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Twenty One - Teenage Parents

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No matter how close a girl is to her father, I doubt even a single one would want her dad to catch a guy jumping out of her window and scurrying off one morning. But since nothing about my freaking life is predictable, this is exactly what happens to me.

Thankfully, Xavier is already so far away from my house that my dad cannot possibly grab him by the neck and murder him in my porch. He might end up murdering me, though. Or I might just hang myself from the fan and save him the trouble.

"That ..." I force a loud laugh. "Wow, what is he doing here? I mean ..." I continue to laugh.

Dad shoots me a look and I stop suddenly, sounding like I was just punched in the gut. I clear my throat and lower my gaze to my feet, wishing the ground beneath me would split open and devour me whole. 

Why, God, why?

Girls can have boyfriends. Girls can drink, and party, and sleep around. Girls can lose their virginity at sixteen. Here I have sex for the first time in my life and dad finds out? Seriously?

I don't know whether to be scared or feel relieved when dad heads silently for the door standing open. A part of me wants him to forget what he saw -- or maybe that I even exist -- while another part wishes he would tell me what he's thinking. If he wants to scold me, just let us get it over with, shall we?

He doesn't say anything though, entering the house without a backward glance my way. I follow silently, my fingers knotted together and my head bowed low. Trudging into the house like a prisoner, I stop in the kitchen doorway, glancing up awkwardly to see what my dad is doing.

I'm surprised to see him calmly sit down at the table and pick up his fork. 

"Your egg's cold," he says, shocking me.

What universe is this where dads are no longer ... dad-ish?

Swallowing hard and feeling increasingly uncomfortable, I slowly walk to my seat in front of dad, sitting down and looking at him with a mixture of fear and confusion.

Maybe he's going to pretend he didn't just find out what I know he knows. Maybe I can pretend the same and we'll never have to talk about it. Maybe we can both continue pretending whatever we are pretending right now for the rest of our lives and go on living like nothing happened.

"Do you want --?"

"He wasn't here, okay?" I cry out, suddenly jumping.

Dad looks up at me, a wary expression on his face, and I'm pretty sure I've morphed into a ripe tomato at this point. I lower my gaze to the untouched plate of food in front of me and hear dad sigh.

"Haley ..." he begins slowly.

"I'm sorry," I mumble to my hands.

There is a moment of silence. I hate this kind of silence, unable to tolerate it between my dad and I. We have always been able to talk about everything, and now, for the first time, I feel like there is a veil between us, blinding each of us from the other's perspective.

"You know how old I was when I had you?" dad asks suddenly.

The unexpected question makes my gaze snap up towards him, and I see my dad giving me a tender smile.

"I was nineteen," he answers his own question. "And your mom was eighteen."

Okay, I know that, but I don't know why he's telling me this all of a sudden. I expected dad to tell me what a disgrace I am, not share with me the story of how he had me when he was probably still in college.

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