Do I Dare

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Burned

After two weeks of Kyle being absent from class, Inez Haddy became worried about Kyle. It was unlike him to miss too many classes at once. She knew that he wanted to do well so he could go off to college so she decided to pay him a home visit. She got his address from the faculty office and made her way to his house that was opposite the part of town she lived. As she pulled up to Kyle's house, Inez Haddy began to wonder what his parents could possibly do for a living, and what issues he could be having that money couldn't fix.
Inez parks on the street just out front of his house. She exits her car and walks up the beautifully lain stone walk towards his front door where he finger presses against the circular door bell button that sits just to the left. In retrospect Inez knew her showing up at a students home wasn't something done often, and when done it tends to be frowned upon. She stands waiting for a few minutes with her purse over her shoulder, her eyes looking down at the time on the watch that sits on her wrist. Inez started thinking no one was home, but just as she turns to walk back to her car the door swings open.
Kyle stands on the other side of the door in shock, his eyes wide at first before narrowing in confusion, "Mrs. Haddy?" He asks, "What are you doing here?" He looks at her questioning her appearance.
Inez turns to face him, "You haven't been to class in two weeks, I wanted to make sure you were alright. I called the number on the school file and left messages, but I never heard anything back." Her eyes look him over seeing the food stains on his grey hoodie, and fuzz on his two day old black sweats. Kyle's hair is unkempt, his face is dull and sunken in, his eyes surrounded by dark circles as if they were black holes leading to nothingness.
Kyle let out a heavy sigh, "I just have some stuff going on that I need to take care of. I just don't have the time for school anymore." Kyle said with exhaustion in his voice.
Inez furrowed her brows in concern, "Kyle school is a priority that you should always have the time for. There is nothing that could be more important than you're future." She presses knowing how capable Kyle is.
Kyle shakes his head, "Some things are just more important than myself. I have responsibilities and I can't disappoint those around me." Kyle states.
Inez pauses for a moment to arrange her thoughts before she speaks, "What responsibilities could a well off kid like yourself have? I mean the only responsibility should be towards your future." she says sternly. "Kyle you need to come back to school, anything else can wait."
Kyle runs his hand through his greasy hair, "Not everything can wait. There are some things in life that can't wait no matter how much I need them to. Not everything is in my control. Sometimes we just have to play the hand we are dealt, this is what I have to do in order to play mine." Kyles voice becoming agitated.
"Kyle what on earth could be-"
"Daddy!" Blake runs up and grabs onto his leg, "My food." Blake pouts as she looks up at him.
Kyle's face turns a deep red embarrassed that his secret is out but calmly looks down at Blake, "I'll be there in a second okay? Go on and wait for me." he pats her back gently which causes Blake to nod and head back to the kitchen.
"Kyle, you're a father?" Inez asks.
"Yeah, for three years now, but a lot has happened recently and now I'm a single dad and Blake, well Blake is my priority now Mrs. Haddy. I want to be in class, I know I need to do well this last year, but I can't just leave my daughter at home." Kyle explains hesitantly.
"Bring her then. I will let you bring her to class. She seems to listen well enough." Inez offers.
"I have other classes Mrs. Haddy. I'm not so sure-"
Inez waves her hand dismissively, "Don't worry about the other teachers, I will handle them. You just make sure your ass is in school on Monday, you hear me?" She points her finger at him.
Kyle nods, "Of course Mrs. Haddy."
She smiles, "Good. Now, I will let you make up the work missed, and I will explain your situation to the other teachers. I am sure they will see things my way. Just make sure you are on time Monday morning Mr. Brooks." She gives one final stern warning before turning around and going back to her car.
Kyle shuts the door in pure disbelief. He was passed the part of having anyone find out, but now came the real challenge he wasn't sure how to prepare for: having the entire school know his secret. He wasn't ready for his classmates to know he had a daughter, not to mention that she is three which would tell them how old her was when she was born. Kyle wasn't just worried, he was embarrassed. He had no way to prepare for a situation like this as his plan was to keep his secret hidden until he was old enough for it not to be considered weird and taboo.
He looked down at his phone as he walked into the kitchen seeing five missed calls from Olivia, and at least that many texts. Kyle wants so badly to read them and listen to the voicemails but knows he will end up wanting to hold her in his arms, and right now, that isn't something he's ready for. After what had happened between them and Olivia's brother Alexsander, Kyle didn't know if it was best to be around her. The choice has little to do with his desires and more to do with what he believes is best for Blake. Kyle knows he is young, but he refuses to be stupid.
He sighs heavily and rubs his hand over his face before setting his phone face down on the counter again. He just wants to spend the rest of the night with Blake like he promised. "Alright little one, what do you want to eat? Grilled cheese and tomato soup, pasta, or some rice with veggies?" Kyle asks looking towards Blake hop off the chair in the kitchen and come over to him with her arms up.
"Grill cheese soup." Blake responds as Kyle picks her up and sets her on the counter next to his phone.
Kyle chuckles and maintains a smile as he gets the cheese and butter from the refrigerator, the bread from the bread basket next to the stove, and a pan from the holding rack above the kitchen island. Kyle is amused since he knows how much Blake loves grilled cheese and tomato soup. If given the option, that's all she would eat. Kyle grabs a knife from the drawer and butters one side of a slice of bread then sets it in the pan on the stove. He then opens the havarti cheese that Blake was now obsessed with and puts two slices on the bread. Kyle turns the stove burner on and sets it to low then butters the other slice of bread sticking it on top.
Growing up Kyle's parents weren't much if at all, he either had a nanny, ordered out, or cooked for himself. Back then he hated it but now he was grateful for it, otherwise Blake would be eating out too, and Kyle was not keen on that. As the pan begins to heat, he pulls some organic soup he bought from a local Italian market out of the fridge and pours it into a small pot he grabs from the rack on the wall. He makes sure to put the stove burner on high so it will be done by the time the grilled cheese is. Kyle grabs a spatula from the cooking utensil holder next to the stove and flips the grilled cheese over to the other side.
Kyle takes this opportunity to look over at Blake who is swinging her dangling legs off the edge of the counter. He picks up his phone and turns on YouTube and quickly searches for some animal educational videos then hands the phone back. Kyle grabs a spoon and stirs the soup in the pot then moves to the side making a sandwich for himself. He checks Blakes to see if it's done before he grabs a little plate from the cabinet and slides it onto it. He cuts it into four little squares then sets it aside as he grabs a ladle and scoops a bit of soup into a small bowl.
"Alright, yours is all done." He grabs her off the counter and sets her on the floor.
Blake smiles and runs to the table climbing up into the chair ready for dinner. Kyle smiles softly at her then grabs her food and brings it over, "Don't eat anything yet. I have to get you a spoon and it's hot," he warns. Kyle quickly grabs a small spoon out from the drawer then quickly places his grilled cheese into the pan turning up the heat so it will cook faster then turns off the soup burner so it doesn't boil over. He takes the spoon to Blake and hands it to her.
"Tanks!" Exclaims Blake.
Kyle chuckles watching her for a moment or two before going to put some soup in his own bowl and flipping his sandwich over. "Blow on the soup first, it's still hot." He says not having to turn around to know she has the spoon in hand about to shovel soup into her mouth.
Kyle knows he can do the whole parent thing, but can he do it alone is his worry. Everything around him feels like it is crashing and burning. He was so happy to have Olivia as his, now he is unsure of her and what to do about everything that has happened. Blake adores her and constantly asks for her, is it right to take her away from his daughter even if he believes it's for the best? Kyle snaps out of his head at the smell of his grilled cheese burning. He quickly dumps it onto a plate then turns off the stove.
"Fuck," he says under his breath. Everything else was catching fire, Kyle figured what's one more thing that would burn.
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