“I meant to do a toast with you guys last night. Sorry I fell asleep.”
A little distracted from counting my bags and marking off the checklist in my head, I answer, “It’s fine Dad, really.”
“Alright,” he sighs. “Can your old man get a hug?”
I set down my bag and amble on over to him. He wraps his arms around me. “Thanks for stopping by.” He sounds sincere. I almost feel bad that I’m leaving. What is he going to do once Scott and I leave? Just go back to watching television around the clock and plan for what he’ll do in his newly-retired life? For once I wish I lived closer to him.
“It was our pleasure,” Scott interjects and shakes my dad’s hand once I step away.
My dad smiles. “It was really nice meeting you, Scott.” He glances down to Lindsey. “You too, even though we didn’t have a chance to talk much.”
Lindsey nods politely. We all pick up our stuff and bustle out the door, my dad walking out with us. He stands on the porch with his arms crossed, and he waves to us as we leave.
There was no I love you, and the way we left him reminds me of the last time I visited. Watching him out of the rearview mirror, it makes me wonder if anything has changed.
“You’re glad we went, right?” Scott questions, sounding a little worried, as we near sights I actually recognize. We’re almost home.
“Of course. It was nice to see that he’s doing okay, more or less.”
Scott nods and stays silent until we’re at my apartment. We’re both talked-out. “Have fun at work. I’ll see you soon?”
“Yeah,” I say, getting out. “Remember I only work two more days this week and then I’m yours until Sunday.”
He looks confused for a second.
“You know, you’re having a party this Saturday at your shop… I took off so we could prepare on Thursday and Friday…. Ringing a bell?”
It clicks in his head. “Okay, yeah, sorry, driving fogs up my brain. Yes. Okay. See you Thursday.”
I smile, grab my things, and head inside. I need to wake up a little before work.
Thursday and Friday, I can safely say, were the most hectic days of my life. It was non-stop baking and decorating and crisis-solving. However, it’s now Saturday, and my main job is keeping Scott calm until one. Although this may sound like an easy task, it isn’t. He keeps thinking of more to do and how we could improve the party. Lindsey sits at a table, homework out, ignoring her father as he paces around the kitchen, moving from the oven to the counter repeatedly as pastries are done baking. I wish I could be her, but instead, I’m in charge of all cooled, last-minute baked goods. Basically, I decide which ones to frost and organize plates of them to serve.
“Twelve-thirty!” Scott calls out to Raven, Ben, and me. “Only thirty minutes left, people! Come on, pick it up!”
“Maybe he should’ve been a drill sergeant,” I murmur to Raven who’s standing beside me, sticking toothpicks in things to label what they are.
She giggles which sets me off too, but I quickly shush us both so Scott doesn’t freak out at us. Raven understands immediately and puts on a pretend-serious face, still laughing a little every few seconds.
“Raven,” Scott scolds. “No time for laughing, only time for work.”
“See,” I whisper.