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Drama Fiction Sad

5:43am. Vera woke to a phone call.

She fumbled groggily for the phone on her bedside table, knocking it onto the floor. She fished it up by its charging cord, blinking at the bright light in the dark room. 

It was Oliver.

She rolled onto her back, unplugging the phone and sliding the button on the screen to answer it.

“Oliver do you know what time it is here?” she asked, putting the phone to her ear and putting her other hand on her head.

“Vera, the project isn’t done.”

She sighed loudly. “What are you talking about?”

“Marketing won’t push it through and is asking for a million changes on it.”

“It’s supposed to go out today. We already went through this with them.” Vera flipped her bedcovers off and sat up on the edge of the bed. Her eyes grew dark and refocused. She flipped the lamp on, casting shadows across the floor.

“I know. But Ron Dinkin won’t let it out unless we make these changes by end of day.”

Vera ground her teeth and got up, heading to the bathroom and found a bottle of pills still open from last night. She fished a couple out with her finger and shoved them in her mouth, filled a glass with water and chugged it. She wasn’t even supposed to be working today.

“So what do we have to do with it?” she asked.

“I’m sending over their markups and getting Taylor and Brian on a call at 9.”

“Who’s time?”

“Oh my time, sorry. 6 your time.”

“See you then.” She hung up and put the phone on the counter, bracing herself with her hands on the counter. She looked up at herself in the mirror. What a sight. Dark circles under her eyes, her hair was unmanageable. Gray was coming through her roots again. She made note to reschedule her touch up.

5:48. Walking back into her bedroom, she glanced at the clock. She grabbed her hairbrush and raked through her mess, pulling it into a tight bun at the back of her head. Sitting down at her makeup booth, she plastered on something that would look presentable on camera.

Satisfied for the time being, Vera went straight for the coffee machine. She threw together what was probably going to end up as a crude pot of coffee before grabbing her work laptop and setting it up at the kitchen table.

The emails popped up as if begging to be read. There were a dozen about the project, all since 3 am. Ron must’ve not looked at the project until this morning. That lazy bastard.

Vera scanned quickly through the emails, fielding pings and chatters from various other people who’s mornings were now affected by one person’s incompetence.

She knew there was nothing wrong with the work, just that her name was attached to it. Ron had never liked her and seemed to really enjoy making her life hell when she was working on a project for him. But she didn’t know why, and that infuriated her. Even though they had worked together for close to 5 years, they had never actually met in person. Vera’s contracting company worked virtually with all their clients, and Ron’s company was based in New York, while she was in California. She hated bending over backwards for these clients who were hiring her to fix their company’s public appearance, without trying to fix what was actually the problem. 95% of the time, the problem lay with the people who hired the contractor - the owners and managers of the companies themselves.

5:59. Vera scrambled up to grab her coffee that she forgot she made and came and sat back down, plugging in her computer charger. She opened up the meeting. Oliver was already on.

“Good morning Oliver.”

“Hey Vera, did you get a chance to look at the notes? I’m not sure how we can get these changes done in a week, let alone a day.”

“Yeah, I’ve been scraping together a game plan for us to tackle, I think we will have to delegate a lot of this out to others to cover the workload, but I think we can manage.”

Taylor and Brian came on in succession while she was talking.

“Good morning you two. I’ve sent over some ideas for you to review. I know it’s going to be a heavy lift today, but we need this out the door at 5pm today. Take a look and see what you think.”

Vera dropped a couple forms in the chat, and the team began brainstorming their day.

They plowed through the morning in video calls and private messages, Vera only getting up to get more coffee or run to the bathroom. She didn’t have any time to waste.

10:03. Vera got a text message on her personal phone. She glanced at it and saw Jason’s name. She rolled her eyes and flipped her phone over so it wouldn’t distract her. She continued on.

10:10. Her personal phone buzzed again. She looked and saw Jason’s name again. She put the phone back down. He was being awfully pesky this morning.

10:18. Her phone buzzed again. She didn’t bother to look at it this time.

10:37. Her personal phone rang. Annoyed, she looked at her phone and wasn’t surprised to see Jason’s name there. She answered it.

“Jason I’m really busy and don’t have time to talk. What do you want?” She lodged the phone between her ear and shoulder while she continued to type the message out to Taylor on her laptop.

She heard a sigh through the phone. “Vera are you fucking kidding me?”

She scoffed. “Excuse me?”

“Excuse you? Where the fuck are you?”

Oh shit. Was she supposed to be somewhere? She pulled open her calendar. 

Oh god, Jena’s graduation. Her speech!

“Oh my god.”

“You figure it out yet?”

“Why didn’t you remind me?”

Jason’s sarcastic laugh rang in her ears. “So you aren’t on your way then?”

Taylor pinged her back. Vera’s stomach dropped.

“I’ll be there in 15 minutes.”

“Vera, she’s supposed to start in like 5 minutes.”

Vera slammed her computer shut, grabbed her keys and phones and bolted out the door. She got into her BMW and sped away, calling Taylor on the phone to finish their chat.

She had really messed up this time. There were so many soccer games and parent teacher conferences and sleepovers and birthday parties that she had missed, but this was the one she was going to make. She had promised Jena she would be there.

She flew through a red light, narrowly missing getting hit by cross traffic.

10:46. Oh her speech had started. She pulled her phone out and shot off a text to Jason asking if he was recording.

Her pride and joy was the valedictorian at one of the most prestigious private schools in the area. Vera was so proud of her.

10:49. Vera pulled into the parking lot of the gym of the high school. She fished through her purse as she sprinted to the entrance, finding the ticket she’d had in there for a month, and catapulted herself through dozens of people to see her daughter on stage, just as she was walking off to the crowd cheering and hats being thrown in the air.

March 26, 2023 18:41

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2 comments

Mary Jo Maguire
23:30 Apr 05, 2023

Working Moms would easily identify with your story. I did, somewhat, although I am a generation older. So, the office problem, including dialogue, didn't interest me, particularly. I did sense Vera's anxiety. Displaying the time throughout was good as it added to the sense of urgency. I related easily to Jason and Vera's personal problem and was pulling for her to make the graduation on time. I think having Vera miss 'The Speech' was a good ending, though. I am glad that you checked the 'sad' box because the story was that, indeed.

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Marie Reynolds
17:27 Apr 07, 2023

Thank you for the feedback! I think you’re right, the office talk didn’t really do much for the story itself. I’ll keep that in mind for next time.

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