This week’s short story is brought to you by the prompt, “auction.”
I hope you enjoy the story.
William raised his hand up and down in a smooth motion. He had never attended an auction before though he always wanted to give one a try. Of course, he always imagined going to an auction filled with antiques or other unique, but smaller, items. He never thought he would attempt to buy a house through an auction.
His girlfriend, Karen, took his hand in hers and squeezed tightly. “Are you nervous?”
“No, why would I be nervous?” William asked, relaxing his paddle-raising arm.
“Then what are you doing?”
“Practicing. I’ve never done one of these before.”
Karen cracked a smile. “You don’t need to practice raising your hand. That’s not what the auction is about. It’s about how much money you have.”
“Yes and we have very little of it which is why I need to practice raising my arm at just the right moment,” William replied.
Before Karen could reply, the auctioneer quieted the room. He placed himself behind a podium in the front of the room. Everyone hushed and William took that as an opportunity to try to count how many people were in the room. There were a lot more than he thought and he suddenly grew hot. Why did he think this was a good idea? He and Karen should have gone the traditional route of buying a house. There was no way he was going to be able to compete with all these people.
“Now are you nervous?” Karen whispered.
“We’re so poor comparing to these people,” William muttered.
“How in the world can you tell how much money these people make?”
“Look, over there. There’s an elderly couple. I’m sure they just sold their house and are down-sizing. Not to mention they’re sitting on retirement money,” William said, discretely pointing to a silver couple in the back corner of the room.
Karen scoffed but William continued.
“And that middle-aged couple? Look at the clothes they’re wearing. The man looks so dapper in his suit even I’m attracted to him.”
Karen sighed. “You can’t judge people based on their appearance but if we’re going to play that game… what about them over there?” she pointed in the opposite direction. “They look extremely young. Probably fresh out of college with loans and debt.”
William snorted. “Have you seen the jewelry she’s wearing?”
Karen rolled her eyes. “Do you want to go home?”
“We have no home.”
“You know what I mean.”
“Sold!” the auctioneer beamed, pointing his gavel to another couple standing near the front of the room.
“We missed it?!” William exclaimed in a harsh whisper.
“One house, yes. But there are plenty more,” Karen explained.
“That could have been our dream home.”
“If it was our dream home we wouldn’t have missed it.”
“500-thousand!” William shouted.
The room grew silent except for Karen muttering something under her breath that William couldn’t quite make out.
The auctioneer looked down at a piece of paper on the podium before turning his attention back to William.
“Um… this house is only going for 300-thousand.”
“Oh.” William swallowed a lump in his throat.
William snapped his head to the left, narrowing his eyes. “The dapper guy…” he whispered just about to raise his paddle again.
Karen grabbed his arm and forced it down by his side. “Don’t you dare. We don’t even have 500-thousand dollars!”
“Why don’t we have 500-thousand dollars?” William asked.
“Okay, we’re leaving…” Karen gripped his hand and lead him to the back of the room, pushing the crowd out of the way.
“But I thought we were going to try to get a house?” William asked, not bothering to fight against her to stay.
“Not like this we’re not,” Karen replied.
As soon as they made it outside, William drew in a deep breath. Karen let go of his arm and he put his hands on his hips looking around. He let out another breath nodding his head.
“Wow, that was rough,” he said.
Karen shook her head, though she was smiling. “You’re an idiot.”
William pressed his lips together into a tight smile. “Maybe we should look elsewhere for a house?”
“I don’t know why you wanted to look at foreclosed houses in the first place.”
“I thought it might be cheaper.”
Karen took his hand in hers again. “Or, we can stick it out in our little apartment for a little while longer and wait for the right house to come to us. We’ll keep an eye out on the realtor sites but we’ll keep saving our money in the meantime.”
William nodded his head again. He kissed the back of Karen’s hand. “I appreciate you putting up with my crazy ideas.”
Karen shrugged. “Hey, it was worth a shot, right? But I don’t think a house is something we can rush.”
“Maybe we can upgrade to a two-bedroom apartment in the meantime,” William suggested.
“Why do we need an extra bedroom?”
“I don’t know.”
“Then why spend the extra money per month when we could save for a house?”
William hesitated to reply. Then he looked Karen in the eye with a smirk. “I’m the reason we don’t have 500-thousand dollars, huh…?”
Karen laughed. “Why do you think I’m in charge of the bills?”
“Come on, let’s go home,” Karen said, leading the way back to the car.
William followed happily. While he wished they were able to have more space in their apartment (he hadn’t told Karen this yet, but he really wanted to get a dog), he was just as happy to have some sort of space with his girlfriend.