Chapter 30

Dad was standing outside our brownstone. He was talking on his BlackBerry, and when he saw me he turned away and said a few quick words before finishing his call, turning the phone off and slipping it into his pocket.

“Hey there, chief, how’s it going?”

I hadn’t realized it but as I walked down the sidewalk my hands had begun to clench into fists. I’d been thinking about this the entire way here — my dad’s continued infidelity even though he’d promised us he was done and would never do it again.

“Who were you just talking to?”

“Huh?”

“On your BlackBerry” — gesturing toward his pocket — “you were talking to someone when I walked up.”

“Oh, that. That was just business.”

I closed my eyes, took a breath, and unclenched my fists.

“Really? Well that’s good. I mean, as long as it’s just business, me and Mom and Emma have nothing to worry about. It’s not like you would ever … well, you know. I mean, you did promise us it would never happen again. Right?”

He stared back at me, just stared for the longest time. Finally he nodded and said in a very soft voice, “Yeah, that’s right.”

The streetlamps along the block flickered. It was just a small thing, something hardly anybody would notice, but still I glanced around me, then up at the sky, before settling my gaze back on my dad.

“Good,” I said, and started up the steps.

Like before, he didn’t follow me and just stood there, staring down the block.

I let myself in and closed the door behind me.

My mom wheeled herself into the hallway. “Welcome home, honey.”

I leaned down, gave her a hug and kissed her on the cheek. “I love you, Mom.”

“I love you too, David. Where’s your father?”

“Still outside on the phone. You know, business.”

“Yes,” she sighed.

Frantic footsteps pattered into the hallway, Emma shouting, “David’s home, David’s home!”

Mom said, “Little Miss Hyper here is ready for bed. Wanna tuck her in for me?”

“Of course.” I turned to my sister and grinned. “I’ll race you to the top.”

She was already turning away and scrambling up the stairs. I waited a few seconds and then hurried after, Mom laughing in that singsong way of hers as she watched us go.

“I win, I win, I win,” Emma cried when she reached the top, jumping up and down.

Of course she did; I always let her win.

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