Rm w/a Vu(6)

By: A. D. Ryan

I find it hard to believe that I’ll ever be able to trust any man again, but I force a smile to my face to placate her. She’s always been a bit of a romantic soul, and I hate to take that away from her just because it decided to skip a generation.

So, instead of arguing, I smile and rest my head against her shoulder. We enter the kitchen to find my father at the table, his red face buried in the paper—as it should be. “Whatever you say, Mom.”

Chapter 3

Hearing my mother giggle across the hall as my father does…whatever the hell he does, is starting to drive me crazy. I’ve been here almost two weeks. Not only is the drive to school more than I want to deal with, hearing them night after night after night…well, it’s not something one should ever have to go through. Is this some sort of mid-life crisis? It’s not like they’re even that old…

Neither of them seemed put-out with me staying here; in fact, they both seemed to enjoy catching up with me. However, when Mom told Dad why I was staying, well, it took a lot for us to convince him that the jail time wouldn’t be worth it. His face turned an even deeper shade of red as his rage suppressed his earlier embarrassment from having been caught on the couch with my mother. He even tried telling us that, as a cop, he was certain he’d be able to hide his involvement. While I admit the offer was morbidly considerate, it was wrong, so Mom and I talked him off the ledge.

When he finally calmed down, he assured me that I was welcome to stay as long as I needed. He even told me that the house just hadn’t been the same since I’d gone. I had to bite my tongue so as not to point out the more obvious changes, not really feeling the need to embarrass him further—or remember the sounds and brief glimpse I caught myself.

“Cam, stop it!” my mother squeals, and then I hear the deep tenor of my father saying something in return. His voice is muffled, which can only mean one of a few things I really don’t want to wrap my head around for fear of needing industrial-strength brain bleach. Honestly, I’m glad I can’t make out what he’s saying, because I know I’ll run to my desk and drive sharp pencils into my ears. I might even attempt to lobotomize myself; I’m sure there’s a Google or Wiki article about “Do-It-Yourself Lobotomies” out there somewhere. Though I can’t imagine they’re entirely safe.

She giggles again, and having heard more than enough for the day, I throw on my work uniform—a pleated black skirt and a green polo shirt—grab my bag, and hit the stairs before I hear things I can’t unhear. I’m moving so fast that I think I might have even jumped from the top step and landed safely on the main floor.

I’m just opening the door when I hear the creak of my parents’ door at the top of the staircase. “Juliette?” my mother calls down. “Are you going somewhere? I was going to make breakfast.”

Oh, right. I forgot to mention that it’s nine o’clock in the morning. They like to get an early start on their day.

“I’m heading into work,” I reply, yanking the door open. “I wanted to get a little studying in before my shift, and the cafe is typically pretty quiet this early.”

Her footsteps are heard as she heads for the stairs. “Are you sure? I was going to make waffles.” She descends the steps barefoot and dressed in her bathrobe, her cheeks lightly flushed, and her lips plump and red.

I clear my throat, trying not to think of why she looks this way. “Yeah,” I tell her as she sits on the bottom step and looks up at me. I know she can read the look on my face; the way my nose is scrunched up because of what I heard is a dead giveaway. “As tempting as it is, I think it’s best I go…study.”

“Juliette…” I know that tone. She’s about to tell me she and Dad are adults—like me—and that adults have sex. I’m no stranger to this talk.

I have to interrupt her before she says the words “your father and I” in the same sentence as “have sex.” “Save me some of those waffles, though. I’ll throw them in the toaster for breakfast tomorrow. Thanks!” And I’m out the door.

The drive to the cafe I work at could be faster, but my poor car is on its last leg. With school and my low pay, I am unable to rectify that, though. The more distance I put between me and the house, the more able I am to focus on anything but the awkwardness I’ve been enduring the last few days.

One would think that they could control themselves with their daughter around. They’re animals, though. Plain and simple. At least they’re keeping it in the bedroom while I’m staying there; I do have that to be thankful for.

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