Sunday, 29 March 2015

"The Dating Do-Over" Serialization - Ch. 3

Links to: Chapter 1, Chapter 2 

I hope you're enjoying the story so far!

Chapter 3

It was after midnight when there was a brisk rap on Julie’s front door. She rushed to answer it before her daughter woke up.
“Where is she?” Sabrina asked, bursting through the door.
“Shhh. Olivia’s asleep. Viv’s on the couch.” Julie nodded toward the living room. “Thanks for coming on such short notice.” She closed the door behind her friend.
“Not a problem. I ditched my date early. It was no biggie ‒ he was just a ‘better him than nobody’ date for Valentine’s Day.” She slipped off her coat and handed it to Julie.
“Whoa! That’s what you wear for a ‘better him than nobody’ date?”
Sabrina smiled and twirled, her auburn curls flying from her shoulders. She was wearing a cream-coloured halter dress with two strands of pearl beading accentuating her exquisite back.
“I thought I’d throw the poor guy a bone. After all, he bought me five courses at Café Vert.”
Julie whistled softly. “Olivia and I had homemade chicken fingers and sweet potato fries for dinner,” she said wistfully.
“Sounds good to me,” Sabrina said as she followed Julie into the living room.
Viv was sprawled in a corner of the couch with her eyes closed. She was wearing grey sweat pants and a “Hello Kitty” t-shirt, a treasured Christmas gift from one of her Grade 1 pupils. Her long blond hair was pulled back into one of Olivia’s scrunchies, and her face was puffy and red from crying. An empty wine glass sat on the coffee table next to her.
“Oh, hon, I’m so sorry.” Sabrina sat down on the couch and pulled Viv into a hug. Viv sniffled, opened her eyes, and rested her head on Sabrina’s shoulder.
“S’okay, Bri. I felt bad before, but not anymore. I don’t feel anything anymore. I’m dead inside.” Sabrina glanced over her head at Julie, who frowned.
“That bastard, Kyle,” Sabrina sputtered. She rubbed Viv’s back in tight, angry circles. “I never liked him. He took advantage of you, Viv. Of your beautiful, generous, loving nature. You’re too good for him ‒ you always were.”
“S’not true.” Viv detached herself from Sabrina’s arms while peering blearily at her. “Kyle took care of me. I was hopeless before him. He taught me stuff. Like how to roast a chicken. How to do the laundry. He even did my taxes.” Her face crumpled. “Now who’s going to do my taxes?” she sobbed, collapsing into Sabrina’s arms. Julie snatched a bunch of tissues from the box on the table and mopped Viv’s face.
“You don’t need Kyle, Vivvie,” Sabrina said over her weeping. “An accountant can do your taxes.”
Viv stopped crying and lifted her head to peer at her friend. Sabrina nodded encouragingly.
“S’right,” Viv said with a sniff. “Who needs stupid old Kyle?” But her face fell, and she toppled back onto the couch. “Who am I kidding? I do!” she wailed.
Sabrina stood up and pulled Julie a short distance away to where Viv couldn’t overhear them. “How long has she been like this?” she whispered.
Julie checked her watch. “Almost two hours. She was hysterical when she got here, so I gave her a glass of wine. But we’ve almost polished off the bottle, and I’ve only had one glass.”
“She can’t go back to her apartment like this.”
“No. She can stay with me for a couple of nights. I’ll tell the school tomorrow that she’s sick ‒ let her sleep it off ‒ but we’ll have to figure out a better plan over the weekend. I just don’t have enough space for her here.”
 “She can move back in with me, temporarily. It’ll be tight, but we’ll make it work.” Julie nodded gratefully, and they returned to the couch, taking a seat on either side of their soggy friend.
“Sweetie, you’re going to sleep here tonight,” Julie said. She stroked Viv’s hair. Viv nodded and wiped her face with her sleeve. “Stay home tomorrow. I’ll tell them you’re sick.”
Viv shook her head. “No, I gotta go in. Tomorrow’s Super-Star Friday.”
“Super-Star Friday? What’s that?” Sabrina asked, looking at Julie.
“Every Friday, one of Viv’s students dresses up like his or her hero. Viv takes the kid’s picture and puts it on a special wall of fame.”
Viv hiccupped. “Tomorrow’s Noah. He’s gonna be Spider-Man. Can’t miss it. Can’t let him down.” She sighed and slumped against Julie’s shoulder.
“Don’t worry, sweetie. You get some sleep, and I’ll wake you up in time for work. How’s that?”
Viv nodded without opening her eyes, exhausted from her ordeal.
“Good.” Julie slid out from beside her and went to fetch a throw while Viv nestled her head on a pillow and fell asleep immediately.
“Poor thing,” Sabrina whispered as Julie draped the throw over Viv. “I’d like to kick Kyle right where it would get his attention. Didn’t she have any inkling that this was coming?”
Julie shook her head. “Totally blindsided.”
Sabrina sighed. “Sometimes I just hate men.”
“I’ve got no use for them whatsoever,” Julie replied.


Stay tuned for Chapter 4 on Wednesday, April 1!

You can get The Dating Do-Over for just $0.99 this week using a Smashwords coupon to purchase the book in the format of your choice. All you have to do is click on the "Contact Cathy" app at the top right of the page and leave your name, e-mail address, and a message saying that you want the Smashwords coupon for The Dating Do-Over. I will e-mail the coupon to you ASAP. But hurry - the price will go up as more chapters are posted!

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