21- upper east side

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For the rest of the car ride, we didn't say anything else to each other. I focused on the road and tried to navigate how to make it through this goddam city while Tyler just watched out the window. He seemed just as lost in thought as I was.

Finally, at around seven, we made it to Tyler's hotel. It took at least three wrong turns and a hundred curses at the GPS before we pulled up, and by then I almost joined him on the curb. But, I had a father to say 'hi' to and a stepmother to meet, per mom's request, so I resisted. We agreed to meet later that afternoon for the first round of illegal activities before I pulled away from the hotel and somehow found my way to the condo.

In the upper east side, it seemed most people hired town cars as transportation. For the few that actually owned cars, there was a private parking lot underneath the building that a valet drove my piece of shit to. I could only imagine how my ten year-old car looked next to Lambo's and Ferrari's.

Upon entering the lobby, I almost barfed on the marble tiles. Hanging from the high ceiling was a chandelier almost as big as my bathroom, each crystal shining bright and casting light on the white walls surrounding it. There were potted plants scattered in various corners of the elegant room as well as Roman statues and expensive sofas. It looked like a palace. A very expensive, over-the-top palace.

The doorman greeted me with a warm smile as he reached for my suitcase. "Good morning, madam, may I take your bags?"

"No, I'm good."

Despite my protests, the skinny man continued to reach for it. He kept smiling at me with twinkling eyes until I begrudgingly loosened my grip. I followed him to the elevator and he pushed the button for the top floor. Of course my mother's sperm donor was in the penthouse.

When the door opened to the condo, I took my suitcase and shooed the man away. I know I should have tipped him, but since I pretty much had to fight him for control of my bag I decided that I didn't have to.

"Honey, you made it!" I recognized the voice of the man walking towards me but that was where the recognition ended. His previously brown shaggy hair had been styled and dyed to a darker shade, making him look younger than his fifty years. Add to that limited wrinkles, a cashmere sweater, pressed pants, and sparkling eyes and I didn't even know who this man was.

"Hi, Roger." I hadn't called him 'dad' since he left my mom five years ago. For a new family. Without warning. Without contact, till this past year. 

"How was the drive? I'm glad you left so early. You probably missed a lot of traffic."

"Yeah probably."

Without waiting for permission, Roger pulled me in for a hug, his frame barely bigger than my own. I stood still and just let it happen, keeping my arms to my side and waiting patiently to get my personal bubble back. Do it for mom, Aly. Be nice so he stops bothering her.

"How are you? It's been so long." He asked me as he stepped back.

"And who's fault is that?" I muttered, keeping my eyes averted.

"I don't expect forgiveness. All I want is a second chance." Then, as if it were an afterthought, "I'm sorry." 

Before I could respond, a woman joined us in the foyer. Oh, and did I mention that this place was even more over the top than the lobby? Chandeliers, expensive paintings, elegant trimming, you name it. This is just proof that guys can be gold diggers, too.

Speaking of over the top, that's exactly what this woman was. Her hair was blonde and styled perfectly into a neat bun, her eyes blue with thick glued-on eyelashes. She was wearing a white sweater, also cashmere, and jeans that probably cost more than Tyler makes in a year.

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