Enjoy this excerpt from my book, The Man in the Box. There will be a release date for the second edition coming soon. And don’t forget to Like The Man in the Box Facebook page for a chance to win a free, autographed copy!
From Chapter 18
Robbie turned off the radio. It was up to him to break the ice. He said, “We missed you at breakfast.”
Taylor continued to stare at the window with her chin in her hand.
“That coffee’s for you,” he said, motioning toward the mug in the cup holder beside them. “Just cream. No sugar.”
“I like sugar now,” mumbled Taylor.
Robbie nodded, taking note of one of the many changes about his little girl. “How’s Darrin?” he asked, but bit his tongue as soon as the wrong name snuck out of his mouth.
“It’s Dwayne. And fine.”
“You never did tell me why you were crying last night. I figured you had broken up.”
“Dwayne wants me to go to a party that I know you’re not going to let me go to; it’s no big deal, okay? There. You know all you need to know.” She said this as she pulled a piece of paper out of a side pocket from her duffle bag and shoved it in his direction.
Robbie didn’t know what frustrated him more: the fact that this twerp was pressuring his daughter to go to a party or that she was still dating him.
Wanting to steer clear of the romance department, he ignored the paper she was pushing toward him and decided to just jump in feet first and get to the bottom of last night’s escape attempt. He asked, “What happened last night? Where were you going? Were you going to that party?”
“No, I wasn’t. It’s not for a while. Next month or something,” was Taylor’s muffled response.
“You know you’re grounded, right?”
“Good. I love missing out on my social life,” snapped Taylor, throwing the paper to the floorboard in a fit.
“Hey. Don’t get smart with me,” retorted Robbie, growing angry.
Taylor threw back, “You’re the ones who think you’re so smart! You don’t even know what I was doing last night!”
“It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that you were sneaking out, Taylor. So maybe we’re not as smart as you think!” Robbie shook his head and vilified himself for his absent-minded comeback.
Taylor just rolled her eyes and turned her head away, refocusing her sight out the window.
After a moment, a calmer Robbie asked, “So what were you doing last night?”
“What do youcare? You’re too busy coming up with reasons to get me in trouble.”
“Not get you in trouble. We’re trying to keep you fromtrouble.”
Taylor just mimicked Robbie, sticking her lower lip out in a mock gesture. He just about blew a fuse. He prayed her own children would be just like her for the sole purpose of making her pay for all of his headaches.
“Here’s a newsflash Taylor,” started Robbie. “If you would just talkto us, then maybe we wouldn’t be so suspicious of whatever you’re doing. What is it, Taylor? I care; talk to me. Is it drugs?”
“You’re not into that voodoo Wicca stuff are you?”
“Is it sex?”
“Oh please don’t let it be sex. You already have a kid, don’t you?”
“Yes, Dad, I managed to hide my fat stomach from the entire family for nine months.”
“You see! I don’t know if you’re telling me the truth right now or just being sarcastic with me which, as you know, would be lying,” yelled Robbie. “I don’t know how to read you.”
“Why do you even have to read me at all? Why can’t you just leave me alone?”
Robbie stopped behind a line of cars at the stoplight. “Because you’re my daughter, and that’s not what parents do, Taylor. Apparently you’ll find that out in about fifteen years when little Wayne is sitting in your spot and you’re driving him to school.”
Taylor sighed in utter frustration saying, “I don’t have a baby, Dad!”
“Is there a chance that you could be having one?” Robbie awkwardly asked, unable to suppress his curiosity.
The light was still red, and Taylor flew open the door and jumped out of the car yelling over her shoulder, “I’m walking to practice!” Then she slammed the door, flying her duffle bag over her shoulder.
Robbie, in a moment of utter shock, had his eyes only on Taylor when he gassed the car to follow after her. He flew right into the car in front of him, lurching him forward, catching on the seatbelt. The sound of crunching metal sent him into a panic as he saw dollar signs float away on wings all around him. The coffee spilled all over his right leg throwing him into a world of pain, and he clumsily tried pulling his pant leg apart from his skin to ease the burn.
He looked at Taylor who was just a few feet away, expecting her to come back to the car. But she just gave him those eyes that told him he was just plain embarrassing and continued to walk off.