Awaken: A Spiral of Bliss Novel (Book Three)
Author:Lane, Nina

“Thought I’d see if you want to have dinner. I’ll even agree to go to that tearoom you like so much.”

 

“Matilda’s Teapot is closed for good now.” I pull on my coat. “How about Abernathy’s?”

 

“Whatever you want.”

 

I steer the conversation to her atmospheric science work as we leave the bookstore and walk to Abernathy’s. After we’re seated and have placed our orders, Kelsey sits back and looks at me.

 

“And what about you and Professor Marvel?” she asks. “When is he getting back?”

 

“I don’t know yet.” Neither Dean nor I have told Kelsey about the miscarriage or the sexual harassment allegation. The pain of the miscarriage is still raw, and we’re not supposed to talk about the allegation to anyone.

 

“Hey, since the Happy Booker is closing, I’m looking for a job again,” I say. “Remember last year you said you could get me something in the atmospheric sciences department? Do you think there are any openings now?”

 

“Probably not, since it’s midyear, but I can ask around. Sometimes there’s administrative assistant stuff.”

 

“Well, I was fired from my last administrative job at the art gallery,” I admit. “I guess that’s not my thing anyway. But I’ve applied for a cashier’s position at a couple of places. I was thinking I’d like to do something with food, since I’ve learned how to cook.”

 

In addition to searching the classifieds and online ads for career possibilities, I’ve applied for jobs at a French patisserie on Dandelion Street and a pie shop called the Pied Piper.

 

Though I know I want something more than a cashier’s position, I need a job—any job—sooner rather than later. So I think it might be fun to work at a pastry shop for a while, especially since I know how to work a cash register, and I have a deep, abiding love for baked goods.

 

“There’s also an opening at a photography studio over on Ruby Street,” I continue. “They’re looking for a marketing agent, whatever that is. I don’t know anything about marketing or sales, though.”

 

“I think you’d be a great marketing agent or salesperson,” Kelsey remarks.

 

“Really?”

 

“Yes, really.” Kelsey sits back with a sigh of exasperation. “Liv, you’re such a… a mouse sometimes. It’s one of the reasons people love you, because you have this air of innocence and no guile whatsoever. You’re sweet. People want to take care of you. But sometimes you drive me nuts with your lack of confidence in your own abilities.”

 

“I know! I drive myself nuts. I’ve just never been able to figure out what my abilities even are, so how can I have confidence in them?”

 

“Well then, instead of assuming you can’t do anything, why don’t you assume you can do everything?”

 

“I’m starting to, Kelsey. I’m trying, anyway.”

 

“So make a list of things you like to do and can do well.”

 

“I like to read,” I say. “And garden. I can still make a great cappuccino.”

 

“What else?”

 

“I’m good at refurbishing things like old furniture. I’ve also always liked decorating and organizing stuff. I’m helping plan the museum exhibit and editing the catalog. I’m a good cook, and I’ve loved working at the bookstore with Allie. Oh, and I’m a decent artist.”

 

Saying all that aloud bolsters my ego. It’s not a bad list.

 

“So there you go,” Kelsey says.

 

“There I go what?”

 

“You’re good at lots of stuff, Liv. You just need to put it to use.”

 

“That’s one of the reasons I’m looking for a job. But I’m scared it’ll end up like all my other jobs. Just something to do rather than something I really want.”

 

I push my plate away, no longer hungry. “My mother was always like that,” I say. “Odd jobs here and there.”

 

“What does that have to do with you?”

 

I stare at my plate, unable to confess even to Kelsey what I’ve discovered in the past couple of months—that my dependence on Dean and my lack of career or even job stability is downright frightening. Without Dean or my own financial security, it’s just a few short steps to a life of constant transition and uncertainty.

 

“Well… I don’t want to end up like my mother,” I admit. “I’ve never wanted that.”

 

“Does she have a ridiculously good marriage?” Kelsey asks. “Does she live in a great town and have a majestic friend named Kelsey who is willing to kick her ass when she needs it and then buy her a hot fudge sundae?”

 

“No.”

 

“Then stop using your mother as an excuse for not figuring yourself out.” Kelsey shakes her head. “Honestly, Liv, sometimes you have to put on your big girl panties and deal with shit.”

 

She waves the waitress over and places an order for two hot fudge sundaes.

 

As my majestic friend probably intended, her scolding echoes in my head after we’ve finished our ice cream and parted ways.