Dinner part 3?
"Jere, will you please open the door? I think we need talk about this." I placed my hands on the door's smooth surface.
"There is nothing to talk about. Just leave me alone." His voice was low and muffled, but I could still hear the anger in his tone.
"Actually, there's a lot to talk about. And I'm your mother. I can't leave you alone. It's in my genetic make up to nag you until the day I die. So unless you want to wait in your room for 50 years, I suggest you open up." I smiled when I heard the click, signaling he had unlocked his door.
"Let's get this over with." He mumbled from his bed.
"Look, I know you're upset, but-"
"Upset? Do you know who that is, mom?" I nodded slowly.
"When I first met him, no. I didn't know. But when I came home from our date, I saw that poster." I glanced over to see only the bare wall. The poster was gone. Its crumpled corpse was haphazardly stuffed into the confines of a small wastebasket. I grimaced at the sight.
"Do you have any idea what my friends are gonna say? Or how about the kids I go to school with? They're all gonna find out that my mom is some cradle robbing groupie. And it's the dude from Fall Out Boy no less. I'm dead in the water." I sighed and crossed my arms over my chest.
"What's the big deal? I bet they'll think it's cool. None of your friends' moms could ever score a rockstar." He scowled.
"It's not funny, mom. And it's not cute. Did you even once think about what this would do to me? I already get enough crap from my friends because of you. I don't want a hot mom. I don't want a cool mom. I want you to be fat and saggy like all the other asexual mothers." I wrinkled my nose.
"Well, I'm sorry that you feel that way, but this dinner is really important to me." He rolled his dark eyes and sighed before pushing some hair out of his eyes.
"Whatever. He better not call me anything gay. Like tiger or sport." I frowned at his choice of words, but decided it wasn't a battle I needed to fight at the moment. What mattered was keeping him happy and preferably quiet. I placed my hand on his back and gently guided him toward the stairs.
Jocelyn was sitting in her usual chair as Patrick carefully spooned out some pasta onto her plate. I smiled as she thanked him...without being prompted, might I add. Jeremy quietly took a seat across from his sister while Patrick sat at the end of the table. Not saying a word, my son reached for the spoon to plop some dinner on his plate.
"Ah, rigatoni in a light cheddar sauce." He mused as he lifted his fork. "Wasn't this dad's favorite?" My glare immediately fell upon his smug grin. Making the situation easy was not on this boy's agenda.
"Jeremy." My tone had just a hint of warning to it. It would have been a major mistake on my part to believe he would behave.
"Yes, mother?" He asked with a smile. I wondered if he knew I could end his life.
"If you can't play nice, you can take your plate to your room."
"Oh no, I want to stay right here." He shoved a large forkful of food into his mouth, a few noodles missing their destination and falling onto his plate with a splat. Jocelyn giggled at his obnoxious behavior. I gave Patrick a sympathetic smile, who responded with a light shrug.
A hush fell over the table, only the sound of our forks clinking against the china could be heard.
"How was school today, Joce?" I asked, knowing she'd surely fill the silent void with her excited chattering.
"It was good. Kenny brung me some cookies. Oreos, I think."
"Kenny brought you some cookies." I corrected softly.
"Right. He brooought me some cookies." She said with a grin before bringing a shaky fork to her mouth.
"So Patrick, what do you do?" My son had his dark eyes zeroed in on the man, who stopped his fork half way on its path to his mouth. His gaze flicked from Jeremy to me, then back to the teenaged boy.
"I'm in a band?" He said as if it were a question.
"So I bet you nailed a lot of chicks, huh?" I inhaled sharply, nearly choking on a noodle.
"Jeremy!" I gasped. In that moment, I wanted to kill him.
"Patrick wouldn't do something so mean to baby chickies, Jerm." Jocelyn rolled her crystalline eyes at her sibling, clearly not understanding the euphemism.
"She's right. We're not that kind of band." Patrick responded calmly, though he seemed slightly rattled by my son's question.
"Let me guess, you're just 'regular guys', right?" Sarcasm dripped from every word that spilled from the teen's mouth.
"Yeah. Pretty much."
"So drugs are out of the question?" I dropped my fork against my plate, causing a "clink" to reverberate through the room.
"That's enough, Jeremy."
"What? Can't a guy ask some questions?" I shook my head.
"I will not have you interrogating Patrick at the dinner table."
"Charlie," My date said softly, a grin upon his face. "It's fine. He can ask me anything he wants. They both can." I sighed and quickly took a swig from my glass of water. I should have poured some wine. Lots and lots of wine.
"Are you gonna be our new daddy?" This time, the inquiry came from Jocelyn. My face immediately flushed while Patrick laughed nervously.
"See? Look what's happening!" Jeremy stood up abruptly, knocking his chair back and jolting the table. "She's gonna forget all about dad!"
"Jeremy, I'm not here to-"
"Save it, Carpet Face. Don't waste your breath." And for the second time that night, he stormed away to his room, leaving the sound of a slamming door in his wake. A lump formed in my throat.
"I'm sorry Patrick. If you want to leave, I understand." I whispered quietly as I began to clear my plate, along with Jeremy's abandoned one. The evening crashed and burned, no use in pretending otherwise. I placed the dinnerware in the sink and twisted on the hot water. Two arms slid around my waist as a warm body pressed against my back. A coarse sideburn rubbed the soft skin of my face before a chin rest on my shoulder.
"You cooked a delicious dinner. The least I can do is the dishes." He whispered into my ear, causing the fine hair on my arms to stand at attention.
Once the dishes were clean and in the drying rack, the three of us headed into the living room for a movie.
"I call 'Little Mermaid!'" Jocelyn bounced to the DVD player and popped the disk in with ease.
"Hope you don't mind a Disney classic." I said with a compassionate grin. He just shrugged.
"Can't argue with a four year old." No statement uttered was truer. Jocelyn hurried back over to the couch and crawled into Patrick's lap. She smiled up at him and he returned the gesture. At least my daughter was taking a shine to him. Jeremy might be another story.
After one movie and several games of Candyland, Jocelyn decided some coloring was in order. She brought out her crayon box and some coloring books.
"Which one do you want? I have Disney Princesses, The Wiggles, Finding Nemo, Dora the Explorer, and Sesame Street." She held out the books for Patrick.
"Sweetness, I don't think-" But I was interrupted by my date.
"Give me Finding Nemo." He responded with a grin.
"Good choice." She handing him the book and plopped down on the floor in front of him. As she went to work, the tip of her pink tongue escaped the corner of her plump lips while her brow furrowed.
"Make sure you stay in the lines. She's a stickler for that." I whispered to him. Nine o'clock quickly came and went. The onset of melanin was apparent in her droopy eyes.
"C'mon, lovebug. I think it's bed time." She and Patrick groaned.
"But Mooooomm!" The 22 year old whined. I swatted at him before scooping my daughter up and carrying her to her bedroom. She giggled as I plopped her down on the mattress. She shameless threw off her sundress and scoured her dresser for the perfect nightgown.
"So, what do you think of him?" She beamed up at me and crawled into bed.
"He's cute. I like him." She gave me a thumbs up.
"I like him too. But we're going to have to talk about this "daddy" business, OK?" She shrugged.
"Why? He's nice enough." I sat on the edge of her bed.
"Being a daddy is a...very big job. And it might be a little overwhelming for Patrick." She nodded, but crinkled her eyebrows.
"What's overwhelming mean?" I smiled and stroked her dark curls.
"Very scary. The job of daddy is very scary for Patrick. Besides, you already have a daddy." She frowned as she raked her eyes with her balled up hands.
"But he isn't here anymore. And if we had a new daddy, maybe I wouldn't miss him as much." My chin quivered slightly as my tear ducts began to produce its main export. I quickly wiped at my eyes before the liquid had a chance to fall.
"It's OK to miss daddy. But no matter how long you live, he'll always be your father. Not one person in this world can change that." She nodded and snuggled under her covers.
"Alright, mommy. I'm sorry I said that." I gave her a quick kiss on the forehead as I pulled the blanket up to her chin.
"I know. Goodnight, baby." She blew me a kiss and closed her eyes. I turned off the light, making her Cinderella nightlight to glow upon registering the lack of illumination in the room.
Patrick was still on the couch, still coloring. A grin spread across my face.
"Thanks." I said as I sat down next to him. He looked up.
"For what?" I leaned my head on his shoulder.
"For not running away, screaming into the night." His body shook slightly as he chuckled.
"No need to thank me. I just hope I don't have a bounty over my head. That boy of yours is ruthless." I laughed.
"Yeah. About that." I sighed. "I'm sorry. It's very new for him. Since Matt, I haven't dated anyone. So you're my first."
"Wanna know a secret?" I nodded, looking up into his green eyes.
"You're my first too." I grinned.
"Really?" The male nodded.
"Yep. I dated a girl named Tina for about four years. But we broke up for the second time two months ago." I nodded, feeling a frown form on my lips.
"It was over long before that. She got very heavy into drugs and I thought I could help her. But I quickly found out that you can't help someone who doesn't want it." I slung my arm around his shoulder, giving him a hug.
"It must have been hard for you to say goodbye to her." He nodded.
"Yeah. But it's gotten easier." My fingers glided along the soft surface of the couch, tracing invisible patterns into the material.
"Really? And why is that?" He shrugged.
"Because I'm seeing this really great woman. You should meet her." I dramatically gasped and covered my mouth to feign shock.
"Is she prettier than me?" His eyes rested on the floor.
"She's beautiful." A furious heat rose to my cheeks as my eyes found their way to the clock on the VCR. Was it that late already?
He quickly noticed where my gaze had fallen.
"I should probably get going. I have an early day tomorrow." He slowly stood up with me following suit.
"Same here. I promised my sister that I'd go to Sunday mass with her." I rolled my eyes.
"Oh. Fun." He commented with the same sarcastic tone as we headed toward the front door.
"You wanna call me after you're done living your double life?" He shrugged.
"Maybe. What's in it for me?" I arched an eyebrow at the male.
"Perhaps we'll go on a grown up date. No coloring books or teenage temper tantrums." He chuckled slightly.
"I'd like that." He whispered before leaning in and placing a soft kiss on my lips. "I'll call you tomorrow." I nodded and watched as he walked out to his Honda and drove away into the night. Like a school girl, I closed the door and leaned on it with a sigh.
It was official. I was completely smitten.
As usual, I didn't proofread. I was just excited to finally be posting a chapter for this story. And I think I speak for every frustrated, unappreciated author on FicWad when I say: REVIEW, DAMN IT! We put a lot of hard work and effort into a story (well...some of us do, anyway) the least you can do is put in some feedback. Let me know how I'm doing. What's good and what needs some work? I'm not asking for points, I'm simply fishing for compliments:) Enjoy, my loves.