I slammed the car door shut, put the key in the ignition, and backed out of the driveway I almost went into the side of Sam’s car by 5 inches. I cursed out loud and carried on driving off my street.
I drove through town and some shops were opening up already. I looked at my clock on the radio and it sad 6:45 I cursed again “I was supposed to be out of town by 6:30 damn it.”
I drove out of town and I saw Jade sat in her car outside the bakery. She saw me and got out of the car I pulled up at the side of the road.
“Hey Kaine where are you off to?”
“Just off to Marion. Why you up so early?”
“School starts soon thought I get some breakfast” I forgot about school but I’m sure they would understand why I wasn’t there.
“Oh right well I have some business to take care of down there so I should be off.”
“Business? What kind of business?”
“I was going to ask my friend to come to Jayla’s funeral. Moral support you know?”
“Right… I will believe that. Well I best let you get back to your business. See you Kaine”
“Yeah take care alright?”
“Yeah sure.” She walked away and I drove back on the road and carried on driving out of Old Fort. The route was easy enough to remember getting there but it’s when I get to the off roads I get lost that’s why I brought my map with me. I stopped the car to get it out of my bag and put it on top of the dashboard on the right page. I got to the turn off and found it hard to look and drive in case I run over a dear or crash into a tree, the road was rocky and really hard to concentrate if only there was a quicker way I thought and made sure I was going the right way. I was driving on the jumpy road for at least an hour and I got to the road where I needed to be and it was the high way straight down and I was fine again.
I decided to stop at the gas station and fill up. I brought 10 bucks worth of gas which should be enough to get me there and half way back. I also brought a bottle of Dr Pepper and some mints.
I started the car up and carried on driving. Half an hour later I made it into Marion, it must have been after 10 I parked in the main car park and walked to the local pub my first marked local to check.
It was called The Dark Horse. I walked in and went up to the bar. The bartender was a young guy must have been in his early 20’s he had brown spiked up hair he was wearing a plaid shirt and he wore glasses with thick rims.
“Can I help you?” he asked looking at me as if I was lost.
“Yes actually does anyone called Richard come in here?”
“My name is Richard” he smiled happy that someone is looking for him
“McKenzie?” I asked confused at the fact he looked too young to be Jayla’s dad.
“Oh no, I’m not, but I barred him last week he has a bit too many on a week night.”
“Do you know where he lives?” I asked hoping he would know if he is a regular
“Yeah he lives on 3 Lincoln Avenue.”
“Oh thank you Richard.”
“No problem I maybe young but I sure know the fellow locals and I know you boy are no local. Is he a relative of yours?”
“Nope but he is my dead girlfriends dad”
“He had a daughter?”
“Well I wouldn’t get your hopes up about meeting him he can be a stubborn guy.”
“Thanks for the tip, I will be sure to remember it.”
“Yea you do that and tell him he owes me some money if he wants to drink in here tonight.”
“I will tell him you have my word. Oh by the way did you know Gregg Williams?”
“Oh yes I remember him my old man used to run this pub and I go to sit in the bar watching the locals chat, drink and smoke. Gregg was a regular here, he and McKenzie were sworn enemies they would always fight and get barred I used to open the door for them to leave and now I am the pub owner. Its great isn’t it?”
“They hated each other?”
“Yep. But the legend is McKenzie was there when Williams got stabbed it was right outside this pub.” He sounded so joyful that it was just metres away from him.
“Richard was there?”
“So the tabloids say but you can never believe what you read in a newspaper.”
“I should go now thanks for all your help Richard”
“Yeah, yeah no problem come back soon I will give you a pint on the house.”
“Yeah I might do.” I waved and walked out. I ran to my car and unlocked the door and got in. I scanned the map for Lincoln Avenue; it was about 5 minutes away from where I am now.
I drove out of the car park and through the town and turned left at the traffic lights and saw the street name Lincoln Avenue. I drove down the street till I found number 3. I parked outside the house and got out, the street was really ruff the grass was brown and the houses looked like they were going to rot away. Most of the windows were broken or breaking. I started to get very nervous. I saw a woman sitting on her patio knitting a jumper. She looked at me and smiled. She had an old face but physically she didn’t look old. I walked up the steps of number 3 and knocked on the door. No answer.
“You won’t find him here dear he went to work at 6 this morning he is an engineer at Richard & Co’s garage” the old lady said to me she must have watched me walking up the steps.
“How far away is it?” I asked
“Not that far just head back into town and stop when you see a little blue building next to the newsagents the blue building is the garage you can’t miss it.”
“Thank you” I said and I ran down the steps and got in to my car.
I drove back into town, I almost got lost and then I saw the little blue building. I parked my car right outside and got out. It stunk of gas and oil the glass windows were shattered and boarded up the one you could see had black smoke fogging up the windows.
I walked in covering my mouth and nose. I looked around it was full of car parts and tools they were hanging around the room and there was 2 cars to the right hand side 3 guys were standing trying to fix one of them a 1964 ford.
There was another man in a small translucent room, he was shouting down the phone to someone I couldn’t make out what the bother was.
One of the men around the car turned round and saw me standing there I stepped back a little. He had a name tag on and it said Carl, he nudged the guy standing nearest him, he looked around and his name said Liam. After that the 3rdguy turned around his name said Ben. They weren’t exactly scary names but they didn’t look very happy to see me standing there.
“What you doing in here?” Carl grunted
“I was looking for Richard McKenzie” I said in a quiet voice.
“He is in the office, why do you want him?”
“It's about his daughter” I said looking at the office then back at the 3 guys. Ben had moved to the other side of Carl with his arms folded.
Carl did a laugh that sounded more like a smokers cough.
“He doesn’t have a daughter” Liam said crossing his arms
“Well he would say that, he hasn’t seen her since she was a baby.” I said straightening up showing I wasn’t that scared.
“Then why would he care now?” Ben joined in.
“Because she is dead!” I almost shout the last word
“Ah that’s low man, that’s way low” Carl said
“When will he get off the phone?”
“Hmm could be an hour could be 2 hours, could be a minute or could be 2 minutes.” Ben said smirking.
I looked at the office and he had just slammed the phone down.
“Or he could have just put it down” I smirked using my head to point to his office. And then the door opened and he walked out. He was big and bulky he looked a bit like Jayla in the face. He looked at me and then to Carl, Ben and Liam.
“Alright boss” Liam said in a casual tone.
“Who is he?” he said looking at me with a blaze in his eyes.
“He says it’s about your daughter” Carl laughed and the other two joined in. his face lost all anger and looked uneasy.
“Let’s go into my office” he ordered and turned and walked into the small room I followed after him and when I got in he locked the door.
“Who are you?” he asked flaring anger
“I’m Jayla’s boyfriend”
“And why are you here?”
“You won’t like it” I warned him
“Did you get her pregnant?” his fists clenched
“Oh I wish that was why I am here”
“Then what?” he shouted
“Because your daughter is dead she died last week she drowned in Lake Lure”
He looked at me and flopped into his battered seat.
He was silent for a few minutes. “She’s dead?” he finally said.
“I’m so sorry Mr McKenzie. I was torn up for a week, I’m still not over it but time will mend its self so they say”
“When’s her funeral?”
“TOMORROW!” He repeated
“Yes tomorrow, Sarah didn’t have your number to contact you and I knew you should have the right to know so I drove all morning to come find you.”
“Thank you. If there’s anything I can do to repay you.”
“Actually there is.” I was thinking about what Richard was saying in the pub about my dad and Jayla’s dad. How Romeo and Juliet?
“What is it?” he pleaded
“Were you friends with Gregg Williams?”
He gulped and I could tell the answer.
“Why didn’t you get on?”
“He had a thing for my ex, Jayla’s mom. Why are you so curious?”
“He was my dad.” I looked down
“I thought so.” He grunted
“Was you there when he died?”
“Yes and no” I was walking home and I saw him lying on the ground with a knife in him and I held him close and called an ambulance.”
“Did he say anything to you?”
“He told me I should make things right with sarah, but we had grown too apart to make things better and Jayla she was growing into a young woman and she wouldn’t have known who I was and she wouldn’t have give me the time of the day if I saw her again. He closed his and I never got a chance to apologise.’’
“You just did thank you for that.’’ I smiled a little at him and I didn’t see a scary lion anymore just a dad who lost his way.
“So are you coming to the funeral tomorrow?”
“I don’t know I haven’t really seen her since she was a baby I didn’t know what she looked like or what she liked and disliked, I am basically a complete stranger to her.”
“Do you just wish you were in her life before it was too late like now?”
“Hmm yea I think so. I never really thought of it that way or appreciated it. Thank you for opening my eyes... what’s your name?”
“I remember your name being called out at the pub when you were born, he loved you so much, I remember his smile that was spread across his face until I punched him then it was all bloody. Sorry.”
“It’s ok. Anyway it would be nice if you could come tomorrow and if you do and Sarah asks just say it’s the talk of the county.”
“You got it all worked out?”
“No but if that doesn’t work. Run.” I smiled and he smiled and we sat talking for half an hour laughing and I was telling him about Jayla and he was smiling when he heard all the good things she had done and even some of the bad things. We had made a pretty good bond If only my dad had been as good of a guy he could have been. I looked at my watch it was turning 4pm my jaw fell open. “Sorry Richard I must be heading back home, I didn’t realise it was getting so late.”
“Ah alright Kay I might go down there tomorrow I’m thinking about it.”
“Okay then see you later.” I waved and walked out.
It was raining outside so I ran to my car it and got in. I turned the heater on and drove out of town.