So sorry for the delay. Finally a long week is behind me, my grandfather is doing well but continue to keep him and my family in your prayers. AND we're getting 6+ inches of snow Sunday into Monday. So pray for Dad's safety too. Ya'll know who you are who have prayed, reached out and listened to me this week, and I thank you. Here's part 3 of my Cinderella novella, Unwritten.
All chaos at the table ground to a halt—even the kids looked on wide-eyed as their parents shot daggers at me. Or rather, their mothers. My brothers in-law were good old boys and they let my sisters rule their roosts. Ironically enough, a muffled burp broke the awkward silence; the bodily function elicited giggles from the other kids, but the impolite nephew was quickly backhanded by Esther, the harsher of my sisters.
"Free? For…what, again, Aunt Bettina? I wasn't following." Had I really heard right or was my hearing starting to go? Surely Aunt Bettina had asked Mom or Heidi or Esther to go with her.
Aunt Bettina's tinkling laughter filled the room. "Are you free next week Sunday to come with me to New York City? Oh please say yes!"
A thousand times yes! I held my tongue, though warmth crept from my neck up and over my cheeks as I considered the chance to get away from home and see the city I had only ever read and dreamt about in novels and movies.
"I don't think I have any—"
"But of course she can't go. Nora's needed here, Bettina." Mom spoke as if it were the most obvious thing in the world…and as if I were not sitting right there in the midst of them.
"Nora is twenty-four years old. Surely she can make her own decisions, cousin."
And so Aunt Bettina's gauntlet was thrown, and a battle of words was waged between the women. For an hour. In which that time my sisters and their families quickly evacuated the premises. I carried Esther's youngest to their car and promised her other kids I'd visit in the next few days.
"You had better not be banking on leaving with Aunt Bettina. How could you even think of it? After all Mom and Pop have done for you, you can't just abandon them on a whim!" Esther huffed and puffed as she buckled her hyper children into their car seats. Her words stung…no more so than usual.
What I was unaccustomed to was the tug of war in my heart between the obligation to my parents and the need for a roof over my head…and this chance of a lifetime to spend two weeks in the city that never sleeps.
Start spreading the news, I'm leaving next week. I wanna be a part of it—New York, New York! I hung back in the doorway humming the golden oldie's song as I heard my parents going at it with Aunt Bettina. Who, surprisingly, would not stop fighting for me.
"Nora! Come here, now!"
I jumped when Mom said jump—and normally asked how high. On one hand, I had a weak backbone…but how could I when I owed my adoptive parents everything? You are twenty-four…there's no legal reason why you have to stay and endure living under your parents' thumb.
Not to mention my part-time waitress job I had had since high-school was no more—to the delight of my parents. Thoughts like that sprang up only a few times a year, and I tamped them down before they could grow into action.
"You have a choice to make. You may either leave in a week with Bettina for New York City…" The way Mom spat the words, mockery ringing in her tone, made my hair stand on end, but I bit my tongue, holding my breath. What would be the other side of my parental ultimatum?
"Or, you can go on living here. A roof over your head free of charge. You can't have both."
Oh Lord, please no. My throat constricted, but I refused to let the tears spring to my eyes, lest I were chastised at the sign of pathetic weakness.
Bettina stood wobbly in her sparkly stilettos and sent me a glance that at once calmed my frantically beating heart, and lent me hope. "I'll need your answer in a week, my dear. The choice is yours."
I nodded, unable to speak, so I ran up the two flights of steps to my garret haven. Had not I only written two hours earlier a statement from my fictional character that was in truth, my own?
I want adventure in the great, wide, somewhere, Lord.
Was this my big shot—the opportunity to change my life?
I shook my head in an effort to shed the at-once thrilled and terrified thoughts. Sliding to my knees next to my bed, I folded my hands tightly, and squeezed my eyes shut.
"What should I do?"