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Summer's Crucible- Chapter Nine: Laughter Comes When it is Most Needed

Summer had run her course in her relationship with the woman who had raised her. It was now too blaring to ignore that Mimsy would never see her as a daughter or even as a person she had any supportive interest in. Summer envied that Heather had a supportive family, but also felt like a hanger-on at times when she was invited to events with them. Rusty and Cecilia were friendly when they interacted with Heather, despite being divorced. Strangely the trial between Summer and Mimsy did show cracks forming in Heather's well-being. Heather was tired, secretive, and overall checked out. She had been doing so well for herself for some time, however, that seemed to have plateaued and now she was in some sort of decline that would have worried Summer more had she not been so preoccupied with the happenings in court. Once it was over there was such a sense of relief to no longer have to have her every conversation be focused on Mimsy or the outcomes in court or to have to answer questions and ask questions about it.

This was why when Summer was later approached by a law office, Druttle, and Telksen, she was reluctant to follow up. However, curiosity eventually got the best of her and she returned their calls. A secretary set up an appointment with an attorney by the name of Mr. Neiman McLads and his paralegal Mr. Ethan Utter. They were both eager to take on the case as a civil suit against Mimsy. Summer, on the other hand, had her reservations as to whether she wanted to follow through because it would require the last of her savings to keep them on retainer. In their meeting, Summer explained that she was almost certain that Mimsy was bankrupt from the plastic surgeries, which was why she had to rely on a public defender. Ethan persuaded Summer by saying "It's a gamble, we could go to court and lose, or we could go and you come out on the other side of this with some compensation for your losses." It was a lot to ask the downtrodden Summer who had stretched her every paycheck to still be underwater on her mounting debts. One misstep and Summer would have to file for bankruptcy. Knowing she had to weigh the risks, Summer told them she would think about it, and went on her way, but not before Mr. McLads warned her that she was under a time crunch due to the statute of limitations.

Summer had all but shelved the idea of going to court again, something she found to be too much. She thought it was too much time, too many days off of work, too many fees, and overall too much stress. It was why she gladly went back to the Burger Joint to maintain her sense of control and stability away from all of the scary unknown outcomes of which she had had her fill over the recent years. All would have remained as it was except for two events lining up just so. The first was that Brooke Keller, the line cook at Summer's restaurant was pregnant with her fourth baby and had to go on maternity leave early due to complications from high blood pressure that morning. The second although he would never admit it was that Bailey came to witness Summer sweat it out on a shift having to fill in when poor Brooke called her to tell her the news that she would not be coming in for some time.

After having not laid eyes on Bailey for years, he of course had the timing that brought him into Summer's restaurant right after she was the most swamped and had been manning the grill during the dinner rush on that first of the month. Summer almost didn't recognize him because he had his ballcap tipped down and a hoodie on that obscured his baldness from the side. Jerry and Averie were the only other employees to show up for their shifts. Jerry called Summer as she was trying to sneak into her office to take a much-needed break. The grease-covered Summer was too exhausted to feel awkward upon seeing Bailey who seemed to hide a grin at her in her current scenery. Faking surprise he said, "I didn't know you worked here. It's good to see you, Summer." Summer wanted to wrap up this interaction because she had been holding three large cups of coffee since lunch. She was one sneeze away from a mess. "Hi, Bailey. Isn't this so unexpected?" Summer said sarcastically before she interrupted Bailey who was about to respond. "You know I was just on my way to clock out for my break. Can you wait here?" Summer said, knowing she was a salaried employee as she took her time to herself.

After lingering in the back for a bit she could see Bailey hadn't budged from his seat at the booth closest to the register. Summer approached him as she silently hoped he wasn't going to ask her out or make a scene. There wasn't a woman on the planet who could tolerate Bailey's banter, let alone put up with him for extended periods. "It's always good to see you. How's the rental business these days?" Summer asked Bailey who was looking very smug at the table. "I'm great. I'm officially a millionaire." He gloated with a browning and chipped front tooth that peeped out from his top lip which was too thin to cover it. Summer could see Bailey was a little drunk and only there to feel good about himself by trying to make her feel bad. "That's great. You always had a business head."

This charged Bailey to push more humble bragging about himself onto Summer, "Yup. I just bought another house to rent out. It'll only cost me half a mill. See." He said as he held up his phone displaying a real estate site that listed the value of the property at $430,000. Summer wanted to shut Bailey up so she could start her closing duties but couldn't resist saying, "Wow Bailey, it'll only cost you 'half a mill' to buy and renovate that." She pretended to be astonished, knowing Bailey had likely paid over market value for the property before accounting for renovation costs he would also have to pay. Bailey was offended due to his trouble keeping up with anyone who had any education in business. His face turned red as it had when Morgana put him in his place when he insulted Heather at dinner all those years ago. With welling anger, Bailey retorted, "You know I thought you were this high flyer when we met. You were name-dropping all these people and you had worked at all these places. But now that I'm here I can see that you ain't shit." His outburst caused Summer to smile as he stomped off like the dimwitted ogre he was.

Jerry having witnessed the scene asked Summer who was stretching her back ready to go whatever task she had been interrupted from doing before Bailey's arrival, "What was that all about?" She answered, "Oh, he's just some drunk. Have Averie call the police to report his truck as a suspected DUI. We don't want to be responsible for him doing damage on the road." The ridiculous Bailey was just the twisted motivation to move forward with the civil suit against Mimsy that Summer needed. Summer had finally outgrown being taken advantage of or being made to feel lesser by fools.

In the morning she called the law office and left a message explaining that she was ready to move forward. It wasn't long before money was exchanged and Summer was back to her routine. Times might have been tough for Summer these days, but the one thing she was glad of was that she wasn't in a relationship with Bailey. Although he had become her favorite walking punchline.

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