Love On Top (Revised)

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8. Samuel

“SAMUEL ZHĀNG!”

The man knew what was coming as soon as his mother barged straight into his home at nine in the morning with his nonchalant father in tow. He knew that he was about to get the scolding of a lifetime from his mother. He’s had a scolding of a lifetime before, but this time he was sure this would be the one to top the others, especially the one from when he was at summer camp when he was twelve.

Samuel looked up from his phone to see his very upset mother standing in the doorway of his kitchen with his father.

“Oh good morning,” He greeted. For a week now, he’s been avoiding his mother as best as he could so he would not get yelled at. It was a little hard considering how she would walk up to the office, wait outside his home, and blow up his phone with constant calls and voicemails with her yelling at him.

“Don’t you ‘good morning’ me, Samuel. Why did Tiffany’s mother call me last Saturday telling me about how horribly you treated her daughter last night?” She snapped. He figured that Tiffany would go run and tell her parents about the incident, but he did not think that she would actually omit some facts from her explanation. It was real annoying to have to deal with the aftermath of someone just basically lying about their part in a conflict.

“Got anymore cereal, son?” His father side stepped his wife.

“Yeah. It’s up in the cabinet,” Samuel answered.

“Thanks,” His dad responded.

“Oi! Don’t ignore me,” His mother hissed.

“Mom, I did not treat Tiffany horribly. In fact, I was a perfect gentleman despite the fact that she was a bad eater, crying over her ex-boyfriend at dinner, yelling at the servers at the restaurant, and reconciling with her ex while we were at the opera house,” Samuel replied.

“Why did you tell her ‘fuck you’?” His mother inquired.

“Because her ex-boyfriend who was on a date as well was treating his date terribly and she joined in on it too, so I punched the guy and said fuck you to her,” He explained. His mother tried to come up with something to say for a moment, but she thought of nothing at all since he was in the right. Sighing loudly, his mother sat down at the table.

“Since you were in the right for defending the poor girl, you’re off the hook. I’ll have to talk to Tiffany’s mother again,” She sighed, “And I really don’t want to. That woman is sufferable.”

“It runs in the family,” Samuel’s father added sitting at the table.

“Anyways, who’s the damsel in distress that you helped?” His mother asked.

“Her name is Daphne-”

“Daphne?” His mother had an astonished expression on her face. Samuel thought this was a little weird, but he nodded in confirmation.

“Wait. How do you know about Daphne?” Samuel asked.

“Who doesn’t know about that girl,” His mother answered. He furrowed his eyebrows I’m confusion and looked over at his father to clarify what was going on. His father just shrugged.

“Of course you two don’t know her since you don’t pay attention like I do,” His mother rolled her eyes.

“What is there to pay attention to about her?” Samuel questioned. He was really confused on what there was to pay attention to about her. Hopefully, it was just his mother just gossiping like some old lady.

“The fact that it’s known that she gets around,” His mother replied. Samuel knee instantly what his mom was saying and he looked at her incredulously. He hated when the woman birthed would just talk down on others. It irked him so much because she just judged others without getting to know them. Samuel believed that whether or not a woman was covered up did not determine her worth as a person. Her personality and attitude towards life did.

He knew that many women like his mother thought and spoke this way about others who were taught to cover up, act like a lady, regard the man as the head of the household, and to judge those who did not adhere to those guidelines, but he would prefer it best if his mother did not think that way at all.

“Mom, can you not say things like that?” Samuel sighed.

“What? It’s true. Women like her do get around and that is very unacceptable no matter what age,” She replied.

“Mom, she’s an adult living her life. Her choices do not effect anyone or anything,” He said.

“Well they do effect her chances of ever getting married, Samuel. How can you sleep around and just expect to easily get married like those who keep their legs closed?” She asked.

“Easy. You find the right man that will love and cherish you despite how many partners you’ve had. Isn’t that right, Dad?” Samuel explained.

“He’s right, Lillian. She’s a young woman who can make her own choices. I’m sure that a man will come along that will love her,” He answered. Samuel knew his father would have his back because they both had the same mindset about others. They didn’t judge people for their choices or their lifestyle unless they were making choices to hurt others or living their life negatively.

“How can you two not see something wrong with the way she lives?” She huffed.

“Because it’s not our life to live,” His father replied. Truer words had never been spoken in Samuel’s opinion. Daphne’s actions and choices did not make her less than anyone who chose not to sleep around. In fact, they made her human. She was going to do and say things that most may not agree with, but it was her life all the same. Samuel wasn’t going to judge because he’s done the same as her, but it was different considering how he was a man and she was a woman.

“Enough of this conversation. I can see that it’s going nowhere,” His mother huffed. Samuel could tell that she had given up on the idea on convincing him that Daphne was not an acceptable person to hang around, and she was never going to convince him of that to be honest because he was an adult that made his own choices.

Speaking of Daphne, he checked the time on his phone and saw that he was late for their meeting. He quickly shoved one last spoonful of cereal into his mouth and then placed the bowl into the sink.

“Samuel, where are you going?” His mother called out to him.

“The park!” He answered.

“For what?” She asked.

“Meeting a friend there,” He responded.

“Oh. Have fun, son,” His father said. Samuel rushed upstairs with Dave on his heels. He turned on the shower and dialed Daphne’s number at the same time.

“Hey, Sam. I was wondering where you were,” She said.

“I’m sorry, Daphne. I’ll be a little bit late for our meeting. Do you mind waiting a little longer?” He asked.

“Sure. No problem,” She answered, “Just be careful on your way over here.”

“Thanks, Daph,” He said.

“No problem. I’ll see you when you get here,” She replied.

After getting ready and prepared for his meeting with Daphne, Samuel rushed downstairs with Dave in tow. He noticed that his parents had already left his home and he also noticed how his sink was clear of dishes, which meant that his mother had put them in the dishwasher. Even when he’s grown up and out of the house, she still does things like this.

“C’mon, Dave,” Samuel called out to his companion. Dave excitedly followed him because he had a feeling that they were going somewhere exciting. Hopefully, it wasn’t the vet disguised as a fun time.

When they arrived at the park, Sam parked closer to where they would were supposed to meet before him and Dave got out the car. The man decided to text his new found friend to inform her that he had arrived.

Sam: We’re here

Daphne: Okay. We’ll meet you guys halfway

Sam: That sounds good

A smile had formed on Samuel’s face that was very much so genuine. Just talking to Daphne brought a smile to his face for some reason, even though they had only known each other for just a couple of days.

“C’mon, Dave,” Samuel murmured to his furry companion. The German Shepard wagged his tail excitedly as soon as he heard that. The dog was very excited to be out and about with his owner. He was just bursting with excitement at the fact that he could at least walk through the park with his owner and friend. The two boys began walking down the asphalt path in the park while expertly dodging an stepping around the goose crap that was laid out for them to step in.

The two walked for a moment before they were met with the sight of a beautiful and curvy woman with a medium sized, brown and white Husky with one almost transparent eye and a brown eye. Daphne smiled broadly when she spotted the two and they each walked towards each other.

“Hey, Sam. I hope this place was too far from your house,” Daphne greeted. Dave and the medium sized dog began to sniff each other immediately with a combined, unmatched eagerness. It was nice for the two owners to see the two dogs interacting with each other rather than just getting very defensive.

“Oh no. It’s not too far,” He assured her, “It’s kind of a halfway point to my place.”

“Well that’s good,” Daphne beamed.

“So what was your handsome boy’s name again?” Sam asked crouching down to the ground. Cristian walked towards him and instantly began to give Sam a small yet eager dose of affection. Sam chuckled and petted the cute little creature.

“His name is Cristian,” She answered, “He’s kind of named after the soccer player.”

“You like soccer?” Samuel questioned.

“Yeah. I used to play in middle school, but I had to stop for personal reasons,” She explained.

“You never cease to amaze me,” He chuckled.

“Thanks,” She giggled. Dave walked over and sniffed at Daphne before getting on his hind legs and licking her cheek. She giggled and pet him too.

“Aren’t you a handsome boy, Dave,” Daphne smiled. Dave got down and allowed her to pet him as well. The two dogs had taken to each other’s respective owners as well as each other.

“You ready to walk around?” Daphne asked.

“Yeah,” Samuel answered. They took the leashes of their pets into their hands and began walking through the park.

“Didn’t you tell me that you and your best friend took a random trip to Bali?” Samuel asked as they walked around the park. Earlier they had been texting each other about Daphne’s trip, but they both decided it was best for the woman to tell it in person.

“Yeah. She wanted to go swimming, but she didn’t want to go to a YMCA or use her cousin’s pool,” Daphne replied. .

“And where did this guy stay?” Samuel questioned.

“He stayed with my sister Faith. She loves Cristian and he loves her, especially my niece, so I decided to leave him with her,” She answered.

“I’m sure he had fun over there,” Samuel remarked. Sometimes Sam, whenever he left the country on business or for personal reasons, would always leave him with his parents because they both were very fond of Dave.

“He did, but it was probably a little too much fun since he got attached,” She giggled.

“Other than that, how was Bali overall?” He asked. Bali was somewhere that Sam had yet to check off his list of places to visit, but hopefully someday he will be able to travel there. He was glad to at least hear Daphne excitedly talk about the trip because hearing her talk made it all the more exciting and boosted his desire for going there.

“It was fun. We went sight seeing, had fun in this really amazing pool, interacted with this cute elephant, and tried some amazing food too,” She smiled.

“Oh wow. That does sound like fun,” Samuel replied.

“It is. You should try traveling on a whim. It’s pretty cool to do,” She smiled.

“I’ve done it before in college, but somehow my friend ended up getting us locked up in India,” He rolled his eyes.

“Wait wait. You got locked up on India? How?” She asked laughing.

“Let’s just say that between him drinking on the beach with another tourist like ourselves and getting caught having sex with her is what landed us in jail,” He sighed, “And let’s not get into how he was calling the officer different types of stupid.”

Daphne laughed at his explanation. He could tell that she possibly expected him to follow the rules and be some sort of model citizen but with friends like Mason around, he could not be just that.

“Did your parents get you out?” She asked.

“Yes, but my dad took a full twenty minutes gloating about how freedom was a breath of fresh air,” He answered.

“Your Dad seems like quite a character,” She chortled.

“Oh he is, especially when he feels like teasing you,” Samuel said.

“My dad, whenever my siblings and I got into some serious trouble at school, had a hat where we would pick a punishment that ranged from push ups to sit ups. It would be at least fifty to hundred reps of each, which would be torture for all of us,” She explained.

“Did you guys ever learn from your mistakes?” He asked laughing.

“Of course. We learned to never get in trouble unless we wanted aching and sore muscles,” She answered, “My brother, Ares, got the worst of it, especially when half of the things he did involved fighting.”

“Ares?” Sam cocked an eyebrow.

“I know how coincidental it is to have a brother named Ares that would fight a lot in school. Blame my dad. He had this idea that with a name like Ares that my brother would at least be peaceful or something,” She giggled.

“And he was far from it?” Sam laughed.

“Of course. He was loud, he was quick to get angry, and he was in MMA for most of our childhood,” She replied.

“Oh wow. I guess the guys who broke your heart got the beating of a lifetime,” He joked.

“Sometimes, but my dad had to break it up. He was such a big guy and it was hard to oppose him,” She said. He chuckled.

“Is your brother still the same?” He asked.

“More or less. He calmed down after he had children, but he’s still a delinquent at heart,” She smiled.

“That’s how my cousin is too. We’re close in age, but we consider ourselves to be siblings. She was kind of a delinquent back in our middle and high school days and she would always get into fights with girls and guys,” He explained.

“Wow. A girl who can fight both genders. Now that’s what I call amazing,” Daphne smiled.

“It was. During those days I was a scrawny and timid person who did not know how to fight so a lot of the time people picked on me. My cousin would stick up for me a lot like my personal bodyguard,” He said.

“Isn’t that sweet,” Daphne beamed.

“It was, but after a while she decided to teach me how to fight so I could stand up for myself,” He smiled at the memory of his cousin Lillian teaching him how to stand up for himself.

“Not to mention that my two childhood friend’s, especially my friend Mason, got us into some trouble a lot,” He sighed shaking his head.

“Your friend Mason sounds like a real character from what you told me,” Daphne smiled.

“He is. Sometimes half of the things I got beat up for were his fault,” He rolled his eyes.

“What was he doing flirting with people’s girlfriends?” Daphne joked.

“Yes and then he’d do it again, which would cause the ass whooping cycle to repeat,” Samuel shook his head. Daphne laughed at his expression. It was a mix between irritation and exhaustion from just explaining the events and reminiscing on them.

“Well your friend sounds like a sort of womanizer,” Daphne said. In Sam’s opinion, Daphne would not believe the amount of times he has been in some ridiculous situations that involved Mason and his smooth talking mouth.

“Very much so, but he’s a good guy when he closes his mouth,” Samuel chuckled.

“Back to your cousin, did she mellow out a lot?” Daphne asked.

“Eh. A little bit since she’s married with children, but she’s not afraid to beat someone up in a hot second,” Samuel answered.

“Your cousin seems like a nice person,” Daphne said.

“She is. If she’s ever in town, I can introduce you to her,” Samuel replied.

“Now that would be something. Meeting a former delinquent,” She giggled.

“Anyways. What is your favorite anime and manga?” He questioned.

“Ooh that’s a little hard,” Daphne responded.

“It’s hard to list the favorites?” Samuel asked.

“It really is, especially since there’s so many that I love,” She giggled.

“Let me start off and say that Attack On Titan is a good anime to watch and Black Clover is a great manga too,” He said.

“Attack On Titan is really good, but somehow each time something gets ripped off I have to clutch that body part,” She said.

“Really?” He asked.

“Yeah. It’s just seeing it being animated and imagining the pain is really frightening, but the thrill of watching it is fun,” She explained.

“I bet you’re the type to hide when you watch something when you feel second hand shame,” He joked.

“Honestly, yeah I am,” She giggled. Samuel groaned and she giggled.

“Second hand shame is a real thing, Samuel,” She told him.

“Yeah...” He replied, “.....for weirdos.”

“Sam, you’re awful,” She smiled.

“Well that is my middle name,” He puffed out his chest.

“In another universe,” Daphne muttered.

“I heard that,” He replied. Daphne giggled.

“What? It’s true. You look like your middle name could be William or something,” She answered.

“And when did you even come to that conclusion?” He inquired cocking an eyebrow. He was a little amused with her assessment and couldn’t blame her for thinking that way.

“I don’t know. You just have a face that screams William,” She murmured.

“I’ll have you know that I do not have a middle name, Daphne Mary Richards,” He countered.

“Now where on earth did you come to the conclusion that my middle name is Mary?” Daphne asked laughing.

“You just look like someone who has a middle name like Mary, Betty, or some old woman name,” He teased.

“Touche,” She giggled, “However, you’re close to my real middle name.”

“Really? What is your middle name?” He inquired.

“Marilyn,” She answered.

“As in Marilyn Monroe?” He asked.

“Mhm,” She nodded, “My mom has a thing for old school names like Joan Crawford, Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis, Etta James, et cetera,” She informed.

“So old Hollywood names?” He questioned.

“You got it. I was gifted with the name of the most iconic Hollywood actress of all time,” She answered.

“You have a love for your middle name?′ He smiled.

“I do and I wouldn’t change it for the world,” She proudly stated.

“My parents never really found the need to give me a middle name and I’ve never found the fascination with them either,” He responded.

“That’s understandable. There are people I know who do not have a middle name at all and it’s partly due to their culture,” Daphne said. Sam smiled at how understanding she was about it because at least she wasn’t ignorant about the entire thing like his past girlfriends. The amount ignorance they held within their bodies was just plain ridiculous.

“You know one tradition that I find to be beautiful involving middle names is the fact that some people will name their children after a deceased family member like some sort of way to keep their memory going,” Daphne said.

“Has that ever happened within your family?” He inquired.

“Yeah, but on my dad’s side. My brother has our great-great-great grandfather’s name as his middle name and so does my dad,” She responded.

“What about you nephew?” Samuel asked.

“He has my father’s name and ironically enough they look just alike,” She chuckled. Samuel put two and two together and finally figured out why she always spoke in past tense during their conversations about her dad.

“Somehow he acts just like him too and it’s almost like looking at a five year old version of my dad,” Daphne giggled.

“Really?” Samuel chuckled.

“Oh yeah. His mannerisms and other things remind me of him and it’s hilarious sometimes,” She beamed.

“Maybe he learned them from him somehow,” Samuel said.

“If you’re hinting at my nephew speaking to the ghost of my dad, then please stop,” Daphne shook her head. Samuel laughed at her reaction. Daphne seemed a little spooked by that suggestion but Sam has read stories about children around that age will communicate with deceased relatives and tell their the very next day.

“It’s a likely possibility,” Samuel said.

“It is, but if he’s a ghost then he could at least talk to me too,” Daphne joked.

“Well children and dogs are the ones who can sense spirits,” He replied.

“That’s true,” Daphne nodded, “Maybe next time I’ll ask my nephew what Dad told him recently.”

“You do that,” Samuel laughed.

“If I do it, then you’re going to be at fault when some little vengeful kid named Jeffrey tries to choke me,” She chuckled.

“Why does the ghost child have to be named Jeffrey?” Samuel chortled.

“Because all kids named Jeffrey are dicks,” She answered.

“And here I was thinking kids named Tommy would be the biggest dicks in the world,” Samuel said. They both laughed at their joke together.

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