Episode 17 – Dad Comes Home
My eyes open…hear Dad downstairs. Shit! He’s coming up…down the hall…opens the door to my room…light pours in Azalea and I are wrapped in each others’ arms. I’m too freaked to move…shut my eyes, pretend to be out cold. Figure he’s gotta be shocked…to catch his pale, skinny fourteen-year-old in opulent, ebony arms. He curses under his breath…leaves. Know he’s massively pissed. I’ve never even dated before, so being caught naked in a girl’s arms is…like, huge!!! More than huge!!!
Takes me a while to settle down. Manage to distract myself thinking about Azalea and my dick’s christening…realize I suddenly jumped miles ahead of most kids! Glad to know we’re, like, compatible. Gotta try it to find out, right?
Fall back asleep enveloped by Azalea’s warm, cozy body…listening to her steady, even breathing. Want her to stay happy forever…just like we are now.
Next morning, I’m having this incredibly hot dream when Azalea prods me awake. “Wake up, Boner Boy, I hear somebody walking around. I think your dad’s here.”
“Yeah, I know. He looked in last night.”
“Are you serious? Then he knows about us.”
I nod. “Basically…don’t think he was overjoyed.”
“Did you speak to him?”
“No. I pretended to be asleep, but he cursed when he saw us.”
At that moment, there’s a soft knock at the door, and we pull up the sheet. “Yeah. Hi, Dad,” I say.
“Cornell, come down to the kitchen please.”
Azalea rolls her eyes. “Oooo, Baby, you’re definitely in trouble. I know that tone too well!”
“If I’m not back in ten minutes, call the undertaker. A plain coffin’s fine…nothing fancy.”
She laughs. “It won’t be that bad!” Gives me a big kiss. “Good luck, Baby.”
I pull on pajama bottoms and head out the door.
“Gus!” Azalea whispers…gives me thumbs up.
Downstairs, Dad’s seated at the kitchen table all jittery. Glances at me with this, like, really scornful look. “Cornell, what in the world is going on? Wednesday you were up tight about starting high school, wouldn’t sleep without pajamas…now I find you naked…with a woman. What the hell is going on? Did you you pay her to lose your virginity?”
I’m offended he thinks Azalea’s a prostitute or something. “No, Dad,” I say testily. “She’s my classmate and new girlfriend. We hit it off immediately…and get along great!!!”
I look closely at Dad, like I’m seeing him for the first time. His face looks pretty much the same, but I…like…see it differently. Still looks aristocratic…same high cheekbones, piercing blue eyes, but notice traces of make-up in his eyebrows which are plucked pencil thin…and his skin is like polished…unnatural…like he has no beard at all.
I do something I never do…talk back. “Don’t be so snotty, Dad. Azalea and I love each other…really.”
With a dramatic gesture, he says, “Me, snotty? I think you’re the one who’s acting snotty. Who gave you permission to bring girls home for sex?”
For some reason, I can’t stop seeing him as Maude…used to take stuff for granted…it was just him…but now I’m hyper-aware of everything. Dying to raise the transvestite issue, but it’s not like he’s going to tell me something different. It’s obviously true, and makes Dad seem like a total stranger. Why would he hide all that shit…constantly bullshit me about his gruelling days slaving over insurance by day, and theatre by night….hiding his life from me since I was born, but I’m definitely moving on…and he’s still the same liar.
“Cornell,” Dad’s saying. “I need to know what’s going on with you. Why did you skip school…and how in the world did you plunge deeply into a relationship…in less than a week? Your recent behavior is totally foreign to me. I’m stunned. You’ve always been such a quiet, conscientious boy, but now I’m dealing with frantic calls from school, sex, no communication…all without warning. I’ve got work to do…long, demanding days, and suddenly I’ve got a wild child on my hands. Do you know how discouraging that is?”
I give Dad and edited version of what happened…that Azalea invited me to her house, but her ex-con father showed up unexpectedly and chased us away, so we were out in the woods with no cell service, and no idea how to get home or to school. Okay, admittedly, my version leaves out some really major points like our clothes getting trashed, and being nude most of the time, but it’s enough to sound plausible.
Dad looks me in the eyes. “So, in the middle of all this, you just started having sex?”
At that moment, there’s the creak of footsteps, and Azalea appears wearing my robe. She walks up to Dad, flashes her sweet smile, says, “How do you do, Mr. Dodson. I’m Azalea Burdette, Gus’s girlfriend.”
Dad’s speechless, but I’m s-o-o-o proud of her…looks so cool and sophisticated, gigantic wrapped in my robe, and a lot older than me. Dad’s undoubtedly assuming she’s anything but a classmate.
“So, Azalea,” Dad says suspiciously, “you’re in 9th grade also?”
“Yes, sir. We met on Wednesday. I nicknamed him Gus.”
“Oh, I see. So, you and…uh…Gus hit it off right away?”
“Yes, sir. It was love at first sight.”
I chime in. “That’s exactly right, Dad.”
I feel like telling her to take it down a notch, but it’s true, so I go with it.
“Yup,” she continues, “I liked Gus instantly. First of all he’s tall, and cute, and second, he’s so friendly and open…didn’t have an attitude at all. You’ve raised him really well.”
A smile plays across Dad’s face. “Well, thank you, Azalea. That’s good to hear.”
I’m sure Dad’s wondering how he raised me so well if, at fourteen, I’m totally out of control…but he doesn’t say it.
We all sit and have breakfast. The whole time, Dad’s looking back and forth between us….I guess trying to get used to the idea that we’re actually dating (and more), and I’m looking back at him wondering why he likes to dress like a woman, and what people think when they discover he has a penis; although, I guess they know it already…right? Or do they? It seems like a waste of a perfectly good penis to act like a woman, but beyond that, I can’t get over the shock that Dad’s really a transvestite escort…like a prostitute. It’s s-o-o-o weird, but I guess there are worse things. He could be a mean, abusive person like Azalea’s dad, but it’s still hard to be proud of him when he’s…like…a transvestite insurance agent. That’s two strikes against you, right! When I thought he was just an agent and an actor, it was bad enough. Depending on who I talked to, I’d explain what he did. If it was an artistic person, I’d say an actor, but if it was a jock or rich person, I’d say a businessman.There aren’t going to be ANY people I tell he’s a transvestite escort…plus an insurance agent.
We finish breakfast…I decide not to bring up the Maude issue. It’s pointless and we’ll just get angry. What am I supposed to say? “Hey, Dad. For my sake, can you quit the transvestite job?” It hits me he’s working two careers and probably banking shitloads of money. Makes me wonder if we’re rich…it’s certainly news to me! Our house is nice, but definitely not lavish or super luxurious. Where does all the money go?
Basically, Dad and I keep our emotions under control. He’s eager for us to make the bus, especially since we missed the day before, and I’m worried too, because it’s a new grade and I’m already starting out with zeroes for any quizzes and homework.
My biggest challenge is Azalea has no clothes, and I’m definitely not explaining that whole saga to Dad, so we go to my room and try to dig up something…but, it’s hopeless because I’m skin and bones. Seems ridiculous we can’t find anything when Dad’s got a shitload of stuff down the hall. Suddenly, I have a brainstorm. Go downstairs and tell Dad Azalea’s clothes got torn, and ask him if he has an extra costume or something.
He’s intrigued. Rubs his chin. “Hmmm. Let’s see what I have. I’ll bring some things to your room.”
We go upstairs, and Dad comes to my door in like ten minutes holding a skirt with an elastic waist, and a couple of nice blouses. Azalea tries the stuff on, and looks really good. “Your daddy has an eye for fashion,” she says, checking herself in the mirror.
“You look awesome!” I tell her…then realize she’s got no shoes. Poke around…suddenly realize the perfect solution’s right under my nose…flip-flops.
“You’re a genius, Baby!” Azalea says, and we start kissing like mad which, no surprise, results in a humongous boner that’s, like, begging for attention. She laughs. “No way, Gussy! We’ve gotta make the bus.”
To be continued…Read next episode!