“I will have you for my wife, Miss Bellissa!”
“Like hell you will, Mister Aristade.”
Leaning across the customer service desk, Gage and Jolee were locked in a heated argument. Oblivious to the surrounding shoppers leafing through the books, they had been fighting in hushed tones for over an hour. It was nothing new. In fact, many of the regulars expected this. Twice a week, Gage Aristade would bring Jolee Bellissa an iced chai during the last hour of her shift at the Tattered Cover. Every time Gage came, he would ask Jolee to go to dinner with him as soon as she was off. Every time he asked, Jolee declined.
“Come on, Jo, you know I’m joking,” Gage wheedled, “we don’t have to get married. Sheesh. It’s just dinner! There’s no harm in that, is there?”
“I know what happens to girls who ‘go to dinner’ with you,” Jolee snapped back with a devilish grin, “I’d prefer to keep my dignity.”
Gage ran his hands through his hair in a dramatic show of frustration.
“Why don’t you stop trying to be a tough nut, Jo, and just come have fun with me?
“I’m a girl, not a nut, Gage,” Jolee responded.
“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” Gage retorted, wagging his finger under Jolee’s nose. In a rush of sudden anger, Jolee grabbed Gage’s finger and squeezed it tightly.
“My father isn’t crazy,” she said through gritted teeth, her caramel eyes roiling with fury. Gage let out a small grunt of pain and yanked his hand until she was forced to let go.
“You honestly don’t know how to take a joke, do you?” Gage said.
“You don’t know when to leave well enough alone, do you?” she shot back.
At that, Gage seemed to have no more to say. With a frown he threw his hands up in defeat.
“Any luck today?” a sweet voice asked as a young woman of around twenty-two approached the service desk.
“Of course not, Babs,” Gage replied sullenly.
“No luck yesterday, no luck today, no luck tomorrow,” Jolee sang sarcastically. After shooting Jolee a dirty look, Gage hugged their mutual friend, Babette, and gave her a noisy kiss on the cheek.
“I think I’m starting to wear her down,” he joked.
“You’ll get her yet, tiger,” she encouraged, swatting him playfully on the shoulder.
“Over my dead body,” Jolee grumbled.
There was a small silence as the fight came to a standstill. The hole in the conversation made Jolee want to cringe. She knew how to keep rolling with the punches, so long as the punches kept coming. It was almost fun, in a way. With the tension broken by Babette, she found herself unsure of what to say next. And Gage knew it. He flashed a smile, crooked and sly, before bowing in a mocking, grandiose way.
“’Till next time, ladies,” he laughed, his earlier hurt forgotten as he turned on his heel and left.
Babette took Gage’s place and balanced her chin in her hands.
“Honestly, sweetheart. If that boy was any hotter for you, he’d be on fire,” she prodded.
“That’d probably be best for everyone,” Jolee replied.
Babette shook her head in disbelief, causing a few stray strands to fall loose from the high bun of her curly, fire-engine red locks.
“Really, honey, I don’t see why you have to be so hard on him. He’s always been kind to you,” she continued with her faint Southern twang, “Would it really kill you to be kind back?”
“And give him false hopes about his chances? Trust me, Babs, this is me being kind.”
“I wish you’d just let him take you to dinner. Just once?” Babette said.
“Once is one chance more than is healthy with guys like Gage,” Jolee said, sticking her tongue out playfully. “What’s that supposed to mean?” Babette asked innocently. Seeing that business was slow, as it often was at the end of Jolee’s shift, Babette hopped up to sit on the customer service desk. Legs crisscrossed, her elbows propped up on her knees, it looked as if she was about to be told a story. Jolee had always had a soft spot for Babette’s constant air of wonderment and innocence, even though the girl truly was saucy as hot wings. Though to anyone else she would have been dismissive, there was something about Babette’s wide green eyes staring at her like an expectant child that guilted her into answering every time.
“You know,” Jolee shrugged, “guys like Gage. The super attractive, super popular jock types that have their lives all set for them because Daddy has a place for them in their big boy companies.”
“So you admit that Gage is attractive,” Babette nudged.
Jolee threw up her hands: a mimicry of Gage’s earlier defeat.
“Is that all you heard? Of course I think Gage is attractive. I’d have to be a blind idiot not to see that. He’s tall, he’s dark, he’s handsome—and he’s a brute.”
“I don’t hear anything in that that sounds bad,” Babette murmured with a smile.
“Of course you don’t. Why don’t you go to dinner with him if you think he’s so wonderful?”
“Oh, sweetie, I would if I could. Mmm, the things I’d do to that man—but he’s set on you something fierce,” Babette lamented, “can’t go a day without him thinking up some new scheme to get you to go with him.”
“Give him a month. The challenge’s fun for him now, but he’ll give up when his balls get too blue,” Jolee laughed.
“What makes you so sure? What if he really loves you? He’s been buying you two chais a week for over two months now. That’s an awful lot of time and wasted money for just a quick lay,” Babette protested.
“For Gage? The little business boy in his father’s pocket? He didn’t even need to finish college to get a high position in the company. Got to do some kind of ‘accelerated’ program where Daddy bought his grades and pays all of Gagey’s bills in that mansion of a house they have in the Backcountry neighborhood. Two small chais a week ain’t nothing to a guy like that. You’re thinking Gage is some other guy.”
“So are you!” Babette retorted softly.
Jolee took a moment to imagine Gage in her head. He was indeed tall, at least 6’2”, and built like an ox. Most days he wore button up shirts that stretched tight across his broad shoulders and thick arms, with perfectly pressed, pleated pants. He was always ‘just getting back from the office’. He had long, thick, shoulder-length hair that was a deep chocolate brown, swept back at the temples like an eighties heartthrob and either hanging free or pulled back into a small ponytail at the nape of his neck. His thin, pointed face and prominent cheekbones were perpetually covered in a rugged, yet clean-looking stubble. His lips were smooth and pencil-thin, always curved into a boyish smile. And his eyes—large and deep, they were so dark they were nearly black. They gave women the feeling that they were being sucked right into his soul. If he had one, that is.
Sure, Gage was beautiful—and he knew it. Boy, did he know it. Boy, did he flaunt it. Gage was better dressed than most women she knew, and all of his outfits were specifically tailored to him. He flaunted his father’s wealth wantonly and unashamedly used it to pick up women. It was the first thing he had tried to win her with, the first time she met him. Babette had invited Jolee to go clubbing with her and some friends at Beta downtown, back when they were still in college. It had been her junior year. She had been there a couple of times while in high school, but hadn’t gone again until Babette begged her upon the love of their friendship and roommate-bond to be her wingwoman. Gage was the school friend of Babette’s target, and at the outset it had seemed as if he had been just as reluctant as she to go clubbing for the sake of their friends’ love lives. They had talked a little. At the time he had just begun his internship with his father’s accounting firm and was full of vim and vigor. She was just beginning her thesis. Over the loud dubstep they had shouted their bright futures at each other until it became exceedingly pointless. He had asked her to dance.
What could a dance hurt? He was a good dancer, too. Hell, he was a great dancer. They stayed glued to each other all night, only parting when Babette announced that they were moving the party back to their apartment down on Federal. Things went downhill as soon as the drinking started. The more Gage drank, the less he talked about dreams and the more he talked about money and glamour. With sour-liquor breath he kept pressing himself on Jolee more and more, until he finally produced a condom for them, crying ‘Let’s do this thing, baby!’
Jolee had slapped him and they hadn’t talked again until she graduated and moved back home to be with her father. She avoided having any association to the name ‘Aristade’. But it was hard to completely avoid someone in a place like Highlands Ranch. They reconnected again through Babette, though this time as friends with no inherent interest in each other. Until about three months ago, when he began his chai bit in honor of ‘celebrating a promotion’ at the firm. But Jolee didn’t give second chances. The memory of him drunkenly groping her while bragging about his riches was seared into the forefront of her brain.
“He’s just not for me, all right?” Jolee said.
Babette shook her head sadly, affecting a large pout as Jolee clocked out.
“At least tell me you’re coming to the big party I’m having tomorrow?” she begged.
“Will Gage be there?” Jolee asked.
“Probably. Along with a bunch of other girls. And other guys,” Babette replied nonchalantly.
“Uh-huh. Who will all conveniently be taken or completely uninteresting compared to Gage, as usual,” Jolee said as she grabbed her backpack from its hiding place beneath the desk.
“You never know who you might meet,” Babette pushed, “your Prince Charming could be there!”
“Then you can tell him that I don’t need him or his white horse. Nobody decides my fate but me.”
She reached out to Babette to hug her, and kissed her cheek as Gage had done. Babs would be taking over the service desk from there, and she wanted to make sure she’d get home before dark. It was already six o’clock.
It was nearing October and the wind was just cold enough to chill while not being enough to require a heavy jacket. She grabbed a yellow wool-knit cap and matching scarf out of her backpack and put them on. To cut expenses, Jolee had sold her car when she moved back home and had deliberately chosen a workplace within walking distance of her home. It kept her in shape and saved her hundreds of dollars in maintenance and gas.
All in all, she didn’t live a bad life here. It was just—so predictable. So boring. The rousing discussions she had had in the classroom were non-existent in the real world. The certainty and structure were gone, replaced by the frustration of the recession and tumultuous politics. The BA she had earned in English, which she had planned to use to tear the literary world apart, sat gathering dust on her shelf. She was stuck in a life that she had envisioned fleeing all throughout her studies, and now she couldn’t see herself getting out of it. She wanted to see the world. She wanted to be a heroine of her own story. She had grown up as such a visionary and now? Now she fought every day just to keep her and her father afloat in an exclusive kind of town that used to be a sign of their success, but now just reminded her of how they’d fallen.
If only they’d stayed in France. Though her father, Moe, was a born Italian he had been raised a Frenchman and married a Frenchwoman. In truth, Jolee had two elder sisters and a mother across the sea. When she was still a toddler her father left her mother, without filing anything official, and took a non-protesting Jolee to the United States to become an independently contracted inventor for a couple of private American investors. His genius was needed there, he had said. They would make their fortune there, he had said. To this day her parents were still legally wed, though Moe paid no child support for his other daughters and Jolee only spoke once a year to her mother and sisters. From the little contact she did have, however, she knew the rest of her family was better provided for in France than she and her father were here.
She didn’t dare ask for financial help from her mother. Moe had never helped her or his other daughters financially, so why would she help them now? The two sides of the family were completely independent in everything but name. She also knew better than to ask her father to leave America. He loved it here. No matter how few contracts came to him in the economic downturn, he consistently praised the Land of the Free as if it had been his motherland. Jolee, in turn, would find it much too hard to leave her father.
So she was stuck here, like a mouse in a trap. Dream as she might, there was no way out that wouldn’t be selfish or permanently damaging to the only people she loved. But did that really mean that there would be nothing more for her in this life than—this?
Her father was bent over his workbench when she walked in the door. It was situated in the middle of the living room, atop the ancient television they never bothered to turn on. In the years she had been away at college, Moe had let the house grow wild. Offices that had once been pristine and neatly organized, thanks to Jolee, were stuffed to the ceiling with paperwork and blueprints thrown about helter skelter. She was afraid of opening the several guest bedrooms. Even Moe’s room was locked up like a hazardous waste site. Most nights he slept on the tattered living room couch. Otherwise he slept slumped over his work, a blanket thrown lovingly around his shoulders by his daughter.
The only rooms that were considered ‘safe’ were Jolee’s own room and the kitchen; the latter of which threatened to succumb to her father’s clutter more and more each day. At that moment, the table was covered in bills for the current and previous months. When she had the time, Jolee would have to sort through them and pay off the most important ones: utilities, electric, the interest on the credit cards and her student loans. Her father hadn’t been able to help with bills much since she had been home. Due to the economic downturn, the investors had gotten tighter and tighter with their spending, especially on the inventions of unpredictable geniuses like her father. The stress of the constant stream of funding drying up, in turn, made it harder and harder for her father to finish a project, much less invent something useful. For months he hadn’t even left the blueprint stage. He just kept drawing and cursing and scrapping and redoing every last sketch until Jolee couldn’t even clean up after him anymore. The basement that had once served as his work room for models and initial mock ups lay silent and untouched beneath them like a graveyard of ambition.
“I’m home, Pa,” Jolee called as she hung her scarf and hat by the door, “have any luck today?”
Blinking from behind his large round-rimmed glasses like he was emerging from the depths of a cave, Moe looked up at her as if startled by her presence. He had always looked like a balding baby owl to Jolee.
“Just got some details to work on, some kinks to iron out,” he replied jovially, a wide smile spreading across his white-whiskered cheeks. It was the answer he had given her for several months now, and as always she pretended that it was the first time she was hearing it.
“Sounds promising, Papa,” she responded cheerily, hugging him and planting a happy kiss on the top of his shiny bare head.
“Oh it is ma belle,” her father replied in the thick accent that was a mixture of Italian and French, “We’ll be back on our feet in no time.”
“Of course, Papa. Have you had dinner yet?” she asked, changing the topic.
Moe shook his head, his bushy brows furrowed. “Haven’t been hungry,” he replied honestly, “But I’ll eat anything you make me.”
“No problem,” Jolee called as she went to the kitchen to rummage through the fridge, “But it’s probably going to be frozen pizza again.”
“No one makes a better frozen pizza than you, R[O1] osebud,” he chuckled, putting his pens and rulers down so that he could join her in the kitchen. He was a round man, built like a ball, and it took him a fair amount of time to waddle over to the table to sit down while Jolee preheated the oven.
“So, how was your day?” her father asked, pushing the envelopes to a far end of the table.
“Same old, same old,” Jolee replied, pulling the plastic from the cardboard-esque pizza.
“Did that Aristade boy visit again?” Moe asked.
Jolee gave her father a long look. By now, Moe had memorized Gage’s scheduled visits to her work, and looked forward to them way more than Jolee ever had. Her father had a bit of an antiquated notion about women and marriage. He and her mother had married shortly after conceiving her eldest sister at seventeen. Even though that hadn’t worked out the greatest logistically, Moe swore by the process (‘I still love your mother.’ “It works out,” he would say during some of his more eccentric fits). Jolee suspected that deep down he had been disappointed when she had returned from college without a ring. Every year she remained single was another year distancing him from his dream of grandchildren. His two joys in life—inventing and seeing his daughter become a wife and mother—were being crushed; one by the government and the other by Jolee herself. No matter how hard he guilted her, though, she wasn’t about to give up and roll over.
“Yes, Gage stopped by. No, we are not going out anytime soon,” she said, popping the pizza in the oven.
“You’re not getting any younger, Jolee,” her father said, with large hand gestures to match, “When I met him he seemed like a nice boy. Polite, handsome, successful, and all eyes for my little princess.”
“But Papa, he’s just—not for me, all right?” Jolee responded, arms folded.
“Why, did he hurt you?” Moe asked concernedly, “Do I have to have a talk with his father?”
Jolee shook her head. Though she had Gage in her books as selfish, materialistic, showy and full-of-himself, she would never lie and go far enough to call him downright abusive. But she didn’t need him to be abusive for him not to be right for her, either. How could she make her father understand without disappointing him?
“He’s just not my type,” she said, shaking her head and joining her father at the table.
“No one’s ever your type,” Moe laughed[O2] .
He reached across the table and grabbed Jolee’s hand, rubbing her thumb comfortingly. The hope and kindness sparkling in his otherwise dim gray eyes nearly broke her heart. He had so little to look forward to in life anymore and most of his former joys were being taken away from him day by day. How could she reconcile taking away yet another of his dreams with the uncertainty of her own?
“Ma belle,” he continued, “you are such a beautiful young woman. Any man would be lucky to have you on his arm. Oh, and so smart! So funny and so organized. So kind!”
“I don’t need a man to tell me that,” Jolee responded with a playful squeeze.
“It wouldn’t hurt!” Moe said, “Who is going to take care of you when I’m gone?”
“Don’t you play the guilt card with me, Papa,” Jolee smiled, “I can very well take care of myself. You know that. If I find a man who loves me that I’m not disgusted by, I promise that I will marry him on the spot.”
“I’ll never be a grandfather,” Moe said with mock exasperation.
“Grandfather or no, your pizza is going to be done in about ten minutes. I’m going to go put on some pajamas and get comfortable, okay?”
With a dissatisfied grunt Moe gave up his battle as Jolee left him to rifle through the papers on the table.
Her room was up the stairs and down at the end of a long, white-walled hallway, the door painted a bright robin’s-egg blue. It had been a present from her father for her eighth birthday, after she had cried about the plainness of their walls. Her father had always been too busy and focused on his projects to take the time to ornament the rooms. To this day, every room but hers had plain white walls. But after she had thrown a childish fit over it, Moe surprised her by having the door painted by the time she came home from school. Before the weekend, the walls of her room were finished in a buttercream yellow. She reached out to touch the door, like reaching out to an old friend. Her father had never been the most attentive man—always too involved with his work to attend her softball games or parent-teaching meetings—but he was there when it mattered. But could she really live up to his high expectations of her?
Her door opened up to a full-length mirror propped against the wall. Objectively, she had to admit that she was beautiful. Her full oval face was neither too pointed nor too round and was unmarred by acne scars or freckles. Her skin was an even olive tone which made her appear always faintly tan, even in the winter. She had her father’s genes to thank for that. Her highly arched brows were a bit thicker than she herself preferred, but they defined her almond eyes and thick lashes. Her daily walk to work kept her lean and fit, but retained her generous curves. If she had any grudge against her appearance, it would be with her lips and hair. In her opinion, her lips were too thin to be sultry and her brunette hair too wavy to be sleek; too tame to be curly. Despite that, she had never needed to expend much effort to be noticed for her looks.
But who wanted to be known simply for the luck they’d been born with? She’d no more wanted to be known as ‘beautiful’ Jolee as she would have wanted to be known as ‘crippled’ Jolee or ‘penniless’ Jolee. She hadn’t earned her looks. They said nothing about the real her. Everywhere she went people seemed to think it did, though. If she was beautiful, she couldn’t be smart. She didn’t have to work hard. She’d always get chosen first—not because she deserved it, but because she looked pretty. It was maddening. It left her bitter and distrustful of anyone who wanted to get close to her. The only people she truly trusted were her father and Babs. To everyone else she was just the ‘Beauty’ that they’d either try to use or blindly hate for her good fortune.
She quickly shimmed out of her khaki pants and black polo and threw on a pair of lumpy sweats that had once belonged to her father.
“Papa, is the pizza ready?” she called.
“No, Jolee,” her father said, “you still have about ten more minutes.”
His voice had sounded oddly strained. Curious, she walked back over to the staircase and listened. From the kitchen came an unmistakable rustling noise—he was trying to hide the bills again! Jolee shook her head exasperatedly. Moe had been so angry and ashamed when she had come home to find him swimming in debt. She had had to all but steal the statements from him in order to pay them off. Though most the time he was too absorbed in his work to really notice what Jolee did anymore, he still fought vigorously to be the ‘man of the house’; when he remembered to.
Hmm. Ten minutes, Jolee thought, just enough time to check some listings.
It wasn’t like she could do anything about the bills if she didn’t have any extra money to help Moe pay them. She returned to her room to fire up her years-old Gateway laptop and clicked into the Favorites tab to pull up Craigslist. For the past couple years, through college and now at home, she had checked the ‘Jobs’ and ‘Gigs’ sections almost religiously for freelance writing stints and calls for submissions. To be honest, it had been a kind of hit or miss thing in her experience. She’d get a hit here or there, but a majority of them would ‘fall through’ before publication or refuse payment, or would offer ‘exposure’ as the only compensation. She really didn’t know any better way to do it, between her day job and caring for her father. She could always hope for any extra income, though, and the constant challenge to keep writing was always welcome.
As soon as the page loaded, Jolee noticed that there were three new listings under ‘jobs’. Two of them claimed to be ‘telecommuter’ jobs, but she recognized them as reworded scams she had gotten hopeful over two months ago. The third one, however, seemed different.
Tutor in literature and poetry,
to work in-residence with[O3] an adult male student in Aspen, Colorado.
Room and board provided for.
Compensation: $4,000/ month stipend.
Must have own transportation to site, transportation provided within area.
Preferred BA in English or higher
Experience with ‘customer service’ or ‘bedside manner’ etc. (Hospital, Sales, Teaching)
No special skills required
To begin IMMEDIATELY
Please respond with a headshot (for identity verification) and a resume.
Only serious applicants need reply.
Jolee sat back in her chair, reading and re-reading the listing several times. What, was she in a Jane Austen novel? No one paid this much for a live-in lit tutor, especially not for an adult student. Who would…
She could really use that money. If there was any chance of it being real, she would be crazy to pass up the opportunity. She would send her info and request that further specifications be sent back to her in return. No harm could come of that, right? Before she could talk herself out of it, Jolee drafted a brief general cover letter and attached the all-purpose resume she had created in college to the message. Like touching hot coals, she clicked the ‘send’ button quickly. It sent a thrill of anticipation through her. She was not, by nature, an impulsive woman, but she had always longed to be. Though all she’d done was send an e-mail to a prospective employer (that was more likely a hoax) she was filled with a giddy self-satisfaction. Who knew? It could work out after all and she’d be able to send the money to help her father while decreasing her own financial burden on the house. Even if the job was only for a year, a year could be all the time it could take for her father to catch some inspiration and get back on his feet.
“Jolee! Jolee, the oven’s beeping!” Moe hollered from the kitchen, “I’m taking it out! Come get it while it’s hot!”
Reluctantly Jolee returned downstairs to eat with her father. The anticipation building in her stomach bottled up, making her imagine wild things. She wanted there to be legitimacy to the advertisement so bad that it hurt her stomach. Sure, Aspen was still in Colorado, but Jolee had never been further away from home than Denver, and that was less than an hour away. To be able to live in the majestic mountains instead of this sterilized stale suburban mess of a town? To be just a breath away, all the time, from real nature, and not just the fenced in kind that was sickeningly manicured and maintained? Sure, she could be just romanticizing the whole thing, but didn’t she deserve something to look forward to?
As soon as she finished her half of the pizza, inhaling each slice as if she was a champion food eater, she kissed her bewildered father on the forehead and bounded back up the stairs. The chances of the original poser already replying in a span of thirty minutes were unreasonable, but it could happen. She was full of hopes tonight. Getting paid to teach her own passions somewhere in the mountains where she could learn to ski on the weekends? Count her in.
She shook her mouse impatiently, clearing the photo-montage screensaver and pressed refresh. Nothing. She stared at the screen for another breath and pressed refresh. Nothing. She went, brushed her teeth and cleaned her face, swearing that this time was going to be the last time that she pressed refresh.
There was a new e-mail waiting in her inbox, bolded as if it hadn’t already captured her attention. The subject read: “Re: Concerning the tutoring position in Aspen, Colorado.” With a sense of reverent awe, Jolee clicked the e-mail open.
Dear Jolee[O4] ,
Thank you for your interest in the tutoring position. Due to circumstances, I cannot at this time disclose to you the identity of your potential client. As his caregiver, however, I can give you mine. Attached to this e-mail you will find a list of my credentials, letters and contacts for reference, and my own headshot. I assure you this advertisement is very serious, and compensation remains as listed. The job would last two full years, with very little vacation time, for a high-maintenance student—which we believe justifies the pay.
We have read over your materials and can tell you that you are the most promising candidate by far. Would you be willing to visit us this coming Sunday to see if you fit the position? An e-mailed response would be fine.
Immediately, Jolee downloaded the attached materials. The first was his headshot. The fact that it was professionally done was promising. He was a scraggly guy, somewhere around his late twenties, early-thirties, with a wide dimpled grin on his round face. With freckles liberally dotting his nose and cheeks, his close-cropped straw-yellow hair, he seemed like a farm-boy in mid-transition to a city-boy. He had bright baby-blue eyes that sparkled. There was no way this could be the face of a Craigslist prankster or pervert.
His resume pegged him as a live-in nurse, graduated from Regis University only two years before Jolee herself had from CU Boulder. So that would make him—twenty-four? Twenty-five? Same age as Gage but clearly very different. The letters described Chip as having a ‘bubbly’ personality that just ‘overflowed’ with a ‘deep warmth’ and a determinedly compassionate touch in all aspects of his life.
So the lister was a nurse. That had to mean that the client was extremely ill or mentally infirm. Ashamed as she would be to admit it out loud, she was relieved. It meant that she could be in a hospital-like setting doing good with her work without being threatened by able-bodied people who only appreciated her for her. Perhaps someone who had been shunned or kept away all their lives because of their looks would be able to sympathize with her. This was looking more promising by the minute.
But did she really want to be away from home that much? ‘Two full years, very little vacation time.’ How little was little? She’d never really gone a full year without returning home for a couple of months in the summer and winter. Was she really up to being apart from her dad that much?
‘This coming Sunday’. Well. That didn’t give her much time to choose, did it? She had all of Saturday, and then she’d have to be ready to do a personal interview. She could still decline the position, though. It wasn’t as if she was being asked to decide anything tonight. She would reply, asking for a time and address and tell her father about it in the morning. She was a grown woman, wasn’t she? She didn’t need to ask permission to make something of her life—but she would ask him to escort her to the interview all the same.
Reply sent, Jolee leaned back in her chair and let go of a pent-up sigh. This could really be another dead end, she told herself. A build up to a let-down, like most of her life. She really shouldn’t let herself get so emotionally invested in something that might not turn out to be the ticket to her dreams.
But what if it was?