180 Degrees

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Babes

Thank-you for taking the time to read yet another one of my stories!

This idea was born of memories and of now having lots of extra time to write.

It is another one that I planned to be one and done, but these characters want their whole stories told, so there will be more!

As always please favorite, rate, comment, and send me some feedback.

I love hearing from everyone!

A shout out to my favorite ‘editor’ Thank-you for continuing to pre-reading, give me input and for just being a great friend! I couldn’t do this without you! (and I wouldn’t want to.)

************

ABBY

They said my world would change when my chosen numbers came up winners. Before I even turned that ticket in, I hired a lawyer and a financial planner. I may not have a college degree but I’m far from stupid. I had kids and grandkids to think about after-all.

The lawyer was both for estate planning and divorce. Luckily, we had been legally separated for months. Due to financial constraints we were still living together but that ended the day my numbers flashed up on the screen. I took my kids that very evening and went to my best friend’s house. I never went back.

Months later and all the dirty work of divorcing, splitting assets and custody were done. The kids we had together were fifteen, seventeen and eighteen and a half now. In an attempt to not be ‘every other weekend’ parents, we had settled on two weeks at a time. He was still in our old house and I was in the new house I had purchased across town. While our marriage didn’t work out, he was a decent father and I was more or less okay with this arrangement. At least in theory.

I was 180 pounds lighter and 180 degrees happier. Or close to it. Maybe 160 degrees.

The oldest was twenty-five and his kids were set, despite him not speaking to me for the last five years. He was battling his own demons. Drugs and building me into a monster only he could slay. He hadn’t contacted me except to sign papers at the lawyers, which was done without me there. He was still mine though. The offer of rehab was on the table for when he was ready.

I was extra grateful for the relationships with the mothers of his kids now. It didn’t feel like I was buying the kid’s love with the trusts that were set up for them. I had been in their lives from day one.

The church I went to was propped up with a nice donation, the best friend and her family were set. My siblings and their kids were set. Maybe not for life, but enough to make their day to day life just a little easier.

A trip to Disney World had just concluded a few weeks ago. Me, my kids and the bff and her kids who had never been. I felt great. I felt like I had been useful. Being a useful human was important to me. Which is why my next decision was out of character. Or at least seemingly so.

An ad went out for a personal driver. Very competitive pay. A small apartment included in the basement of my new house. A brand-new Prius, which could be used for personal needs when not driving for me. I hate driving. Every moment, of every time I’ve ever been behind the wheel since I started driving at twenty-one, had been hated. That hatred had only grown as the kids got old and required more driving around.

I used to joke that if I ever won the lottery the only thing that I would do with the money was never drive again. Now that was an attainable reality. And I would be damned if I didn’t follow through with what I had always said I’d do.

My daughter scoffed when three Prius’ showed up in the circular driveway. One for each of us. “When did you get all eco conscience?”

Why, lovely daughter, I always have been…just wasn’t always financially able to follow my inner eco-warrior spirit. Now I am. So, go, enjoy your brand-new car kid, before I change my mind.

The youngest got mad. He was eighteen months away from being able to drive. Sorry kiddo. I can’t control that. Don’t worry. One will be waiting for you when you can drive. Unless you give me a reason to change my mind.

The eighteen and a half-year-old took his off to his new apartment with a thank-you smile. He was my appreciative kid. My joy. The one that I needed after the hell that was raising my oldest. My nearly perfect teenager who not only didn’t like to party but couldn’t drink because he lacked an enzyme to properly process alcohol. More than once, I wondered if he was actually my kid. If I hadn’t been present when he was born I may have truly questioned it.

He was a good human. A very good human.

Don’t get me wrong, my youngest kids were too. They were just different. A little more like me. I always said that eighteen and a half-year old was a ninety-year-old gentlemen trapped in a ‘insert age’ boys’ body. He’s an old soul. Always has been. He got other people, understood their needs and tried to accommodate them.

He was nothing like me.

Anyways, so my world was changing. No more husband, only two kids living at home. No worries about bills or if I güvenilir bahis can buy groceries. And time. So much time to write now. And then there’s this ad. A few applicants thus far. All men. No thanks. I had no desire for a man living in the apartment downstairs. I should amend that ad if I needed to rerun it.

As if on cue, my email pinged. I picked up my phone. ‘Personal Driver Ad’ I clicked the email with the obvious header.

Ms. Hendricks,

Enclosed you will find my resume, references and a copy of my driving record. Most of the pertinent information for this job is within those documents.

About me. I am a thirty-nine-year-old female who worked in the education field until recently. Teaching in a high school in the changing educational climate has left me burnt out and seeking a change of pace and a change of scenery. I have an impeccable driving record, as you can see. I am well known for my careful driving.

I appreciate your time in considering my application and look forward to the chance to interview face to face.

Sincerely,

Tasha Adler

I opened the promised documents and read them over. Her driving record was perfect as stated. Her resume was impressive, if she was applying for a position in a school system. Her references seemed on point. A few phone calls later I was impressed with what was said about this Tasha Adler. She was ridiculously over qualified for a job driving me to the grocery store. If anyone could understand wanting a change of pace and scenery though, it was me. I had changed nearly everything about my pace of life and scenery in the last few months.

I opened her email again and formed my reply.

Ms. Adler

I thank you for your interest in the position. I have gone over your resume and called your references. A face to face interview would be the next step.

I am available any day this week at 1pm. If this works for you, let me know which day and I will send my address your way.

Sincerely,

Abby Hendricks

I clicked send and went back to my laptop and the story I was writing. I was mostly into embellished non-fiction right now. This one was about my less than wayward youth. There a wasn’t much tension. Apparently, I was a very boring younger teenager. It wasn’t until I was eighteen and pregnant, that my life got a little more worth writing about. I had a few wild slightly irresponsible years, then I got my shit together. The embellishments would be many. Giving myself the experiences I wish now I had had then, was part of the fun of calling myself a writer.

The youngest kid walked into the kitchen, looking for food. As always. A few slightly intelligible sounds left his mouth as he walked around. We hadn’t lived here long, so he was still getting used to where everything was. He was like a young cub learning how to hunt. His prey, Doritos. A whole bag. I sighed and watched him walk out of the room.

It was mostly just he and I, now that the older one moved out. Well, he technically never lived in this house. He just started college a town over and didn’t want on-campus housing, so I facilitated him an apartment. Which he was sharing with his girlfriend of two years. The daughter, after initially scoffing at the Prius I bought her, now spent most of the time she was not in school, in the car, at her friends, away from here. She could taste the freedom graduating in a few months offered and she wanted it now.

I got it. I was the same way at seventeen. Actually, I wasn’t but I wanted to be. I just never allowed myself to be. It was one night of uncharacteristic teenage rebellion that ended with a positive pregnancy test. I learned the hard way you could get pregnant the first time. Other lessons were learned too. That some parents suck. That twenty-one-year-old ‘men’ were assholes. That giving birth alone at just barely nineteen was terrifying and difficult in more ways than can be imagined.

A pinging from my phone pulled me from my musings.

A reply from this Tasha person. She agreed to an interview tomorrow at 1pm. I sent her my address and my cell number just in case something changed. Then went back to my writing and otherwise doing nothing.

Lunch and dinner came and went. The next morning, after a strong cup of coffee, I went into the small apartment tucked in the back of the basement. Bedroom, full kitchen, even if it was small. Open floor plan with a single room for living/dining. Laundry facilities inside the large bathroom. Sliding glass doors that opened up to its own little patio.

I surveyed it all. Recently painted and fully furnished. This alone was worth the job. My best friend told me I was nuts for doing this. I could rent this apartment out or give it to one of the kids. I could continue driving myself where I wanted to go or ‘call a freaking uber’ when I wanted to go somewhere. I listened to her telling me I was silly and this whole thing was outlandish. I loved her enough to allow her to get that out. Then told her to stop.

She türkçe bahis had been hearing me say how much I hated driving for the twenty plus years we’ve been friends. She also had heard me joke about never driving again if the chance ever came my way. The fact she knew me so well, yet thought I wouldn’t pursue this, made me question if she really did know me. I had the means and now, maybe after this interview, I would have the way. I just needed the right person to want such a job. Hopefully this Tasha was the right person.

The apartment had its own entrance, and a door that connected it to the rest of my house. There was a keypad lock on both. If this Tasha got the position, I would have her change the code to one of her own. I could also make it so she couldn’t enter my house. I wasn’t an idiot.

Slow down Abs. You haven’t even seen this person and you’re already letting her change the access code. Relax woman.

Back upstairs both kids were in the kitchen. I told them I was doing an interview at 1pm. The youngest mumbled something then went outside to wait for his sister. The daughter rolled her eyes at me and told me I was ‘so freaking weird’ for doing this. Then they left for school.

Thanks for your support kids.

I showered, got dressed.. jeans, decent shirt and boots. This job wasn’t so formal that dressing up was needed. Which was good. I wasn’t a fan of dressing up.

A little eye make-up and my shoulder length hair pulled into my standard ponytail. The wrinkles around my eyes and the shadows under them showed every one of my forty-four years. For a brief moment, I wondered about some plastic surgery. Then cast that thought out. This was me… considering I had brought four humans into this world I didn’t look half bad. Today though, I looked tired. At least it was me doing the interview, not me being interviewed.

The bff was on her way over for lunch and to be sure I didn’t ‘end up on dateline’ after this interview. I loved her but told her she didn’t need to worry so much. I was a grown ass woman.

I made more coffee and sandwiches when she arrived.

She unceremoniously plunked herself down at the breakfast bar and started immediately in on me. “Seriously Abby. What are you thinking?”

“Aren’t you sick of asking me this yet?” I was certainly sick of hearing it. Having her here was not my idea, nor did it feel like she needed to be. My lawyer was already running a background check on this Tasha. I wasn’t as incompetent as she seemed to think I was. “I get you don’t think this is something I need to do, but I’m doing it. So, I would appreciate support, not this please.”

It was the one extravagance I wanted from this money I had won. Nearly everything else that I had done with it had been to the benefit of other people. This was the one thing I wanted and dammit I was doing it.

“Fine. I’ll sit here and not speak and just hope neither of us ends up as a news headline tonight.”

I sighed and stopped moving. “Thank you.” She was so damn dramatic. And she loved me and worried. I got that.

We ate in near silence. She started in on me again when we were done. I told her to stop or leave. End of story. She stopped. I hoped she would stay quiet.

I glanced at the clock on the stove. It was nearly 1pm. The doorbell rang a moment later. Jan made a move to get up and I gave her a dirty look. “I can answer my own door.”

I got a dirty look in return. And she said something about maybe I should get a maid next. I threw a dish towel at her. She laughed as she attempted to duck out of the way, which got me laughing. I was still laughing when I reached my front door and opened it.

It took me a second to stop and be at least semi-professional. “You must be Tasha.” Okay just call me captain obvious. I put out my hand to shake hers. She met mine. Her shake was not like most women. She shook with strength and purpose. Like her hand was saying ‘I’m someone you won’t forget. Someone you won’t want to forget’. It totally threw me off for a moment.

Her green eyes met mine as she shook. “And you must be Ms. Hendricks.”

I smirked with the usage of my name. “Abby, please.” I moved so she could step inside. She was taller than I was by a good four inches. She was dressed nice, but not up. Jeans, blouse, boots. Her black hair was short and tucked behind her ears, which were pierced three, wait, four times.

If I was still married, I’d be a little worried about having her living in my house. Attractive wasn’t the right word for her.

Appealing. Alluring. Captivating. Enticing.

I wasn’t sure what the right word would be, but there was something magnetic about her and she had been in my world for all of thirty seconds. I walked her into the kitchen, giving Jan a look to remind her to keep her mouth closed. We exchanged a look as she came into Jan’s view. Then she mouthed “holy fuck” to me. I just shook my head. Jan was all too willing to judge a book by its cover, and this particular cover, was stunning.

I güvenilir bahis siteleri offered her tea or coffee, or whatever she would like to drink. She passed on all. We sat down and I introduced her to Jan. I didn’t want this to be some stuffy interview. I knew her credit was fine. My lawyer hadn’t found any red flags in her past. I was confident that if this ‘interview’ went well she would accept the position.

For the next thirty minutes we spoke. I had a really good feeling about her. After an initial formal atmosphere, we both relaxed and were talking like longtime friends. Jan even joined in; her apprehension seemed to have decreased.

She had never been married, no kids. Had been teaching for fifteen years. I sensed there was more to why she was looking for a change of scenery but didn’t press her. We all had reasons for why we did or wanted certain things. I was the last person to question a desire for a change in life circumstances.

I further outlined the job. The hours I may need someone. Jan made a few sarcastic remarks about how ‘out in left field’ even wanting a personal driver was. If I could have kicked her I would have.

Tasha, what I had seen of her anyways, was a quiet, but engaging person. Having three teenagers of my own, I empathized with her teaching math for fifteen years. We even joked about how unpredictable and volatile teens can be. I tried to make sure she knew my teens were decent kids. Not perfect, but decent humans.

I had made up my mind about ten minutes into the meeting that I would offer her the job. Before officially doing that though, I wanted to show her the apartment. Jan stayed in the kitchen when I brought Tasha downstairs.

“There’s a door between the house and the apartment and then.” I paused as I opened that door and walked inside. “There’s also its own entrance from the side of the house. Both locks can be programed to a code of your choice.”

Tasha looked at me after she looked around the small but nice apartment. “Code of my choice?

I hadn’t realized the way I worded that, but there was no need to act like I wasn’t going to offer her the job. “If you want the position, it’s yours.” Then I realized I hadn’t even shown her the car. “Oh, the blue Prius out front would be my car. The one you would be driving.”

She didn’t say anything, just nodded her head to acknowledge that she had seen it out front. I watched as she mulled everything over.

She looked around the apartment more, then spoke. “Sounds perfect to me.”

I waited for her to say more. It didn’t appear she would. It seemed like she was accepting the position, but I wanted to be sure. “So, is that a for sure yes?”

Her face turned to me, “It is. When do I start?” Her eyes were so green. Her smile small but genuine.

I smiled back. “Monday?” I was asking her more than telling her. “You can move in down here over the weekend.” Another almost question.

Her head nodded; one piece of her jet-black hair slipped out from behind her ear. She reached up and pushed it back where it belonged.

She turned back towards me, “Okay. That works.”

We walked back upstairs together then I walked with her outside, showing her the car as I did. We made plans for her to move in on Saturday. “I don’t have much to bring so it won’t take me long.”

There was a hint of something else in her words. In the way she said that. The sound of her voice when she did. It wasn’t something that made me nervous. Instead, I felt a slight sadness wash over the scene. Something that told me she had a story. One I would likely never know. We all had stories, I wasn’t one to share mine or press for others to share theirs.

At the end of my walkway, she got into the passenger side of an SUV that was parked there and it drove off. Back inside, Jan started talking before I had even gotten in the kitchen.

“Okay, she’s nice and doesn’t seem scary but goodness she’s like WOW! It’s a good thing Travis is long gone. I’m not sure I would even trust my Mike around her. At all. I don’t think she was even wearing any make-up.”

I rolled my eyes at her but couldn’t deny I had thought the same thing. Except, she could trust Mike 100% and she knew that.

*******

TASHA

I tucked the hair that had worked itself loose back behind my ear as I got into Olivia’s SUV.

I barely had the door closed when she was pulling away from curb. “Well?” Her deep brown eyes were begging me to say I had gotten and taken the job.

“I can move in Saturday.” I refused to make eye contact. Refused to see the relief I knew was washing over her.

“Okay. Good.”

I knew by the tone of her voice she was working out exactly how quickly she could get my few personal items out of her house and moved over here. How quickly she could excise me completely from her life. I tried not to let the pain I felt wash over me. I would allow that later, alone in the twin bed of our guest room. Her guest room.

Things had been strained with us for months before she ended us. Pulled the rug out from under me that dark rainy night. ‘Wasn’t in love any more’ ‘wanted different things’. The last few weeks we had been orbiting around each other in the house we shared. The house she owned.

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