Here is a preview from Book 11 (no name yet)
This is a flashback to Brittany (Barb) and her dad. I hope you enjoy!
Also- if you have time, leaving a review for any of the books on Amazon would be greatly appreciated 🙂
(~20 years ago)
Nate was cleaning the bar and getting ready for the night crowd before he was set to leave. Barbara was having some trouble lately, adjusting to middle school and he had asked for the night off to spend some time with her. He was about to punch out when he got a call from the back.
“Dude, your daughter is missing or something,” Mark the dishwasher called out.
Nate flew to the phone and the flush covered his body as his fear coursed through his veins. His hand clutched the receiver and his voice came out before he even realized he was speaking.
“Where is my daughter?”
The voice on the other end was clearly startled by the sound of fear from Nathan.
“Mr. Anthony, Barbara didn’t show up to her last class. There was an argument in the lunchroom and her classroom teacher reported that she didn’t return after.”
“What do you mean? Is she missing? Did she leave the building?”
“We are trying to locate her,” the voice said.
“Nate, Barb’s on the phone,” the dishwasher called out.
Relief coursed through his body as he ended the call with the school and clicked the line for his daughter.
“Barbie? Baby are you okay?”
“Are you mad at me?” her shaking voice came through and he could hear her tears.
“Of course not,” he said, just wanting her safe. He would have a discussion in person about her leaving. “Where are you? I’ll come and get you.”
“No daddy, you have to work,” she sniffed.
“Barbara Rose, where are you?”
“I’m at school. I hid when they did a hall sweep and then I ran into Mr. Price’s room when he went to the bathroom. That’s how I got to call you. Am I gonna be in trouble?” Her trembling voice broke his heart. He hated to hear her cry. She rarely did.
“I’m on my way. Why don’t you wait in the Principals office and I’ll explain to them when I get there.”
“Okay. I love you daddy,” she sniffed again.
“I love you, too.”
Nate hung up and shook his head. He was working too hard and he didn’t spend enough time with her. He knew she had been upset about something and he didn’t push her on it. Barbara never complained and she went along with everything he threw at her. None of this was fair. She deserved better.
He made his way to the school and walked into the office. His eyes went wide as he saw her.
“Barb, what did you do to your hair?” he walked to her and saw the black paint on the side of her head.
She shrugged and he knew she wanted to leave. He signed her out and they went to his car. He drove them home to the small apartment where they lived and Barbara walked into the family room and sat on the couch.
Nate grabbed some juice for her and walked in to sit next to his 11 year old daughter. He handed her the juice and touched her hair.
“What is this? Paint?”
“Shoe polish,” she said softly.
He sighed as he looked at his beautiful daughter.
“Why do you want to change your hair?”
“Because it makes me so different.”
“But being a little different isn’t a bad thing. You are special and I adore your hair.”
“I am already so different, daddy, I just want to fit in more.”
Nate ran his hand over his face and tried to figure her out. He was only 28 years old and he was struggling with the issues his daughter faced. He was way out of his comfort zone, but he would do anything to help her.
“What do you mean? Why are you so different?”
She looked up at him and her ocean colored eyes pierced through him.
“Why didn’t my mom want me?”
“Why do you think she didn’t want you?”
“She isn’t here. Everyone has a mom and a dad or at least a mom. I’m the only one with just a dad.”
Nathan felt her words with all the weight of her sadness. He always worried if he would be enough for her. So much had happened that she didn’t and couldn’t know about. Bridget was a full blown alcoholic and her husband Chris was downright evil. Nate felt terrible that he wasn’t able to let Barb spend time with William, but he couldn’t allow his daughter around them. Recently, Chris’s friend Phil had been hanging around and he paid a few visits to Nate at work. He made some inappropriate comments about Barb and Nate had punched him. He was lucky he didn’t get fired, but his boss treated Barb like she was one of his own kids and he had Nate’s back.
“Your mom loved you, Barbie. She carried you for nine months and then she made the most amazing decision. She gave me the best, most important gift when she left you with me.”
“I don’t think that’s true. I think she knew there was something wrong with me. We learned in science that in the wild, when animals know something is wrong with their babies they leave them to die. Maybe that’s what my mom did. Maybe she knew I was a loser,” the sad preteen cried.
Nate was at a loss.
“Can I tell you something?” he wiped her tears away and smoothed her sticky hair.
She listened to him as she wiped her nose with the back of her hand.
“When I was seventeen and I met your mom, I thought we would be together forever. I loved her completely and even though we were young, it was clear to me that she was the one.”
Barbie was enthralled. He never spoke of her mom
He shrugged. “Sometimes life takes turns we don’t see coming. It’s like when we sing together and a chord comes up that you haven’t played before. Sometimes, when you try that new chord, the most amazing music is created. With your mom and me, we played the same chord for too long and it finally was out of tune. She found someone else and I was lost for a long time.”
Barbie’s eyes were swimming.
“What did you do?”
“She gave you to me and I found my chord. I found my purpose and it was to give you the best life. You make me so happy and so proud. You are the best and most important person in the world to me and I know our family doesn’t look like everyone else’s, but that’s what makes us special. We play music no else can make. We are a family, Barbie, and that’s the most important thing.”
She crawled into his lap and hugged him.
“I’m sorry daddy,” she cried.
He rocked her and sang softly.
You are my sunshine
My only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You never know dear
How much I love you
So please don’t take my sunshine away.