Integral Instruments - With prelude to Justified Voices (Book 7)

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5

Megan

Once my text was sent I smoked a little weed. It was my nightly calm down after the daily storm that was my life.

I painted my nails and went opened up my paints and spread them out.

I popped in my headphones and played some music, examining the seashore that I had painted so far.

R
Glad to hear it.
Hope your having a good night.

I smiled at this thoughtfulness. No one ever really wished me a good night. The kids and I always said it, but it was more of a bedtime ritual than anything else.

M
I am. Thank you.

R
What are you up to tonight?

I looked at the screen on my phone. I honestly didn’t want to tell him what I was up to. This was my nightly routine and it was probably beyond boring to him.

Then I thought about it in another aspect... If he knew how boring I was, he’d stop bothering with me.

M
Just painting and
listening to music.

There was a pause and I didn’t expect him to respond, so I put my phone down and picked up my paintbrush again. That was when my phone chimed.

R
Still not watching
the music videos?

I laughed out loud. He really couldn't believe that I didn't like that stuff.

M Definitely not. I don't even own a TV.

His reply was instant.

R
You have my interest.

I stared at my screen. What did he mean by that?

M
How so?

R
You like music, but you
don’t follow the bands. You don't own a TV either? What do you do for fun?

M
I hike, paint, pick up after kids.
I just prefer to to do it
a little differently.

I made it through another track, and painted the outline of the rocky cliff on my canvas before he responded again.

R
What are you
listening to right now?

I let the track play on, and sang a couple lines, before I responded.

M
It's a playlist of slow
songs. Right now,
Death Mark is playing.

R
So, is this what you do
when the kids are asleep?
Listen to music?

M
While I do a little work, yes.

R
What kind of stuff
are you working on?

M
Right now, a painting.

R
I checked out
your blog.

M
Please don’t.
It’s stupid.
Really.

R
The blog? I liked
it.

That brought on the silence. I didn't know what to what to say to that.

R
Does the blog pay well too?

M
I guess so...
People seem to
like my honesty.

R
What about the painting?
What do you paint?

M
Mostly scenery.
Sometimes people.
It depends on what people
request or how I feel in
the moment.

R
So you’ve made a career
out of it all?

M
I have kids and
I’m old. 😆
I had to get my life
together at some point.

R
36 is not old.

M
How do you know I’m 36?

That brought a pause on his end, but it wasn’t long.

R
Insurance company.

M
Nothing is private
anymore. 🤦

R
Nope. 😁

R
Not when you slam
into someone’s ass end.

M
Uhm...
You might want to
rephrase... LOL

I snorted with laughter and went back to my paining.

“Mom?” Arlene came down the steps into the garage, eyeing me, “Are you texting?”

“I was, but I'm not anymore, baby. What’s up?”

“Not much.” She shrugged, “I just got home from the symphony and wanted to check in on you.”

"Since when do you check in on me?" I put my hands on my hips and smiled at her in shock.

"Since I was ten and realized how much weed you smoke." She snorted with laughter when I didn't know if I should be offended or flattered that she checked in with me.

"It's okay, Mom," She came over to hug me, "It's what keeps you mellow when things get too heavy, and it's why I love you."

“Want to play with me?” I smiled lovingly, “I can do the piano piece. We can get some snacks and make it a date.”

“Nah.” She sighed, looking at what I was working on, “I need to practice, we got all of the new sheet music tonight.”

My child was so goal oriented that sometimes I worried about her. Between her job at the library, choir and the Junior Orchestra, she was jam packed with extracurricular activities. So much, that she didn't even take time to make friends.

“You need to take a break, Baby.” I examined my baby, with her big brown eyes and sandy colored hair. She was so beautiful. She looked so much like her father that it made me smile.

My baby was growing up though... She was almost seventeen... Only another two weeks... And she had never really been a kid. It tore at me.

My phone buzzed again and she looked at it before I could reach.

“Who’s Ryan?” She smiled devilishly.

I had entered him into my phone, so I remembered who my stoned ass was talking to, and his name was in bold letters at the top of my darkened screen.

“That guy that hit us last weekend.” I sighed and picked up my paint brush again, continuing to fill in and shade the cliff.

“Why’s he texting you?” My now, overly curious teenager picked up my phone and swiped to read the message...

“I honestly don’t know.” I paused to shrug as she read the conversation.

“Mom, Ryan Ford is flirting with you?” She gaped at my phone.

"He's just being nice," I rolled my eyes and continued painting, "I think he's worried I'll sue him or something."

"Mom," She gaped at me, "Ryan Ford isn't worried about someone trying to sue him. He has amazing lawyers."

"How do you know?" I paused to look at her in confusion and she visibly looked to my phone and back to me.

"That car he was driving looked very high end." She was trying to be firm, but I could tell something was up.

"Honey, did you research this guy?" God, this kid researched everything until she was blue in the face.

"Maybe." She shrugged.

"Honey, that's stalking," I scrunched my face at her, "Could we not result to that? Please?"

"Mom, my point is, he's hitting on you."

“Arlee, I have my hands full here.” I sighed and tried to concentrate on my canvas.

“Don’t use us as an excuse," She pointed her finger at me, "I can take care of myself and the littles while you go out on a date.”

“First of all," I turned to fully face her again, "Don't worry about me. You put too much on your plate already.”

“Mom, you need to date again!”

“Tell you what?" I gaped at her, "You put the books, the studies, the violin down for a day and do something that someone under the age of 65 does, and I'll date again."

"Not cool!" She gaped at me.

"You seem to think that I need to live, but so do you." I stood firm behind my decision, "You do too much between everything. This is your junior year and you have all of the credits you need already, enjoy the rest of your time as a child."

"You know what I'm working for."

"And I am so proud of you, my baby, but you need to focus on yourself too, not just your goals. Goals can change."

"Not mine."

"Then, take the year off. You know what you want, you have done everything needed and asked of you, and then some. Baby, there is a time for everything. Take a year and be a kid. Have fun, make friends."

"So, if I get out there and be a teen, you'll see Ryan Ford again?" She crossed her arms and asked curiously.

"If he asks me out again, I will say yes." I gave her a nod.

"He asked you out?!" She gaped at me.

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