A Courageous Battle (Chapter 7, page 1 of 5)

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Chapter 7

ON THE FIRST OF DECEMBER, 1987, it was Lacey's 37th birthday.

It was not a bookstore day. I will go to the mall today and wander around, maybe try on some clothes. I've always wanted to taste champagne; maybe I'll buy some, and a carrot cake too. Tonight I will soak in the tub and get tipsy. The phone rang.

"Is this Lacey Brock?" inquired a professional sounding female voice.

"Yes," replied Lacey. Someone else selling something. I do not need this today. "This is Amanda Stein, Parker House Publishing."

Lacey's heart started thudding. She couldn't think of anything to say. Yes! Yes! Yes! "We would like to meet with you to discuss your manuscript.

We're prepared to offer you a contract. Is next Tuesday at ten a.m. a suitable time for you?"

Lacey stammered her thanks and agreed to the appointment.

She danced out of the kitchen, twirled around the living room, and then raced upstairs to look at herself in the fulllength mirror. "See", she told her reflection, "you are not a stupid bitch after all. You have done something spectacular!"

MUCH LATER, she settled down. She showered, happy in the thought that tonight's champagne would be for a double celebration.

Ready to leave for the mall, she made a quick check of the kitchen and picked up her house keys.

The phone rang.

"Hello," she burbled happily.

"It's Roger. I'm not coming home."

"Oh, all right," she replied absently.

"You don't understand. I'm not coming home period. I'm moving out. I can't take it any more."

For the second time that day, Laceywas speechless. This time, though, the thudding heart was a symptom of fear. She felt numb, caught between the joy of the morning, and this new, awful emotion.

She just waited, dabbing at the surprising tears on her cheeks.

"I'm moving in with Mario Ferraro. And I'm quitting my job in June. I don't know where I'll be or what I'll be doing. I'll get my stuff out on Saturday when you're at work. I'll leave a phone number." He hung up.

He did not say he was sorry. He did not tell me what would happen next, how the kids and I will live. He did not offer any money. In shock, unable to separate the feelings of sadness and panic from those of relief that were coursing through her in a river of conflict, she tried to think. The household bank account was perilously close to zero. Her part-time pay wouldn't begin to cover expenses. I should get a lawyer. Roger will be mean, I know it! The shock of this call had wiped from her mind the earlier one. She sank into a kitchen chair and thought about that now.

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