Betsy Wickwire's Dirty Secret

Betsy Wickwire's Dirty Secret by Vicki Grant Read Free Book Online

Book: Betsy Wickwire's Dirty Secret by Vicki Grant Read Free Book Online
Authors: Vicki Grant
in bed and checked the clock. 7:43. The wake-up calls didn’t usually start until quarter after eight. That gave Mom fifteen minutes for her pep talks before she had to head off to work.
    â€œSweet-ie!” At least it was the carrot instead of the stick today. “Can you come downstairs? … Now? Please?” I lay on my back and stared at the ceiling. Why wasit okay for Hank to sleep in but I always had to get up? Why would I even want to get up? It’s not like I had anything to actually live for these days.
    I could hear the click of her shoes starting up the stairs. Damn. I slammed my hand on the bed and said, “Coming.”
    I really, really didn’t want my mother in my room. She’d start opening windows, putting things away, nattering on about how much better I’d feel if I just called a friend, took some pride in my appearance, ate better, exercised, “pursued an interest,” whatever.
    Well, you know what? I tried the outside world and I didn’t like it. Moreover, it didn’t like me. Isolation suited me just fine.
    I got up anyway. I pulled on the same T-shirt and shorts I wore every morning for these little mother-daughter chats. As I did up my fly, I started working on phony plans for the day. I’d tell Mom I was going to drop off some resumés at the West End Mall this morning. That should keep her happy for a while. I could go back to bed as soon as she left for work.
    I schlepped down the stairs, rubbing my eyes with the heel of my hand. Mornings never used to give me headaches.
    â€œAh! You’re awake. Great! Look who’s here for you …”
    Nick. Carly. Brianna. Nick … Terror — I’m not exaggerating—had me by the throat. My hand slid down my face.
    Dolores was standing at the bottom of the stairs next to my mother. She was wearing a pink T-shirt and a pair of white bunny ears. She held a bulging plastic grocery bag with one hand and waved with the other hand as if she were a contestant on American Idol .
    I hung on to the railing and tried to process what was happening. I was relieved, then confused, then ultimately horrified, all within seconds.
    Mom had a mischievous look on her face that was frankly too cute for a woman her age to pull off. “Betsee. Why didn’t you tell me to get you up earlier? I didn’t know a thing about your cleaning job until Dolores mentioned it this very minute!”
    Dolores’s face crinkled up like you’re kidding!
    Mom raised a finger and said, “I’ll just throw a slice of bread in the toaster for you. Get your shoes on and I’ll drop the two of you off on the way to work.”
    I waited until she’d disappeared into the kitchen, then I lunged down the stairs at Dolores.
    â€œWhat’s this all about?” I didn’t say it so much as exhale it in her face.
    Dolores lifted her eyebrows. “What’s what all about?” She looked around the foyer and whistled. “Didn’t realizehow rich you were. Whoa. What do you think a house like this is worth, anyway?”
    I wasn’t going to let her put me off. I gritted my teeth and said, “The cleaning job.” I knew I had morning breath but I didn’t care. “Who said anything about us working together?”
    Dolores rubbed the wooden knob at the bottom of the railing like it was the belly of a Buddha statue. “I thought we’d agreed.”
    â€œNo. We did not. And even if we had, you should have called me before setting something up.”
    That offended her—or at least she wanted to make me think it did. “I tried! You don’t go on Facebook. I didn’t have your cell phone number. There were no Wickwires listed on Oakland Road …”
    â€œHow did you even know I live on Oakland Road?”
    â€œEasy. My cousin Hannah had this thing with Rob Jardine who played hockey with Carly’s brother and …”
    I put

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