Chapter 26

34.1K 1.1K 278

“I always knew I was an excellent liar; I just didn't know that I had it in me to fool myself.” - Lauren DeStefano, Wither

The old truck was roaring with heat as I pulled up to our house. A little white country home with black shutters, peeling paint, and a second story window that felt like an eyeglass of the world when you look out. That's where my room was, the window seat was where I had spent my time while writing my first story. Like my table at Le Petit, things just seemed clearer there.

I led my dad out of the truck and straight through the unlocked front door, flipped the nearest switch and left to find the blankets and hot chocolate. The inside was just how I remembered after mom died because dad never did feel like making any changes. The kitchen was still a faded dark green and living room a shade of tan that mom insisted was completely different from every other tan room in the house. The brown carpet was all that was different, plush and new-smelling. Almost like a new beginning.

Dad huddled in the thick blankets I brought him as I heated some water in the microwave. He and I were both shivering, my unconscious mind took over as my legs moved about. Turning up the heat, collecting sweaters, stirring hot chocolate dry mix, and searching for some vitamin C pills. It was nice knowing I could still come back and everything would be the same, I could rely in my dad for that. He would always be there for me, and that's something I can never take for granted.

His body began to warn up as the events of the last few hours became clear in his mind. His face was frozen for a new reason, he was ashamed of his foolishness. It's not like I haven't seen it before. Everyone remembers the first time they saw the strongest person in their life cry, for real. It is the first time you begin to realize that no one, no matter how tough they have to be, is going to start to crack and break. I just happened to be a sixteen-year old girl who saw her father shatter before her eyes. Then, I had to be the glue. No matter how strong the glue is, even it fails sometimes.

I sat next to him on the couch, fingers like icicles, and began my lecture that I just had to get out of my system. “What were you thinking? I would have come, you know. One message would have brought me here, you didn't have to worry me half to death.” I said the word without thinking, and just saw the tiny recoil in my father's reaction, regretting it instantly. “You didn't have to wait in the pouring rain for me, dad. Mom would have wanted you to take care of yourself.” The more I went on, my intensity lessoned until I was speaking more soothingly. “Please, take care of yourself.”

I wrapped my arm through his and put my head on his shoulder. If being in my house didn't give me a warm feeling inside, smelling his cologne did. I was his little girl again, just like that, when he hugged me goodnight. I wasn't mad at him, just distressed.

“I'm sorry, I wasn't thinking.” he apologized, I could feel the vibration as he spoke.

“It's alright, I was just worried.”

We stayed silent for a moment, just like that we were okay again. We could never go a day fighting after mom left to be with Jesus, we were all each other had. Both my Grandparents had met their time, from old age, sickness, or military service.

Then I realized, at that moment he was all I had. Overwhelming sadness ran through me like a raging river. I'd pushed away my Bria-the closest thing I ever had to a sister-Sophie and Henry in one night, and Elliot with my stubbornness and plain stupidity. I didn't even feel worthy of their love anymore. All I did was my fault, I took things too far. I catapulted the worm, I tried to seduce Elliot, I used Henry, I turned my back on everyone. I looked back and wondered how the Addy I am could ever do all those things. “It's a slow fade when black and white are turned to gray.” My life turned to a game of Jenga; first pulling the easy blocks and making the safe decisions. But when I still hadn't won, the bricks I pulled left the tower unbalanced and unsteady. All it took was one last pull to send everything crumbling.

I Write Romances, Not Live ThemWhere stories live. Discover now