Nanowrimo is a compelling challenge to write 50,000 words during November: that’s an average of 1667 words per day. My plan is to write a set of 30 short stories each 1667 words long instead. Each story comes from a prompt, a lot from fellow bloggers.
People say I’m mean but that’s really unfair. I just know my mind. I think they’re jealous of the fact I do what I want, when I want and don’t see I need to justify myself. They look at my life and they hate how I have it sorted. I’m sorted: a loving caring thoughtful husband; two brilliant and engaging children; caring and supportive parents who are more my friends than parents; friends I know pass the 2 am test – you know, they’d help you if you called at 2 am without demur – like I would them; and the best job in the world were my talents and creativity are respected and admired. I’ve been called a role model for my generation but if I can just help one other woman not so blessed to better herself then I’m happy.
See, some people think I’m arrogant. That’s what they say if it’s not that I’m mean. They say I am always putting myself on a pedestal and making myself out to be better than the rest. That’s rubbish. I’ve worked for my success and I’ve maximised my good genes, unique brain and super strong work ethic to be who I am today. I’m responsible for two young lives; I’m a Tiger Mum with Wolf tendencies – I’ll fight for my cubs, believe me.
I can’t go around hiding my light under a bushel pretending to be something I’m not, can I? I’ve worked my arse off to get this far.
It’s not like it’s been easy. No silver spoon, you know. My folks tried, scrimping and saving – they are real smart and sharp but they haven’t my drive. They don’t see there are negative forces out there, ready to take advantage. Especially those closest.
I know they did their best, not that it amounted to much. Dad never understood ambition. He let people walk all over him. That time when he said Ron Wheeler had had the idea for the new ordering system? Classic. That was his leg up into management but he stood by. Mum deserved a washing machine; everyone else had one but we did without. Frankly it was embarrassing and as soon as I could buy them one I did. Honestly they are sillies. They still say they don’t want the stuff I get them but these aren’t fripperies, are they? HD television isn’t some stupid luxury, not for Dad and his sport. I…
‘What you doing, sis?’
‘Liz. You made me jump. Nothing.’
‘You keeping a journal? I didn’t know.’
‘Well, it’s just a few notes. Easy to forget stuff if you don’t write it down.’
‘Not me. I don’t do enough and nothing like what you do – god knows how you find the time. If I had a journal it’d be a page a week tops. I bet you have a page a day…’
‘There you go. I just came to say kettle’s on. Is Jerry here soon?’
‘He said he might be late.’
‘He works too hard, doesn’t he? I’d murder Colin if he kept Jerry’s hours.’
‘Yes, well he has this thing just now. I need to tell you about it.’
‘Well I think he’s lucky to have you and Martine. She’s amazing with your two – and mine. I can never get them to sit up straight. So what’s the surprise?’
‘Not a surprise. Just this opportunity. It’s very exciting.’
‘Everything about your life is exciting. Come on, mum’s made scones.’
There, see what I mean? She’s just walked away, like she can still tell me what to do and when. We’re not teens any more. And she doesn’t think to ask, my precious sister. I’m gluten free; my nutritionist says I have a tiniest bloat and ‘garbaging the gluten’ is the new 5:2. Not that Liz would understand. I’d love to see her in a kale wrap and live on wheat flour and passionfruit smoothies for a week.
Mum made her lemon curd sandwiches, you know that? In secondary school she’d only eat yellow, selfish bitch. Drove mum mad. I did all the work, sweated blood for this family and she just moaned about black bits on bananas or lumps in her custard. No wonder her face was a permanent zit. She could be quite pretty with a proper exfoliation and colonic flush. I tried at Christmas with that spa voucher but she never used it. I checked. She put it into a school auction and the moustachioed headmistress bought it. Bloody ungrateful.
This weekend was a mistake, even with the nanny. I’m only here to tell them we’re off to Washington. Jerry has this chance of partnership. He has been putting in the hours, sweetie and this could be it. That place in Kensington, the repairs to our place in Burgundy. I could really do with the new S series too, that nice new car smell is fading a bit quick. If he gets that partnership then Martine is having her own car; I’m not having Elle puking in the back again.
Of course I’d use my own money on her car if I hadn’t ploughed it back into our new look. Luscious Lingerie is branching out. We’re going to make a killing with all this 50 Shades corrective wear. And we know it works, don’t we? Jerry could barely stop himself when I showed him my Christian Grey ‘spank me’ pants. I have the rear for them mind which isn’t bad after two brutal pregnancies. Bloody men.
The problem with Washington, apart from leaving Arabella in charge of the day to day – I can still deal with product in the US – is Liz with Mum and Dad. They’re soft. They’ll subsidize her, that’s the issue here. Of course it’s not the money. We’re the givers in this family. No it’s this whole dependency thing. She and that lout need to stand on their own two feet.
Oh well, time to tell them and see how they take it.
I don’t believe they can be so mean. ‘Well done.’ Is that the best they can do? No ‘we’ll miss you.’ They didn’t even sound keen to come and stay which might be a blessing in truth.
And to cap it all Liz announces Colin is redundant. Again. Like it was no biggie. Which it isn’t when your little sis is always there to bail you out. I do not believe the sheer nerve of my sister. It like it’s expected.
You know what dad said? Get this. ‘Why not have Liz house sit when you’re away.’ Yes really. Like it was the most natural thing. He’s right we’re not selling – Jerry said it would be bad timing, with the markets in flux and the house mostly charged as collateral for his partnership stake; but we want professionals. Colin’d smoke indoors for starters and they’d never ensure the right chopping boards were used. Last Christmas she put raw chicken in the same fridge as the stilton I bought. She’s incredible. She said it didn’t matter because the stilton hadn’t been opened, like she knew what she was doing. Oh, that’s Jerry. He’d better have a really good excuse for leaving me to deal with my family alone.
He’s already in Washington. I was sure I’d misunderstood but it’s true. He said he’s gone with Elise and they want a divorce. I said, ‘Who’s they?’ But that told me all I needed to know. That bitch was forcing him. I knew he was weak; I knew he’d have trouble with that dick of his with her around and her Alpine Mammaries. I warned him. Screw her and I’ll screw you, I told him. I reminded him about that and he said I could try.
He’s cleared everything out. The joint account, even my own business account. Everything.
He tried to make it sound like he was doing it to me, before I did it to him. I’ll make sure the kids are ok, he said. Well, great. Of course he will. He’ll make sure I’m ok too. He’s not getting away with this.
But how could he do it now? He laughed when I asked him why now. You know what he said? You’re with your family. They’ll be able to look after you. Let them do something for you for once. You’re the one always saying you’re a saint. He has such a nasty voice when he says things like that. Really sneery.
I could her that bitch behind him, hurrying him up. He loved every second, detailing where all the money had gone. I asked him if he’d ever really loved me and he said, ‘You’re a good lay.’
Can you imagine Mum’s face? The shock will kill her. She thinks my life is perfect. Everything’s rosy. She’ll never cope.
And dad will be so angry. He trusted Jerry to look after me. When he gave me away – did I say our wedding was featured in ‘Coming Bride’? – it was photographed by the man who does those calendars for garages. I know they usually have cheap women but he understands tone and lighting. I have an unusually beautiful russet tint to my cheeks and few photographers know how to capture the radiance. Most make me look like a beetroot salad. Where was I? Oh dad. Yes when he ‘gave me away’ he meant it. I’m his jewel and he wants me cossetted. He’ll want to kill Jerry and I can’t have that worry, not now.
As for bloody Liz. Oh god she’ll love this. Everyone knows she and Colin would be the ones to split. It’s all mum and dad talk about. She’ll love this. She’ll bloody crow. She’ll…
‘Hi sis? You ok? I thought I heard crying?’
‘Noo. Just having a laugh with Jerry. You’ll never guess but he’s only gone and hired a house with views of the Capitol. He says it’s as beautiful as me. Silly billy…’