Phoenix sighed as he stopped to pay the bills on his way home from work. At least this job will be good for something, he thought bitterly to himself. Meadow Glen didn't have the same work-study program that was available to him in Anne Arbor, and his experience there had just been barely enough to get him hired to one of the lowest positions here until he had the chance to become qualified on his own time. He had spent most of the day cleaning out bed pans and felt more like a janitor than medical personnel.
"I see you got the electricity turned on," he greeted his wife as he walked through the door. Coming into the room full of light and music lifted Phoenix's spirits a bit, "Since when did you take up exercising, though? Not that I'm complaining."
"Oh, Phoenix! I was just so excited, I couldn't sit still and had to do something. You'll never guess what happened--I'm going to France! For work, it's my first assignment and I'm leaving this weekend!" Sadie bubbled joyfully, hardly taking a breath between words.
"Wait, what?" Phoenix felt his mood plummeting again, "We just got here and now you're leaving? What am I supposed to do in a new town all on my own?"
"What do you want me to do?" Sadie asked, helplessly, her excitement sharply declining, "You know I would love for you to come with me, but there's no way we can afford it, and you couldn't take time off of work after just starting a new job, anyway."
"How are we even going to afford for you to go?" her disappointed husband questioned.
"Oh, that's not a problem," Sadie assured him, "Most of it's being handled by the museum as work expenses, and for spending money I was going to see if my dad--"
"No!" Phoenix cut her off, "We are not going to your dad--either of our parents--for money. I don't want to have to rely on them like that. I know they're already worried about us getting married so young, I don't want them to think we can't make it on our own."
"Alright, fine," Sadie gave in, tired of arguing.
Phoenix saw her shoulders slump as the last bit of excitement drained out of her and realized how poorly he had handled the whole conversation.
"Hey, I'm glad you're going to get to go to France, really, it just caught me by surprise," he tried to amend.
"It's only because of work," Sadie reminded him, "I would have wanted it to be different, otherwise."
"I know, I'm just going to miss you."
If Phoenix wasn't going to let her borrow money from her dad, Sadie was going to have to figure something else out, so at work the next day she asked Mallory if she could talk to her about the trip. The curator had been talking to a woman she guessed was the architect of the museum, and told Sadie to meet her in the office building.
"I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do about things like cab fare and meals in France," Sadie explained, "I don't have a whole lot of extra money since I've just started and haven't even gotten a paycheck yet."
"Oh, have I forgotten to give you the traveler's cheques?" Mallory retrieved an envelope from the front desk and handed it to Sadie, "There you are! That should cover your various expenses. Which reminds me, it's quite customary in France to bring a gift for your host when visiting, so do be sure to do that, it would seem terribly rude, otherwise. A bottle of wine should be a safe option, just make sure to purchase it there, foreign wine can be seen as quite offensive."
The amount of money in the envelope wasn't much, especially once Sadie put aside some for gifts for any locals she might visit. She and Phoenix had hardly anything to spare, and she really didn't want to visit France of all places with so little. There was no other choice, she decided.
"Hi, Papa!" she greeted Sahil on the phone after she returned home from work, "Yes, the job is amazing! They're already sending me to France on an assignment."
"The only problem is that we have hardly any money left after buying the house, so I'll have barely enough money to buy food, much less anything else while I'm there," the puppy dog eyes were so second nature to her that they came out even though her father wasn't there to see them.
"Really, Papa? You could? You're the best!" she didn't have to tell Phoenix that he would be sending her money. Just because her husband didn't want to ask for help, didn't mean that she should have to suffer for it, and this way they could both be happy.
Meanwhile, Phoenix was trying to keep his spirits up despite the thought of his wife leaving so soon. He had wanted to spend as much time with her before then as possible, but he was so busy. He had enrolled in night school so that he could advance in his career eventually, and when he wasn't at work or in class he had plenty of studying to do. The books he had brought from Anne Arbor were no longer enough, so this meant hours in the library alone, instead of at home with Sadie.
On top of that, everything around the house had started falling apart. Phoenix had wondered how they were able to get a water-front home so cheap, even one as small as this one, and he was starting to figure out the reason.
The toilet backed up the morning Sadie was to leave for France, so instead of spending those last few minutes with her, he had to deal with that. He finished just in time to clean up and say goodbye.
"Make sure to call," Phoenix insisted.
"Alright, I will, but don't worry so much! It's only for a few days, I'm sure it will seem like no time at all before I'm back," she tried to assure him.
"I'll try, but I'll miss you," he replied.
"I'll miss you, too."
Sadie stopped by the museum to pick up any last minute instructions from Mallory, and then took a cab from there to the airport. She was on her way.
Phoenix isn't really in any night school program, I think there's a mod for that somewhere, but I don't have it. I might have him take some logic classes, but really I'm just trying to have it make some sort of sense that he's going to be a doctor without having to ever gone to college. Can't wait for the University EP!