Final exams were over for Izzy and me and soon we would graduate from high school. For me, it would be a blessing because high school was just one big popularity contest that I was losing from the moment I walked through the doors and started talking about my Blicblock high scores.
Usually, I’m good at passing exams with ease but that last one had one too many trick questions which left me feeling burnt out. Izzy was as carefree as usual, not really caring too much about exams because she planned on being an entertainer and felt like she didn’t need algebra and calculus to succeed in that career. I on the other hand needed to love those to subjects in order to pursue my chosen career as a scientist.
After such a long day I was starving but when we entered the kitchen there was no hot lunch awaiting us on the counters as we had become accustomed to. Dad was getting better at cooking since retiring from his career. He retired a lot earlier than he planned because he needed to care of Gabriel who we couldn’t leave with a babysitter out of fear that they discover the truth about him. Since Gabriel was such an easy going baby Dad was left with a lot of free time which he used to improve his cooking. His favourite thing to do these days was grilling. He made delicious hot dogs, burgers, grilled chicken and salmon, and he would finish cooking just in time for us to arrive home from school so when he wasn’t in the kitchen and there was nothing prepared at all for lunch I went looking for him, wondering if something was wrong.
Nothing was wrong with him. In fact, he was more than fine!
By the sound of the voice of the person under the sheets with him, I knew he was with Addie. Oh Watcher! I just walked in on my Dad, my elderly Dad, woohooing with his new girlfriend in the middle of the day!
What was worse was that they were so busy enjoying each other that they didn’t even notice when I entered the room or even hear my quick apology before I ran out closing the door behind me.
Ugh! I was so embarrassed, no, mortified! My Dad was…doing it!
And they were still at it too! Completely oblivious to my presence at all which I think made it all worse. Or maybe it was good that they didn’t notice me? I’d hate for them to come looking for me so we could talk about what I saw! This was worse than that time he gave Izzy and me ‘the woohoo talk’. Way more embarrassing!
“Where’s Dad?” Jo asked as she came down the hall. “I’m starving and there’s nothing to eat. Do we have to order a pizza tonight?”
“Busy doing what?”
“Spit it out Ivy, what’s going on?”
“Well, the truth is I just walked in on Dad and Addie…together.”
“So what, they’re talking or something?”
“But…wait a minute. When you say together, you mean together?”
“As in, under the sheets together?”
I nodded and she squirmed. “Seriously Ivy? Dad and Addie are woohooing in there?”
“Yes, but the good news is that they didn’t see me. I managed to leave before they noticed I was there.”
“That’s the good news? I don’t care if they saw you or not! Why are they doing that in the first place?”
“Exactly!” Isabel cried as she came around the corner. I guess she heard everything I said. “What is going on and why are you so cool about this Ivy?”
“Did you know they were together?” Isabel asked.
“You knew!” Jo growled but kept her voice to an angry whisper. “You knew and didn’t tell us? How could you do that Ivy?!”
Why were they mad at me? When did this become my fault? “I didn’t know for sure. I only saw and overheard some things.”
“And you didn’t tell us about it?” Isabel was clearly mad. “Good looking out for your sisters, Vee.”
“It’s Dad’s secret to tell, not mine.” I defended, but I think I was only digging a deeper hole for myself. “Geez, you two, relax, it’s not that big of a deal.”
“Not a big deal?” Jo groaned. “He’s our father and he’s sleeping with our Mum’s cousin. That’s just wrong! Like, it goes against girl code or something! It’s not right. And he should have said something to us before it got this far instead of hiding it.”
“Weren’t you the one who hid your boyfriend of over a year from all of us? He probably had his reasons just like you.” I didn’t mean to bring up her boyfriend like that but at the same time, there really was no difference between what Jo had done and what Dad was doing.
Jo was fuming but at least I could tell it gave Izzy something to think about and she appeared a lot calmer than before until Addie came out of the room and then her expression changed back. Addie looked surprised to find all of us standing around.
“Hello girls…um…how was school?” I know she was only trying to deflect from the awkwardness of the situation but it didn’t work. None of us said anything.
Finally, Isabel turned and walked off. “I’m gonna order that pizza and it’s gonna be Canadian Bacon!”
We all hated Canadian Bacon except for her. She really was mad!
What followed next was the most awkward and quiet evening ever experienced in this house. Once the pizza was delivered we all grabbed a slice and retreated to our rooms. Dad even stayed in his, I guess hoping to avoid the embarrassment of running into one of us and not knowing what to say.
By the following morning, we were able to have a conversation with him about it.
“So, you and Addie were not seeing each other while Mum was alive?” I asked for reassurance.
“Not at all.” He said. “There was an attraction but it never went beyond that. Even after the divorce, I stayed true to the vows I made to your mother.”
“I think that’s why Izzy was so upset.” I said. She didn’t want to come downstairs for breakfast claiming she had homework to finish but I knew better. “She was worried that you had betrayed Mum.”
“I’ll make sure to talk to her a little later. I don’t want her to get the wrong idea.”
“I have a question,” Johanna began, “When did you two decide to be a couple?”
“Remember last weekend when I asked you girls to babysit Gabriel so I could go fishing? Well, Adalynn came with me. It was our first date. We had a picnic and then we went fishing in the lake in Skyward Palms.”
“It’s really nice being able to do stuff like that with someone. Adalynn’s outdoorsy so she loves gardening, fishing and hiking, all the things I love to do. Anyway, we were just talking about work and family and then she got really serious and said that she didn’t want to keep hanging out with me unless it was going somewhere because her feelings for me were too strong for her to continue being my friend only.”
“I laughed because, well, I thought we were on a date. When I asked her out I thought I made that clear. I guess I’m a little rusty since I’ve been out of the dating game for a long time. So when I told her that I had feelings for her as well and I wanted her to be my girlfriend, she was thrilled. We started making out…”
“Ew Dad, TMI!” I squirmed. Although, hearing about them making out was not nearly as bad as catching them woohooing!
“Sorry…anyway, that’s how it happened. So we really haven’t been exclusive for that long. I wanted to wait for the right time to tell you all. I certainly didn’t mean for you to find out the way you did.”
Johanna chuckled. “Yeah, that part was so shocking for us because you and Mum were always so conservative. You guys slept in separate rooms and Mum even said you waited until marriage to woohoo so to find you in bed with your new girlfriend in the middle of the day that’s just weird.”
I agreed with her on that one. The only time I ever saw Mum and Dad being affectionate was that time I caught them messing around in the bushes during our trip to Windenburg but other than that I barely even remember seeing them be romantic with each other.
Dad laughed. “The truth is your mother and I slept in separate rooms only because of our marital problems, not because we thought that’s how it should be. And we only waited before marriage because it was your mother’s choice and I respected it and didn’t mind because I loved her. I am no saint, I certainly wasn’t before I met her, but I am conservative in my belief that you shouldn’t sleep with someone unless you love them and are in a committed relationship with them. And I love Adalynn. I really do.”
How could we possibly not understand after he explained all of that? That huge grin on his face was enough for me to be okay with him dating Addie. Jo also gave her blessing as well. Izzy was a hard sell. You would think Jo would be the one having a hard time accepting Addie as Dad’s girlfriend because she’s generally mean to practically everyone and she has impossibly high standards, so for Izzy to be one who was resistant was odd.
She soon got over it once she saw how happy Dad was and then we all were able to move past the drama of that day.