A minor continuity detail which I'l go ahead and mention even though no one other than me may be tracking this kind of thing: The last suggestion indicated that Kristy would have been flying home on Friday. I've realized I need it to be Thursday, so I went back and re-wrote that.
It was with a feeling of comforting familiarity that Kristy drove down her own street and turned into her own driveway, the garage door opening up to meet her. Then she slammed on her breaks as hard as she could, stopping with an audible screech. Katie’s car was parked in the garage. She was preparing her rebuke to Katie over this as she backed out of her own driveway and parked on the street, when it came home to her that she had been gone for a month and a half. Of course, with the condo to herself for so long, Katie would have become used to parking in the garage.
She was wrestling her bag out of the trunk when she heard her sister’s voice, “Kristy! You’ve back! Oooh, hey, I like the hair.”
Katie ran the last couple steps down the driveway and gave her sister an enveloping hug. “I heard the garage door opening and I knew you must be back,” she said in a rush, still not releasing Kristy from the hug. “I’m sorry I forgot and left my car in the garage. I’m so glad to see you! Do you want me to move my car so you can park in the garage?”
“Whoa. Calm down, kiddo,” Kristy said, prying her sister off. “No, don’t worry about the car. Just help me haul this thing in, okay? I’m glad to see you too.”
They lugged Kristy’s bag up the stairs and deposited it just inside the door. Kristy found herself casting a quick appraising eye around the condo to see how well Katie had been keeping the place. It was surprisingly neat, counters clean, several new potted plants sitting in the kitchen window.
“How have things been here?”
“Good. Quiet. I’ve been trying some new cooking stuff.”
“That’s it? Nothing exciting? New job? New boyfriend?”
“Um, no…” Katie looked away briefly.
Kristy snagged a corked bottle of wine off the counter and was about to pour herself a glass, then stopped. “Sheesh, it’s not even noon yet, is it? This time change is going to take some getting used to. It feels like evening.” She went into the living room and flopped on the couch instead. “Well, I’ve got news if you don’t. I quit my job.”
Katie’s look of incredulity was so comic that Kristy, in her current adrenaline-based state, laughed aloud.
“You quit your new job?” Katie finally got out. “But… You don’t do things like that!”
“What do you mean I don’t do things like that? I just did.”
“But you— Wow. I could never do anything like that.”
“What you are talking about? You do all kinds of stuff. You moved out here on the spur of the moment without even telling me. You nearly lost your job at Starbucks because you stayed out all night.”
“I moved out here because I couldn’t take dealing with Mom anymore, and I didn’t call you because I was scared. And that time… Starbucks is a stupid job anyway. You’ve got a great job and you make all kinds of money and you love it. And you just quit?”
“Yeah, I quit. Best damn thing I’ve done in weeks. You wouldn’t believe… Their manufacturers were a mess. The VP of Procurement they sent out was a complete idiot. He let the Chinese distributor get him trashed the night before negotiations, got walked all over at the negotiating table, and the fucking creep got drunk again and hit on me that night. And then they just clammed up and left me stranded for a couple days. To top it off, I was on the plane and I read this article— It turns out this woman I spent an evening talking with was actually a reporter, so now there’s this article with me ripping on Aspire’s Chinese manufacturing strategy. So I quit. And I feel great about it. You know, I think I will get that glass of wine. It’s afternoon in China.”
Kristy returned a moment later with a glass in hand, sat back on the couch, and draped her legs over the arm.
“But you hated being out of work,” Katie said, still sounding concerned and a little confused. “What are you going to do?”
“Look for a better job. I got a note earlier…” Kristy pulled her phone back out and checked her email. “Ha! I’ve got an interview.”
The email from Lauren read, “Great to hear you’re still available. They’d like to get you for a phone interview. What’s your availability?”
Kristy tapped out in reply, “I’m available any time. Just let me know.”
“You quit your job this morning and you already have an interview?” Katie asked.
Kristy pulled up the email and tossed the phone to her.
“What is with you?” Katie demanded. “No one has that happen!”
Kristy shrugged. “It happened to me.” She threw back the rest of her glass of wine. “No, look, I’m sorry. That sounds ass-hatty. I don’t know what it is. I feel really punchy right now. I’m getting some more wine. Do you want something?”
“No,” said Katie flatly. “It’s not afternoon in China for me.”
“I’m thinking maybe I should get really drunk,” said Kristy.
“I’m thinking maybe you should go to bed,” responded Katie. “You’re tired and all wound up, and if that company suddenly says they want to call you, you don’t want to be drunk.”
Kristy paused on her way to the kitchen. “Oh. That.” She looked doubtful. “Let’s check!” She consulted the phone. Nothing. “What is up with that?” she demanded.
Katie got out of the easy chair and wrested the wine glass from Kristy’s hand.
“Kristy, you need a nap.” She took her sister by the shoulders and guided her to her room. “Seriously. Get some rest.”
Kristy obediently sat on the bed. “Okay.” She kicked off her shoes and lay down. Katie pulled the blanked up over her. The maddening sense of excess energy drained away and she felt the full force of the exhaustion she had known was lurking behind it. She closed her eyes and slept soundly until the mid afternoon.
When she woke, she found an email waiting for her: “Sorry for the short notice, but can you talk tomorrow morning (Friday) at 9AM Central? Let me know.”
7AM. Well, why not. All times were out of joint at the moment. “No problem,” she responded, and provided the cell number at which they should call her.
The cruelest month, a few days early
8 hours ago