- Art & Soul
“I found her running around town with that kid.”
“Kent Myers’ son! I swear to God, I’m going to kill them both.”
They began fighting—again: Mom telling Dad that he needed to calm down, and Dad shouting that she needed to stop babying me.
“If I catch Myers’ kid anywhere near Aria again so help me—”
“You’re acting ridiculous, Adam!”
“No, Camila. You need to stop with this whole thing. You already know my thoughts on that piece of shit over there, and I am sick and tired of you acting like it’s not a big deal that our daughter is pregnant!”
“I know it’s a big deal. I’ve been dealing with the big deal while you’ve been making up excuses to never come home and reasons to never look her way. You didn’t even come home for her birthday.”
They didn’t stop for an hour. I was surprised they even still had voices.
“Whatever. I have to take Aria to her therapy appointment before I go back to work.”
“Yeah, because those are working out great. Who’s going to watch KitKat while you’re gone? I have to go back to work, too. This shit made me run hours behind schedule.”
“I’ll take her with me, okay? You just do what you do best: go away.”
The front door slammed and the house went silent.
“Aria, I’m putting KitKat in the car, meet us out there.”
After wiping my eyes, I hurried outside to the car. “Mom, I’m sorry. I can explain…”
She wasn’t interested. “We have to hurry home after your therapy appointment today, Aria,” she said as I climbed inside and buckled my seatbelt. “I’m on call at the hospital tonight and your father said he’s working late again, so I need you to watch your sisters since Mike’s at football practice.” She kept going on and on about why I had to watch Grace and KitKat, but that didn’t matter much to me. I knew she was on the edge of falling apart because she kept tugging on her ear, and I knew it was my fault. “I really didn’t want you to have to deal with watching over your sisters because I’m sure you’re so tired, but there’s just so much going on and your father isn’t making this any easier on anyone. And skipping school, Aria? Really? It’s just not…it’s not good. Plus, I need to finish the paperwork for you to be homeschooled next semester, I need to go shopping and bake cookies for Grace’s class, I need to make sure you have a way to get to your next doctor’s appointment, and, and, and—”
She took a breath before her hands flew to her face and she began to sob uncontrollably. I’d never seen Mom cry. There was something so scary and heartbreaking about watching your lifetime Superwoman fall apart in front of you. I unbuckled my seatbelt and edged closer to her, wrapping my arms around her.
Sometimes it was so easy to forget that adults were just kids in bigger bodies, and their hearts broke just like ours.
I was warming up some soup for Dad when there was banging on the door. When I walked into the living room, I saw Dad opening the door to Mr. Watson. Hastily, I approached the two of them.
“Keep that shit kid of yours away from my daughter,” Mr. Watson scolded.
Dad turned toward me, confusion in his stare before he blinked and a sly smile crept across his face. “Adam, it might be best if you get the hell off of my property.”
“I mean it, Kent. I know the kind of life you live over here and the last thing I need is for my daughter to get involved in this kind of thing.”
“You mean your pregnant daughter?” Dad smirked. “It seems that she’s plenty capable of getting into enough trouble without the help of my son. Now get the fuck off my property.”
Mr. Watson’s chest was rising and falling hard, his heavy breaths releasing through his mouth. His eyes moved to me standing behind Dad. “I mean it. Stay away from my daughter.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah.” Dad chuckled. “Tell Camila I said hi.”
“Don’t talk about my wife.”
“Why not? Isn’t she talking about me?” Dad mocked.
Mr. Watson flipped Dad off as he headed back to his truck and drove away. Dad’s laughter faded away when he turned to me. “Why the hell are you running around town with a pregnant girl?”
“She’s my friend.”
His brows lowered. “You’re real weird, kid. Just lay off of that girl, all right? Camila’s already got enough going on in her life and the last thing she needs is that dick of a husband coming down on her because my dick of a son likes to fall for the knocked up kids. Leave her alone, all right?”
“I said leave it!” he ordered.
He grumbled and walked past me. “And stop watching the damn comedies sitting in the foyer. There are places to sit in the living room.”
I didn’t know how to react. For the first time ever, Dad was inviting me to watch the black and white comedies with him in a roundabout way, but he’d also told me to stop talking to Aria. I was a winning loser.
As we sat in the living room, Dad told me he’d traded his old beat-up car for another one that happened to not be stick shift. He handed me an extra pair of keys and told me I could use it if I wanted to sometimes. I wondered if that was his way of apologizing for giving up on chemotherapy. If so, I just wished he would take the keys back.
Sometimes I caught my parents staring at me waiting for me to confess that the night I slept with James was an accident, that I’d had no say in the matter. But I had. I allowed him to touch me and keep touching me. As he kissed me I said yes, over and over again, feeling as if he was the only thing I needed and wanted.