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Come With Me
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Walk into your office to meet your new boss (you already hate him because he’s been hired for a position YOU deserved), and guess what?
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Although I’ve always been a perky person, I’d never been a morning person until I became a mom. I wasn’t as organized either. But now I’ve got the morning routine down to a science. Today was no different. I was out of bed by six a.m., and my coffee was already hot and waiting for me when I headed straight to kitchen for my morning caffeine jolt. I took my first sip admiring my handiwork. The kitchen was the first project I completed when I set up the lease purchase of the home from my sister and brother-in-law. The early twentieth century home had wonderful bones, but needed a little…or a lot, of TLC. Not unlike me sometimes.
But I didn’t have time to contemplate my home or my fixit needs. With my extra-large mug of hot coffee made from beans from a local Berkeley roaster, I headed to my one bathroom to shower. The black and white floor tiles were original, as was the tub. The room was gorgeous, or would be as soon as I painted, fixed the cracks in the wall tiles, and changed the light fixture.
I was in and out of the shower quickly to save time and water, which is expensive in California because it didn’t rain much. In my fuzzy robe, my long auburn hair wrapped in a towel, and my coffee mug in one hand, I went to my son AJ’s bedroom.
For a minute I watched him sleep, my heart filling with love and gratitude. The vastness of my love for him was always able to overcome the sadness that I felt over his father. To this day, I don’t know why Alex ended things with a text message. The end of the relationship was so unexpected and abrupt, it made my head spin.
At the time, I hadn’t had time to process what had happened, because a week before that, my parents died in a car accident, and a week after I learned I was pregnant. I did make an attempt to tell Alex about the baby, but by then he’d blocked my phone number.
Even after five years, I hadn’t been able to come up with a suitable explanation. I was left with simply he either lied about how much he loved me, or once away from me, the feelings dissipated. Fast. Or maybe it was the lure of the beautiful woman he’d gotten together with.
Terrified but determined, I put my life back together, finishing graduate school earning my MBA, and having a baby. My sweet, sweet baby was now four years old, and would be heading to pre-school in the fall. As difficult as my life had been when he was born, today, I couldn’t imagine a life without him. For that, I had to be grateful to Alex.
For a second, I wondered what he was doing. Did he stay in New York after graduate school? Was he married? Did he have other children…ones he knew about, and loved and cared for?
I pushed those thoughts aside and brushed my hand over AJ’s dark hair. “Good morning, good morning, it’s time to start the day…” I sang the song from the movie Singing in the Rain, just as my mother had done for me and my sister when we were growing up.
He moaned and rolled over. His green eyes, his father’s eyes, opened and he smiled. “Mommy.”
I smiled back. “Good morning, sweetie. It’s time to get up.”
He nodded, and at this point, he was good about getting up and starting to get himself ready for the day. I wondered how long it would be before morning times would get hard, as I’d heard it often did from other moms. He and I had already set out his clothes last night, and packed a backpack of his favorite things to take to my sister, who watched him for me while I worked.
Another wave of gratitude washed over me to have such a wonderful sister and brother-in-law. Without them, I don’t know if I’d ever be able to get a master’s degree or become the VP of marketing at a wine import business. They let me and AJ live with them until I finished school and was able to get a full-time job. They watched AJ for free during that time too.
Today, I was in a better situation, doing a lease purchase on the home that they’d had as an investment property. And I paid for AJs care, although I know it was nowhere near what I’d be paying if I had to find childcare somewhere else.
I went into my small plain bedroom that also needed some work, and got dressed. I didn’t normally worry too much about what I wore to work, but today, the new head of Altieri Wine Imports was coming in. I let out a growl of frustration. I had wanted that position badly. I knew I was capable, but Giorgio Altieri, the owner, decided to bring in someone else. Someone from the outside.