ModernMom Chronicles: Chapter Sixteen

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Don’t miss chapters one through fifteen!

At 8:12am Jessica, the babysitter, arrives unapologetically late. She drops her large fringed handbag on the floor and flashes an impressive white smile. Someone must have invested a lot of money in those teeth, Heather thinks.

“Where’s the baby?” Jessica asks in her southern drawl that once charmed Heather but now sounds phony and irritating.

“She’s in the family room,” Heather says, picking up Jessica’s purse and setting it on the hallway table. “My friend is coming soon and staying here for a few days, so, I’ll be busy getting the house ready this morning.”

Jessica shrugs and finds Ava.

Heather walks into the kitchen and clears the breakfast remains. She knows that having a houseguest means an extra person to clean up after. However, she’s looking forward to seeing Angie, her oldest friend. It will be nice to catch up. Heather scours the sink with Clorox. The smell burns her nose. She knows that she shouldn’t worry about trying to impress Angie with a clean house. They’ve seen each other through breakouts and breakups in high school. But, she can’t help herself. The haunting images of Carol Brady, Marion Cunningham and June Cleaver: smiling, shiny housewives. When did they become her role models? She suddenly thinks that she shouldn’t have been allowed to watch so much TV as a child.

Heather finishes cleaning the kitchen and proceeds to the family room. Jessica is on the couch, her bare feet up on the coffee table, watching cartoons. Her toenails are painted hot pink. Ava is beside her, sucking her thumb and mesmerized by Tom and Jerry. Heather bends over and picks up the scattered pieces of Zingo from last night’s game.

“Maybe you should take Ava outside to play on the swingset.” Heather says.

“ I guess,” Jessica says. She looks drowsy, like she’s been out all night. It’s clear that she doesn’t want to move. Heather doesn’t like her attitude. This will soon be the third babysitter that Heather’s fired in the past two months. First was Debbie, a college freshman, majoring in education. She’d seemed perfect until Heather caught her sneaking into the house with the emergency key to do her laundry one weekend when they were supposed to be out of town.

“All you had to do was ask,” Heather said.

“ I thought it was better this way,” Debbie replied.

Next was Meadow, a soft-spoken polite girl who liked to pose nude online.

Angie is arriving shortly and Heather doesn’t have any other options for babysitters today. Jessica and Ava haven’t gone outside. Heather decides she’s not going to let this upset her. She imagines that after Angie gets settled in Kaitlin’s room, they will go to lunch at Ivy on the Shore in Santa Monica. They will sip ice teas on the patio and trade stories. Maybe they will walk to the Huntley spa and get massages. It should be a relaxing afternoon.

Heather’s thoughts are interrupted by the ringing telephone. Heather walks into the kitchen and answers. It’s the school. “Is everything ok?” Heather asks. A call from school always makes her uneasy.

“Your children need to be picked up immediately,” the school secretary says in her familiar and constantly annoyed tone. “They have head lice.”

Heather steadies herself again the immaculate white countertop. She looks at Jessica still seated in front of the blaring TV and the doorbell rings. Angie has arrived.

Don’t miss chapters one through fifteen!

Note: The ModernMom Chronicles is a fictional novel. The story is not a personal blog, nor is it based on existing people or events.

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