Madeline decides to tell her parents who she really is.
|I’d never been around this many hoity toity people before. The diamonds and elegance on display were overwhelming for someone used to bad band T-shirts and jeans.
“You sure about this?” I asked Maddie, glancing into her sky blue eyes.
She laughed, grabbing my hand. “It’s time you met my dad.”
For a moment she pulled me closer. “Uh, please don’t mention the other stuff.”
Her face stiffened but it passed in a second and she was glowing again, “Come on!”
I was glad I’d at least scrounged up a dress so I wasn’t completely out of place and that short hair is easy to style on a budget.
We were heading toward a man with the same scarlet hair as Maddie, although not nearly as curly. He eyed us approaching and excused himself from his guests, smiled, and came to greet us.
“Hello, you must be Jaqueline.”
I offered my free hand, “I go by Jackie.”
He kissed the top of my hand, “Charmed.”
I glanced at Maddie as she rolled her eyes.
“Maddie says you are keeping a 4.0 GPA while working part time and doing volunteer hours in the Office for Students with Disabilities.”
“It’s part of my scholarship, so yes sir.”
“Electrical Engineering, isn’t it?”
“It was either that or Comp Sci and I think I’ll have better opportunities with the engineering degree.”
He nodded, “Very astute. Maddie says you have a full ride, dorms, books, tuition, everything. You must be a very smart young lady.”
I saw Maddie blushing.
“Maybe some of that attitude will rub off on Maddie.”
She was gritting her teeth.
“Sir, Maddie is a very talented artist. She can draw and—”
He interrupted me, “I know what she can do. I just wish she could do more.”
Maddie finally spoke for herself, “Well, since you both hit it off so well, I guess I’ll go sit in my room and do some of that worthless drawing for a while.”
Her dad smirked, “Hon, don’t be like that. You have greatness within you, just like your mother, just like me. I want you to find it and set it free. Like Jackie here has done.”
Someone tapped him on the shoulder, “Roger? We need you to settle a bet for us.”
He smiled at us before walking away, “It really was nice to meet you, Jackie. I’m glad Maddie has made new friends.”
“I’m sorry for my dad, Jackie. He’s… he’s insufferable.”
“It’s okay. I didn’t expect him to know all about me already. You told him all that?”
She rolled her eyes again, “Some. The rest he got through his connections at school. He probably knows more about your curricula than you do. He always does that. Doesn’t let me have anything to myself.”
I squeezed her around the waist, “He obviously doesn’t know everything. You mentioned heading to your room?”
It took us a few minutes to get back through the guests, up the stairs, and around to her room. I’d been there many times, although none that her parents knew about.
It was huge, as large as eight of the dorm rooms I lived in and had its own kitchenette and full bath. You could literally live in this room and never leave. It was imposing and comforting all at the same time.
The walls were covered in fantastic landscapes full of mythical creatures and impossible flora, all painted by Maddie.
“I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, are you sure I can’t just live in a corner of your closet or something? It’d be nicer than my dorm and I could ‘come out of the closet’ every single day.”
She did not laugh at my joke.
“I can’t believe your parents don’t know you’re gay. Didn’t they wonder why you never dated any dudes?”
She looked down, “They just assumed that our wealth and my ‘beauty’ intimidated all the boys and that I hadn’t found anyone worthy yet.”
She grinned at me, “In some ways, I hadn’t found anyone worthy. Until you.”
I felt my own face flush and reached up to smooth her hair, “Uh, how about we see how well your observatory works during the day.”
The “observatory” was a technological wonder designed by her dad’s firm. You sat inside the pod and the LCD dome would selectively show you everything in the night sky, planets, satellites, stars, all in real time, tracked by who knows how many radar and telemetry sources. It was like your own personal planetarium.
There was only a single oversized seat. Side by side, we did not mind sharing.
Once activated, the dome darkened and displayed all the objects that were normally invisible while the sun was up. With one hand on her thigh, I used the other to reach out and grab a section of sky, zooming in. “Saturn,” I said. “It looks like it’s been updated with the latest from Cassini. That was just… what? Last week when NASA released the photos to the public?”
She chuckled, “You are such a nerd.”
“Yeah, well, you’re the one who loves me.”
I grimaced. We hadn’t exactly gotten to that point in the relationship yet.
Maddie was silent for minute as Saturn’s rings floated majestically in front of us, “I think I do. No. I’m sure. I love you, Jackie.”
I practically exploded, almost stumbling over my words, “You’re wonderful; you know that? I really, truly love you, too. I can’t wait for my parents to meet you. I just wish— I mean, I told my parents I was gay when I was 12 and all they did was ask me, ‘are you sure?’ and asked me to take some time to think about it before making a decision like that. I did, I was, and they were as okay with it as they could be. They just wanted me to be happy. What makes you think your parents would be any different?”
She chewed her lip, “All my dad can talk about is his stupid legacy. No husband, no kids, no legacy. I want to travel the world and paint. I want to see the sights and taste the air and feel the sand between my toes. We can’t do that with kids. I mean, he wants me to get high marks just to make himself look good. He doesn’t care what I do for a living. He just wants me to marry a man with a respectable job who isn’t after my money so we can give him a grandson. After my mom’s second miscarriage, they quit trying, but he really, really wanted a boy. He’ll never be satisfied with what I do.”
She was blinking back tears as I hugged her close.
“Maddie, I’m here and I’ll always be here. No matter what.”
She was silent again before slowly nodding her head, “I need to get up.”
I let her slide by and watched her walk across the room to one of the walls before pushing a button.
A voice came on, “Yes, Miss Madeline?”
“Hey Charles. Can you send my dad up? Mom, too. I want them to meet my girlfriend.”