Note: There is a reference to drinking in this chapter. A reminder that the legal drinking age in the SimNation is 18.
There was only one place I’d feel safe… and wouldn’t be asked many questions.
dad’s house. Unfortunately for me, Kate answered the door. She had changed her hairstyle and seemed heavier, but other than that, she was still Kate… the woman who stole my dad away from my family. I eyed her angrily.
“Is there something I can get you?” she asked in a syrupy sweet tone.
“No,” I crossed my arms. “I’ll wait for my dad here, thank you.”
“Are you okay, sweetheart?” she inquired. “You look like you’ve been crying.”
“Are you sure? Is everything all right? Are your grandparents doing okay?”
“You don’t know anything about my grandparents.”
Silence. Kate seemed to think trying to hug me was a good idea. She leaned forward with a smile.
“Well I haven’t seen you for awhile, Kassiopeia. How’ve you been?”
“Seriously? That’s what you’re going to ask me after all this time? How’ve you been?” I hollered. “Get back from me! I don’t want a hug.”
She flinched and a look of hurt flashed in her eyes. We both stared awkwardly at the floor until my father arrived.
“Kass?” he seemed surprised as I threw myself into his arms, begging for a hug. “Are you okay?”
“Daddy?” I began, using a term I hadn’t used since before the age of ten. “Can I stay here tonight?”
“Well, of course,” Dad replied enthusiastically, giving Kate a look, and motioning her away. “Kate will set up the guest bedroom for you.”
After she walked away, he pulled back and looked me in the eye and placed his hands firmly on my shoulders.
“Kass, what’s wrong, my daughter?”
“Oh everything,” I sniffled. “But I’m tired tonight. I’d like to just sleep, Dad.”
“Okay, no questions, I promise,” Dad put his hands up over his head and then dropped them back down. “And in the morning, waffles…”
I offered a weak smile.
The guest bedroom was refreshingly pretty and feminine, but I barely noticed the soft Kelly green walls, matching green curtains, and antique brass lamps with warm yellow lampshades as I crawled between the covers of the muted orange comforter and cool green sheets.
Sleep wouldn’t come. I tossed and turned for over an hour. I snapped on the light and sat up.
Stupid! Why’d I go? Why’d I think I could convince him? Why? Why? Why? I draped my arm over my head and turned sideways on the bed, peering at the white ceiling. I can’t do this. I can’t go on like this. Dad is dying and I made a complete idiot out of myself at the Goth family home. I shuddered. And I’m all alone. Gage hates me. Davis and I are… At the thought of Davis’s name, I started crying. Hard tears pounded down my face, stinging my cheeks. I leaped from the bed and jerked the curtains aside, staring out at the distant ocean.
I angrily paced the floor. How could he do this to me? How could he treat me like this? How could he not tell me? Why was I so stupid as to believe him? I’m dumb. I’m stupid. Oh llamas! How could they treat me like that? What the hell is wrong with them? With Gunther and Mortimer and Cassandra? Even Alexander? What was I thinking? I was in love with Davis. I’m still in love… I think… how can you love someone you hate? How can you love someone who betrayed you? Oh llamas! I did that to Gage. I deserved it. I’m getting what I deserve. It’s the universe paying me back for so badly betraying Gage.
I collapsed on the floor in frustration, laying on the brown braided rug with orange, green, and white trim. I hugged my stomach as I wailed. I didn’t care if dad or Kate or anyone heard me. I hurt so badly. I didn’t even have a word for how much I was hurting. My abdomen ached with every choking sob escaping my throat. My hair stuck to my wet cheeks. I didn’t care.
Dad knocked on the door lightly.
“Kass, darling, can I come in?” he asked gently.
I covered my mouth and flushed bright red. He had heard.
“Kassiopeia, open the door, please. Let me in.”
I didn’t want to let him in. I didn’t want to let anyone in. I didn’t want to feel anymore. I wanted it all to go away.
“I don’t know what happened, honey, but if you need me…” Dad said, his voice cracking. “I’m here.”
His words, meant to be a comfort, stung. He hadn’t been there before when I needed him. Why now!? I wanted to scream, but refrained. Instead, I lifted myself up off the floor, curled up in a ball on the bed, and snapped off the light. It felt like eternity, but I finally heard Dad’s footsteps walking away. I continued crying, but this time silently. I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t stand the hurt. My vocal cords were hoarse. Even so, I cried most of the night.
I slept most of the next day, and cried some more. I didn’t want to leave the room. Dad came and checked on me once. He sat on the edge of the bed, felt my forehead, hugged me, and asked me if I needed anything. I didn’t. Nothing he could fix. Kate came and brought me a bowl of chicken noodle soup. I wanted nothing from her. I left it be… until I was too starving to think straight. I devoured the soup and the crackers.
Dad came in Friday morning to tell me he had called my mom. He just wanted to let her know where I was and that I was okay. I didn’t ask details. I just rolled over and curled up again. Sleeping would help. Sleeping numbed the pain.
On Saturday, I decided to get up and try to take a bath. I barely made it into the bathroom. I was weak and exhausted from my grieving. I nearly threw up in the toilet. I almost wished it would come up, but there really wasn’t much for me to vomit. I had eaten an apple and some crackers and soup in the last three days. Yesterday evening dad had brought me a steak and cheesy baked potato, but the smell was nauseating. I did pick at the potato. I crawled on my hands and knees toward the toilet, peering down into the water. Why did it have to hurt this much?
I climbed into the tub. I curled my arms around my body, shivering despite the heated water. I was sure I had lost some weight. I felt so broken and desperately alone. I didn’t want to go on like this. I didn’t know what I was going to do. My dad was dying. The man I loved had lied to me. I had lost my best friend. And I’d been humiliated at the Goth party. I was never showing my face in public.
I turned the faucet handle again, allowing the water to heat up as I slipped back. The edge of the bathtub cradled my head as I sank down deeper into the water. The steam rose fogging up the mirror. I tried to let the stress of the last few days roll off my back. I imagined it melting away, evaporating with the steam.
I could hear Dad and Kate arguing loudly in the adjacent room again. I felt it was only a matter of time before they broke up. After all, they had lived together since I was thirteen and still hadn’t tied the knot, even if Dad was legally divorced from Mamma. Kate had a fast-paced prestigious career and Dad… well… he was still struggling between catering jobs, never having quite got his dream up and off the ground. This surprised me given Dad’s reason for going to meet Kate in the first place. She seemed highly successful at what she did. I wonder what kept his business from being a success, I speculated, draining the water.
And then there was the EXCES. Kate had been extremely hurt that he hadn’t let her in on this little secret. She also seemed very concerned about how it would affect future “little ones” if they choe to have their own kids. But they hadn’t before now due to her demanding work and they probably wouldn’t be. As far as I could tell, Dad and Kate were done for between Dad’s EXCES and business failure and Kate’s long work hours and business success and my… ‘intruding on their lives,’ Kate had said. Dad had staunchly come to my defense and said if it was between Kate and me, he’d chose his daughters. Kate had hurled something at his head, crashing into the other side of my wall. She screamed and stormed out of the house, the front door reverberating behind her slam.
Sunday came. In the wee morning hours, I got up and collapsed by the bedroom door.
“God, if you’re real,” I cried. “My heart hurts. I don’t want to feel like this anymore. Why won’t you take it away? Yesterday’s grief is too much to bear. Where are you?”
I hugged my knees to my chest and listened to the resounding silence. Andi had said he was real. But I wasn’t so sure. Maybe he just didn’t answer audibly.
My head fell back against the door and I clutched at my shirt.
“Davis,” I let his name escape my lips. “Davis. Davis. Davis.”
He was real. He would come. If I called. I wanted to call him. I needed to call him. I picked up my phone and dialed his number. The voicemail greeted my ears. He must be working… or worse… he doesn’t want to talk to me.
“Davis?” I whimpered into the voicemail. “This is Kass. I…uh…” I ran my hand through my hair hating the vulnerability in my tone. “I know I said I wanted nothing to do with you, but…oh Davis… I’m sorry. I miss you… I need you… I lo…”
“To rerecord your message, press one…” interrupted me. “…to replay your message, press two…”
I hung up the phone and chucked it across the room. What am I doing? I rubbed my eyes. I heard my phone jingle. Did I dare hope? My throat caught. I crawled onto my hands and knees and picked myself up off the floor, darting across the room to retrieve my phone.
“Hello?” I answered eagerly, not bothering to look at caller ID.
“Kass, it’s Gage.”
My heart sank.
“Please… please… please…don’t hang up,” he begged. “I…uh… did something… stupid… real stupid…Kass… and you’re my best… best…friend, I think… I still hope…and I… uh… need your help.”
“Okay… what?” he asked.
“I… was… down at the pier… there’s a party here… on the beach… drinking a little… okay, a lot… um… can you pick me up?”
“Is that the stupid thing you did?” I exclaimed. “Because I’m not going to drag your sorry…”
“Please Kass… I don’t… I can’t… tell you over the phone… baby…”
He sounded odd. Drunk.
“Uh…um…” he giggled nervously. “Please Kassie… for me… come down here and help your old… friend… Gage…”
My phone beeped. I looked down. Davis was trying to call. I frowned. For a moment, I debated hanging up on Gage and answering Davis’ call. My heart wanted to. But my head wouldn’t let me. It was a moment of weakness, Kass, I told myself. …when you called him. Let it go. Gage was still rambling on about something that didn’t make sense, but frankly, I wasn’t really listening.
“Hang on, Gage, I’ll be right there.”
Chapter 30 Coming Soon!
- What will happen between Howard and Kate? Is their relationship really doomed?
- Will Kass tell her Dad what happened?
- Will she talk to Davis again?
- What will Gage have to say?