Loading... Chapter Forty Four
Having to pay for a taxi to get here was an insult to future injury. The injury came when Emily opened the door and looked taken back to see Owen standing there. "Hey," she said, and moved away from the door to let him in. "Something up? You don't usually just stop by randomly."
Owen tilted his head and glanced over to his father, who was lounging on the couch. "You didn't tell her I was coming over?"
Walter tossed the magazine in his hand onto the coffee table. "I didn't think you'd show up."
"The fuck, Dad." He shook his head, and turned to Emily. "I'm sorry, I should have texted you."
"No worries," she smiled. "I'm going to check on dinner. You two play nice." Her glance hovered on Owen, in support rather than accusation.
Owen wavered on his feet. He wanted to follow her, but instead swayed towards Walter. He brought his hands up and, uncertain what to do with them, tapped them against each other. "So, what brings you to town?"
Walter gave him a measured look before shifting through the magazines again. Baby Talk, Parenting, Wired, Parents. None held his attention. "Have you talked to your brother?"
"Is that why you're here?"
"I do live here."
"In New York state," Owen corrected. "Not city."
"Would you just answer the question?"
"No, Dad. He doesn't keep in touch." Owen said. He tried to hold his tongue, but after the first word he was a goner. "Not even with me."
"Is that attitude I hear?"
Cussing didn't bother him, but talking back was a no-no. It didn't matter if you were thirteen or thirty, that gruff parent voice always sounded the same. Over the years, Owen had worked out the exact inflection to shut his Dad down. "No sir."
Walter stared for a second, a harsh glance, like he knew what his son was doing. Whether it was years in the service or something else, Owen was never sure, but when Walter looked away, he knew it had worked again.
"Hey Owen." Rick stepped into the room with an instruction sheet in his hand. He hadn't even realized he'd caught both their attention until he looked up. "Uh, Colonel Owen. Sorry. I was hoping I could enlist your help."
Owen smirked to himself about the word choice, but didn't breathe a sound. If he did, the two of them would stay.
"Sure, it's no problem, Berkley." Walter got up and followed Rick into the baby's room.
Owen was left alone in the living room, which, if he had to pick, was one of the better choices. They'd be back. For now, he was free.
When he heard footsteps, Owen glanced up, and was relieved to find Emily. "Have you come to save me?"
"Actually," Em stretched the word out in a fashion Owen knew was trouble. "I'm inviting you to stay for dinner."
"Fantastic," Owen said, with a mock smile. "What are the GI Joe buddies doing, anyways?"
Emily shot him a look that actually made him feel like shit. "Rick promised when he got back he'd take care of everything so I could have a break. But he needed help with this dinosaur thing we bought." With a slight shrug, she headed back into the kitchen.
Dinner was delayed fifteen minutes, but soon enough they gathered around the dining room table. "You'll have to forgive me," Em said, "I haven't had to cook for anyone besides myself in a while, so I might be rusty."
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Bone Diggers (Paperback out now!)Science Fiction
When everyone IRL lies, the only person you can trust is an NPC. Dirty little secrets can't be hidden behind player avatars, because Bone Diggers like Owen expose the lives behind the code. When his two worlds blur, he must decide which is more impo...