Book: IN THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS by Julie Bechtel Read Free Book Online
Authors: Julie Bechtel
Chapter 1
         Ashley washes the sleep out of her puffy blood shot eyes. She couldn’t help but notice how she looked more like thirty five than the twenty years old that she was. She had been up all night with her parent’s bickering back and forth. Her father was an alcoholic. Not just a regular alcoholic he was a mean drunk much to her mom’s dismay. Ashley’s mother hated it when her father would drink and she left her opinion be known all of the time. It was mornings like this that made Ashley wonder why she hadn’t accepted the scholarship she had received. At least it would have gotten her away from all of her parents’ craziness. The truth was that she knew why she hadn’t accepted the scholarship. It was because of her mother. Ashley had never been as excited about anything as she was the day she got the acceptance letter to Yale. She couldn’t wait to tell her parents. Her parents however didn’t share her enthusiasm. Her father was drinking which wasn’t anything new and her mom was chopping up onions when she gave them the news. She remembers every detail as though it was yesterday. Her mom stopped chopping the onions and shook her head in disbelief. “I don’t know what you are so excited about. You start things all of the time that you never see through. Besides you had a hard time fitting in in high school. What makes you think that college will be any different?” her mom said as she started chopping onions again. Ashley had hoped that her dad would have said something in her defense, but he didn’t. He just sat there staring at his beer bottle.
    It was then that she decided not to go to college, but to find a job instead. She worked at the deli forty plus hours a week making minimum wage. The money didn’t matter much anyway. Because her dad would go on one of his drinking binges and spend their rent money. Then Ashley would sign over her paycheck so they wouldn’t lose the only house that she had ever known. Ashley applied the last of her makeup to cover up her sleep deprived face. She hoped that her dad would still be sleeping off the night before when she had to leave. She knew that if he wasn’t it would just lead to another confrontation. He didn’t like it when she wore makeup. Ashley always thought that he treated her more like a child than a grown woman. She held her breath and walked out of the bathroom and down the steps. Much to her dismay her father was wide awake sitting at the kitchen table. He hadn’t seen her yet, but he had heard her come downstairs. “Don’t you want some breakfast before work?” He asked as he stared at his coffee cup. Ashley could feel the sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach. She knew that she was in a lose lose situation. If she refused to eat he would pitch a fit, but if she accepted he would see the makeup. “I’m just going to grab something at the deli if that’s okay?” she replied wishing that she could just disappear. “No that’s not okay. Your mother spent all morning slaving over a hot stove to make us a nice meal. Now get your ass over here and eat.” He screamed pounding his fist on the table making Ashley just about jump out of her skin. She grabbed a hat and pulled it down over her eyes hoping that he wouldn’t notice. She walked over to the table and sat down on the farthest side of her father. “There is no need to try and hide your face under that cap. I already know you are that damn makeup. It doesn’t bother me though. If you want to be a whore you just go right ahead. Obviously that’s all you are anyway.” He said as he continued to stare at the eggs on his plate that had gotten cold.  Ashley could feel the tear welling up in eyes. As much as she tried she couldn’t stop them from streaming down her cheeks. She tried not to take it personally she knew that he just didn’t feel well. That didn’t make his words hurt any less though.
    He gave her one last disapproving look then he threw his

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