Janet and Sookie have dinner at Diego’s house. Because of the man at the house, Mrs. Hernandez invites Sookie and Janet to stay over. Janet politely declines.
Sookie was thrilled to be allowed to sleepover on a weeknight. She hugged Janet good night and followed the twins to their room.
The mysterious car was still in the driveway. The lights were off except for the porch light and a lamp in the living room.
“I’m coming in with you,” Diego decided. “We don’t know who the guy is.”
Janet didn’t argue. She had been trying to find a way to ask him. They walked in the house. It was silent. There was a note taped to the TV. “Please lock up and make sure the lights are off, Mom.”
Janet taped a reply to the door of Sookie’s room, letting her mother know where her daughter was. That accomplished, he kissed Diego good night.
“I had a great time,” he said.
“Even with all the drama?”
“Yes. Even with the bad boy checks and the unexpected visitor….”
“Good, then it wasn’t just me. I had a good time, too.” She smiled up at him, dark eyes twinkling.
“I’ll pick you up at seven thirty.”
“I’ll be ready.”
One last kiss, and he left. Janet checked the doors and turned off the lights before going downstairs. Because she felt vulnerable, she locked her bedroom door and pulled a chair under the knob. Feeling better, she fell asleep.
The next morning, her alarm went off. She heard someone in the kitchen and music playing on the stereo. Dressing quickly, she dashed up the stairs two at a time. A man stood at the oven, pulling out a pan of biscuits.
There was something familiar about him—how he looked, moved, danced to Roberta Flack….
“Daddy?” Ten years fell away and she was a little girl again.
The man turned around, smiling. “Pumpkin!” He dashed over, lifting her, spinning her around. “I’ve missed you so much, Janet.”
“What are you doing here?”
“Mom called me. We have some things to work out, thought we’d try again.”
“Just like that?”
“Just like that. Look at you. My baby girl’s a young woman now.” He smiled happily, spinning her under his arm. “We have a lot to catch up on.”
“We do, but I have to get ready for school.”
“Today?” he sighed.
“I can’t miss. My ride will be here soon.”
“There’s coffee and biscuits,” he said proudly. “Bacon’s almost done.” He held her seat and served her a plate.
“You scared Sookie,” she told him as he sat across from her.
“What’s a Sookie?”
“My sister. Did Mom tell you anything?”
He ducked his head, smiling. “Honestly, after she said, It’s me. Can we talk? Well, I kind of stopped listening to her words and drank in her voice.”
Janet ate and explained about Sookie, and her experience the night before. Her father laughed, dark eyes sparkling.
“I had no idea. Poor kid. I saw Ilene, and all thought of anything else left me. Made a beeline for the nearest bed.”
Janet threw her napkin at him in disgust. “Are all men such horny bastards?”
Her father considered a moment before nodding. “Pretty much, yeah. So, tell me about Diego. Is it serious?”
“Dad, I’m fifteen. It’s not like we’re getting married or anything. But I do love him.”
“So, it’s serious.”
A car door slammed outside.
“He’s here! Oh, no. I’m not ready. Answer the door, introduce yourself….” She ran downstairs to finish getting ready.
©2020 Dellani Oakes