Daddy's Here(3)By: Lucy Wild
What had I told him? It had been a while since I’d been hammered enough to text him. Scrolling through the messages, I muttered, “Oh, no,” under my breath, seeing what I’d written.
I’m sure you had one, a childhood sweetheart, the one you never forgot. Ben was mine. We’d kept in touch even after he’d been moved across to the other side of the country but in the last couple of years I tended only to text him when I was too drunk to speak. As every time before, I texted an apology for my proclamations of love before sliding my phone away. He knew I didn’t love him, not really.
I closed my eyes again and was drifting off to sleep when the car stopped. We hadn’t driven far enough to get to my father’s, even in my stupefied state I could tell that. I heard the driver’s door open and close and then I looked out of the window, frowning as I realised we’d pulled up on the roadside next to a convenience shop. The bright lights made me wince as my hangover slowly crept up on me.
When the driver returned to the car, I didn’t bother opening my eyes. “What was so fucking urgent, you had to stop?” I asked.
“To get this,” he replied.
I heard a movement and when I looked, a metal flask was waving in front of my face. “What’s this?”
“What is it?”
“But I don’t have a hangover.”
I took the flask from him, sniffing the contents and recoiling so hard, I banged the back of my head on the seat. “What the hell’s in this?”
“Just drink it.”
I looked down at the flask, bringing it up to my lips and taking a sip. Almost at once, a heat burned its way down my throat, a very different heat to the vodka I’d been sipping for most of the night. I took another sip, and then gulped down the contents. It didn’t stop at my stomach. Within seconds of drinking it, every blood vessel in my body was alert, my nerves alive, even my back straightening as I blinked myself awake. “I say,” I muttered, slipping back into the voice of my private education. I managed to resist adding, “this is spiffing,” instead passing him the flask with a grin on my face. “What the hell was in that?”
Driver’s secret,” he replied and although his expression didn’t change, I caught a slight raise of his eyebrows in the rear view mirror as we set off once more.
We got to my father’s house an hour later. It was on the edge of the city, set in its own grounds, as immaculate as last time I was here, not a blade of grass out of place. “Do I have to go in there?” I asked when the car came to a halt.
“Afraid so,” the driver replied, stepping out and pulling my door open a moment later.
I climbed out, amazed to find I wasn’t even wobbling. “You’ve got to tell me what was in that,” I said, looking for a distraction, anything to delay the inevitable screamfest I was about to endure.
“He’s waiting,” the driver replied and I knew I’d get no more out of him. He knew which side his bread was buttered on and it wasn’t mine.
I walked up the steps to the front door, stepping inside to the dulcet tones of my father screaming at someone down the phone. “You do it because it’s your job to do it. If I have to come down there and show you the stuff, I will but you don’t want me to do that, do you? Because if I do…”
He appeared in the hallway, phone in hand. He took one look at me. “I’ll call you back.”
Shoving his phone in his pocket, he walked towards me. “Isabel, how lovely to see you. What’s this, you’re wearing, slut chic?”
“Don’t start,” I replied. “How did you know I was at the club? Been spying on me?”
“You forget I pay your bills. You spend a lot of money on my cards. Don’t think I don’t notice.”
“You can afford it.”
“Look at you. You stink of booze. You’re a disgrace.”
“Shall I sit down while you insult me? Is it going to take a while?”
“Don’t get smart with me, Isabel. It doesn’t suit you.”
“Spending time with you doesn’t suit me. Can I go home yet?”
“I’m paying for that crack den of yours.” He turned and walked away. I followed him. If I didn’t, he’d only come after me and he could move surprisingly quickly for a man in his fifties.
I found him sat behind his desk so I sat in front of it, trying in vain to find any evidence of mess. One of his pencils was slightly askew but he rectified that as I looked.
“It’s time for you to grow up,” he said, folding his arms and not smiling at me.