Redemptive: Ch. 10

My parents were waiting for me when I returned home from school.

I noticed my mother first, sitting on the couch next to my father, sipping a mug of tea while my father pretended to be reading the paper. I knew he was pretending because he was wearing his reading glasses which he only wore when he wanted to present himself as more sophisticated and knowledgable. They were a staple on their television show, but he almost never wore them around the house.

“There you are,” my mother said, smiling.

I noticed her lipstick was smeared around her lips a bit as she smiled tightly at me. My father set down his paper on the coffee table in front of him, and nodded toward the leather chair left open across from them. I sighed, and took the seat, setting my bookbag on the table, and hoping this wouldn’t be as torturous as I was expecting. Would they ground me? Lecture me? Ban Ty from spending the night?

“How was school?” my father asked.

“Fine,” I said.

“Just fine?” my father asked, feigning a concerned expression.

I sighed again. “I know this conversation isn’t just about school, and I have a study group I need to prepare for.”

My parents exchanged a look, and I rolled my eyes.

“Well, would you like to tell us why you decided to break the rules last night?” my mother asked.

“It wasn’t really a decision,” I said. “We were both really tired, and accidentally fell asleep in the same bed. We didn’t mean to break the rules. It just happened.”

“You know, Camille, most pregnancies are explained the same way. ‘It just happened’ is pretty dangerous territory,” my father said, and I cringed.

“Can we not have the safe sex talk again? Please?” I asked.

My mother shifted in her seat and leaned forward a little. If there hadn’t been a coffee table between us, I’m sure she would have tried to make some sort of physical contact. It was a way to appeal to your conversation partner’s sympathies during a confrontation. I’d seen it on their show years ago. I wondered if my parents knew their tactics were pointless to use on me. 

“We’re worried about you, Camille. We trusted you to follow the rules we set in place for your own health and safety, and then we came home this morning to find that you had broken that trust,” my mother said.

“We know you probably didn’t mean to, so we’re trying to understand your intentions so maybe we can come up with a solution for the future,” my father added.

I rolled my eyes. “Like what?”

They exchanged another look, and I grit my teeth.

“Perhaps you could give us some ideas?” my father said.

“It won’t happen again,” I said. “I promise.”

Another look. It always aggravated me when my parents had these silent conversations with each other right in front of me.

“Well, Camille, ordinarily we would believe you, but after this morning, we’re going to need more evidence that you can be trusted,” my mother said.

“Seriously? Then what do you want me to say? Or do?” I asked.

“We just want to know that you are safe. We’re not trying to make you defensive. We’re just telling you how we feel, and hoping we can come up with a solution to ease our worry about the future,” my father said.

“Like what? I don’t have any ideas. I don’t have time for this. I have a lot going on right now, and I really don’t want to have this conversation. So just tell me what the solution is you’re looking for, and let’s get over it already!”

Another look. I was about ready to start pounding my fists on the table. Ordinarily, I’d let my parents go through their process of punishment only mildly irritated. But I had much more important things to do and think about. Like coming up with my argument to convince Ty to let me go through with my plan. And a believable, bulletproof story should my parents decide not to let me see Ty. Which I’d have to come up with anyway if Ty agreed to my plan. Nobody would be able to know we were still together. Especially my parents.

“Camille, is there something you need to talk about? What’s going on?” my mother asked, wrinkling her forehead in concern.

I crossed my arms over my chest, and leaned back in my seat. I couldn’t tell them my plan. It would ruin everything. They wouldn’t agree with it, and would spend all their time trying to talk me out of it. They wouldn’t understand. But I also couldn’t lie to them. Not yet. Not before I had Ty’s approval.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” I said, avoiding eye contact.

“Camille, honey, if something’s wrong, you need to tell us. Perhaps we can come up with a solution to whatever is bothering you so much,” my mother said.

“Can we do this another time? Please? I really need to get ready for my study group. I don’t want to fail my project. I need to focus. I don't have time for this.”

They exchanged another look, and I hoped it would be their final silent exchange for the evening.

“Your mother and I would like to come up with at least one solution before we allow you to leave, but since you seem so distressed right now, if you don’t think you can help us come up with a solution we will agree to pick this conversation back up tomorrow morning before school. We’ll wake you up before we leave for our morning show. Does that sound fair?” my father asked.

I clenched my fists and then released them. “Fine. Wake me up before school. I need to go now.”

My father stood up. “Okay. You’re free to go. But please think of a solution so we don’t have to rush tomorrow, okay?”

I stood up. “Okay.”

My father hugged me, and then my mother stood up and hugged me too. “We love you, Camille. Remember that. We only want what’s best for you.”

“I know. I love you too. Now I really need to go.”

I left as soon as I was released.

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