Brock and I sat at the diner after Tiffany had taken Lars on the game room where he'd show off some skill on a video game. The four of us had hooked up to eat some pizza here before we'd head off to check out a movie. A rather sedate outing for us but it'd been a long day for all of us in different ways.
The guy who sat across from me seemed more subdued and I'd wondered about that even as we'd sat back talking and laughing since we'd been here. I had a refill on my iced tea.
"God this summer's going by fast…soon it'll be August and then…back to school."
"Business will be picking up for me and it'll nonstop in the fall."
He didn't mention Caroline or when she'd be coming back from London. I didn't bring it up either. I didn't want to think about her at all, whether she'd be back to reclaim Brock. I'd just rather concentrate on spending as much time as I could with him until I had to leave. For one thing, the sex was incredible and that was mostly it right? I liked him too and enjoyed spending time with him, not that it was any more serious than that. I just filled his bed until she returned and I'd been having a great time.
Brock had been pensive ever since he told me the dream about trying to find the baby. I'd never had a guy share a dream like that with me before and I sensed when he told me that he wasn't in the habit of sharing his dreams. I know that it stayed with him after he'd waken from it and I knew what felt like. These bad dreams that I had of being chased and smothered by some faceless figure left me gasping fro breath and soaked in sweat in bed. Brock hadn't pushed me on what they were about to my relief. I didn't want to talk about them because that just made them more real.
He looked over at me.
"I'm sorry…I have a lot on my mind," he said, "a lot of work coming up."
"I think you should find her," I said, "If you're having those dreams."
He looked startled at my words.
"Your daughter Brock…if that's' what you want to do."
He paused looking down at his glass and I knew that I'd found his vulnerability.
"It's been a long time and I don't know for sure," he said, "I might not be her biological father."
"But if you suspect that it might be true, isn't that worth finding out?"
He rubbed his forehead.
"She's got a father even if it's another man," he said, "Her mother's married and has been so for years. Even if…she's not his, she is now because he raised her."
"But what about you," I said, "What do you want? I mean if she'd yours then you've lost all this time.."
He shook his head.
"It doesn't matter…because she doesn't know that," he said, "Just because I lost all that time not spending with my daughter doesn't mean she was denied that…the only father she knows has done a great job with her."
I just paused thinking about it, because I knew deep inside of him he wanted to find out if he had a daughter. He had to want it because he wasn't the kind of man who ran away from something like that. Meaning he wasn't like my own father who'd sired me without looking back…maybe he knew about me, maybe he didn't…but he should have known.
After all Brock didn't know he had a daughter but the possibility still haunted him. It would always haunt me just like I knew that I'd never lose sight that I had a father out there somewhere. Much different than the man sitting in front of me...could ever be.
"Brock, I know what it's like not to have a father," I said, "I mean one who gave a damn to at least check up on me to make sure I was all right."
He looked at me, knowing so little of what I'd gone through growing up. But he understood what I mean.
"It's different for me; I know that she's doing just fine, growing up without me in her life…she'd be your age right now."
Sometimes I forgot that Brock was quite a bit older than me. In what was important, it didn't matter to me.
I took his word for that because I know that he'd checked to make sure. I knew that he'd never walked away from his child if she hadn't been okay.
"You still miss her…and what you could have had together."
He sighed sipping his drink.
"She's doing fine without me," he said, "so there's no need to know for sure."
He seemed so sure about that and not long after, Lars and Tiffany rejoined us and talked about how Lars had rocked in some video game that they had played. But I kept my eyes on Brock and while we talked, he seemed someplace far away.
And I knew he remembered her.
I had to drop by my house to do my laundry because I spent most of my time at Brock's anyway. He had opened up his home to me when my mother crashed at ours in between her Vegas trips. This time, she'd been depressed because she'd kicked out Dirk and hadn't let him crawl back into her good graces yet.
Make him suffer a bit is what she told me while heating up some leftovers. I didn't pay her much mind as I loaded up the laundry machine to get it done so I could leave as if I'd never been here.
"Dirk just needs to get it in his head that I don't need him," she said, "That I can live without him."
Oh if that were true, but I didn't say anything. But seriously, Dirk had been living under my mom's roof longer than he'd been in the doghouse in all the time I'd known him.
"He's an asshole and you keep letting him come back," I said, "Why don't you just dump him for real?"
That irked my mom up quick.
"What do you mean dump him for real," she said, "You don't know anything about me and him. He's the only man who's ever stuck around."
"He's just using you," I said, "When's the last time he's worked?"
My mom fell silent and maybe she was trying to remember but I don't think it'd stretch back that far. Sure he won money gambling before a casino tossed him out and maybe he had these odd construction jobs here and there but he sponged off my mother which meant he sponged off of me because I was earning most of the money right now.
"Times have been tough for everyone," she said, "Dirk's been trying but there's very little work…besides he's not my concern now."
"But he will be soon…because he'll be back."
My mom sighed.
"I don't know this time," she said, "I think he sees me as being too old for him,' she said, "He likes them young you know."
I imagined that he did because he'd been so creepy to me in ways my mom didn't want to hear about because in her world, Dirk was in the right and I was always wrong.
"Don't most guys like them young?"
My mom went to go pour herself vodka before adding in the orange juice.
"Yeah…they're made that way," she said, "but I don't let myself go…I look just as I good when I was in high school."
"But you're not in high school," I said, "You're a grownup."
Sometimes I think my mom needed to be reminded of that.
"You telling me I'm not grown up because I'll tell you that's rich coming from a girl who's had everything given to her…"
Hardly, I raised this household from the time I'd been little. I had to raise my own mom and I had to fend her live in lover off of me since the time I'd stopped looking so much like a little girl and more like a younger version of her.
"I'm not going to argue with you," I said, "I'm just here to do my laundry and I'll be gone."
She smirked at me.
"Going back to your sugar daddy? At least you picked a good one…"
Anger filled through me so quick I wanted to slap my own mom for that. She had made up her own reality and forced the rest of us into it. But the truth was, I had stopped needing her long before I'd stopped wanting her.
I was an adult now and if I wanted to get myself a lover that was my own business not hers.
"He's going to use you and throw you away," she said, "Brock's been a player for years."
I didn't listen to her. I didn't want to hear anything she had to say to me. I just wanted to finish my laundry and escape again.
"Maybe…but he's not into young girls…"
My mom's mouth fell open and she slammed her glass on the kitchen counter too hard.
"What the hell are you talking about," she said, "You making up lies about Dirk again?"
I just stared straight at her.
"You know exactly what I'm talking about mom so just shut up about it and just go back to not caring about anybody but yourself."
I didn't know where that came from and I didn't care. I walked out of the room before I'd say something I'd regret.