I’ve always hated small towns. I stare out the window in silence as Dad drives. We were almost there, since I had actually seen the small town, Rogue Ville, on the sign. We pass the sign that says, Rogueville 6km.
I take a deep breath, frowning now. He turns off the exit of the bare highway. I don’t make a sound, not even moving when I see the beginning of the town. A huge McDonald’s restaurant, a Wendy’s on the right.
A sign declares ‘Rogue Ville
I shake my head and frown as Dad slowly strolls passed it. The street maximum speed was 50km/hr. “Arielle… I know you didn’t really want to move, but—”
“Dad… Let’s not talk about this right now,” I say quietly. I don’t want to hurt his feelings, but that’s something I just don’t want to rehash again.
He nods slowly and we continue driving in silence. Until he turns off into a driveway. I don’t look at the house in front of us. I stare at the lush green lawn before closing my eyes. “Isn’t it beautiful?”
I pause, and I can tell he has noticed my eyes are closed. “Your mother would’ve loved it.”
“My mother isn’t here,” I say quietly.
He is quiet and I sigh, “No, don’t apologize. You’re right, I just wish she was… that’s all.”
“I don’t mean to sound like a bitch—”
“None of that inappropriate language,” he frowns. “You know your mother and I don’t put up with all that.”
I nod, “Yes… I’m sorry. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, or… a pain in the neck, but… You have to move on,” I say quietly, looking down at my hands. “You… you have changed so much,” I say quietly. “Work never really mattered to you like it does now. You know yourself that if she was still here… She would refuse you be working yourself like this. I mean Dad, seriously… You’re the boss. Wasn’t the point of being the boss, that you call all the shots?”
He sighs, running his fingers through his full mane of hair. He sighs again, “Yeah… I don’t think I’m ready for this talk either.”
“You started it,” I say quietly.
He chuckles, “I love you… You know that right?”
“I know that… But you’ve been pulling away… a lot. We used to play a tennis match at least once a day, but now… it’s like once a month.”
He grimaces, “I was just thinking about that yesterday. It will be different here,” he says quietly. “I left my building for a reason.” I look up at him, waiting for him to explain further. He chuckles, “Later remember? We have to go inside, but first look at the house.”
I nod and slowly turn my face to look at the house in front of us. I take a deep breath slowly as I take it all in.
“She would’ve loved it,” I say quietly, knowing it was the truth. An enormous brick home, with plenty of windows to let so much light in. Mom was that kind of woman who fussed over the perfect lighting in a room, instead of the kind of furniture, though she did that too.
I smile sadly, “It looks beautiful. Thanks Dad,” I say quietly.
“Don’t thank me yet,” he says slowly. I turn to an uneasy smile pasted on his face. I’m about to ask what’s wrong, when he opens his door. “Later, remember,” he chuckles.
I slide out of the car and slowly walk to the front door with him. The house is beautiful. One of those traditional homes you’d see that’s worth billions of dollars. I glance all around us to see it’s surrounded by forest.
“We can take a tour of the house… After we talk,” he says quietly.
I nod as he leads me to the kitchen. Everything is already here. The movers had done a good job putting everything in order. The kitchen, as usual, will be my second favorite place in the house, just like the last. Spacious and very clean, with stainless steel appliances, that shines as the sunlight from overhead shines down on the granite counters.
We take our seats on the high bar stools in front of the kitchen bar that faces the refrigerator on the other side of the kitchen. He takes a deep breath, running his fingers through his hair and slowly meets my eye. “This house… Has been in my family for many years,” he starts off saying slowly. I press my lips together, though surprised, I hide it.
“My father… Did not… agree to my decision of marrying your mother at a young age… And disowned me,” he says quietly.
I take a deep breath. “Was she pregnant with me at the time?”
“No,” he smiles. “No, we were in high school at the time and… He had my whole life already planned for me.” He shakes his head, “But I wasn’t man enough to tell my father. So… I dated your mother in secret. She put up with it, for three years, until our senior year came… We had been accepted at the same university… Yale. Prom… was our biggest problem. We couldn’t go together, but… We didn’t want to go with anyone else. Just a week before prom, she told me to go… My mom would be so disappointed in me for not going. But I refused… Until she came up with a plan… For me to go with her cousin, as my date… And she’d go with my best friend as hers.”
“We pulled it off, and prom was behind us, but somehow… Someone caught us… The last dance of the night, we met outside the hall they were having, and danced quietly together. That was the moment, I knew I couldn’t listen to my father… That I wanted her forever… I didn’t want my best friend or anyone else having her. She was mine. And I was ready to make it official.”
He shakes his head, chuckling sadly, “By the time I got home though… My father already knew. He was waiting up in the family room.
“I didn’t even see it coming. I was on top of the world. He told me that he refused to let me date her. He said that she wasn’t part of our circles… Of friends we had. I told him that… I told him that I can’t obey his orders. That no matter what he told me, my heart was hers. He was furious and said that I was a nigger lover,” he says quietly, shaking his head. He smiles sadly, “That was the first time I snapped on my father… I wasn’t going to allow anyone, not even my friends make fun of your mother. I wasn’t going to allow my father to either. She’s the love of my life, and I didn’t let him talk bad about her. I attacked him, out of blind fury. I didn’t punch him or kick him… I didn’t have to, I just plowed into him, making him fall back into the couch… and then I went upstairs. He followed me and by this time my mother was up.
“She didn’t say a word, just stood by my door, listening as my father tried to talk some sense into me,” he says shaking his head. “I told him that I was going to marry Rayna… And my mother started crying. Saying I was making a mistake. My father told me, if I was going to be stupid, that I could take my nonsense somewhere else.
“So I stood there, and looked him in the eye and told him I was leaving and I didn’t need his money to make it. I told him that I’d provide for my family, and I was not turning my back on my one true love.” He sighs, looking up at the ceiling, “I left that night without saying goodbye… Surprisingly, he didn’t take the money out of my bank account, but I never touched the money once. It was over fifty million dollars… But I never touched it, not once. I told him that I’d make it without him, and I did.”
“So why did you decide to come back,” I ask quietly.
“Your mother told me to,” he says quietly. He sighs, “She said just a month before she died… I want to go back. She said, she felt like we were still running, and that if only we had proved ourselves, all would be forgiven…”
“Was she right,” I ask quietly.
He smiles, “Only because we had you.”
“I don’t understand,” I say slowly.
“You are very beautiful,” he says quietly. “You look just like her… But like me also.”
“Don’t tell me your parents thought that your child would turn out ugly,” I say with a slight frown.
He chuckles sadly, but then sighs, “My parents thought that you would turn out darker… But was satisfied when you didn’t.”
I am silent for a moment, swallowing my anger. “So why wasn’t I supposed to thank you,” I ask quietly.
He is quiet, “Tomorrow… The school you are enrolled in… You are gonna kill me,” he chuckles.
“Continue,” I say.
He laughs, “Let’s just say this is the prestigious life you’ve always hated, though you were born to it.”
“Don’t tell me private school,” I whisper, shuddering just at hearing those words out loud.
“No, not a private school, this time,” he smirks. I frown slightly and he chuckles. “It’s the high school, your mother and I went to. Rogue Ville High,” he smirks. “It used to be an all girl’s school back in the 1800s.”
“What’s the school’s mascot,” I ask.
“The Ravens,” he smiles devilishly at me. We laugh together.
“So that’s why you named me that,” I say quietly with a smirk.
“You wanna know the best part,” he asks with a wide grin.
“What,” I ask.
“School starts tomorrow, and you have a driver,” he says, running off laughing. I’m too stunned to chase him around the house.