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Wrong. Because suddenly everything changed. Her wish came true, but now what? These days there was only one special man who seemed to want...
Wrong. Because suddenly everything changed. Her wish came true, but now what? These days there was only one special man who seemed to want her for who she was-and not what she had. It almost made her long to go back.
"Better yet," Linda Farrell joked, "I'll shoot you, and your kids can collect on your insurance." Then she became serious. "I wish I could help you, Kate, but you know my circumstances."
Yes, Kate thought. She did. Linda's finances weren't in any better shape than Kate's. Linda had opened an exercise studio for women a year ago and was barely scraping by. In fact, she recently admitted to Kate that she'd allowed her credit card balances to get danger-ously high. Kate knew the feeling. Her Visa card was just about maxed out. She did have a new MasterCard, but she didn't want to use it unless there was no alter-native.
She sighed. "The ceiling mess is pretty much the last straw." Kate still couldn't believe it had happened. Ap-parently, her roof had a bad leak, and because of all the rain this part of Texas had been hit with in the past week, water had accumulated in the attic until the weight of it caused the family room ceiling to cave in the night before.
"I know," Linda said sympathetically. "What did the roofing company say?"
Kate sighed again. "They say I need a new roof. But that'll just be the beginning. I mean, the ceiling will have to be repaired, and the carpeting will need to be replaced. God knows how much the whole thing will cost. What I do know is that I can't afford to spend a dime."
Kate was divorced and had four children: nineteen-year-old twins and two younger daughters, sixteen and thirteen. She got monthly child support for the two younger children from her ex, but even combined with her salary, the total was barely enough to cover basic expenses. Like many families, Kate andthe kids lived so close to the edge, they were constantly in danger of falling off.
Kate briefly considered asking her mother to lend her the money to put on the new roof and make the repairs to the house. But if she did, how would she pay the money back? And could she stand to be obligated to her mother? Wouldn't that give Harriet August license to become even more bossy and opinionated about Kate's life and choices? Most of which Harriet didn't approve of or agree with, anyway.
It was so hard to be alone. So hard to shoulder every burden. Kate missed having a partner. Since her divorce seven years ago, she'd rarely even dated. Who had the time or the energy?
"So what are you going to do?" Linda asked.
"I don't know. Today, I kept thinking about the root canal I need, and about the cost of my health insurance going up, and about—"
Linda frowned. "Your health insurance?" "Didn't I tell you about that?" "No." "Dr. Holland told us last week that the insurance company has raised our premiums. Mine's going to cost $168 more a month."
Linda's mouth dropped open. "Oh, Kate. That's terrible!"
"Tell me about it." Wearily, Kate glanced up at the clock on the wall. It was almost nine-thirty. Erin, her youngest, who had spent the day with her dad, was supposed to be home at ten. Kate drained the last of the coffee in her mug, then walked over to the sink and rinsed it. She smiled at Linda, who still sat at her kitchen table. "I'm sorry about dumping on you."
"Hey, what're friends for? Besides, I do my share of dumping myself, don't I?"
Kate smiled crookedly. What would she do without Linda? "I've got to run. I need gas, and Erin'll be home in about twenty minutes." She waved goodbye and let herself out the back door.
As Kate drove to the discount gas station she always used, she thought about moving. Cranbrook was a nice town and a good place to raise kids, but as in most small towns, there weren't many job opportunities. Kate's job as an office manager for the best doctor in the vicinity was probably one of the better positions available. Certainly, it paid more than she could make doing anything else.
Even if I were qualified to do anything else., But just the thought of moving the family to Dallas or Houston or even Austin, which was only a ninety-minute drive from Cranbrook, made her feel sick. Her entire family lived in Cranbrook, and although moving farther from her mother probably wouldn't be a hardship, she would miss her two sisters terribly. Sure, they could be pains in the ass at times, but she loved them.
God, how could she even think about leaving Linda? She and Linda had been best friends since kinder-garten.
And then there were the kids.,
Tom and Tessa would probably view a move to one of the bigger cities as an advantage. But the twins were nineteen, and many of their high school friends were already away at college. So a move wouldn't be traumatic.
But Nicole was a junior in high school—at that stage in life where moving away from friends would be traumatic. And Erin would be terribly upset if they moved. She was close to her father and both sets of grandparents. She'd also formed a strong attachment to her three-year-old half brother, Luke.
Kate sighed deeply. Thinking about her seemingly insurmountable financial problems was giving her a headache. As she pulled into the gas station, she decided that, like Scarlett O'Hara, she would put the problem on the back burner and deal with it tomorrow.
After filling the tank, she walked inside the station to pay for her gas. Standing there at the counter while the clerk finished waiting on a previous customer, Kate idly read the sign advertising the lottery jackpot, which was up to seventy million now.
"That'll be $25.60," the clerk said.
"Oh, I'm sorry," Kate said. "I was daydreaming." She handed the clerk a twenty and a ten.
"You want a lottery ticket?"
Kate never wasted money on lottery tickets. But for some reason, tonight she said, "Sure. I'll take three quick picks."
The clerk smiled and rang up her sale. Kate tucked the lottery tickets and her change into her purse and left.
Five minutes later, she was pulling into the driveway of her thirty-three-year-old, four-bedroom ranch house. Remembering the mess waiting there, she felt like crying.
Stop that. Didn't you tell yourself you wouldn't think about it again tonight? Now get a grip. Erin'll be home soon, and the last thing you want is for her to start worrying, too, .
When Kate let herself in the back door, Ginger, their chocolate lab, bounded toward her, tail wagging madly. Kate leaned down and let the dog give her a few welcoming licks.
A few minutes later, Taffy, their orange cat of ques-tionable origin, entered the kitchen. She stopped and stared with disdain at Ginger's antics. Kate couldn't help smiling. Taffy was so sure of her superiority in the world. Must be nice to have all that self-confidence.
Kate had just finished putting food into the animals' bowls when she heard a car door slam. A moment later, Erin blew into the kitchen like a whirlwind. Ginger, torn between the food and her favorite of all the kids, finally rushed over to give Erin a sloppy kiss.
"Hi, honey," Kate said. "Did you have a fun day?"
"Uh-huh," Erin said, green eyes shining. She pushed her glasses up; they were always falling down on her nose. "Mom, Luke is soooo smart. I taught him how to play checkers today!"
"Uh-huh. And during one game, he almost beat me!" Kate doubted the three-year-old had the reasoning capacity to beat Erin at anything, but she didn't con-tradict her youngest. She continued to listen as Erin ex-pounded on her day with her dad and his new family and tried not to feel resentful when Erin said, "Oh, and Mom, Dad said to ask you if I can go to Disney World with them this summer."
And Kate couldn't even afford a weekend in San Antonio. "If your father really does go to Disney World, and if the trip doesn't interfere with anything else you have planned, then of course you can go."
Erin grinned and threw her arms around Kate. "Thanks, Mom."
Kate hoped Mark wouldn't let Erin down again. Other plans had been made in the past that had never come to fruition. But she decided not to say anything right now to dampen Erin's happiness. Time enough if Mark reneged. Besides, why was it always Kate's re-sponsibility to prepare her daughter for disappoint-ment? In fact, she was heartily sick of always being the bad guy who pointed out reality whereas their father always seemed to manage to escape unscathed.
Erin walked over the refrigerator and opened it. "Is there any more pie?"
"No, sorry, honey, Tom finished it off before he went out."
"I'm hungry. What can I eat?"
"Oh, you're always hungry." Kate eyed her daughter's skinny frame and remembered when she, too, could eat anything and everything and never gain an ounce. Those days were long gone, she thought ruefully, looking down at her hips. "Have a banana."
Erin frowned. "I don't want a banana. Can I have some ice cream?" "I'm not sure there's any of that left, either." Kate should have gone grocery shopping today, but after the roofing company rep had delivered his bad news, she hadn't been in the mood to do anything. Especially anything that cost money. "How about some hot chocolate with marshmallows?"
Erin made a face, but she obediently opened the pantry and extracted the box of hot chocolate packets.
"Get out the bag of cookies, too," Kate said, suddenly hungry herself.
The two of them had just finished their hot choco-late and cookies when Nicole, who had gone to the movies with some friends, came home, followed two minutes later by Tessa, who'd just gotten off work.
Nicole barely mumbled "hi" before heading off to her room, but Tessa, long past teenage moodiness, sat down at the kitchen table and reached for a cookie. "Mom," she said, "Tom and I were talking, "
Kate looked up. "And he said he thought he could get some extra hours if he asked, and I know I could get an extra shift every week, so between us, I think we could pay for the new roof."
The tears that had been so close to the surface all day filled Kate's eyes. "Oh, Tessa," she said in a shaky voice. "I don't want you kids to have to take on more work. You've both got enough on your plate." "But, Mom, we want to help." Tessa's blue eyes were earnest.
Sometimes Kate wondered what she had ever done to deserve such good kids. None of them had ever given her any trouble, whereas everyone she knew seemed to have some kind of serious problem with one or more of their children. "I know you do, honey," she said softly, "and it means more to me than I can say that you're willing, but you and Tom work hard enough as it is. And you've got school, as well. I don't want you to worry about this. We'll manage. We always do, don't we?"
After a moment, Tessa nodded.
Later, as Kate was brushing her teeth in preparation for bed, she realized that no matter how bleak things were fi-nancially, she was rich beyond her dreams with her kids.
Posted July 25, 2007
As a fan of Patricia Kay's previous work, I really enjoyed Wish Come True. Kate Bishop needs money in a bad way, to keep the roof over her children's head . . . and when she wins a multimillion dollar Jackpot in the Texas Lottery, it's all her dreams come true. Or is it? With strangers stalking her, and friends and even family harassing her for money, she starts to wonder if it's all worth it. Patricia Kay captures the dynamics of family relationships and the human condition in a way that will make you want to laugh . . . and cry.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.