"They rejected it?" Henry said, almost sounding interested.
"You heard me, they said it was derivative and done before. Better, at that," Aria said, almost sounding angry.
"Well, that sucks, babe. But maybe now you'll have time to help me pick out the floor for the work room," he said with a faint smile.
She got up abruptly, stared him in the eyes and turned around with a huff. She went up the stairs and into her work room. He was left confused, but switched the sound on the television back on and sat back to watch.
She slammed the door shut and let out a muffled scream through clenched teeth. He never got it. He'd never get it. He treated her writing as a fanciful hobby, no matter how many times she told him she was serious about it. That she wanted to make it her career. That she was actually good at it and had a shot.
That she was also working a full-time job while she was doing it didn't help her writing, but at least he couldn't say she wasn't contributing. Because that's what he'd said when she got laid off and she'd first considered turning her hobby into her career.
So she'd gotten a new job, and it was shit, but it paid the bills and got him off her case. But it had made her immensely unhappy. The new job had no future career options, and as she was getting on in age, it was becoming more difficult to find new work.
But the work she'd submitted this time was her greatest pride. It had everything -- romance, action, adventure -- and her proofreaders had approved of it overwhelmingly. She'd submitted it to multiple publishers and with most, she'd gotten the standard-issue form letters of rejection.
One, however, had asked for edits and a promise that a re-submit would go straight to one of the senior editors.
She had been excited, but of course he had just said "That's great, babe," and continued reading some stupid article about sports celebrities on facebook, his reading glasses precariously balancing on the tip of his nose. He looked so stupid to her then.
She had worked on multiple edits and had re-submitted it within weeks.
And then the senior editor responded. He had still rejected her, even going so far as to say that he didn't get why it was even given a second chance.
To her, everything was falling apart. Her marriage had become a sore point years before, her current job was without future, and now her writing was also dead in the water.
After reading through the rejection letter another couple times, her anger was becoming more and more intense. She couldn't figure out how to get past this.
She needed to get out. Get out of all of this. Start over, somehow. Without Henry. Without the money problems.
Then she remembered he'd been busy wiring up the electrics in the work room.
"A mistake is easily made," she thought to herself.
That night, the house burned down with Henry in it.
She had luckily been out of bed to go to the toilet, so she had been able to get out safely. But just in time, of course. And she'd obviously tried to save Henry but she hadn't been able to get up the stairs due to the fire.
That's the story she told the firemen, anyway. And then the police, and then the EMTs.
Eventually it was the story she told the world, when her "based on true events" book came out, detailing her life before and after the fire that had so unfairly ruined her life.
Had so suddenly ripped Henry from her loving arms.