Chapter 4: Meet the Parents
7:38 A.M., The Maloney's Foyer
Why does life never seem to work out in my favor?
As soon as I had shut the door on those strangers, Homer, my family's purebred Golden Retriever, came trotting down the staircase and pounced on me. His fifty pound body crushed and winded me.
I shoved Homer off while taking spasmodic gasps of breath. He watched me and whimpered as if to show his innocence. I raised an eyebrow, and people say animals don't understand what goes on around them. In the background, the doorbell was ringing continuous and Homer started barking.
"Bug off, Homer. Shhh! Do not wake up Phil and Melinda!" I hissed. Phil and Melinda happen to be the name of the two people walking down the stairs this very moment. In other words Homer had woken my parents. I guess my friends heard the commotion as well because they came walking in next.
"Darn mutt, making unnecessary noises! Now look what you have done!" I complained.
"What is all that noise, Dustin?" My father asked. He was tying the rope of his robe extra tight because Homer was pulling at the hem threatening to take it off. I coughed uncomfortably.
"Dustin, get Wyatt off me! And answer the door already. Do something with yourself already!" I scowled at him, but grabbed Homer by his collar and he whimpered in response. I slid open the front door slowly and then jetted out in the opposite direction before I could see the scene about to unfold.
On the way out of the room I turned around and yelled, "And dad, Ashley changed the dog's name again. It's Homer now!"
8:22 A.M., Mr. Maloney's Office
I heard a loud argument going on inside the office as I pressed my ear against the large oak door for better sound.
"For Christ sake, it was an open adoption!" An unfamiliar voice yelled.
"It was, was being the key term here! I thought we resolved this issue sixteen and a half years ago in court? You have no right to take away my child when I have fathered her for sixteen years! You are only her parents by blood, other than that you have no real connection with Dustin. Everything is handled here and she is safe so I suggest you get the f*** out of my home." Phil retorted.
"Her name is Rayvine. And if Rayvine is so safe why had she run away from home yesterday, huh? If it wasn't for my crew she could have been dead by now! If you want something to compensate for the years you have spent on my child, money is not an issue. I would gladly write you a check to resolve this problem." The unfamiliar voice countered.
"You can't buy off a child! Every moment spent with Dustin was cherished, our memories are priceless and if you think you need to compensate for my time spent with her then you clearly don't understand the miracle that Dustin is. She's one in a billion and I am honored to be her adoptive father. If you don't understand that I would gladly take this conversation back to court." Phil seethed.
I could almost hear the passion in Phil's voice as he defended our relationship. I smiled, Phil has never been very emotional and the fact that he spoke of me with such love brought a toothy smile to my face.
"Well then, I guess we'll see you in court." The voice retorted confidently.
Before anything further could be said I walked into the office and head straight to the only available seat around the long rectangular table. Phil, Melinda, and the strange couple from before were gathered around it.
All eyes monitored my every move in the dimly lit room. I felt like I was going to be interrogated and had a gut feeling nothing good could come of this conversation. Maybe I was just paranoid, I have been watching too many CSI: Crime Scene Investigations lately anyway.
When I glanced around the room I observed everyone closely. My mother, Melinda, was repeatedly running her hands through her thick blonde hair. If I hadn't known better I would have thought she was fighting a nasty case of head lice. It looked like at any moment a tuft of hair would fall out.
Phil seemed to be putting on a fake front. His body was stiff and his posture was upright. He looked ready for war rather than to have a talk with his seventeen year old daughter. Also, from the look in his eye I could tell he knew I heard what had gone on in the office before my arrival.