“Yeah. Give me about like an hour or two.” I hung up with my assistant and struggled to open my eyes. The pounding behind my right eye was not the way I wanted to start my day. Not only was I starting my day like this, I’m pretty sure it’s how I ended up down here in my study on the couch. I thought I had made it upstairs to my bedroom.
“Mommy, I can’t find my other black sandal. Mommy! Mommy!” my seven year-old hollered and made the pounding worse.
“SHUT UP! Stop your fucking screaming,” I yelled and sat up on the couch. This was worse than I thought. Yeah, making it into the office today was not going to happen. I was going to have to make my meeting a conference call.
My daughter stood outside my study and stared through the partially opened door. Tears as usually and honestly I just didn’t have the time for them. She had a closet full of shoes and clothes and everything a little girl could want. The least she could do is let me have my morning hangovers to myself. She knew the routine by now. I didn’t do the whole, “get her ready for school” or “breakfast” things. She knew how to pour milk and use a microwave. If she didn’t know how to feed herself by now, it wasn’t my fault.
I made my way up to my shower and was somehow able to throw a suit together from the pile of clothes on my treadmill. Shit! A blouse. I need a blouse too. And a bra. A bra would also complete this outfit. Okay. I now felt bad for yelling at my daughter. Where the hell were all my shoes? When did my closet become such a disaster? I grabbed under my bed for my black pump and matched it to the one I pulled from my workout bag. This mess. I gotta clean this mess.
Who the hell is she talking to? It was going on ten and my call started in two hours. It would take me about that to drop Callie at school and make a quick dip to pick up another bottle of bourbon. My workout bag could stay behind because that wasn’t happening at all.
“Cal? Get off the phone and get in the car.” For some reason she chose not to listen and was still talking as I came down the stairs. “Look you little shit, I told you to get…who are you?” Turning the corner, I found my daughter on my living room couch with a young woman.
The woman quickly stood and approached me with a business card extended, “My name is Rachel Stale. I’m from the Department of Children and Family Services. We…”
“We? Who else is here?” A fear crept into my gut.
“Well, I should say ‘I’. Is there someplace where we can have a talk?” She rescinded her card back into her purse.
Callie’s eyes didn’t leave me. Unfortunately, I had seen that fear before. Most of the time I was completely inebriated and didn’t care, but that was between us, not DCFS.
© 2013 Mia L. Hazlett
All Rights Reserved. Excerpt from Conundrum- March 2014 release date.