Dad shoots me that look he gets whenever I get overly dramatic; his head is slightly tipped down, one eyebrow up, and his jaw is set. I can see he’s being as patient as possible with me, despite my irrational solution.

“You can’t just hide from the things that make you uncomfortable, Tilly-Billy,” he says gently. “We will face this as a family. I promise we can handle this together, and things are going to be okay. You will not be transferring schools in the middle of your senior year.”

I let out a sigh of defeat as a hot tear streams down my cheek. My mom and dad each take one of my hands in their own, and we form a loving circle. I sniffle because I’m lucky to have William and Gertie, but they just don’t get it. They don’t know what it’s like to live as a teenage pariah at a ritzy high school.

Unfortunately, I want my parents to be happy, and nod slowly. If they want this truth and reconciliation meeting, then the least I can do is to grant their wish.

4

Mike

“Come on Sam, let’s get going! We can’t be late for your meeting with Principal Hartman. We need to be in his office by 7:30,” I yell.

My daughter is taking her sweet time getting ready this morning, so much so that it actually feels like an act of defiance – a sort of rebellion to her being forced to sit down and face the consequences of her actions. She actually woke up early and made pancakes this morning! From scratch. The girl never cooks, and I grit my teeth. Obviously, she’s trying to get on my good side before the shit hits the fan.

“You don’t need any more make-up on your face. You go to school to learn, not to prance around like you’re in some sort of beauty pageant. Wrap it up and get down here.”

“Five more minutes!” she shouts back, her voice muffled through the bathroom door.

“I am going to start the car. You will have your butt in the passenger seat in two minutes, Samantha. Not a moment longer, do you hear me?”

“Okay fine. Then stop talking to me and let me get my things together!” she screeches.

I know I should say something at this disrespectful remark. To be completely honest though, I don’t have the energy. Being a single dad wears you down, and sometimes, it’s easier to let things slide. I angrily grab my mug of coffee and head out to start up the car.

I’ve seen this day coming for some time now. I genuinely don’t know what to do. Ever since my ex and I broke up, Sam has just not been the same. Clearly, I’ve been too easy on my daughter; I suppose I’ve been feeling guilty. I keep thinking that if I could have made it work with Eva, Samantha would still have a mother.

But was I supposed to stay in an unhappy marriage for another two years until Sam went to college? That certainly isn’t the example I want to set for my little girl. And anyways, how was I to know that Eva would completely abandon her daughter after we broke things off? What kind of woman can just cut ties with her flesh and blood?

Unfortunately, we haven’t heard from Eva ever since that fateful day. At first, Sam didn’t believe it. I’d hear her perk up whenever a car rumbled by on the street, and more than once, I caught her writing an email to her mom. But Eva never responded, nor did she ever show. My ex-wife has disappeared, and my daughter has been crushed as a result.

It’s left me with a huge problem, because raising a teenage girl is a mystery I have not yet solved. I’m never sure what exactly to say. When I try to talk to her, the words seem to go in one ear and out the other. Yet, I feel guilty. I know the divorce and Eva’s disappearance is the root cause of Sam’s bad behavior.

Unfortunately, nastiness is never acceptable, and Sam’s hit a bump in the road now. We’ve been summoned to Principal Hartman’s office for what he calls a “truth and reconciliation” meeting with Sam’s victim, and it’s not going to be pretty. I can just imagine how that poor girl feels. My daughter can be a queen-sized bitch, and she was on the receiving end of it.

And the girl’s parents! I can’t even begin to imagine they feel about this. I know I’d be furious, devastated, and humiliated for my daughter, had she been slapped in the face by a sandwich. Shit. I do not have the patience today to deal with what is coming my way. Today is going to be a rough one.

Finally, my daughter makes an appearance. She opens the vehicle door and gets in, refusing to meet my eye, before crossing her arms rebelliously over her chest. I look at Sam in the passenger seat, that mean scowl engraved on her pretty face. Then, she sinks down to the bottom of the seat and props her feet up on the dashboard. I’ve told her not to sit like that. She’s always leaving her dirty footprints in my freshly detailed car, and besides, it’s such an unladylike position. I wish she had a strong female-figure in her life to tell her these things.


Tags: Winter Renshaw Romance
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