Meghan George's life is screwed-up. Now she's jobless and forced back home to Houndsville with her seven-year-old daughter in tow.Parental displeasure, strained friendships, and a promise made will haunt Meghan. Neither is she helped by Grant Whitfield's shenanigans when she shows affection for his twin brother, Nicholas. Will two needy puppies be the key that helps Meghan to find her very own fur-ever better future?
Thursday, September 25
After her firing, Meghan reached out to all her previous employers. In addition, she even investigated every store in the area that sold cosmetics in an effort to find a new job. Unfortunately, she came up empty-handed. Everyone told her to come back in a few months when they would need employees for the holiday season.
Distraught at these repeated failures, Meghan even tried to find a bartending job, thinking maybe she'd be able to leave Grace with a friend while she worked. Since she had no previous bartending experience, she was turned down for those jobs, too.
Now with her rent due in four days, the fear of eviction consumed Meghan. After sharing a bedtime story with Grace, she broke down and allowed herself to cry in the solitude of her bathroom. There was no way she wanted Grace to hear her. She even considered going to sleep with the hope that a new day would inspire her and a solution would magically materialize, but in the back of her mind she knew she had only one option: Meghan needed to speak with her dad.
Waking up in the morning, Meghan walked Grace to school. When she turned to walk back, her steps slowed as she attempted to put off the inevitable. It was no use. She knew her time was up. She stood in the doorway of the apartment she shared with Grace and glanced around. She took a deep breath. Her heart felt heavy with trepidation and she dreaded her next move. She was about to lose her home, the only safe haven for her and Grace.
Sitting down with a cup of coffee in her small galley kitchen, she placed her elbows on the table and rested her chin on her interlaced fingers. She asked herself a question: "Why do I keep screwing up my life?" If only she had a good answer.
Looking back, eight years ago, Meghan royally messed up. She stupidly fell for Phillip, the cute, preppy, chemistry professor, with his tortoise-shell glasses and corduroy jackets. She ran through her memories. He'd taken her out drinking to discuss creating her own cosmetics company, or so she'd naively believed. Two months later she confirmed she was pregnant.
She should have reported Phillip, but she didn't. Instead, she panicked and dropped out of school, much to her parents' distress.
Meghan had been unsure if she wanted to have children. Her relationship with her own mother was less than ideal. It took time to come to a decision, but once she decided to have her baby, she planned to be a good mom. Her baby would be her priority.
Meghan managed to find a job in a small beauty parlor that wanted to have a makeup artist on the premises. When she told one of her customers that her hair was the wrong color for her skin tone, she was immediately dismissed from her job. A series of jobs followed. At one of them, which she enjoyed, she did makeup consultations for parties, weddings, and other occasions. She lost that job when it became apparent she would have to work in the evenings. Getting a sitter for Grace was not always possible.
Four months ago, she hit the jackpot when she landed her current job with a company that supplied makeup artists for movies and television shows filming in the area. After becoming friends with Gwendolyn McMasters, one of the celebrities starring in the movie currently filming, Meghan came up with a new idea: she would co-write a how-to beauty book with Gwendolyn McMasters. Ideally, Meghan could earn a great deal of money, especially if the book reached bestseller lists. She'd been so sure this job would be her ticket to success.
"Well," she groaned. "I've screwed that all up now."
Her last ray of hope was to call her dad. He had bailed her out many times over several years, but lately he had become increasingly impatient with her inability to take care of herself and Grace.
Crap, she hated asking for his help. At twenty-nine she should be able to support herself and Grace. She drummed her fingers on her coffee cup. With Grace at school, this was the best time to call her father. She shook her head. Grace was a super kid who didn't deserve to have her life upended by a mother who just couldn't seem to get her life in order.
Taking a deep breath, Meghan picked up her phone. It beeped before she started to tap in her parents' number. Jenny, her friend and co-worker's name, popped up on the screen.
"Hi, Jen," she said, glad for the momentary reprieve.
"Any luck finding a job?" Jenny asked.
"Nope," she replied. "I totally messed up this time."
"Meghan, we both know Horace is an ass, but maybe if you tell him you're sorry that you broke the rules, he'll let you come back."
"But I didn't break any rules. He made that all up. And he won't let me come back. He was just trying to find a reason to get rid of me ever since I told him he was putting all the wrong color tones on Gwen. He's not a very good makeup artist, and I was just trying to help him out."
Meghan could hear Jen's sigh. "We all know you were right, but look what it got you. Maybe in the future you should learn to be more diplomatic. But enough.what's your plan?"
"I'm down to my last option. Call my dad."
"You could move in with me until you find another job."
"Thanks Jen, that would be great if it was just me, but Grace would have to move schools and then if I found a job I'd be moving her another time. I can't do that to her."
"Will your dad help?"
"He always did in the past, but recently he's become fed up with me. I just have to hope he will one last time. I'll promise him that this will be the last time I ask."
"At least you have someone to call."
"Yes, and I'm grateful. I couldn't have stayed in California without his help." Meghan sipped her coffee, now cold from sitting too long. "I need to hang up. I've wasted practically the whole day thinking about this. I've got to call him before Grace gets home."
While tapping in her parents' number, she chewed her lip and when her mother said, "Hello, Meghan," she groaned, thinking why couldn't it be her dad who'd answered. Now she'd have to put up with some snarky comment.
"I suppose you're calling to talk to your dad?" her mother said.
Meghan took a deep breath and rolled her eyes. "Yes."
"I guess you need money?"
"Could I just please talk to Dad?"
Meghan heard her mom's deep protracted sigh, probably done on purpose, as she imagined her mom holding out the phone for her dad. "It's your daughter."
"Hi, sweetheart. What's up?" Her dad's upbeat voice made her smile.
"Dad, I need a little help."
There was a long pause. A very long pause. Uh-oh, this might not be good. Her stomach flip-flopped.
"What happened?" her dad asked tentatively.
"Well," Meghan paused, not sure she wanted to tell her dad the truth but then went ahead. "Long story short, I saw something wrong and it was too important to let it slide." She cringed. "It got me fired."
She envisioned her dad frowning. "Oh Meghan, I know you meant well, but sometimes the less said the better."
"I keep expecting people to appreciate constructive criticism," she said firmly.
"Meghan, I don't see the point of dragging this out and continuing to assist you when it's evident to me you don't help yourself. I'm done. It's time for you to come home," he said, not wavering.
"What?" Meghan felt her stomach roll. "No, Daddy no." She couldn't process this. Her last ray of hope, her dad, was giving up on her. She felt as if she'd been punched in her gut. No one else had stood steadfastly behind her like he had.
She jumped up, pacing back and forth.
Gripping the phone, she stuttered, "Dd-dad.I know I've screwed up again, but please don't give up on me now."
"I'm not giving up on you."
"But you're telling me to move home to Houndsville."
"Yes." The one-word answer had Meghan shaking her head. She had a bad feeling her dad was not going to give in this time.
Still, she tried. "But I've been doing better. I'll never be able to do what I want in Houndsville. I told you Gwendolyn has agreed to co-write a how-to makeup book with me. With her backing it's bound to succeed."
"I'm not going to change my mind this time, Meghan. You're unable to take care of my granddaughter properly, and that is worrisome to me and your mother."
Meghan pulled out all the ammunition she could come up with. "But Dad, I came here for college because it is a great place to get started in the beauty business."
"Yes, I know. You wanted to start your own cosmetics line. And look how that turned out."
"Dad, I know I messed up. I'm sorry I didn't stay focused on my classes. I never...