Revenge of the Nerd Ch. 42byrpsuch©
We didn't have a plan.
We knew whatever we did would amount to an attack on my Father's image, his ego.
We had no idea how long it would take. He was a very stubborn man, used to getting his way.
School was starting a little over a month after Jeff's birthday so if I didn't broach the subject soon, it wouldn't happen until Thanksgiving.
I got the chance eight days after the birthday celebration. Dad set up a family dinner to discuss whether June in Europe had been relaxing enough or if we needed a week or two in Hilton Head.
"I'd kind of like to stay here, Dad. I have a boyfriend and I didn't see him for a whole month while we were in Europe."
"You didn't say anything about a boyfriend," said my Mother.
"Not only that, you talked about those other boys as possible husbands. Was that all a lie?" he thundered.
He was on the edge. How far do I take it?
If he's ready to go over the deep end at the slightest provocation, maybe I should hit him with it all at once.
He'll go ballistic if I'm dating him. He'll go ballistic if I'm marrying him. They both cost the same.
"He told me to have a great time over there, to meet people and see how I felt when I got back."
Overstated a mite, perhaps, but emotionally accurate enough.
"But you had a commitment to him when you went that you never told us about. You lied to us!"
Now the staff in the farthest reaches of the house knew the content of our disagreement.
Alright, you want the maximum escalation immediately? Well, in your face.
"There was no commitment. We hadn't decided to get married back then."
Mom dropped her fork. Dad couldn't shut his mouth. He didn't say anything, but it stayed open.
While he prepared his next attack, my Mother got involved. "Do you love him?"
"No. I agreed to marry him just to annoy the shit out of you."
"You can't talk to us that way," bellowed my Father.
At least it wasn't about Jeff, directly.
"And you can't disrespect my thoughts and feelings that way. He is the most wonderful man I've ever met and you're acting like he's a terrorist."
My family is given to hyperbole.
"Get him over here for dinner so we can meet him," he said.
It wasn't so loud but it wasn't remotely conciliatory either. He looked at my Mother.
"Do we have anything scheduled tomorrow night?"
"No," she answered.
"Have him here tomorrow night for dinner. Six sharp," he ordered.
"Gee, how could he possibly refuse such a gracious, generous, sincere invitation?" I said.
"You don't get to be a smart aleck with us either," said my Father, obviously not mollified.
"I'll see if he's free," I said. "I think I can persuade him to come, if he's not going to Friday night services."
"At least he's Jewish," my Mother said.
Dad gave her a withering look.
"How is he going to support you in the style you deserve?"
"He has a very good job."
Don't mention the trust fund. He isn't after my money.
And his value is intangible, yet quantifiable. Ugh. That's how Jeff would say it. I'll leave that approach to him.
"What does he do?" my father asked.
His tone and demeanor told his girls he wasn't backing down an inch.
"I'm not exactly certain, but I think it's biochemical engineering, sort of."
"Well, at least he isn't stupid," said dad.
He could wipe the floor with you with his left brain tied behind his back.
"I look forward to meeting your young man," he said.
Like he looked forward to a diagnosis of terminal cancer.
"I'm sure he'll be excited to meet you, too."
Every bit as excited as being operated on without anesthesia.
If Dad can lie so blatantly, why can't I?
The few words exchanged during the meal stayed completely away from the topic.
Immediately after, my Father went into his office and I went to my room to call Jeff.
I related the essence of our exchange. He smiled. No, I didn't see it. I heard it.
Then he said, "He didn't even ask my name. That's very strange. I think it's safe to assume, given what you've told me about him, the first thing he did when he went into his office was call a private investigator to find out all about me.
"I don't want to talk too long now. I want to get online and start messing with his head. I love you, Ash. Don't worry about me; I can take him. See you tomorrow, sixish."
I worried anyway. Don't get me wrong. I love Jeff desperately. When there is an issue of intellect, he has no match. But, he isn't anybody's idea of a macho guy.
Though they weren't going to duke it out, my father had actually been in fights. And he had been in battle in business and my impression was that he had only the flimsiest of limits as to how far he would go to win. He had the experience to know what he could and could not get away with. I just couldn't see how Jeff could be a match for him.
Maybe there was a book that told you how to win against a dirty fighter.