Cathy Eats Her Words

October 8, 2007

First try at plot structure

Filed under: NaNoWriMo,plot — jeanne @ 2:35 pm

Cathy and Husband have just had sex, and are discovered by Star and Dad. Dad has come to deliver Star to her mother, because he’s just bailed her out of jail and has had enough. It’s an awkward scene.

Star comes to live with Cathy and Husband, who thought they were thru with child raising. Star is sullen, rebellious, secretive, and ‘borrows’ money left and right. She refuses to get a job to pay her probation and fine, and Cathy refuses to pay it for her, so she soon leaves to go back and live with Dad again.

Cathy returns Star’s bedroom into an office configuration, and continues writing her food blog. Life goes back to normal for a few months. Then Star is arrested again, this time for speeding on a suspended license, and gets another fine and more probation. Dad calls Cathy to come get Star and stays out of the way while they move her stuff again. Cathy has to drive Star everywhere, and still demands she get a job to pay her fines. Star rebels and goes off to live with her boyfriend. Cathy rearranges Star’s bedroom yet again.

Star and Boyfriend get into some trouble that she hides from Cathy and Husband and Dad. She ends up in jail, and this time Dad is unwilling to pay her bail until several days and a court appearance have passed. Star looks good in prison-issue orange. They finally get her out on bail, and arrange for immediate admittance into rehab. She is not allowed to see Boyfriend. Boyfriend’s parents won’t allow him to see Star. But they sneak around and fix it so that they can be together. Then Boyfriend’s parents stick him in the army, and he’s shipped off to Afghanistan.

At admittance into rehab, a blood test reveals that Star is in the early stages of pregnancy. Her father’s insurance covers 2 weeks of rehab, but then the insurance company decides she doesn’t need it, and she is kicked out. She is by this time so desperate for an end to her troubles that she persuades Dad to pay for another rehab center out of his savings, and goes back in for another month. She is the youngest patient in her ward, and the other patients laugh at her for it – she’s too young to have a drug problem. But she turns out to have more experience with it than most of them, and ends up counseling people ten and twenty years older.

When she gets out of rehab she goes back to live with Cathy and Husband, who had just gotten used to the idea of being alone again. Having a grown kid with them for an undertermined period is quite a strain. However, Star seems to have gotten some sense, and goes out and gets a job at a local restaurant, starts paying her fines, and keeps her room clean(er).

Her pregnancy begins to be an issue. Morning sickness, new clothes, advice and questions make it easier for Cathy to be her mother. She feels less like a jailer and more like an elder. Husband enjoys having two women in the house, and is amused by their interactions, which go from irritated to hilarious as they work out their differences.

After three months they fire her from her restaurant job. Cathy wants her to sue, Star doesn’t want to cause trouble. She gets bigger and bigger. Star takes temp wok, and continues to pay her fines with the little money she makes. She begins to borrow money from Husband tho Cathy suspects they’ll never get it back. Star gets bigger and bigger, and sleeps more and more. She has found an interest in cooking, much to Cathy’s delight. She finds recipes on and they make dinner together. Star’s specialties: macaroni and cheese, and chocolate cornstarch pudding. This only adds to Star’s girth.

She plans to marry Boyfriend, and at first he agrees. But his parents step in, and suddenly Cathy hears that they’ll get married after the baby comes – they all do it this way now. And then the subject is dropped, and aside from hints that the parents don’t approve, Cathy and Husband know nothing.

Cathy was a midwife in her youth, and expects Star to have a home birth with her in attendance. But Star has already picked out the hospital, and wants to keep Cathy in the waiting room and just have Boyfriend (busted out of the army) in the delivery room with her. Cathy is very disappointed and upset, and plans to be as much trouble as she can.

As the time for the birth gets closer, Star begins to have trouble and close calls, and she and Cathy make many trips to the hospital only to be sent home.  Finally the day comes when they are admitted, and Star elects to get an epidural, which sets off all Cathy’s fears and prejudices against the medical system. Cathy remains in th birthing room with Star, and she and Boyfriend help her get thru labor.  Star’s birth experience is completely different from Cathy’s, and Cathy is forced to reconsider all her ideas about hospital births.

The baby comes home, Star stays with her mom just long enough to get settled, and then she’s off to live with Boyfriend whether the parents care or not. But it doesn’t last. Boyfriend has been running heroin from Afghanistan, and using. Star is freaked out by this, and tempted to start using drugs herself, but knows that DFACS will find out and take her baby and she’ll be found in violation of her probation and have to go back to jail. Boyfriend has changed since he’s been in the army, and is now distant and a little cruel toward her, and unfeeling toward the baby. His operation is busted when a disgruntled customer shoots up the house. Star escapes with the baby and comes back to Cathy and Husband, vowing to remain true to Boyfriend no matter what happens.

But the cops show up on Star’s doorstep with a warrant to search the house for drugs, and they let slip that Boyfriend has turned her in in an attempt to cooperate with the police. Star is threatened with jail and DFACS, and contemplates losing the baby because of her decision to live with a drug dealer. She sees Boyfriend at his arraignment, and he is distant and has a guilty look. Star realizes the situation, and goes home in a deep depression.

But Cathy is elated. Not only has Star been disillusioned at little cost to herself, but she’s living with Cathy and Husband, and seems likely to for the future. She now talks about going to college, she’s out getting a job and continuing to pay her fines, she’s bringing home non-drug using friends, she’s helpful, mature, polite, and she’s turned into a really good cook. Cathy decides that it’s okay to have a grown daughter at home, and that it’s good to have a multi-generational family.


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