Almost as shocking as fully clothed Pete: Kylene grows empathy and decides to fix things between her parents.
16. Worth Kyle
Two days had passed since Mom and Dad had their fight over Joe. Neither of them had talked to me about it but I'm sure they knew that I knew. And I bet the neighbors did, too.
Dad had practically moved into his office and only left it to go sleep in one of our guest rooms. I had to bring him dinner because he refused to sit at one table with my mother.
Mom walked around the house like a ghost, looking even older than she was. At first she tried to talk to my father but once she stuck her head into his office after knocking he would give her a whispered "I don't want to see you." and she left him to himself.
Everyone was too caught up in their own problems to ask me how I felt about this. Well, not everyone.
"Oh, sweetie... How are you?" Dana asked me sympathetically when Wiggie and I showed up for hang-out.
"Been better," I replied and slumped down next to Alice and Mark's disgusting display of affection.
"Could you knock it off, guys?" I grunted towards them.
I felt pretty bad. It wasn't just the bad vibe at home. What made things worse was that I knew that I was probably not innocent, considering that I had Dad meet that obsessed bitch teacher of mine.
Wiggie shook her head and informed them, "Having to vatch yua frients making babies while yua parents are having a martial argument is nat wery helpful, guys..."
Isaac giggled dumbly, "I didn't know your parents were ninjas, Kyle."
"You're such a dumbass," Dana scolded her brother and flipped him off. Then she turned towards Wiggie, "You meant 'marital' not 'martial', right?"
"That's so horrible, Kyle," Alice placed her hand reassuringly on mine. She nudged her pet, Mark.
"Yes, I'm so sorry, Kyle," he mentioned on cue.
I sighed, "Thanks, people."
What followed was an awkward moment of silence. Which was still better than what came next.
"Well, despite the fact that I can relate to any guy that doesn't want to restrict himself to just one chick, I want you to know that you can always come to me for comfort," Isaac wiggled his eye brows at me from his recliner chair.
I guess he had heard that Travis and I broke up. And before anybody tells you anything else, I dumped him. That jerk thought I had looked better with curly hair. Can you believe him?
"It was my Mom who was being unfaithful, ya null-skull*," I pointed out.
"I would never cheat on my Marky," Alice snuggled up to her boyfriend.
'Marky' stuck his tongue in her mouth and then informed us, "I'd rather die than kiss somebody other than you, awesome Alice."
"How can all of you be so insensitive about this?" Dana scoffed at our friends.
During the rest of the evening the two unnerving lovers fought another war of the tongues and Isaac played 'Bikini Madness XXVII: Hooters n shooters'on his PSG**, smugly scratching himself as a reward whenever he had managed to squirt enough acid onto the bras of the pixel females to make them dissolve. Luckily he was using the squirt gun sold with the game and not his own joy stick. Not counting the scratching, of course...
Dana, Wiggie and I were brooding over how to fix things between my parents because the current situation was unbearable for everyone in our house.
Later that day I knocked at my Dad's office door. Upon his "come in" I entered the room with his dinner on a tray.
He looked up from his laptop and shot me a forced smile, "Hey, sweetheart. Thank you for the food."
He grabbed the tray out of my hands and greedily sank his teeth into one of the sandwiches. (Another reason to get them back together: Mom's sadness messed with her cooking ambitions.)
"No problem, Dad." I slipped onto one of the chairs. "Can I ask you something?"
He swallowed and said "Sure, honey," before he took another big bite, hitting a few keys on his laptop with his free hand.
"I realize that it must hurt you but don't you think that you're a little hard on Mom?"
He stopped typing and chewing and looked at me, then at his plate to put down the half-eaten sandwich.
"I'm sorry that we're taking this out on you..." he began.
"I'm alright," I lied. "It's just... she's not doing well. I mean I know you're not either. But she feels horrible about what she's done. I heard her crying last night."
"I heard her, too", my father said sadly.
"It was just a kiss, Dad... Shit happens," I offered.
Mom wouldn't talk to me about what had happened but fortunately Dad was a lot cooler than her, having more faith in my ability to relate to 'grown-up affairs'.
"Did you talk to Joe about it?"
"He called me a couple of times but I didn't answer. Pete tells me Bridget whacked him over the head good and he's still making up for it by having her parents stay at their place... I don't care about talking to him. I think I will get over him kissing my Shee- your mother eventually. The thing is he betrayed my trust as a friend, but I am a lot more disappointed in her."
I nodded. It made sense.
Dad went on about this, affirming my suspicion that he hadn't really talked to anyone about it in the meantime. He probably was still too ashamed to open up to Pete about this since he had suspected him at first.
"But can't you bring yourself to at least listen to her?" I wanted to know. "Maybe that helps."
He shook his head and his eyes fell on the laptop screen, "I should really finish this, sweetheart. But thanks for the food."
I got up, "Don't mention it..."
"And thanks for listening to me. You've grown into a wonderful young woman."
It was about time that somebody pointed out the obvious.
"Don't despair, Dad. It's going to be alright."
And this I knew because I would look after it myself.
- - -
The next day I was sitting in Pete's living room, waiting for him to return from upstairs.
One of his five laptops was set open in front of me so I decided to pass the time by surfing the web. I moved the mouse and the screen saver (Pete's head put onto the body of Batman but with the ugly batskull logo on the chest) disappeared.
Obviously he had engaged in his favorite pastime before I arrived: Searching the internet for remnants of his FOB life. I clicked on the first link that had been found by the search engine.*
While I was laughing my ass off about the video Pete came downstairs, carrying a big grey box.
"That's all I could find," he huffed and put the box down at my feet. "And don't watch that thing, it's Wentzphemy."
"Sure, ass face..." I chuckled. "Thanks for the junk," I pointed at the box.
"No problem. But say, what exactly do you need it for?"
I told him about my plan.
"Sounds cute. And you know what? Since your Dad is such an emotional wuss** I think this might work out."
Of ourse it would, ass face. It was my idea after all. With a little help from Dana and the Austrian wig.
null-skull: [slg.] an alternative expression to 'num(b)skull' that doesn't make an awful lot of literal sense but doesn't really have to anyway because it rhymes
** short for 'Playstation Grillable', includes an in-built BBQ grill... for the convenience of not having to press 'Pause' during the game to fetch something to eat
* A lot more insightful than Pete's noods (and also includes more of Sheena & Mr Meatball than Pete's noods):
** Unlike Pete himself.