“Damn, I’m getting old,” I thought to myself as I combed my hair in the mirror. I had to get ready quickly. I was picking Beau up from the airport in an hour.
And I shouldn’t have felt old at only 32, but I did. Ever since Beau and I’d separated, I thought Briar and I would naturally get together.
But that didn’t happen.
Not that I didn’t try. Hell, we even went out on a few dates.
Lexie was over the moon with that even though we’d thought we kept it secret.
“Oh. My. GOD!” she squealed.
“I’m not dreaming. Pinch me, please. Oh, wait! Don’t mind me. If you need to stay out all night like at a hotel or something, I will be JUST FINE!”
“Lexie…” I groaned at her.
“Just ignore,” Briar said in a hushed tone beside me, but I could tell she was embarrassed.
Our daughter. I smiled inside. She could always make us laugh.
She went on, “Go for it, guys! This is your last chance before you turn REALLY old!”
Lexie was my treasure. I didn’t want to disappoint her.
But when we’d kissed on the second date, I just knew it wasn’t going to work.
Honestly, I felt like I was kissing my sister by that time. We’d been living like that for so long.
She felt exactly the same way. Thankfully.
Sighing, I trimmed my beard as tingles jumped around my stomach the way they always did when Beau visited.
I’d never get over him.
Sure…I’d wanted to. Even ran the gambit of girls (and guys) here in Brindleton Bay, but because of Lexie, I just wouldn’t bring anyone home.
And so, each relationship fizzled out.
No one could compare to what I’d had with Beau. Why wouldn’t he give us a chance? Allow us to move Lexie to Starlight Shores, if that’s what it took? Briar said she’d do it. But his crazy jealous fears swallowed him whole.
Over the years, he’d been in and out of relationships. I tried not to care. I even acted interested when he’d visit and talk about some hairdresser or actor or stunt double he was dating.
I was being “adult” about the whole thing, but inside I wanted to fly to Starlight Shores, punch out whomever he was dating then sweep him in my arms and force him to see reason. Silly, I know.
He’d called me last night, saying he wanted to talk to me. He wouldn’t tell me what it was about. I worried that he was engaged and he wanted to tell me first so I wouldn’t get sucker punched when Briar told me.
Big of him.
I tied my hair back since he liked it loose. I’d never wear it like that in front of him. Petty? Yeah. So sue me.
I hated sounding bitter, but that was how I felt. I tried getting past these feelings, but something inside me just wouldn’t move on.
Maybe it was this godforsaken town. I vowed I’d move as soon as Lexie graduated. Briar needed her privacy and God knew I needed mine. I was destined to become like my Pongan uncles. I guessed there could be worse things in this world. At least I had my daughter.
Beau’s flight was delayed so he said he’d take a youber over instead of me picking him up. I decided to play on the piano a little while I waited to get out the nervous jitters.
I heard the door shut behind me. “Hey, sweetheart!” I called out.
Bouncing up from the piano bench, I asked, “How was your day?” Then gave her a huge hug.
She shrugged, mumbled something about going on a date then sauntered upstairs. She didn’t look excited to go out.
When her boyfriend came over, I ignored him and lectured her. She’d only been dating the little guy for about a month but I knew all too well how horny teenaged guys were. “So, you’re coming straight home after the movies, right? Uncle Beau is coming in town and it’d be rude if you missed seeing him tonight.”
Cory interjected, “Yes, sir. The movie is only about an hour and a half. I’ll make sure we come straight back.”
I turned on him, using my height to intimidate. I knew exactly what was percolating in that foul mind of his. “Just make sure you treat her with respect,” I said in as deep a voice as I could muster.
“Oh, Dad, don’t be such a neanderthal,” Lexie said. “Cory is the best boyfriend ever.”
Without missing a beat, I added with a glare, “Got it?” He knew exactly what I meant. I would never allow my daughter to go out with someone like me. If he tried anything, I’d wipe the floor with him, so I wanted to make that crystal clear.
I think it worked. The guy’s voice squeaked, “Y-Yes, sir. Of course.”
“Oh my God, Dad,” Lexie protested. “Come on, Cory, before he handcuffs you and sends you to jail until we’re 30.”
“Hey…that’s not a bad idea,” I joked.
“Good bye, Mr. Day,” Cory added as Lexie grabbed his ass.
“Watch your hands, Lex.”
Sighing, she said, “Bye, Dad.” And dragged the kid out the door.
I shook my head.