17 : Cause

It had been a while. Studio work and the band's other promotional duties had kept her too busy to call home. And now she couldn't think of anything but a much-needed heart-to-heart with her mom. 

At this hour, Dr. Michel was either deep in sleep or waist-deep in another emergency surgery at the clinic, but Veronica hoped her mom was free to talk. She needed reinforcement. Badly and immediately.

The dull rings went on while she waited for her mother to pick up. It was late. Maybe her mom had already gone to bed. Veronica wished for the opposite, though.  She was about to put her phone away when the monotonous ringing suddenly stopped.

Her mother's groggy voice came over the line the next second. "Via?"

"Mommy, you busy?"

"No, hon. Just fell asleep early."

"Sorry. Woke you up." Veronica wiped her eyes dry and

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