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4.3 Parker

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PARKER

A knock on my bedroom door surprised me. Quickly, I hopped out of bed and stopped the episode of Marie Kondo, the Art of Tidying Up. It was the only thing that kept me from feeling miserable, while also being enough of a distraction to keep me from thinking about Lizzie.

"Come in!" I piped up.

My dad leaned past the threshold, checking to see if the coast was clear. "Hey, Parker, uh I found this..." He revealed a bedazzled shoe. "My guess is that it's yours or I've really lost touch with my wife."

"It could be Hayden's," I said defensively for no reason. It was just in my nature and I honestly didn't know how to turn it off.

My dad nodded. "I guess I'll go ask—"

"No! Sorry, it's mine."

He smiled and let himself inside. I plopped down on my bed and he handed me the shoe. It was supposed to be Taylor Smith #5's shoe. I very carefully placed every rhinestone so from close up, it didn't look like anything, but from far away, you could kind of see a rhinestone red dick on the side.

"Can I ask if this is a costume thing? Or a Parker thing?"

"What's a Parker thing?" I scrunched my brows together, ready for a hit.

He shrugged. "I don't know. You just wear very creative clothes. I wouldn't put it past you to wear anything eccentric. You're this town's very own Bjork."

It seemed like he was saying a compliment, so I held back a snarky remark. Though it was shockingly hard. I touched the little jewels, moving them back and forth so they would catch the light and glitter.

He studied me. Maybe it was the way my lips trembled as the truth piled on top of my tongue, all the things that I haven't told him that compiled into more of a mountain than I first thought. Tilting his head, he let out a little sigh and said, "You can tell me. Give me a chance, Parker." He shrugged. "That's all I need."

I admitted, "It's actually um... a costume thing."

"Cool." My dad nodded and admired the shoe again. "That's really cool. Can I see the sketches or...?"

"Well..." I mumbled, suddenly hit with the urge to run and hide. "Actually, I have..." I stood up and walked to my closet, taking out one of my covered costumes and sat it on the bed. I unzipped it, feeling my face burn red hot. My armpits suddenly pooled with sweat. "I'm doing the costumes for my school play..." I whispered because I couldn't form the words any louder. It felt like being inside a dark basement, expecting something to jump around the corner.

My dad reached for the dress on top by the hanger, moving it back and forth and my entire chest tightened, closing around my heart and strangling it to death. I kept talking. If I didn't stop talking, he wouldn't be able to totally disappoint me. "It's Cinderella—um, not that dress. That's just uh, one of the dresses for an extra. Not just a dress, but like it's not my showstopper. I did the shoes too and some hats. Thankfully, they got someone else to do the makeup because you know me, or maybe you don't—not me, me, but like the fact I don't wear makeup. I don't know how much you know about that—"

He smiled warmly, and listened to every word as he lifted the next dress and the next. His eyes that were also my eyes glimmered as he grinned wider and wider. "These are amazing, Parker. I can't believe you did all this work." He laughed. "Now I understand why your room's a wreck. If I did all this, I'd live in madness too. I'll promise to keep my mouth shut." He raised his hand in promise.

"Thanks..." I said, losing all the breath in my lungs.

Where was the catch? Where was it.

"How long have you been working on these dresses?"

He called them dresses. Not stuff.

My eyes bubbled with tears. "Um, like a few months."

His jaw dropped. "Months? Wha—why didn't I know about this before?" His eyes widened. "Oh, no. Don't tell me I missed the play?"

"No, it's not for another week... you'd come?"

He deflated, dropping his hands on his knees. "I'd love to come. Did you... did you not think I'd want to come? Parker, I wanna be there. I want to be there to cheer you on. I mean, I don't know much about these plays and musicals, but if it's important to you, it's important to me."

My lips trembled and the waterworks started.

He smiled, his own eyes glistening with tears now. "I already missed so much. I can't bear to miss anything more. Hell yes, I'll be there with Debbie and Hayden. We'll be there in the front row with signs and posters. I'll even print your face on a T-shirt."

"Please don't," I laughed and rolled my eyes through the tears. "Besides. It's probably not even going to happen. I really messed up and pissed my director off. She'll probably never let me back into the play."

"Should I talk to her?"

"No," I panicked, slightly horrified by the thought of my chino-wearing dad talk to my drama teacher. A vein I didn't know sat in the middle of my forehead throbbed. "Don't do that. I'll talk to her."

"But if you need me, I'm right here."

He was here.

Right here.

"You'll always be my baby, girl," my dad said as he stood, sweeping his hand through my hair. Our orange hair. We shared so many things. Our eyes and hair and long limbs and I swear, we had the same knees, which haunted me every single day. But we shared other stuff too. The way we liked our space. The way I got angry if I couldn't eat as soon as I was hungry. The way we fell in love with people that were much nicer than us.

I stood up from my bed and wandered towards my closet, my legs moving on their own. Using my whole arm, I moved my clothes out of the way and reached down, stretching for my rolling luggage. I pulled it out by the handle and dragged it to my bed. It was heavier than I recalled from last year when I arrived.

My last suitcase.

I hadn't opened it or touched it since I moved back in.

I unzipped it, greeted by my old Broadway posters. Underneath were my string lights and all my playbills that I've strung together. Some little art prints were carefully stuffed inside books to protect them during the travel. My hands started working on their own as my mind did all the work. I stole all the tape from inside the house and some of Hayden's safety pins.

All he needed was a chance, that's what my dad said.

For the last month, I expended a lot of chances. The chance to work things out with Norah. The chance to save my friendship with Camille. The chance to make the costumes for my school's musical, the very thing I wanted to do in my life. The chance in a lifetime to be Elizabeth Hernandez's girlfriend.

Stepping back and crawling backwards onto my bed, I admired my walls. For the first time since I moved into this house, my walls weren't totally bare. Suddenly, I was all over this room.

I guess I just needed to ask for one last chance.

I just needed one more chance.


#

Author's Note

Let's get down to business! Whoot! There she goes! In my drafting life, I'm so close to the end I can taste it. It tastes sweet ~ But it's still SO HARD. I've said it once and I'll say it again, but I'm never writing a normal romcom again LOL. I need some extra spice. 

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