Father comes home and Arlette wishes she wasn't at home.
Most of the children in the Vaughan family were students who studied hard. A couple of them, Haley and Justin made the honor roll more times than they didn’t. For Arlette, school was nice but homework was not. Counselors assured Mr. and Mrs. Vaughan that she was above normal, just unmotivated. She did school work with the thought that some homework was not necessary. A total waste of time. But to her father, Milton Samuel Vaughan, education meant a better future.
Milton Vaughan worked hard as a young man. His father left the family of two boys and two girls after the birth of the youngest girl Mary. His father never came home from the job. There was no good bye note or phone call. Cynthia waited a few days and then filed a missing person’s report. When the police failed to turn up anything, she next asked a friend to check on some places that she noticed credit card charges by her husband, but they all lead to a dead end.
After a year, Milton made up his mind to take a part time job and give the money to help his mother out. Milton was the eldest and could not stand to see his mother crying at night when she thought that everyone was asleep. He slowly changed from an average student to one who almost always made straight ‘As’. With this change and the fact that he loved computers, his decision to go into the world of technology was easy. His chosen career, as a network architect, was so easy that he could handle more than the average load in college and graduate a little earlier than the other students who took the lightest load.
Milton drove home in his white car at a time that surprised even his neighbors. The five foot ten, average build man hopped out of his car, carrying bouquet of flowers for his wife. He never forgot any anniversary and many times just out of love for his wife, brought home some flowers. His romance level was more than a ten in Doreen’s opinion.
There was a slight rattle of the key in the door. Milton slowly opened the door and peeked in to see if Doreen was in the kitchen. She must have been in another room. He remembered that she had mentioned that she would put items that the family didn’t need in a box to take to the church for a garage sale.
He walked into the kitchen and closed the door behind him. He carefully put the flowers in the corner of the kitchen.
“Hm. I guess she is going through the old videos that the kids no longer see.” he thought to himself.
Doreen walked into the kitchen. She caught the odor of flowers. Her eyes immediately caught sight of a man who she met at a nature hike with two other couples thirty-three years ago. As the story goes that they told the children, they were on blind dates with different people. Milton was with a short girl who yakked continuously about herself. Doreen was with a man whose allergies caused him to sneeze until his nose bled. By the end of three hours, Doreen had managed to get her date paired up with Rhonda and she was with Milton. And by the end of the hike, she had accepted a date with a man who she felt was charming and sincere.
A warm smile grew on her face that seemed to make Milton’s heart flip-flop as it did for all of these years.
“You’re home early.” She walked over to him and put her arms around his neck. “I guess my cooking isn’t that bad after all.” They laughed and then had one of those five second kisses that meant this will be continued later.
“No, not bad at all. In fact I think that the cook should get a raise in her pay.” He returned her kiss with an equally special five second kiss. He walked over to the counter and picked up the bouquet.
“For the best cook in town.” He was ready to give her the bouquet when they heard footsteps approaching from the other room.
Doreen turned around to see Arlette enter the kitchen. In her hands were a few magazines that had some current fashions and make-up tips inside. Arlette’s expression was one of mild surprise.
“Oh hi dad. You’re home.” She said with an almost monotone voice.
“Yes I live here. Remember?” Milton said with a slight chuckle. He started to remove his jacket and drape it over his arm. “Where’s the wonderful Arlette going with all those magazines?”
“Oh I promised Alexis that she could see them to get an idea what kind of dress that she might want to get for the dance.” She took a step closer to the door.
“Oh Arlette I think that you might want to call Alexis and tell her that you might be a few minutes late.” said her mother. Doreen smoothed a piece of hair and gave a slight shake of her head that clued Arlette to the fact that she had something serious to talk to her about.
“Yea, I guess this can wait. I mean, Alexis can’t buy a dress today anyway.” Arlette left the room quickly and hurried to her room to call Alexis on her cell phone.
A questioning look came over Milton’s face but he knew that in good time, all of the subtle gestures would lead to what was on Doreen’s mind. They rarely kept secrets. Only once did Doreen hide the fact that she was pregnant with their first child because she had a wonderful way to let him know. She had bought a Father’s Day card and gave it to him on Father’s Day morning at breakfast. When he realized what it meant, he almost broke down in tears.
“Something tells me that our little angel has let her halo slip a little.” Milton said in a soft voice.
“Yes, I got a letter from our school that informed us that Arlette has a grade problem. It’s in history.” She answered him with a small frown on her face. Doreen accepted the flowers and walked over to the cabinet to get a vase to put her flowers in. She added some water and then began to fix up the arrangement.
“Well I have not used our no pass, no dance policy in action in a long time but it looks like Alexis might go to the dance and our angel won’t.” Milton shook his head.