(A/N: Sorry it’s been so long, I’ve been away at weekends and making some changes to my outline for this generation. Update schedule is now irregular, i.e. whenever I can update, most likely until the end of June, due to having big exams coming up.)
Carson had emailed me last night, said he wanted to see me, after I finished teaching my morning class. I hoped it would be good…pay rise? I had been there a while. Any career success was good… and my aunt would love that, not that it mattered. And I would too. My jobs were important to me. After years of short friendships and shorter relationships, I finally got a very nice constant in my life. That and Clarissa, but if she was my only constant…well, that wouldn’t be much fun.
My class went well, as always. It was always nice to have people saying great class, thanks and see you next week, I can’t wait. Often, they did show up, week after week. People who had been showing up for nearly two years, since I was nineteen and very new, and nervous. Back then I didn’t know how great my job would be…how nice and almost comforting it was. I kind of needed it. Losing the damn thing would kill my income, and then I’d just have…nothing.
“Sarai.” Carson didn’t look happy. Fuck. “We greatly appreciate the work you do here, but I need to warn you – please stop fraternising with our clients in a…romantic way.” He snorted. “It’s unprofessional. And well, none of it lasts very long.” Too true.
“You’re a popular instructor but doing this…well, you’re well aware of the consequences. I’m warning you – stop or we’ll let you go.”
I froze. My heart sped up and there was an unpleasant pit in my stomach. “Carson-” Fuck, why do you do this, you sad little career-ruining bitch?
“That’s all – don’t look like that, I’m not firing you. But you may find yourself on thin ice if you don’t shape up. Now get out of my office.”
Sarai, you stupid skank. I rubbed my temples as I left the gym. Now I would have to search at bars. Or online dating. I didn’t know which was worse. Or you could stop…but I was roommate-less and living with my aunt. I’d have literally no-one.
“What was that work thing you were talking about? Did you book some modelling job?” Clarissa asked, all snotty and dismissive, when I got home. “Or, better yet, did you do something useful?” she barked in a sarcastic tone.
“Nothing important, and no.”
“OK, fine.” she muttered. “Your father’s coming over.”
I took a deep breath, ready to scream something at her…but in the end no words came out.
My dad, Caden Parker, had always been and still remained a real piece of shit. He up and left my mother when I was a baby; since then, he’d been in and out of my life…reappearing to take me to lunch and ask me how my life was going every few years.
Last time though…
…sure I’ll come over.
Thanks…I mean, Clarissa can’t.
Don’t worry, kiddo, I’ll be there.
It’s not every day you turn eighteen.
I wouldn’t miss it for the world.
Clarissa had left the room. I wanted to shout why after her, but I held my tongue. It’s not like she would listen.
After all, she wasn’t there on my eighteenth, and she didn’t know how bad it felt when he didn’t show up. It was fucking dumb, because why should I have expected anything different, wasn’t I old enough to know my dad’s shit? Despite that I sat in my room and stared at the wall the whole night. And the next morning I tried to bring it up, but all she could say was college, college, you’re going to college, Sarai, deadlines are soon…
I didn’t even get ‘Happy Birthday’ from anyone.
I didn’t want to see my fucking dad! And I was pretty damn sure she knew that. Yet she let him come over here, for what reason? Fuck, this was the worst day.
I could have just hidden or gone out – Perry just texted me and he seemed kinda interested. For some reason though, I stuck around, even changed into something halfway nice. Maybe I just wanted to hear his excuse for being a shit dad all my life…so I could laugh at it, and tell him to fuck off. That had to be it. I didn’t think anything great or life-changing would come from this.
…And there was the door.
I went out to meet him, and we stood around awkwardly in the hallway for a few seconds, until…
“Sarai.” Dad – no, Caden – nodded at me. “Good to see you.”
I narrowed my eyes. “What do you want? It’s been three years-”
“I know, and I’m sorry. It’s been a busy time.” That was it…that was all? I didn’t even want to look him in the face, so I studied the carpeting. “Got a new job…split with Ria. But you don’t want to hear about that, do ya? C’mon, tell me how everything’s going. You’re still at college?”
“It’s April and I’m here…so no. I dropped out a couple years ago.”
“Why’s that? You were always such a smart kid.” It’s not like he’d know.
“Wasn’t enjoying it. I’ve got a couple jobs though…”
“That’s my girl. Hardworking, like…well, tell me what you’re doing.”
“Yoga teaching. Two different gyms. And fitness modelling. Sometimes.” I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. “OK, can we cut the bullshit?” I wasn’t sure where that came from, but I was glad I said it. Absent fathers don’t just appear for no reason at all, and I wanted to know what the fuck kind of ulterior motive he was here for. “What do you want?”
Caden didn’t even care enough to at least try and make a defence. I almost started to tear up, but I swallowed. I was not going to be affected by him. “Just tell me. What do you want?”
“Well, I’ve heard you’re doing well…financially… and, y’know, Ria has our son, and the breakup’s been tough – listen, Sarai, I’m in a bit of a rough spot-”
At that point I saw red; something snapped within me. “Get the hell out! Get the fuck out! Fuck you! This isn’t how it works! I’m not giving you money! I’m your daughter, or at least I’m supposed to be – you – you missed my eighteenth, and you were never – just leave! Leave!”
And I was dumb enough to think he was even going to give me an apology, or an excuse…or something…
To his credit, he did so. I wasn’t going to see him again. And another one bit the dust. It’s not like finally kicking my fucking deadbeat father out of my life for good would make a huge difference, he was never there anyway…but the second he got in the elevator I started feeling kind of alone.