After they returned from their trip to Bridgeport, they had only been home for an hour when Dale changed to go to work at the hospital. Before he left, Alissa tried to talk with him about spending more time with the family. He had become angry.
Alissa hadn’t even mentioned their own relationship. She wanted him to consider their children first. She was trying to remain calm and not to become angry with him.
He left the house after that.
Faye noticed that Shawn kept looking at her. She laughed. “What is it Shawn? Do I have a zit that I didn’t see?”
Shawn swallowed hard. “I mean on a date.”
Faye looked shocked. “A date!” She was quiet for a few seconds, thinking of what he’d suggested.
“Shawn you’ve been my best friend for as long as I can remember. I don’t want that to change. If dating didn’t work out, you know we wouldn’t still be friends like we are now.”
Shawn was disappointed, but he agreed. Of course after that their relationship still changed. They tried for a while, but they were no longer as comfortable with each other. They felt awkward. They quit spending as much time together and talked less often.
A few weeks later, Faye walked down the corridor headed to her locker. She was shocked to see Shawn locking lips with Monet. She felt shaken. There was something sleazy about Monet and she didn’t want to see Shawn hurt. She didn’t admit it to herself, but she was also jealous although she had no right to be so.
Shawn smiled at her and then went to his next class.
Monet lingered in the hall with a satisfied smile on her face. Her plan was working like a charm. She thought back to her panic a few weeks ago, after she’d seen the positive on her home pregnancy test.
She wasn’t sure who the father was, but she knew that if it were either of the two guys she’d been sleeping with she was on her own. Neither of them would take responsibility and her father would throw her out of the house when he found out that she was pregnant. She had considered an abortion, but that’s when she had thought of Shawn. She’d set out to seduce him and it had worked.
Shawn was a decent guy, and he was cute. She knew that when she told him that she was pregnant and that it was his baby, he’d marry her. A paternity test wouldn’t matter because they would already be married. With his family’s money, it’d be nothing but the best for her for the rest of her life. Of course, she’d be saddled with a baby, but it’d be worth it.
“Tell Shawn that I’ll have to see him later at home. I have to go to the hospital. I have people waiting for me.”
“Mark, I’m thinking of resigning.”
Mark was very surprised. “It doesn’t matter whether or not he wants it. He’s not getting it. I guess you didn’t know, but his contract with the studio is about to run out. The studio won’t be renewing it. His rating numbers don’t even compare to yours! Is that why you’ve been doing so many more shows?”
After that conversation with Mark, Alissa went back to her old work schedule of two shows a month rather than one every week. However, in some ways it was too late for her family.
After the session with the students, Dale was in his office at the hospital working. It was after 6:00, but he hadn’t even noticed the time. Dr. Cortez walked in and took a seat opposite his desk. She was a new doctor who’d only been working at the hospital for a few months. She had changed into her street clothes. All the male doctors thought she was hot, but it was clear to everyone except Dale that she had her eye set on him.
“Dale you’re coming to dinner with me, and I won’t take no for an answer.”
Dale looked up at her in surprise. He hadn’t even noticed when she’d come into his office. Now that she had his attention, she slowly crossed her legs and leaned in closer to his desk, making sure that he had a view of her bosom.
This was a wake-up call for Dale. Was he giving off some type of signal that he was available? When he really thought about it, he hadn’t been behaving as though he were a happily married man and father. He couldn’t remember the last time when he’d even kissed Alissa or had really talked with her without it becoming an argument.
Dale ran his finger across his wedding ring. He had a beautiful wife whom he loved. If it wasn’t too late, he was going to prove that to her again.
Dale quickly gathered his things and left the hospital to go home.
“I can’t tell you Daddy. You’ll hate me.”
“I can’t promise that I won’t get upset, but I can promise that no matter what happens I will always love you and help you. You can tell me anything, Sweetheart.”
Cara cried even harder. She was thinking of what had happened earlier in the evening.
They’d done their homework, and then he’d started kissing her. She’d let him go further this time than she’d ever let any guy go before. Finally he’d started undressing her. Cara didn’t stop him. She was hoping that maybe she would finally feel something.
She liked Duncan more than the other guys, but even with him there was something missing. She felt no deep emotion. He’d stripped off his own clothes and then he went wild. He scared her. At the last moment she changed her mind. She felt nauseous.
“Did he try to force you?”
Cara told him what happened.
“Why did you let things go so far with him, Honey?”
“Mom met you when she was in high school and Sharlee met Noah in high school too. They both found the perfect guy for them. It just doesn’t seem to be happening for me. I don’t seem to feel anything like that for the guys that I date. All of the girls at school are crazy over Duncan. I think something is wrong with me because I don’t feel like that about anyone. I wish I hadn’t let things get so far. I feel so ashamed. I took a shower, but I still feel so yucky. I’m never sleeping with a guy.”
Dale felt many emotions pass through him. Sadness, disappointment, but mainly anger with himself. If he’d spent the time with Cara that she deserved, then she would have talked with him before this about how she was feeling, and she would not have come so close to giving herself to a boy who didn’t love and respect her.
“Cara, I am so sorry that this happened to you. When it’s the right person, at the right time, sleeping together is a wonderful experience. Most people don’t meet the person that they marry, their life partner, as teenagers. The fact that it happened to your mother is very rare. It didn’t happen to me as a teen.”
Dale intentionally didn’t mention Sharlee. He still wasn’t convinced that Noah was the right person for her.
“Even if you never meet someone special and get married, that doesn’t mean that you won’t be happy. A lot of people never marry and yet they lead full, contented lives. You will be a successful, famous photographer whether you have a man at home or not!”
Cara laughed and smiled.
Dale hugged her, and then he told her, “I love you, Cara, and I promise that I will be here for you from now on. I’m sorry that I’ve been out of touch for so long. If you ever want to talk to me about anything at anytime, please don’t hesitate. You are my beautiful, special baby girl!”
Dale’s stomach growled.
Cara got up and rushed upstairs to change.
Alissa had noticed that Cara’s car was in the garage, but not Shawn’s. She was surprised that he wasn’t there. However, she wasn’t surprised that Dale’s wasn’t there.
When Cara wasn’t in the house, Alissa wondered if she were on a date. It was time to keep a better check on her children’s activities like she used to do. She decided that now was the time to start. She called Cara on her cellphone.
When Cara answered, she sounded happy. Alissa realized that it had been a while since Cara had sounded that way and remembered her conversation with Sharlee. Alissa felt a stab of guilt that she had put her family in last place in her priorities for as long as she did.
“I’m with Daddy! He took me out to dinner.”
“Yes. He wants to speak with you.”
Alissa wasn’t sure where Shawn was either. She knew he didn’t have a game, but maybe he was out on a date too. She wasn’t sure of who either Shawn or Cara were dating. She decided to call him next. Her call went to his voice mail.
Thanks Jacqueline for letting me use your high school.
Thank you Maddie for letting me use Keri/Monet.
Val, thanks again for the Red Roof restaurant.