Monday, October 18, 2021

What's a girl to do

 "How awful," Lizzy said, but she didn't really mean it. It was nice that Valentina would share this information about Emily with her. Yet, a part of her wondered if she'd prayed for something so devastating to happen. The wedding would have to wait.

"Well, Matty and Liam still keep in touch," she said as she nursed her creamy iced drink. They were at the Campus Coffee Shop. "Matty's going to be Liam's best man."

"Best man?" Lizzy looked at her wide-eyed. How could that be? Wasn't Keir his best friend? Of course, he hadn't mentioned anything. She wondered why as she sipped her black coffee.

"That's what he said," Valentina nodded as if she didn't know anything else.

Lizzy asked about her classes. "Have you met anybody new?" She really thought Valentina should leave that high schooler behind. After all, the University was a brand new world for her.

"Not really." But Val sipped on her dragon fruit drink just a bit longer, as if she might finish it off. Lizzy couldn't help but smirk.

"Oh, you have, haven't you?"

"No." Valentina possibly lied as her lips twitched.

"You need to find someone older and wiser," Lizzy suggested, but Val only sighed.

"I doubt anyone could be as wise as Matty," Valentina told her they were friends. Best friends.

"So what, when is a boyfriend ever your best friend?" Lizzy looked at her blankly.

Valentina only winced as if it was Lizzy who needed to wake up. Where was her mind lately?

Saturday, October 16, 2021

what the day brings

 Were they really thinking of a wedding without her?

Emily laid back even more grimly. She closed her eyes. How could she do this? She'd seen chiropractors for starters about her shoulder. Now the doctor was talking about how they could do something for her shoulder by operating at the base of her neckline. She'd have to wear a neck wrap for a few weeks.

"It'll only be a small incision," The woman said. She could do the procedure in her office.

Emily did her best to smile and agree.

Of course, Liam rushed in about that time as if he thought the world had ended. She wasn't expecting him. It was Rosie who got her to the hospital. They worked together at the Children's Center. She really hadn't cared who had taken her as long as it wasn't an Ambulance. 

"Oh my god, what happened?" He wanted to know everything. They'd given her a shot for the pain. Now she felt as if she was plastered to the bed. Honestly, she was going nowhere very fast, and she couldn't even lift her head up to really look at him.

After the doctor told him about her need of surgery, she left them alone. He sat next to her and held her hand. "What have you been doing?" He wanted to know.

"Lifting toddlers," Emily said as she closed her eyes. It was part of her job. Sometimes, she just had to. And a lot of the time, they clung to her (arms wrapped around her neck and legs wrapped around her small waist). "Really, I'm used to it."

"You should quit that job," Liam said aloud. He squinted hard as if he might have tears in his eyes.

"It's nothing, really." She managed to say.

"Nothing." Liam let out a sigh. "You need to find something that's not going to hurt you."

"Well," she let out a sigh wondering if she'd go to sleep before the conversation ended. "People are in dire need of child-care these days." She told him that she'd wanted to join the Air Force, but something wasn't quite right with her bones. She didn't pass the physical exam. She just didn't know it would be this. 

Actually, she'd always been strong-willed. Nothing could stop her until now. She shut her eyes and drifted off to sleep.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

into the unknown


He often brought her treats when he came to the library. Everyone called him Lynsey's boyfriend. Of course, he was older, but not anywhere near retirement. Charles always asked for Lynsey's help. Which led to lively conversations about music and movies. Honestly, Lynsey couldn't help but enjoy those moments.

Of course, a few on staff would tease her, but then they just got used to saying, "Oh, Lynsey, your boyfriend's here."

Lynsey would grit a grin and be as much help as she could to him in the library stacks. Maybe he was between jobs, or the pandemic hadn't been so accommodating. Still, she thought he was kind and so funny. She was happy to know him.

And then one morning as she was walking to work a car stopped next to her on the empty street. He got out of his car and came around to open the door on the passenger side. "I'll take you to work."

"Oh, I don't know, it''s a nice day."

"Do  you need someone to take you to work?" He offered.

"No,'s OK," She smiled wondering what she was getting herself into. Of course, she asked herself this again about two minutes later after she actually got into his car.

She tensed a bit but wasn't afraid. After all, they saw each other daily, just not this early in the morning. And of course, his car might not have been brand new, but it was so pristine. She knew he took good care of his things.

"I don't even know how to drive a car," she found herself saying, thinking she shouldn't have. It was such a hassle to ask Casey to drive her. After all, he would have to get the baby in and out of the car seat and he'd be in a huff. She knew it was too much to ask him to even help with the baby. Lynsey couldn't ask for more.

"You don't drive?" Charles looked at her as if that wasn't right. He drove on to chauffeur her to the library. "Maybe I should teach you."

"Teach me?" Oh, she thought it was a laugh. Didn't he remember she had an infant?  Or did he think she was just fat all this time? 

"You need your independence." He thought it wasn't right that her parents hadn't let her get her driver's license.

"Well.." she had to think about that. "There were so many of us...and..and I ..I'm kind of a slow learner." Or possibly it was the fact of waiting for her turn that she forgot about it. "They..they just didn't think it was necessary." She winced in thought remembering how they always thought she would still be at home now, but then she met Casey and ..she guessed that was her home now. Of course, there was always uncertainty that hung in the balance. Honestly, it made her a little teary-eyed, but she didn't want Charles to know. "I guess, I just never got around to it."

Charles said he would teach her. He was certain they could both find time for lessons before the weather got snowy.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Catching up


Honestly, Valentina felt classes at the university weren't that much different from high school. OK, the lectures were longer and so were the days with traffic jams included. Sometimes, she wished she'd moved to the dorms, but then again her weekends were for Matty. 

They went to home football games or just stayed home for a movie. Nothing had changed. They were like two peas in a pod. It was a good happiness. They talked about their classes and who they knew. They were OK. 

Occasionally, she texted Dan her brother. Sometimes, he texted back, but not that often. But at least they kept in touch. She told Matty she was trying.

"That's all you can do," Matty had said. And perhaps it was her mantra. Even now as she walked across the campus with her heavy books she thought of that mantra, and then she noticed someone she thought she knew. Naturally, he was masked. It probably wasn't who she thought he was. But maybe he was Rosie's ex. 

Val's classes were over, anyway. She turned to follow him. Of course, she was certain he would think it weird, but she wanted to ask. After all, he went to the bookstore.

"Rosie's ex." She kept saying over and over until it hit her...Matty's brother.

"What are you doing here?" Valentina asked.

He turned to her as if he hadn't a clue who she was. She let half of her mask slip. He pulled down his mask and gave her a look. 

"Matty never said you were back," Val winced.

"Oh, he doesn't know," Sunny said.

"What?" Val didn't understand.

He wanted to buy her something to drink. They soon found a place to talk while sipping sweet lattes. Of course, he was taking his time.

"You know Matty?" He winced.

"Don't you two talk?" Val wasn't sure she should even be here talking to Matty's brother. Granted they were adopted siblings but Matty thought the world of his older brother who went to Chicago to study architecture. 

"Not that much," Sunny shrugged. He wasn't quite as tall as Val remembered and he seemed different. Maybe all she could think of was how tall Matty was.

" you don't know about Rosie?" Val hated to be the bearer of bad news. 

"I know she's got her own place," he nodded. Sunny said he'd seen to it that she got her own place months ago.

"It was you who got her the tiny house?" Val winced hard, hardly thinking that would be a gift to give someone.

"I just helped. It wasn't all me," he said.

"Well, she isn't there all alone, you know," Val mentioned Rosie's boyfriend Chance.

"You and Robby were really good at finding someone for Rosie," Sunny nodded with a smile. "How is Robby these days?"

"I don't really know," Valentina told him. "We're step-siblings now. Our parents got married. It didn't sit too well with him. I guess he's still at San Marcus. He went back to Texas."

"Huh," Sunny said. "Guess, that's why I haven't seen him around."

"I'm with Matty now."

"Matty?" Sunny winced. "Aren't you a little too old for him?"

Valentina nursed her latte. Uncertain, if she even wanted to mention to Matty that she'd seen his brother on campus.