Chapter 43

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I've surprised my dad several times. Once was when I was six, I was able to spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Then when I was eleven, I started reading Hamlet for an english project. And let's not forget when I came home to find him shacking up with another woman. But the most surprising had to be when he opened the door to our old house at eight o'clock in the morning, and saw me standing there.

I would've expected him to turn me away, and after some of the things I said to him, he should've. But instead he let me in, telling me to freshen up and he'd start making breakfast. My room was still there, although all of the posters, pictures, boards, and furniture were gone. All that was left was a bed and matress, and my little walk-in closet.

I took a shower to scrape off the sweat, dirt, and smudged make-up. I even cried for about ten minutes. The feeling of being a destructive force in another's life was terrible. I hated what I had done to my mother, I hated what i had done to Howard, but most of all, I hated that I left Zac there. They probably went bananas on him, or didn't say anything at all and left him alone. I didn't know whose fault it was, or if it was really anyone's fault.

Manhattan is beautiful, but I was glad to come back to Stratford. The vintage and Victorian scenery was a nice distraction from the bustling and bright fifth avenue. I even tried calling some of my old friends from school, but none of them answered. I guessed either they deleted my number, or weren't interested in talking to me.

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When my mom was out working late and we knew she wouldn't be home until later, my dad would make us mac' n chesse. And not the Kraft stuff, actual elbow pasta noodles, with real cheddar cheese and cream, and grinded bread crumbs. He said mac' n cheese was a type of comfort food. And that was exactly what he was doing, as I sat on the couch and IM'd with Luisa. She had only gotten the news that I had left only hours ago, and refused to stop calling until I answered.

'Where r u gurl???' her message popped up in the top right corner while I was skimming through Seventeen's fashion blog page.

'Take a wild guess'I replied shortly after

'Mike told me what happened, r u okay?'

'Not really, my mom thought I was tear'n the family apart...

I called her a bitch'

'Yikes,'

"I'm putting garlic in the sauce." dad said. I stopped typing and looked up, a scowl on my face as I internally gagged at the thought of garlic.

"Ew, I hate garlic." I told him, and he knew this.

"I don't, and it's going in the sauce." he said. I restrained myself from calling him any profanity filled names as he continued to chop the wretched garlic bulb.

'My dad is my only sanity' 

'Do you think you'll ever come back?'

'Dunno...'

'What about Zac?'

'I dunno either...I don't wanna think about it'

'Well don't be a stranger, your mom is getting married next month'

'At this rate, I doubt there'll even be a wedding'

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~.~  Z  A  C     T  R  E  N  W  A  Y  ~.~

School wasn't the same, everybody was feeling that something was missing. I didn't feel any point in going out to watch the cheerleaders, knowing that Dani wasn't going to be there. Luisa had gone into a deep depression, even Michael couldn't make her smile. And that's hard because no matter what, he can always make someone smile. The pity of loosing somebody is hard, but loosing somebody you love is harder.

The apartment wasn't any better. Dad would come home and go straight to his study, not even acknowledging that I was there; and Trinity would lock herself in Dani's room and not come out until she needed something. She missed her daughter, probably more than I did. I felt like I was thirteen again, and hearing my mother was dead. It was the worst feeling in the world, and here it was again. Only this time, the girl I lost had run away, and I didn't know where to find her.

"Zac?" I didn't want Sandy coming up and trying to flirt with me. Just because Dani was gone, didn't mean things could go back to normal. Things wouldn't go back to normal until Dani came back...if she came back.

"I don't want to talk to you." I told her.

"I know, I know, I just..." she sighed and sat next to me on the bench, not bothering to scoot any closer or put an arm around me. "I wanted to say that I'm sorry for what you're going through. I know you think I'm probably ass-kissing or something but...Dani saved our game. She proved me wrong hundreds of times. I feel awful for that."

"Bullshit." I muttered.

"I know, you have no right to believe me. I have hurt so many people, most of the time I enjoyed it. But I watched Dani, and how happy she made you. I haven't seen you smile like that ever; and I know I could never make you smile like she did." she said. I looked up at her, not bothering to smile.

"Leave me alone, Sandy. If Dani comes back, you can apologize to her." I said.

"...When she comes back." she said.

"You think she'll come back?" I asked her.

"Are you kidding? You two couldn't stay away from each other, so why would she let the fact that she's across the border stop that?"

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