13 - It's Not What It Looks Like

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I stood frozen, staring at my father. He helplessly watched from the gym's door, half standing in the doorway. I half expected him to make a run for it by the shocked expression on his face. "It's not what it looks like," I gushed out. 

Strangely enough, I had never been the type of girl to sneak boys into my room at midnight, begging to be caught by my father. I had missed that whole stage in my teenager years which meant my father had glided through his life without having to witness such a scene. Until now.

His eyes swung back and forth between Roy and myself, his mouth slightly popped up. I knew he was trying to come up with some sort of response but words were failing him right now. I had never seen my father so lost for words before. "I mean, it sort of is. But--" Roy started, glancing in my direction. My head whipped around, staring him down.

I watched as he ran a hand through his short hair, muttering a few words in a pathetic apology. Dad now entered the gym, yanking the heavy door behind him. I noticed his gym bag swinging from his shoulder. "So," I went on, trying to change the subject. "This is Roy Harper, dad."

Roy was meters away from me now, having the good sense to put some distance between us. "Nice to meet you, sir." Roy blurted out. 

My dad eyed him, "I know who you are, son. Everyone in the city knows the Harper family." I almost cringed at his chosen words. I could only imagine what Roy was thinking right now, seeing the blank gaze of my father's eyes on him. Roy Harper had a bad name by association. 

"Right, yeah." Roy replied, keeping his voice level. "You've got a nice gym. It's very...airy." 

I groaned, mentally wanting to hit him across the face and tell him to keep his damn mouth shut. My father cracked a smile though, dropping his gym bag to the ground. My father wasn't a serious man but I hadn't seen a smile on his face that I hadn't put their myself in a long time. "I'll take that as a compliment."

I could feel Roy thinking away as to what he might say next and knowing it was probably going to ruin any chance of my father to like him, I stepped in. "What are you doing here? It's late."  

Dad shrugged, "I couldn't sleep and thought I would take a few swings on the bag. What are you two doing here?" 

Roy was now standing back, his hands buried deep within his pockets. "Pretty much the same." I muttered out. 

"Right, sure." Dad replied, pulling on a boxing glove. "I was going to call you about this weekend. I didn't want to start something but I'm taking a date."

I frowned, "A date to what?"

"Tommy and Laurel's wedding," Dad replied, turning back to face me. "Don't tell me you've forgotten?"

Laurel Lance was a family friend, our fathers's history went way back. They were roommates back in college before my dad moved away and met mum. Laurel was like a sister, always dropping in at the gym and at home to check on both of us. She was a pretty bit hit with Ruby, they were always chatting about some new theatre show. She was marrying Tommy Merlyn, a sports journalist for the local paper. They had been dating for years now. I had been so wrapped up with Zoom's lapdogs, it had slipped my mind completely. 

"I totally blanked," I confessed. The whole family was invited to the day, including Ruby and Douglas. "Wait, you have a date?"

The sheer awkwardness dripping off my father gave me the answer. "It isn't such a big deal...she's very nice and we met at that little coffee place a few blocks from the house. She's a manager at--"

"Wait, you're dating?" I asked, crossing my arms over my chest. I knew it wasn't something I should stick my nose into after all my dad deserved to be happy, why not with another woman? But the sheer idea of him falling in love with someone who wasn't my mother wasn't sitting well. 

He paused, his attention drifting back to me. I gawked at him, demanding an answer. I saw Roy in the corner of my eyes, stepping away and pretending to be interested with some of the gym equipment that lined the wall. "Yes," Dad said. "I suppose I am. That's alright, isn't it?"

I nodded blankly, keeping my thoughts at bay. "I just...I thought we were going to the wedding together?"

He shrugged, his eyes dropping down. I was getting ditched by my own father at a wedding I had forgotten about. "I'm sorry, kid. I didn't even think. You can tag along with Ruby and Douglas, right? They won't mind."

I rolled my eyes, "Wonderful, third wheeling the couple I always third wheel at a wedding. Who am I supposed to go with dad? I don't have time to find a date."

My dad's eyesight shifted, glancing over his shoulder to watch Roy. "Well, I did find you with him earlier..." He didn't finished the sentence and I sighed, rubbing at my forehead.

"You want me to ask Roy Harper to be my date?" I hissed, lowing my voice. 

Dad shrugged again, "He's not so bad to look at. I'm sure he'll look nice in a suit."

I blew out the air from my cheeks and gave dad a quick glare. "You so owe me." I told him before I turning back to see Roy, who was currently trying to get free from one of the weight machines. I marched over, knowing my dearest father was watching or pretending not to. 

"Hey," I greeted him, pushing some hair from my eyes.

He glanced up quickly, dropping the machine with a loud clang that echoed through the quiet space. "I'm allowed to speak now?" He questioned.

I sighed, ignoring his comment. "What are you doing Saturday night?"

He shrugged, "Uh, nothing yet. Why?"

I felt silly asking him. "I sort of have a wedding to attend and need a date."

"Oh," His face brightened. "You want me to go with you?"

I nodded, trying my hardest not to kick him in the shin for his dorky smirk he had painted across his face. "Sure, I don't see why not. Weddings can be...exciting." I glared at him as he grinned, giving me a coy wink.

"Don't even think about it," I told him, my mind racing back to that almost kiss. 


***

"Don't you think it's a bad idea to be going to the wedding?" Douglas asked the next morning. We were piled around the table, sipping at coffee. Ruby was at the counter, spreading jam on her toast. It was a nice sight to see her dressed in her pink stockings and dark leotard while standing in the kitchen. "With everything that's going on."

Ruby smiled, it was bright and pretty. "I doubt the city is going to fall apart if we take a night off." 

I nodded, placing my mug down. "Plus there hasn't been any rouge metahumans running through town lately. Everything has been so dead."

"Yeah, and wouldn't it be fun to watch Violet and Roy flirt shamelessly with each other all the while pretending they don't like each other all night?" Ruby grinned, taking a seat next to Douglas, her hand resting on his arm. 

Douglas nodded, "Yeah, that could be fun." 

I groaned, "You two really suck, you know that?"

Ruby flashed a smirk in my direction while Douglas leaned back in his chair, "So what do we do now?"

Even though the wedding was going to be a full day of Roy trying to find new ways to get under my skin, I wasn't dreading it completely. "We go to a wedding." 

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