I arrived home and changed into my PJ’s while I did laundry. Dad’s news still rattled me. After all this time, he wants a relationship with me…
I walked outside to get some fresh air as Carina was blasting her stereo when I got home. And the Internet was down. I settled at the fire pit and decided to flip through a medical textbook I had swiped from the library. Maybe I could find out more about EXCES and its treatments. I totally lost track of time because I suddenly realized it was five o’clock.
Hungry, I headed inside and made myself a grilled cheese.
Mamma sneaked in the kitchen behind me in her nightgown. She must’ve had the same idea… getting comfortable for the evening.
“Hi Mamma,” I greeted between bites.
“How was your date?” she asked, opening the refrigerator.
“Nonexistent,” I said sarcastically. “How was yours?”
“Oh, I… uh… Clark just fixed the dishwasher last night,” Mamma said, digging through the refrigerator.
“Is that all?” I smirked.
“Uh… well… he played a little…” Mamma coughed.
“What was that? I didn’t hear you,” I teased, raising my voice.
“Oh… uh…” Mamma wandered over to the dining room table and sat down the half-gallon tub of chocolate ice cream. She took a bite. “He plays guitar and all so he played some songs for me last night. I hope he didn’t disturb you,” she added awkwardly.
“Not at all,” I lied, rubbing my legs nervously.
“Mamma, you really like him, don’t you?” I asked softly.
“This is good ice cream,” Mamma stared down at her carton.
“Mamma? Don’t you want to talk about him?”
“I just don’t want you girls to get hurt,” Mamma said quietly.
“Mamma, I’m an adult now and Cari and Andi are teens. We’re all in our prime dating years. We’re bound to have this conversation with you at some point,” I explained. “And you’re allowed to be happy.”
“It’s been a long time,” Mamma admitted. “I wonder if I still know how to be in a relationship…among other things.”
“Whoa, Mamma! I do not want to talk about it…” I exclaimed.
“What?” Mamma asked nonchalantly.
“It… that… what you said… oh… ugh!” I sputtered.
“I’m sorry. It’s been… uh… on my mind. And you said you were an adult,” Mamma said, her gaze dropping back to the ice cream.
“Let’s just not go there,” I waved my hands.
“Don’t worry. Clark and I just only had our first kiss. We won’t be making magic for awhile,” Mamma continued.
“Ugh! I don’t want to know,” I sighed, trying to erase the image of the two of them kissing from my mind, let alone the thought of my mother and Clark “making magic.”
“I am happy, though,” Mamma replied. “I’m glad you asked. I wish you girls had stuck around to meet him, but well… I understand. It was kinda shocking I guess.”
“Yeah, the whole day was,” I said snarkily.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Mamma said inquisitively.
“Nothing, just uh…” I started, and then stopped. I wished I could tell her about everything, but well, I just couldn’t. I still didn’t know how to process everything. I opted for the easier topic. “Well, Gage is moving.”
“To Illinoisim to live with his aunt and cousins. I just don’t know if he should.”
I proceeded to tell Mamma all the details of my conversation with Gage yesterday including my mixed feelings on the subject. She listened attentively, taking a few bites of ice cream here and there.
“Well, kiddo, it was bound to happen. You and Gage growing up and moving on. You’re going to Edgewater in the fall. How is Gage going to Riverview any different?”
“It just is… cuz it’s not safe.”
“I think Gage can take care of himself.”
“Yeah, I guess. I’m going to head upstairs and work on my resume.”
“Good night, Kassio.”
“Good night, Mamma.”
The next day I decided to go visit Gage at Jade’s Java Jolt. He had been working there after school for two years, hence why it was one of my favorite hangout spots. He was upstairs on the outside patio. He grinned when he saw me.
“Your usual, coming right up,” he said.
“Thanks Gage, how are you doing?”
“Pretty good. Business has been decent today and it’s not sweltering which is nice… especially when I work the roof. Sorry I didn’t hang around to see you after graduation on Saturday. Jennifer wasn’t feeling good and so Pablo and I took her home.”
“No worries. I just ran into my dad.”
“Your dad? Wow! That’s…wow!” Gage’s eyes grew big as he set my coffee drink on the counter. “ You haven’t seen him in how long? In all the time we’ve known each other.”
“Yeah, well… it was a pretty big shock. I had coffee with him yesterday.
“You did? Wait… like here? Holy llamas, Kassiopeia. I wish you had called me.”
“For moral support. I mean this is heavy. Your dad coming back after all this time. Is he still with Kate the Snake?”
I smirked. I hadn’t called my dad’s girlfriend that since I was thirteen.
“Uh yeah,” I licked my lips.
“Here,” he reached inside the glass display case and pulled out a plate. “A doughnut on the house for missing out on this big news. Seriously, Kass, I wish you had called me.”
“I don’t know. I just kinda thought I should face it on my own,” I sighed, and took the plate. “And thanks. For the doughnut.”
“I have a few minutes if you want to talk,” Gage offered.
“Yeah, I guess,” I nodded toward the tables.
We chatted casually about my dad while I finished my pastry and coffee. I opted to avoid bringing up the alien DNA subject. I still couldn’t wrap my head around it, let alone talk to someone else about it, even if it was Gage.
“So I got your text about the moving company,” I said, changing the subject.
“Yeah,” he looked off into the distance.
“You don’t sound so enthusiastic,” I observed.
“Well, I just want my best friend on board, you know? With my decision?”
“I mean, I’m not thrilled with it. I don’t think it’s safe, but you’re my friend and I… well… I do kinda support you.”
“Thanks, you sound so convincing,” Gage said sarcastically, clasping his hands together.
“Gage, I don’t know what you want me to say. I… care… that’s all. I am excited you got into your dream school,” I offered genuinely.
“Okay, thank you,” Gage nodded. “So what are you going to do about your dad and his offer?”
“Um… maybe… I don’t know… I mean… he’s dying… so saying no’s like…”
“Yeah, I guess. I’m just not sure I want to be cooped up in a car with him. Maybe I could talk my mom into letting me borrow the car. Or maybe I’d just save up for my own vehicle.”
“I don’t know about your mom, especially if you tell her the reason.”
“We have that old Big Lemon in the garage we’re not using. Mamma said if we could get someone to fix it up, I could have it.”
“You can borrow mine.”
“Yeah, but you’re moving to Riverview.”
“But not till the end of the summer.”
“I’ll think about it,” I smiled in gratitude.
“Well wouldn’t you beat yourself up if you didn’t go?” Gage asked.
“What are you, my conscience?” I frowned.
“Sorry,” Gage shrugged. “I just think it’s great to try and reconnect with your dad, even if you hate him. I wish I had that luxury.”
“It’s not like your situation. This is different.”
“Different like your parents not wanting you?” Gage bristled. “Your mom is still in your life and loves you, and your dad wants to be in your life again. I wish I had gotten to know my mom and dad. I’m lucky I found any biological relatives at all. You at least have parents that want you. I have to live with getting to know my parents through my aunt and cousins.”
“Who are criminals!”
“Really? You’re going to belabor that point?”
“I don’t know, Gage, I’m just concerned…”
“For your wellbeing! I mean, what if they turn out to be terrible? What if they don’t turn out like you want them to be?”
“Well that’s for me to find out. I’ll never know if I don’t try.”
“But can’t you just not… I mean, wouldn’t it save you a lot of heartache in the process?”
“Kass! What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you support me on this? Why don’t you care?”
“I do care! You’re the one being the idiot because you think I don’t care. But I care! I care a whole lot! You know! I care about my dad dying and well, like being an alien sort of, and him walking out on my mamma after all this time still hurts like hell and my mamma getting a new man and Andi dating and she didn’t tell me about it till now. You’re going off to see your criminal relatives, and you think I don’t care, but that’s why I care, because I care and oh llamas! I’m not making sense, but I care. And even Cari, she’s a drama queen, for sure, but she seems to think I don’t care… and I do! I DO CARE! Why does everyone think I don’t care!?!”
His eyes misted and I felt bad for yelling at him. Maybe he was right. Maybe I should go with my dad. Maybe my situation was completely different from his. But I still had to live with my dad walking out on my mom for another woman. I got to experience life with him and then watched it happen in front of my eyes. Gage didn’t even remember his bio parents abandoning him as a baby.
“Look, Kass, I got to get back to work,” Gage sighed, swallowing hard and trying to smile. “I’ll call you later.”
“I…uh… I’m sorry,” I flubbed as he stood up, but he walked away without acknowledging my half-hearted apology.
Oh llamas! What had I done? I yelled at my best friend. Because of what? Because I couldn’t handle the pressure? Nothing was working the way I wanted it to lately, and it sucked big time. When was it going to let up?
Chapter Six Coming Soon!
- What’s going to happen with Amy and Clark? Will the girls meet him?
- How will Kass deal with her dad’s news?
- Will Kass and Gage be able to recover after their fight?
Author Changes: What’s different?
- Edited picture size.