We went back to the table and sat down. My clueless parents continued talking to each other about work, probably not even noticing that we were back.
The waiter came and set our food down in front of us. I placed my napkin in my lap to avoid more chastising from my mother, and began to eat using my manners. Damn mothers. Why did they have to be so mother like?
“What are we doing after dinner?” I asked. Maybe we could go to the movies or even mini golfing or something.
“I have work to do,” my parents said at the same time. I mentally sighed. Of course they had even more work to do.
Tommy took my hand under the table and squeezed it gently, shooting me a knowing look. I offered a small smile to show him I was okay. I was used to it by now. My parents had always been workaholics, and I had gotten used to it.
We finished eating and went out to the car. Mom pulled out and onto the main road, driving silently.
“Tommy, do you want us to drop you off home?” dad asked to break the silence.
Tommy nodded. “Yes please. Zeke can come over, if he wants. And thanks for dinner,” he said with a grateful nod.
“It was no trouble at all,” dad said, cracking a smile at Tommy.
Mom pulled into Tommy’s driveway a few minutes later, impatience on her face. “Goodbye,” she said flatly as we got out of the car. She probably had a certain time she wanted to start work.
“B-” Mom had pulled out of the driveway before I got to even mutter my goodbye. Oh I loved my mom and dad.
Tommy took my hand and pulled me around back. We climbed into the tree house he and his brothers had built with their dad as kids. I cuddled up to Tommy and he wrapped an arm around me, kissing me.
“Does it bother you?” he asked.
I shrugged. “Not really. I mean, at least they still do things with me sometimes. Not like Trace’s mom. She left him for her work. My parents wouldn’t do that.” But my voice sounded unsure, even to me. Would they leave me for work?
“No, I don’t think they would,” Tommy agreed. “But I still think it’s wrong that they neglect you the way they do. Even your dad sometimes.”
I blushed, not really wanting to talk about this. It made me uncomfortable. It’s not like my parents were abusive or anything. They lent me money, they kept me well fed and clothed, we lived in a nice house, they had a college savings for me, and we went out together on rare occasions. I hated feeling ungrateful towards my parents. They did a lot for me.
“I can read you so well,” Tommy mumbled, staring into my eyes, searching them. There was shade where Tommy was sitting, so his eyes weren’t shining quite as much as they usually did. I found myself getting lost in them.
“Hey!” I cried as something hit me and exploded, getting me wet. I looked down with a deep frown and Tommy sighed and released me.