Jill peered around the corner into the wood paneled den where her step-dad Clark was reading the paper. She had come home from dropping off Danny and changed into a somewhat more demure looking outfit.
She had donned a short-sleeved white blouse opened at the neck and a pair of off-white bellbottom pants. Her hair was drawn back into a ponytail. She had quickly showered, shampooed her hair and brushed her teeth and gargled to get rid of any trace of cigarette smoke.
Normally, she dressed any way she damned well pleased, and it was always with the aim of pissing Clark off, but with Danny coming over, she was going to have to play the sweet loving daughter for a bit.
Her mom was baking bread in the kitchen, and the wonderful aroma of fresh baked bread stopped short of entrance to the den where it was repulsed by the pungent smell of Clark’s Cuban cigar.
As Jill entered the room, she sneezed. “Bless you, Sweetie,” he said looking from the paper. He was dressed in his golf outfit having just come from the course. Jill noticed a half empty bottle of Scotch sitting on the dark brown wood of the coffee table where he had sat down his paper. “You look very nice today, Sweetheart. It’s a pity you don’t dress like this more often.”
“Kids at school would tease me mercilessly if I did, Dad. They would say I dressed like a mom,” she shrugged.
"Kids don't seem to have much fashion sense these day; the girls always dress like sluts, and the boys want to look like girls," he grumbled right before he took a big swallow from the glass.
" That's not completely true, Daddy," her voice sounded innocent enough, but she was wondering if he thought Rosa Simone, his secretary/mistress dressed like a slut on their so-called business trips to the coast.
Clark Booth was a big, intimidating, successful man. He wore his dark hair slicked backwards revealing a forehead as solid as a granite wall and had just a touch of grey at the temples. He looked like a Roman senator. The only thing that slightly marred the image of a strong handsome man were his eyes, which were never completely free of the tiny red lines of alcoholism.
“Daddy, Mama wanted me to tell you that a guest is coming over this evening.”
He brightened, “Mickey! I’m glad you’ve finally come to your senses again. Mickey’s a good kid… . .”
Jill interrupted before finished, “ Not Mickey, Daddy. Danny Wilson is coming over to help me with my AP Literature homework.”
The look on Clark’s face was one of controlled rage, “That damn Wilson kid again! What’s his dad do for a living, drive a damned tractor? Mickey’s dad owns two of the biggest farming outfits in Central California!”
“His dad is a shop foreman. He’s very nice man. I’m not interested in Benny Porcine’s businesses or his money, and his son happened to go out with one of my very best friends. He missed my birthday party because he was out with her.”
“Well, maybe you should be more interested in what his dad does and doesn’t own. The world is not a damned bit like all these filthy hippies say it is. Money counts! Whoa, Baby does it count! Besides Mickey is just a kid, a kid is going to make mistakes at his age. But that kid is going to amount to something some day. You wait and see. What are you going do then while you are living in your little house on the south side of Concord with three or four slobbering munchkins always clinging to your feet?”
He was drunk and well past any self-control. It was why Jill picked the moment that she did. While he had just laid bare all of the unstated animosity and prejudices that he felt for Danny and for any, what he considered, undeserving young man who sought audience with his step-daughter, he was also weakened and addled by the alcohol, and that made it easier to deal with him.
It was her turn to bristle, “Who said anything about living on the south side of Concord, or getting married? I hate it when you get like this. Mickey has lot of growing up to do before he becomes anything! Danny Wilson is a nice guy. He’s smart and he doesn’t walk around Concord with a thirty-pound chip on his shoulder. He’s going to help me with my Literature homework like I said, and you better be nice!”
With that she spun and stomped out of the room. She brushed past her mother in the dimly lit hallway, ducked into her room, and blasted the door shut behind her. There she plopped down on her blood red bedspread. She then noticed her reflection in the large green framed mirror behind her dresser. Her reflection smiled back knowingly.