Dan was thankful for a night’s sleep without another weird dream. It must have just been the stress of being bit. Thinking back to his talk with Jorge at the club, Tom realized that the bandage that Jorge was wearing was probably another bite from that weirdo. Something to follow up on tomorrow, but now it was time to get Ruthie back home to Agatha.
Ruthie threw her bags into the trunk of the car and jumped in. “What’s your excuse for not helping me this time?” she asked.
Dan started the car and pulled away from the curb. “I felt you needed the practice. Wasn’t sure you had it down pat yet.”
Ruthie stuck out her tongue. “You need to grow up.”
“Just a couple of nights ago you were telling me I needed to get in touch with my inner kid,” Dan said.
Ruthie stared out her window. “Well, now I think it should go to its room.”
Dan laughed. That set Ruthie to laughing as well. “I hope you enjoyed your birthday weekend,” Dan said.
“It was pretty cool, but you still owe me a musical,” Ruthie responded.
“Fair enough.” Dan quickly glanced at Ruthie who was still looking out the window. He smiled a little sadly that their weekend was over so quickly.
A comfortable silence accompanied them the rest of the car ride.
Agatha was swinging on the porch swing as Dan pulled the car into the driveway. Ruthie jumped out and gave her mom a hug. Dan got out slowly and went to the trunk and pulled out Ruthie’s bags.
After Dan closed the trunk Ruthie gave him a warm hug as well. “Thanks Dad. For everything. Except that whole job thing.”
“Hey that wasn’t only me,” Dan said. “Tell her Agatha.”
“You decided to tell her about your plan to make her work for her car?” asked Agatha.
“Ha! I so knew it! In your face!” yelled Ruthie. With that she grabbed her bags and ran up onto the porch. She paused at the door and turned to Agatha. “Is it okay if I get on the computer?”
Agatha nodded. “Go ahead. Just close out my side.” Without another word Ruthie disappeared into the house.
“Why didn’t you back me up there?” Dan asked. “A little parental support would have been nice.”
“It was your idea.” Agatha answered.
“But you agreed to it.”
Agatha smiled a sad smile. “True, but that’s what parents do. They give and take on how to raise there kids.”
Dan fell silent and looked back his car. He was avoiding Agatha’s eyes, but Agatha never even glanced away.
“Why don’t you come in and have a cup of tea,” Agatha said. “I have a blackberry sage black tea that is almost sinful to drink.”
Dan shook his head and pulled out his car keys. “Sounds great, but I’ll take a rain check on that. I’ve got some stuff I need to get done before working tomorrow.”
Agatha placed a hand on his arm. That touched more than just his skin. “You sure you can’t stay a few minutes?” she asked.
Dan couldn’t avoid looking her in her eyes. He felt all the sorrow and emptiness from the opportunities lost and promises broken, especially by him. Tears welled up, and Dan closed his eyes trying to wall off the surging emotions. “Sorry,” Dan breathed and got into the car.
“If you’re sorry why are you running away?” Agatha asked.
Agatha stepped back to give him room, but she never stopped watching, hoping he would change his mind, that he would give her a chance. All Dan could give though was the sound of the Camaro’s engine coming to life and him driving away.
Dan punched the dash of the car in disgust. “What the hell is getting into me?” but that question, like Agatha’s, went unanswered.