Chapter 17

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"How do you know that?" Rick questions, angrily. I smirk and shake my head vigorously.

"TELL ME!!" He booms.

"It's so obvious, Rick. You'd think no one would know about your little crush?" I croak.

At instant, he raises his hand and slaps me causing me to fall out of shock. Honestly, it hurt like hell. My hands clawed the dirt, anger building up inside me. I have to force myself to remain calm. Rickey pulls me up by my shirt and pins me against the wall, roughly.

He stares into my eyes as if he's expecting a reaction - as if he wants me to fight back.

I only smile.

"Look, I honestly do not care if you're gay or not and I'm sure Damien won't mind," I cough. His grip around my neck gets stronger and he keeps his eyes on mine.

"Just tell him."

"I can't." he grits through his teeth.

"Why?"

"Because," he sighs and releases me. "He likes someone else."

"And that's getting in the way of your happiness?"

"You.... You don't understand." His voice is shaky.

"Just tell me - I can help."

He scowls.

"No. You can't." He pushes past me and heads back into the party without a second glance or another word.

{•••}

I lie on my back on the floor of my room, staring at the ceiling in the dark. It's 3:30 in the morning and my dad has yet to come home. I tried calling him for the 31st time this morning.

Voicemail each time.

I sighed and threw the phone away from me. I tried to relax and closed my eyes.

Suddenly, a sharp ringing sound comes from the phone. At instant, I whip around and pick up the phone.

"H-Hullo?"

"Erica?"

"Dad! Dad, where are you?!"-

I hear him sigh at the other end of the line. "You're not gonna like this, kiddo."

"What is it? What did you do?"

"I.... I'm at the police department."

"You're what?!" I shout.

"Don't freak out."

"Don't freak out, how could I not?! What happened?"

"That doesn't matter right now, my time's almost up. Just come by to pick me up."

"Fine. See you in 10 minutes."

{•••}

"Thanks, kid." My dad says as he slips into the car.

"Yeah, yeah. Spill. What did you do?"

He sighs. "Today, the guys at work decided to fire a couple people. I just so happened to be one of those few."

"You lost your job?"

He nods then continues. "I was devastated and scared so I went to the nearest bar for a couple of drinks. Long story short, I ending up in the police department for drunk driving."

I clench my fists on the steering wheel. "Of course you fucking did."

"Erica, I'm sorry."

"Yeah? For what? Coming home drunk almost every night, shutting me out of your life?"

"I know, and I feel bad but ever since your sister died and your mother—"

"She's not my mother. She will never be.

"Don't say that about her!" He yells. "She could be dead by now and we'd never even know!!"

"Funny. Because here's something I happened to know." I stop the car and glare at him.

"She's alive, dad."

{•••••}

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