Welcome to my Tuesday Tales post. For Tuesday Tales, a group of authors write to a word prompt. Once a month we spin a scene around a picture prompt.
In Ten O’Clock Scholar, Peggy, a mother of two young boys, decides to go back to college and get her Interior Design degree. The only problem with her plan is a reluctant husband. Peggy soon learns what it’s like trying to complete homework assignments, draw plans, and take required home tours while maintaining a home and caring for two little ones – with no support and a lot of opposition from hubby. Will she survive and achieve her dreams? Or will the struggles and arguments undermine her and make her give up? Stay tuned and read along as we find out.
This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘love.’
Enjoy this week’s story snippet, then return to Tuesday Tales for more delightful reading.
Derek hopped out of the van, a perpetual cigarette dangling from his lips and headed towards the garage door.
Peggy readjusted a sleepy toddler on her shoulder. “You’re home early. You finish the last house today?”
“Naw. We’ll finish it up Monday. If it doesn’t rain.”
“I thought the boss wanted all the wiring done this week. Wasn’t that what his big rant was earlier in the week?”
Lifting the heavy, unautomated garage door, Derek shrugged. “That’s what he wanted. But I’m done for the day. I’m meeting Kirk the airfield. I want to try out the Mustang that I finished last night. See how it’s gonna fly.”
“You and your damn toys. If it’s not the planes, its guns or motorcycles.” Peggy muttered under her breath as she turned her back and stomped towards the front door.
“I’m going with Daddy,” Cliff hollered. He followed his father into the garage, set in his plan to go with his dad and hang out with the big guys.
Peggy stopped and called out over her shoulder. “Is he going with you?”
Derek reappeared from the depths of the garage, carrying a black and silver radio controlled plane in one hand, RC control in the other. “Yeah. Grab a jacket for him though. We’re gonna be out there till dark.”
Biting her lip to keep her retort unspoken, Peggy went inside to lay Jonathan down and look for the leather bomber jacket they’d gotten Clifford, dad’s little mini-me, for Christmas.
Luckily for Peggy, the little one closed his eyes and drifted back to sleep as soon as she laid him down. Retrieving the garment from the closet, surprised it was even hanging up where it belonged, Peggy took it outside. She knew that Derek wouldn’t take the time to come in for it himself.
She stepped outside in time to see another plane added to the back of the van, with the empty ice chest going in last. She knew that they’d stop at the QT on the way out of town to fill the cooler with ice and beer. Lots of beer. Then they’d be off to the mock airstrip where the men gathered in the evenings and on the weekends.
Derek grabbed the jacket from her and headed towards the driver’s door without a backward glance, nor a goodbye. At least Clifford came running back for a hug and kiss before he rushed to the passenger side to join his dad.
Peggy headed back inside with her emotions torn. This left her Friday afternoon husband-free and quiet, which was a good thing. But, yet, she fumed about Derek spending every Friday night, Saturday and Sunday in his recreational pursuits.
Thoughts rolled through in a turmoil – While the grass grows knee high, the house paint is peeling, and there’s still a hole in the wall that need patched from the latest angry punch. God forbid he’d have to spend the evening here in family time – let alone any special time for just the two of us. Whatever did I see in the man?
A slideshow of snapshots drifted through her mind, memories of happier times. As she remembered specific events – motorcycle rides to Big Bear, four wheel driving in the desert, shooting rifles at the local range – it dawned on her that the time they spent together revolved around Derek’s favorite activities. Always.
“There was a time I was in love with him. I know there was.” She spoke aloud to the silence surrounding her, as if trying to convince herself of the fact.
Looking around, she contemplated which task to tackle first – a sink full of crusted dishes, a mound of soiled clothing begging to be washed, a pile of mail needing sorted, or a stack of letters and cards needing answered.
Choosing to do none of the above, she grabbed a cold soda from the refrigerator, plucked the college catalog out of her purse and sat down on the sofa to browse through the interior design classes that were scheduled for the upcoming quarter.