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Setting Friday Free (A Buzby Beach Novel) Chapter 27

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DW is a veteran, a father, a husband, and a teacher. He's published 9 YA/NA novels thus far. The story you're reading might be next.

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It's been seven years

"I'm at school right now, Dad. There's some work I need to finish before I leave. I'll come home as soon as I can. You don't have to sit there at the gate. There are plenty of places you can kill time while you're waiting for me."

His father's irritation came through the phone as a nearly tangible thing. "Garrison, whatever you are doing, you will stop, and you will come home right now. You will not keep me waiting."

"What are you doing down here anyway, Dad? I know it's not to see me. You never bothered to leave Raleigh to come to see me before. Why now, all of a sudden?"

"Just get here as soon as you can, Garrison," his father ordered.

Garrison ended the call without saying another word. Laurel stopped on her way back to the table and asked him what was wrong.

"What makes you think something's wrong?"

Laurel took his hand and said, "Either something is wrong, or you are having a stroke. What is it?"

"I'm not having a stroke," Garrison replied. He forced himself to relax. "My father is at my house and can't get in the gate because the codes aren't the same as they were the last time he came down."

"When was the last time he came down?" Laurel asked.

Garrison forced himself to exhale slowly. Then he answered her question. "When my grandfather died seven years ago. The last time my father came anywhere near Wilmington was for my grandfather's funeral seven years ago."

Never much of a father

Laurel's head snapped up. She stared into Garrison's face. "Your father never came down to visit you in all the years since then?"

"I always went up to visit him," Garrison explained. "Or, more accurately, visit his condo and stay with a babysitter. Even when I went to Raleigh, I didn't see much of him."

"I'm sorry, G," Laurel said, moving closer to Garrison.

He blinked and focused on Laurel's eyes. "You called me 'G.' Calvin's wearing off on you."

Laurel replied with a kiss.

"Hey, you two," Calvin called as he came back toward the table, "There's a rule against personal displays of affection."

Garrison laid a finger along his cheekbone. "No, actually, there isn't." And he kissed Laurel again.

"Now, I really need to visit the Men's Room," he said before hurrying off in that direction.

When Garrison returned to the table, the others were all packed up and ready to go.

"I guess we've studied enough for one day?" Garrison quipped upon rejoining the others.

Laurel pointed at him and said, "You've probably made your dad wait long enough. Get going before he grounds you."

Garrison snorted, "As if," but he packed up his book bag.

"I'm not working tonight," Laurel reminded Garrison. "Am I still invited to come over later?"

"Of course, yes," Garrison replied. "Why wouldn't you be?"

"With your dad being there and all," Laurel said. "I didn't know if he'd be cool with me showing up."

"It's my house," Garrison pointed out. "Who cares what he's cool with? I don't owe him anything, and he's got no claim on me or my house."

Laurel frowned. "Garrison, he is your father."

Garrison pursed his lips like he'd tasted something sour. "Mr. Kaylor may have provided half of my DNA, but he's never been much of a father."

Dad had to make his money somehow

Garrison's father's car was parked on the road a couple of car lengths short of the driveway gate. Garrison recognized the gaudy white Mercedes even though it was a newer model than he'd last seen his father driving. It had the same stupid personalized license plate. IGET$$4U

Not for the first time, the irony of having a mother who was a doctor and a father who'd gotten rich suing doctors for malpractice hit Garrison.

Dad had to make his money somehow. Grandpa didn't leave him a dime.

The tinted windows on his father's car made it impossible for Garrison to tell if his father was sitting in the car. If he is, he needs to follow me through the gate. I'm not leaving it open.

Garrison hit the button on the Avalon's dashboard. The driveway gate swung open. Garrison looked in his rearview mirror. His dad's car pulled away from the curb and followed him into the estate.

Garrison hit the button again, and the gate swung shut behind the white Mercedes. He pressed the second button on the switch and the garage bay where he parked the Avalon opened. Garrison pulled into the garage and closed the door behind him.

Remember Friday, Dad

There was a pedestrian exit from the garage Garrison could have used to go out and meet his father in the driveway. Garrison didn't use it. He went on into the house, got himself a tumbler of iced tea, and waited for his dad to ring the doorbell. Then he walked calmly to the front door and opened it.

Before his son could even say hello, Mr. Kaylor said, "You knew I was out here waiting, Garrison. Why didn't you just come and open the door for me?"

Garrison very respectfully replied, "You came to my house, Dad. Don't expect me to wait on you as if I'm the butler."

"I don't like your attitude, Garrison," Mr. Kaylor informed the younger Mr. Kaylor.

"I don't like you showing up unannounced on my doorstep and demanding entrance into my house," Garrison countered. "Yet, here we are."

"If your mother heard you talking to me like this -" Mr. Kaylor started.

Garrison cut him off, "She wouldn’t care a whit, and you know it."

Mr. Kaylor sputtered. Then he tried a different tack. "I didn't come here to argue with you, Garrison. I came here to tell you something. There's someone in the car I want you to meet. Promise you'll be on your best behavior."

Garrison stepped back from the door and said, "By all means, Father, bring her in."

Mr. Kaylor stepped toward the car and stopped. "How did you know the person is a she?" Then his lips pressed into a thin line, and he nodded. "Your mother, of course. Is that what you're mad about, Garrison? You feel slighted because I hadn't told you about Trina."

"Gee, Dad, what makes you think I'm mad? I would categorize my feelings on the matter of, what did you same her name was - Trina, as studied indifference."

Mr. Kaylor took a step toward Garrison. "You need to show some respect. Trina is your step-mother."

"No, Dad. You're at my house—the house grandpa left to me, not to you. If anyone needs to show some respect, it is you.

"And what do you mean your trophy wife is my step-mother? Huh! Not only was I not told of the engagement, but I wasn't even invited to the wedding.

"Whoever she is, Father, whatever she is, the woman who is now your wife is not my step-mother. Do not ask or expect me to treat her as such."

Mr. Kaylor's face grew red with rage. Garrison saw his opportunity to strike while his father's dander was up. "By the way, Dad, tell me about Rachel. You might remember her better as Friday."

Garrison's story continues in Chapter 28

© 2021 DW Davis