Things to do in Freehold

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Chapter Eight:

Joey Grace (Morning of September 6, 1983)

I had woken up to the sound of high-pitched screaming. With the crust still stuck to my eyelids, I had looked at the alarm clock, sitting on my nightstand. It had been a full hour before I needed to get up to start my day as a construction worker and I had woken up to screaming. I had used every bit of energy I had in my fatigued body to stand up and walk outside my bedroom, into the hallway, where I’d find Liv, locked out of Addie’s room. Apparently, Liv had been trying to get her dressed for her first day of kindergarten and Addie had not been too fond of the outfit her mom had picked out for her.

“Adeline Louise Grace!” Liv shouted through the door. She was using the middle and last name; this was serious. “You unlock this door and get your butt out here this instant!”

“No, I don’t want to go to school and you can’t make me!” Addie yelled back. I had to smile at that. Little did she know, we could’ve easily busted down the door and hauled her out of the room and into the Volkswagen.

“Well, I don’t know how you suppose you’re getting ice cream with that attitude, young lady,” I interfered. I could feel Liv glaring at me. She’d hate it when I’d use the good ol’ “bribe her with sweets” tactic.

“Ice cream?” Addie asked, in a more calm manner.

“Yes,” I confirmed. “But only if you get dressed and go to school for the whole day. That means no faking terminal illnesses to get picked up early; we are not repeating preschool.”

“Can I wear my princess dress?”

I turned to see Liv, shaking her head. “Sure, Buttercup,” I answered. “Whatever you want to wear.”

“Seriously?” Liv asked, already knowing the answer.

“You want our daughter to get an education or not?” I disputed.

Almost instantly, the knob began to turn and the door opened. An ecstatic Addie had then ran out, wearing her favorite baby blue, ball gown, and tiara. “I’m ready for the ball.”

“That’s great, Honeybun. Now, go get in the car; I’ll be out there in a minute,” I explained to her, avoiding any sort of eye contact with Liv.

As Addie ran downstairs and out to the car, Liv had stormed back into the master bedroom, gently slamming the door behind her. I could’ve followed her in there and comforted her. In fact, I should have, but it had been far too early to start that war, and Addie was going to be late for school.

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