This is in response to last week's Snapshot prompt. The inspiration photo is included, and the mandatory words are in bold. You can check out the prompt page for the links to other stories, or link up your own before tomorrow when a new prompt arrives. :)
A Strong Foundation
April's laugh pressed out in front of a bubble of desperation.
"Oh, Lord. No."
"Len, not a chance. We're on a mountain road. Getting out to look at a dilapidated house down on the river - is it honestly swaying on it's stilts? - is not going to happen. Nor is the drive down there."
Lenny pulled in his leg and toyed with the keys in his hands, though he kept the car door open a few degrees in case she changed her mind.
"Can't you see it, April? Yes, it's a mess, but it's a cheap mess. We can buy it for practically nothing. It's the land that's the value, here. Then we can build whatever we want. Life on the river. Can you imagine?"
April chewed on her lip and looked over at Lenny. He'd recently shaved his head because he'd lost too much of it. Past 30, his belly fell a bit more past his belt than he liked due to a little too much binge drinking. Finding a house and getting out of their leased condo was front and center for him, a huge shift from his younger mentality. Still, though, he saw the world in as a challenge to be taken on, no risk too great for a greater reward.
April would have seen the world the same, just a few weeks ago. But now she had even bigger concerns and she didn't want to add a flooding river to them.
"It will take too much time," she said quietly. "And maybe even too much money."
Lenny opened and closed his mouth like a fish, looking longingly at the grey, hollow house on the location of his dreams.
"Len, we can't," she tried again, taking a deep breath. Tears pricked her eyes, but she couldn't say why, exactly. Maybe just because this wasn't the way she wanted to tell him. "We need something more stable, something more safe. For the baby."
The keys stopped jingling. Len's door swung shut without the strength to latch it. April caught herself holding her breath, then reminded herself she needed air for two.
Len re-opened the door and shut it firmly. He turned on the car and gently eased onto the narrow mountain road.
Another mile passed without him saying a word. April couldn't look at him, just watched his knuckles tighten and loosen on the steering wheel. Finally, Lenny cleared his throat, a thick, wet sound.
"Okay. So ... we'll need a house in a quiet neighborhood. A dead end street would be nice, don't you think? And maybe a big enough yard for a swing set."
April's laugh filled the car in relief and a few of the tears she'd held back slipped free.