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Don't Look Close

By LoweFantasy or T.S. Lowe All Rights Reserved ©

Drama / Romance

Out of Place

I didn't know how I had ended up here. One minute I'm living in a tiny, dirty apartment where we played 'wack a'roach' every morning, and now I'm looking at a yellow Victorian mansion that could have popped out of Pride and Prejudice

Holding onto the handle of my ratty red suitcase, I tried not to flinch when the owner of this huge house, my pseudo long-lost dad, tried to take it. He lifted it up like he was trying to copy someone he'd seen on TV, and I was almost surprised to see him not look like a complete goober going up the stairs and across the porch with it.

“I've got your room all ready for you, Aurora, hope you like purple, because that's the last color I remember you telling me you liked.”

"Yeah.” Which was all I managed to say, seeing I couldn't make my throat work. I had never seen where my dad lived. Whenever I had asked he only told me about the weather, which I had long ago decided he was obsessed with. Not too hot. Not too cold, and a lot rainier than Nevada.

It would be an understatement to say I felt out of place when I stepped onto the red Persian rug in the foyer. Everything was made out of dark wood and out-of-a-magazine/movie décor, fit for a the princess of England or freaking Jane Austin herself.

And then there's me, dressed in my favorite pair of ratty men's jeans and a Pikachu shirt.

“It should just be up here,” he said, starting up the stairs. “I picked the room with a turret, with lots of windows. And you'll love the wild berries here, they grow everywhere!”

“So you've told me.” Like a million, bajillion times.

“Denise should be home soon, so you just tell her what you like and she'll fix it up for you.”

I froze, foot above a step. “You're married?” I hated the way my stomach leaped at that thought. So what if my dad was married? It wasn't like he told me anything, like that he lived in a freaking mansion.

He seemed to flinch too. “No! No no, she's the cook. When I get busy I can forget, and she came highly recommended. Had her for a few years now.”

Well, jee, I'm sorry. If I had known I just had to look in the weekly cover of 'Richest Damn People In America,' to get updates on my father, I would have.

Slightly offended by my own ingratitude, I stayed quiet in hopes I wouldn't say anything like it the rest of the way to my room, which was at the end of an equally lavished hall. The walls were a warm yellow, and paintings and fake flowers lined the halls. I almost asked, 'who's your decorator?' But I knew I wouldn't be able to say it without sounding just a tiny bit sarcastic.

Sarcasm was the reason he left my mom, after all.

“Here we are.”

And I thought nothing could shock me after the mile lone drive way.

My room was a soft lavender and as big as the living room back home. A full-size bed that screamed for someone to bellyflop on it was against the far left wall, surrounded by silver and lavender curtains with green trim. On the right side, one corner was rounded into a turret and filled with huge, vintage looking windows. The sunshine outside glimmered off of a T.V. and what looked like to be a PS4 and Nintendo Wii. An empty bookshelf, with only a three or four games, stood besides the entertainment center.

My dad gestured to it, looking awkward even as he did so. “I didn't know what you liked, so I figured we could, um, go shopping together some time and pick them out. I put some of my favorites there for you to try, though, for now. Your mother also tells me you like books so we can go get some as well, that is, if none of the books in the library satisfy you, though I don't think you'd be much into business manuals. I guess you can say I just like textbook stuff.” he waited, looking at me nervously. “Did I miss anything?”

“Miss anything?” I said faintly. From the small crystal chandelier on the ceiling, to the green velvet Lovesac in the corner (which I remembered being at least $1,000 in the mall), what I couldn't believe was that all of this could be mine. 

However, I could only think of the miniscule room I had back home, which I shared with my sister, and where there was only enough room to walk to the closet and to the bed. Though I what I really wanted to do was scream, 'where have you freaking been all my life!' I earnestly, and as inoffensively as I could, said, “Dad, you didn't have to do this. This is more than enough.”

And it was. I would've been happy with a closet, because it would have been a closet away from where I had come from.

He gave me a weak smile. I saw his ears perk up with it and move wrinkles up the sides of his forehead. He had dirty blond hair, like me. “Don't say that, or I won't have any excuse to take you out.”

“Why would you need an excuse?” Is that why you stopped taking me out after I was ten? Because you ran out of excuses?

“Because I got too much work, and I want to be able to tell my clients to bug off for a bit without feeling guilty. Besides, video games are awesome.”

The way he said that made me smile. “Can we eat sushi too?”

“Sure! Though one of these days you got to let me take you to this Mexican joint next to the college,” he put on a comical look of bliss. “Mm, mm! Good stuff. And the lady there, my friend, she escaped a drug cartel and has the craziest stories, really make you grateful for what you have.”

Dad had a lot of friends. Though, it wasn't hard to get Dad to call you his friend, if my memory served me right. You just had to listen to him talk and then be interesting when you talked. I wondered if I had stopped being interesting, like mom. “I'll take your word for it. Mind if I unpack?”

He looked way too relieved when I said that. “Go right ahead, though I need you to try on that uniform in the closet before dinner. You're new school doesn't like people coming in half-way through a semester.”

“I don't think any school does.”

With that, he closed the door behind him, leaving me to my lavished corner of his castle. For a full five minutes I just stood there, breathing, smelling the faint fragrance in the air. The carpet beneath me felt squishy and thick, and I took off my shoes to feel it. It was squishy, as though several layers of foam had been packed in underneath, but not enough to ruin the firmness of the carpet.

Then I tipped my head back and started to cry.

My dad acted excited to have me. He seemed happy. But all I could feel towards him was confused indignation. Back home I'd been terrified to ask for lunch money from my parents. My backpack had been held together with hairbands and duct tape, and all my jeans had their heels and knees blown out ages ago from use.

But my dad, sperm donor to my soul, had had the ability to offer this all along, then had the gall to pretend that we were best friends.

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