Just as evening fell, Yulia Cox-Andropova climbed the front stairs of her childhood home.
Her shift at the hospital had just ended, and she was very tired, and she would have been happy just to be able to collapse into bed at her tiny rental place at Boothbay Apartments.
But her parents, Kennedy Cox and Yelena Andropova, were about to leave on vacation for a week, and they had asked her to house-sit for them. Besides, she had big news—or so she thought—to share with them.
Her boyfriend of 3 years, Derek Vijayakar, had surprised her the previous evening by asking her to marry him.
Yulia had not expected this so soon—Derek had been a year behind her at University, so he still had a year of school to go, and Yulia had long assumed that they would discuss marriage only once Derek had graduated.
“Hullo, cookie!” Yelena cried, embracing her daughter and almost knocking her over. “Let me see you big shiny ring!!!”
Yulia was taken aback. She wasn’t sure how her mother already knew she was engaged, since it had happened only the previous evening.
“Oh, Princess!” her father exclaimed.
“Your mother and I could not be happier—we will be so delighted to have Derek as our son-in-law!”
It turned out that Derek had been at the Cox-Andropovas for dinner two nights before.
Derek, despite his young age, was old-fashioned and had old-fashioned manners. He had come to dinner at the Cox-Andropovas to ask Kennedy for Yulia’s hand in marriage and--because he was a very cautious young man, and because he knew Yelena’s personality well--he thought it would be prudent to ask Yelena for her daughter’s hand in marriage, as well.
He told Yulia’s parents excitedly of his future plans,
and Kennedy and Yelena could not have been happier to hear of Derek’s intentions.
“Soooo …” Yulia exhaled slowly, not sure what to say next.
“Would love to talk to you more right now, Cookie,” said Yelena, “but you father and me got to go to airport.”
To Yelena’s mind, her daughter’s engagement was old news, since she’d known about it for two days already. (Yelena and her daughter were very different.)
“You’re a good girl, Princess,” said Kennedy, as he kissed his daughter goodbye. “You’ve chosen well, and you’ve made your mother and me very proud.”
Yulia had almost nothing else to say, because a taxi suddenly arrived and her parents headed immediately for it.
She watched them cross the front lawn.
Her mother called over her shoulder, in her usual broken English, “Oh, Cookie!—draft of my new book come today! Is in bookshelf. Let me know what you think!!”
Yulia watched her parents leave,
and went back into the big, now quiet house, exhausted.
She figured she’d check the bookshelf for her mother’s new book, and that she could read a few pages before falling dead asleep.
She took a quick shower,
and headed up the stairs to the “Princess Tower”—
about which her brother, Yuri, had teased her so many times—
that had been her childhood bedroom.
Yulia fluffed her pillows,
and settled into the comfortable bed with the draft of her mother’s latest book.
Yulia began reading.
“Five Top-Level Businesses: How to Succeed BIG-TIME!”
Yulia’s mother was a well-known local businesswoman, who was famous for—among other things—having made her first million dollars when she was still 13 days away from becoming an elder.
Yelena had grown up poor in Russia, had come to the U.S. in her late teens, had started with almost nothing—only the money she had scraped and saved for the previous few years, but no skills, and no relationships—and at this point was worth close to ten million dollars.
“Mother is incredible,” Yulia said to herself. “I wonder if I could ever have accomplished what she did.”
“Not the ten million dollars, but just to have built what she did, out of virtually nothing.”
Yulia, who along with her twin brother Yuri had attended private school before college, and had graduated University at the top of her class with a major in biology, and who had worked her way up to Specialist in the Medical field, was a very fast reader and, despite her fatigue, managed to read most of the draft of her mother’s book before she drifted off to sleep.
And then she had the oddest dream….
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Please join us next time, when Dr. Andropova finds herself in an alternate universe, where she has no job, no relationships, no skills, no badges, and no college education …. and a LifeTime Want to have 5 Top-Level Businesses. (So, be careful what you read just before bedtime!)