The trunk of Dan’s car slammed shut and Ruthie opened the passenger side door. Dan kept watch in his rear view mirror, making sure Agatha hadn’t moved from her front porch. “Hey Dad, thanks for all the help,” said Ruthie sarcastically as she climbed in the car.
“You’re young, you’ll adjust,” Dan said. As soon as Ruthie’s door closed he eased the Camaro from the curb.
“She wanted to talk to you, you know.” Ruthie said. She folded her arms and gave him the same evil eye her mother did. The same evil eye he was avoiding by not getting out of the car.
Dan sighed. “Yeah, I did,” he said.
Dan looked at her out of the corner of his eye. Ruthie was definitely her father’s daughter. She had his dark brown hair that on her ran to the middle of her back in a thick French braid. Her broad face was pretty in a bit of a handsome way, and her eyes were his same piercing green. Poor Agatha carried her for nine months, but no one would know it except for the dimple on her chin. That is until you talked to the both of them. They could mirror each other’s movements almost eerily. It was the one thing that kept Dan a bit on edge around his daughter. Too many memories of what once was would come to the surface. A wry smile spread on his face.
“What’s so funny?” Ruthie asked as she folded her arms and slouched in the seat.
This wasn’t going well, and the night was still young. “Just thinking about the present I had for you in the glove box there,” Dan said.
Ruthie reached out to open it and then remembered herself. She slumped back down in the seat. “That still wasn’t cool what you did to mom.”
Dan shook his head. “I promise to talk to her when I drop you back off on Sunday. Does that make you happy?”
Ruthie answered by opening the glove compartment and saw the bright pink wrapped present inside. She took it out and gave it a shake.
Dan was amused. “Hey, how old do you think you are, six?”
Ruthie pointed at the gift. “You think so.”
“Ah, the pink is a bit much?” Dan asked.
“I’ll file that away for next year. Go on, open it. It’s something you asked for.” Ruthie began to peal back the paper. “And don’t worry, it’s not a Barbie.”
Ruthie gave him one more evil look before devoting her interest in the gift. She finally got the last of the tape off and opened the box. Immediately there was a flash of disappointment before a smile took its place. Dan didn’t miss the look though. “What’s wrong? I thought I got the one you pointed out.”
Ruthie took out the necklace with the three onyx pendants shaped as little tears with accent diamonds at the bottom or each drop. “You did. It’s just…”
“It is my sixteenth birthday.”
Dan gestured for her to continue. “Yeah, and…”
Ruthie looked out the window. “You know.”
“No I don’t. What?” Dan asked.
“I was kinda hoping.”
Ruthie mumbled in a small girl voice. “That it was keys to the Camaro.”
Dan let out a laugh and spared a quick look at Ruthie. “Now you’re dreaming.”
Ruthie immediately got defensive. “That’s not fair
“Oh, it is too fair.” Before she could continue to protest Dan continued. “That’s just one part. I also have reservations at Mina’s as well as tickets for Spamalot. Is that better?”
“That’s awesome.” Ruthie put on the necklace and put the box and wrapping paper back into the glove box. Dan filed that away so he could get rid of the pink paper before Gary went looking next time they took his car. He didn’t want to live that one down, no matter how innocent it was. Real men weren’t afraid of pink, but real men were afraid of wise cracking partners.
Now it was Dan’s turn to be a bit meek. “The only thing is I need to make one stop on the way to Mina’s.”
Ruthie sighed. “Not work.”
“Yes work. Don’t worry. We have plenty of time. The reservation isn’t until seven.”
“I’ve heard that before.” Dan was losing Ruthie to the crossed arms pose again.
“Really. It’ll be okay. Trust me.”
Ruthie decided to finger the necklace instead of crossing her arms. “Okay, we’ll see.” She then let out a small laugh. “If not you know what I’ll want.”
Dan groaned. “Not that.”
Ruthie stuck out her tongue at him. “You better believe it.”
“Not over my dead body.” Dan then realized what he said and fell into a silence.