Leave Me BreathlessbyStangStar06©
"That's my dad," I said. "He's a car guy."
"I noticed," she said.
"Daddy, come and meet my teacher," I yelled. "You don't have to worry. Your car has a lot more horsepower and whatever else you're trying to figure out."
Just as I called him over, a van with a lot of guys in it pulled up. Coach Kleatz and some of the guys from the team got out of it and started looking around.
"Hi," said my dad shyly. He stuck out his hand. "I'm Jim Carson. I'm Kit's Dad."
"Helena," she said. She shook his hand warmly and looked into his eyes. My dad looked away. I noticed that she'd tried to hold onto his hand a fraction of a second longer than she should have. It wasn't much but it was a start.
"Can I ask you..." my dad began, before Coach Kleatz came running over.
"Hey babe," he said. "I made a bunch of my guys come out to help out with your little problem."
More and more cars were pulling up and kids were getting out of them. A few had their parents or younger siblings in tow.
"Well, I don't see how they're going to help by throwing a football around," she said. "And if they don't want to be here then they shouldn't be. I need water and soil samples. I also need to know exactly where they came from. I need leaves and plant samples as well. If they mess things up, I'll have to start all over again."
"They'll do fine babe," he said. "And you and I can go out and hunt for stuff together."
"I'll see you later, Helena," said my dad.
"Helena, huh?" said Coach Kleatz. "Well Helena, let's get started."
"My name is Ms. Abra, Coach," she said. "I don't enjoy being called babe and we are not on a first name basis. I actually don't understand why you showed up today. So I'd really appreciate it if you could supervise your boys to keep them from trampling the vegetation while we're here. The idea is to study nature not destroy it."
The coach turned red in the face. He looked as if he was about to explode when one of his guys stage whispered, "Ooooh...Frozen," in the background.
"Lesbian," coughed Coach Kleatz. He looked up at me and smiled when he noticed that I was still standing there. Then he coughed again to try to cover his first cough. I shook my head and wandered after Ms. Abra.
The morning and early afternoon were very busy. I naturally teamed with my dad and we ran all over the woods finding whatever we were asked to come up with. Ms. Abra was very excited and often asked us where we got a particular sample and followed us back so she could see it for herself. The interesting thing was that as I saw her and my dad together, I could see that given half a chance they'd click.
The funny thing was that they were almost never alone together. There were all kinds of mothers there with their sons or daughters who kept trying to talk to my dad. At the same time, there were lots of men trying to get close to Ms Abra.
Finally, by late afternoon, the school's bus driver arrived in a van to carry all of the samples back to the school and Ms. Abra thanked everyone and called a halt. She told us that the day had been a rousing success and that the school's science program thanked us all. Everyone got into their cars and left. I was ready to go too. I had some major thinking to do. During the morning, I'd seen Russell Eddington show up. But he hadn't stayed long. I think that when he saw me and my dad, he'd left. I'd also seen my mother's car. I wasn't sure if she'd been there to see Eddington or to see what I was up to, but she'd driven past and kept going. It may have been a coincidence.
I had several problems to work out and at the same time, I was starving.
"Jim," said Ms. Abra, just as we were getting into the car. "First, I want to thank you for coming. You and Melinda were my star lab assistants today. And second, just before everyone got here you were about to ask me something, weren't you?" My dad looked at her shyly and she smiled.
Suddenly, I wasn't as hungry. Things might not be as bad as I thought after all.
Come on Dad, ask her to come and eat with us, I thought.
"It's kind of personal," said my dad shyly.
"Jim, you spent a Saturday digging through mud for me," she said. "So ask me."
"Could you uhm...show me..."he began. My mind exploded. I was sure that my dad was more mature than this. I knew lots of guys who were always running around yelling "Show me your tits."
I kind of thought my dad was above that, but shit my mom sure wasn't.
Ms Abra's eyes narrowed too, but my dad continued headlong into disaster.
"I'd really like to see..." he continued."...the motor in that GTO. It's supposed to be a 5.7 Liter v8. It's the same motor they had in the corvette that year. I'm curious why it only put out 350 horsepower. What year is it? Because the 04's were 350 horses but the 06's put out 400. While both of those are very respectable, you'd think with that much displacement you'd get more out of that engine. I mean my Mustang is only a 5.0 Liter and it's cranking 462 ponies without forced air and..."
"I have no idea what you're talking about," she laughed. "But you can look at it all you want." She was still smiling at him and shaking her head, as she got into the car and opened the hood. Dad raised it and put the prop in place and started staring at whatever it is that guys look at under there. Ms. Abra got out of the car and went to stand next to him.
Unfortunately, Coach Kleatz came storming off of the bus and over to the car too. "What's wrong with you car, Ba...uh...Hel...Ms. Abra?" he asked angrily.
"Nothing," she said. "Don't you have someplace to be?"
"Nah, I'm solo tonight," he said. "So what are we looking at? That's the motor isn't it? I can see what's wrong with it from here. You need to have the carburetor rebuilt. Maybe we can get away with just cleaning it. I think we have some starter fluid on the bus."
"Uhm there isn't a carburetor on this engine," said my dad. "It's fuel injection."
"Exactly," said Coach Kleatz. "I was going to put the starter fluid into the injection thingy. Well, I'll let you guys carry on. If you can't get it fixed, give me a call. You still have my number right?"
"Yeah I've got your number," said Ms. Abra sarcastically. She turned back to staring at the engine with my dad as "Frozen again," echoed from the bus amidst a round of laughter.
"Dad, food," I said a few minutes later. We said goodbye to Ms. Abra and headed for home.
When we got home, since it was a Saturday, Mom hadn't made dinner. She looked at us hesitantly as we came in. She went to Dad and hugged him and then looked at me. I kept my face neutral.
"Melinda, it's Saturday, Honey. Don't you have a date or something?" she asked.
"Mom, you know that Dean and I went out last night," I said. "And we'll probably do something tomorrow afternoon, but Saturday night he has to help his dad clean the church. Remember, I used to help too, just so I could be near Dean, but his mother got on my nerves. Why is it always the mothers that cause the problems?"
My mom instantly went on the defensive. "I wasn't trying to be a problem, Honey," she said. "I just wondered if you were doing anything. You're a pretty girl. You should be out enjoying life. This is your last year of high school. Next year, you'll have to buckle down and hit the books if you want to get into a good law school. You work really hard and I want you to get to go out and play hard too."
"Mom, life isn't about playing all of the time. I had a great time bonding with my daddy today. It was really fun and we got to help one of my teachers out too. Like you said, next year I'll be off to college so I want to spend as much time with dad as I can. Besides, wasn't it you who's always told me that family comes first? And it was also you who told me that you have to do that Tammy Wynette thing sometimes and stand by your man. I know that it sucks that Dean is stuck helping out in the church. Neither one of us is really religious, but his parents are suckers for that stuff. He doesn't want to disrespect them so we go along with it. Since I'm in a committed relationship with him, I have to go along with the program. Remember, you taught me to put my relationship first." She paled visibly as I spat her own bullshit back at her.
"I love the way you put it, Mom," I said. "The girls who play around with a lot of guys usually end up without one of their own." She looked as if someone had punched her in the stomach.
"Well, I didn't make dinner," she said changing the subject. "I thought that if you were going out, that maybe your dad and I would just get a pizza and a pay per view and see what happens.
"That sounds fine," I said. I linked arms with my dad and pulled him out of the kitchen. "I'll order the pizza, Dad. You turn on the big screen and find us a movie. Please don't get one of those sappy love stories that end tragically when one of the lovers dies or cheats." When I said, "cheats," my mother's gulp was heard all over the kitchen.
As my dad went to the door a short time later to get the pizza from the delivery guy, he ended up talking about his Mustang with him. My mother took that opportunity to speak again.
"It would have been nice for you to let me have an evening alone with your dad," she whined. "How am I supposed to make things up with him if you won't ever leave us alone?"
"Three things," I said acidly. "You need to get yourself checked for STD's before you even dream of touching him again. Number two; I saw you driving past the park at the same time your lover did or shortly thereafter. If I find out that you spoke to him, all bets are off. And three; I thought that we weren't supposed to fucking talk to each other." Just as I finished my last sentence, Daddy set the pizza down in front of us.
"I'll get drinks for us all," he said. Mom and I were both smiling and nodding our heads. She even reached over and patted me gently on the shoulder. I'm sure my daddy never noticed anything. He was pretty easy going unless someone threatened his family or talked about his car.
As soon as he left for the kitchen, we were at each other's throats again. "Bitch, if you ever touch me again, you'll be divorced before you can pull your hand away," I snapped.
"Melinda, you have to give me a chance to make this up. I'm not your enemy. I know that you and your dad have decided that you're going to be a lawyer, but you're treating me like I'm a criminal. Even criminals are innocent until proven guilty," she said.
"Mother, you had an agreement, let's call it a contract, with dad. Part of that agreement called for you to be faithful to him, didn't it?" I asked.
"But..." she sputtered.
"No buts," I said. "Didn't it call for fidelity and trust?"
"Yes," she said.
"You broke it," I said. "We don't need any evidence because I was there. I caught you red assed, red faced and red handed. Is that not true as well?"
"Yes," she spat. "But can't I make restitution for what I did. When someone steals something they give it back and say they're sorry and then they move forward."
"Mother, you're either out of your fucking mind or you're stuck living life as a three year old," I said. "When someone robs a bank, even if they give the money back, they go to jail. In this case, how can you make restitution? Have you invented some way to un-fuck Russell Eddington? Or are you just planning on screwing daddy twice as much to make up for what you did with Eddington. Neither of those options makes up for you sharing yourself with someone other than your husband. And neither of those scenarios makes up for the fact that he will probably never be able to trust you again. I'm being far nicer to you than you deserve. I should have told daddy everything. You'd have been back living with Grandma right now. And Mom, you won't end up with the house. I know that most people think that the house goes to the woman. Daddy paid the mortgage himself, you aren't even listed on it. And in most cases, the house actually goes to the parent with the kid. Since I'll be in college soon, with Daddy paying for it, I might add, a judge would consider me as still living in the house until I graduate. Make no mistake about it Theresa; I'm well above the age where any judge would ask my opinion. And there is no doubt which parent I'd choose to live with." I smiled at her.
"So I see you living with Grandma and you do understand that she'll be really pissed at you when she finds out why you got divorced. Daddy would probably waive child support and your half of my college expenses since you can't afford them even if you did go back to fucking Eddington. I forgot you can't do that because in the three days that you've been gone, he's already gotten himself a younger, cuter secretary. And I'm sure that if he's not fucking her by now, he soon will be."
"So that leaves you at thirty eight years old with no skills other than the ones you might have on your back; living in your mom's basement with debts piling up. I'm sure Daddy won't let me get put out of school for you not paying your share. And he probably won't hold you up for your child support. Your lawyer would probably make a deal. Daddy doesn't have to pay you alimony in exchange for you not having to pay child support and him paying for all of my college expenses. Does that sound fair to you?"
"No," she said loudly. "I'd be broke. I don't have any skills. I left college to have a baby who no longer appreciates me. I made one mistake. Why do I have to lose my house, my family, my marriage and my daughter for one mistake?"
"Mother, forgetting to add bleach is a mistake. Fucking another man in my daddy's bed is a felony," I said. My features were drawn and tight. Acid dripped from my words as I spoke to her. "As far as I'm concerned, Daddy is..."
I stopped talking as he walked into the room carrying a tray. He sat a tall fluted glass of white wine in front of Mom. There was also a bottle of Wild Cherry Pepsi in front of me and a Dos Equis Amber for himself. He sat down on the couch with himself on the far end, Mom in the middle and me on the opposite end.
I got up to grab the cable remote and when I came back to the couch I leaned over and hugged my mother. It shocked the hell out of her after the conversation we'd just had. Then I squeezed in between them and put my feet up on the coffee table as we settled in to watch the movie.
I spent the morning Sunday thinking about my problem. It struck me as strange that an eighteen year old girl who was still a virgin had to try to teach her nearly forty year old mother a lesson about morals. For all of my life, my dad had protected me and this time I had to protect him. I'd seen enough of my friends go through having their parents split up to know that it was usually the parent who was cheated on that caught the worst of it. When Danielle's father cheated on her mom with his secretary, they got a divorce. Her mother got the house and a nice check every month, but she became withdrawn and depressed. She started drinking and just became a different woman. It also affected Danielle. Her mother's sense of self-worth and confidence were destroyed.
Meanwhile, her father ended up marrying the secretary. He got her pregnant, started his own new family with a woman half his age and moved on with his life. Somehow, the money he had to pay Danielle's mother wasn't nearly enough for the pain he'd caused her. She would also only get the alimony for five years. It seemed like such a waste. She was trapped in that house full of tarnished memories, wondering what she'd done wrong. She was too depressed to either move on in her life or even try to get a job. Maybe that was why I was so angry at my mother. I didn't want to see my dad go through that. If their marriage was going to end, I had to make sure he landed on his feet.
My attempt at getting him together with Ms. Abra had been a bust. My dad hadn't even noticed how hot she was. Shit, he'd barely been able to ask her to look at her frigging car's motor. And Ms. Abra hadn't been any help either. I could tell she'd been interested in my dad, but she was too shy to make any kind of move on him either. That just outlined one of the problems I have with the bible. If the meek did inherit the earth, they wouldn't know what to do with it and someone else would take it away from them.
I needed to find someone who was a bit more aggressive for my dad. My mom didn't realize it but none of things that we were talking about really mattered. I was just stringing her along until I was ready to jettison her. Did I feel guilty about lying to her? Of course not. I felt the same level of guilt about that as she'd felt about screwing my principal in her own house. She hadn't felt guilty or even thought that anything was wrong with what she'd done until she got caught.
I realized then that I'd already figured out who the perfect person for my daddy was. Danielle's mom would be perfect for him. She wasn't as cute as Ms. Abra, but who was? Mrs. Kinney was still slimmer and built better than my mom and she was nice looking too. Or she would be if I could get her to put on some make-up and cover up the bags under her eyes. She could help Daddy get over Mom and Daddy could help her get over her divorce and feel like a woman again. I don't know why I didn't think about it first.
Monday at school was hectic. Mr. Eddington avoided me. I tried to go to his office to tell him that I'd seen him at the park on Saturday, but it seemed like every time I saw him, he ducked away. I did see him go out to lunch with his new secretary though.
At lunch time, I ran into Ms. Abra. I think she was looking for me.
"Hi Melinda," she said. "So what was the favor you needed from me?"
"I just wanted you to help me pick out an outfit for the Harvest Festival Dance," I said.
"I'd be glad to," she smiled. "But I told you that..."
I knew right where she was going. "Ms. Abra, you're beautiful," I said. "You are probably the sexiest woman I've ever seen. Guys go nuts over you instantly..." Before I could even finish my thought she said something under her breath that stopped me in my tracks.
"I'd rather have your help than... please forgive me for saying this because I'm sure she's your friend...but, some fat art teacher who thinks she's America's Next Top Model," I said.
We looked at each other strangely. "I'm so sorry," she said. "I didn't mean to say that out loud. I didn't mean it to come out that way."
"I didn't mean to say what I said about your friend," I said.
"We need to talk," I said. "Can you drive me home after school? You can come to my house and look at my choices for my outfit and then maybe we could grab a bite and talk about what you said. I promise that what we talk about won't go any further than the two of us." She looked nervous but she nodded her head and walked away.
I was so excited that I felt like I was going to pee on myself. When I'd told her how attractive she was, she'd whispered, "Too bad your father doesn't think so."
After that conversation I was almost too excited to sit still for the rest of my classes. I found my concentration lapsing and I constantly watched the clock. Finally, three thirty came and I gathered my books and practically ran all the way to Ms. Abra's lab. She had her usual gang of students waiting to talk to her about something, most of whom were guys who just wanted to look at her.
I did notice that after the outing Saturday, she had a lot more freshman and sophomore admirers so we'd been successful in more than gathering specimens. That forced me to think about a few things.
The first was that I didn't think I'd want to be that pretty. It would probably get to be a pain in the ass. All kinds of guys that you had no interest in, constantly hanging around, trying to get you to notice them.