26. Dad
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Content warning: family confrontation, domestic argument

It didn't take long to unload the car once we got back home. Most of Melissa's stuff just went straight into the basement, there was no point unpacking it since we had nowhere to put it.

The boxes of clothes stayed in the living-room, along with her pillows and blankets. We also set up her computer in the living-room next to the TV. It really wasn't ideal for any of us, least of all her. But we all knew it was a temporary situation.

Mom was still looking at houses on her laptop, and now that she knew what college we were going to she could sort of narrow down her search. She promised to have a decision by the end of the week in terms of where we were moving, so maybe we could go and tour some houses over the weekend. Then hopefully next week she could buy something, and with luck we'd be moving next month.

Melissa was still a bit shaken by Lily's demonstration, but I was confident that would keep her folks the hell away from us.

When we brought the first boxes into the house, mom greeted us and asked "How did it go?"

"My folks were assholes," Melissa replied with a sigh. "Mom got dad to come home from work, he parked his pick-up behind my car to block me in. Like they wanted to make my life hell but they didn't want to let me leave?"

Mom's expression got darker as she frowned. She looked at me and asked, "I assume your friend did something to remedy the situation?"

I grinned, "Yeah, did she ever! She totalled Mr. Perry's pick-up! It was like, Pow! Like it got creamed by an invisible dump truck or something?"

Mom looked shocked, and I quickly added "Nobody got hurt! Lily was careful to make sure of that. Only the pick-up got hurt, and it didn't suffer any. It was kind of instant."

Both mom and Melissa were still a little uncomfortable with that. I really wanted to make a joke about how you can't spell 'demonstration' without 'demon', except I didn't think Melissa would appreciate it. And mom didn't know Lily was a demon. She only knew my friend was 'supernatural' and 'ancient'.

By the time we got all Melissa's stuff in the house and put away and her computer was all set up and everything, she seemed to have finally calmed down and got over the stress and excitement and everything.

I asked, "Do you want to go shopping or something? Like to get yourself some girl clothes?"

She shrugged, then shook her head "Nah. I figure I may as well wait till the changes are over and done with? I mean, no point spending money on stuff right now when I don't know what size I'll be in a few days. I grabbed enough guy-clothes to last me four or five days, that should be enough."

"Ok Melissa," I nodded. Then I grinned, "I'm super excited to see how things go over the next few days."

She smiled back, "Me too."

The two of us wound up back in my bedroom for now. We'd settled on which college we wanted, but we still had to pick the actual courses we'd be taking. Even though Melissa's computer was all set up and stuff, it was in the living-room and she seemed happier to share my computer and stay with me rather than us both being in different rooms doing things on our own.

It only took another hour or so before we both settled on what courses we wanted. I was happy and a little excited that Melissa decided to take the same things as me. We were both going to take the photography program, and we were both doing some drama classes on the side.

"I'm absolutely not complaining," I said to her, "But I'm curious why you're majoring in photography and minoring in drama? I figured if anything it'd be the other way round?"

Melissa shrugged, "I've been thinking about it more over the last couple weeks I guess? Like acting or modelling was more like a childhood dream, and I'm still interested in it? But I'm not really sure I actually want to do that. I can always focus more on it again later, but for now photography seems more appealing to me."

I grinned, "Well I think it's going to be great having the same classes together!"

"Me too," she agreed.

It was mid-afternoon when we joined my mom in the living-room, to let her know we'd both picked our courses and everything. Mom looked pleased to hear that, she was about to reply when someone started banging on our front door.

"Shit!" Melissa gasped. Her parents knew where we lived and it wouldn't have been hard for them to guess where Melissa was going when she left with me. Her dad could have borrowed her mom's car and come over here once he got over the shock of what happened to his pick-up.

None of us made a move to answer the door, but I realized a moment too late we hadn't bothered to lock it after bringing all the stuff in from the car. I was just about to get up to lock it when the knob turned and the door was flung open.

My stomach lurched and I cursed, "Oh crap!"

It wasn't Melissa's dad, it was mine. Me and mom cringed while Melissa looked shocked. She'd never met him before but I knew she was probably freaked out by how much my dad looked like dead-me.

Mom and me got to our feet as dad stalked into the house and came right into the living-room with us.

He pointed at mom and half-shouted, "I should have known you were holding out on me! You thought I wouldn't find out about the seventeen million?!"

Mom shouted back, "Michael get the fuck out of my house! This is trespassing!"

"Shut up!" dad yelled. "I know you're not dumb enough to call the police Emma! But if you're thinking of it, I'll tell you right now. Try it and I'll have you arrested for assault. That pepper-spray stunt you pulled the other day was assault with a weapon. And you know I've got friends who'll make that charge stick. You're looking at five to ten years for that!"

My blood went cold and I was angry. Of course he didn't care that he grabbed us first, it didn't matter that he was threatening us. Mom defended the two of us and now dad was going to use that against her. It was a standard bully tactic.

Mom glared at him for a moment then demanded, "So what do you want this time?"

Dad looked and sounded smug as he stated "I want ten million. I know about the lottery, I know you've got the money. I think ten million's fair. I'll keep my mouth shut about the assault. And I'll keep my mouth shut about her too."

He pointed at me and said "I don't know who the fuck she is, but I had my friends look her up. She's nineteen? You and I were together nineteen years ago and you weren't pregnant till you had my son. You never had a daughter."

My heart skipped a beat and I gulped. I had no idea if he could get me in some kind of trouble, or if his cop buddies could tell my identity wasn't real. I didn't know what Lily did when she fixed my ID.

Dad continued "I don't know who the hell she is, but I'm assuming her ID is all fake. For all I know you two plotted to have my boy killed so she could take his place!"

He glanced at Melissa and added, "And whoever the fuck she is, I'm assuming all three of you were somehow behind it."

Mom just glared at dad, she looked disgusted again. "Michael get the fuck out of my house. Now!"

"I'll be back on Thursday Emma," dad stated. "You better be at the bank tomorrow getting me a cashier's cheque for ten million. Otherwise my buddies will be coming to arrest you, along with these two bitches."

The three of us all just stared at him. I'm sure Melissa was just in shock. Mom was seething with anger. And I was really mad too but I tried to stay calm on the outside.

Dad kept that smug look on his face as he turned and walked back out. As he left he reminded us, "See you all in two days."

Once he was gone my mom sighed and slumped back on the sofa rubbing her temples. Melissa just looked freaked out.

I sighed, "Excuse me," as I went into the bathroom. I closed and locked the door behind me, then leaned against the counter.

"Lily?" I asked in a whisper. "What's dad's soul look like? Is it very dark?"

There was a brief hesitation before she replied. "Your father is a nasty, selfish, greedy man. He's been violent at times in the past, but nothing especially awful."

I kept my voice down as I asked, "So does that make his soul dark? Like, is it dark enough for you?"

"... Mara are you asking me to kill your father?" Lily sounded uncertain, maybe even nervous.

"I'm asking if he'd make a good meal," I stated softly. "Otherwise he's going to do everything he can to screw up mom's life and mine, just out of spite."

Lily paused again, then pointed out "Two weeks ago you were almost overcome with guilt because I took a serial rapist whom you'd never even heard of. Are you certain you can cope with this? He's your father and you are specifically asking me to end him."

I took a few deep breaths as I stared at myself in the mirror.

Finally I whispered, "I'll find a way to deal with it. You say he's not too violent, but he doesn't have to be. He has other ways to hurt us, right? He'll get his cop buddies to do his dirty work. Or he'll abuse his position at work and get the system to do it for him. So ok he's not physically abusing us himself, but he still destroys our lives, or he terrorizes us and blackmails us into doing what he wants."

She was quiet again for a few more moments, then finally sighed "I understand. Very well Mara, I'll consider it. I'm not going to promise anything right now. And if I do make a decision, I'm not going to tell you about it."

"Ok," I nodded slowly. "Thank you Lily."

Of course whether she told me or not, if I woke up tomorrow or Thursday in a fantastic mood with loads of energy then I'd know my dad was dead. Or at least I'd know someone was dead, and I'd strongly suspect it was my dad.

I took a couple more deep breaths then returned to the living-room.

Mom sounded worried as she asked, "Mara are you ok?"

"I'm ok mom," I replied as I sat back down next to Melissa. "I was just kind of freaked out, that's all."

Mom sighed but she looked like she was freaked out too. She commented, "After you got him to leave the other day, I wasn't sure if he could come back. I thought maybe your friend's magic would keep him away."

I shook my head slowly, "Lily can't do any permanent magic to people unless they agree to it. She can do magic on things, like cars and clothes and stuff? But for people, they have to give permission or it just wears off."

Both mom and Melissa looked sort of thoughtful about that. I could almost feel Lily was surprised, like maybe she didn't realize I'd figured out that detail about her magic. I didn't actually know it as a fact but I suspected it, based on other stuff she'd said.

Mom finally asked, "Will you girls be ok tonight while I'm at work? I can call in sick if you want me to stay here with you."

"I think we'll be ok mom," I replied. "I doubt he'll be back before Thursday, but if he does then I'm sure Lily will keep us safe."

Melissa nodded and said quietly, "Thanks Ms. Carter but I'm sure we'll be ok. You stay safe too right?"

Mom smiled, "I'll be fine. The staff at the restaurant are all friends and we look out for each other. One of the sous-chefs is a kick-boxer and the manager is an ex-marine."

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