Week 3: Saturday

At work, both Marylee and Christopher received job opportunities. Christopher was asked to befriend a neighbour, though Christopher was unsure of whether or not he’d be able to get around to it. He had never even met the person and he had other responsibilities at home. He accepted, anyway, just in case he did manage to find the time. His new boss, Gunther Goth, told him he’d understand if he couldn’t manage to get around to it. The two of them were good friends and Gunther knew all about Christopher’s wife and young daughter.

Marylee also received an opportunity. She was reporting a young woman with good looks and a lot of talent she’d seen playing for tips in the park to her boss when he quieted her and motioned for her to sit down.

“That’s great. I’ll give her a call tomorrow, but I need you to read this book,” he told her, handing her a copy of Diamonds in the Rough. “Don’t get me wrong, you’re doing great and don’t really need the help, but there’s some useful information in there for you all the same. If you read it, I’ll bump you closer to another promotion. You’ll be able to choose which branch of this career you want to pursue; electric rock or symphonic.”

Marylee was ecstatic! Choosing a career branch meant she’d be making big money at last! It also meant more recognition and fame. It looked like her dream was coming true, even with her new familial duties.

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As usual, Marylee arrived home a few hours later than her husband. As excited as she was, the day had worn her out and she was strained. Hoping to relax by talking to Christopher, she searched for him throughout the house, but found him in bed, sleeping. Marcie was also asleep in her crib.

Marylee sighed sadly. As she kept moving up in her career, her work hours got later and later. Even though she and Christopher both started work in the afternoon, their mornings were consumed by household chores and taking care of Marcie. By the time Marylee got home at night, everyone was asleep and she had no one to talk to about her day. Her only other option was Ervin, but he wasn’t much fun to talk to. He just continued to slowly swim in circles and figure eights around his bowl, paying no attention to anything. It felt like if she tried to focus on her career, she slipped away from her family, and when she focused on her family, she slipped away from her career. She loved them both; how could she balance the two?

Disappointed, she settled on the couch to read the book her boss gave her. She figured she might as well try to get closer to her next promotion and unwind at the same time. She finished the book rather quickly; it wasn’t too long and slipped into bed. Beside her, Christopher stirred. “I’m sorry. Did I wake you?” Marylee whispered.

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“S’okay…” he mumbled, rubbing his eyes. “I tried to wait up for you, but I was so exhausted, I crashed after putting Marcie to bed. I miss you. It feels like you’re never around anymore,” he told her sadly. Marylee sighed and rested her head on his chest.

“I know,” she whispered. “I’ve missed you and Marcie, too. How was she today?”

“Marcel said she was fussy. It’s not like her. I was worried at first, but she just seemed tired and cranky. I think she’ll be fine once she gets enough sleep.”

“That’s good,” Marylee murmured.

“You look sad. Is something wrong?” he asked her, pulling her closer to him. “Are you still upset about me not wanting another baby?” Marylee shrugged.

“Well, I am, but that’s not it. My boss said at my next promotion, I’ll get to choose which branch I want to pursue…”

“That’s wonderful. Why are you sad about that?”

“I’m excited, but… I’m already never around, Chris. I work later and later with every promotion I get and I come home to find my whole family asleep. I don’t get to hear about your or Marcie’s day, or tell you about mine. It’s like I’m just this ghost in the house, coming and going but never being seen. I’m so afraid that I’m going to blink and find that Marcie’s grown up without me…” She felt her husband’s grasp on her tighten.

“Honey, that’ll never happen. Marcie loves you and you spend all the spare time you have with her. You’ve wanted to be a star since you came to Sunset Valley. You had ambition and amazing hopes and dreams for yourself. I fell in love with you because of that determination, and never once did I expect you to give up on those dreams for me or anyone else.”

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“What should I do?” she asked.

“Keep following your dreams and your family will support you and make sure you don’t miss out on our lives, too,” he whispered. “It’s late and we’re both tired. Go to sleep.” he kissed her and settled his head back on his pillow, Marylee wrapped herself around him, her warmth comforting him.

“Goodnight. I love you,” she whispered sleepily, already dozing off.

“I love you, too.”

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