No one thought much about it when she first put the picture up on the mantelpiece. But Roj and Julie did start to wonder what she was up to, as more and more candles appeared over the weeks. They were gathered in little clusters around the photo, as if worshipping it.
After losing a round of rock, paper scissors with the others, Kevin finally asked Lauren about the photo. She said it was a family heirloom, actually used the word heirloom too. Bent Kevin's ear for an hour about how her father had taken it before she was born, how it was really famous and had made her father rich. Of course there was also the sad tale of how he'd lost all the money and learned some great lesson, but Kevin was nearly in a boredom-induced coma by the time Lauren started to wind down.
The origin of the photo was discussed amongst the others in hushed tones once Lauren had left the apartment.
Roj, the film nut of the group, reckoned Lauren was taking the mickey. He'd seen Lauren's father once and reckoned the man wasn't old enough to have photographed Marilyn Monroe. To prove his point, he took the photograph out of its frame to reveal that it was just a commercial postcard, an old postcard, but a postcard none the less.
He confronted Lauren when she returned home. There was an all out slanging match that afternoon, name calling, candle throwing, a pot plant that was later declared unsalvageable. Eventually Lauren burst into tears and ran from the room, the photo cradled to her chest.
A smiling Lauren later surfaced from her room and offered to make dinner by way of apology.
Roj was pretty sick afterwards. Kevin's room was next to the bathroom and he couldn't sleep for the sound of Roj throwing up all night.
Lauren said there was a nasty flu going around work, but Roj insisted she was trying to poison him. He moved out the next day.
Julie and Kevin arranged for another flatmate. Before Darren moved in, they told him it was best not to mention the photo over the fire and asked if he'd be available on Tuesday to let in the electrician who was installing chaser lights around Lauren's personal shrine.
15minuteficlets — word #65: impression