Father Figure (Part 1) (Short Story)

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A few weeks ago I talked about Short Story-Palooza. Well here is the start of it. This is a work in progress. It is a very important story to me. It’s loosely based off a true story with some minor changes made to it. I hope you will enjoy it!

FATHER FIGURE (PART 1)

Willie Larson sat on the bed of the hotel room. He was nine years old, with shaggy blond hair that covered down to his forehead. His hair wasn’t combed yet. A few random hairs stuck up to in the back of his head. He wore a tuxedo shirt that was buttoned all wrong and tuxedo pants. Next to him on the bed was his jacket and tie. He pouted to himself.

 

There was a soft knock on the door. “Willie, it’s me,” a female voice called out to him. “I’m coming in.” The mechanism on the door clicked as she opened the door from the outside.  Brittany Camden entered the room. She was in her early forties, blonde hair. She was a little overweight. She wore a pink bathrobe that was tied tight around her. “Oh buddy. Nice try with the buttons. That’s why I am here,” she said as she came into the room. “I came to help.”

“Hi Brit,” Willie said softly.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, sitting down next to him.

“I don’t want to do this. Do you think my mom will be upset with me?”

“Um, yeah, I think she would be very upset. Aren’t you happy for her?” Brittany said. He shrugged his shoulders at her. “I know you a little better than that. Talk to me?”

“I. I don’t know. I mean if she really wants me to do it, I will do it.”

“Of course she wants you to there. Don’t you like Joe?”

Willie jumped to his feet and walked to the window of the hotel room. They were on the third floor overlooking the parking lot. He pushed open the curtain to get a better view. “He’s okay, I guess.”

“He certainly is better than your dad was,” Brittany said. She immediately felt guilty about what she said. “I am sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. I know you love your dad.”

“I do love my dad. But I also love my mom. I know my dad hasn’t always been the best dad in the world. But he is my dad. I just wish…” Willie’s voice trailed. “Never mind.”

“No, tell me what you were going to say?”

“No, it’s all right. I guess if it really is that important to her, I will go get ready.” Willie turned to her with a pout on his face. He walked back to the bed. “Will you fix my shirt?”

“Of course I will. Before I do that, you should probably go use the bathroom.”

“Okay, Aunt Brittany.”

Willie walked to the bathroom and closed the door. He opened the toilet seat and unzipped his pants.  Willie sat down on the toilet. He swung his feet as he tried to use the bathroom. He pulled up his pants, peering into the toilet. He flushed the toilet. Willie opened the bathroom door and started to come out.

“Excuse me, young man. Did you forget to wash your hands?” she asked with disappointment in her voice. Willie frowned. He closed the door behind him again and walked to the sink. He turned on the cold water and stuck his hands under the water. “Don’t forget to use soap this time!” Brittany called out from the other side of the door. He nodded his head. Willie looked up in the mirror and saw a man standing behind him by the door. He screamed out loud in panic. “Willie? What is it?? Are you okay? Brittany called out again. She jumped to her feet and ran to the door. She tried to open it, but the door was locked.

Willie turned around, his eyes frantically searching the room. “Um, I’m okay. Sorry. I…. I thought I saw a bug. But I don’t see it anymore?” He called back. He reached for the door, unlocking it. Brittany ran into the room. She wrapped her arms around him. He embraced her for a moment. “I’m okay. I promise you.”  She looked around the room but didn’t see anything.

“Where did you see the bug?” she asked. Her eyes continued to scan the room.

Willie thought for a moment and pointed to the wall to the left of the sink. “There. I don’t know what it was. But it is gone now,” he responded nervously. “Do you have any aspirin? I have a headache.”

“I don’t have any on me. If you want, I can go back to my room and get some for you?”

“Yes please?”

“I am going to ask your mom first, just to make sure it’s all right, Willie.”

“Okay.”

“I will be back in a few minutes,” Brittany said. She kissed his forehead and left the bathroom. The front door of the rooml closed. Willie took a deep breath, he continued to look around the room. He shrugged his shoulders and stepped out of the bathroom. He stood there frozen in fear. Standing by the window Willie saw the man standing again. The man had his back turned to Willie. He stared out the window. The man was in his late thirties with dark hair. He wore a T-Shirt and jeans.  The man turned around and smiled.

“Hi, Willie. It’s good to see you again,” he said.

“You. You’re not real. You’re not really here,” Willie stuttered.

“Maybe. Maybe not..” There was a moment of silence between them. “You know I have missed you, right?”

“I… I have missed you too. What happened? Where did you go?” Willie asked. His eyes welled up with tears.

“What did they tell you?”

“That you disappeared on Auntie Janet.”

“Did you believe that?”

“I don’t know what I believed. I still don’t know what to believe,” Willie responded. The man knelt down to one knee. Willie ran to him. The two wrapped their arms around each other.

“I didn’t disappear. I didn’t leave your Aunt Janet. She left me. I would never just disappear and never say goodbye. Not to you.”

“I didn’t think you would. But that’s what both Aunt Janet and my mom said. Janet told me that she apartment and you were not there,” Willie confessed.  “She couldn’t call you. She couldn’t get a hold of you. So she was worried. She told me she went to the office of where you live because she was so worried. And they told her that you had moved out earlier in that day.”

Willie watched as the man sat in the grey chair in the corner of the room. Willie smiled as he moved to the bed, facing the window. He angled himself so that he was looking at the man.

“That is not even close to what happened, Willie.”

“Tell me what really happened?”

The front door clicked as Brittany came inside. In her left hand, there was a bottle of aspirin and the hotel room key.

“Did I hear you talking to someone?”

Willie turned around to face the front door of the room. Suddenly, his head snapped back to look at the chair. There was no one sitting in it anymore. Willie looked around the room. But there was no one in the room. It was just him and Brittany.

“Um, no. I wasn’t talking to anyone,” Willie said. His face was flush with embarrassment. Brittany walked over to him. She opened the bottle of aspirin and shook two aspirin free. She extended them to him.

“Here you go, kiddo. Go take them and then we will get you dressed for you tonight,” Brittany said.

“Can I ask you something?”

“Of course. What is it?”

“Do you really know what happened with Danny?”

Brittany sat down in the chair by the window. She thought for a moment before she answered. “You know what happened. Your aunt went to go talk to him, but he was gone…”

“What really happened, Brittany?” Willie kicked his feet hard against the floor and the bed. Brittany looked at him, shocked at his tantrum.

“That is what happened. Where is this coming from, Willie?” she asked. Brittany stood quickly and moved to the bed next to Willie. She draped her arm around left arm around his shoulder, pulling him closer to him. At first, Willie resisted. After a moment, he fell into her shoulder.

“I just don’t believe that he would do that,” Willie said sadly.

“You miss him, don’t you?”

Willie looked up at her with tears in his eyes. “Uh huh,” he muttered quietly. He frowned.

“I know you do. But it’s true. Your aunt went to talk to him, and he moved out of his apartment overnight and no one has heard from him since,” she said. She leaned in and kissed his forehead softly. “I know you miss Danny. But he is gone. And you still have your mom and Janet and me. And now you are gaining a new father figure. Randy would do anything for you. You know that.”

Willie’s lower lip began to quiver. “That doesn’t sound like something he would do!”

Brittany once again wrapped her arms around the boy. “I know it doesn’t. But….” She took a deep breath. “But sometimes people can let you down. Trust me. You think you know someone and then all of a sudden, they’re gone. And you’re left wondering if anything they ever said was real.” She pulled him back so that she can look at him. “I know you think you know what Danny is capable of, but unfortunately sometimes the person that you think will never let you down is the person that could do the most damage.

“You sound like you know exactly what you’re talking about,” Willie looked back at her.

“You’re pretty wise for a little kid. Has anyone told you that?” Willie gave her half a smile.

“Before I forget, here’s your aspirin. Your mom said it’s okay.” Brittany opened her hand and in it was two aspirin. Willie grabbed it from her hand quickly and went into the bathroom. There was a plastic cup sitting on the sink. As he entered the room, he looked around. Willie turned on the sink and put the cup under the water. After the cup was full, he turned off the sink and put the pills in his mouth. He took a drink of the water.

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