Meet the Parents
"Your boyfriend is late," Dad complains for the umpteenth time.
"When do we get to eat?" Auggie whines.
Dinner was prepared, I texted Lucas a million times, and we were waiting for him to come. How long have we been waiting? Oh, only twenty minutes. I am completely calm. Oh who I am kidding? HE'S LATE! Lucas hasn't even arrived yet and my family already can't stand him.
Finally, the doorbell rang.
"I'LL GET IT!" I screech loudly and I ran out of the dining room.
I was prepared with all kinds of nasty words for Lucas when I opened the door.
"IT'S BEEN TWENTY MINUTES WHAT TOOK SO LONG . . . oh hey Ava." My voice trailed off when I saw Ava, not Lucas, standing in the threshold. Was she wearing lip gloss?
"I'M HERE," Ava announces all triumphant, like it was a miracle that she accomplished to two-minute walk here, in glittery sandals, while the December winds blew (although Texas is still scorching even in the dead of winter).
"What are you doing here?" I ask through clenched teeth.
"There's my lady," Auggie yells as he runs up to the threshold and attempts to pick up Ava.
"Auggie invited me over for dinner," Ava brags like it was an exclusive party. She looks around our living room. "You use a plastic Christmas tree?" she asks, pointing at our Christmas decorations.
"Yes," I say. Dad likes to put up the Christmas décor right after Thanksgiving.
"How cheap," Ava complains and Auggie leads her to the dining room.
Is it wrong to wanna punch a child in the mouth?
"Oh hey Riley," Lucas says behind me. He was wearing his only nice jacket and he brought me a bouquet of roses. Somehow, his presence made me forget why I was angry at him.
"Aw," I say and I take the flowers and kiss him on the cheek.
"Ahem," my father interrupts, peeking his head into the living room. "The chicken is getting cold."
There was a cold air of awkwardness between Lucas and my dad as we walked into the dining room.
"So you're Logan," my father says as Mom gave everyone a plate of her infamous dried-out chicken.
"It's Lucas," I correct but Dad keeps staring at Lucas and his bad boy appearance.
"You're really hot," Ava sighs. Well, at least one person at this table likes him.
"You better not be stealing my woman," Auggie threatens. Lucas laughs but he stops once he notes Auggie's serious face.
Luckily, Mom shifts the conversation in another direction.
"So Lucas, how long have you and Riley been dating?"
"Since October," Lucas says nervously, like one wrong word could kick him out.
"That's enough time to kiss my daughter," Dad scowls. "Have you kissed my daughter?"
"Is that a bad thing, sir?" Lucas says nonchalantly. Bad move, Lucas.
"When I picture the perfect guy for my daughter, I'd like him to be a good influence for Riley," Dad continues.
"Mr. Matthews," Lucas interrupts. "I'm her boyfriend, not her babysitter."
Ava bursts out laughing, which leads to Auggie laughing, and even Mom hides a smile.
"What do you plan to do later in life?" Dad asks.
"Go to college," Lucas answers. "I'm smarter than you think, Mr. Matthews."
Despite saying the right thing, Dad still didn't let up on the father interrogation.
"Did you commit any felonies?" he asks.
"Does graffiti in the library count?" Lucas answers.
"What kind of career do you want later in life?" my father questions.
"Either a car designer or maybe a teacher," Lucas says.
"Are you planning to abduct my daughter?" Dad asks.
"You're being ridiculous," Lucas says while rolling his eyes.
I couldn't help but bang my head against the table.
"What did I tell you about heads on the table?" Mom says.
Lucas took a bite of the chicken and says, "Is this a chicken or a dead pterodactyl?"
Oh, Lucas, if only my parents appreciated your honesty and biting wit.
After dinner, my dad not-so-politely shooed Lucas out.
"Why are you with that boy?" Dad hisses. "What can't you be with a good guy like that Farkle kid you hang out with? Why are you hanging out with the wrong people? This never happened in New York."
"You told me to get out of my comfort zone," I say. "I'm exploring a new world and you should support on that."
"What happened to the obedient little daughter I had in New York?" Dad asks.
"She grew up," I spit back and I ran up to my room.
Why doesn't my father realize that I can't be his little girl forever? I'm growing up and I'm finding my place in this world. Why can't he understand that?
It was midnight and I still couldn't sleep. What if Dad forbids me from seeing Lucas? What he forbids from hanging out with Maya, Zay, and Brandon, too? I finally found my own group of friends and he might end it? I can't believe he would want me to date Farkle instead of Lucas. Farkle and Maya has been an item for three months now. Okay, they usually fight and they have almost nothing in common but that's what so cute about them. They're like Noah and Allie from The Notebook. Besides, Maya seems to smile more now, Farkle makes her happy. Hopefully, she'll let Farkle hold her hand soon.
Suddenly there was a knock on my window. Lucas was standing on my balcony. Is it just me or are we like Romeo and Juliet?!
I open the windows and Lucas climbs in, quick and silent like a cat.
"Can I sleep over here for a while?" he asks.
"WHAT," I whisper-yell. I am not ready for that.
"No," Lucas explains, "I just can't sleep over at my house. My dad is drunk."
"Your dad drinks?" I ask. There is so much I don't know about Lucas.
"He has a problem," Lucas answers. "When my dad has one of his 'mood swings', it's just too hard to sleep in my own house. I went to Maya's first but her grandmother wouldn't let me in. Please? I promise I'll be gone before your dad checks."
"Okay," I sigh and I retrieve a sleeping bag from my closet. When I hand it to Lucas, I notice there are scars lining his collarbone and neck. How much do I know about Lucas?
I settle into my own bed and turn off the light. When I turn to talk to Lucas, I realize that he's already asleep. I close my eyes, wondering what Lucas isn't telling me.