They Don't Really Care About Us
I could hear my Dad pottering around outside the tents, clanging the saucepan and throwing wood onto the fire to get it burning. The sun was just beginning to come up, casting light under the gap of our tent door and illuminating the morning dew that had settled on the outside. There was a cold, frosty nip in the air, making me huddle back into the warmth of Sam laying next to me and our layering our blankets cocooning us together.
Sam’s warm breath tickles my neck, making me squirm within his strong hold and I hear a deep chuckle come from behind me.
“You keep moving like that against my morning wood and you’ll have to explain to your Dad what the stain on the air mattress is” He whispers, I turn to face him, he looks so cute with his hair untamed and the slight bit of stubble on his face.
“You have morning wood even though my Dad is less than 10 feet from our door?” I giggle, nestling myself into the nook under his arm.
“It’s only half mast, sleeping next to you makes me wake up happy” He wiggles his eyebrows on the word ‘happy’ and smiles that sweet, cheeky smile down at me. I lean up and brush my lips softly against his, he wraps his arm around my waist to hold me against him as our kiss intensifies, his tongue caressing my own in sweet seduction. If we were anywhere else then this would have been our starting point for love making but inside the tent, with my family just mere metres away, this fleeting moment of lust is all we will get, pressed up against me I can feel his hardness through his sweatpants and it takes everything in me to pull away from our kiss, looking deep into his eyes I’m met with understanding.
“You should probably go help your Dad because I’m not going to be able to get this situation under control with you next to me” He suggests, kissing my forehead. I grab my dressing gown from the top of our blanket pile, wrapping it snuggly around myself and take myself out of the warmth of our bed, the cold, frosty air hitting me instantly as I scurry around, searching for my fuzzy slippers to keep my feet from icing up.
Outside the fire is once again roaring with a makeshift stove placed on top to boil water in a saucepan.
“Morning pumpkin, I’m getting water boiling for coffee and I’ll fire up the BBQ and make bacon and eggs for breakfast” Dad greets me, full of life like he’s been awake for hours, which he probably has. “Sam not up yet?”
Oh he’s up alright.
“He’s awake but it’s just way too cold for him to venture out of bed yet.”
“I would have thought, being an Englishman, he’d be used to the cooler weather” Dad muses as he scoops teaspoons of ground coffee into two tin mugs, adding a dash of milk to each.
“I’m climatized to the heat now” Sam says to us both as he steps out from our tent, zipping the door up behind him, he’s thrown on a big, woollen sweater and ugg boots as well as a beanie and gloves. He’s a vast comparison to my Father who is standing by the fire in nothing more than shorts, t-shirt and sneakers, Dad never feels the cold.
“Bridget not awake?” I ask, noticing the absence of my younger sister.
“I don’t think she slept much last night, she kept shoving me awake to tell me that I was snoring or wanting me to walk her to the bathroom so I’m going to let her sleep in a bit longer otherwise she’ll be a grumpy monkey when she shows up at Amber’s Grandparents house” He chuckles to himself knowing all too well about Bridget’s mood swings when she doesn’t get enough sleep.
He pours the boiling water into the tin mugs and stirs it, handing a mug each to Sam and I before preparing more water in the saucepan. I grab a satchel of sugar and stir it in but it does nothing to sweeten the taste of brewed mud in my cup, I guess I’ve become spoiled with coffee goodness from staying at Sam’s house so often.
“So what’s the plan for after we drop Bridget off?” I ask Dad, ever the seasoned traveller, he’s surely going to know some fun spots to visit around here.
“I wanted to go check out where they have the country music awards each year and see the big, golden guitar statue and theres a marsupial park that we can go to or we could go to the koala park in Gunnedah which is about an hour from here and theres the bush walk through the national park here but I’m going to sit that one out because of this cough I have, feels like it’s just sitting on my chest”
“Promise me you will book in to see a doctor when we get home” I beg him but he just shakes his head.
“I haven’t got time sweetie” This is always Dad’s excuse whenever he is sick, he just pushes through it and keeps working.
“My Dad could come see you Ed, he’d be happy to, now that he’s taken a fancy to your sister, I’m sure he feels he owes you for introducing them” Sam suggests, knowing how important this is to me that Dad find out the truth.
“Alright, I’ll let Nick check me over if it will ease your stress pumpkin” Dad caves in and I mouth a thank you to Sam, “Speaking of Celeste, she’s quite taken by your Father too, they’ve been out twice already”
“I think it’s great, my Dad is a good man, he’ll treat her like a Queen if she lets him” Sam muses, smiling.
“Like father like son” Dad comments, patting Sam on the back.
When Bridget eventually woke up and we had eaten breakfast and gotten ready for the day we made our way over to Amber’s Grandparent’s place, which was just down the road from the camping site.
Bridget had taken her time that morning fussing over her hair and make-up, wanting to get the right look for when she saw Amber again. I got it, she was nervous, she hadn’t seen her girlfriend in over a week and she wanted everything to be perfect.
Parking the car in the driveway, I helped Bridget with her suitcase and we approached the door together while Dad and Sam waited back in the car. Bridget rang the door bell and we could hear it chime throughout the spacious brick home but no-one came to the door.
“She knew you were coming right?” I ask, hoping Bridget hasn’t just shown up uninvited, but, then again, Amber did give her the address on Thursday night.
“Yeah, she said she cleared it with her Parents and Grandparents, she’s expecting me” Bridget says, looking a little nervous that she may have the wrong house, she pulls her phone from her bag and checks the message Amber sent on Thursday, confirming the address to be the house we are standing at. There’s a car in the driveway too and I look through the glass panelling on the door and see movement, which is odd. Maybe they didn’t hear the door bell? I ring it again and this time see Amber’s Mother approaches the door and opens it.
“Good morning Bridget, unfortunately there has been a change in plans and you won’t be staying with us tonight. I apologise that you’ve driven all the way out here but I hope you understand” Dawn, Amber’s mum explains, then goes to close the door without further explanation but I won’t have it.
“Can I ask why? Bridget was looking forward to spending time with Amber today, surely they could see each other for a bit, even if Bridget can’t stay here tonight, maybe Amber can come out with us today?” I plead with Dawn but her facial features, set in stone, tell me she’s not budging on this.
“I’m afraid that that won’t be happening, certain information was brought to my attention by your Mother last night and my Husband and I have decided we no longer want our daughter being influenced in any way by Bridget” Dawn coldly spits out with the same look my own Mother held when she discovered Bridget and Amber kissing.
“They go to the same school, you may be able to keep them apart while they’re outside of school hours but there’s no way you can prevent them from seeing each other during school” I fire back at this idiotic, small minded, bigot of a woman while Bridget clings to me and I can feel her warm tears on my shoulder.
“We will be pulling Amber from the school and making arrangements for her to attend schooling up here in Tamworth where she will be far away from thoughts of sinning and going against how My Husband and I have raised her. Now I’ll ask you both to leave this property before I call the police and have you arrested for trespassing” she says before slamming the door in our faces.
Bridget breaks down in my arms and I try so hard to hold myself together for her, she needs me to be strong right now so she can lean on me. I hear car doors open and close behind us and then footsteps on the path, I turn to see Dad, his face blazing with anger at what he just witnessed.
“Veronica, take your sister to the car and drive it down to the end of the street, Sam and I will meet you there in a moment” I do as he says, walking Bridget to the car and placing her into the passenger seat, clipping her belt in place before I get into the drivers side. I back the car out of the driveway carefully as Dad bangs loudly on the front door. Bridgets small body slumped in the car beside me, her head in her hands as she sheds tears.
“I hate her” Bridget screams as I bring the car to a halt at the end of the street and kill the engine but keep the radio on for background noise. I reach over and wrap my arms around my sister who is now a weeping mess.
“Dawn? Yeah I’m not exactly fond of her much either now” I sympathise with Bridget and she looks at me, her cheeks stained from tears, her eyes puffy and red, she shakes her head.
“I mean Mum, I hate her, I hate that she would do this to me, now I’ve lost Amber because of her. She’s just an evil bitch” Bridget rages, her voice becoming shrill as she becomes more fuelled by anger and I don’t blame her one bit. “Why can’t my relationship be like yours? No one is stopping you and Sam from being together, no-one tells you that you’re a bad influence or disgusting just because of who you are and who you love, it’s not fair”
“You’re right Bridget, it’s not fair and I promise you that it won’t always be this way, Amber won’t always be ruled by her parents” I try my best to comfort her but what exactly do you tell a teenage girl who just lost the love of her life because her Mother is callous and vindictive?
The passenger side door clicks open and Dad is standing there, his face telling a story of a man who is enraged, he scoops Bridget up into his arms and holds her while she sobs.
“No one ever gets to speak about my baby girl like that and get away with it. You did nothing wrong Bridgy, you just fell in love” Dad assures her, stroking her hair softly. I get out and move to the back seat next to Sam, who’s face matches Dad’s.
“What did he do?” I whisper to Sam.
“Your Dad went right off at the stupid woman but she wouldn’t back down. She has no idea who her daughter is and she doesn’t care to find out either, they just want to mould Amber into what they want” Sam whispers back, shaking his head.
“So basically, fuck their daughter’s happiness, they just have an image to uphold.” I’m seething, these people are just like Susan.