Protecting Her
Author:Allie Everhart

I flip to a sports channel. There’s a baseball game on. That’s another thing I’m going to do. Take Garret to baseball games. My father never took me to one, but I still went to games with people I knew from school.

I attended a private prep school with other very wealthy students. Some of them had fathers who were members. My friends were chosen for me by my parents. I didn’t particularly like these friends, but having them in my life allowed me to do activities my parents had no interest in, such as going to ball games in New York. Or sometimes we’d meet up and play football. I played football in high school and my father never even asked me how I learned to play. He doesn’t like sports so I was surprised he even let me be on the team. But he said it made me appear to be well-rounded, which would be good for my image. Of course, he never went to a game and neither did my mother.

There were no father-son activities when I was growing up. I had to teach myself how to do things. There was a time during my teen years that my father became so busy with work that he basically forgot I existed. I used that time to my advantage, doing things he’d never allow me to do if he were paying attention. That’s when I discovered girls and alcohol. The alcohol came first, which gave me the courage to talk to girls. It didn’t take long before I was drinking way too much, and by 15, I was having sex. I hid all of this from my father until one of the members caught me passed out drunk in my car with a half-naked girl.

When my father found out, he beat me. He took me outside and hit me repeatedly in a fit of rage. I wanted to fight back but he had his gun on him, so I just waited for him to finish. His anger wasn’t because I was drinking or with a girl. It was because I was caught by a fellow member, and that member told the other members, which embarrassed my father. My behavior made it look as though he didn’t have control over me, and he couldn’t stand the idea that people were saying he’d lost control of his son.

I was 16 at the time. After that incident, he kept a much closer eye on me. I didn’t drink again until I was in college. And the girls I dated in high school were all picked by my father. I didn’t actually date them. I escorted them to the events I was forced to go to with my parents. Sixteen was also the age my father told me about Dunamis, thus ending my childhood.

“I will never treat you that way,” I say quietly to Garret. “I will never be like him.” I lean down and kiss his forehead. “I love you. And I promise you, I will never be like him.”





CHAPTER THREE


3


PEARCE

The doorbell rings. I notice the clock says it’s a half hour later. I must’ve dozed off. I get up, with Garret in my arms, and go answer the door.

When I open it, my mother is standing there. She’s wearing a white cotton blouse and black dress pants. That’s casual for her. Usually she’s in a dress or a suit.

“Hello, Mother.”

She stares at my face like she hasn’t seen me in years. The last time I saw her was at a party, before Rachel was pregnant, so it’s been a while. And we didn’t speak at that party. She and my father ignored me.

“Hello, Pearce.” She says it slowly and quietly, which is different than her usual short, forceful speech pattern. She looks somewhat sad and regretful. It’s almost as though she feels bad for disowning me, which is odd because if she did feel that way, she’d usually try to hide it.

“Come inside.” I step aside to let her in, and as I do, she notices Garret in my arms.

She instantly smiles, her eyes on him. “Can I see him?”

“Of course.” I turn him toward her. “This is Garret. Your grandson.”

She moves the blanket that’s around his head and just looks at him.

“Would you like to hold him?” I ask.

She glances up at me. “Yes.”

I hand him to her and she smiles at him. “He looks just like you.”

It’s true. At first I didn’t see it, but the more I look at him, the more I see the resemblance. But he definitely has Rachel’s eyes.

“Why don’t you sit down?” I motion her to the couch.

She nods and goes over to it. Once she’s seated, she glances around the room. “So how do you like the house?”

“I like it very much.” I hope she doesn’t start telling me what a mistake I made buying it. We’ve had that fight and I’m not going to relive it. But I don’t think she’s here to fight. I think she really wants to help. I wonder what my father said about this. I’m sure he wasn’t happy about it.

“You’re wearing denim pants.” I notice her eyeing them with disapproval. My parents never allowed me to wear jeans. What my parents consider to be casual pants are what most people would consider to be dress pants. This is the first time my mother has seen me in jeans.

“I wear jeans sometimes when I’m around the house.” I also sometimes wear them when I go out, but I can’t tell her that. She’d be horrified.

The baby squirms and fusses.

“Would you like me to take him?” I ask.

“He’ll be fine.” She bounces him a little. “Have you fed him yet?”

“No, but it is time for his feeding.”