To the Steadfast

To the Steadfast by Briana Gaitan

Book: To the Steadfast by Briana Gaitan Read Free Book Online
Authors: Briana Gaitan
off your high
horse, Kenneth!”
    I step away from my
mother as her yelling becomes louder, filling my ears with a deafening ring. I
can’t say anything. I don’t say anything as her rants become incoherent between
her sobs.
    “What will people say
about us?”
    My father doesn’t say a
thing which makes a sob sneak up in my throat. He walks out the door with no
explanation, no goodbye. I struggle to comprehend what I’m feeling, but
everything is jumbled.
    “I hate you! You ruin
everything!” I scream at her. She has to be making him leave. She throws a
glass against the wall, shattering it into a million pieces and storms from the
    My parents never had
the greatest marriage, but at least my father lived here. They hardly ever saw
each other, which made the perfect arrangement. Was he really leaving or was
this just a fight? I can still hear my mother throwing stuff around the
kitchen, but I need to know what’s going on. On the way to the front door, my
heel gives out and a sharp pain shoots up my ankle. Kicking my shoes off, I
hobble out the door.
    “Dad! Please don’t go.
Is this because of what happened with Mr. Carmike last week?  I promise to
apologize. Maybe he’ll still write that letter for college.”
    “This has nothing to do
with you,” he snaps. His voice calms as he continues. “Things are difficult
right now. I don’t expect someone your age to understand. Love is a complicated
    He’s putting his
suitcase in the trunk of his car, but stops and looks at me before closing it
and making a move for the driver’s side door. I don’t expect him to feel bad
for leaving.
    “Dad, please don’t
leave me alone with her.” I don’t know why I’m begging him to stay. He’s never
home anyway, but if he moves out, I’ll see him even less.”
    “I don’t have time for
this, Dakota. I gave it a good shot, but it’s time to move on.”
    I hurry to keep up with
him. “But, Dad—”
    “Not another word, I
mean it!”  He slams the door in my face, not even looking my way as he speeds
    Jerk, he could have
run over my feet!
    “And it’s Cody, I hate
it when you call me Dakota!”
    I’m certain the whole
block just heard me, but I couldn’t care less.
    There’s no denying the
burning behind my eyes. Rejection, humiliation, confusion. So many emotions
tear away at my skull. I’m not sure how to deal with them. I cover my face with
my hands and give out one loud scream until the pain subsides.
    Going back inside isn’t
even an option, Mom is on a warpath. I sneak around to the back of the house
and sit on one of the chairs on the deck. After a few minutes of picking at the
faded flower cushion, there’s only one thing to do so I don’t die of boredom—listen
to music on my iPod. It will drown out the noise of my mother. I hear her
causing thousands of dollars’ worth of damage. I think I hear her throwing his
stuff out of a window as well but am too afraid to check. A short time later,
my phone goes off.
    Killian: Everything
okay over there?
    Cody: You heard it
    Killian: The whole
block heard it.
    I don’t reply. It’s
    Killian: Seriously
though, are you okay?
    Cody: You said you
already heard what happened.
    Killian: Ugh.
Dakota, the whole block heard it now answer my question already.
    Cody: Life sucks,
but I’m used to it.
    Killian: You want to
come over to watch the changing of the lotto numbers?
    Cody: I’m not in the
mood plus I have school tomorrow.
    Killian:  You’re
gonna join me on the roof. I have a box of chocolates with your name on it.
    My weakness. Chocolate.
Damn him.
    Cody: Fine. I’ll be
over there later. I hate you.
    Killian: That’s
okay. One day you will love me.
    Somewhere around nine,
I feel it’s safe enough to sneak back inside and take a shower. Mom is snoozing
away in her room, and I’m covered in sweat from the humidity outside. I go to
check on her. She’s on the bed, still in her dress. Her hair is sprawled

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