The end of Chapter 1 and the beginning of Chapter 2.
I didn’t hear much of anything Roberta went on about. She ranted about all the “hub-bub” surrounding Stacey Nino.
“Wish I could teach that Stacey Nino a thing or two about being a mother,” Roberta said.
The gas nozzle handle clicked indicating my tank was full and that pinched me back into reality. I said, “Okay, Roberta nice talking to you. See you later.” Roberta realized she’d been cut off but didn’t give any homage to the snub and made a curt beeline to her pink Hummer.
“See you tomorrow,” was all Roberta said but I could tell she was annoyed with me by the way she rolled her eyes and growled a frown at me. Maybe my laugh caused Roberta to become angrier, she drove away squealing the tires of her pink gas-guzzler.
Who drives a pink Hummer anyway?
My thoughts drifted away to work. Being the project manager monitoring system performance for cell phone operations and other IT structures occupied a great deal of my daily thinking. Coordinating the engineers and getting WireStop, the company that hired me ten years ago, to fund all the projects in my territory required careful planning.
Today I had to review the schematics for a new cell tower configuration meant to eliminate dropped calls while handling a very high volume of cell transmission traffic.
Then there was getting my team of engineers to figure out all the bugs and having the plans accepted by WireStop. And, that was just the beginning of the operational puzzle to navigate through. Obtaining rights and permits from the cities and counties to install the new technology required time and patience.
I like working from home and making my own hours unless you consider my workload. Hour upon hour of telephone conferencing, loads of data entry, and tons of email conversations between excessive communities surrounding the completion of projects dictated my schedule.
Some would say I am compulsive or obsessive concerning accomplishing a goal once I begin working on any subject.
Pitbull was my nickname in college and I carried the tag into the United States Army. Through my three years at the University of Central Florida, everyone called me Pitbull and even the teachers on the rare occasion would call on me using the moniker ‘Pitbull Paula’ when they wanted a difficult problem answered.
I graduated early with a masters in communication and a minor in computer science, all studies revolving around IT work. Once I focused on a course of study I chomped down on it by the throat until it bled the correct results and I never let go.
Steve flanked my side all the way through college. He was the best boyfriend I could imagine and when he proposed I jumped at the idea. On the day of graduation he kneeled down in his black robe took my hand and asked for my eternal love.
Steve was one year older than me and he earned a masters in computer science. We helped each other with course work through most of our graduate studies and lived together in a townhouse near the Orlando International Airport. When the army recruiter caught our attention one day on campus our lives took a new direction.
Steve and I had no plan of action after college. Nobody seemed to be hiring. The army felt like a natural fit for both of us.
Days after we became engaged we were headed off to officer basic training. We had a good start with the army supplying our basic needs even though we wouldn’t be seeing too much of each other until after our initial preparation for service.
Chapter 2: Undeserved Recognition
Stacey Nino partied like few others in the Orlando club scene. She was 21 years old and ready to go. ‘TOTEM!’ on Orange Avenue, in downtown Orlando was her best club spot. TOTEM DJs played all the recent hits plus a mix of classic hip-hop, and the drink specials were always on time.
Stacey met plenty of hot guys at TOTEM and often continued to party with one of them after the club would close. The bartenders and bouncers always treated Stacey like she was one of them and had let her into the club since she began trying to get in at the age of 18. Club rules dictated one must be twenty-one to get in but Stacey was hot and looked a few years more mature than her driver’s license recorded.
One night, two years ago, Stacy went to a delicious dude’s apartment after TOTEM closed and spent the night with him. The results were morning sickness, a month after the tryst, and a positive mark on the pregnancy test Stacey purchased at a local CVS.
Lacey was born eight months later and Stacey was ecstatic. The feelings of love and warmth flowing from Stacey’s heart were obvious to everyone around her.
Her parents instantly fell in love with their new granddaughter even though the father remained unknown. Stacey had no recollection of whom she had slept with because she had been thoroughly inebriated.
Regardless of the father mystery, Stacey felt a sense of accomplishment as well as the genetic, motherly belonging and responsibility she held in Lacey. The first year of the little girl’s life Stacey spent countless hours adoring her daughter while they lived at home with her parents.
You’ll find the beginning of the story M.I.L.K here: