Read Running on Empty Online

Authors: L. B. Simmons

Running on Empty

 

by

 

 

* * * *

 

Running on Empty

Copyright © 2012 by L. B. Simmons

Cover by Okay Creations (
www.okaycreations.net
)

Edited By Jennifer Roberts-Hall

Formatting by
JT Formatting

 

All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior written permission of the author.

This book is a work of fiction. Any names, places, characters, and incidents are a product of the author’s imagination and are purely fictitious. Any resemblances to any persons, living or dead, are completely coincidental.

 

Table of Contents

 

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Acknowledgments

About the Author

 

 

For My Beautiful Daughters

 

My darling girls,

As with everything I do, there is always a lesson. Even when I write. But just in case you miss it, I’ll give you the shortened version. Life is too precious and too short to safeguard yourself from hurt. Be willing to experience all life has to offer. To weather the ups and downs as you face them. Take the good with the bad. Because no matter the
collar roaster
ride life hands to you, you should hold on tight and enjoy the ride. Make the most of it. It’s the only way to ensure you have no regrets.

Remember your stories.

Remember your childhood.

And remember that I will always love you and you will always be my babies. Even when you’re
fifty
years old.

 

 

 

“What the
hell
?” I mutter to myself, eyeing my reflection. I scoot closer to the mirror, practically sitting on the counter, and inch my way forward to get a better look at what exactly is going on with my hair. My dark brown hair is damp, falling in wavy layers to my shoulders. This is normal. What’s not normal is this one little area that’s just not cooperating. I tug at the one inch section of my long hair that will not lie down. It’s just sticking up, straight in the air, mocking me. Pulling on it, I notice that there’s a thick white film covering the entire section. And it’s sticky.
Great
.

I wipe my fingers on my old fluffy pink bathrobe and continue examining my hair in the mirror. This is
not
right. I know I just put a new product in my hair, but it’s supposed to make it soft and shiny like the gorgeous model on the commercial, not stick up like a ten year old boy with a cow lick. I grab the nearest brush,
My Little Pony – of course
, and attempt to tame this bastard.

“This is freakin’ ridiculous,” I say out loud as the brush catches when I try to pass it through my hair. I yank the brush as hard as I can and literally cringe in pain. I think I just pulled the entire section of hair out of my head. When the brush finally makes its way down the rest of my long hair, I catch a whiff.

“Mint?” I set the brush on the counter and reach for the serum I just put in my hair. I put my nose to the end of the pump. “Hmm, not mint.” I pick up the damp towel that just came off of my head and wet the end under the faucet in an attempt to get rid of whatever this mystery goop is in my hair. That’s when I finally see the culprit.

“You have
got
to be kidding me!” I suddenly want to rip every single strand of hair out of my head in frustration. I do
not
want to deal with this mess this morning. I just want an easy morning. When do I get to have an easy morning?

“Kyndall!” I yell from the bathroom, echoes bouncing off each wall, slamming mercilessly back onto my skull. It hurts my head. Or, maybe that’s just the residual pain from the recent hair assault I inflicted upon myself. I wait a couple of seconds…no response.

Hmm, this must mean that the TV which is
not
supposed to be on,
is
on.

“Kyndall!” I shout again, this time stomping my foot for added emphasis. I know she’s the only one who can be responsible for this mess. Not only because her older sister wouldn’t dare, or because her younger sister can’t reach the sink, but because this sort of situation…well – it’s just Kyndall. Like the time I found three days worth of my home cooked meals “hidden” in one of my decorative baskets in the kitchen. The brief stint at vegetarianism didn’t last long, but it would have been nice if she would’ve at least told me about it. Lots of ground beef was wasted and I have a lot of boxed meals that require it.

Sighing loudly, I start to step out of the bathroom when I hear the steps of my lovely seven year old daughter getting closer. I watch her pink tutu skirt bounce up and down as she skips happily down the hallway.

“Yes, Mama?” Oh, so innocent.

“Baby? Can you tell me what’s going on with the towel here? Can you tell me what this stuff is?” I bend down and hold the towel right in front of her face so she can see the blue goop to which I am referring.

I watch her eyebrows come together as a result of her full force concentration. “Um, toothpaste?”

“Yes, toothpaste. Can you tell me
why
there’s a big glob of it in the middle of my towel?”

“Well…” she pauses briefly and widens her eyes, obviously frustrated that I haven’t figured it out on my own. “It was all hard when I tried to squeeze the tube to get more toothpaste out, so I did what you told me to do last time. I wiped off all the extra toothpaste from the top and started over.”

So I guess, in essence, I have done this to myself.

Okay…

“Kyndall, sweetheart. I used a paper towel…not a towel, towel. We don’t use regular towels for that kind of stuff.”

Kyndall looks down at the towel and back up at me. “I’m sorry, Mama. I was just trying to do it myself.”

I can’t help but cave when I look at her beautiful blue-grey eyes. I just don’t know how this sweet child always manages to get herself, or me for that matter, into these unfortunate situations. I let out a sigh.

“It’s alright, Kyndall. Let’s just forget the use of
any
kind of towel. How about when it happens next time, you just rinse the top of the toothpaste under warm water to get the hard stuff off? Easy enough?”

“Yes ma’am.” She reaches up to touch the toothpaste infested section of my hair. “Eww – that’s sticky!” I lift my eyebrows, asking her if she really wants to reopen the argument. She drops her hand immediately. I assume that’s a no.

I let out another deep breath. “Okay. Now, where are Nycole and Rylie?”

“They’re watching cartoons in the living room.”

Ah-ha! I knew it!

“Can you run and tell them to hurry and eat because we need to load up to leave in about five minutes or we’re going to be late to school?”

“Sure.”

“Thanks, baby.”

“Mama?”

“Yes, ma’am?”

“I love you infinity.”

“I love you infinity times infinity”

I give her a quick kiss on the cheek. I turn her little body toward the door and give her a light shove. “Now go tell your sisters!” I joke and smack her little behind. She laughs and skips down the hall. I watch her thick shoulder length brown hair bouncing up and down with a smile on my face. Turning back towards the mirror, my smile dissipates.

I look at my tired eyes and pale face. I pull the skin down under my eyes to examine the red blood vessels that seem to have taken over. I think I used to be pretty, at some point…but that seems so long ago. Lately, I’m the frumpy mom that I always told myself I’d
never
become. I mean sure, I dress decently enough for work. But I just look (and feel) so tired. Run down.

I don’t generally wear a lot of make-up, so the fact that I have long dark eyelashes helps. But my big brown eyes that used to look so alive with excitement and joy have been replaced with sad, tired, mournful eyes. And my hair? Let’s just say I support the ponytail look wholeheartedly.

I turn my attention back to my hair. Seriously, what am I supposed to do with this mess in five minutes?
Hmm…ponytail it is
. I sigh to myself as I think about how lovely it would be to actually
have
time to do my hair in the morning, to style it with something other than a hair band. I mean, having an actual style would be nice. But, to be able to take the time to style it, well, that would be beyond comprehension..

I would be unrecognizable at work. I would walk in to the office and it would be like one of those hair commercials; wind in my hair, hot guy gazing at me adoringly because I have beautiful
styled
hair. I would flip my hair in slow motion…

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