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What About Christmas?

“Jobs don’t just fall from the sky in New York.”

“So move back to Boston,” Ted repeated.

“No.”

“Well you’d better figure something out because I’m not letting your mother give you any more money.”

“I never asked for the money,” Caitlyn protested.

“I’m tired of her babying you,” Ted ignored the remark.

“That makes two of us.”

Caitlyn was finished with this conversation. She turned toward the foyer to go upstairs.

“Ungrateful little bitch,” Ted muttered as she took her first step.

“Dad!” Stacy gasped.

Caitlyn spun back around.

“What the fuck did you just say?”

Tommy sat up, eager for the show.

“Watch how you speak to me,” Ted warned, “in my own house.”

“Your own house,” Caitlyn repeated. “The one you built with your two hands,” Caitlyn mocked her father’s pride. “With your skills and the business you started as a young man.”

“Caitlyn,” Stacy cautioned.

“What?” She spread out her arms. “He built it, right? He built everything. Hell, he must’ve wired every bulb in all of Boston, right? What a proud man!

“God forbid a daughter of his have any ambition greater than matrimony or motherhood. And I’m lazy, and stupid, and ungrateful because I don’t wanna get trapped into a life with a prick just like these two.”

Ted got up from his chair and, taking one long stride toward her, slapped Caitlyn across her mouth. It was the first time he’d struck her in eight years.

“Go back to New York,” he spoke quietly into her face, “and fuck up your life. Go chase that ambition.”

“Jesus,” Stacy approached her as their father shuffled out of the room and went upstairs.

Caitlyn’s eyes stung and her lips throbbed.

“Will you drive me to the bus station?” she asked.

“What?” Stacy stroked her little sister’s hair. “No, you don’t mean that.”

“What about Christmas?” Tommy asked. He was still seated, relaxed, on the sofa.

“Shut the fuck up, Tommy,” Caitlyn barked.
She sniffled and wiped her eyes with her shirt sleeve, before looking back to Stacy.

“I’ll call a car if you won’t do it.”

“Shit, Caitlyn.”

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