Cutting her off, I say, “Trust me, Mom. If you knew what he did . . .” I sigh. “Just trust me on this. Me making him worry is nothing compared to what he deserves.” Dee nods emphatically and gives me a thumbs-up as she chews a massive mouthful of pancakes.
“Okay, sweetie. Whatever you want. I’ll make sure Dad knows. And remember, if you need anything . . . money, whatever, you just call, okay?”
“Okay. I love you, Mom.”
“Love you too, honey. And Dee too. I’ll talk to you later.”
I hang up the phone and slouch in my seat. “Jesus.”
Dee chuckles. “I hope Brady gives himself a brain aneurysm or something.”
“We don’t hope he dies!”
She smirks at me, clearly amused with herself. “Don’t we?”
I ignore her and check my texts. More of the same. “I need to tell him something or I’m afraid he’s going to call the police and file a Missing Persons or something.”
Dee pulls her phone from her purse and scoffs at the missed calls and texts Brady left her. She starts typing, and I nervously ask what she’s doing.
“Responding to his text. Like he asked me to. Because I’m nice.”
I waste no time diving into her bench seat, looking to see what she’s typing.
You know what you did. We know what you did. Fess up and maybe she’ll consider talking to you again.
Okay, that’s not so bad. I feel relieved, but then I watch as she hits RETURN a few times and quickly adds:
lol, that last part was a lie. EAT DICK, DOUCHEBAG.
She presses send before I can stop her, and I bang my forehead against the table. “I can’t believe you just did that.”
“Are you gonna eat your bacon?”
I groan and slide back into my seat, gnawing on a piece of bacon. If I don’t eat it soon, she’ll steal it from my plate and we both know it. “Did he say anything back yet?” I stuff another piece into my mouth.
She checks her phone. “Nothing.”
But when I check mine, there’s a brand new text.
Baby, come home. Let’s talk about this.
I show Dee and then turn my phone all the way off again. “Well, at least we know he won’t be calling the cops.”
“What’d I tell ya?” she says, grinning as she points a fork full of pancakes at me. “I’m nice.”
ON MONDAY, DEE and I wake up early to drive to my old apartment building. She turns into the lot out front, but then I’m immediately grabbing at the wheel, frantically yelling at her to turn around.
She crinkles her nose at Brady’s silver Cobalt. “What the hell is his car still doing here?”
“Turn around!” My hands scramble over hers as the car swerves into a sharp U-turn, and then we’re kicking up gravel as we skid back onto the road.
I melt into my seat, my nerves completely fried, while Dee looks at me like I’ve completely lost my mind. “He must have taken off work.” I sigh. “He probably knows I’ll come to pick up my car.”
He left me more messages than I could count yesterday, and I read every single one of them. Not one mentioned that he was a cheating pig, so I didn’t bother responding. I know he’s trying to figure out exactly how much I know, which tells me he’s not ready to come clean. And even if he is, he can kiss my ass.
Dee rolls her window down and props her elbow on it. “I say we go pick it up one night while he’s sleeping. Then we can slash his tires and key his car as a parting gift.”
“Fine,” I say, still wondering how many secrets Brady has kept from me over the years. When Dee’s surprised expression snaps in my direction, I rush to add, “To the picking it up at night, Dee! I told you, we’re not slashing his anything.”
She grumbles. “I can’t be held responsible for my actions.”
“Story of my life.”
She giggles at me, and I lay my head back against the headrest.
“Are you nervous about your first class?” I ask after I get tired of watching the high-rises pass us by.
Dee shakes her head. “Nope, I’m excited! I bet it’ll be filled with hot college guys.” In Dee’s world, I wonder if not-hot college guys even exist. “What about you? Nervous?”
“You should’ve signed up for the same classes as me!”
My expression says, really? “Your first class is biology.” I say the word like it’s poison.
“Yours is French.”
“French 201,” I correct. “And anyway, I’ll see you for speech and American history.”
“We have speech at twelve thirty, right?” I laugh and tell her we do. “And history right after?”
“No, history is tomorrow. Jesus, Dee, what are you going to do without me?”
“Get lost somewhere on campus. Cry a little. Have some hot college guy try to comfort me. Then he’ll agree to show me to my next class, but somehow we’ll end up back at his fraternity house and—”
“You’re going to miss our turn,” I say flatly, cutting her off.
“Shit!” Dee squeals the car into the college entrance, and I grip the door handle and dashboard for dear life. When she parks the car, I sit there waiting for the past eighteen years to stop flashing before my eyes.
“We’re here!” she chirps way too peppily, like she didn’t almost just kill us both. “But we’re super early.”