Eight Years Earlier - Dave
Exiting my cherry-red Audi, I tuck my keys in the tight front pockets of my tailored slacks. The car was my sixteenth birthday present, but I think my parents only got it for me to use as leverage at times like these. I wish I’d had time to change out of my sucky school uniform, but Dad insisted that I head straight to his office for work after school. No exceptions.
If either of my parents had any inclination to actually take part in my life, I wouldn’t have my keys right now. After all, my dad demanded my punishment. You’d think he’d follow through and bring me to work himself. But it’s easier to leave me with my car and then freak out if I’m even a second late walking through the doors.
Two days ago, the day started out like any regular Saturday in the Taylor household – Mom shopping, Dad holed up in his home office, and me looking at porn and giving my right hand a good workout.
Only this time the porn was gay porn, because I was curious to see if I find both kinds interesting. For the record, I do. Then my dad barged in, waving his phone, screaming about internet nannies and homosexuals and no-son-of-mines. The duck-and-cover that happened in a matter of milliseconds would have been impressive, if it weren’t for the laptop still up and running, and the guy getting his hole dicked moaning in the background.
My teenagehood has officially become a movie cliché.
It also didn’t help that I still had a hangover from my friend Sawyer’s party the night before. I was too blitzed to remember much, except for live chickens that scratched the fuck out of my arm when I helped Sawyer carry them to his neighbor’s back yard. Now that I think about it, I’m not so sure they actually belonged to his neighbor. Either way, it will be weeks before I get to hang out with Sawyer again, since I’m grounded.
My father, in his infinite wisdom, decided that forcing me to stay glued to his side by working on his re-election campaign would nip any burgeoning curiosities in the bud. Obviously, the only reason I’m bi-curious is because I’m bored. Nothing a little campaigning on family values won’t stomp out of me.
When I make it past the elevator and through the heavy wooden double doors that lead to his office suite, I expect to be greeted by his assistant, Kimberly, but the front desk sits empty. Not wanting to get yelled at by my dad, I continue on past the break room and copier room. There’s a small library that smells like musty old books, even though I know for a fact you can get all of the same information through a website subscription. Dad is nothing if not old school.
At the very farthest door from the lobby, a gold, embossed name plate highlights the door like a flashing neon sign advertising “Douchebag Works Here.” Only instead it reads, Judge Steven S. Taylor.
I hear the noises at the exact moment my hand has already turned the doorknob, which is not enough warning to keep my eyes from the sight of Kimberly’s boobs spilling out of her lacy red bra as she bounces in my dad’s lap. I will forever be haunted by my dad’s sex face.
I slam the door behind me and stalk back to my car. I have no idea what kind of chaos I set off back at his office, and I have no interest in waiting to find out. I’m home before I even remember driving there, and storm past my very confused mother, straight to my room.
“Dave, I thought you were supposed to be working with your father today?” she asks through my locked door.
“Change of plans.”
She doesn’t try again after that, thankfully, but about twenty minutes later a rougher rattling of my doorknob lets me know my father is home.
“Open the door, David. We need to talk.”
“About what? The massive hypocrisy of your ‘family values’ campaign or the hypocrisy of me being punished for masturbating while you’ve been dicking your secretary?”
“Open the door, now,” Dad says in a growl that demands action.
I still have to live here, and that tone of voice usually means I’m about to lose one of the few objects I hold dear, so I give in. He pushes through the narrow opening and immediately shuts the door behind him.
“You will tell no one about what you saw today, do you understand me?”
I roll my eyes, and a hand clamps down on my wrist and tightens until the skin burns. My eyes involuntarily fill with tears.
“Do you understand me?”
“No,” I say, mostly because I lack impulse control, but also because I’m right. I’m tired of my dad making me feel like I’m some stupid teenager who doesn’t understand right and wrong, when clearly, I understand the difference better than he does. “I think Mom would be very interested to know what I saw.”
“Your mother and I have an arrangement,” he says, looking pained. “But it would kill her if she found out about your extracurricular interests. That, and I’m sure you would have a very sad senior year if you were grounded for the remainder of it.”
“You’re blackmailing me?”
“You can’t blackmail your own son. But you sure as fuck can discipline him. Keep your mouth shut. Deliver the speeches that I have written for you at campaign events. Do that, and your grounding is over. Your senior year will continue on like normal.”
Dad leaves as quickly as he arrived, and I re-lock the door behind him.
“Dave’s not feeling well,” I hear my dad inform my mom. The volume of his voice tells me they’re at the end of the hall and not by my door. She must have been waiting there, and as much as I threatened it, I hope she didn’t hear our argument. I don’t buy for a second that they have an arrangement, and I don’t want to be the one to cause her any pain. “He won’t be joining us for dinner.”
I release a shaky breath and slump against my door. Are all adults this fucking hypocritical, or is it only my family?