Rain reached down and picked up her phone off of the pavement.
“Please don’t be broken, please don’t be broken,” she pleaded as she turned it over. “Fuck,” she said again with a sigh. “This day can’t possibly get any worse.”
She stood up and started to walk away when a man on rollerblades knocked into her and she went crashing down onto the sidewalk. “You have got to be kidding me!” She shrieked angrily as the man skated away. “Asshole!”
Grabbing her bag and her shattered phone she clambered to her feet and continued her trek home. Fifteen minutes and a broken heel later, Rain burst into her apartment dripping wet from the rain, muttering swear words under her breath.
“Rain? Is that you?”
“Who else would it be Liza?” Rain called tiredly as her best friend came into the living room.
“Geez, what happened to you?”
“I don’t want to talk about it.” Rain slammed her bag onto the coffee table and pulled off her broken shoes.
“Okay, well I--”
“That asshole fired me!”
“What? You got fired? Why? You’re the best thing that ever happened to that family!”
“I know!” she huffed angrily, pulling her long, wet, silky straight black hair into a messy bun. “He said that his wife wasn’t comfortable with me being in their home.”
“The wife that doesn’t live in the same house?” Liza asked in disbelief. “The one that’s been gone for five years?
“Yes! Something about her not liking how much the boys talk about me. I’m sorry that my pupils like me!”
“That is asinine.”
“And right before Christmas! What a jerk!”
“What are you going to do, Rain?” Liza asked softly.
“First I’m going to have a glass, no, a bottle of wine. And then...I don’t know.”
“Well, I do know that there’s a little girl in her room, who has been waiting to see you all day.”
Rain’s shoulders sagged. She dragged herself into her bedroom to peel off her wet clothes before making her way to the back bedroom of the apartment. Taking a quick pause at the door reign in her emotions, she pushed it open and smiled at the sight before her.
Her precocious, three-year-old daughter was pacing back in forth in front of her collection of dolls and stuffed animals, giving them a lecture on the harmful effects of too much television.
“Can I sit in on the lesson?”
The little girl whipped her head around and grinned broadly at her mother. “Mommy! You’re home!”
She ran toward Rain and jumped into her arms. Rain buried her face in her daughter’s soft curly hair and inhaled deeply, feeling calm for the first time since she had left for work that morning. “Hi, my Sunny girl. Did you have a good day with Aunt Liza?”
Sunny pulled back and smiled. “Yes, I did! We went to the museum and then the library. I got three new books.”
Rain smiled and set Sunny on her feet. “Did you at least return any of the books you already had?”
Sunny looked away. “No, I forgot.”
“That’s okay. Why don’t you grab one of your books and join me in the living room? I’m going to help Aunt Liza finish dinner.”
Rain padded back down the hallway with a smile on her face. Sunny always cheered her up even when things were going wrong.
Liza headed home after dinner and Sunny was in bed shortly thereafter, leaving Rain alone to ponder her next steps.
The job with the Mikaelson family had been a Godsend. After dropping out of her freshman year of college while she was pregnant, Rain got her certification as a private tutor when Sunny’s father up and left in the middle of the night. She had worked for the Mikaelsons ever since until the witch of a mother showed up out of the blue a few months prior. There had been conflict ever since. And now Gregory, the asshole, had fired Rain with no warning and no recommendation letter, a month before Christmas.
Rain sighed and opened her laptop to look for new positions. Everything she was qualified for either didn’t pay enough or was located too far out of the city. Unable to fall asleep on her own, she crawled into bed with Sunny and soon drifted off into somewhat peaceful slumber.
A month went by and Rain had no luck finding a suitable position. She took a job as a seasonal worker at Starbucks as the holidays approached to try to make ends meet but still had to borrow money from her parents. She was feeling more and more desperate until Liza reminded her how she got her job in the first place.
“Didn’t you find the Mikaelsons through an agency? Maybe you could contact them and see if they have anything available.”
Rain smacked her palm on her forehead. “Duh! How did I not think of that?” She fired off a quick email to Ms. Lewis, the woman at the tutoring agency who had gotten her the job with the Mikaelsons. “I’ll go down there first thing in the morning before work.”
Liza came early the next morning so that Rain could meet with Ms. Lewis about finding another position.
“I’m sorry Miss Dae,” the agent said sadly. “There just aren’t that many listings for full-time private tutors. I really think you should consider going back to school and getting a degree in general education so you can teach in a regular school.”
“And with what money do you suggest I do that?” Rain asked angrily.
The agent frowned and Rain shook her head.
“I’m sorry, Ms. Lewis. That was uncalled for. I’m just frustrated and my rent is due soon and I have my daughter to worry about. Are you sure you don’t have anything available?” She pleaded.
Ms. Lewis bit her lip. “Well, I do have one job available but you’d have to relocate--”
“Will they pay for the relocation costs?”
“I’ll take it!”
“Miss Dae, you’ll want to hear the specifics--”
Rain interrupted Ms. Lewis again. “Right. When would I start? What are they paying?”
“It starts the first of the year and the salary is $100,000 per year but--”
“Holy shit! Are you kidding?! That’s almost triple what I was making before! What’s the catch?”
Ms. Lewis huffed and crossed her arms. “That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you! You’ll have to move to Andalia!”
“Andalia? Where’s that? Upstate? Oh God. It's not in Jersey is it?”
“It’s a small country between Italy and Austria.”
“Wait. Country? It’s not in the US?”
“Can you hold the position for me until this afternoon?” Rain asked after a few moments.
“I don’t think it’s going anywhere but sure,” she chuckled. “Shoot me an email this evening once you’ve had a chance to think about it.”
“Okay.” She stood and extended her hand to Ms. Lewis. “Thank you again.”
Ms. Lewis smiled politely. “Of course dear. I really want things to work out for you and your precious girl.”
Rain was distracted her entire shift thinking about the job. Moving to another country seemed daunting but she really had no reason to say no. The pay was phenomenal and she’d be exposing Sunny to a new culture at such a young age. They really had no ties in the US since her parents had moved back to their homeland of South Korea three years prior. There was Liza but Rain already knew how she’d feel about the situation. She would tell her that they absolutely had to go.
She was stirred from her thoughts by a hand waving in her face. She jumped back, startled and glared at the offending male. Her scowl deepened when she realized who it was. “Jacob. What are you doing here?”
“Can you just take my order, thunderstorm?”
Her cheeks flamed in anger at both his presence and that horrid nickname but she saw her boss approaching. “What can I get for you today sir?” she gritted out, struggling to contain her discontent with the situation.
“You know what I like,” he replied, slapping a five dollar bill on the table. “Will you bring me my drink personally?”
He walked away before she could answer and took a seat where he could watch her stumble around making his coffee. She brought it over to him and resisted the urge to slam it on the table, or better yet, throw it in his face.
“There. Now, what do you want Jacob?”
He reached in his bag and handed her a large envelope. “You wanted me to sign, so I did. She’s all yours. I have no legal rights to her.”
Rain was stunned. “Oh. Wow, I didn’t expect--”
“Yeah, yeah you didn’t expect me to follow through. I know. Now, I held up my end of the bargain, hold up yours. Where’s the picture?”
She bit her lip. “You know you don’t have to do this Jacob. She needs her father.”
“As I’ve told you many times before, it’s just not for me, Rain. I just want to see the picture.”
Rain sighed and pulled out a photo of Sunny on her second birthday, laughing as she ran in the park being chased by Rain’s dad.
Jacob studied it for a moment before handing it back to Rain. “She looks like you. Stay well.” He patted Rain on the head and disappeared.
She stared after him sadly as he left. It had taken some time, but she had gotten over his betrayal but it broke her heart that her baby girl didn’t have her father in her life.
That sadness bolstered her courage. She had to be strong and brave for her little girl so she pulled out her phone to email Ms. Lewis. She typed three words and hit send.
“I’ll take it.”