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    Family Breakfast

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    elanya
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    Family Breakfast

    Post by elanya on 27/07/13, 07:41 pm

    Family Breakfast

    “Dad, can I buy a suit?”

    Nathan looked up from pouring his coffee and over at his daughter.

    “A suit?”

    “Yeah.  To wear to homecoming.”

    He blinked - this was the first he’d heard that she’d had any interest in attending the dance - or any high school dance.  In fact, up until now all he’d been hearing was how lame it was, how stupid it was going to be, how generally awful and pathetic.  The again, he’d been noticing lots of shifts in Lilith’s social life lately.  “You want to go to homecoming, sweetie?”

    “Well, no, not really.  But I told Addie I would.”

    “Isn’t Addie going with David?”  This was a development he’d heard all about, at least.

    “Yeah, but David’s kind of a dumbass.”  Lilith scowled, stabbing her spoon into her cereal with extra vigor.  “So, like, she needs backup  I don’t wanna just send her in there with all those people with just *David*.”

    He smiled at that - that sounded more like the girls he knew. “Okay.  I hope she appreciates it at least.”

    “Well, once she stopped being an idiot about it, anyway.  Ugh - she thought I needed a date, so she tried to make David find someone and just... ugh.”

    That certainly sounded like high school, though he was a little surprised at Addie, and raised his eyebrows.  “But you got things straightened out?”

    “Yeah.”  Lil shrugged but didn’t elaborate.  “But - can I get a suit?”

    Suits were expensive, but so, he imagined, were formal dresses.  He tried to remember when homecoming even was - he guessed soon, from the way the topic had been flying around the house in various stages.  And Lil had been debating about wearing her pyjamas to school on the assigned day of homecoming week, or of dressing up fancier in explicit defiance of school spirit.  “Of course, sweetie, if you can find something you like.”

    “I’ll probably have to get a guy’s one, and then Addie and I can alter it.”  She took another bite of her cereal, and Nathan nodded.  He’d been letting her buy her own clothes since middle school - buying girls’ clothes was still sort of a mystical process for him, but as far as he understood she mostly bought things off the internet.

    “I’ll put some money on your card then.”  After some quick googling to determine what was a reasonable amount, and what he could afford.  “Have you looked into renting at all?”

    “Well,” she started again, a stubborn look in her eye, “if I get a nice one I can probably wear it lots of other times.”

    “I’ll see what we can do, Lil, but it is kind of last minute isn’t it?”

    “Yeah, well... still, a nice black suit.  People have to carry those like, all the time, right?”

    He couldn’t help smiling, despite the part of his brain that was in constant doubt about his parenting skills.  Of course, black.  “Probably,” he admitted.  “You can look through my ties and such and see if there is anything you want to borrow.”

    Lilith’s eyes lit up.  “Can I borrow the skull one?”

    He owned several with skulls, but he was pretty sure he knew which one she meant - black on black with a subtle matte design he could get away with wearing to work.  “If you like - I have some older ones you might like too.”

    “Okay, I’ll have a look later, maybe when Addie comes over, unless we go shopping today.”

    Nathan nodded, making a mental note to make sure his room was relatively straightened up before he left for work, and that there wouldn’t be anything embarrassing for them to find in his closet.  Hopefully they wouldn’t want to pry too much, but with teenagers it was probably better not to take the chance.  “I’ll be at work late tonight, so you’ll be on your own for dinner.  There should be some things in the freezer, or some leftovers.”

    “Can we order something?”  She looked hopeful, but he was trying to get back in the habit of cooking meals at home, if only because he was starting to get sick of the few take-out places in Ashland already.

    His eyebrows went back up.  “How nice a suit do you want?”

    “Fine, dad, we’ll scavenge.”  She sighed, pushing the last few bites of cereal around in the lake of sugary milk.  “Can I have some money to get my hair cut for homecoming, too?”

    “You mean styled?”  That was something girls did for these sorts of dances, he recalled.  That must be what she meant.

    “Well, I was thinking of getting it all cut short.”  She’d put down her spoon while she was finishing her juice, and made some vague angled waves along the side of her head to her chin.  “It just kind of hangs there now, you know?”

    Lilith had kept her long hair since she was a little girl.  She’d been born with a mess of it, to Andrea’s delight, black and thick and straight.  ‘Probably from your side of the family,’ she’d said, beaming.  She’d always kept hers dyed.  They’d talked about dressing her as Wednesday Adams - he’d done it for Hallowe’en one year, with the braids and all, and Lil had been delighted.  His little girl had always had long hair...  “Short?”

    “It’s just hair dad,” she retorted in her most derisive tone. “I can grow it back if I don’t like it.”

    It was just hair, and it was her hair at that.  Nathan sighed, nodding.  “I know, sweetie.  It’s just a big switch.”  He attempted a smile.  “I hope I can recognize you after.”

    Lilith roller her eyes, sticking out her tongue.  “Ugh, daaaad..”

    “Okay, okay...”  He took a long sip of his coffee.  “Set up an appointment, and let me know how much it is going to be.”

    She frowned thoughtfully.  “I guess I can ask, like, Cecelia or Madison where to go...”  She paused, he assumed to consider which of these two new friends might know better about local hair salons since she usually trimmed hers herself, or had him do it.  When she continued a few moments later her tone was a lot more pensive than the issue of haircuts likely deserved.  “Dad, are you lonely?”

    “What?”

    Lilith shifted in her chair uncomfortably.  “I mean like...  you haven’t been out with anyone since we moved here, and like, I know you’re friends with Mr. Carpenter and stuff, but like...  Back home - I mean, back in Redding, you had, like, family, and your music friends...”  She trailed off, not going so far as to actually mention the few women he’d ever tried dating - the ones who’d gotten to met her who she’d all unequivocally detested.

    It was not a conversation he was prepared to have.  “What?”  he repeated.  “I mean...  they’re not that far away, Lil - it’s only a few hours.  Graham and Rachel are talking about coming up for a bit around Thanksgiving, even.  And I still talk to my ‘music friends’ all the time.”  He’d made some new ones as well, through some of the local online networks, though he hadn’t been able to meet up with them much as yet.  

    “That wasn’t really what I meant.  I mean, that’s cool, if Uncle Graham and Aunt Rachel come.  But I mean like...  I know, I’ve been kind of a b...brat about it.  But I don’t want you to be lonely.”

    Nathan let out a long breath.  “Thank you, sweetheart.  I appreciate that.  It’s just about time to get you to class, isn’t it?  Have you got your stuff ready?”

    Lilith gave him a hard look, but she didn’t press him now.  It really was almost time to leave for school, and she gathered up her dishes, taking them to the kitchen to put away and grab her lunch.

    What had brought this on, he wondered.  Was it because she was making more friends here, now?  Something else?  Addie’s new boyfriend, maybe?  He didn’t know how to explain things to her right now - how getting the job out of town before she’d started high school in Redding had been a relief, even if it meant moving closer to and resuming any contact with Andrea’s parents.  How it was still strange and a little unsettling to think that Lilith was the same age now that Andrea had been when they’d first met.  How many stupid things, stupid high school things, like homecoming dances, dredged up memories he thought he’d set aside, finally, years ago.  It was hard to manage his memories, and still keep an eye out for their daughter.

    It wasn’t that he thought she would find herself in the same situation that he and her mother had - he’d raised her smarter, he hoped.  But  the older, the more independent, she got, the more worried he became for her, that something would happen to her too.  That something would take her away from him.  It was hard not to give in to his paranoia and to let her be the fierce young woman she’d grown to be.

    He was contemplating whether he ought to start seeing a shrink again if it got any worse, or at least talk to his doctor about upping or changing his meds, when Lil burst back into the kitchen, book bag slung over her shoulder.

    “Come on, dad!  I’m going to be late!”

    He smiled, setting down his mug and grabbing his keys and phone instead.  “Yes, we know how much you’d hate that...”  Nathan followed his daughter out the door, hoping for the moment to leave his concerns behind with his cooling coffee.

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