Conflict Of Interest

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Chapter 10

It’s the day of the dinner and I’m terrified. I have this deep pit in my stomach, like something is going to go wrong. I don’t know maybe I’m crazy but I don’t like this feeling.

I shake away those thoughts and focus on getting ready. I grab my clutch and head on out, Ophelia and I are picking up Gage and heading to the airport, then to my parents.

***

Pulling up to our modern house the white wood fence surrounding the porch is aging and the brick is slightly discolored. I see the dent in the garage door that Ope and I made when she tried to drunkenly park my parents car and ran into the garage door. I was grounded for a month, ahh memories of the good old days.

Walking up to the door I can see the worried look in Gage’s eyes. I take a hold of his hand and give it a firm squeeze. I open the door and the familiar house greets me with sounds of laughter and the smell of lavender my mom puts in the house.

Rocky our 5 year old blue healer Australian cattle dog comes trotting in. He sees me and breaks out into a run. I meet him on the floor as he give me a greeting that has taken too long. I missed him, he’s always been my dog.

“Oh, Rocky’s doing his happy dance that must mean...” my mothers sweet voice trails off as she comes to the foyer. “My baby girl is home, come here honey” she says as she opens her arms wide. I love both of my parents but I’ve always been a mommy’s girl at heart.

“Hi mommy” I mumble “so...” I drawl out “I have someone I would like you to meet” my mother stops rubbing my back immediately and moves me back so she can look at my face.

Still holding onto my arms she looks me dead in the eye with a serious face and asks “boyfriend?” and I nod. As I knew she would a big smile takes over her face as she crushes me in a hug “my little girl’s finally got a man” she says and pulls back. She wipes her hands on her navy blue apron and looks at me. “Well let’s go meet the man that is dating my daughter” she says and saunters to the front door, oh god.

“Mom, don’t scare him” I shout and she throws me a mothering glance.

“I would never” she says playfully while picking up her pace.

I rush to follow her and when I arrive I see my mother sizing him up and down, observing and judging him. Gage shifts uncomfortably and I throw him a sympathetic look. Gage jumps when my mom shouts “OH MY GOD I LOVE HIM!” she crushes him in a hug and he looks terrified and shocked. I chuckle a little bit at his reaction but he hugs her back once she shock has passed. That’s my mom for you, she’s never met a stranger that’s for sure.

“It’s nice to meet you Mrs. Williams” he says with a charming and nervous smile.

“Oh honey that makes me feel so old. Just call me Margret, come on everyones this way. Some are on the patio but will join us at dinner” she says with a nervous glance my way. I answer her glance with a confused one and she looks away. “DAVID!” my mom shouts walking into the living room.

“Yeah?” he says watching the football game, over the years he’s gotten used to the shouting and finds it’s one of the things he loves about her. She’s super loud and bubbly.

“Get you ass over here and meet Dare’s new boyfriend” she says throwing me a playful glance.

“Boyfriend?!?” I hear my dad and another voice say from behind me, I cringe and turn around to see my brother. Immediately my dad stands up from the couch and walks over to Gage. I can feel the anxiety and nervousness coming off of him in waves. Dealing with my dad and brother one at a time was okay dealing with both of them glaring at him was enough for my crushes and ex’s to run for the hills. Gobsmacked and scared Gage just stands there. He finally comes back to reality, straightens his posture and raises his hand.

“It’s nice to meet you sir, my name is Gage Thomas. It is great to finally meet you” he says easily and charmingly. My dad meets his hand and shakes it firmly. Next he turns to my brother for a hand shake. “It is nice to meet you as well” he says and my brother looks mildly shocked. When Markus met Tyler he didn’t even throw him a glance. My brother meets his hand and glances at me in pride.

“You’ve finally found a gentleman sis, I’m shocked” he teases and I shove him lightly.

“Oh suck a hot one” I playfully snap back.

“You’re still around after she used that language in front of you?” my dad asks, gee thanks dad I feel the love, really.

“Yeah, I was shocked when we watched football and she spouted some colorful language at the screen. Honestly I found it adorable and slightly amusing” he said giving me a side amused glance remembering the time I invited him over to watch the game. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen her so violent” he jokes and my dad and brother laugh while I huff.

“There is nothing funny about the Patriots” I say with a aggravated huff playfully crossing my arms.

“I’m watching them right now” my dad says and I make a b-line to the couch. I see my dad grab the remote and hide it behind him.

At this I roll my eyes “It happened one time, I’m never gonna live that down” I say as Gage sits down next to me.

“No honey it happened more than once” he says and I roll my eyes again.

“Okay, twice” I say and he gives me a disbelieving glare.

“Okay, it happened three times, but I haven’t done it since” I defend and my dad looks at me not believing a word I just said. “ITS TRUE!” I urge annoyed.

“Yeah, okay” my brother adds.

“Tyler” I say glaring at him and he looks at me sitting in the soft chair. I point at him with a serious glare “you stay out of this” I say. The look I give him says ‘I could easily tell mom or dad about something you’ve done that you’d never live down and get in trouble for, don’t test me’. He takes the hidden message and holds his hands up in defense.

“What happened?” Gage asks and my dad explains the times I got angry watching football.

“The first time was when the Patriots lost on a technicality that she didn’t believe and she got pissed and chucked the remote at the TV” he says and I roll my eyes “the other times were similar” he explains and Gage nods.

“Why doesn’t that surprise me?” he asks and I glare at him.

“Not. Funny” I say and he laughs.

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