CHAPTER FORTY ONE
Two Different Worlds
Silence like this, silence so utterly unsettling...so incredibly choking, has never occurred between dad and I. But as I sit in the front seat, my hands shaking and my eyes facing only forward, I know...I know that this situation was about to spin out of control.
We veer off the main street, making it to the front gates of the drive way. I look up at the house and see that the lights were still on, even though it was well past two thirty in the morning.
Dad parks, slams his door shut, and heads inside...whilst I am still in the process of getting off my seat belt. My heart pounds, I know...I know that mum still had to be awake. That knowing the situation, she would be perched at the kitchen island with her bottle of Merlot, sipping tediously from her glass.
My legs wobble as I approach the door, opening it and stepping in only to hear, "I found her."
I peek into the kitchen to see mum, her hair a mess and still in pajamas, with her face in what was a mixture of shock and relief, "Thank God." She gets up to wrap her arms around me as dad heads to the stairs.
"Where were you, baby? We were worried sick." She pulls away and looks at me up and down. Dad stops. He doesn't turn around, but he doesn't continue.
"She was at Niall's house, Edie. At Niall's house, alone, at two in the bloody morning."
Mum's face pales, "You were where?" Her voice is tiny, her eyes start to water.
"Our daughter was at his house, half naked and wearing his bloody jumper." He sighs.
"Emma." She whispers.
"Mum, I'm alright."
"Yes, we know you're alright. You seemed perfectly comfortable with him." Dad replies rather bitterly.
Mum simply looks at him, not quite yet understanding what had happened.
"That isn't fair." I say looking straight at him. He ignores me, turning and attempting to go up the stairs.
But he stops, he shakes his head without facing us,"Life is not fair, Emma. How do you expectsme to believe that this is real? That you're doing the right thing?"
"I am doing the right thing. What I did was not something bad. It's something two people do when they're in love."
"That isn't love, Emma." His voice is firm, unlike before. And it scares me. It scares me to think that he could say that without any type of emotion, that he says it just as if it were a fact.
"Why is it not love, dad?" Mum grabs my wrist, pleads with me silently to stop talking, but I ignore her. "Is it wrong because you think it is? It's not love because you can't see past the fact that it's Niall I am in love with?"
"He's not the man for you Emma. I know that you idolized him, fancied him...that you've loved him since long ago...that maybe your feelings for him are something you've confused...but Emma, why can't you see that this isn't right?"
"Please dad. Please tell me why this isn't right. Give me a good reason."
He stays silent.
"Dad? Why is it so bad?"
He turns around, facing me with his swampy brown eyes and his red face, "Niall was supposed to take care of you Emma. He knew, he knew that you had feelings for him and he's taking advantage of that, baby. Why can't you understand? You're so young, so gorgeous. You could have anyone you want. Why does it have to be him? He raised you, Emma. He cared for you! It's like me fancying Janice! I'm bloody sure you wouldn't approve of that! So why is thatany different from this?"
"I love him. I always have. Regardless of age, dad. He's always loved me. Always."
"But he doesn't love you. This proves it! This whole situation! If he did, he wouldn't have accepted this! He wouldn't have allowed-"
"Allowed for me to be with him? Allowed for himself to accept his feelings?"
"He would have done the right thing, Emma. He would have been the fucking adult he should have been."
"No, Emma. I'm sick of repeating myself, I bloody am. I don't know how else to say this to you, but I get the feeling that you won't care regardless of what I say." He exhales, turning around and facing the stairs once more. "So do whatever you want, Ems. After tonight...there's not much I can protect you from. There's nothing I can say that will change your mind."
He goes up the first three steps before saying, "I'm just so disappointed in both of you. I thought so highly of Niall, I never would have thought...and you. My baby girl. I wish I could stop you from doing such a foolish thing. I wish I could just protect you from the world."
He turns back slightly, curls in his eyes,"But you won't let me anymore. So go ahead. Do as you please."
As he walks up the stairs, I could literally feel it.
The distance between us much larger, as vast as I could ever have imagined, leaving us in two completely different worlds.
For the first time in my life, I realize now, I am the furthest from my father I have ever been.
And the scariest part wasn't the fact that there was this grand span of space between us, no.
It was the fact that I didn't know the way back to him.