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 ‘number.’
Enjoy this week’s story snippet, then return to Tuesday Tales for more delightful tales from other talented authors.
“Sure. Come on by. Only Jonathan’s here though. Derek took Cliff with him.” Peggy scanned the living room to see what messy remnants remained littered about.
“Of course. It’s the weekend. They must be out flying. Guess I know my brother-in-law by now.”
“Yep. They headed out early. A van full of planes and an ice chest full of beer.”
By the time Liz’s orange Mustang pulled up in front of the house, Peggy had already done a quick pick up. Piles of discarded dirty clothes were stuffed in the hamper. Dirty glasses were placed in the sink, somewhat out of sight. A fast dust with a spritz of lemon cleanser at least made the room fresh and clean smelling. She’d thought about running the vacuum, then decided against it.
The flurry at the door when her nephews, Ed and Al, came running in made vacuuming a moot point. Keeping up with debris from tiny boy’s sneakers was an impossible task. The boys, just a year and two older than Cliff, dashed off to the boy’s bedroom, looking for their cousin.
With the three boys busy at play, the two sisters had a chance to sit down and catch up. Grabbing a cold soda for each of them, Peggy dropped ice cubes in two glasses and filled Liz in on her latest feat. She also reported how angry Derek was over her bold move. “And still is,” she added. “Although…the house is a lot quieter when he’s not speaking to me.”
“Better than him yelling and throwing a tantrum.” Liz paused, thinking of her own past experiences with an angry, abusive husband. “Been there. Done that. Have no desire to go through that again.”
“Well…we had a bit of that the first night. When he first found out. But at least there’s no new holes in the wall over this.”
“Yet. You haven’t actually started school yet. Let’s see what happens then.”
A trio of three young boys ran up, stopping the conversation momentarily.
“Can we go out back and play?” Ed, the younger of the brothers, was the unofficial spokesman of the group, speaking up more easily than his quieter, older brother.
“Sure. Go ahead. Watch out for one of the swings though, the seat broke…”
The sliding glass door was opened and the boys dashed out back before the rest of the words were out of her mouth.
Liz laughed. “Good thing we both stopped at Boy Number Two. Don’t know what we’d do if we had any more.”
Peggy groaned and nodded her head in agreement. “I know. Some days I wonder how Mom did it all, with three of us.”
“Especially with Butch. He was a little stinker when he was younger.”
The two sisters began reminiscing about their brother, now thousands of miles away in Iowa, and not able to defend himself.
“Remember in Arkansas when I went in the house and he took my lawn chair and tied it up in a tree?”
“How about the time he cut my arm, playing with Dad’s ax?”
“And how he always messed up the top of our hair?”
“Tattle telling! Remember him standing on the balcony at the two-story house, spying on us?”
The afternoon in conversation with her sister, as the three boys ran in and out, soothed Peggy’s spirits and eased her worry. Somewhat. She knew she still had a difficult road in front of her and she wondered if she’d be able to accomplish her new goals. But for now, for these few hours, she could relegate her concerns to the back of her mind and enjoy the sisterly comradery.
As the shadows visible through the kitchen glass door deepened, Liz pulled out her phone and checked the time. “Sorry. I’ve got to go. Don’t want to be here when your hubby gets back – if you know what I mean.”
“I don’t blame you. Hey…I don’t want to be here when hubby gets back.”