Chapter 49. The Good-Bye Girl
Fourteen days at home flew past with a blur.
Kaylee in the meantime recharged, recovered from her shock at Glenn’s immature life choice, was packing for the return to Ocean Bay University.
Her dad made her laugh. She had sat with him on a home-made bean bag chair while she smoked a pipe for the first time with the man she always thought was without a clue about life for the young generation.
The old man had more on the ball than Kaylee ever gave him credit for. She always thought of him as an IT nerd-tech that was only involved with himself.
Instead, dad liked Steampunk music, knew a thousand things she never thought possible of his generation.
Funny, it seemed the older she got, the smarter he was. In fact she viewed her father, Charles Achilles “CAG” Grant, as brilliant, funny, talented and wise.
She didn’t tell him about Tom, however. She started a dozen times and Dad shushed her each time.
‟Your past is in your behind.” He said softly.
‟What?” Kaylee looked up at the man who was the standard she held all other men to. ‟Dad? What?”
‟Sorry, that’s good weed.” He gave a crooked smile. ‟Put your behind in your past, you don’t need to talk about it just now.”
‟You mean that I should put what on my butt?”
‟No.” Dad was trying for a serious moment but giggled. ‟What is done is history. Leave it there for now.”
‟Okay.” Kaylee smiled and took another hit off the pipe. Her parents always dealt with Anders Schroder with his home-grown. It was the best weed in the area.
Mr. Schroder grew enough of the best cannabis to sell to the retail outlets, but little more than that. Fully licensed and inspected, Mr. Schroder kept the businesses going with only enough income to keep his bills paid. The old man just liked the beauty of the plant and wished to make clothes out of the hemp fiber he grew from other species. Often telling Glenn and Kaylee that it was better than cotton.
The weed relaxed her and made the heartache of Glenn seem so much smaller than it was.
*At least I’m not pregnant! Pretty sure.* She laughed to herself.
She began to think of that last time on the plane after she came home.
Tom was weak from spending so much time in the hospital bed, she had grown protective of the soul that thought he was her protector. He cautioned her heart to avoid what Tom said in gentle words, ‟Complicate things”.
Another few days home.
An argument over who’s toe-sock was left out on the porch with her brother ended with mom telling them to go put on their socks.
Kaylee came out wearing hers and Mike, with one bare foot and looking sheepish.
While the kid-brother learned to do his own laundry, at dad’s insistence to prepare him for college. Another requirement of the patriarch of the family.
Dad did not care what each of the children wanted to do, but he did require that they earned the highest degree of education available for that interest.
A strong preference for a doctorate, and no one dared defy dad on this point.
Kaylee worried a lot about trying to earn a doctorate in fine arts, a tall order. But dad was motivational and insistent.
That afternoon, while she packed to return to Ocean Bay U., Glenn pulled up in his car.
He walked up to the door, intercepted by Kaylee .
‟Don’t you have a life to attend to? Does Sam know you are here?”
‟Yes, she knows. Our mom’s were talking and she found out you were leaving today, she sent me with this.” Glenn held out a small gift, a compass with an email address taped to it.
“Sam wants to pursue a friendship with you.” Glenn’s voice was almost a whisper.
Kaylee was still unsure, her heart still ached after that day. She had found a kindred spirit in Samantha Schroder, but still envious at the same time.
She took the offered present with a smile that she did not feel in her heart.
‟I know I hurt you, if I say it was an accident, it would be an insult to everyone. But it was not planned, I wanted to stay with you.”
‟Do not tell me that, do not let Sam hear you say that.” Kaylee on the verge of rage shook her finger in his face. ‟You want to work as a member of congress élite and a senator’s aide? You put on a face of a happy husband and proud father. You did this with her without thought or precaution, now you have a child. You had better love that baby, or I swear I will kick you so hard you it will take a year for your breastbone to heal. And you know I can. If you ever break up with Sam, I will use you for my flow-drills. You don’t get a stick, you just have to stand there and take it.”
‟Then I’ll send my dad after you, he’s pissed at you as well.” She added.
‟I can see that. He’s standing in the window, looking at me.” Glenn voice trembled with more than a little fear.
Charles Grant stood in the picture window with his arms crossed, a stare like a cougar lining up for a kill for a full minute then stepped out of sight.
For a single moment of shining terror, Glenn thought the old man was coming out.
‟I’ll keep in touch.” He told Kaylee. ‟Maybe we can get together then.”
‟No.” She shook her head. ‟We have our own lives, lived our own way and our own adventures. Good-bye Glenn. I’m sorry this is how it ended.”
She hugged him awkwardly and walked back to the house and closed the door quietly behind her.
And leaned up against it and caught her breath. It was the single hardest thing she had ever done in her life.
And she was still standing strong.
‟Everything all to rights, sweetheart?” The measured tones of her dad entered her world, the old man was sitting in his chair. Two glasses and a bottle of his favorite fifty-year-old rum sitting on the end-table.
She sat in his lap for the first time in over a decade, the twenty-something woman left the room while the broken-hearted child wept on her father’s shoulder.
Pouring a splash of rum in each glass, he handed one to his sniffling princess.
‟A toast to accidents. Without them, we’d never know where we are in life and where our strength lies. Some are happy, some are sad, a toast to them all.”
‟A happy accident?” Kaylee said after she took a sip of the spiced amber liquid and coughed. The ethanol burning her throat.
‟Yes, if it was not for an accident, I’d never have met your mom.” Her dad said with a wink.
‟She said she met you standing in line at a store.”
‟Pharmacy, for pain medication.”
‟Same thing.” She sipped more of her dad’s treasured rum.
‟Who do you think gave me the pain.”
‟She worked as a bookkeeper at an office and I was running cable for a network. Wireless networking was unheard of in those days. While I crawled by a desk, she opened a drawer over my head.” He rubbed his head of the memory of it. ‟I broke the drawer when I stood up, scalded myself when a coffee cup on the desk spilled down my back.”
Kaylee broke out laughing.
‟Oh my god. She never told me that.”
‟And I wished he never did either!” Mom hid her face in her hand, she had walked in from the back of the house. ‟I nearly killed your dad with a concussion and wrecked our new computer system at the same time.”
‟The coffee went into the server.” Her dad added. ‟It was awful, blood and coffee everywhere.”
‟It looked like someone got slaughtered by a coffee machine.” Mom admitted.
‟I was talking about my shirt.”
‟I was, too.” Linda laughed.
Parents and offspring talked for over an hour, mom and dad told secrets on each other from the time before children while they shared the bottle of rum until it was all gone.
It was a good end to an otherwise miserable day. With three hours to go, the Grant family took their eldest princess to the airport to return to her life back in Ocean Bay University.
Not for the first time in her life, she was looking forward to seeing her sister.
*Wait until Melanie hears the news of how Glenn really changed his life up, never to return to the house without a wife and child in tow.* She shook her head.
During the drive to the airport, Kaylee spent most of the trip looking out the window of the car to the trees that lined the highway. Lost in thought over the last two-weeks.
She wondered if she could just take double classes and never leave the school. It would take a meeting with her mentor and class coördinator.
The world was rainy when she arrived, but it was a rain of promise and excitement, it washed away her doubts from the summer.
Now, it was just grey and wet.