friend. She was once again pregnant. Grant and Patty would both be so excited and happy.

Abi’s thoughts returned to her first meeting with Patty. They were nervous freshmen coming in from two different junior high schools. When they bumped into each other trying to get their lockers opened, both of them dropped everything they were carrying. Both girls giggled and carried on about how small the lockers were and how they were going to get everything in them. They had a couple of classes together and the same lunch schedule. So it was natural that they would sit together for lunch. They were inseparable that year - spending afternoons at one house or the other, evenings on the phone with each other, and weekends with sleepovers and going to the mall. What a pair they were. Patty’s flawless complexion, glossy dark hair, and deep blue eyes made her the beauty of the two, but Abi’s bubbly personality combined with her openly friendly demeanor made her more popular with students and adults alike.

Admittedly, things changed considerably their sophomore year. That was the year that Grant transferred into their school and both girls saw him in the cafeteria that first day. They whispered about how good looking he was and wondered who he was, what grade he was in, and so on. They soon learned that he, too, was a sophomore. He and Abi were in Science class together and Patty shared English class with him.

Abi wasn’t allowed to date until her junior year, and Grant really wasn’t interested in dating until about the same time. When Grant got his own car with money from a summer job, and asked Abi for a movie date one Friday night, it was a first date for both of them. They hit it off immediately.

There seemed to be so much to talk about, and they were surprised that they had so much in common. Of course, Abi called Patty the first thing Saturday morning to report on the date. She described it in glowing detail, and it’s probably good that she couldn’t see Patty’s face. To say that she was green with envy would be a gross understatement. Patty was furious! From that moment on, she tried everything she could think of to destroy Abi and Grant’s friendship and budding romance.

Even after graduation, Patty continued to attempt to interfere with Abi and Grant. When Grant went away to State College, and Abi took a secretarial course, Patty thought it would end, but she failed to realize that Grant and Abi were falling more and more in love. By the time Abi finished her course and got a job in an attorney’s office, she and Grant were seriously talking marriage and planning a wedding after he finished college.

Patty’s family had some money and her grandparents had left her an inheritance that allowed her to stay in an apartment on her own. She decided to follow Grant to The City and told Abi that she had gotten a job there. The truth was that at first she stalked Grant and didn’t get a job until she had been there nearly six months. The job was off campus at a little drugstore where she had seen Grant stop a few times. At first Grant was pleasantly surprised to see Patty working there, and he happily visited with her, usually about Abi, when he went into the store. However, as time went on, Patty became bolder and tried to get Grant to go out with her. One day she threw herself into Grant’s arms when she was supposed to be helping him find an item. Grant took his business elsewhere after that and never told Abi that Patty had tried to come on to him.

Needless to say, Grant was not looking forward to dinner with Patty. However, he decided that for Abi he could put up with the wicked Patty for one evening.

“Grant, please get the door, while I finish setting the table,” Abi called from the kitchen as the doorbell sounded. It was Patty arriving promptly at 7:00 with a fruit basket in tow.

“Hi, Grant. How are you?” The raven-haired beauty smiled innocently as she gazed up into his eyes.

“I’m fine, Patty. How are you doing?” He was trying to be courteous anyway. Where is Abi? he thought to himself.

His eyes fell upon a box of chocolates that was sitting on the bookshelf in their small living room. “Would you like a chocolate, Patty?”

“Oh thank you, Grant. That’s so thoughtful of you.” After taking one that had a chocolate center also, Patty commented, “These are quite good, Grant. You should try one.”

“I’m allergic to chocolate, Patty.”

“Oh, that’s right, I remember now.”

“You know that’s kind of funny. Abi doesn’t eat sugar and I don‘t eat chocolate. I don’t really know why we have this box.”

Abi came bouncing into the room just in time to hear his last words.

“Oh, Patty, that’s the box of candy that you gave us when Grant got his last promotion.”

Neither Grant nor Abi understood why Patty turned so pale and started screaming to call 911 for an ambulance, before she ran through the house into the bathroom, and stuck her finger down her throat.

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