Copyright© 2015 by Jay Cantrell
Drama Sex Story: Chapter 1 - Two people from vastly different worlds shared one crazy night two months earlier. Regan Riley learned that life is sometimes serious and Andy Drayton learned that life can sometimes be fun. Now they've decided to see if they can overcome their differences and forge a relationship. This is the sequel to "Unending Night."
Shortly before 7 a.m. Saturday
Camille Drayton watched her son across at the breakfast table. It was one of the rare mornings she got to spend with him. A smile came to her face automatically.
Andy was the type of son every mother dreamed of having. Camille could not think of a time she had been angry with Andy in the last 10 years. She couldn't think of anyone who met him that didn't like him.
Random thoughts entered her head: Her 31st birthday – spent working from 6 a.m. to midnight.
She had opened up the box where she kept her lunch expecting to find the damned peanut butter sandwich she'd made the night before. Instead she had found a cupcake with a candle on top – with construction paper cut out and attached to the wick to make it look as though it was waiting for her to make her wish. She also had found the most extravagant meal her 12-year-old son knew how to make – lasagna – in a plastic container, two pieces of garlic toast carefully wrapped so they wouldn't go stale and a note telling her he loved her, he hoped it was the best day of her life and that all her tomorrows were better.
Andy had to have gotten up at three in the morning to put this together for her. The thought brought a tear to her eye as she sat at the breakfast table – which was better than her birthday, where she had been reduced to full-fledged sobs as her coworkers wondered what was happening.
No, her 31st birthday wasn't the best day of her life. That day would have been the morning Andy was born. And since his arrival, her life had been hectic and not always easy. But every day had gotten better – because of a kind word from him or a sly grin when she would catch him doing something. But Andy wasn't doing something for fun or for the hell of it. No, if Andy got caught out it was because he was doing something that might make her life easier.
Even today, he'd gotten up at 5 a.m. to have breakfast waiting for her when she got home. She knew he would work from 8 a.m. to noon – doing physical, manual labor that didn't pay him a tenth of what he was worth. But he'd willingly given up sleep so he could spend time with her.
In the past four or five years, Andy had come to take care of Camille as much as she took care of him. He cooked almost every meal and had become quite the chef; albeit a budget chef. Their money was limited despite the fact Camille worked two jobs and nearly 100 hours a week.
He made sure the clothes were washed and the house was clean. He made out the bills and left them for her to sign. He had scrimped and saved his own money to make sure she could use some of what she made on herself.
Then there was his decision about college. Since Andy had learned to read at three years old, Camille had put aside as much money as she could in order to allow him to continue his education. She had never touched Andy's college fund, regardless of how many times dipping into it would have made her life (or Andy's) easier. In 15 years, she had put away enough that he could go anywhere he wanted to go and he had been accepted at some of the most prestigious colleges in America.
But he would be going to a state-funded school on a scholarship, a grant and work study. He had passed on the better schools so she could use the money for her own education, for a trip to Hawaii or even just to cut back on work.
There had been a discussion about that decision. There was no yelling or recriminations. Andy and Camille respected each other too much for that. Andy had made a simple statement about his intentions and Camille had done her best to get him to change his mind.
She knew he wouldn't.
Andy would be 18 in a month, off on his own a few weeks after that. What would life bring to her only child? She hoped happiness. He deserved happiness for all the joy he'd brought to her.
But he wasn't happy this morning. He fidgeted all through breakfast, his mind a million miles away. She knew he wasn't thinking about his crappy job in a hot, smelly warehouse.
Still, he was nervous about something – and Camille didn't like it when anything bothered her son.
"Do you want to tell me what has you so upset?" she asked gently. "You're not worried about that girl, are you?"
That girl, as Camille had termed her, wasn't just any girl to Andy. And it was the prospect of spending the day with Regan Riley that had him agitated.
She had never heard the name of Regan Riley until the day before, when the girl called out of the blue and spent 45 minutes talking to Andy. They had spent perhaps three hours on the phone later in the evening – and that was just during the time when Camille was awake.
"I'm going to see her this afternoon," Andy said. "I'm driving up after my shift to visit."
"Driving up?" Camille wondered. Andy had been sparse with the details about Regan. Camille trusted him so she didn't press. She knew he would talk to her when he was ready and not a minute before.
"She goes to Clairborne Benedict Prep," Andy explained.
"And just how did you meet a girl from Hoity-Toity Prep?" she asked before she could stop herself. "Or do I want to know?"
"Probably not," Andy said. He got the faraway look on his face that had accompanied her telling him yesterday that "that girl" was on the phone. She had fought the urge to try to intervene during his dalliance with Erin. But she remembered all too well how young adults fought their parents' advice about relationships.
So she left it alone and it had played out just as she suspected it would. At least Andy wasn't heartbroken. Her initial assessment of his demeanor immediately following the breakup had been wrong. She had thought he was depressed about losing Erin.
Now, although Andy hadn't confirmed it, she realized it wasn't the case.
"The day Erin and I broke up," Andy began – because his mother gave no indications she was moving away from her questions, "I got stuck in the office helping out with bills of lading. I was running late for our date and Erin dumped me over the phone. Then I about crashed into a pickup truck."
"I've told you about talking on the phone while driving!" Camille said. It was her personal crusade, Andy had realized.
"And I wasn't," he insisted with a smile that caught Camille off guard. "Besides, you know it was early March and all. It was almost dark and the truck was stopped in the middle of the expressway."
"Why?" Camille asked.
Andy rolled his eyes in exasperation. He had to leave for work in a few minutes and he wasn't sure he could finish the story in the amount of time he had left. He decided that might not be a bad thing.
"I'm getting to that," he said. "In fact, I would already be to that point if you'd let me talk without asking questions."
Camille threw a piece of toast at her son but laughed.
"Duly noted," she replied. "You were saying..."
"The truck was stopped in the middle of the expressway because the three occupants were harassing Regan, who was walking along the road," Andy clarified.
"I'm going to do it again," Camille warned. "Why was a teenage girl walking – alone – along that road?"
"That is something you'll need to discuss with Regan," he said. "Anyway, I slammed on the brakes and was getting out to knock some heads together when Regan yelled that she needed help. So, I helped."
"By knocking heads together," Camille said.
"Sort of," Andy admitted sheepishly. "It was Wyatt Erving. Do you remember him?"
"God, yes," Camille said. "He's like a walking case of anal warts. It isn't something you forget."
"Mom!" Andy said loudly, scrunching up his face.
"Well, you don't," Camille said with a chuckle. "So, whose head did you knock Wyatt's against?"
"Just my hand," Andy said. "Sorry, I probably should have told you when it happened. But it sort of got lost in everything that happened that night."
Camille tilted her inquisitively.
"I drove Regan the rest of the way into town to find her friends," Andy said. "We went to the party I was supposed to go to with Erin. Regan about kicked Erin's butt. We spent the evening talking and laughing and joking. Then we found her friends. She did kick one of her friends' butts. And I drove her home the next morning where I got into a screaming match with one of the most influential women in America."
Camille was amazed her son could make these statements so matter-of-factly. But he did.
"Then she waits two months to call you again," Camille said. "It hardly sounds like she has her priorities straight."
"Maybe not," Andy confessed. "But I think they are straighter now than they were. And she had to wait eight weeks. She was banned from all forms of electronic communication for that long."
"Why?" Camille asked.
"Why do you think?" Andy rejoined. "She snuck out of school while she was already under restriction. They – and her parents – increased the penalty to a form of house arrest, I think."
"And this is a girl you are planning to visit today?" she asked. This girl sounded like trouble.
"Visit today, go to her prom next week and take her to mine the following," Andy said. "Please, do me a favor. Do not form an opinion based on that night. Wait until you meet her, Mom. I promise, you'll like her a lot."
"I'll do my best," Camille promised. She would, too. She wasn't willing to make any promises but she would try, particularly if Andy liked the girl. Camille had managed to remain at least cordial to Erin, whom she could barely stand. "I thought you said prom was for losers."
"I guess I'm a loser then," Andy offered with a grin. "I think it's going to be fun – if I can just get through today."
Camille filed her other questions away for later interrogation. She was usually sly about how she got information from her son but it was always nothing short of a full interrogation.
Regan sat at the table with her friends and pushed the eggs around her plate. She was worried she – or one of the other idiots from C-B Prep – would say or do something to offend Andy and she would never see him again.
She knew she liked him a few minutes after they met. He was so genuine – a rarity in her world – and sweet. He had stood up to her mother and to three jerks and he hadn't been pissed when she stood up to Erin for him. The only time he showed any irritation was when she let Harmony Wentworth say derogatory things about him. Even then he didn't say hurtful things. He simply removed himself from the situation.
That wouldn't happen again. All of her friends – and most of the school – knew about Regan breaking Harmony's nose. Harmony had claimed she wasn't ready when Regan hit her. But Harmony also ran away every time Regan offered a rematch. She had elected to go home this weekend, rather than risk drawing Regan's ire further.
Pretty much the whole senior-level girls' side knew Regan's guy was coming up to visit and there would be hell to pay if they put one foot out of line. That didn't mean the staff or one of the other girls' parents wouldn't do or say something asinine, Regan knew. But that was only part of what had her worried.
The eight weeks from the time Andy left Regan's house until she could call him dragged on for her. She had written him 20 letters. But since she thought she had the wrong address, she'd never sent them. She had re-read them the night before and she was glad they were still in a box beneath her bed. She decided they sounded childish and immature.
No, Regan decided, she was just going to be herself – well, maybe a slightly less spoiled version of herself, a little voice in her head offered. She and Andy would have lunch together and take a walk. They could talk about her approaching formal and his, too. And she hoped they could kiss again, too. The C-B campus had many areas that were out-of-bounds to all but senior girls. In the past, those areas were set aside for chaperoned courting. Now they were set aside for other activities – although Regan was certain the staff and parents didn't know it.
Regan almost leapt for joy when her father told her that he would sign the permission slip for her to attend a dance with Andy – so long as Andy brought her by the "shrine to your mother's inflated ego" so he could take some pictures.
Rita Riley was in Washington, D.C., to lobby for or against something so she didn't get a vote, which was just as well, Regan decided. Robert Riley had taken a more active role in his daughter's life during the past few weeks. He had visited her at school and called her regularly. More importantly, he had actually listened to what Regan was saying instead of brushing it aside. He had begun to see that he and his wife had done their daughter a great disservice by sequestering her away from real life for so long.
He knew Regan was ill-prepared to live on her own and to make decisions for herself. He also knew the only way to prepare for life was to live a little bit. Mostly, Regan thought, he just wanted her to know that he loved her and he would always love her.
Her mother had made token efforts. If she were in town – and doing nothing else – Rita would speak with Regan for a minute or two when she called home. She had come out to visit three times in the past eight weeks – which was three times more than Regan had seen her in the past year.
Regan knew Andy Drayton had been a source of stress at her parents' home. Mostly because after seeing it could be done successfully, Robert and Regan began shouting back at Rita when she went on a tirade. As with most things, they got better at it the more they practiced it.
After watching her husband and daughter sit obsequiously silent for 17 years, Rita Riley wasn't prepared to deal with two more people who had suddenly grown a backbone. Regan decided that was the reason her mother had spent most of the past month in D.C.
Regan had considered asking her father to come out today, too. She wanted him to meet Andy under better circumstances and to see what sort of guy Regan was convinced he was. She also wanted Andy to meet her father for the same reason. But she decided today would be about her and Andy getting to know each other again.
Regan knew today could be perfect or it could be a complete disaster. That's what had her worried.
10 a.m. Saturday
For maybe the first time since starting at Affiliated Wholesalers Group, Andy felt like part of the team. He was younger by many years than everyone else who worked there. For the other men and women in the warehouse this was a dead-end job but the only job they could do.
The others were slightly jealous of Andy. First off, he was young and had a future ahead of him. No one else could make a claim to either of those virtues. But there was more to it than that. Andy had shown enough to the foreman during his first weeks of employment that he got picked for plum assignments. If someone was needed to help out in the office, the foreman sent Andy. If someone was needed to deliver something nearby, Andy went. If the owners brought a group by for a tour, Andy was the one who explained what was being done and why it was done that way.
The men and women who worked at AWG dismissed the fact that Andy was part-time and was the lowest-paid person in the building. They didn't consider he received no health insurance, no vacation and no sick days. They didn't recognize that Andy was selected for these tasks because the foreman and the manager knew they could trust him.
The office manager didn't have to look over every section of a bill of lading when Andy worked inside. She would see him double-checking his figures against the list. She knew from the questions he had asked that he understood what he was doing. In fact, she wished she could have him work for her full-time. But she knew it wasn't in the cards.
The foreman didn't have to worry about Andy disappearing for five hours on a delivery and then claiming he got lost or stuck in traffic. He didn't have to worry about him driving the company van at 80 miles per hour or getting a reckless driving ticket. He didn't have to worry about the customer calling and complaining that Andy showed up two hours late or not at all. He was a good kid and more mature than some of the men and women in their 40s who worked in the warehouse.
The owners picked Andy purely by accident the first time he led a tour. He was close to the age of some of the schoolchildren they had brought and he was just preparing to leave. But he stayed and he did an excellent job. In fact, to at least one of the owners, Andy's explanation was the first time he had understood why some things were done as they were. After that, they sought out Andy and let the foreman know when they would arrive so he could have Andy nearby. They didn't have to worry about him cursing in front of a group of 12-year-olds. They didn't worry about him making up an answer to a potential customer's question. If he didn't know, he said he didn't know. Then he offered to find someone who did know.
The foreman was disappointed to learn earlier in the week that Andy would be leaving in a month. The office manager had offered Andy a weekend spot but wasn't surprised when he thanked her but declined. The managing partner made a special trip to the warehouse that Saturday to let Andy know he had a job with AWG whenever he wanted one – school breaks, holidays, summers or just whenever.
Even the employees had thawed.
Andy didn't think it was because they knew he was quitting. Almost none of his coworkers were bad people. They were all normal, hard-working men and women who sometimes took advantage of the company's largesse. The fact he was thankful for a part-time job that paid as much as this one did meant he didn't dare do something to lose it. After a few months, most of the people recognized that he wasn't an ass-kisser and began to include him in jokes and conversations.
But today they were absolutely friendly. It didn't take long for the forklift driver to spot that Andy's thoughts were miles away (about 10 miles north if the truth were known). She could see something was bothering him and, being a mother of two boys herself, took it upon herself to find out what it was and to fix it if she could.
"Did you ever really like someone who you knew could have any date he wanted?" Andy asked in reply to Monica's question.
"Well, I have this thing about Denzel Washington," Monica admitted with a giggle. Andy immediately wondered how helpful a 45-year-old woman who still giggled could possibly be. Still, he pressed on.
"I'm spending this afternoon with a girl that is so far out of my league, I'm not sure I'm even in the same sport," Andy said. "I will be around her rich friends and their parents and I am so worried I'm going to do something to completely screw it up."
"You don't strike me as the type of guy who puts a lot of stock in what anyone else thinks of you," Monica told him. "At least you don't here."
"I'm comfortable here," Andy replied. "I mean, look, you and I aren't that different. We probably grew up the same way and we have the same values. I know how hard you work to make sure your kids have everything they need. My Mom does the same thing and I hope I'll do that for my kids."
"And this girl doesn't have those values?" Monica asked, cutting to the heart of the matter. "If she doesn't, why do you want to spend time with her?"
"Her family probably has a billion dollars and I'm not sure how many real values they've imparted," he said, not exaggerating in the slightest. "The truth is, Regan and I don't know each that well. We spent one night together and we got along great but, well, I haven't stopped thinking about her since that night."
"Must have been a hell of a night," Monica replied, giggling again. "Maybe you can give my husband pointers sometime."
"It wasn't like that," he insisted. "It was ... whirlwind."
He explained the evening he spent with Regan – again omitting what transpired after they returned to the apartment a second time.
"So you don't know if what you're feeling is real or just a result of the crazy good time you had with her," Monica said, nodding. "The only way you're going to find out is to spend more time with her. I know this isn't what you want to hear but she might be nothing like what you remember from when you were alone with her. Her real personality might be the one she showed at the diner. Still, I have a feeling you were just you that night. It sounds like she has thought about you as much as you've thought about her.
"Just be the guy you always are. If it isn't good enough for her or her parents or her friends, it's their loss."
Andy nodded his agreement. He wasn't culturally advanced enough to assume the personality of someone he wasn't. If he was honest, he didn't really know what his personality was. Was it the polite young person who smiled and waved to everyone who passed? Or was it the angry, bitter man who told Rita Riley she could kiss his ass?
Regan changed clothes for the fifth time. Finally, her roommate – Ruth DeLancy – had seen enough.
"You're not meeting the Sultan of Dubai, for God's sake," Ruth hissed. "You're going to spend the afternoon with a guy who won't make in his lifetime what you'll get when you turn 18. Pick a shirt."
"Go fuck yourself," Regan replied with a smile that was nowhere near sincere. Ruth DeLancy was a pain in the ass. Her family owned a baking goods company but she looked like she was doing her best to eat away the profits. She still believed she was the Queen of Ball, though. Any attention she got from a male was because of her family's wealth so Ruth naturally thought it was that way for everyone.
"I'm going to discuss your language with the headmistress," Ruth said in her usual acidic tone.
"And I am going beat the ever-loving shit out of you my last day on campus," Regan promised. The cold smile still hadn't changed. "I was already planning to do that anyway just because I think you need a good ass-kicking. But now you've given me a reason to do it. If you tell the headmistress anything, I will have a further reason for it."
Ruth had stood to run to the administrator but quickly sat down and shut her mouth. Everyone knew that Regan had snuck out of school, beaten up Harmony Wentworth and only gotten an eight-week detention.
Regan turned away from her roommate pleased with herself. This was a side that her night with Andy had unleashed. She decided she didn't like bullies much either. Regan hadn't really been bullied much at C-B but the fact that she went about her business without lording over the scholarship students or playing the "my family is richer than your family" game meant she was often the victim of snide remarks.
Now she not only stuck up for herself, she stuck up for others around her, too – Ruth DeLancy being the obvious exception. There was just something about Ruth that was unlikeable – mostly her attitude. But Ruth was right in this instance. Andy wouldn't care in the least what she wore. It was early May and the temperature was supposed to reach the 70s by the afternoon. So she picked out a shirt and sweater combination that would match her favorite pair of pants.
She was preparing to change again when a fresh thought entered her mind – a thought that had also been unleashed by Andy Drayton. She remembered the night on his bed, the feelings he brought forth in her. She had tried almost every day to evoke those feelings herself and had failed.
That thought in mind, Regan pulled out a knee-length skirt to go with her sweater. Then she reached into her top drawer and pulled out her sexiest underwear – a pair of high-cut French lace panties and a matching bra.
Maybe she would have a fresh memory to help her get to sleep tonight, Regan thought.
11 a.m. Saturday
"Hey, Drayton," the foreman yelled.
Andy looked up from what he was doing to see the man standing there with two of the box loaders.
"We took a vote," the man said. "We're going to make an exception and let you use the shower here. That way you'll be fresh and clean when you see your girl."
Andy expected the comment to be followed by cruel laughter. Instead, the two guys beside the foreman were nodding their heads. As a part-time employee, Andy wasn't permitted in the employee locker room.
"Are you sure?" he asked.
"Yeah," one of the others said. "Get cleaned up. I'll clock you out at noon so you get your hours. It'll give you a head start."
"And I'll finish that box you started," the other one chimed in. "Just don't let the other part-timers know."
"Oh, OK," Andy said. He wasn't even aware there were any other part-timers. He had never seen anyone but he realized they probably scheduled him for the times the others weren't available. Someone had to do this mind-numbing work and it didn't make sense to waste an $18-an-hour employee on something a monkey could be trained to do.
Andy thanked the three men and hit the shower. It wasn't until he was toweling off that his nervousness hit again. He almost puked on the floor. In 20 minutes he would be meeting the girl who had starred in his dreams for the past two months.
What would he say? They had talked on the phone for almost all of the previous evening and the conversation had flowed easily. Would it be the same in person?
How should he greet her? He couldn't decide if he should shake her hand or offer a kiss on the cheek. Maybe he should do neither. The thought of the hug she gave him as he left her parents' house had stuck in Andy's mind. But he wasn't sure Regan would be receptive to something so intimate, particularly if there were others around.
And that brought up the biggest question: How should he handle her friends? Although Harmony was the worst, none of the girls at the diner were particularly nice to him. Of course, part of that could have been determined by the amount of alcohol and pharmaceuticals in their system. He didn't want to come off as a hothead but he knew he would be angry if someone treated him like a leper just because his family couldn't wipe their asses with $100 bills.
How would Regan react if he told one of her best friends to lick his nuts? Probably not well, he decided. He was still standing the middle of the floor with a towel around his waist when the foreman came in. He gave Andy a smile and sat on the bench far enough away that he didn't seem like a pervert but close enough he could still talk to Andy.
"Monica has been asking advice about your situation," he said with a smile. "Personally, it is a situation I'm not sure I'd mind, considering all I got when I married my wife was about $10,000 in student loan debt."
"It's not really the money," Andy protested.
"That much I think I know," the man said. Like Monica, he was in his 40s and had adult children of his own. "The thing is, Andy, rich people are different from us. My buddy, Stan, has a daughter who just graduated from UCLA earlier this year. For three years she dated Tyler Stansbury. I'm sure you've heard of him."
Andy nodded. Stansbury was a pitcher for UCLA's baseball team. He was drafted by the Mets in the first round a year before.
"So, this guy, who Stan used to absolutely adore, gets a big bonus and starts hanging around with some other rich kids," the foreman continued. "Stan's daughter was too small-time for him when he could hang out in clubs with the pretty people. Stan's kid was really destroyed by it. The next thing you know, Stansbury breaks off the engagement and starts dating some reality show chick. Stan's daughter tried to hurt herself, you know."
Andy was sure there was a point coming but he couldn't for the life of him figure out what it might be.
"I'm just saying, make sure you really know this girl before you put your heart into something," the man concluded. "You're a damned good kid. I wish my daughter was five years younger because you're the type guy I wished she'd hook up with instead of that bunch of losers she trots around. But you and this girl are both entering new phases of your life. I just, well, hell, I don't want to see you end up like Stan's kid."
Andy smiled and nodded his thanks. He didn't want to see himself end up like Stan's kid either.
Regan had been watching the parking lot since she finished getting dressed. In 45 minutes, several dozen cars had arrived – and some had picked up their children and left again. But no Andy. She knew he had to work until noon so she shouldn't expect him until 12:15 or even later but she was still watching for him intently.
So intently that her father drove into the lot, exited his car and walked up beside her before she even knew he was there.
"You look pretty," Robert Riley said to his daughter. She jerked in surprise.
"Dad!" she exclaimed. Her voice didn't exactly carry a welcoming tone.
"Relax, I just wanted to talk to you for a minute and say hello to Andy again, then I'll go," Robert promised. Regan relaxed slightly.
"If you're here to pass along Mom's wishes, you might as well head back now," she said, crossing her arms across her chest defiantly.
"I'm not," Robert said. "I haven't spoken to your mother about this and I probably won't. It's you I'm worried about."
"You don't have to worry about me," Regan said.
"Actually, it's high time we worried more about you," Robert declared. "Just hear me out and then you can yell if you want."
"Andy will be here soon," Regan told him.
"His car is still in the lot at his job," Robert answered.
"How do you know where he works? I didn't tell you that," Regan said angrily.
"It's part of what I wanted to talk to you about - if you'll give me the chance," he answered. "I had him checked out. I knew you'd be angry but, well, I did it anyway. I had to make sure that Andy wasn't a guy who saw dollar signs when he looks at you."
"He had no idea who I even was until we had already spent a lot of time together," Regan declared. "And then he didn't care."
"I hope he still doesn't," Robert said. "Regan, Andy's family is poor. I don't mean middle class. I don't mean just poorer than us. I mean his mother works two jobs and they are still below the federal poverty line."
"Which is why Andy works too," Regan shot back. "And why he's going to San Jose State instead of Berkeley or Stanford. He doesn't have a Mom who could buy his way in. But he has a Mom who loves him and respects him. He loves and respects her right back, too. That's worth all the money my mother will ever see."
Robert pursed his lips. Regan's voice had risen in anger and he didn't want that. So he nodded his agreement.
"Which is exactly what I found out," he said calmly. "In a few years, you are going to be one of the wealthiest women in America. You can't forget that fact just because a guy is nice to you. Honey, I am a man and I can tell you – for certain – men are pigs. Your mother wasn't wealthy when we got married. She had money, don't get me wrong. But she wasn't wealthy."
He held up a hand to forestall Regan's protest. She glared at him but complied.
"However," Robert began again then paused. "However, I can say with certainty that the main reason I stayed married to her for the past few years is because of the money she has. Sure, I would get a chunk of it if we divorced, but not as much as I have access to by staying married. I know I should have found a better way to tell you this but it's true. I just want you to be aware that, although Andy seems genuine to you – and to me – there might be ulterior motives."
"I am dangerously close to telling you what Andy told mother," Regan warned.
"And I would understand if you did," Robert replied. "I didn't do this just for spite or to try to prove something to you. I did it because, well, I did this because you are naïve. We kept you locked away in places like this for so many damned years. Suddenly you're 18 and you know absolutely nothing about the real world. It's my fault and I know it. I don't want to see you rush into something for the wrong reasons."
"Oh?" Regan asked. There was bitterness in her voice that couldn't be hidden. "What reasons might those be?"
"Two that I can think of off the top of my head," Robert answered. He was trying to keep from reacting to his daughter's tone. "First off, you know your mother doesn't like Andy. For a lot of people, that is reason enough to get involved with them."
"Which I've considered," Regan replied. "I will admit that the fact that mother hates him is a draw."
"The other reason is because, uh, well," he said, his face turning red.
"I'm horny," Regan finished for him.
"Well, I'm not sure I would have phrased it quite that way but, yes, that is the gist of it," Robert told her. Regan had to give her Dad credit. He wasn't backing away from this.
"Well, that's true, too," she said. "Andy is the first guy I've ever kissed. We went a little farther than kissing – at my urging, not at his. We will probably do much the same today if I can arrange it. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it for what it was and I enjoyed it because it was him. I've thought about all that too, Daddy. So, you needn't worry about me running off to Vegas to get married or finding the first piece of flat ground and getting naked.
"Daddy, I doubt you will understand this but I like who I am when I am around Andy. I like the fact he doesn't treat me like I'm a princess or an heiress. I like the fact that he jokes with me and even makes fun of me. He is the first person I've ever met who cares as much for my feelings as his own. Is that enough to build a relationship on? I don't know. That's what we – well, I – hope to find out. Maybe it works out that he and I are better as friends. Maybe we find that the first night we had together is all we'll ever have. I had eight weeks to think of this. Have I created a romantic image if him in my mind? Yes, I'm sure I have. But at the same time, I also have this feeling that he is going to live up to that image."
"I hope you're right," Robert said sincerely. "I hope he turns out to be exactly the person you think he is. I hope he always protects you and nurtures you like he did before. I hope you will always sound as happy as you did last night when you told me you'd called him and that he was coming out today. I know I haven't been much of a father to you and I know it's a little late to start now. But I love you and I do want you to be happy."
"I love you, too, Daddy," Regan said. She was surprised that she meant it. "And I know you're only trying to protect me. But I am a big girl now and I have to be able to make my own mistakes. I am naïve. I admit to that. But I'm smart enough to make sure the mistakes I do make aren't going to be life-altering."
Robert appraised his daughter. He had planned to let things go at this point but he couldn't ignore her last statement.
"It was eight weeks ago that you found yourself on a deserted highway being accosted by three idiots because you thought it was a good idea to walk to the city," he pointed out.
"Yes," she confessed. "But the only reason I was able to admit my mistakes is because of what I learned that night – and the only reason I'm still around to make more mistakes is probably because of Andy."
"But you don't owe him anything for that," Robert replied.
"No," Regan agreed, "and he's never asked for anything either. I told you I sent him a check for the gas money he spent, right?"
"He didn't cash it," Regan continued. "He said it was because he worried that it would be the last time he heard from me. But that's not the real reason. The real reason is because he didn't want to let my money cheapen what we shared."
Robert closed his eyes. He knew Regan had spent the night at the boy's apartment and he didn't want to know what they'd shared. Regan saw the look on her Dad's face.
"Nothing sexual," she said hastily. "I mean the overall experience. Dad, that night ... I can't describe it adequately. But that night was a night I will look back upon in 60 years and still smile. I don't mean this to hurt your feelings. But that night is the best memory I have of the first 18 years of my life."
Edited By BlackIrish; Proofread by The Old Fart.