Janet wakes to find her father at the house. After breakfast, she realizes she needs to get ready, just as Diego arrives.
She heard male voices drift down the stairs, and hoped Diego wasn’t upset meeting her father like that. Talk about a trial by fire for them both. She ran upstairs, nearly falling when she got to the kitchen. Diego sat at the table in the breakfast nook with a cup of coffee and a biscuit. He stood when she entered, lending her a hand.
“Watch it, baby. Ready to go?”
“Yeah. Sorry. Got to talking.” She gave her father a kiss. “See you later.”
“Bye, sir,” Diego shook his hand.
“Nice meeting you, Diego.”
In the car, he turned to Janet, frowning. “No warning?”
“I didn’t know it was him until this morning. I didn’t think to call.”
“If I hadn’t seen my dad for ten years, I’d be the same way. He seems nice.”
“He wasn’t a dad, was he?”
Diego laughed as he pulled out of the driveway. “If you mean, did he threaten to castrate me if I made a move on you, no. He did make it clear he intends to be around a while, and will keep an eye on me.”
“Fun for you.”
At school, Ramona assured her Sookie had gotten to school on time.
“She and the twins had way too much fun last night. Best friends for life.”
“Glad she had a good time.” She caught her friend up to date on the way to class.
“Your dad? No kidding? So, how do you feel about that?”
“Numb. I don’t know what to think. After all this time….”
“Do you think they’ll stay together?”
“Who knows. As long as they’re happy.”
“If they do, will you move to Texas?”
Janet hadn’t even thought of that. Her insides froze. “I don’t know.” She couldn’t even let her mind go that direction. It was simply too horrible.
She was distracted until lunch. Spending time with her friends helped, but she was still a little shaky. Diego walked her slowly to class.
“What’s wrong?” He took her by the elbows, turning her to face him.
“What if Mom wants to move back to Texas? What will I do? What will we do?”
“Deal with it when the time comes,” he said calmly. Inside, his belly clenched and he wanted to vomit. “It’ll be okay. Believe that.”
“I can’t lose you,” she wailed.
Disregarding rules, he kissed her fiercely. “Don’t even say it. You won’t lose me.”
She clung to him, sobbing. Mrs. Frost saw them from her class. She came over to see what was wrong.
“Is Janet okay?”
“She’s had some disturbing news.”
Mrs. Frost led them down the hall to the dressing room. “You can stay here a few minutes. When she’s calmer, bring her to class. I’ll write you a note.”
Janet felt better after a little while. The sobs and tears subsided. Diego took her to class and Mrs. Frost’s note exchanged hands without her missing a beat. Janet sat in the nearest chair, staring ahead, barely listening.
“… having tryouts next week,” finally penetrated her fog. Tryouts for what? She’d find out from one of the others.
The bell finally rang and she gathered her things. Mrs. Frost stopped her, closing the door.
“I don’t begin to know your business. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk to you. You aren’t—pregnant?”
“Oh, no, ma’am!” Janet burst out laughing. “No. I haven’t seen my dad in ten years, and all of a sudden, he’s here. And my folks might get back together….”
“I’d think that would make you happy.”
“Not if they decide to move to Texas.”
“Texas isn’t so bad.”
“But Diego’s not in Texas!”
“Aahh…. Maybe they’d let you stay here with someone. It’s worth asking.”
Janet nodded, trying to smile. Her lips twitched, wanting to pout instead.
“Better not to worry about something before it happens,” Mrs. Frost said, hugging her.
©2020 Dellani Oakes