Things to do in Freehold

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Chapter Eleven:

Joey Grace (Evening of September 6, 1983)

Addie and I had come home, from getting ice cream, to an angry Liv. As soon as we walked through the door, her eyes glowed red and her nostrils had flared up like a tornado. “Can I have a word with you, in private for a second?” she asked me, in a stern tone. This question could’ve easily been translated to: Can I beat the living shit out of you?

Regretfully, I agreed to follow her into our bedroom, where she had closed the door behind us. “What’s wrong?” I asked, taking a seat on the bed.

“You can’t keep doing this, Joe. You can’t keep undermining me and my decisions, especially in front of our daughter,” she explained while pacing around the room.

“Oh, c’mon, is this about the ice cream? It got her out of her room, didn’t it?” I told her.

“I told her she couldn’t wear her princess costume, I told her,” Liv finally sat next to me on the bed and let out a big sigh. “You know she bit me earlier?”

“What? When?” I asked, in disbelief.

“She did, honestly. I even have a bite mark to prove it,” she said, showing her left hand where a patch of tiny teeth marks had made an indent in her flesh. “She did it while I was trying to dress her in the outfit we had originally planned on.”

I tried to comfort Liv, but she instantly pushed me away and stood up once again. I could see tears building in her eyes. However, they were not tears of sadness or pain, but merely tears of anger and frustration.

“See what happens when you make me play bad cop all the time!” she shouted at me. “Bet she’s never even been the slightest violent with you, has me?”

“Hey, look, I’m sorry she bit you, but don’t you dare put the blame on me!” I defended myself.

“No, I will blame you,” Liv began to go on a rant about how much of a pushover I was. “If she asks for it, you give it to her, no questions asked. Then, I’m seen as this monster whose sole purpose is to ruin her life when I don’t.”

“I’m only trying to be a good dad, Liv,” I said, calming my tone a bit.

“Then quit spoiling her and show her some discipline, goddammit,” Liv replied, storming out of the room. Again, I had the chance to chase after her, but didn’t.

Not long afterwards, Addie came into the room. “Were you guys fighting because of me?” she asked, standing in the doorway with a sorrowful look upon her face.

“No, Sweetheart,” I reassured her. “Mommy and Daddy were fighting because of Mommy and Daddy issues.”

“What kind of Mommy and Daddy issues?” she asked as she hopped onto the bed.

“None you need to worry about,” I told her as she rested her head on my lap and I played with her hair.

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