13th chapter

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They were sitting at the kitchen counter. Silent. Nora was eating, while Viktor was reading the news on his phone and drinking coffee. Silence became an everyday occurrence in their household. Their life together started to resemble the most mundane movie ever, just sharing a living space and taking care of Jana. Nora's phone began vibrating in the middle of a large wooden counter; her ringtone had been turned off a long time ago. She ignored it.

- You're not going to answer? – Viktor asked with a combination of sarcasm and frustration in his voice.

- If it's important, they'll call again – Nora replied indifferently.

- Unbelievable – Viktor sighed and picked up the phone.

- Hello, Viktor Belajec speaking.

After a few moments of him just listening to the person on the other end of the line, Viktor handed the phone to Nora. She was still taken aback by him even picking up her phone, but like most of her reactions lately, he ignored that one too.

- The lawyer needs you, something to do with the house. Answer and don't act like a big baby.

Nora just took the phone from his hand and went to the bedroom. For twenty minutes, she listened to her lawyer explaining the things her mom and dad had never wanted to bother her with. She was never involved in family finances more than her parents would allow. She was brought up to understand the value of money and to know that she had to earn it through hard work. They were not a wealthy family, but she always had whatever she wanted, as long it was within reason. What she did not know was that the money for her studies, for example, had been obtained from a loan. She also did not know that the student loan was not her parents' only loan, and she felt ashamed that she had never thought about where the money for all her needs came from. The lawyer now explained how her mom and dad had taken out a new loan to refinance all the old ones, but that no payments had been made for a while now. Since they did not leave a will, and Nora was their only child, she was also the sole legal inheritor of everything they had. Their house was put up as collateral, and if Nora could not pay off their debt, it would be put up for public auction so that the loan could be closed and the debt settled.

- Is there any other way to save the house if I can't repay those debts right now? – Nora asked after the lawyer had finished explaining, in the hope she would be able to keep the only physical connection to her parents she had left.

- Unfortunately, no – said the lawyer with a reassuring voice even though he was giving out bad news. – But you can visit the house and pick up some keepsakes. I heard what happened, and I'm truly sorry I can't do more.

- Thank you. And I will definitely go over there this weekend, you can sell the house after that.

Nora hung up and lay on the bed for a few moments. She thought about the house she grew up in, surprised that the news did not affect her as much as she would expect them to. Now that mom and dad were not there anymore, maybe she stopped considering that house to be her home.

She briefly told Viktor that they would put up the house for auction to cover her parents' debts and that she would go to Kutina for the weekend to pick up some things. She did not explain much, and what was worse, he did not really care.

It took Nora two and a half hours to reach Kutina, and she was listening to the radio that entire time. She forgot how much she loved that, and now, as she was getting closer to her old home, she did start to feel a little bit different. She parked in her old yard. It was June, and it was getting warmer outside, so she felt comfortable in a plain light oversized T-shirt and sweatpants. The feeling reminded her of coming home from school and changing into the most comfortable combinations, those you wear "around the house."

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