Misty Jordan is happily married to her husband Christopher, or so she tells her friends. Secretly, she reads the novels of Joshua Walker and dreams of meeting him.
At five-thirty in the morning, my alarm clock jangled me right out of a sound sleep.
Jerkily, I reached over and slapped the damn thing.
Beside me, my husband Chris stirred.
“Is it time already?”
“Yes. It's time already.”
I smiled affectionately at him as he reached over and caught me by the waist with both hands.
“Why do you have to go to work, anyway? Can't you just stay home?”
Patiently, I said, “Because, if I did that, they would find someone else who doesn't mind getting up so early. Then, all that money would go to someone else's bank account.”
Chris made an unhappy noise. “Yes. I know.”
I gave my husband a kiss. “Wanna help me with the girls?”
He moved his hands from my waist to my breasts. “Yeah, sure, I'd love to...”
I smirked, but didn't pull away. “I meant Raquel and Samantha, silly.”
“The girls are fourteen. I doubt they need our help by now.”
“You don't know the girls.”
“Okay, okay. Give me a minute. Gotta answer nature's call.”
“I'll just go make sure they're awake.”
While my husband went to the bathroom, I got up out of bed, put on a robe over my cotton night dress and made my way down the hall to our daughters' bedrooms. My beautiful twin daughters, named Raquel and Samantha after my best friends, looked more like me with each passing day, according to Chris and everyone else.
I arrived at Raquel's room first and cracked the door open. “Raquel, baby? It's time to get up.”
Raquel's drowsy voice murmured, “Is it time already, Mom?”
I smiled to myself. “Yes, it's time already. Come on now, rise and shine. You don't want your sister to use up all the hot water.”
Samantha emerged from her own bedroom at the end of the hall, sounding wide awake. “I don't use up all the hot water, Mom.”
As she passed by me on her way to the bathroom, I said, “Samantha, please try not to take too long. I have an important meeting today. Okay?”
Sam rolled her eyes, but said, “Yeah, okay, Mom. I got it.”
Raquel appeared from her bedroom. “She only takes long showers because of a boy.”
I looked at Sam. “Really?”
Sam, who had suddenly averted her eyes, just said, “Whatever.”
Raquel laughed sleepily. “Yeah, whatever! His name is Tyler Jackson and he plays football. Right, Sam?”
My husband appeared in the hallway. “As all young men should. Are we going to meet this young man any time soon, Sam?”
Sam studiously concentrated her attention on the floor. “Maybe.”
Then Chris said, “In any case, your mother and I would also like to be able to take showers with warm water. So please, try not to take too long. Either of you.”
Both daughters chorused, “Yes, Dad.”
I slipped a wink at my husband. He grinned back at me. Then I proceeded down the stairs to get breakfast started.
At the front door, I said, “Now, girls, try to have a good day, and please, be careful at practice.”
The girls chorused, “Yes, Mom.”
I smiled and had to wipe a tear away. “I'll see you tonight.”
“Bye, Mom.” With a hug and a kiss, they breezed out the door.
In the silence that followed their departure, my husband said, “Seems like just yesterday I was holding them in my arms.”
“I know. Tell me about it.” Then I turned around and headed for the stairs, sparing a glance at the Christmas tree. We had a ball putting it up last weekend over Thanksgiving.
As we headed up the stairs, my husband asked, “What's on tap today?”
“I have my weekly meeting.”
“That's always fun.”
“Oh, yeah. This one will be, too.”
As we reached the top of the stairs, Chris asked, “What do you mean?”
I turned around and replied, “My boss is going to ask me if I've found someone to write a series of novels based on the TV show. And I will still have to tell her I haven't found anyone yet.”
Chris held my arms in his strong hands and said, “Yet. Remember that. Not yet.”
I smiled, as he kissed my forehead affectionately. “Okay. Thank you.”
He smiled back. “Hey, that's what I'm here for.”
I turned around and walked up the hall, heading back to our bedroom. There, I slipped off my robe and draped it across the bed.
Chris asked, “You got your yoga class after work, right?”
“Right. Don't forget to pick up the girls from school this afternoon.”
“I won't. How are you gonna get home from yoga?”
“I'll have Raquel give me a ride home. I have cab money, too, just in case.”
“Okay. Be careful.”
I turned around and kissed him. “Always.” I headed for the master bath, went to the shower stall at the far end, reached in, and turned on the water. As I waited for the water to heat up, I stood in the doorway and asked, “So. What are you doing today?”
“Waiting. For a phone call.”
“A phone call? About a job?”
“That's great, baby. What's it about?”
“A friend of mine who works at an investment company in Santa Monica says their company is getting a contract from the University to do their employee 401k.”
“Ah, so I'm guessing they're going to need new people?”
“Right. My friend says he's going to get my name on the list.”
“Good!” Seeing his anxious expression, I crossed over to him, held his face and got his attention. “Hey. He will call, with good news. You have to have faith.”
I gently squeezed his face between my palms. “Hey...I know things have been hard. But they also could have been a lot harder. I could have lost my job, too.”
He nodded unhappily. “Yeah. I know.”
“Chris. What's wrong?”
“It just seems like...this whole world is changing too fast.”