Trolling / For Books, a story for the Real World Call

For [personal profile] elliemurasaki‘s prompts to my real-world call:
Farmer’s market.
New job.
Bookstore trawling.

“I’m not sure if this counts as a job.”

Jessica’s mother was frowning. She was often frowning, but now she had her forehead pinched, her lips pinched, her hands pinched… she was holding on to Jessica with every part of her body without actually bothering to touch her daughter.

“You said that about the Farmer’s Market job, too.” She was almost done packing. She opened the bottom drawer of her dresser again. She didn’t want to find she’d left anything behind.

“Standing behind a table selling vegetables all day? It’s not exactly career-forwarding, is it?” Jessica’s mother had a lot of opinions on career, as long as it wasn’t her own.

“Well, one, it was an entry-level position towards a sales job there.” Until her mother had a conversation with Jessica’s manager. “And two, all the trust says is that I have to be working.”

“And I don’t think this counts as a job.”

“The trustees do. And that’s what counts here.”

“You shouldn’t talk to your mother like that, Jessica.”

“I’m sorry.” She didn’t bother putting any emphasis on the words, because it wouldn’t matter anyway. Talking to her mother was like shouting down a black hole.

“Trolling around old book stores… living on the road… no supervisor, no defined hours…”

“But I’ll be getting paid a salary.” Jessica checked the back of the closet one more time, and tucked the old teddy bear she found there into a pocket of her suitcase. “They want my skills.”

“Your skills.” Her mother sneered it, but the sneer seemed to dissolve into something more open. “You don’t have to leave, you know. You could stay here, get another job like the one at the Farmer’s Market. You don’t have to pay rent.”

Jessica checked under the bed again. “I’ve got to go, Mom. I’ll keep in touch.” she kissed both her mother’s cheeks and made sure she had all her bags before she left.

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