In Ten O’Clock Scholar, Peggy, a mother of two young boys, decides to go back to college for 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 ‘dice.’
Enjoy this week’s story snippet, then return to Tuesday Tales for more delightful tales from other talented authors.
A knot the size of Gibraltar lodged in Peggy’s stomach. “It’s my application to go back to college.”
The scarlet flush that rose up Derek’s neck wasn’t from his afternoon in the sun. “What? College? You’ve got two boys to take care of.”
Peggy hesitated, trying to choose her words carefully. “I know. I fully realize that. It’s only two afternoons a week.”
“And what are the boys going to do while you’re off gallivanting around? Stay here and take care of themselves?”
Peggy shot a frosty glare across the room. “Not hardly. Mary said she could watch them.”
“That old broad you used to work with?” A bitter laugh followed.
“Yes. The lady I used to work with. She’s not an ‘old broad’.”
“Ancient enough. One foot in the grave. How’s she going to take care of them? It’s like rolling the dice. What happens when she plops over dead from a heart attack while she’s watching the boys?”
“She’s only sixty-five. Just retired. I sincerely doubt that will happen. Besides, she’s looking forward to having a few hours with the boys every week.”
Derek’s clamped jaw jutted out in defiance. “And she’s doing it for free?”
“No. I’m going to pay her. Not much, but it will help her out too.”
“With. What. Money?” The clipped response was icy and deliberate. “We don’t have the money for it. I’m not using the money I work so hard for go for you to play around with.”
Peggy closed her eyes tightly, took a deep breath, and reopened them. “I know. Your money is only for giving away to the hobby shop. Or the gun shop. Or the motorcycle shop. For your ‘play.’ But don’t’ worry, I applied for a student loan and it will come out of that money. I won’t use your precious money for my pleasure. Even if the schooling will be something that enables me to get a better paying job in the future.”
The headaches that started to envelop Peggy in its tight embrace was enough to stop her involvement in the argument. She didn’t know what was worse – trying to stand up for herself and enduring the battle that ensued, or meekly backing away and letting hubby walk all over her wants and desires.
She threw her hands up in the air. “Whatever. I’m going to bed.” She turned to the sleeping boys on the couch and picked up the smallest one to her shoulder.
After getting Jonathan tucked into bed, she returned for Cliff. Derek was already stretched out in his favorite chair, alternating between munching on the fish sticks he despised and tossing back another brewskie.
The frigid silence from his side of the room was only a sample of what she received over the next few days.
Maybe it’s a good thing he spends most of the weekend away from the house. At least that’s time I don’t have to put up with his moods and the silent treatment he loves to give me.
Peggy went about the household business, trying to keep up with the laundry, whack down a few weeds in the yard, and supervising the boy’s arguments. Her hands were busy with the routine chores while her mind whirled away, making plans on what had to happen for her to return to school. She mentally planned out when she’d do her homework and what supplies she’d have to buy. She made a mental list of what she’d have to pack for the boys to take to Mary’s house. Since Mary didn’t have any children or grandchildren, there wouldn’t be a handy stockpile of toys or activities to occupy them there.
Sunday afternoon as she was folding a load of the boy’s clothes, Peggy’s sister, Liz called. “You home today? You free for a visit? The boys are wanting to see their cousins. Thought I’d drop by for a bit. If it’s okay.”