Monday, February 5, 2018

Chapter 346 Life Choices



Wish I could drive this car, Julian said. Its so cool!

Ronnie glanced over at his little brother and pulled over next to a chest high snow bank. Come on, sit on my lap. You can drive for a while.

Julian stared at him in disbelief. ButIm too little and I dont have a license.

Ronnie laughed. There are no cops around here to catch ya. Nobodys on this back road at all right now. Its the perfect time for this. Dad used to let me and Simon drive this way all the time, so you can too.

Julian gleefully released his seatbelt, hopped onto Ronnies lap and grabbed the steering wheel with his small hands. When they started away from the curb he gasped. Wow, so cool!

It sure is. Hey, Grampa, Sophie! Watch how good a driver Julian is, Ronnie said to the two in the back seat.


Huh? Oh, wow, doing good, Jules, Sophie said, not very enthusiastically.

Just dont crash, Sonny-boy, Morris said. Itll upset your Grandmother something awful if we dont come back.

I wont, Julian said.

Morris glanced over at the glum look on Sophies face. You okay, Lassie?

Huh? OhumIm finejust thinking, she mumbled, looking out the window.

You look sad, Morris said. You upset the piano couldnt get delivered on time? I tried, but the snow storm threw a wrench in my plans. Or maybe you dont like it at all?

Are you serious? she said. I love it! I cant wait to play itlearn to play it. I cant thank you enough for it, Mr. Kramer.

Now, Missy…” he said frowning at her.

She giggled and kissed his cheek. I mean Grampa.

Thats better! he said still looking shrewdly at her. I sense theres something more. Will you have room for the piano at your mothers place? Dont let the Baby grand fool ya its huge!

She forced a smile. Its not going in Moms house cuz I wont be there either and I definitely want it with mewherever I go. Im supposed to be moving to the city in Januaryor sooner if…”

If? he asked.

Sophie sighed. I have a big decision to make, she said, lowering her voice. I have three roads in front of me and I dont know which I should take. It could affect the rest of my life, my whole future.

Why are we whispering? he asked, not bothering to lower his voice.

She glanced to the front seat where Julian was chattering non-stop and Ronnie, hopefully, listening to him. Itspersonal.

I seesoneed help deciding? Morris said.

She stared at him a moment then nodded. My mom wants me to go to college, she started.

Do you? he asked.

She moved her head from right to left making a funny face, then she shrugged. I had when I knew what I wanted to study.

Which was?

Music, she replied instantly.

Whats changed? he asked, confused. You have more reason now that you have a piano.

Yeah, but my band is disbanded, gone, never to regroup, so whats the use of studying music?

For your own enjoyment, he said.

Yeah, but thats hardly practical, she said. If so much money is gonna be spent on an education it should result in something thats gonna get you somewhere. You know what I mean?

“’Course I do, he said. Im just surprised youre thinking so clearly. No offence but most young people dont give that much thought as they go to expensive universities for basket weaving and fourteenth century French literature, never giving a thought as to where the hell theyll be able to use that in the real world.

Sophie nodded. I know its all paid for and everything, but I also know my mom and shell want me to repay Mr. Van Gholston for it eventuallyeven if its just a drop in the bucket for him. It's the right thing to do, you know?

True. Okay so what are the other two roads? he asked.

Once again she looked to the front seat and lowered her voice a bit more. I was offered an internship and a job, she said.

Morris let out a breath of relief. Well, Lassie, Im glad to hear it. I was worried some fool asked you to marry him and that you were seriously considering it.

Her eyes nearly popped out of her head and she covered her mouth to keep from laughing out loud. Nope, she said shaking her head.

Good, youre way too young for that, he said sternly. Sothis internship?

She shrugged. I dont know what its about really, but its with Van Gholston Industries so…”

Morris nodded thoughtfully. Impressive. People kill for those positions, he said.

Yeah, I figured. Thats why Im not too sure I can do it, even though I would love to try. I just Im so ignorant aboutabout everything!

Morris patted her arm affectionately. There now, lets not get carried away. Youre a bright girl, a quick learner and sure to catch on fast with whatever is set in front of you.

Thats what Rance said, but I think youre both biased, she muttered grumpily.

Morris chuckled. Perhaps, butwe both know a good thing when we see it and you are nobody to dismiss lightly. Im thinking theres a killer instinct in you somewhere just need the right tools to draw it out. Lawrence can help with that.

Why does everybody say that? What do they see that I dont? she mumbled.

Perhaps the golden hair is getting in your way, he suggested. 

Huh?

He laughed and shook his head. Never mindit was something I heard in an old song once and I thought it was funny. Apparently Im the only one.

Really? How does it go? Sophie asked, now excited.

Something like  …Dont let that golden hair get in the way, baby …♪ , he sang, completely tone deaf.

She refrained from grimacing with difficulty. Maybe I know the song. Is it very old? Know who sings it? Sophie asked eagerly.

He smirked. You know, your whole countenance changes when you talk about music. Ever wonder why?

No need to wonder, she said, swiftly turning dejected again. Its my passion, but you cant pay rent and eat on passion, can you?

Some manage, he said, then swiftly changed gears. So, what is the third road?

The third what? Ohthe job, she said, biting down on her bottom lip while casting a glance to the front seat again. A really good paying job as a personal assistant.

Whats the catch? he asked.

Who says theres a catch? she said.

He smirked. Youre whispering again, so you obviously want to keep it quietat least from someone we both know and love, he said tilting his head ever so slightly toward Ronnie.

Sophie suddenly realized revealing so much to Morris Kramer may not have been such a great idea, but it was way too late now to worry about it. My friend Rance needs an assistant now that hes working for his dad andhe asked me if I wanted to help him and work for him instead of the internship. That way I could get a real salary instead of whatever they give to interns. Most dont get paid at all Ive heard so Either way he says Ill learn the business straight from the top so it's a great opportunity.

Ill say it is, Morris agreed. If he truly is just a friend. Things could get sticky if anything else developsif you know what I mean.

She certainly did know what he meantit was upper most on her mind and the most troubling aspect of the whole thing.

The look on her face told him everything he needed to know. He patted her arm again and said, If I were you, knowing what I know about you and Van Gholston Industries, Id take the internship, keeping some distance from your friend so you can stay friends while working together in the same building, and go from there. Of course, college is still something you can do in future or if things go awry. Regardless what you say, studying music would not be a waste of time for you, he said, smiling kindly. Let me know if you need help finding a place to live in the city and Ill get that piano there before you get your bedroom set up. Who needs sleep when you can tickle the old ivories, right?

Before she could answer, they were back parked in front of Victors house.

Hey, Grampa, wanta drive her? Ronnie asked, helping him out of the back seat.

Thats okay, Sonny-boy, Morris said. It was a thrill just going for a ride. You enjoy the car in good health. Just dont go too fast, or your mother will kill us both!

Not too sure that wont happen anyway, Ronnie quipped as Julian grabbed the old mans hand.

Come on, Grampa! Lets tell Peter all about me driving Ronnies car! Julian said, dragging the old man up the walkway to the house.

Ronnie turned to Sophie. How was the back seat? he asked.

As back seats go, its pretty nice, she said.

He grinned. So, what did you and Grampa talk about so much?

Sophie sighed. Life choices, I guess she muttered.



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