Viv reached for the phone. It was the first time today that it had been quiet in the house. Both Travis and Katie were down for their naps.
She had intended to call her parents, but the number she instinctively punched in was that of her agent. She knew she shouldn't be bugging Angela, that Angela told her she's learn something just as soon as Angela heard something, but Viv was so, so very close to the end of her endurance, not to mention her savings. The phone rang but no one answered.
Viv's hand was shaking as she put the receiver down, and she had to hold the coffee cup with both hands to get it to her mouth without spelling it down the front of her blouse. Maybe a couple of more swallows and she'd build up the courage she needed to try calling her parents again.
It was almost Christmas. It was crushing that she hadn't talked with her parents since September and that she may not see them during the holidays. Christmas had always been a family time. It was mostly her fault, yes, but her mother was so stubborn about this too. She'd never liked Rob and said he'd leave Viv someday. They'd had that big fight over that. And, of course, her mother was right; Rob had walked out on Viv. But that wasn't all. Her parents had never supported Viv in her dream—to be a published novelist. Her mother had told her once, when Viv and Rob had had a crockery-against-the wall fight, that Viv and the kids were always welcome to come home—but only if Viv gave up on her writing and got a job that would help pay the added bills.
Viv couldn't give up her dream; she was her mother's daughter as far as stubbornness went. She thought it was the only thing left that gave her life value.
Feeling a little steadier after several gulps of coffee, Viv reached for the telephone again, but Travis picked just that moment to wake up and start fussing—and, of course, his fussing wakened Katie as well.
Viv's hand wavered over the telephone receiver, and then she sighed and stood up and opened the kitchen cupboard. The moment of almost courage was past. The cupboard didn't give her any cheer either. Poetic versions of "but the cupboard was bare" ran through her mind as she realized that after she'd fed the kids some lunch, they'd have to go off to the Food Lion if they were to get any supper. There weren't many more suppers that Viv could eke out of what was left in her bank account. Something was going to have to give soon. She'd have to go hat in hand to her parents and give up on her dream or check out whether she could get any writing done in a homeless shelter.
"Merry Christmas," Viv muttered to herself as she moved toward the bedroom and her real-world responsibilities.
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