Reluctantly Yours

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Chapter 3

"Have you been doing okay," Dr. Keyes asked me and I nodded in answer. Dr. Keyes had learned along time ago that I wasn't going to give many verbal answers so she just started asking yes or no questions.

I didn't have to go to therapy before, but when Mom left us, I guess that caused Dad to think that I needed help. My problems were beyond help. I've explained this to Dad and told him that shrinks and pills weren't going to help me unless I OD. I regret having said that everytime I walk into this office.

That only made my father think that I was going to kill myself, which made him put his foot down and now I had no choice but to attend these sessions. She asked her usual questions but when I had a different answer on one of them, she jumped all over it like a starving dog a hunk of ham.

"Have you made any new friends?"

With only a second of hesitation, I nodded and her face lit up like a Christmas tree. She smiled warmly, her face showing interest and excitement, but she kept her voice calm as she spoke.

"Who is it?" She asked. I looked at her while contemplating. If I say something now, she'll expect me to talk every time. She sat there, staring straight at me while she waited for my answer. I looked down at my fidgeting fingers and sighed, seeing no way out of this.

"Well, I kind of made two friends. Or at least, One and a half, maybe," I said quietly, not looking at her.

She raised a curious eyebrow. "One and a half? Do you mind explaining," she prompted. I accidentally let a small smile slip onto my lips, and I knew she had caught it but I composed myself anyways.

"Well, I made up with one of my friends from middle school. She came and asked if we could hang out so we did. Then the other one…" I trailed off, thinking of Shane and riding on the bike with him and his smile. Just thinking of it made me smile, but I shook it off. "Um… we've hung out just a little and talked, but I wouldn't call him my friend yet. He's also my partner for an art project."

She gave me a knowing smile when I looked up, but I wasn't sure what it was that she knew. "So it's a he? Tell me about him," she said, giving me a strange but wistful look. I felt uncomfortable again so I looked down again when I spoke.

"Um… his name is Shane. Shane Lewis, I think. He um… rides a motorcycle and he's super tall. He's got dark brown hair and brown eyes. He's in my art and AP English class and he likes music. That's about all I know about him," I finished off.

"Shane… sounds like your typical bad boy, eh?" I glanced up at her and shrugged. I thought of the bike ride earlier and felt myself blush as I remembered the feeling of his body against mine. She noticed and smiled wolfishly at me.

"Someone's has a crush?"

I looked up at her in surprise and vigorously shook my head. "No. I barely know him. I just met him yesterday and I only talked to him today."

She studied my face for a moment, her eyes scanning over my features. "If you don't like him, then whats with the smile and the blushing," she countered. I only shrugged.

"If you saw him, then you'd understand," I said lightly. She smiled and then her timer went off, indicating the end of our session. I stood up and she did too. She walked over to her desk, most likely to file her notes away.

She looked up at me before I walked out. "Keep it up Jasmine. You're making good progress," she said with a smile. I nodded once and I opened the door and walked out.

When I got home, Dad's car was in the driveway, along with an unfamiliar dark blue one. I put my car in park and walked into the house. I heard Dad's laughter rang through the house from the kitchen. I slowly walked down the hall and stopped in the doorway.

There was a woman around Dad's age sitting across the table from him. Her dark hair sat in a twisted bun on top of her head but I couldn't see anything else. She was facing away from me.

Dad looked up and saw me and his smile grew even bigger. "Hey kiddo," he said, his usual greeting. I nodded in response, not willing to speak in front of the stranger. She turned and looked at me with a kind smile.

She was very pretty. Her face was smooth and she had smile wrinkles and she reminded me of Mrs. McCarthy, with her warm and loving smile. She seemed familiar in a way, but I couldn't place it. Her eyes were a light hazel.

"Hello. You must be Jasmine. I've heard lots about you," she said. I didn't say anything. I had no clue who this woman was, because I've never heard a word about her. Whoever she was, she seemed to make my dad happy, so I was fine with that. Dad got up and came over to give me a hug.

"This is my coworker, Isabel. She wanted to come meet you," he said casually. I raised my eyebrows at him, a smirk crossing my face when I looked at him and he narrowed his eyes slightly in a teasing manner.

I let the expression fade before I looked back at Isabel. "Hello," I said quietly. She let out a soft chuckle and shook her head ever so slightly.

"She's even more soft spoken than I thought Brian," she said to my dad. I glanced at him, noticing that they were both on a first name basis. Usually, I've heard his coworkers call him Mr. Johnson, as was expected since he was CEO, but now I definitely knew that there was something going on between these two. I turned to Dad, wanting to give them some privacy, I said, "I need to go start on my homework. I'll see you later."

As I turned to leave, Dad said "She'll be staying for dinner, if that's okay with you kiddo." I stopped in my tracks and turned to look at him in amazed confusion.

"Dinner," I asked skeptically. He nodded and I felt my eyes widen in surprise as I absentmindedly moved my head up and down in a nod.

Dad and I only have dinner together on holidays. He's usually gone to work the rest of the time and always eats out somewhere. This must be worse than I thought. Or better.

I turned and walked up the stairs and headed into my room. I dropped my bag by my desk and sat down on the edge of my bed. I didn't actually have any homework. Usually I finish it all in my free period, so that I'd have more free time at home. I flinched when my phone rang and picked it up. The caller ID was an unknown number.

"Hello?"

"Hey Bambi. Did you have any more car trouble?"

I sat up straight. "Shane? How did you get my number?"

"I'm magical. Actually, I kind of asked Jessie for it. Is that okay?" It was not, in any way, shape, or form okay.

"Uh, yeah. It's fine. Um… so why are you calling me?"

"I wanted to make sure you got home okay. Did you?" I was surprised by the seemingly genuine concern in his voice, but it was still strange.

"Yeah. I'm at home now. Thanks."

He was quiet for a few seconds before he answered. "Okay. I gotta go. I'll see you tomorrow?"

I nodded but realized that he couldn't see me so I just said "Yeah. I guess. Bye." With that I hung up. Then I wondered if I was supposed to hang up yet, but realized that it was too late now. I texted Jessie, demanding an explanation.

Me: Did you give Shane Lewis my number?

Jessie: … Yeah.

Me: Why?

Jessie: He asked for it and he seemed like he was interested in you. I was trying to help. I didn't mean to overstep my bounds or whatever.

Me: Its okay, thx. Could you ask next time tho?

She replied with yes and I set my phone down and got up to take a shower, but realized that I should probably wait until after dinner. Now I didn't have much to do, so I decided to lie down and watch Netflix until Dad called me down for dinner.

I didn't realize I had fallen asleep until I heard a soft knocking on my door and I opened my eyes groggily. I opened my eyes in time to see dad peek his head inside the door. He smiled at me and I slowly sat up.

"Hey kiddo. It's time for dinner. I made your favorite... spaghetti!" I laughed and stood up.

"Dad, spaghetti hasn't been my favorite since I stopped making you buy me unicorn underwear." He laughed and tilted his head for me to follow him.

Now I was thinking about my old time favorite undies. It was a weird thing to think about, I know, but in all truth, I could probably still fit those underwear. I haven't grown since I was thirteen so I probably could, although I had gained about fifteen more pounds since then.

When we got downstairs, I sat down next to Dad's seat at the table while he began to serve us our plates. We settled in to eat and throughout dinner, Isabel and Dad made comfortable conversation while I ate in silence. At some point, she decided to drag me into the conversation.

"So, Jasmine, Do you know what you'd like to major in college yet?"

I looked up at her through my lashes and looked back down and shrugged. I was grateful when my dad answered for me. "Yes she does. She's always had it planned out. She wants to be an artist, like her mother was. You should see her work. It's absolutely amazing and she's doing a showcase for her art teacher soon-"

I looked up sharply at my father. "How did you know about that," I asked quietly. I knew that I hadn't told him about it yet, so how did he know? His eyebrows raised in surprise.

"Your principal called me earlier to let me know that he was thankful that your were putting forth your talent. I definitely didn't get the information from you since you rarely talk to me anymore," he said in a voice that had a hint of hurt in it. I felt guilty and looked back down at my plate.

"Well that sounds wonderful. Maybe one day you can show me your work. I'd really love to see it Jasmine," Isabel said warmly. I nodded once and without looking, gave her a small smile, which I hoped she noticed.

We continued to eat in a few more moments of silence, which Dad finally decided to break through. "How'd you get home today?"

I looked over at him. "Huh?"

"I said how'd you get home. Your car wasn't working right, so who fixed it," he prompted.

I looked down at my plate, swirling my fork in the saucy, spaghetti noodles. "My friend checked it out and said that it was just out of gas so he took me-"

He cut me off with a sharp glance. "He? Who is he?" I wanted to roll my eyes at his sudden overprotectiveness, but instead I kept my eyes fixed on the plate.

"My friend," I said quietly.

"What's your friends name?"

"He's new so I don't think you would know him, but it's Shane Lewis," I said softly.

This time, Isabel spoke up. "Shane Lewis? He goes to your school? It's a small world I guess. It's not much of my business, but I don't think you should hang out with him much. He went to jail with my son for some drug deal that the cops busted. My son was lucky enough to get off with a warning, since he was clean, but it wasn't Shane's first time getting arrested. That kid is bad news Jasmine," she said with animosity.

My eyes widened. I knew that Shane looked like the kind of guy to have a criminal record but I didn't think he would actually have one. Dad looked at me so that I could see the stern look on his face.

"I don't want you hanging out with that kid anymore Jazz," Dad said. I knew better than to argue that I didn't really hang out with him in the first place. I rarely got chastised by my father, so I knew that he was strict about this. To be honest though, I kind of agreed. I didn't want to be caught hanging out with a criminal or felon. I didn't need all of that. So, I decided that I would stop talking to him, unless it's strictly about our art project.

Dad and Isabel talked some more but I didn't really pay attention. Isabel asked a few questions here and there which I replied with short, if not blunt, answers. Finally, I finished my plate and excused myself from the table. I told Isabel it was nice to meet her and she said that the feeling was likewise mutual then I went upstairs and shut myself in my room to take a shower.

After my shower, I brushed out my black waves and braided it to the side before brushing my teeth. I put on a pair of shorts and a tank top and I laughed to myself when I realized what shorts I was wearing. They were fluffy, mint green pajama shorts with pink unicorns leaping over rainbows. I guess that I could grow out of the underwear or not want to wear them anymore, but these were going to stay for a while.

There was a soft tapping on my door and I told them to come in. Dad swung the door open then leaned against the white door frame. I smiled at him.

"Is Isabel gone?" He smiled too and nodded. Then I presumed to ask another question. "So is she your new girlfriend?" He laughed and with a smile on his face that made him look boyish he looked at me.

"What if she was," he challenged.

"Then I approve. She's really sweet and I like her. Besides, it's about time you got back into the game. You still have some play left in you somewhere," I teased. His smile grew wider but when I asked the next question, he seemed a little uneasy.

"How long have you been with her?"

"Eight months…" he said. My jaw dropped as I stared at him. "Eight months? That's more than half a year! How could you keep her from me that long?" I was more hurt than anything else, hurt that he kept such a big secret from me.

"I wasn't completely sure how you'd feel about her. Are you am very with me kiddo?" I closed my mouth and sighed in defeat.

"No, but you could have told me anyways. As long as you're happy Dad, then I'll be happy." The boyish smile grew on his face again and he practically tackled me into a bear hug. "Thanks kid! I've been wanting your blessing for so long!" I laughed at his excitement and when he stepped back, I looked at him as if from a new perspective.

He looked younger than he really was now. There was a light in his ocean blue eyes and his dirty blonde hair was ruffled, which was different than his usual gelled back, professional looking style. He looked happier and I wondered how I never noticed it before.

"No problem Dad," I told him with a big smile. He kissed me lightly on the forehead and went back towards the door. "Good night kiddo," he said as he walked out and shut the door behind him.

Jessie sent me a good night text, to which I returned my wishes then set my phone on the nightstand. I buried myself under the covers and fell into a peaceful slumber.

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