Chapter 13.

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 There were a lot of things that surprised me in my life, especially more so of the late. But no matter how many times this paritcular occasion arised, I was still going to be very surprised. 

That particular occasion happened to be whenever I woke up in the morning and saw my parents at the dining room table. I rarely ever saw my parents - I usually was already asleep whenever they got home in the evening, and they were already long gone when I got up in the morning - so it was certainly shocking to see them so unexpectedly.

 "Uh, hi, Mom, Dad," I said awkwardly, somewhat shifting my way into the kitchen Wednesday morning. 

  Mom and Dad were both seated at the dining room table, coffee in fashionable cups in their hands. Dad's breakfast consisted of an egg sandwich stuffed with bacon and cheese, while Mom had a much lighter breakfast of what looked like Special K cereal and a banana. 

 They may spend most of their time in their offices, or court, but of course they still watched their figures.

"Morning, dear," Mom said crisply, turning the page in the New York Times.

  "Hi, Hadley." Dad greeted me in a much more cheerful mood, giving me a slight smile over the rim of his coffee cup. 

 "Uh, what are you guys still doing here?" I asked slowly, yanking open the fridge. "It's almost nine. You're usually gone by now."

 Dad nodded, setting his coffee cup down on the table. "You're right. Your mother and I are going on a business trip to Chicago this afternoon."

 The fridge door swung shut as I stood there in the middle of the kitchen, pathetically grasping a container of yogurt and a bunch of grapes. 

 Well, I certainly hadn't been expecting to hear that.

"Why would Mom and you have a business trip together?" I said, sounding duped. "You're a lawyer, and she's an executive manager at a totally different business." 

 "Your father's firm and my boss are working on a fraud case together in our company," Mom answered breezily, as if it was nothing. "Clyde has asked me to come along with him."

 Clyde Heywood was my mother's boss. I'd met him a few times, and I hadn't been impressed. He was a tall, balding man with enough personality to make people want to slit their wrists. Thankfully I hadn't seen him recently. I did feel slightly bad for Mom that she had to go out of the city with the guy. 

 "Oh," I said. "Right."

I took a seat at the table across from Mom, next to Dad, and spooned out some of my yogurt. 

 There was clearly an awkward air about the room that I probably only seemed to be noticing. Dad was much more attentive than Mom when they were home, so he probably felt the rising weirdness, but Mom certainly didn't. 

 And one could see why I didn't often enjoy family meals very much. 

"I hope you don't mind that we'll be out of town for Thanksgiving," Mom said, her attention still fixed on her newspaper. 

 "No," I said, shaking my head. "I'm fine."

"The apartment complex offers Thanksgiving dinner down in the dining room in the lobby," Dad interjected. "You could always go there for a meal."

 "No, that's okay," I said slowly. "I've, uh, actually been invited to dinner at a friend's tomorrow."

"Taelor's?" Dad asked, sipping at his coffee. 

 "No." How many times was I going to be saying that today? Damn. "My boss'."

 That last sentence caused Mom to whip her head up so fast she must've cricked her neck. Dad actually spat out a bit of his coffee he'd just swallowed.

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